Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Passing time.

Just hanging around Barcelona waiting to go to the ferry terminal. We've got the bikes in the hotel car park until 3. Our ferry is at 10.30 so there will be a bit of hanging around. Very hot today far to hot to walking around carrying the jackets, one of the few downsides of motorcycling.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010


Thats us arrived safetly in Barcelona, straightforward run today and a bit of stress finding the hotel but got here relatively easily. Really hot today again which is uncomfortable for both me and the Bike, My jackets like. Its through a rainstorm but from the inside out, too hot to wear a t shirt under my jacket today so you can perhaps imagine this bare chested sweating Scotsman arriving at reception. Its funny how many strange looks I got. Off for some site seeing after I've cooled down. Ferry to Ibiza tomorrow night.

Monday, 28 June 2010

What a life.

Okay so motorcycle travel is hard sometimes so its important to make the most of your days off. Just lazing at the beach today. Barcelona tomorrow.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Swimming in the med,

Despite the best laid plans it was still 11 am before we hit the roads today. That meant it was hot, very hot 244 miles including passing over the milau viaduct which was good. Eventually we've got a camp site next to the beach in seringan and have had a swim in the med before tea. Day off tomorrow before the push to barcelona on tuesday.

Saturday, 26 June 2010


Just arrived in in the camp site and had to have a beer first before doing anything. Very hot today and we were mainly on the small roads which was better than yesterday. Bikes going fine although the commando is sweating some oil in this heat. A great day but tired. I think commando fatigue has set in. The only problem is my backside which is stinging in this heat so baby powder tomorrow i think.

Friday, 25 June 2010

At last.

A hot day today and my mental health not helped by a hangover. Too much drink on the ferry was once again my downfall. We took the small roads which made for a long day and i'm glad to get here (chalons en champagne.) About 240 miles but i felt every bump. A good day though and the bikes going well so far. 18 euro's for the campsite which is a bit steep.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

P&O ferries.

Well here we are finally on board. I have to say these people need a course in customer care. Now i'm used to shit service on ferries and i'm glad to say p&O excell in this area. First they put the bikes on the top ramp just to make it difficult then they let some cars on first, mainly full of fat people. Then they give you a bit of old rope to tie up your bike to a steel cable which of course stretches and moves then as you struggle to get it tied up sweating in the bowels of the ship the fat car passengers try to squeeze past your bike carrying an incredible amount of luggage. Then the staff don't speak english and because i don't speak fillipino they don't take my complaints seriously. Apart from that mad half hour its been a good day. Oh and the picture is of the combined shower toilet. Very small and not the luxury en suite i'd imagined.

Almost there

Around 15 miles from Hull now, good run down the road with no rain. In a Little Chef making use of the free wifi and waiting for a greasy breakfast just to keep me going till we get dinner on the ferry. Bikes all good but my rev counter cable packed in about a mile from home, typical! Still if that's all the problems I can live with that.

Ready for the off

Well thats it, nothing else to do except get on the bike and go, if i've forgotten anything it'll be apparent at some point. Just hoping for a dry run down to Hull, the roads are damp this morning following some overnight rain probably just enough to get the bikes mucky! Ah well life on the road about to begin, no complaints, next update hopefully from Hull!!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Preperation underway

It's always a difficult time, just before a big trip, what to take what to leave behind. I've been travelling for a considerable time now so you would think I had it sorted out by now, taking the Commando though I'm always in a quandry about what to carry. If the worst happened I could phone back to the UK and get parts posted out to wherever I am but that could mean 2 or 3 days kicking my heels instead of getting on with the plan.
The plan, there always has to be a plan, this year its Hull - Zeebrugge (the Rosyth ferry is prohibitive due to costs) then down through the middle of France to the Pyrenees, Barcelona for a day sightseeing and hopefully avoiding being robbed!! Then ferry to Ibiza for a few days and perhaps a chance to get the Norton over to Formentera (anywhere that captivated Bob Dylan for 6 months must be worth a visit if only to try to spark the creative genius that I'm sure is well hidden somewhere within me!) Back then to Barcelona and a visit to Pampolona before meeting up with friends at the International Norton Rally in the Picos de Europa in the North West of Spain.
After the Rally a leisurely run up the Atlantic coast of France before meeting up with my friends in Kortrik and returning back to Hull.
MVD is as prepared as it can be and so now just the final will I won't I game with clothes and tools, not forgetting various cameras, chargers and paperwork. I remember my first trip abroad on the Commando, a couple of T shirts, small camera and a few tools stuffed into a sports bag on the back, nothing else, no breakdown insurance, holiday insurance, mobile phones and very little cash! On that trip I ended up rebuilding the gearbox and replacing the alternator in France, helped by fellow Norton owners who I had met and who I'm still friends with.
All I want now is sunshine and a sweet running bike, not too much to ask, is it?
I picked up a very nice Commando yesterday, a credit to its former owner (Thanks David)It has though a problem with the top end so instead of a book when I'm resting I can go over in my head what the problem will be. Anyhow its not getting looked at till I get back, something to look forward to post holiday I suppose.
I'll keep this blog updated as much as I can but if I have to do it from my Phone all the time I will single handedly boost the operators profits so If there's a day or two missing its because I'm looking for a free interweb connection.
Maybe see some of you in Spain!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Summertime and the living is easy.

Been another good day but the good weather has made the roads incredibly busy. Also the heat has helped the car drivers lose what little sense they had. Incredibly frustrating riding a bike with today with the roads very busy and full of idiots. Had a cycle encounter also today, ignorant people! A guy and a woman two abreast holding up al the traffic on the coast road! Now chilling beside the world famous Forth ralway bridge.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Nice day

So its just too nice for working so out for a wee run on the mk 3 commando going well and in the sun very satisfying.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Bloody cyclists!!

So there was I this morning, well dinnertime really, recovering from a whisky frenzy at Fi's mums party last night and trying to enjoy brunch in the excellent cafe in Queensferry when we were invaded by ignorant cyclists. Not only do they make life difficult on the road by thinking they own the road and that because they are "green" they have more rights than everybody else to use the highways but I've just found out that their ignorance extends to ALL things. A middle aged woman with a frightfully posh accent took the menu from my table without asking and never returned it, ignorance and rudeness of the highest order. Then her and her 25 pals (all frightfully posh and up their own arse's) proceeded to disrupt my quiet brunch and invade my nostrils with their smelly armpits and backsides. They were noisy, rude and smelly but they probably think they were well behaved!
I was on the Guzzi and they were parked all around it, i really wished I'd been on the Norton so that I could have repaid them with lots of noise and exhaust fumes. Oh well rant over, now I'm fine again.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Glenfarg, Meeting of the Classic club

So after a particularly terrible start to the week weather wise the rain finally abated for Wednesday evening and resulted in some nice bikes turning up for the Scottish Classic Club meeting. These of course are social events, tyre kicking, picking out faults or good bits on each others bikes, technical advice shared and general good camerarderie, a good way to forget about the big bad world out there!Good to see Dennis Jackson who I haven't spoken to for a while and who follows this blog, hello Dennis! Tom Willison trying as ever to persuade me to get the leathers on and venture out for a "Display lap" at Knockhill, no chance Tom, underneath this quiet classic riding sane enthusiast there's still a 20 year old lunatic hiding in there, just like an Alcoholic can't take just one drink, I feel the same about racing, or maybe I'm just scared, who knows. Excellent coverage on the TT this week (first time I've followed it since I stopped racing there) and some excellent displays of high speed riding on the roads. But remember children, these guys are professionals on a closed road so don't try it at home!!

Dennis's very nice (and I'm told rare) short stroke AJS 500 from 1965 (maybe one day he'll see the light and buy a Norton!)

Off now to the Garage to continue preperations for this years grand European Odyssey, leaving two weeks today!

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Trouble again!

So the 750s was finally taxed for the road and I was pleased to be out on it to the Lothians Classic Club meeting on Thursday night, as we turned down the back road towards the meeting place I felt if fluff a little and when I pulled up in the car park it sounded a bit, well a bit fluffy, also with some mild popping back through the carb, a bit like a half hearted fart actually. It got me home but it did seem to be getting worse. Friday I checked it over, the right side plug was black and a check of the plug lead revealed that it appeared not to be fully seated so both leads sorted out and held in place with tie wraps and a new plug, my two mile test (to a nearby roundabout and back) revealed all was well. Fast forward to today (Saturday) I decided to take it to Perth, as I approached the bridge it started misbehaving again, much praying that it would get me over and it did, I stopped at Inverkeithing for a look, it appeared the Left side was not firing all the time, new plug made no difference so off I set again over the bridge keeping the revs over 4000 by slipping the clutch to make sure it didn't conk out, a stressful run home and it expired just as I rolled into the street. I abandoned it and took the Mk3 out (time I actually used it myself) luckily it ran perfectly, met up with my son for a bar lunch, a long time since there has been two Gino Rondelli's on a bike together! and then on my way home a big black raincloud started on me at Glenfarg, just enough to let me feel mother nature cooling my crotch and to dirty the bike. A good run though and glad to say at least one Norton running well today!

The misbehaving 750 with a funky Trident from the same era in front!