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Adjustable Screen with Free V4 behemoth

First, the story of how I came to own a motorcycle with an engine larger than that of my first car, and then some details about it in case anyone would like to buy it. Heck, everyone should like to buy it, as it’s blindingly comfortable. And then maybe some thoughts on pickles.

My Motorbikes And I

As a teenager in England, I naturally gravitated towards London. I told myself that one day I would live there, and when I did, I would ride a motorcycle. I saw the motorbike couriers driving through the stalled cars, weaving in and out of traffic, and decided that sitting and waiting in line was not for me. I took a course, passed my test and paid 300 large for a Honda Superdream – a 250cc twin that would only splutter into life if I ran down the street with it and jumped on it while letting go of the clutch.

I read Motorcycle News and oggled over photos of urban tiger fireblades, and even read an article about a man who rode a bike across the Sahara. I also read that at the age of 28, motorcycle insurance premiums went down, and vowed to own a fireblade when I reached that ancient risk bracket. And then forgot all about it.

Soon enough, I lived in London, even sharing a home with a motorbike courier by the curious name of Charlie Coutts. He had several bikes and drove like a man possessed through the gritty streets. I progressed from my stalwart 250 to a 400, and finally fell in love with big trail bikes. A single cylinder 600cc beast made it easy to see over cars and to anticipate the London cabbies doing near fatal U-turns with no warning.

I ended up riding a Yamaha XT600 across the Sahara myself, with no real training in off-road biking. I ended up realizing that I was 28 and rushed out to buy a CBR929RR while living in San Francisco. I ended up hiring a Harley Davidson to ride to Burning Man like a yuppie. And I ended up buying a Honda Shadow  to drive back to Texas from Florida. I sold the bike and remained four wheeled for five years.

Cross Country on an ST1300

On hearing that my Uncle would be visiting us, I decided to buy him a motorcycle to let him tour the region on. Or that was my excuse to by an ex-police bike from an auction and fly out to South Carolina to pick it up in the same week that my son was celebrating his birthday and we were closing on our house. I made it back in time, covering some 1300 miles in three days, thanks largely to the comfortable seat, the easy riding position, and the holiest of holies – the adjustable screen.

There is definitely a strong community around this type of bike. I asked people about my route, what to pack, and how far to go, and was overwhelmed by the kindness of the people over at the ST1300 Owners Forum. They shaped my journey, my food choices, and my experience and I’m very grateful.

I had always sneered at large armchair-like bikes with their waterproof matching luggage. But suddenly they made sense when hurrying across country. A similar trip on an un-faired Honda Shadow had made me realize that 55mph was plenty, and that the vibrations from a day’s ride could affect your ability to surf channels on the motel TV.

The adjustable screen of the ST1300 made the journey through the Southern states quite pleasant, even in the sticky humidity of May. With a flick of the switch you could change your whole outlook. You could choose loud and breezy if you had to slow down. You could choose silent and cocooned if you wanted to go fast. In the up position, your head is sucked slightly forward into the calm air behind the screen and there is no need to hang on to the handlebars and fight the air. You just chill, and sip water from the camelbak strapped to the tank (which I really need to trademark and market).

And then you arrive at a motel in fairly fine fettle, and you remove the enormous amount of clothes and tools you brought in the detachable waterproof white luggage, and mince into your room. I wasn’t exactly full of beans after 400 miles on the road, but I wasn’t dreading getting back on in the morning either, actually waking up well rested before dawn eager to make progress.

Some riders go tank to tank – some 250 miles or more – without stopping, and I rarely attempted more than 120 miles. Generally as I’d run out of water, or wanted to walk around a little or clean the bugs off the windshield. For the most part I eschewed the back roads, preferring to hammer it home so as not to miss birthday parties and such, and I could ride at around 85mph with little effort, occasionally bursting up to 120mph just to wake me up, and to see if there was a speed limiter on the bike (there was).

I rode through rain, fog, hot sunshine and clouds in that 1300 miles, and the bike coped with it all admirably. The comfort of the adjustable windshield made sense to me, and when I finally did get onto the backroads so as to avoid the horror that is IH35, I enjoyed the change of pace. Speeding up and slowing down for small towns on practically deserted roads made for a refreshing end to my trip. The engine makes a kind of cool warbling noise as it chucks you forwards – as if you were whistling into a kazoo. It’s an addictive feeling, and one worth slowing down to enjoy again and again.

Now that my uncle has been and gone, I can’t really justify having another vehicle sitting in the garage. The weather has just shifted in Austin, and while I yearn for the open road and a long journey, I have other fish to fry right now. I still go out for a quick potter about under the guise of keeping the bike serviceable, but don’t plan on any road trips this year. I have tasted the comfort of a bike whose dry weight is 665 pounds, and now it is time to get back to freedom from possessions.

Things you should know about my Honda ST1300 [sold] for sale:

  • The Honda ST 1300 is also known as the Pan European, though it does Transamerican quite well
  • It was born in 2009 and has graced the planet with 29,300 miles of brilliant riding. Probably more miles by the time you read this as it’s 79°F outside.
  • I am the second owner
  • I am the first owner who isn’t a police department
  • It is white and has some cool chrome bars in case you want to mount flashing lights on it to scare motorists
  • Police motorcyclists will wave at you when they see you riding it. Even half blind car drivers will see you, which is not true of all motorcycles.
  • It has a V4 engine – 1300cc of warbling gristle that acts as a stressed member in the frame, and keeps you from being at all stressed no matter what teenaged cell-phone using muppet changes lane on top of you in his Nissan Cube.
  • It has waterproof luggage that have kept things dry for me in extreme torrential rain. The luggage, as they say, swallows helmets whole. Very accommodating.
  • It has ABS in case you really want to stop and hadn’t really planned on doing so ahead of time. My uncle added new front and rear brake pads a few hundred miles ago
  • I put in a new battery in 2013, and have since added one of those little connector things that you can use to keep it trickle charged with
  • We put a new front tire on in 2013, and that has maybe 500 miles of use tops.
  • It has heated hand grips which I did actually enjoy on the rainy ride from South Carolina. They meant I could wear by summer gloves in the rain and still feel my fingers.
  • It is speed limited to 120 miles an hour. This sports tourer type of bike can corner very quickly in the right hands as seen in this video. (not my bike)
  • It has adjustable shocks
  • You can adjust the screen height. A. Mazing.
  • You can not ride a bike for 5 years and then buy it and drive 400 miles a day without a hitch.

I took some pretty poor photos in a hurry a few months back, and here they are:

IMG_1569 IMG_1570 IMG_1571 IMG_1572 IMG_1573 IMG_1574 IMG_1575 IMG_1576 IMG_1577

 How do I buy this magnificent motorcycle in Austin Texas?

[Edit - it's sold now]



Decayed in Texas?

Ten years ago, I arrived in Texas. Upon arrival, I joshed with the immigration folk and was let in, and then promptly almost got arrested as a kiddy fiddler.

I noted a decade ago that I didn’t really know what I was coming to Texas for, and still haven’t joined alcoholics anonymous or bought a gun. Perhaps I came as part of my personal growth project, or to get onto the front page of a newspaper without going to jail.

Bizarrely, my wife called me a hippie today. Maybe in the last quarter of my life I have displayed some hippie tendencies – I like to travel and sometimes eschew planning such things. I have a beard of sorts. But I have never knowingly or consciously worn tie-die. Maybe that’s in store for the next decade.


Deed Poll by Magnus D

The astute of you may have realized that Ron Malibu is actually what the French call coconut flavoured bacardi. The origins of my pseudonym can be traced to a bar in a war torn province of Mexico. The area was theoretically safe. The Americans had invaded a decade before, and were still occupying the beach town in the name of stability. And tourism.

It was late at night at the hotel bar, and my drinking partner had decided to hit the hay. Her sudden absence left me staring at the cocktail menu, and that’s when I met Ron Malibu. What’s in a name? I guess back then I was solving my problems with booze, though if I’m honest, they weren’t really problems – just opportunities waiting to be drunk through.

I find it really hard to drink now that I’m a father, what with the little people crawling into bed at 4am with their insatiable demands no matter how hungover I am. If I’d have written that sentence ten years ago, there would be a totally different story to tell. So if I have a drinking problem now, it’s that I’m a two pint screamer rather than the three dart rhino of yore.

Regardless, I have changed names a few times since first meeting Ron Malibu, but that’s a story for my memoir.

Now that I have two passports, and three different names, I’m anxious to simplify my life. I’ve had my liberty taken away from me in too many immigration posts to perpetuate the complexity. If I’m going to have all of this diabolical liberty, it might as well be capable of not arousing suspicions of money laundering as I move between nations. Heck, one day I might generate a huge amount of money and want to access it from overseas. So I looked into name changing, and this is what I found.

How to Change Your Name in the UK

It appears to be brutally simple – even the UK government page on changing your name by deed poll says so. You fill in a piece of paper. Get an acquaintance to sign it. Then carry it around with you. As long as you don’t want to change your name to Lord Such-and-Such, or double-barrel it  [<-- see what I did there?] your name after marriage. That’s a little bit harder allegedly, as is just changing your first name.

As for changing your name to Duke Bacardi T*ts, that’s a no-no. You could ask Screaming Lord Sutch about that. Well you could, except he hung himself in 1999 – no doubt because he couldn’t legally change his name to “Lord” given that he had no relation to the peerage apart from being friends with Cynthia Payne, who was quite a madam.

According to UK law, you can change your name as often as you like, for whatever reason you like, as long as you’re not trying to commit fraud. So changing your name to Tony Blair is acceptable (to some), but not if you’re going to try to get off with Cherie in the dark without her knowing. Actually, I don’t think that’s fraud – that’s something else. As well as gross.

What is a Deed Poll?

A Deed Poll is just a piece of paper – it’s like a contract where only one party agrees. A declaration if you will. You can use a Deed Poll to change your name in the UK – it’s a legal document.

How Do I Make a Deed Poll To Change My Name in the UK?

If you’re going to make your own, use fancy paper so that people actually believe it. You could use services of the popular search engine result which I shalln’t mention here so as not to give it additional credence, and get them to do it for you at a cost. They claim to be a dot org (commerce free organization) but clearly charge you money for the chance to mail you a piece of fancy paper.

You could get a solicitor to do it for you. But really, given that this is the internet, let’s find some way of doing this for free. That’s coming up.

Should I Use a Statutory Declaration to Change My Name?

Probably not. Use a deed poll like everyone else.

Should I Enroll My Name Change With The Official Central Database of UK Names?

There is no central database of names in the UK. There are legions of people in different official organizations who may or may not talk to each other. The degree of information sharing between these bodies depends on how inconvenient for you it would be if they did.

You don’t need to register your new name with anyone. But you can go down to the Royal Courts of Justice and do so if you please. It’s an excuse to go to the Strand, and I hear that the afternoon tea at the Strand Palace Hotel is worth a go, so maybe you could make a half day of it. Part of the Royal Courts of Justice process has you advertising your name change in the London Gazette, so you would need to pay over a ton (four ponies) for the privilege.

Some of the things you’ll need if you decide to register with the Royal Courts of Justice are:

  1. permission from your spouse if you’re married
  2. permission from everyone if you’re under 18
  3. a declaration from a British citizen who has known you for 10 years, isn’t related, and has a UK address for a home they own

It’s interesting that they discriminate against renters – I guess they want to choose someone who is a slave to the property ladder, (or property helter skelter as it sometimes becomes) so that they know where they live, and have the opportunity to hunt them down at their home if necessary.

How Much Does it Cost To Change Your Name By Deed Poll?

It might cost as much as nothing if you DIY it. If you start hiring solicitors your mileage may vary. Telling the London Gazette costs £102 for the name change enrollment. I really like this wizard site that allows you to create a name change deed poll for FREE. All it costs is the price of printing. I don’t know Scatman Dan Q, but he seems like a good egg.

To legally change your name, it’s a matter of just deciding one day and filling in a random piece of paper. Yep, that’s it. So I repeat:

  1. Ignore all of the ads for Deed Poll registration services, unless you’re lazy or want the security of paying a solicitor to do the work for you.
  2. Download or make up your own form
  3. Get a grown up to sign it. A grown up with a house. A grown up that isn’t a relative.
  4. Tell everyone you did it.

What Words Need To Be on the Name Change Deed Poll?

There’s a wikipedia article on the wording of the deed of name change wording, but I would recommend just using the Scatman’s free service to spit out a template. It could be as simple as:

I change my name from Ron Malibu to Coconut Starkiller on January 16th 2014, signed as a deed by Ron and Coconut, and I’ll stop calling myself Ron from now, and these two good fine and upstanding citizens witnessed me do it. And I was sober. And we live at these three places.

Please, if the extent of your research into name changing is solely this page, I urge you to at least change out Coconut Starkiller, in case you ever get put on the sex offenders registry with my new name. Apparently if you’re on that list, it’s a bit harder to change your name for hopefully obvious reasons. And if you were, I’d like to change my name, and you might mess up my chances.

Who Do You Need To Notify After You Change Your Name

You might want to tell your friends, if they’re good friends at any rate. Don’t tell the kind of friends who you don’t give your new address to when you move.

  1. Tell Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs using the handy HMRC change of circumstances form. Once you tell them, they’ll tell the Government Gateway, PAYE people, National Insurance, the Student Loan people and a few other entities. So if you pay child support, they’ll know about your new name.
  2. The Passport people. If you get yourself a biometric passport, not only will they be able to track everything you’ve ever thought about and create clones of you if you become unruly and they want to replace you, but you can then use the number on this.
  3. The Driver Vehicle  Licensing Authority DVLA. They will want a valid passport, to know where you’ve lived for the last three years, and be a UK resident. Only UK residents can apply for UK Drivers Licences, so that’s pretty self-explanatory. Otherwise, people in Chad would be applying for foreign licenses so that they wouldn’t get any points on their Chad licenses. You can apply online with the DVLA, or send in a paper form. If you have a photocard license, you can fill in the changes portion of the paper counterpart and mail it in. Probably easiest, but takes three weeks. You’ll have to use your Chad license in the mean time.
  4. The Land Registry if you own any property. You can update the Land Registry for free using the form AP1, and presenting a Deed Poll and a certified copy of it, and evidence of identity (such as a Drivers Licence).
  5. The Electoral Roll - so that you can vote and prove where you live and such. Again you can register online with your new name after you change it.
  6. The TV Licensing people – you can let them know about the new you and your desire to watch television at your current address at their site.
  7. Your Local Authority. How could you possibly pay for your council tax if they didn’t know your name?
  8. Your doctor and dentist  so that they can update their records and also those of the NHS.
  9. Any other Record Holders who use your old name. These are banks, financial institutions, mortgage lenders, utility companies, insurance companies, investment companies, any institutions you hold shares in, the National Savings and Investments office (for Premium Bonds).
  10. Everyone you know. One of the deals with the Deed Poll is that you’re effectively abandoning your old name and agreeing that everyone should use only your new name.

Oh, and to wrap things up – the bar in which I got my new name was in Cancun. What a hell hole. I hear the Septics are still occupying it.

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