Friday, 2 January 2015

I've Moved

If you read this blog, you will have noticed it's not being updated any more. That's because I've moved over to a new blog, one that includes my wife who has now get herself a full bike licence and a Moto Guzzi.

Actually, I've moved twice. We started the new blog on blogger but then got frustrated with it and moved it to wordpress. So, if you're interested, the first few posts can be found here but the newest ones will be here.

Thanks for reading and I hope to hear from you over on the new blog.



Sunday, 23 November 2014

Book Report: A Ride In The Sun or Gasoline Gypsy by Peggy Iris Thomas

Though not a prolific book reader, I own lots of books in the 'Adventure Motorcycling' category. I've even finished one or two of them. Actually it's exactly two of them and no, neither was Jupiter's Travels (though I did start that one). One was The Road To Gobblers Knob by Geoff Hill (Geoff's sense of humour made that one for me but ruined it for others). The second I finished yesterday having read it at my daughter's swimming lessons for pretty much the last 6 months.

The author, an English woman with an adventurous spirit, goes on an 18 month ride around North America (with a wee dip into Mexico) in the 50s. She makes the journey on a BSA Bantam which chewed through wheel bearings and inner  tubes. This was at least in part, due to it's huge load which included a sizable dog. Actually the dog was the only part off the outfit the author felt a strong connection with. He provided security way beyond that which modern bike alarms can.

At first it all seems something of a stretch. RiDE magazine UK, who drew my attention to this book, got it just right. I can't quote word for word but they said something along the lines of the only person who didn't think it all seemed a bit implausible was Peggy Iris Thomas.

As such, the person I most want to recommend this book to its my daughter. In fact Tom could do with reading it too. Unfortunately it would be rather lost on a six year old. A four year old who is just about able to recognise his own name certainly won't get it. Also, you need a rudimentary grasp on what was expected of young ladies in the early fifties. Having met a Bantam would also help.

So who would enjoy this book? Pretty much anyone with a sense of adventure. In fact if anyone wants a well thumbed and slightly waterlogged copy, message me and be willing to send a stamped envelope. You won't regret adding it to your reading list.

Have you read it? What did you think? Any suggestions on the next book I should leave in the swimming bag?

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Moto Guzzi Psychoanalysis

I woke up this morning, earlier than I would have liked, just as I was about to sign a deal on a very tatty looking Moto Guzzi Stelvio. Ever since I rode a Breva 750 around the car park the other day I've been utterly unable to stop thinking about that engine! It felt more alive than anything I've ever sat on even though it was less powerful than anything over a 250 that I've ever ridden. Suddenly, I can't help thinking how much I want that engine with a little more protection for those long winner rides and more upright ergonomics. Thus the Stelvio.

And why not? Well actually that's a question most easily answered with bullet points. Unfortunately that's not an option in Blogger for Android. Here goes anyway.
* Cost. They're not cheep.
* Pillion comfort isn't great apparently
* 29mpg according to MCN
* I hear lead time on parts can be up to two weeks.
* The parts department closes for August!
* It's a little more engine than I want to own.

It's probably not a good replacement for my Suzuki yet in my dream I happily threw caution to the wind, part exchanged my (fairly) trusty VStrom and signed a big credit agreement for the rest.

Thinking with my brain, there's enough there to stop me doing something silly. If Moto Guzzi took the engine out of a V7 and shoved it in an adventure styled bike I'm not sure I'd be able to help myself.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

I Need Help Naming a Blog

It's getting a little wintry here in Yorkshire but as usual, I'm not storing my bike. Like a few of us, I'm washing it more regularly, applying thick coats of chain lube pretty much daily and a good all over spray with corrosion inhibitor weekly (and after wet rides). Other than that, it's pretty much business as usual for me and the Wee. Not so for our little YBR125.

If all goes well, the YBR's time is coming to an end. Most recently, Ang has been riding it off to the training ground and swopping it for a Hornet (which she hates) and learning the finer points of passing the unrestricted motorcycle test here in the UK. She has suddenly grabbed the motorcycling ball and is making a solid run for the line. As such, she wants to start a new joint Moto Blog and I'd be really glad to be part of that. In fact, I'd even pretty much shut this down.

The only reason I haven't set it up yet is simple. WHAT SHALL WE CALL IT? Ang suggested 'Two Up' but as that's what she's working to leave behind, it seemed the wrong name. So I'm after suggestions for a name for a moto blog which is about:
a husband and wife:

  • He's a teacher who loves riding alone or with anyone and commutes all year.
  • She's a Nurse who rides a 125 all year and is trying to get a full licence.
  • Who have two young children, a mortgage and stuff.

A little side question is whether I should move us over to wordpress or stay on blogger?

All thoughts hugely appreciated. Please tweet or comment. PLEASE!

PS I don't like the name of this blog. It says nothing about it and probably puts some people off. I was in a difficult place when I started it and did't think it through. I'd like to not make that mistake again.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

A Beautiful Day for an Autumn Ride

Finally! I went out for a ride today. I didn't do anything new or noteworthy but it felt like such a treat, which it was.

It's been a long time since I've ridden for sheer pleasure. It was mid August in fact. Since then I've been to work then come home. Once or twice I've gone a different way home but nothing substantial. Despite having been in almost daily use, my bike had been decidedly underused.

This morning, I made my way up the A59 as I do most Sundays but for once I missed my turning, quite on purpose, and carried on up Cote de Blubberhouses (formerly Blubberhouse pass). I'm pretty sure I had to stop my bike turning all by its self. We were free for the day and heading for the hills, all thanks to my parents doing my parenting for me. Thanks mum! Thanks dad!

Actually, the first 40 miles were foggy and hard work but after meeting my buddy Kev for breakfast in Settle we headed off on the well trodden 'Hawes loop.' Thankfully, as we climbed to higher ground we left the fog, leaf mulch and Sunday drivers behind. From there on the day just got better, a real treat in October.

Kev, a self confessed fair weather sports bike rider, doesn't usually ride outside the summer months and likes his tarmac wide, smooth and fast. Today however, he was on the look out for places to take his newest toy, some sort of fancy digital SLR camera. That meant he was willing to let me lead him up a few of the narrower roads he wouldn't usually thank me for. There was a lot of stopping but I didn't mind. It was a beautiful day to be up in the hills.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

I've Started a Bucket List

Wonder Blessed are the Curious
for they Shall Have Adventure
Today I created a bucket list (here) for the first time ever. Actually, what I did today was write it down. It’s always existed. I’ve always wanted to experience more of the world in more ways.

Like most todo lists, I expect to add to it more often than I check things off but that’s the human condition. I also need to accept that much of it, quite possibly the majority of it, won’t ever happen. That’s fine. It can’t hurt to make a list. Perhaps I could make it a challenge to do one item a year. I could make one of them the thing I do to mark the next big birthday (40 I believe). Whatever. If nothing else, it’s actually a good a pencil portrait of myself as you could possibly hope for. A lot can be inferred from a bucket list I recon

This bucket list is a little restricted for two reasons. Firstly, it’s limited to Motorcycle related ambitions and secondly, it starts today. If I started adding all the things I’ve done that I wanted to do, that would make for far too long a list. Besides, while there were things I knew I wanted, like getting my licence, there were things I would never have thought to put on a list that happened anyway. No, this is simpler. 

Anyway, many thanks to Fuzzy for inspiring me write up my bucket list. Now, I’d better get on with my ‘Oh Dear, The New School Year is About to Start and That ToDo List is Only Getting Longer’ list. 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Ride Report - Forest of Bowland North Of Newton in Bowland

Because of the summer break and a recent foreign holiday, my bike had remained idle for much longer that I really like. Yesterday however, I received a last minute and much needed leave pass thanks to my mum taking the kids and Ang snoozing after a night shift. I had nothing planned but some of the best rides start that way. Chucking my map and tea making kit into the box, I headed off to @BeanandBud to look things over and enjoy one of their fine flat whites.

I was looking to explore somewhere new and there isn’t much I haven’t seen round here so I had to look further afield and accept there would be some unavoidable A road (highway) riding. Before my coffee was out I’d settled on an area called the Forest of Bowland, just across the border in Lancashire (spits on floor). I drained the dregs and hit the road.

I wasn’t disappointed. I suffered the A59 all the way to Clitheroe (actually not that bad) then I followed the B6478 to Newton-in-Bowland where I planned to head north towards a marked viewpoint. I was totally blown away by that stunning views on the section of road over Waddington Moor. In fact I was thinking it would be nice to ride it back again and get some pics. Time however was not on my side. Apparently, luck wasn’t on my side either as my route was soon blocked by bridge works. forcing me to retrace my steps. Still, I got those pictures.

The diversion (pretty obvious on the map) wasn’t anything worth writing about so I didn’t take my time. Once I was on the northbound road from Slaidburn, I was once again being blown away by the scenery. The heather was in bloom and being so close to the clouds gave the impression I was on top of the world. It made me think of a recent post on the FUZZYGALORE.COM blog, reflecting on the difficulties/impossibilities of sharing what you see from the saddle with others. So true but I still stopped every few meters to take yet another pic.

However, if you can, you really should go out and ride this. Maybe not if you’re only interested in knee down antics. In fact if I was going to do this again, I’d probably use the YBR125 and make a whole day of it. This is one to savour.