Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Distinguished Gentleman's Ride

Once again we took part in the Perth DGR ride ably organised by Geoff Mumford. The ride isn't really about "the ride" it is to raise awareness into two issues that affect mens health, namely mental health and prostrate cancer and of course to raise funds for these charities. It is a worldwide phenomenon so around the world men and women get dressed and look a bit silly to raise cash, silliness, motorcycles and fun, whats not to like. For some reason the Perth run doesn't attract the numbers it should but its a great day out anyway, if you are a motorcyclist you should give it a try sometime, no need to buy tweeds etc just make a little effort, for me I already have a moustache so I'm halfway there.
Oh and the ignorant couple in Dunkeld who said they had called the police because we had parked our bikes in view of their rented house despite being told we were on a charity run could do with some mental help themselves, or even some soap!

Waiting for the off
eclectic mix of bikes
Fiona and snibs 
Snibs looking the part
Gary and Dana
Our moustachiod trio
Geoff and Heather, matching moustaches
Ready to go
Our team of Dapper riders!

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Stunning ride to Lochcarron

Just after our return from holiday we were invited to a meeting in Lochcarron which is around a 200 mile ride up to the North West of Scotland on some of our favourite roads. Firstly I'd upgraded the forks in the Triumph with new springs (an easy less than 1 hour mod) and was interested to see how that affected the bike, as it was right after our Euro trip it was a useful back to back comparison.
Unbelievably the weather was stunning as we set off, avoiding the A9 just North of Perth is a good idea due to roadworks so we did that, the ride up the A9 was ok with the clear sky and sunshine enhancing the beauty of this route, too often we curse this road due to the traffic but actually if you take the time to look the scenery is stunning. A fuel and tea stop at Dalwhinnie and a chat with a fellow motorcyclist and then a chance meeting with the Blair boys set us up for a stunning ride across Loch Laggan, an almost clear run up to Invergarry and then to Eilenn Donnan castle for a tea stop again before the last leg over the single track road to Lochcarron.
The Rally really is a meeting of old friends and a pleasant evening was spent in good company. The run home on the Sunday was OK but it rained from Invergarry, not an unusual occurrence unfortunately, still enjoyable and the verdict on the fork upgrade was that it was £60 well spent, it really transforms the handling and does away with the annoying dive at the front end when braking. Geoff followed us to Invergarry where he obviously got bored of our company and disappeared. A stop at a cafe just after Laggan locks for tea of course and a snack then back to Dalwhinnie and the A9 for the last 60 miles. Coming down the hill at Blair Atholl I spotted a motorcyclist in distress so pulled into the layby, as I pulled in I realised it was in fact a Norton Commando, the rider hunched over the back end, I recognised him straight away, Bill Downie junior (his father Bill Senior had been a friend of mine many years ago) Bill junior had been a Perth man but the pursuit of education and greater things took him to far flung exotic cities such as Glasgow and Thurso, he had been up to Thurso that weekend to see old pals. His stay in exotic cities had obviously taken its toll on his mind as he had set off on this 600 mile round trip with a knackered chain and more importantly a knackered sprocket, when I stopped he was trying to tighten the chain enough to stop it riding over the sprocket! I said "my god, what would your father have said about this ?" His reply was " if you knew my Dad he would have kicked my backside" I took my helmet off and he said "Gino, oh no, the shame" it also transpired he had next to no petrol, we followed him down to Pitlochry but the petrol station was being refurbished and had no fuel, a scavenge around and we managed to cut a bit from the workman's hosepipe and found an empty milk carton, some fuel from Fiona's bike got him enough fuel to get to the next stop, glad to say he got home safely, the moral of the story is, check your bike before you set off and if you don't you will be publicly shamed if I catch you :-)
A great weekend and probably the best run up the road for a while.
Sunshine, bliss
Iconic castle (and bikes)
BUsy site
Bert's newly aquired Commando already green! Laurenne on the bobber
Sunset over the loch
The baldy chap had a full head of long hair and a beard only two hours earlier and got it shaved for charity (Air ambulance) Pictured with the organisers
Cafe on a boat at Laggan
Bill junior 
This used to be a sprocket! 

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Euro trip - Last part

Always good to start or end a trip at the Begonia rally which is run by the Flanders NOC, its a British bike rally really but over the years most of the participants have become good friends and its always a pleasure to spend time with them all and of course drink a beer or two, well it is Belgium so it would be rude not to. The weather was outstanding as was the organisation and it was an excellent way to finish our holiday, the pictures tell the tale better than I can, many thanks to all our friends who made it a great weekend. We bumped into a French couple waiting for the ferry who were from Dijon, Gerald and Isabelle, first time in Scotland and first time riding on our side of the road so we accompanied them part of the way, that's the great thing about motorcycling, you constantly make new friends, an uneventful but busy ride back to Perth and thats it all over for a while again, bikes were excellent and the Triumph was better than I thought it would be, a good choice methinks, around 60mpg, good power, comfortable, brakes that work even in the wet, the only change I've made since is progressive fork springs, an easy and cheap fix for the soggy front end!

The campsite
Love the numberplate
Nice but no thanks
Myself and the Belgians also Benoit from France
More camp photos
The Legendary Essex mob, many are octogenarians and still going strong, an inspiration
Eddie laughing as always
Dutch guys having their own party
Stare off!
Peter and Tom arguing over who sleeps with the green lady tonight
Much nonsense being talked
Less nonsense being talked 
Ferry time
Our new French friends

Friday, 27 September 2019

Euro trip part 6

We left Dijon taking the small roads heading towards Troyes avoiding the highway, it was an excellent road meandering through some nice countryside and small towns, we stopped at some point to put waterproofs on as it looked like it might rain, a pleasant stop for lunch in a roadside Boulangerie next to fields of sunflowers, very French . I suspect it was just after this that I got my speeding ticket which arrived back in the UK a week after us! The roads have regular speed cameras, in the past I have been able to talk my way out of minor indiscretions with the police but these damned roadside boxes have no sense of humour or compassion, 88km in an 80 it said so I had no option but to pay, they allow some leeway and in the end I was less than 3mph over the limit, 45 Euros it is sir, credit card will do nicely, for a country which prides itself on its language the website is written in remarkably clear English, some might think its a punishment for us daring to (try to) leave the EU, the Macron has increased his requests to the DVLA for driver details 300% in the last year meanwhile we (The UK) do not prosecute the French due to some finer point of EU law? Total bollocks! Anyway back to the story, the wind increased and seemed to keep the rain away, we eventually entered Epernay and found the campsite which we'd stayed at previously, nice site except for the fact we had some right noisy buggers as neighbours, that's the thing with camping, if you have inconsiderate neighbours it can make the experience challenging at times, thankfully its rare, on one side we had about 20 German schoolchildren on a guided cycling holiday, noisy and unpleasant little bastards and on the other a French couple with 3 large dogs, the dogs were OK but the woman must have suffered from a mental condition, her laughing got louder as they got more pissed and her answer to every word seemed to be an annoying loud cackle, that's life when camping although I have to say its unusual to have a 2 pronged assault on the ears, MOST people are considerate. We spent a couple of days revisiting the town (The capital of the Champagne region) and going on a visit to a vineyard at one of the small private Champagne farms and of course sampling the goods, very nice it was too.
We had booked a Hotel in Arras, another town we'd visited before for the Wednesday night, when we arrived we didn't appear to have a booking, further checks revealed it was only Tuesday Oh well two nights it is and the added bonus we seemed to have won another day, we spent the two days looking around and visiting the war memorials. One thing that struck us was this very nice town like much of France and Europe is heading downhill, aggressive begging, public drunkenness (which also leads to public urination and defecation) was very much sadly in evidence, at one time the Gendarmes would have nipped this in the bud but it seems to be overlooked, sad to see and I don't think I'll visit Arras again for a while despite it being a worthwhile stop for the architecture.
We got a bit confused leaving Arras and it took us a couple of laps to get free of the town in the right direction, we headed North and due to our confusion ended up on the Highway to the Belgian border rather than the small roads, as we got near Kortrijk we turned onto the small roads before finding a place for lunch. We also tried a couple of shops looking for camping gas but to no avail, we arrived at our friend Geert's house on time and proceeded to spend a wonderful day and night in his company (apart from the 1 1/4 hour walk into and then out of the city to visit Peters bar to have a beer with Tom! To be honest I have been in Kortrijk many times but I probably saw more of the town and understood the history better thanks to the prolonged walk so thanks Geert! Unfortunately the small nightcap we were going to have turned into a whole bottle of Aberlour so we (the three of us ) were a bit sorry heided in the morning! A fine start to the Begonia rally, photos and story of which will follow soon!

Camp scene Dijon
Sunflowers (happy because I was unaware the French government had just robbed me) 
Be nice when its finished
I must have said something funny
Lunch in Epernay
Just so you know where this is!
Read all about it
War memorial outside the town hall
Took the exact same photo 10 years earlier
You get a Moet and Chandon in a pretty cabinet.......
All Champagne houses
Baby vines
I'm not keen on Fish so I think the French word is amusing for fishmonger
Nice vineyard and nice lady who runs it
Starts here
Middle bit, this is the press for the grapes, no sweaty feet anymore
Arras square
Army barracks
Entrance to the fort and barracks 
Sobering thought
The walls much like at Ypres have the names inscribed for the men who fell and were never identified
From the top of the church, felt like I was back at work doing surveys!
Geert marching through his collection
oooh er missus, big naked black lady
Canals still being used to transport goods
Churches change with countries
Peters bar
Tom's new Guzzi, very nice
Someones ride to work transport