Citroen Jumpy Multispace, a little review..

On the recent kayak club Alps training and development trip, we rented a 9-seater Citroen Jumpy Multispace. I drove this tank of vehicle for some 3200 km across France, Italy and Slovenia.
My impressions overall? I’d cry every day if this was my main mode of transport. It is really not a good vehicle.

Things that were not good with it:

    The gearstick was extremely loose and felt more worn than the gearsticks in my previous Landrover 109, and this made selection of gears a best-guess at best all of the time.
    The window switches are in a really awkward place for use.
    The drink holder prevents access to the pocket underneath it.
    Nowhere to store sunglasses.
    The flat floor means that anything in the boot that can fit under a seat will end up under your brake pedal eventually.
    Driver’s seat is not comfortable, and difficult to find a less-uncomfortable seating position. I’m 1.78m tall so not freakishly sized..
    All pockets in and on the dashboard that are reachable by the driver, will empty their contents onto the floor under any acceleration or facing up a hill.
    Gaining access to the rear seats is not easy, only one side of the 2nd row tilts independently and it’s not possible to tilt the full row from one side only.
    Returning the seat back on the 2nd row farthest from the tilting seat, from forward to upright, requires reaching across that seat back to reach a tiny lever, that then requires a second hand to lift the seat back to upright.
    The 12v sockets time out for providing power after some 2 min, if the engine is not started. Very annoying when trying to charge things.
    The powered folding mirrors feel really flimsy.
    The secondary wide-angle mirrors under the exterior rear view mirrors are not adjustable in any way.
    The driver’s door closing handle is in an unexpected place, and makes it difficult to easily close the door.
    The rear passenger doors feel like they are always about to fall off.

Things that were good?

    It started.
    It stopped.
    Cruise worked.
    Aircon worked, with settings down to 14 degrees. That’s cold to drive in.
    It used less fuel than expected.
    It seated 8 people without discomfort. The 9th was in the 1/2 seat between driver and front seat passenger.
    With three rows of seating, there was a hatchback’s bootspace behind the 3rd row.

Would I buy one? God no, and I’d recommend anyone that was thinking of one to go elsewhere before admitting all sorts of defeat in buying one of these.

Way to go Tesco Mobile – cut off your paying customers..

See here: http://www.boards.ie/ttfthread/2057590673

Pretty much if you’re on Tesco Mobile as a PAYG customer, they can and will randomly cut customers off until they provide a scan of a PASSPORT. Absolutely dismal policy.

They didn’t require that level of documentation to set up the account and start taking the cash.

To see then that they’ll actually completely stop service without any warning? Preposterous!

Fox 40s arrived and are on the bike.

My new Fox 4o forks are now on the V10.

The 2016 Fox 40 Factory air sprung front forks had to be custom made as the 26″ option is no longer available from the UK distributer, so I got an option of what colour decals went on, so of course I picked the gold option. They look absolutely fantastic, with the gold decals, black lowers, and the golden colour of the Kashima anodising on the stanchions. I took the bike for a quick ride around the estate and the first impressions are that they are more plush, and definitely a better feel. Of course, it’ll be the first few trips on a real DH course that will tell the real story of if the upgrade was worth it.

Wishlist for a new trail bike – musings, hopes and dreams.

If I were building a new trail bike, what would I have? Well, it would be replacing the Reign X1 that I currently use as my XC bike. Any new bike will have to be light, full suspension, and able to handle my riding inaccuracies..

So far with a quick look around at what’s out there, this is what I’ve come up with.

  • Santa Cruz Bronson V2 CC frame.
  • Fox 36 Talas 160 forks
  • Fox Float X shock
  • XT groupset, 2×10 (or XTR Di2 if it’s more affordable)
  • SLX or XT brakes (200/160)
  • Enve 27.5 m60 wheels, Shimano hubs
  • 760mm bars
  • tubeless setup.
  • Same WTB saddle as on Reign.
  • Shimano SPD pedals.

Costly maybe, but it’s a dream bike. Maybe about 12kg all-in and strong enough to handle my waywardness on the trails, and my clumsiness!

Won’t happen unless I win a lottery type of situation, but nice to dream.

Fox 40s on the way

I’ve just ordered myself a set of 2016 Fox 40 26″ forks, for my Santa Cruz V10.4 carbon framed downhill bike. The ability to adjust the forks is something that I have wanted to play with for a while. I’m looking forwards to giving these a run down the trails in Bike Park Ireland in a few weeks..

As a result of this upgrade, I’ll have a set of 2012 Boxxer forks, with J-Tech uprated internals for sale, with a full professional service on them. Great condition too.

Chopsticks!

At lunch recently with a friend at a newly-opened Thai restaurant nearby, I decided to try using only chopsticks for the meal..
Surprisingly (for an Irishman brought up with knife and fork) it wasn’t that hard to do, once I figured out how to eat the rice with them..

At least I’m not likely to really embarrass myself with them in the future!

Getting to use the astro kit

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I’m learning how to take better astrophotos.. This photo is of the current setup that I’m using for taking star photos. I’m using a Celestron Onyx 80ed refractor (black scope on the bottom) with the Canon 600d, with a field flattener and Astronomics CLS clip-in filter to take the actual images. To guide, I’m using my IKI 70ed refractor with a recently sourced Synguider self-contained autoguider, which sends corrections to my new Celestron AVX mount that I got before Christmas.
Wednesday night I tried to take lots of sub images of M51, the whirlpool galaxy. All looked good, the first night out with the guiding setup. I forgot about dew, and I had a layer of ice on the lens.. Still managed to get enough images to do this

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I’m currently taking pics of the Horsehead, and also pics of comet Catalina, so we’ll see how those turn out after I get them from the camera and process them.
It’s nice to take advantage of the first clear nights in quite a while!
:

Fun and Games in Kerry for the Kayaker’s New Year!

2015 turned to 2016, and I spent it in the depths of Kerry once again. Spending time with ULKC members on an unofficial trip to the Kingdom, it’s the only way to ring in the new year!

Sharing the Sleepy Camel with UCDCC was enlightening, listening to the best of acoustic music, and seeing the social interactions between the club members, as well as seeing old acquaintances once more.

It was good to bump into a few of the oldies from my original era of uni paddling, Joxxer, Richie Gillespie, and a few more.

Paddling? There was some for sure. I paddled the upper Caragh at a lovely medium-high level, a few of the others paddled the Gearameane, the Owenreagh, the middle Flesk, the Roughty, as well as some other classics. 130mm of rain in 12 hours was enough to put the rivers in the area, already in spate conditions, well over flood stage and turning the waterways into large fields. The road around Caragh Lake was flooded to maybe 1 m deep, kinda scary!

The PA system in the Glenbeigh Hotel was not functioning correctly so the countdown was not properly done. Still managed a nice countdown ourselves in a corner..

Black Friday deals.. A bit of a splurge!

Black Friday / Cyber Monday. Lovely little words that mean decent deals on techie things, and an opportunity to get a few bits and pieces that I’ve been meaning to get for a while.

On the astronomy front, I’m ordering a Celestron AVX mount. After a year without a computerised GoTo system, I’ve been missing the ability to just select an object and have the scope slew to wherever that object was. Plus, I’ve got my low-light security camera all ready to do electronically-assisted astronomy, to get a look at all those little smudges of light.. So, I’m getting this mount to attach either of my two smaller scopes to. With the SCB-4000 camera and a portable screen, I’ll be able to get  colour images in a few seconds, and I’ll be able to show those faint objects to other people as well. This mount should have decent tracking capabilities, enough that I should be able to take proper astrophotos again and fill out my portfolio of faint things. I’ll be on the lookout for a nice low f/ratio Newt for the video astronomy, and I’ll go quasar hunting..

I’ve picked up a SkyFi box and a cheap Amazon Fire 7 tablet to run SkySafari on, so that I can click on-screen and get the scope to move to where I’ve requested – wirelessly. I had to find another rom for the Fire tablet, removing all of the Amazon-only cruft from it and allowing the apps I’ve already paid for to run correctly on the tablet. The original OS on it prevents apps from contacting Google license servers, which stopped SkySafari from running. I’m planning on doing a completely wireless setup at some point, with wireless control of the camera and mount, which should make for easier setup and use when I’m out in the backyard. It’ll also mean that I can observe from inside when the scope is outside!

To the behemoth desktop computer I’ve added another 16Gb of ram for a total of 32. I should have no issues with running virtual machines for the thesis display now – not that I had much issue in the first place. Still, for a machine that’s 4 years old, it’s still ahead of the curve and above the average, still in the top 2% of systems according to the Steam hardware survey. I may yet add another 16Gb to restore the quad channel memory access that I had, as I now have 4x4Gb and 2x8Gb, and two free slots. I’m not looking forwards to having to hibernate this!

It was also an opportunity to try out one of the reshipping companies in the States, as there’s a new series of astronomy books being published, that will effectively become a modern Burnham’s Celestial Handbook. Amazon’s listing for the book didn’t ship to Ireland, so I trialled the sending of this to the reship company for further shipping, akin to the Parcel Motel idea. Turns out that the postage is x2 the cost of the book, and I’m not hugely happy with that, but I’ll have the book for cheaper than Amazon UK were selling it delivered.

The Galaxy S6 will be getting a nice waterproof case. I’ll have to look into sourcing a new gorilla glass screen for the phone, now that it will be protected again. Still kicking myself about having ordered the wrong model, and cracking the screen the day that the wrong model arrived! That will be a fun day fixing that, getting the heat gun out and replacing the outer glass screen.

I also managed to pick up a few Christmas present items, that I know will be appreciated.