Things have been a bit quiet here at Beginner Biker Adventures, lots of non-biking things going on that haven’t left me with much time, to be honest. Sometimes it is not all fun on the bikes. This blog is only a hobby and far from a full-time venture. So here is a quick catchup, just to fill you in on the random other stuff I’ve been up to recently.
I’ve had a few DIY house projects on the go. Firstly, rolling out an extra layer of loft insulation to keep things toasty at home. Surprisingly for quite a new build (mid-2000s), there was only a minimal 160mm layer of insulation in the loft. So, given the cost of gas going through the roof and the fact Scotland can get a bit chilly at times, I figured it wise to stop losing heat through the roof. Not a fun or particularly exciting job, involving lots of crawling around in the loft space and rolling out insulation, but it’s certainly made a big difference.
The second DIY project has been the setup of a home cinema room. Outside of biking, I’ve always been a sucker for decent Hi-Fi and home cinema kit, but have always gone for high-end second-hand kit that’s lost its premium price tag. In this vain, I recently picked up an 8 year old JVC 4k projector and 9 foot Grandview screen for just a few hundred quid! Had lots of fun installing this and it’s been a big hit with the family for watching films etc.
Family on the Move
The other big news is my Mum has recently sold up her house and moved in with us, with a view to purchasing a new property locally in Scotland in the near future. As with any house sale, there’s been a fair bit of stress and I’ve had to help a lot. From clearing and packing stuff up to managing removals and storage up here.
It appears she was lucky on timing, selling at a peak in prices and looking to buy next year when prices may well fall a little. We’ll be exploring over the next few months to see where might suit her best. At least all those past ride-outs through small villages and the local vicinity have given us a good feel for many places locally. As a biker, you naturally explore and build up a good knowledge of a wide area, which should hopefully prove invaluable.
Kids Making Uni Plans
My daughter is in the middle of her Scottish Highers and has been checking out many University open days over the weekends this last couple of months. Although she could technically start next September, she is planning to stay at school for another year to do her Advanced Highers, so she is being proactive and looking at University courses a year early. Still good to help her decide on subjects to pursue (currently between computer science and maths) and get a feel for different universities. We’ve checked out Stirling (obviously), Heriot Watt, St Andrews, Glasgow, Strathclyde, and have Edinburgh and Edinburgh Napier coming up.
All quite exciting stuff for her, and very interesting to check out these prestigious universities. However, it has eaten up much free time I’d otherwise be out biking, and I couldn’t persuade her to travel to the open days by motorcycle…
Slightly more on topic, I recently volunteered with the local Blood Bikes Scotland group, who have been getting me signed up and onboarded. After stepping down my volunteering effort from ELAM, I decided it would be good to put some of my time and advanced biking skills to similar good use. I’m still finalising all my training, but I hope to pick up my first shift next month.
The local Blood Bikes Scotland group, provide fully liveried bikes (and cars) to use. They don’t do any emergency blue-light runs and mainly deliver samples, meds, screening materials, documents and personal effects between local health centres. The first few shifts might be a bit nerve-wracking, but I’m looking forward to getting into it.
The other area I’ve focused my time on is one of my software side projects. Following my web development work on this site and others, I have written quite a bit of software, some of which I have released publically for others to use. In particular, a WordPress plugin to integrate a site with eBay which can be used to monetise a site in an affiliate marketing strategy.
This WordPress plugin (Fast eBay Listings) has been taking off lately. I’ve been adding many new features and begun to push a premium subscription model with it. In this day and age, you can’t stick all your eggs in one basket, it can really help to have a few side-hustles to bring in a little extra cash.
On the biking front, the Fazer had its yearly service this month. So much easier and more convenient to do when you have a garage. Doesn’t matter what the weather is, you’ve got somewhere warm and dry to work. No more dragging my tools from the shed at the bottom of the garden through the house to the drive at the front to work on the bikes.
That said, with no commuting anymore, I’m doing far few miles. Just a measly 4k since the last service! Bit embarrassing really. But then, we’ve not done any long tours this year either, so that’s just weekend rides etc.
As winter rapidly approaches, we’ll have to see just how much biking we manage to fit in. It’s no fun in the wet, but a cold but sunny winter’s day can be very enjoyable. I’m certainly not one to pack away and SORN my bike for the winter months.