Sunday, 21 July 2019

Hoolets and rain

Friday after work saw us setting off for Edinburgh, Fi Fastback mounted, myself on the JPN, the rain had started before we left but bizarrely we had a dry road at Kinross before the rain came down in biblical proportions just before Kelty and remained so until our destination for the night at Fi's parents house in Prestonpans. Rush hour traffic in Edinburgh is never pretty and Friday was no exception, starting with the queue for the Queensferry crossing, ever since we built the new bridge queues have been the order of the day and for apparently no reason other than a very bad design (in my opinion) the bypass was a snails pace and we managed to filter most of the 20 odd miles through it, not so much fun on a bike with a racing crouch and negligible brakes due to the heavy rain but a warm welcome awaited us and we were both glad to have made it without any bike issues.
Saturday awakened with a bit of a fuzzy head, can't imagine why? After much blethering both in the pans and in North Berwick we got into our hotel for the night, a "spa" Hotel, normally expensive but Fi's sister got us a very good deal, quite glad about that because if we'd paid the full price we would have felt a bit ripped off, in the strange market conditions these days hotels still push prices up to maximise income whilst not keeping the fabric up to current standards, squeezing assets I suppose its called,  Scotland has many hotels who are "squeezing assets" problem will come when people see through the illusion and realise its not value for money and go elsewhere (by which I mean another country) where they get a bigger bang for their buck.
The only issue we had was the exhaust had come slack on Fi's bike which worried me but when we arrived at Bert and Laurenne's he had the tools to effect a good repair ably assisted by fellow Norton owner Davie Clark, glad to say it help up! The party was as always excellent, a fantastic spread and a great bunch of people and bikes, Fi and I were on the tea as we decided to ride back to our hotel that night and I have to say I enjoyed it immensely, sometimes tea is your friend, as darkness fell and drunkenness rose we said our goodbye's and had a great ride home in the setting sun, thanks again to our hosts for their hospitality.
The ride home on Sunday was dry thankfully and quite enjoyable, a braw weekend and after the torn muscle in my back repairs all will be well :-) 
We were early arrivals
Nice early boxer
a brace of Morgans
Bert seemed happier with the whisky than the flowers
I can only guess
Common these BMW's
Bert special
Bobbed Vincent
The coolest bit of art in the kitchen
Ewan and windy arriving
Cool lineup
Not bobbed and not black
Love the lines of the engine
An eclectic mix of bikes
Phils Ducati
Four craws sat upon the wa"
Liz being artistic (I think)
Our hostess Laurenne, still smiling after all the preparation
Looks serious
Deep in conversation
OK time to leave
Stunning ride back

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Bikes sold - Scottish summer again

So first the good news, both the VFR and sidecar have gone to good homes, the sidecar took ages to sell and of course if you drop the price low enough someone will buy it, thats what happened and we took a fair hit on the money invested in it but we had a great time so now someone else can enjoy (at a more affordable price)

There is no bad news and last weekend was pretty good, always the threat of showers but warm enough, typical Scotland (apart from the warm enough) Saturday we exercised the modern bikes with the ER6 and the newly acquired 865 Bonneville getting an airing, all good and a useful chance to see how the Bonnie works on the ploughed fields marked as roads in Scotland, maybe Scotland as well as being the best place for manufacturers to test waterproofs and midge repellent could also be a great place to test suspension! Of course it's summer so the council are busy chipping all the back roads so its a great place to test resistance to stone chips as well. The Bonneville is growing on me, I need to put it to a real test so it will be my transport on our forthcoming Euro tour, a full report warts and all when I get back (on the Bonneville not the warts!)

Sunday we had a wobble around some of Perthshire's finest on two Commandos' Fi on the mighty Fastback and me on the JPN complete with traction control in the form of a slipping clutch, on inspection I was reminded that I'd replaced the plates with Rodgers Hi Torque plates, its all cleaned up and if the issue happens again the plates will be replaced with standard ones and Rodgers renamed No Torque plates and consigned to the shelf until I forget and fit them to another bike in future.
There is an ongoing saga with Bill Parr's Fastback, I won't report for now until it plays out to its conclusion, needless to say it involves much "last of the Summer wine" type antics and stupidity but we are getting there, I have learned some things as I'm sure Bill has, just a tip, if someone says "can you check my clutch" just reply with "good god, is that the time, I must be going" all good stuff though and Bill has kept my sanity up with some nice whisky, there will be a story in the NOC newslettter in future.

Oh and in other gossip, Eric of Smokeytoon fame was reported to me by more than one person to have broken down with his outfit in Tesco car park Friday evening, I rushed up to offer abuse but he was leaving on the truck of shame just as we arrived, apologies for not getting there sooner Eric, you could almost have freewheeled to my workshop and after abuse we may have got you going again, remember in future. Hopefully all is good again.

Enough drivel, some pictures....

Layby in the sun
Glen Quaich from Kenmore
and again
JPN looking over the Tay Valley
Fiona looking at the camera
Classic Nortons in a Classic setting 

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Selling bikes is a nightmare

Something we don't do very often is selling bikes, we tend to buy them and keep them but we really need a wee clear out especially as another big trip is in the planning stage and the fleet seems to have grown to ridiculous levels recently. The sidecar we have been trying to sell for a year or so, not easy things to sell as there is a limited market, however we have dropped the price, advertised it and all we seem to get are fantasists who enjoy wasting my fecking time, question after question, Ebay, Gumtree and other such marketplaces and all filled with willy pulling fantasists probably telling their mates down the pub they are thinking of buying a sidecar!
Just the job for 2 fat ladies, 2 fat men or a mix of both
Our VFR, nice honest 21 year old Honda, 41K miles and very clean £1300 and yet everybody seems to be an expert haggler now, trying to get it for a pound and a box of old Beano's plus they want a full documented service history!
Genuine bike sir, suits you!
I suspect the bike game is going through hard times, especially secondhand bikes, thank god I don't do this for a living! I suppose the question is why would you buy an older bike when you can walk into a dealer with no money and walk (or ride out) with a new bike for £3 a month for three years by which time you'll be bored of this biking lark and go back to the golf club, badminton Club or wherever these morons came from in the first place. I do despair for the future of two wheels, the Scottish government trying to dissuade youngsters by declaring a climate emergency! It's all our fault, people with too much money and old bikes burning petrol for the sake of it, remember when we had heatwaves in the past? Everybody enjoyed it and said how marvellous it was, now it's the end of the world.
Rant over, and so is the good weather, now its pissing down, so does that mean the emergency is over?
We did during todays climate emergency manage a great jaunt to Kenmore for an average cup of tea served by average waiting staff, the run though was excellent and we managed Glen Quaich both ways (I will not mention the complete retards who have no idea how to drive on a single track roads) It was joyous, the red Commando burbling away, Fiona relieved to be riding her comfortable and very faithful ER6 which has just come out of a long hibernation, sunshine (well it was cloudy but my head said sunshine)   Perthshire truly has some marvellous roads and scenery and its great to be able to enjoy it, BTW that Commando is for sale at a rather high price of £8K but that's how much its cost me so far, runs well, starter works and it shines up well also!
This was last week in Aberfeldy and I think the T3 deserved a photo
The mighty Norton in a mighty setting
Very tidy bike sir, an appreciating classic
Fiona was the pathfinder!

Friday, 14 June 2019

Norton meeting Strontian

Well the summer is shaping up to be a Scottish summer, unlike last year when the jet stream gave us a very hot dry Summer 2019 is proving to be cool (not in a cool, way out man way) and wet. Our by now annual trip to Strontian on the Ardnamurchan peninsula started off dry but at St Fillans we stopped to pull on the waterproofs as it was looking damp the further west we travelled, at least the St Fillans Ducks were enjoying the weather, us less so. Fiona was on her yellow 750 Commando , myself on the 850 Mk3 and Alex following as tail gunner on his V7 Guzzi, the trip through Tyndrum was crap with a 3 mile tailback due to roadworks (which they were in the process of lifting just as we bullied our way to the front) The Green Wellie, a popular stop with motorcyclists was still busy (God knows why most of Central Scotland's motorcyclists congregate on this overpriced place) The run through Glencoe was actually better than expected, the high cloud meaning you could see to occasionally overtake the hordes of tourists who blight what used to be one of my favourite roads, Motorhomes being driven by complete cretins, Caravans being driven erratically, hire cars being driven by people who drive with no consideration for locals trying to go about their business, Minibuses and coaches constantly spewing out hundreds of people taking photos and selfies of Scotlands splendor, sometimes I wish they would all just FUCK OFF!
We arrived as expected at the Corran Ferry which transported us away from tourist hell to the peninsula where all is good and the roads a pleasure. We were staying at the Campsite in Strontian but Fi & I had the foresight to book a hut when we were up earlier in the year, because of the damp weather the midges were doing their best to get a fill of everyone's blood, most of the regulars were unrecognisable as they were all wearing midge nets, not the most flattering of facial attire.
Friday night at the pub was excellent, many tales being told and slight falling over from me as we left at closing time due to losing my footing in a pothole, the whisky had no bearing on this whatsoever.
Saturday was due to piss it down all day however it didn't. Some went for a run, some stayed , walked took in the local flora and fauna and went to the pub.
Saturday night we had a BBQ at the Bothy onsite, thanks to the owner Tim for the coals and firelighters, thanks to Bill for BBQ Lighting and burger duties, thanks to Fiona and Lesley for general organisation and preparation of what was an excellent spread and all for a fiver a head and thanks to everyone else for their input, banter and for a great night.
Sunday appeared just after Saturday which made the world space time continuum appear at peace, some who had been midgeed to death made an early exit, we left at around 10.30 for a very wet run home, people leaving earlier missed the rain, my brother John left later and missed the rain also, the Nortons are obviously just a big rain magnet. One observation I made as we rode down through a very busy Glencoe on Sunday was that at one point there were more Chinese tourists on the hills than sheep, maybe now the sheep have met their match, the sheep (owners) displaced the indigenous population, now maybe the Chinese will displace the sheep, remember you read it here first!
A great weekend as usual, looking forward to the next one, hopefully more Nortons next time, it appeared to be more of an Italian Motorcycle convention last weekend?

Waterproofs stop
Waiting for the Ferry
Our ferry on the other side
Random Triumph guys we met
Beard a flappin
Some of the team
Lesley, Fiona and our barmaid for the evening
Brace of Nortons
Alex's V7
Tim, the campsite owner setting off on a wee holiday
Phil, out on his Ducati
Forfar John ripping it up on his v4 Aprilla (same engine in the TT Norton)
John and Lesley's bikes
The Burn
Dark skies
Tide out on the Loch
Brother John cooking
The team. Snibs wearing full midge gear
Splendid presentation !