Wednesday, 28 December 2022

A lookback at 2022

 Well that was a year I'd rather not remember for some reasons but overall we came out stronger, fitter and in a very positive frame of mind. January I got my old pal Ian Murrie's Triumph ready for sale, drove to the very south of Italy in a van with Graham to pick up old truck parts (4000 miles in 5 days) February I was at the Capper rally camping, a week later went down to collect the Velocette I bought from Dave In Newcastle and the week after that I drove down to Wales to pick up a Guzzi I'd also bought (Christ knows why!)

The beginning of March I had a medical issue which to be honest at the time I didn't know how I was going to end up, I even missed the Old Smokie meeting the following weekend as I was still a prisoner in the Hospital. I'm glad to say that I escaped after a week and started to rebuild my strength and speech, luckily I had a Norton engine to rebuild for Wilson, that was my therapy and made me just get on with it, four weeks later I managed out on my own Norton! Hooray for the healing powers of Motorcycles. Easter came and went, the Guzzi Rally at Falkirk came and went and we bought new bikes figuring that a Russia and Mongolia trip wasn't going to happen soon and that because of my medical episode I realised I didn't have enough bikes. May we set off on our V85's to Southern Ireland for the famous Kilmac meeting and then got a boat to France for a couple of days before going to the BBA meeting in Belgium and then Holland and home via Newcastle.

June we had a Norton weekend in Strontian which was excellent, July we went to Sardinia on the V85's and August to the Begonia rally in Belgium (I took the Norton and Fi took the V85) September we done local stuff including the Vintage club run from Blairgowrie, Then October we had a crazy weekend driving to London and back to pick up a Yamaha Fzr750 for Fiona. We then had a few days in the wind and rain across the North of Scotland to see how our waterproofs were doing (They weren't, they are no longer waterproofs) 

In between we went to Norton meetings, Guzzi meetings, classic bike meetings and generally tried to wear out a few of our bikes.

All in all despite a lapse in March we've been busy and enjoyed every mile and more importantly enjoyed meeting up with our friends. I am hopefully fit and fully charged for 2023 so we can get out and do it all again.

A Happy new year to you all, get out there and do it where you can, don't just dream about it.

Wednesday, 14 December 2022

A misty run

 As always when it gets to this time of year the weather starts getting less inviting for us motorcyclists, however it would be wrong in my opinion to miss out on my favorite pastime. Or is motorcycling a lifestyle choice, or maybe even a way of life? Or maybe even the meaning of life? Discuss....

Anyway, we shot this on a dreich day mid November and because its now mid December and the weather has turned a bit Arctic like with temperatures barely reaching 0 Degree's C for the last few days making safe motorcycling impossible (There is no way you want to be anywhere near a Hospital just now) Even the workshop is cold which has made my Commando fettling a chore so there was nothing to do apart from sit at the Computer and put this together. 

There was a thought to bugger off to somewhere hotter but the Trains are on strike and the customs guys have effectively imposed their own lockdown due to their strikes! It's like being back in the 70's again apart from the fact that in the 70's I didn't care, nobody cared, we were all having a good time and in my case if there was no motorcycling I could always look at the world through alcohol filled eyes and imagine I was having a good time, and despite no central heating, single glazing, freezing houses, Power cuts, no money, no Internet, no mobile phones we WERE having a good time, I still am although age has brought to me a certain irritation about anyone who wants to stop me living on the happy side of my brain. 

Keep motorcycling, its the best therapy !


Thursday, 1 December 2022


 As always I am constantly looking at the weather forecast, even in what we call summer, I am constantly checking to see if I'm going to get wet and cold on the bike. Of Course when we are well into the end of November its not any different, it's normally how wet will we get and how cold will it be. As we have heated Jackets the cold isn't the show stopper it was, you can ride all year round and feel quite warm, sometimes it is actually a thought to stop the bike anywhere because you lose the heat. The main thing I look for now is the frost and ice and obviously the snow, that then becomes dangerous and its time like these that we wish we hadn't sold our Sidecar which was ideal for the snow and icy conditions. This week though has been fine and we managed out on Sunday and I ventured out myself on Monday, as I've said before a couple of hours on the bike is enough to reset any stresses and keep your mind in a positive frame, it should be available on the NHS (It makes more sense than some of the stuff they are championing at the moment!)

The other great news is that the 650 BMW's are still managing 75 -80 miles per gallon, that makes it even more enjoyable. In garage news, I managed to get the Velocette going last week after fitting the Thorspark electronic ignition which was a result and its now parked until Springtime when I finalise the small adjustments to the timing. The Mk3 Commando is on the bench, getting some TLC which was overdue, its been my go to Norton for a while and now needs some fettling before next year when the plan is for Fiona to ride it more whilst I get MVD out of long term hibernation to start wearing that out again!

If you can keep on keeping on, you know it makes sense!

Tea stop
Theraputic view
The road ahead
One less to run out in front of me, how stupid are these things?
Blue sky, November, not bad!
It's always worth stopping to admire the view

Monday, 21 November 2022

A wee hurl over same favorite roads

 The weekend didn't look too promising after a very wet and stormy week, floods seemed to be everywhere and the ground is now totally saturated meaning the fields are just running off into the roads, the roads cant cope as the cooncil seems to have stopped any attempt at maintaining drainage as they have no money. Mind you plenty money for "vanity" projects like building a new bridge over the Tay (I am all for new roads where it's sensible) which involves more deforestation and farming land being covered in tarmac, plenty money for new traffic lights in the city which do nothing but create holdups and frustration for road users trying to get into the town to spend money or to do their work, the same traffic lights which also increase the fumes from vehicles for pedestrians, and the same traffic lights which give cyclists carte blanche to jump queues and create others because the think they are the most important road users on the planet. Meanwhile our cash strapped government (!!!!) rather than doing sensible stuff like upgrading the A9 would rather spend money on complete nonsense (which I will not go into here)

Now that sounded like a rant, sorry, the amount of insanity in the world gets to me sometimes because all I want to do is selfishly enjoy myself and motorcycling is a huge part of that.

So back to Sunday, a damp but brighter day so we took out the BMW's for a run, topped up the fuel and met fellow Norton and Guzzi Owner Ian at the petrol station, he was in the car although I didn't get the impression he would rather be on the bike, heated gear Ian, makes all the difference. The wonderful thing about motorcycling is the ability to make it up as you go along, we headed through Crieff and Comrie, we then saw that Tullybannocher was open so a coffee and for me two bacon rolls followed, It appeared to be the consensus that would be closed until the end of January. It looked clear towards Loch Earn so we headed that way and then up Glen Ogle to Killin, the roads were quiet and despite the wet roads it was excellent. We headed along Loch Tay and took the GlenQuaich road back to the Sma Glen, Glenalmond and home, almost 100 miles and excellent! Glen Quaich was a bit of a challenge as the water running down the road made it feel we were riding up a river, be careful if you get over there soon, the associated gravel can make it a bit treacherous. Hopefully the "Winter" stays away for a while yet, there is still fun to be had even though it is Cooler (although a heated jacket helps) Stay safe, enjoy yourself and try not to let the insanity of the modern world get to you. 


Loch Tay and blue sky
and again
Looking towards Kenmore on the Glen Quaich road
Towards Amulree

Monday, 14 November 2022

Almost the middle of November

 We were lucky in that it didn't rain and the sun actually made an appearance, despite the gritters been spotted the roads although filthy aren't full of salt so that is a result. Saturday breakfast at Rait antique centre, usual excellent food from Tim, we then went via Dunkeld where the queue to get onto the A9 was busy so we turned left and headed to the train station to turn around, we had been told there was a good burger van there so we stopped for a coffee. We had just had breakfast so a coffee was enough, the coffee was pretty rank, it was warm and looked like coffee and at £2 a cup wasn't too pricey. The train station is a magnificent building but is all locked up, it would make a fantastic cafe but instead we are eating outside! Of course there are no toilets which is why Scotland smells of urine quite often and if your unlucky worse, welcome to a magnificent country with great scenery but with no facilities. I suppose its because of Brexit, maybe the fuel crisis, war in the Ukraine, or any number of things that spring to mind except of course a completely broken political system and a complete lack of "get up and go" from the Councils and the higher political echelons.

Rant over, it was a glorious day and finished off with a welcome cup of tea at Myreside (Thanks Bill and Kat) 

Sunday was very misty but we left prepared with provisions for a day out, the mist never lifted until we descended down Glen Quaich  into Kenmore. We were actually wet from the mist, it doesn't have to rain here to get wet!   The distant view of Loch Tay looked brighter so we rode along and up over the hill to Glenlyon, it was excellent and when we stopped for a cuppa and a sandwich it was actually very nice. There were a few bikes out which was a surprise including a nice sounding Velocette and AJS twin  obviously taking advantage of the late sun. So a great weekend and a few miles done of the 650 BMW's which have been dragged out for winter duty, long may the weather hold and get out there if you can, its really good fun. 

Saturday breakfast
Sun coming out
and again
Brahan wood
short stop
Sunday, mist clearing
still keeping the helmet on though
Loch Tay
Sun almost through in bits
Its behind you
still nice
Suntrap at Bridge of Balgie
Tea time