Cherry Picker Service | RN Access Solutions

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S-85 Cherry PickerThis post is about a certain cherry picker service specialist. First I want to say that a few months ago I would not even have guessed what a cherry picker really was. If you asked me I would have started imagining workers in a plantation picking cherries, but it is a very powerful machine that lifts people up to great heights above the ground giving them easy access to high structures or machinery where they can do maintenance.

This particular specialist is Riaan who recently moved his company to Elandsfontein. A while ago I created a website for his company. Having no knowledge of his industry I came up with a design based on the logo on his business card.

What I have learnt about running your own business is that it is best to be an expert in your field because problems usually crop up and you don’t want to have to rely on someone else for the solution. Riaan is that sort of man with years of practical hands on experience in cherry picker service. But he is an electronics genius too and knows all about maintenance to lifting platforms.

In the time I have been in his presence I have noticed how he gives people advice and solves technical problems relating to cherry pickers. As cool as a cucumber he amiably explains how to fix a lifting platform – what a nice guy to be around.

Riaan’s company, RN Access Solutions, has a team of technicians that can service clients’ machines on site. His experience with lifting platforms has made him very sought after. I can only recommend him to any company that requires cherry picker service. The website for RN Access Solutions is www.rnaccess.co.za.

Cycling Update

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Having been through the cold winter months we are looking forward to riding in the warm sunshine again. We took a bit of a break which has enabled us to gather our thoughts and regroup, but the passion for riding is still there.

Looking back at the previous blog posts gives us a sense of satisfaction because we achieved something – which is far better than nothing. About a week or so ago we went for a ride and we still have a level of fitness which is very encouraging. At the moment the computer on my bike isn’t working so I can’t see how far or fast I am going. It needs fixing.

Soon we will be up and running again.

Switchgear Power

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SBV3 RETROFIT

SBV3 RETROFIT

I have just discovered how important switchgear is in allowing someone to de-energize an electrical power system so that work can be done to clear faults downstream. This type of equipment is important because it is directly linked to the reliability of the electricity supply. A website that explains more about the servicing and maintaining switchgear can be viewed at http://www.herlec.co.za.

Electricity is so vital to our existance because all our gadgets are powered by it. When there is an over demand for power or the grid needs maintenance we seem lost when the power is cut. In times like these it’s good to know that these switchgear units help protect the people doing the maintenance.

Southern Skies 24 Hour MTB Challenge 2012 – Continued

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Competitions usually throw you a curved ball and this one was no exception. When we arrived the sun was shining in all its glory, but by nightfall the clouds had thrown a blanket of gloom on proceedings and the rain came, changing the course into a different monster to conquer. The rain wasn’t too bad, but enough to make everything wet and slippery – as if things weren’t challenging enough.

To add insult to injury the moon was hiding and the light that was mounted on my helmet wasn’t strong enough to pierce the darkness sufficiently, so Sean kindly gave me his light to strap onto my handle bars. Armed with enough light to frighten a convoy of trucks and a borrowed raincoat I started my next lap into the dark, cold night.

Things were going sort of okay and I was coping quite well with all the challenges of only seeing a few metres ahead of me whilst negotiating hidden obstacles until I was about fifty metres in front of the forest. That’s when Sean’s light died on me. I had no option but to continue with what I had. In these situations we just bite the bullet and carry on. Little did I know what was waiting for me in that forest.

As I piloted my bike along the winding track through the undergrowth I was confronted by a spectacle which cannot be described by mere words. It was as if I had landed in the night-time garden scene of the movie Avatar because the light from my helmet was being reflected off the wet leaves on the trees in a surreal way giving a glowing fluorescent effect that appeared magical, as if I was travelling through a virtual landscape with shining leaves. This spectacle immediately changed my mood and I started enjoying my ride in spite of the difficult conditions. That image spurred me on to the end.

Fortunately a warm bed was waiting for me back at the camp. I settled in after a hot cup of tea and slept like a baby until my next lap which was early on Sunday morning.

I’d love to start with “at the crack of dawn,” but I was up at 4 a.m. It was still cold, gloomy and wet, but we were there to ride no matter what the conditions. At 5 a.m. I set out on my bike feeling a bit out of sorts. The 24 hour race is about endurance, testing you to the limits of your strength. When I told someone what I was going to do that weekend, he said I was mad.

So, in my madness and feeling rather drained I picked up where I left off the previous night, I pedalled around the wet course. Well, eventually I reached the other side of the forest again and, behold, there were horses grazing peacefully in the field to my right. Fortunately I had my camera and took the shot.

Horses grazing in the mistIt looks like life is all about preparation. I had practiced and prepared as best I could for the race. I brought my camera along to take a few photographs of the team and the event, but I was pleased with the unusual scenes that I was able to snap along the course.

Sunday turned into a glorious sun-shiny day again and at 1:20 p.m. it was all over. We packed our camping gear away and went to the hall to collect our medals – it was a proud moment.

The success of an undertaking like this depends on a lot of planning and preparation long before you even arrive at the event. What we learned from the experience will enable us to prepare better for future events and the next 24 hour race in 2013. To everyone that contributed to our success we say a big thank you. It was a great team effort and your support was much appreciated.

Our gas stove was sponsored by Gas Solutions; the chairs were provided by Toyz 4 Boyz who also loaned us an LED lamp to see in the dark as well as the camping gear. Support for various necessities where also provided by: High Performance Carriers; Chop Chop Paintshop; Dominion School of Hair; Herlec; Bright Idea Project; Lamitt Turbo and Zubaida Ebrahim from Hyper Foam. Thanks also go to International and Cycle World in Bloemfontein.

Southern Skies 24 hour MTB Challenge

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Ron Riding in the Mist

Ron Riding in the Mist

The Southern Skies 24 hour MTB Challenge kicked off on 21 April 2012 in the riverside town of Parys. On Saturday morning the weather co-operated as the sun shone gloriously while contestants arrived to join the early birds already camping on the venue grounds around the lone Eiffel Tower replica standing guard in their midst.

Venue with Mini Eiffel Tower

Venue with Mini Eiffel Tower

Mountain bikes of all shapes, sizes, makes and colours were everywhere and a sense of urgency was in the air as cyclists could be seen testing their machines between the cars and tents that formed neat rows on the grounds and alongside the track that dissected these temporary structures. Those fortunate enough to camp right alongside the track that served both as the start and finish line were a joyful crowd that revelled in cheering the contestants on as they left or arrived, thus adding to the fantastic  atmosphere of camaraderie.

It was amongst this festive atmosphere that we arrived at the competition grounds where our team leader had thoughtfully reserved a space for our tent. There was a neat kazebo supplied by Cycle World, Bloemfontein where our bikes were parked on specially manufactured stands which were provided by Roy, the team leader’s dad. We were graciously assisted in erecting our tent and bed which were provided by Toyz 4 Boyz.

Our Cycling Team

Our Cycling Team

Our team – Team International Spider Riders – comprised family members spanning three generations. Sean, team leader (my son-in-law) and his wife Janine (my daughter); Sean’s father Roy and  Sean’s sister Courtney, as well as my grandson Joshua. To round it off there was my wife Maggie and myself – seven in all. No generation gap in this sport.

At 12 noon we all gathered in the hall for the announcements and race information and, since this was our second race in Parys, we felt more at home with proceedings. An hour and twenty minutes later the marathon was underway. I was strategically stationed high up on a spectator galley that towered over  the start/finish section of the track. From there I could take some beautiful shots of the contestants doing a Le Mans start.

Le Mans Style Start to Race

Le Mans Style Start to Race

After the first lap done by Sean, the word was out that the course was still about 8 km and quite tough – not good news for us older generation. This was no easy race since well-organised teams of very competent riders were out to beat each other at all costs. Our team comprised men and women riders placing us in the mixed team category. Because of the make-up of our team we wanted to cycle together as a family and see how well we could do in the overall scheme of things. Nevertheless, we were up to the challenge, neatly fitted out in our attractive riding tops generously sponsored by International in Bloemfontein.

Maggie and I went onto the track when our turn came and we totally enjoyed our first lap. She had made great progress since our previous race two years ago. We completed that lap in record time (for us). Our secret was to ride at a steady good, pace – we went fast where we could and were more cautious when it came to the more technical sections. It was at these sections where quite a lot of people got injured and needed medical attention.

Maggie & Ron Riding Together

Maggie & Ron Riding Together

In the evening we boiled water on the gas stove sponsored by Gas Solutions and sat on the chairs provided by Toyz 4 Boyz who also loaned us an LED lamp to see in the dark. Support for various necessities where also provided by: High Performance Carriers; Chop Chop Paintshop; Dominion School of Hair; Herlec; Bright Idea Project; Lamitt Turbo and Zubaida Ebrahim who is very efficient and always has a smile when I call on her at Hyper Foam where she has worked as the manager for 11 years.

This is the first part of the account of our race and there will be more to read soon. Thank you for your interest.

Fog

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woman riding bicycle in fogFog, that mystical atmosphere where details are hidden from view and things are unclear at a distance. The only way to get more detail is to move closer, but sometimes that’s not always possible when the object is moving. Life is like that a lot of the time and we struggle to make sense of where we are and what’s happening to us.

This rider has a headlamp on her helmet to see ahead of her and to be visible to others. When the purpose or meaning of life is hidden from plain view it is good to have a light to help you see the way forward. Jesus said,”I am the light of the world. He that remains in me will never walk in darkness.” It is good to be able to remember what God has done for you in the past and know that He hasn’t changed. That’s why I can go forward into my future with confidence knowing that He is with me. The One who has created the future is there to guide and help me. Because of Him I can enjoy my life.

Yes, you can always expect something unusual when you read this blog. Enjoy your day.

My Race Photo

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I have just received my race photo from a photographer next to the course. My Scott mountain bike is back home with me and handles great after the service. I am looking at buying a Titan mountain bike soon, then maybe Maggie will take over my Scott.

We have to start training for our next race because that’s coming up soon. We wanted to enter the 94.7 Mountain Bike Challenge in November, but the entries are not open yet.

Fixed

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I just had my precious Scott mountain bike fixed so that I don’t suffer the same fate with untimely punctures. The wheels are now fitted with thick tubes and decent tyres as well as inner liners. The cycle shop also cleaned and serviced my gears and chain. My bike looks brand new even though she is 2 years old. I am about to go for my morning ride – it will be lovely.

First Race

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Ron before the race.

Ron before the race.

On 4th January 2012 I wrote an article with the title “What am I doing here.”  There I was referring to my previous 24 hour race in Parys two years ago. We could not participate again last year because of a hernia operation.  So, at the beginning of this year we decided to start training again and we are serious about our commitment to cycling and entering competitions. All our training paid off because yesterday, Sunday 4th March 2012, we participated in a 10 km race. Why this short distance? Well, my wife needs to gain experience in riding in races and build up her confidence. She only started riding 2 years ago and isn’t completely comfortable around a crowd of riders. To make matters worse she had an accident with her spectacles and broke them, so she rode with an old pair and couldn’t see very well with them. Some people commented on our time, but they are younger and more experienced. It’s easy to jump to the wrong conclusions when you don’t have all the facts. There were very few people in our age group, so we were up against younger riders.

Maggie next to a dam during the race.

Maggie next to a dam during the race.

The course was also not your usual track through the countryside. It was mostly sections of grass where the horses grazed and the going was slow, even for the younger riders. Whenever we got to a water crossing everyone bunched up into a group, waiting to cross, so we couldn’t push in front of them either. To make matters worse I got a puncture in my rear tyre at the halfway mark and had to push my bike to the finish line. I was determined to get my medal for the race and just soldiered on. What good came out of the race was the experience we gained and the lessons learned. Surprisingly we weren’t even tired after all of that and managed to take some lovely photographs at the event. I read in Cycling News that a guy took 8 years to find his niche in cycling – we have been going for only 2 years.

We are riding for our pleasure and not to impress anyone. If we take a whole day to finish our race or come first that’s our decision. We are not comparing ourselves to anyone else, especially not riders who are 25 years younger than us. On a lighter note, we are enjoying our riding. Thanks to Chop Chop Paintshop for his generous contribution towards our sport.

Race medals

Race medals - our reward for finishing.

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