I just got back from an awesome trip, to an event called the trip out.
I entered myself into the bike build off competition.
Then I built a bike in like 2 months, took it apart, painted it, then put it in pieces in my car and drove all the way to the UK with it. I then assembled the bike on site.
Everyone else rocked up with (mostly) finished bikes...
It was a great weekend and I'm especially thankful to dave who kind of adopted me into his group and filled my belly with beer.
I made a lot of new friends that weekend and I'm already planning my next build.
Mental health came up in conversation quite a few times that weekend, it seems bikes are a great coping mechanism for a lot of people
well, i thought i would dive back into the DGR qith a new set of challenges.
last year i was building my cub into a street tracker, which i had the finishing touches done as it was loaded up on the trailer.
actually maybe that was the year before?
last year i took the VF but it over heated and wouldnt start about half way there. i was still the highest fundraiser though which was pretty cool.
this year is absolutely no exception.
i decided a few months back to take part in something called the 100 day project on instagram. i pulled my tracker into the basement and started taking it apart, with the plan to use 100 days and build it into a chopper. i also entered into the trip out biker build off. not really thinking about either i carried on with my day to day life of being a dad and being chronically ill. my illness takes up a lot of my time. ive had 3 hip subluxations this year alone. and ive started doing a lot of physio. so after too much time, i realised i needed to get my ass into gear for the 100 day project. actually i think it was 2 weeks left of the project and i had barely started. so i hastily shoved it all together and managed to ride the worlds sketchiest chopper down the street.
it had no brakes, the front end was loose, and the engine didnt run well because of an air leak, oh and it was semi auto so when the revs increased, it sent me shooting down the road...
but i did it.
now comes the hard part.
i made the finalist list for the build off. so ive gotta make it show ready for a bike show in the UK at the beginning of september. its a LONG way from that....
if the link works, thats the state at the moment ish...
here is the list off the top of my head:
finish the frame rear end
tune the carb
new rear tube
paint a lot of parts
replace the rusty bolts
fix the footpegs
work out how to do the front mudguard
then after all of this is done, i need to work out how to get it into my tiny little hatchback car and drive all the way to the uk with money i dont have.
oh and im still waiting for my passport to get here. i renewed it a few weeks ago, but the processing time is so slow
tomorrow is a new day.
keep on living.
More like deja poo. When you've done this crap before.
So those who followed me last year, will remember how I cut it close, with building the bike in 3 weeks or whatever it was, which has been a running theme for my DGR experience.
Last year I was finishing the last few parts as we loaded the bikes on the trailer.
This year is no exception.
To understand let's go back a bit.
I decided to take on an Instagram challenge called the 100 day challenge. I gave myself 100 days to build a chopper out of my black cub.
I also entered into the trip out festival biker build off. So now I have a hastily assembled chopper (built in a week as I forgot about the 100 days for about 84 days..) which needs to be finished to take to the UK at the start of September where I will be judged against some incredible other choppers.
Did I mention my hip dislocated yesterday?
And my passport is out of date?
And I don't own a van?
So the bike will be finished, painted, then disassembled, put into my little Peugeot hatchback, then driven from Norway to Norfolk for a show.
Oh and my DGR ride isn't exactly close to where I live. I have to take a 3 hour ride in Norwegian autumn to Stavanger. A route that includes a ferry and several long tunnels, with just a peanut sized fuel tank...
First blog post for this year.
Going straight to the deep stuff.
Most people have some sort of relationship with it, whether it's from someone close to them, or a celebrity they are fond of, or even suicidal thoughts.
Some people have a closer relationship to it than others. It's safe to say I have a very close relationship with suicide. My first time was when I was about 13 or so. My dad's ex wife, (she was his current wife then and I lived with them), suffered from some pretty complex mental health issues. She tried to kill herself a few times and it shook me down to my core. It changed my very being. That's the thing with suicide, it has such a knock on effect, it touches people and directly impacts their lives.
After this first time I had a fair few run ins with it. Both from people close to me and people a bit further away. But over time, I started to get suicidal thoughts myself.
Living with chronic pain due to a genetic condition is not particularly easy to do. Every day is a battle. The pain is constant and relentless, I wake up every day in pain and go to sleep at night in pain. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night in crippling pain. Given time and other stresses, like loss, debt and increasing health problems. The dark thoughts start to creep in, subtle at first. Like just a fleeting glimpse, a quick "what if I just drove into that truck" but after a time they become not just thoughts, but full plans, with small details planned out. I have sat there, with a handful of extremely strong pain killers and had the plans in place. Taking them one by one over a few hours won't do it. The body rejects the toxins.
But I've pulled myself away from it. I've stood on the edge of the black abyss that is deep depression and suicide, and I've laughed. Laughed at death. I'm stronger than that. I've seeked help and worked my way through it. I've changed my mind. My story goes on.
That's what the semicolon tattoo is for. I thought about ending it; but I've kept the story going.
Every day I look at my wrist. It's my reminder to keep fighting. I have a reason to keep going too.
My son. He is everything to me. I've lost my father, I don't want him to lose his.
Keep on living.
On Sunday the 29th of September, I will don my finest attire with my fellow men and women across the globe to join the fight with The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride to raise awareness for prostate cancer and men's mental health. But before I press my tweed and polish my boots, I need you to donate what you can for this meaningful cause and help me reach my goal.
For your uncles, your brothers, your fathers and friends. Donate what you can, for their lives need not end.
From Gunnhild and per-Magne.
Well done Ashley. So proud if you for taking this on
Have a great ride Ashley!
Good luck my lovely, you make me so proud 💖 xx