This blog will be about the life and experiences of an active motorcycle courier in the UK who rides all over the UK and into western Europe. http://www.sdsamotorcyclecouriers.co.uk

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Starcom Bluetooth Adaptor

This is a follow up to my previous post regarding motorcycle communications. When I wrote the last post I was waiting for the Starcom Bluetooth adaptor to arrive.

It arrived a few days after I made the order, well packaged and by courier. The first job was to provide a live electrical feed which is switched, so we took a feed off the right hand handlebar switch cluster.

The next job was to get the module and the phone paired, two second job, anyone could do it.

Now for the acid test, unfortunately it failed, the phone would auto answer in hands free mode and I could hear the caller but sadly the caller could not hear me.

So I refitted the hands free cable and connected it to the phone and everything worked as it should, so I called Starcom.

They requested me to send the module back and they sent me a replacement by return.

Have just put it all back together and it worked fine in the garage, will test it again this afternoon during a run down to Oxford Street in London.

Here is a picture of the whole Starcom system fitted into the right hand fairing pocket on my ST1100, the bluetooth module is small box on the left:



If you are interested in learning more about the Starcom system have a look at the links in my previous post.

Safe riding

Dave

Friday, 1 May 2009

An Invite To Come And Meet Me

I will be exhibiting at two business to business trade shows in the coming months, one in Grantham in Lincolnshire and the other in Peterborough in Cambridgeshire.

The first will be on 20th May between noon and 7pm in Grantham at:

The Meres Leisure Centre
Trent Road
Grantham
NG31 7XQ

Website: http://forms.southkesteven.gov.uk/EconomicDevelopment/PublishedPages/Business2Businessevent.aspx

The second will be in Peterborough on 19th June and is an all day event:

It is being held in the Orton Hall hotel in Peterborough.

Maybe see you there!

Onboard Motorcycle Communications

My motorcycle is fitted with 3 sources of audio input that all need to be routed into the helmet. The inputs are music from my Sony Mini Disc player, spoken instructions from the GPS and incoming calls from the mobile.

Each has a level of priority, the music is on all of the time, but if the GPS speaks then I want to be able to hear that over the music, if I have an incoming call I need it to take priority over everything else and it also need to be answered in hands free mode.

So how did I overcome this problem? After much research on the net, I found a company called Tecstar who produce the Starcom unit which seemed to meet all of my needs in one little box which could be easily stowed away in lockable fairing compartment on the Pan.

This little box has been in service for over two and half years now without any problems at all, it’s in use all of the time when I am out on jobs and keep in mind that I do ride all year round, but the Starcom has never let me down.

I also installed their option volume control which simply fits on the handle bars, it’s more useful than I ever thought it would be.

The only area that I have had issues with is the hands free connector on the bottom of my Nokia 6310i phone, it becomes disconnected if I go over a bump and then I don’t know there may have been calls made to me. I have tried all sorts of ways to make this connection more secure but not have been completely satisfactory. So, I have just ordered Tecstar's blue tooth adaptor which will overcome the problem I have described. It also means that the phone will no longer be mounted in the fairing compartment on the bike anymore, it will be in my jacket inside pocket from now on. Meaning that I can never forget to carry the phone with me when I leave the bile to make a delivery.

Here is a photo, showing where everything is fitted including the wto connectors, one for the helmet speakers and mike and the other for the mini disc input:



I am not affiliated with Tecstar or Starcom in any way at all but I believe in giving credit where credit is due, the system does everything that I require of it, it’s robust and reliable and reasonably priced and the friendly professional staff at the other end of the phone are a most welcome change in this “call centre” cultured world we find ourselves in.

I have listed below the sources of the Starcom equipment I use:

The Starcom Advance Box http://www.starcom1.com/therange.htm

The Bluetooth Adaptor http://www.starcom1.com/bluetooth.htm

The Volume Control http://www.starcom1.com/volume.htm

April Was A Busy Month

Well April was one of my busiest months on record since I started my motorcycle courier service, I covered just short of 3000 miles spread between 13 jobs. One of these jobs was subbed out to Chris of Northampton Motorcycle Couriers because I was already on a job and couldn’t meet the deadlines because of distance and time factors.

The vast majority of the work has been into either central or south London starting from locations that are wide and varied.

Fortunately April hasn’t been too wet so riding conditions have been pretty good on the whole. It was only last Monday, 27th April that we had really heavy rain that lasted all day.

One of the problems of motorcycle riding is keeping your hands dry especially on long runs, the reason being that whenever you stop and remove your gloves your hands get wet, then you out your gloves on again and you make the inside of the gloves wet. This is why I always carry at least one spare set of gloves all the time.

May is starting to look good already with 2 jobs booked for the first week and then a really big one for the second week which should be around 550 miles and mostly night riding.

I have been trying to work out why April has been so good and I can only think that businesses are finding it more economically viable to employ a motorcycle courier on an ad hoc per job basis rather than employing a person full time.

The bike is also booked in for another 4000 mile service on 9th May, the last one was on completed on 14th March so I guess I will have to start thinking about tyres soon as well.

Historically, going back 30 or 40 years or so the motorcycle was seen as the most economical form of transport and yes, this was true when I think back. The bikes didn’t cost anywhere near as much as they do now, running costs and insurances were much cheaper and you could service the bike yourself. But over the last 15 years, motorcycles have evolved into a totally new beast, yes they still have 2 wheels but the technical advances have put home servicing beyond most average people. As the motorcycles have become more powerful the tyres have had evolve to cope with higher power, hence, they have become a lot more expensive. I pay an average of £150 for a back tyre which might last about 10,000 miles if I am lucky.

Well that’s it for this instalment

Whoever you are and wherever you might be in the world

Ride safe and live to ride another day

Dave