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Thursday, 31 January 2013

No buggying!

I'm not going to get out in the buggy this weekend...

It's my daughters birthday on Saturday and we are heading to Adventure World here in Perth.

And I am heading to the WACA on Sunday to watch the Aussies v the Windies! With my father-in-law who very generously bought the tickets.

Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!






Hopefully I may get out for a sneaky evening session next week!

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The end...

...of my holiday, that is!
Our homes for a week
After a fantastic trip we ended up back in Perth on Monday. Today is my first day back at work and I really wish I was still off! But on the bright side...


The buggy has new tyres, I am waiting on a 140cm gigastrong axle (as I have done a swap for the 3m Core) and at present the wind is looking favourable for a Sunday session.


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Mollymook Static Session

On our drive from Sydney to Melbourne we stopped near Ulladulla. We had a couple of hours on the beach and as there was plenty of space and a good on-shore breeze, I was able to have a half hour static session with the 4m Method.

Actually you some pretty good jumps with it, though am feeling it I'm my arms and shoulders this morning.

According to my wife I was quite the talking point on the beach...

No pictures of the kite in action, just a view of the beach.


Friday, 18 January 2013

Holiday

Today we fly to Sydney, after two nights in a hotel we pick up a motor home and drive to Melbourne, arriving in time for Australia Day.


Thursday, 17 January 2013

Kite Surfing...

Not me!

But this was the view in Safety Bay this arvo, at least 12 kites up and more being set up...



Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Sorted!

Took my hub and new tyre to Tyrepower on my way home from work yesterday and in less than 3 minutes they had it inflated and sat on the rim - sorted!

Ready for when I return from my holidays.



Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Video - a bad romance

A video from Clive from Extreme kites


"trip to Tasmania over the summer holiday, 3 weeks , 5 beaches, 2 OBE's"

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Treasure Hunting...

…with Satellites!

No buggying for me today due to the tyre issue. So we are heading out geocaching - here is a copy of an article that I had published in Great Walks Magazine in 2010 -


There are over a million treasures hidden all over the world that can be discovered in fantastic locations from the middle of cities to the middle of nowhere - all you need is internet access (to download the co-ordinates) and a GPS receiver (GPSr).

Ten years ago the US government flicked the switch that controlled selective availability for the 24 global positioning satellites around the globe. From that point onwards the accuracy of GPS technology improved tenfold – this was the birth of satellite navigation, as we now know it.

It is now possible to locate your position anywhere on the globe to within five to ten metres accuracy – or navigate your way to a point where treasure has been hidden simply by going to the specified co-ordinates.

Welcome to Geocaching.

“Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventures seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment” taken from www.geocaching.com

Some friends introduced us to geocaching in September 2009, the next day we went out and found one on our own using our car sat-nav. The next weekend we went and bought our own hand held GPSr, we have now found over 500 and have hidden 30 (these are small numbers compared to some) – be warned before you read any further geocaching is addictive!

How to find treasure! –

You need internet access, go to www.geocaching.com and register (it’s free to be a basic member).
Search for caches hidden in your area or anywhere around the world – click on the hide and seek tab, you can either search by location or address but the easiest way is to click on search using Google Maps. This takes you to a map enter the area you want to find caches in and watch them all appear. Then just click on the caches you are interested in.

Each cache description includes the co-ordinates, a terrain and difficulty rating (1 being the easiest and 5 being the most difficult which may require specialist equipment) and the size of the cache. As you scroll down the page you will see a description of the cache/area etc and also the attributes list, and the list of any travel bugs or coins.

At the bottom of the page you will see the logs of previous cachers – these help to tell you if the cache has been found recently, also what sort of condition the cache is in. They may also contain useful hints and tips that may help locate a tricky cache (spoilers)

Enter the co-ordinates on your GPSr – start hunting!

On the hunt-

Your GPSr will point and give the distance to the cache as the crow flies, this can lead you on many an adventure!

“In Alice Springs there is a cache called The Pink Lady (GCR9Z4) that is in the Olive Pink Flora Reserve. We parked the car in a designated spot and then started to follow the GPSr – climbing up over rocks and through the bush heading towards Ground Zero (the location where the GPSr indicates the cache is hidden) after a steep and difficult climb we came across a nice clearly marked footpath that took us to within a couple of metres of where the cache was hidden! We then proceeded to follow the path down (which was a much easier climb) which led us to a very nice cafĂ© and the car park. Afterwards when we read the description in full we realised our ascent should have been via this path!”

There is often a more direct or accessible route to the cache which can be found in the description or logs and often will give you an indication of how far from the track the cache is hidden so that you don’t have to go stomping off through the bush damaging the flora and aggravating the fauna!

When you reach the point at which you GPSr is indicating that you are at ground zero start looking for the cache. Most GPSr‘s have an accuracy of 5-10 metres (dependant on weather conditions, tree cover etc)– this means that the cache could be within a radius of about 10m of where you are standing. Start with the obvious places and remember the size of the cache and start to expand your search area – remember to respect the environment and search carefully.

Some caches are fairly obvious and can be seen as you approach them others maybe hidden (we have even found an ammo can in a tree – spotted by my 10 year old daughter while we were looking on the ground!). Others are craftily camouflaged and maybe very tricky to spot. Again the logs of previous cachers may help.

When you find a cache, write in the logbook and when you get home or to a computer, log your find on geocaching.com.

The feedback that is left in the log on geocaching.com is an important part of the process, the owner of the cache will receive an email with your log – so a quick TNLN, SL, TFTC (Took Nothing Left Nothing, Signed Log, Thanks For The Cache) is ok, but a bit more is always appreciated, for example –

“Great walk, the cache was located within a few minutes of searching and wasn’t very well hidden. Watch out, as a few muggles spotted around so had to be a bit sneaky. The logbook is nearly full and will need replacing soon. We took a travel bug and left some swaps. We hid it slightly better when we left. TFTC, SL”

Be careful not to leave to many spoilers (hints and tips). As a cache owner I find the logs very useful as it lets me know that the cache is in good condition or if there is any maintenance required.

If you don’t find the cache log it as a DNF (Did Not Find) on geocaching.com. Posting a DNF isn’t a sign of a failure but a useful tool, this allows the owner to see that it hasn’t been found, if the cache has a few DNF’s then the owner should check on it to ensure it hasn’t been Muggled (removed by a non-geocaching person). If it is there it may mean that it has been put back in the wrong place or hidden to well by the previous cacher.

“We have a crafty camouflaged cache hidden opposite our house and we can sit in a front room and watch people looking for it! I get some satisfaction knowing that my camo has beaten somebody and they cant find it, but much more pleasure watching somebodies face and expression of realisation as they discover it.”

There are different styles and sizes of geocache.

The Traditional cache - the co-ordinates lead you straight to the cache.

The Multi-Cache – the initial co-ordinates will lead you to a waypoint that will lead you to additional waypoints and eventually to the final cache (there maybe just one waypoint or many).

Mystery cache – you have to solve a puzzle to get the co-ordinates of the final cache.

Earth Cache – An area of special interest, there is not usually a container but you may have to answer some questions that get emailed to the owner of the cache to prove you were there!

Caches are also come in different sizes and can be cleverly camouflaged.

Micro – either a 35mm film canister or smaller (a nano is about 10-15mm long) usually only contain a logbook, can be magnetic and are often used in urban environments.

Small – less than 500ml, a small cliplock or Tupperware container, again usually only contains a logbook, pencil may have room for trackables (what are trackables? – see below).

Regular – 500ml or bigger cliplock, ammo cans, etc. Plenty of room for swaps as well as the logbook etc.

Large – self-explanatory!

How long should I look for before giving up?

That is up to you, if the description and previous logs say it is an easy find, has been found recently and you are confident that you are looking in the right spot (check the co-ords you have entered on the GPSr) and you cant find it after 10 – 15 minutes (and you have checked all the obvious and not so obvious places call it a DNF and log it.

If it is a difficult hide (camouflaged or a nano) you may want to try longer, to explore every possibility – caches have been disguised as rocks, sprinklers, twigs, leaves and even dog droppings (just be careful with this one!). They can also be magnetized and stuck under or behind metal objects, and disguised as electrical plates. If we know a cache has been found recently and in all likelihood is there, we will keep looking for as long as we can and only give up when we feel we have exhausted all possibilities – it is up to you, but give it a fair go.

Trackables

There are two different types of trackable items, geocoins and travel-bugs. These both work in the same way, being moved on from cache to cache collecting miles and stories on the way. They all have a unique identifier, which allows their movements to be logged and tracked on geocaching.com. You are not supposed to keep these but log them and move them on – many have specific missions.

SWAG (Stuff We All Get)

When you find a cache you will find that it contains treasure! This treasure can be swapped – the usual rule is if you take something you should leave something better. You can of course choose just to sign the log and not take anything.

Muggles

Non-geocaching folk, may make it difficult to retrieve a hide, or ask you what you are looking for!

Cache in Trash Out (CITO)

Part of the philosophy of geocaching is looking after the environment and environmental responsibility. Part of this is Cache in Trash Out, when you go to find a cache pick up any rubbish you may find and dispose of it properly. There are also CITO events.

Cache events

Held all over the world, especially this year to celebrate 10 years of geocaching – meet fellow cachers, swap trackables and stories.

Geocaching has lead us to some unique and fantastic locations, places we wouldn’t have discovered that are 10 minutes from home. We have also found caches in other states, in the middle of cities, and out in the bush. We have friends and family who geocache in the UK and have also found caches all over the world – you will be surprised how many there are and how close to you they are hidden!

It is a family affair, both of my girls love it (as much for the SWAG as the find), my parents’ do it and we have lots of friends who now cache. You can do it on you own or with a group of people. It does have its risks – we have encountered tiger snakes, spiders and been eaten by mosquitoes. There are stories of people being stopped by the police while hunting – who, after an explanation, have then joined the hunt. You may also encounter fellow cachers searching for the same thing. Some caches need special equipment to retrieve but most are easily accessible and fun to find.

Get out there and find treasure… gum-nuts (that’s our caching name!)

For more information go to www.geocaching.com









Saturday, 12 January 2013

Two wheels on my wagon...

I started to replace my tyres today...


which meant putting the least worn one on the front with an inner tube and replace the two back ones with the new ones bought off ebay.

The front one was first and was sorted quickly...


The new tyres are 6 ply, highway rated trailer tyres and took a bit more work to get over the rims. But after sitting them in the sun and some washing up liquid they both went over the rims pretty easily - well much easier than I anticipated!

old and new (on the rims)

The first one I tried inflating and popped over the beading with my 12v air-compressor, to easy! The second just wouldn't grip and inflate. Despite trying the air-compressor at the servo, using a ratchet strap to hold the tyre tightly onto the rim and liberal amounts of washing up liquid.
inflated and seated on the rim
So at present I only have two wheels on my buggy and the third is in the boot of the car so I can sweet talk a tyre place to inflate it and get it on the rim properly.


So unfortunately no buggying for me Sunday!



Friday, 11 January 2013

New Tyres

I have got my new tyres, delivered Wednesday and then picked up from the post office yesterday. Now they are sat in the sun to soften them, ready for the wrestle onto the rims...

Hopefully will have them done before Sunday!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Video - South Ballina



Great video, with a nasty stack at the end in which Andy dislocates his shoulder! Ouch!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Review - Ozone Method 4m

I have been trying various kites to really try and push my speed, I own a 3m Peter Lynn Core and have also owned a Peter Lynn Vapor 2.7m – until it pulled me out the buggy.

When I sold the vapour I was looking at where to go next and to try and fill a gap in my quiver – I initially ordered a 4.4m Peter Lynn Reactor II, but this was out of stock, so I was offered a 4m Ozone Method for the same price (saving about $100) – I jumped at the chance, I already have an Ozone Flow and in a previous life had a Ozone Samurai and I have always loved the stability and build quality of both kites.


The Method is billed as having that stability but with race-car performance. We would soon see…

Kite Power have always offered fantastic service and the kite had arrived within a couple of days. The kite comes in a similar bag as the Flow, different colour and graphics. And comes with, 20m lines, handles, a strop, key-ring, instructions, stickers and repair kit. No kite-killers.


I took the Method to the footie oval to attach the lines and have a quick go! Like all Ozone’s the Method has numbered lines to make for easy set-up. But true to form I still managed to get the lines twisted and tangled just unwrapping them from the winder - this is why I para-pack!

Once the lines were attached the kite sat there partly inflated, the Method has its air intakes covered by mesh like my Flow but unlike the Flow only has seven. It has the familiar dirt-outs at the end of the wing tips and the Velcro to hold the bridle when packing.


The construction of the sail is immaculate with not a seam out of place or a single loose thread.

A quick tug and up it went, even flying static the kite was quick through the air and turned easily without brakes and with a bit of brake would spin in its own length.

It looks incredible the graphics are great and I love the green, with the sun behind it and against the sky it is an awesome looking kite. The handles are the same as my Flow and were reassuringly familiar – I do prefer the Ozone handles to those of my Core.

Despite gusty conditions, the kite was great to fly and definitely develops some serious power and speed. I couldn’t wait to try it in the buggy...

The first flight in the buggy and I was down at the salt lake just after 6am, there was a reasonable easterly forecast and I was determined to put it through its paces.

Most of the time it was under-powered but behaved well and would get me moving at a reasonable pace with a bit of sine-waving! A few times the wind would come to the party and the true speed and power of the Method would become apparent - then it would switch off and the kite would float gently down!

Ozone kites don't seem to bow-tie! Well neither of mine do, the tips may fold in a bit but are easily shaken out again! I have even inadvertently let go of the handles (I think I went to hook in and missed!) and ended up chasing the kite as it tumbles across the ground. On catching the handles and a couple of tugs the kite is inflated without being wrapped in the bridles – maybe I was just lucky!

The wind direction meant that I could use the whole length of the lake. With the wind dropping I put up the 5m Ozone Flow and used that to buggy back up to the car park - no long walk for me!


Since then I have taken it out in varying wind conditions and really got some great use out of it, I have hardly used the 5m Flow and the PL Core hasn’t been out of the bag! The Method has a huge wind-range, but this does mean that it does lack some of the lower end grunt; but once you push it and get it moving through the air the speed and power start to build – quickly.

Up-wind performance is good; I usually just stick the kite into the zone and let it do all the work.

Along side the performance it has the stability that makes it such a joy to buggy with, it feels like my flow, but on steroids, you can set it on a track and it just keeps going, finger tip control to reposition or to sine-wave and I just know what this kite is doing without having to keep looking at it.



It offers minimal lift, so I have no hesitation in pushing it up to the top of the window to slow down or flipping it through 180 degrees to slide the buggy. Don’t get me wrong this kite is not all sweetness and light – there have been occasions when it has got scary and threatened to kick my arse! But my confidence in the kite has enabled me to hold onto the side-rail of the buggy with one hand and control the kite with the other and keep on trucking, rather than sprawling in an undignified manner on the ground.

Ultimately I hope this kite is going to allow me to push my speed and increase my personal best, I know since owning it my average speed has increased and I am already starting to get some kilometres under my belt.


If you are looking for a kite with great performance, but none of the real aggression or temper of a full blown race-kite, that is stable and user friendly, coupled with fantastic build quality and great looks - then you can’t go far wrong with the Ozone Method. I hope that I will be able to add a couple more to my collection!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Aerial video

I have seen some excellent video taken from a camera mounted on the kite of bridal of the kite - GoPro do make a kite line mount, but this only works on depower/LEI's.


mounted on an LEI spar.

Though Slarti on extreme kites mounted a GoPro on a foil using gaffer tape, it's an amazing image from a fantastic viewpoint...


I have been looking at ways to mount the kite on a fixed bridle foil...

made from poly-pipe to fit over the lines
In the end I have decided to try and mount it on the kite using some very powerful rare earth neodynium magnets, purchased form ebay for $3.49!


My idea is to attach the GoPro to a mounting plate, and some how, using magnets attached to the plate or steel on the plate secure it onto the sail of the kite with more magnets! It is going to take some experimetation, trial and error - but i'm hoping the results will be worth it! 

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Video - PTW buggy top speed

"Picture the scene - It's Christmas Eve and for once I have the day off work relaxing at home in front of a roaring fire. It sounds like a great idea. So does stuffing my face with mince pies and watching Only Fools and Horses on TV or it would be if I hadn't decided to go to the beach instead!

It's cold, it's raining and it's blowing a near gale. I need my head examined. I'm here with Mark Stiles aka vx_m4rk. Not surprisingly we are the only fools dumb enough to venture outside today.

But you have to take these opportunities when they arise and today promises to be one of those days. Besides you never know, something good might come of it."
 Redskyhorizon


Saturday, 5 January 2013

Kite Buggying Essentials...

It's official they are back in the shops, Christmas is over! One of my essentials for kite buggying...

Cold Angry Buns!
(or more commenly known as hot cross buns - but I like them best un-toasted!)

Friday, 4 January 2013

Would I get a Sysmic S2?

I have been pondering this question on and off for the last couple of days!

I have had the opportunity to borrow a Sysmic S2 from Bones, while he has been on holiday, this has been my dream buggy for a while and was worried that I would struggle to get back into my humble Peter Lynn Comp xr+.

There is no doubt that the S2 is a great buggy, it's size and weight means I am probably holding down more power than I was in the Comp, those side rails hug me tight so I feel that I am unlikely to leave the buggy in an undignified manner.

For me the downside of this buggy is the weight, as it is set-up (according to various sources) it weighs about 44kgs. I'm not a small bloke but with the swanny and front wheel/axle attached and no rear axles, it is heavy to lift in and out of the car and it is on the lighter side of buggies  - the Libre Majestic is 54kgs and the Dragster 48.5kgs.

My Comp weighs in at about 12kgs!


Personally I think I would of opted for standard barrows rather than the midis especially for use on the salt lake. The midis look great and provide extra traction but I also feel they are holding the buggy back, especially as I have dropped the tyre pressure for a smoother ride. I found it fairly hard work especially on the upwind runs.

I have the swanny and front wheel attached as I can still get it in the car like that, so at the salt lake it is just a case of attaching the rear axle with four bolts. It does take me longer than the comp an is a bit more fiddly  The ride is great, I can really hold the power, I can unstick the back end as needed to slow down and slide it round - don't worry Bones I have been picking my spots and making sure there is lots of loose stuff around before sliding...

I like it a lot, but am not sure I like it enough to fork out the big bucks for one yet - not that I have the big bucks to buy one, but if I did I'm not sure I would - does that make sense?

Is this my dream shattered? Where to from here?

I have ordered a couple of 6 ply highway rated trailer tyres for my comp, the same size as standard barrows - hopefully these will prove to be more hard-wearing, once I get them on the rims!

The next step will be to get the Peter Lynn heavy duty extended side frames, which will add an extra 150mm to the length and also the wide 140cm Peter Lynn gigastrong axle - both these mods should increase the buggys foot-print and increase the stability and weight to allow me to hold more power. I probably need some new wheel bearings as well.
Then I will look at some way of making a back rest, which should also stabilise the frame. And eventually a new seat and kite buggy bag from Buggy Bags should make things a bit more comfortable!


Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Video - New Years Day

Went out in the buggy yesterday morning - Bones' Sysmic S2! Had a good session with the Ozone Method 4m and also got to try out my new helmet and pads, thankfully they weren't needed! Really pleased with my average speed, needed to push harder to try to beat my PB. But in the end got beaten by the heat! So it was home to the pool...


Could only use the helmet mount for the camera as it's not my bug to go sticking things on!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

Well if things have gone to plan then this will be posted automatically while I am down on the Salt Lake enjoying an epic first session of 2013!

After a week of stinking hot temperatures and little to no wind New Years Day is looking slightly more hopeful...

North-westerlies, but at least its blowing and the temperature isn't looking quiet as extreme! I have some new kit I want to try out!