Monday, 17 April 2017

Easter weekend

This Easter has been quite cold (in my opinion) Easter Sunday we headed up to Arbroath home to the Smokie and to Eric who organised the 6th Smokie meeting. I have one complaint, he promised me sunshine and warmth, we got rain and cold! There was though warmth in the conversations offered, a great collection of bikes and plenty nice people to catch up with, tongue wagging was certainly the order of the day.
We set off to start with on two Guzzi's, me on the T3 Fi on the Le Mans but the Guzzi god was obviously angry with I suspect the lack of Italian weather and the T3 refused to start, well it pretty much refused to do anything as it transpires the battery has decided not to push out any current so new battery on order. So I took the working Guzz and Fi the Honda. We also used the opportunity after we escaped the clutches of Dundee to roll our Easter eggs, good childish fun! A short blast on the Norton today in what I thought was warmer weather proved me wrong, still bloody cold!

Nice Mk2 - Mk1 hybrid Le Mans
The Gentlemans motorcycle apparently 
Big turn out but nobody stayed too long
Z900
This confused me, Triumph engine in a BSA frame
Nice BSA single
And nice Vincent single
Along with a nice Matchless
Tom Willison's Commando (I think)
The engine of Jakes mighty Falcone
Eric had to show of by bringing this nice Panther
As its a 250 it can't be called a big pussie like its 600 bigger brother (or sister)
Our bikes waiting for us to complete the egg sacrifice
Our eggs, not aware of the fate that would befall them.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

All Roads lead to the Moon, Argentina & Chile

I've tidied up the video footage we collected on our 2012-13 tour of the Americas to try and make it more watchable.
Part 1 Argentina & Chile......

Monday, 10 April 2017

Pleasant weather

We seem to have had a spell of reasonable weather lately, it happens every so often but as always it’s no guarantee it’ll last so best to make hay while the sun shines or in my world burn petrol. Saturday a fine ride around the borders taking in a stop in the Meldons to enjoy some sun almost at the scene of our Dec 31st - Jan 1st camping trip, I’m glad to say the weather was much better.
I took the 1970 Commando, Fi was on the Guzzi Mk3 Le Mans, both bikes super fun to ride on the smaller roads. Sunday we did the same route in reverse and I took the T3 to keep a Guzzi theme going. The roads though until you escape the City are so busy and scarily seem to be populated with people who spend their time behind the wheel concentrating on everything except driving. Stay safe out there!
At rest in Edinburgh
At rest in Peebles
Nice day for it
Waiting on George Martin with our chips, oops, wasn't cold or wet enough
Note the subtle difference, the Norton has morphed into a Guzzi
Fi enjoying the day
Me scaring the livestock

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Another full weekend

Saturday was kind weather wise so a trip up to see Sandy to have a wee play on the farm with the trials bikes, we must be getting better as we didn't fall off as much as usual or maybe we just picked an easier route as our trip to Nepal is only five weeks away. I have to have a moan though, Kinross to our house in Edinburgh usually takes 30 minutes, Saturday due to complete incompetence of the Government and their current strategy of working on every major road in the Central belt at the same time it took 2 hours! Do not visit Scotland this year, I can only imagine the chaos on our roads this summer (and Easter) or if you are coming fly to Inverness and miss the middle bit out!
Saturday night we took my two sons for some food and beer in Edinburgh as it was Luca's birthday, they tried to persuade us to go and see the band they were in Edinburgh to see but sense got the better of me as today (Sunday) we had another sunny day and a chance to ride the Norton up to Tullybannocher cafe at Comrie for our Biannual Huntygowks meeting. A great turnout of bikes both Nortons and some lesser makes, Fi was to be taking the Le Mans but it was having an Italian strop and not charging so she jumped on the pillion of the mighty Norton.
Some people I hadn't seen for years came along which was excellent, always good to bore people with my stories of travel and breakdowns, furthest traveled I think was Campbell from Aberdeen on his Norton Rotary, he must have been saving up all winter to fill the tank to get him down to Perthshire, First guys I bumped into was Fraser & Steve from Perth out for a run on their GS BMW's so it was good to bore them for a bit and of course offer advice on stuff I know nothing about. Great to see Hamish Buchanan appear on his Panther from South of Embra and his sparring partner the evergreen George Martin on his evergreen BSA.
I won't mention everybody but like i said it was great to see such a nice turnout of genuinely nice people, I talked non stop all day and riding home thought what a great bunch of people, united by one thing, a love of two wheels, fanbloodytastic. I even spoke to Eric's son via facetime in New York ( I assume it was facetime as being from Arbroath I ken Eric's to tight to pay for a call)
Get yourself an old bike and join in the fun (or even a new bike and at least know you might get there)
Eric's Arbroath Classic gathering on Easter Sunday sounds like a must do, in Arbroath somewhere (it's no a big place) Hopefully we'll get there on two bikes! I'm saving for the petrol money already.
Hamish's Panther, most excellent
A brace of used Nortons
Bob & Sandy's choice of bike for the day
Big Enfield, unusual to see them now 
Indian Enfield
Eriks smokies carrying machine
And of course Jakes Falcone
Mike's Dommie, nice! Sole rep from the Wormit crew today, bad show chaps
Berts creation causing much interest as usual
Mr Martin and trusty BSA
Hamish leaving in a cloud of smoke and rattles
Edinburgh NOC's sole representative today
Lesley, Phil, Forfar John and brother John slagging my new boots
Phil's trusty Commando
Bob & Sandy for the off
Campbell's nice rotary
Our secretary David wondering "where did i put my keys?"
Did i really go back in time to the 50's today?

Monday, 27 March 2017

General Motorcycling

Its been a busy couple of weeks, last weekend we attended a motorcycle Enduro practice day (for novices!) Enduro is a bit like motocross, same type of bikes but through forests normally which means there are more things to hit! Lindsay Barrie had put in an immense effort at Dunning to make a route through the forest and got a former Scottish champion to come along and give us some tips. We did it on the trials bikes which I was glad off but it does give some disadvantages in that on a trial bike there's no seat so you are on your feet all of the time, this led to much pain for the two days after. Despite the rain we both had a fantastic day out and hopefully took away some learning (thanks to all)
A further day in the garage getting the Commando (70 roadster) ready for its MOT and the Mk3 Guzzi LeMans. This weekend we had sun and i'm glad to say both bikes passed. Sunday was a day to move the sidecar before the tax runs out (it's up for sale if anyone is interested) its been brilliant fun but the storage aspect means we will have to move it on.
Afterwards a gentle stroll up to Powmill on the T3 Guzzi which was excellent.
Next Sunday (2nd April) we have the mighty Norton Owners Club Huntygowks meeting at Tullybannocher, Comrie, be there or be square!!

Fiona in action
Lindsay at speed (wearing his tree cutting gear!) its blurred but you get the idea!
Fi looking for the fast route out!
Moving the chair on mothers day so best to use your mum as ballast!
Guzzi enjoying the rest (and the sun)
Thanks to my brother John for this one, taken 3 years ago at castletownbere in the South of Ireland outside McCarthy's bar
L-R Fi's Commando, My Commando, Kevin's Triumph ????(why?) Colum's Atlas and Martins Vincent

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Guzzi & Norton servicing

A weekend in the garage trying to get a couple of bikes ready for the MOT test. The two bikes in question weren't used last year so first job for both was a oil and filter change. The Mk3 Le mans was first on the bench, rear brake overhauled, electrics sorted (starter not working, indicators not working. The starter turned out to be corroded wires and the indicator (a cheap bolt on at the rear) has given way to terminal corrosion so a new standard set ordered up (surprisingly cheap) The rear brake switch had failed so a new one ordered up. A quick clean but not a polish (yet, I'll wait till after the salt has gone from the roads)
The Norton needed some tlc also , the fiberglass tank has succumbed to Ethanol disease and will finally need replaced (I have a steel one already prepared but I've been reluctant to put it on until the glass one failed) With 2 year old fuel in it I was surprised when it started first kick, settling down to a nice tickover.  Like the Guzz some connections were corroded and there was much faffing about with a soldering iron and crimps plus a replacement rear brake light switch (which I had in stock) Annoyingly it was the rubber boot that had failed and not the switch itself but I replaced the whole thing anyway. A quick polish and its looking good hopefully it'll get through its MOT and then its ready for the mighty Tay Valley Norton club Huntygowks meeting at Tullybannocher on 2nd April ( be there or be square).
As always its made me realise not using a bike is worse than using it, stuff corrodes and a perfectly functioning bike when put away is rarely the same when brought out of storage. I will need to rationalise the fleet at some point as I'd rather see them used and lessen the maintenance stress but which ones I'll let go is the really difficult decision whenever I bring myself to make it.
The photos actually make the bikes look better than they are.

Le Mans almost ready
Nice
750 Commando being pressed into service until MVD is ready!! 

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Bike chess, travel stories and mucking around

I thing on Saturday I invented a new game, bike chess. This came about due to having too many motorcycles scattered across various garages in various counties. First a visit to Perth early Saturday morning to meet David and Anne Templeton who were picking up the G5 Guzzi I bought just before Christmas. I also picked up one of my Norton Commando's and my Guzzi Mk3 LeMans to bring them down to Embra so I can get them ready to use. We then took the sidecar to see Lois Pryce who was doing a talk at BMW Mottorad in Dalkeith. Lois is a bike traveler and writer, she rode from Alaska to Argentina a few years ago then down through Africa afterwards (solo) and wrote two excellent books on the trips, she has just finished her book on a solo tour of Iran and that was the basis of the talk, an entertaining and informative couple of hours, if you are looking for more info check out her website http://www.loisontheloose.com/ .
After the talk Fiona took control and I had a very quick trip to Prestonpans in the chair whilst Fi tried to prove that no matter how fast she went around left handers the chair wouldn't lift due to my weight!! We then parked up the chair and rode our 800 Honda we bought a while ago back to our house, now that the chair wasn't in the garage there's room for the Norton, Guzzi and Honda. Bike chess, all you need is multiple bikes stored in multiple garages, great fun......not
Today was another trials day, great fun and tiring!

Last ride on the outfit for a bit
Surprised to see this, very nice
For rent, hopefully they throw in tuition!!!
Lois and Fi
Warming up
Me already warm
Overheating
Tired, actually I was stuck!!!
How do I get up there?