Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Doing the splits...

I was thinking back over my ride out in to East Yorkshire the other day. It was, in the main part, a real stress buster. However, on the final leg home I made a navigational poor decision and joined the A64 York by-pass heading east.

For those of you who live locally or have travelled this road trying to get to the east coast, you will know what a pig's ear the 'Hop Grove' roundabouts are at the junction with the A1237 York ring road. A desperately poor piece of road planning made many times worse by traffic lights at the roundabouts. The tail-backs that were the norm for bank holidays and hot weekends are now an every day occurrence. So, having entered the dual carriageway at the last junction prior to this road planning disaster I was faced with a tail-back of over a mile.

Now filtering in heavy traffic on single carriage roads is a fairly tense affair, but this business of lane splitting... well I've not done anything requiring such a level of concentration since I last free-climbed a cliff face in Scotland. I reckon it takes a degree of clairvoyance trying to guess what the drivers of the vehicles you intend to ride between are going to do. I have to say most drivers are happy to let you pass, many actually opening the gap. But there are a few... I've probably said it before in an earlier post, but it's worth repeating just in case any non-biking drivers do read this, I'm not trying to mess with your journey so why mess with mine?

Monday, 26 August 2013

No longer just a spectator...

This morning I got off my bed feeling wretched. There's a couple of reasons but the main one is this awful screaming tinnitus which seems to be bothering me more just lately. So, before 9 o'clock on a bank holiday morning I was on the road astride the Triumph.

Staying off the main roads I headed east from York, vaguely in the direction of Beverley via Stamford Bridge and Pocklington. Some of those East Yorkshire roads are great. The road from Market Weighton to South Cave has some great twists and turns that make it disappear then reappear in the distance as it crests a hill. Blue sky and bright sunshine added to the overall enjoyment.

I've driven some of these roads over the years, but in a car you are almost totally cut off from your surroundings. It's more like watching a film. On a bike you're completely in touch, every sense reacting to the surroundings, no longer just a spectator.

There were quite a few bikers out on the road, more so as I headed homewards around midday. Nice touch from a learner rider coming the other way in Bishop Burton who gave a warning hand signal. Sure enough, hidden just around a bend was camera van. Can't those guys even take a day off on a bank holiday?

I was hoping there may be a tea van at the lay-by at the top of Weighton Hill, but alas no. Haven't seen one there for a while. Anyone fancy taking on the pitch? I really would have liked a cuppa at that point. Still stopped to take photos though.

 Parked where the tea van should be.

Cracking view across the lower part of the Vale of York from here.

For those of you who may travel this way note the speed cameras. There's a set halfway down the hill too.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

My heart goes...

My heart goes Boombadyboombadyboombadyboombadyboobooboom!

Goodness gracious me!
The 2014 Breakout - stunning!
(Goodness Gracious Me: D Lee & H Kretzner 1960: artists Peter Sellers & Sophia Loren)

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Maybe I'll go all the way...

Earlier today during one of those periods when I try to do anything rather let this wretched tinnitus drive me beyond the edge of insanity, I was messing about on the internet and decided to Google map the Harley Davidson factory in Milwaukee. I got right in and onto street scene and had a trip between headquarters and manufacturing plant. Sort of imagined the ride if you will.

Then I zoomed out and had a look at where it was in relation to other parts of the USA. Chicago not too far away. I'd like to visit there and sample the jazz scene. Maybe one I could go all the way to Milwaukee and get my.... Better stop there before I get too carried away! Anyway, I don't want to do my local dealer, Leeds Harley Davidson out of a sale.

So, why a Harley?...

Harley Davidson kindly left a comment after my last post, reminding me of one of the benefits of owning a Breakout (no chain to clean). So true. But, really there is so much more behind my NEED for a Harley, and in particular the lovely Softail Breakout.

Don't get me wrong, this Triumph of mine is a great bike and it turns heads wherever I go. I'm told by someone at a Triumph dealer that it is fast becoming a sought after classic. That I can understand. I get a real buzz whenever I ride it. But just take a look at this...

...and this...

                                                             ...then I add to it what's in my head and it's up there with the most beautiful motorcycles in the world, ever.

As you will see from earlier posts, I have ridden a variety of bikes over the years, but I have wanted a Harley Davidson ever since I first saw that poster from the seminal film Easy Rider. You know the one...


And for those of you who don't like Harleys... can kiss... tail pipe!

One of those mucky little jobs...

Yesterday was grey, windy and occasional showers blew in. It wasn't a day for fun riding. However, it was a good day for catching up with maintenance tasks. So, I dug out an old tooth brush and on went the overalls. It was time to clean the chain.

A good spray with WD40 and let it seep through for a few minutes. Then to work with the tooth brush on chain and sprocket. Twenty minutes brushing followed by a few turns of the back wheel to run the chain through a cloth, which went from white to black very quickly and bore testament to how filthy the chain had been. Then a liberal spraying of WD40 Chain Wax and the job was done.

  Dirty black chain was lovely and gold.  
 It was one of those mucky little jobs...

...that leaves you feeling very self-satisfied.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Watch 'em come and go...

This evening I had a good run out on the Triumph. Through York, up the Selby Road and turn off on to the B1222 for Naburn. Through Naburn, Stillingfleet and Cawood along a great twisty road to Sherburn in Elmet. Unfortunately the road is closed in Sherburn for resurfacing. So, a bit of a detour via the A162 and the A63 to re-join the B1222 at the far end. Of course many bikers will know already where I was heading for - Squires Cafe. My first Wednesday night there and it was great. Had a wander around admiring a huge variety of machines. Then grabbed a 7Up and sat watching the bikes come and go. Took some snaps too...

Came back from a wander to find my bike blocked in by a Gold Wing and a Vespa! Not that I minded as I wasn't in a hurry to leave. The green Kawasaki and the Harley went not long after I took the photo, so no probs.
I'm sure I'm going to be a regular!

Thursday, 8 August 2013

A slight issue with gloves...

As you will see from this photograph I have something of an issue with gloves...

This was the result of a mountaineering accident back in the mid 80s. I've actually been longer without finger than I was with it. Apart from the odd ghost pain, especially when it's cold, it doesn't bother me or hinder me in any way. Or it didn't until I took up riding motorcycles again.

                          It's OK when I'm wearing summer gloves...

                                                           ...I can tuck the spare bit away.

But, when it's a bit colder and I wear the thicker gloves with the extra armour...

                               ...there's no way the extra bit will tuck away.

So, I'm left with a spare non-digit flapping around and getting in the way of the clutch lever. If I just cut the glove finger off I will be left with a hole letting cold air in and the chances are the rest of the stitching will come undone. Having a pair specially made will be much too costly.

I would be interested to hear from anyone with a similar problem who has come up with a solution.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, my left hand does ache if I have to change gear a lot. Loss of index finger and ray = 30% loss of grip.


Saturday, 3 August 2013

When the bike falls away from you...

I'm sure most of you will quickly guess what happened when you see the following photos:

Yes, I dropped the bike! Fortunately it was at the side of my dad's drive, so no audience and it mostly landed on grass. Just the brake lever caught the concrete.

It's a heavy bike and I was trying to put it up onto the centre stand. Strapped to the seat was a fairly heavy back pack containing laptop and some paperwork. That, it seems, was enough to tip the balance. When the bike falls away from you there's nothing you can do, apart from swear a lot.

As it was mainly on grass I couldn't get the grip for a 'walk back' lift and my very painful back is now testament to the real struggle I had to get the bike upright.

All this happened on Thursday. A quick call to local Triumph dealer (A1 Motorcycles in York) and parts were ordered. Collected them yesterday.

This evening, after a few minutes work with two spanners and a screwdriver all was as it should be as the photos below show:

I just wish my back was as easy to fix.