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Sunday, 15 October 2017

DGR - compare and contrast

Official video from this year's Distinguished Gentleman's Ride.

As you can see, lots of smartly dressed riders in various cities around the world riding in glorious sunshine.

Meanwhile in Glasgow.......

Yes, it was that wet! That's me loading things into my wicker basket at the 02:00 mark.

Still, we got out there and raised a lot of money for charity - let's hope it's a bit nicer next year!

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Distinguished Gentleman's Ride 2017 - Glasgow

Took part in the VERY wet DGR today in Glasgow. Despite the weather there was a very good turnout and I think everyone enjoyed themselves. I had to wear waterproofs over my suit, but my (non-motorcycling) boots and allegedly 'waterproof' gloves soaked through fairly quickly. I also wore an open face helmet for the first time since I was 17, and now know why - my face felt like it was being sandblasted when I was riding in the rain!

Despite the bad weather, I managed to take loads of photos, so here's the first selection of them. More photos and a more complete write up later.

We met up at the Fort Shopping Centre - yes, that's me!

We then made out way to George Square in the city centre. - Just look how wet it is!

We then headed to Triumph Glasgow's showroom at Hillington.

Keith's Nimbus

Some dapper chaps.

 Band playing in Triumph Glasgow's showroom

One of my favourites. This used to be a Yamaha XV750 Virago - looks a lot better now!

My Friend David's 1959 BMW R60/2 at George Square

Is this yours, Shirley?

 This Ariel won 'Best Bike'.

There was also a display by the classic Triumph car club

This dog was so friendly that I had to take its picture!

One of the charities we were raising money for.

My brother came to see the Ride and took a couple of photos of me (from his blog).

Me arriving at George Square.

More later!

Monday, 18 September 2017

The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride - less than a week to go!

That's me got all of my riding ensemble ready, the bike just needs a good polish and its fetlocks oiled, and I'll be ready for the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride on Sunday.

So far, there are 63,000 riders booked in worldwide, with 147 on the Glasgow ride I'll be taking part in. Donations have reached US$2.6Million (£1.9 million), more than halfway towards the target of US$5 million (£2.6 million). The Glasgow ride has raised £6750 so far, but there's still plenty of time for you to donate!

For understandable reasons, the organisers don't give out route details to non-riders, but if you happen to be in George Square in Glasgow at about 11:30 - 12:00, you might just see us!

There's still time to register for your local ride here, and feel free to donate on my fundraising page here.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Distinguished Gentleman's Ride 2017 update

Further to my last post about the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride, it's now only 4 weeks to go and there are 25,000 riders booked in world wide, and US$1.1 million has been raised towards the US$5 million target.

There are 87 riders booked for the Glasgow ride so far, so we should have a good turnout. We are going to have a 45 minute stop at George Square for photos and so the public can see the bikes (and riders!) After that we ride on to an event at Triumph Glasgow's showroom at Hillington. If you're in the area, please come along and support the event.

One aspect to the DGR that I disagree with is the so called 'style guide', which lists the types of bikes welcome. I thought this was about people dressing up and raising money for charity, rather than restricting it to certain types of bike. Especially when some of the styles - bobbers, brat style, etc - are likely to be as transient a fashion style as the hipsters who ride them. Why not open it up to every style of bike and scooter? But it's not my ride, so I don't make the rules.

However, the style guide would allow in old Eastern European bikes. Back in my MZ 2 stroke days this would have been the sort of thing we would have jumped at, so come on MZers, Jawa/CZ riders, and those of you with old Soviet bikes - sign up and outnumber the hipsters! We want more bikes like this!

And what about you Royal Enfield riders? Let's see you there!

I'll probably post again before the event, don't forget to donate on my page.

(Thanks to Stuart Anderson for his recent donation).

More time in the garage

Had a busy weekend in the garage and have my Yamaha SZR 660 'restoration project' nearly finished. It's only taken me about 4 years, and the previous owner had 'abandoned' it in a shed for another 4 years before I bought it, so it's been a long time since it's been on the road.

It just need a bit of 'finishing', a polish, some badges and an MOT (British safety check) and it'll be back on the road. I don't intend on keeping it, (handlebars far too low for me), so it'll be up for sale soon.

The SZR 660 is a fairly rare bike, built in Italy and as far as I know, not sold outside of Europe. It consisted of a XTZ 660 engine in a frame based on the TZR 250. It had an output of 48 bhp which with its 159kg kerb weight, gave a nice sporting package. Built from 1996 to 2001, it sold in very low numbers due to very high price and ugly styling even by 90s standards. It has high quality wheels, brakes and suspension (Brembo and Paioli) and the lowest saddle height (690mm) of any bike I've had - it also taught me never to buy a bike without a centre stand again! Even simple jobs become a hassle.

It's been an interesting project, but it's not really  a bike for me.

I also repaired a mobile generator.

It had been left on my driveway by a friend, and they told me that it backfired and spluttered, but wouldn't start. I cleaned out the carb (dirt in the fuel is a common problem with these as they're used outdoors in dirty conditions), but everything seemed OK. I didn't have a plug spanner small enough to take the spark plug out, but could check that the ignition was firing.
There was a sticker on the side saying that it was fitted with a system that if the oil level was low, the engine would cut out. I checked and the oil didn't even get onto the dipstick! Oil topped up and it started with no problem. Wolf obviously know that typical owners never check the oil before the engine seizes - can think of some people who have done that with bikes!!!!!

Friday, 25 August 2017

Friday bike

Saw an interesting bike at the Coupes Moto Legende in May this year, so did a bit of searching to see what I could find out about it.

I'm not able to access the photos I took, so have used ones I found on the Web

Revatto 125 JBB

Very few details of this bike other than it was developed jointly by French (?) company ESTM and Chinese bike firm Baotian.

It was on a stall with a number of race bikes with the same front end (referred to as JBB), and used a Chinese 125cc 'clone' engine of Japanese origin.

It had been shown at a number of bikes shows since 2006, but hasn't (yet) reached production.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Saturday car

As I'd previously posted, my Volvo was up for sale. Well, it sold yesterday so I could arrange to collect the car I'd bought about a month ago. I didn't want to tax and insure two cars, so this one had been 'stored' on someone's driveway.

I'm not really that 'into' cars, but I like things that are stylish and well built, so bought a 2005 Mercedes Benz E220 estate.

I wasn't really looking for another car but it came up at the right price at the right time. It's a 2.2 litre diesel, and is the first car I've owned with automatic transmission. This has taken a bit of getting used to (you always feel you should be doing more!), but I bought an automatic scooter last year and that's worked out OK.

It's really nice to drive, very smooth and stable, and the dashboard has lots of buttons to press - some of which I have no idea what they do!

I particularly like the cream leather interior!

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Distinguished Gentleman's Ride 2017

As some of you will know, the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride is a world wide motorcycle charity event held each year on 24th September. The idea is for riders to dress up in their finery, follow a route through various cities, and end up at a meeting place. Riders are sponsored and funds raised go towards combatting prostate cancer and men's mental health.

This year I'll be taking part in the Glasgow run on my Bonneville. Last year they had 56,000 participants in 505 cities in 90 countries, and raised US$ 3.6 million. This year they are hoping for even more.

The Glasgow route will be from the Fort Shopping Centre, a 45 minute stop at George Square to show off the bikes, then on to Triumph Glasgow in Hillington where and event has been planned. So if you're in the area, come along to cheer us on! (End of September in Glasgow - bound to be cold and wet!)

It's not just for Gentlemen - Gentleladies are welcome too!

DGR website with details of all the rides and how to register: here

DGR Facebook page: here

And if you can't make it along to your local event, please donate on my page: here

Last year's Glasgow run:

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Argyll 190

Following on from the success of the North Coast 500 tourist route, a shorter route has been promoted in Argyll. As the name suggests, it's a route of approximately 190 miles (306km) starting and finishing in Inveraray and taking in both sides of the Mull of Kintyre.

Suitably moody photo of Inveraray I found on the Web

The route heads south down the west coast of the Mull of Kintyre to the town of Campbeltown.


From there, there's a short detour south to Southend at the tip of the Mull of Kintyre, back to Cambeltown, then north to Inveraray by the narrow, winding road on the East side of the peninsula.

Map giving the approximate route

I've ridden this route in the past and the West side has some spectacular views where the East side has a more challenging route. However, weather can be variable - when it is clear this will be a great run, when it's wet and especially if it is windy, it could be miserable! Keep your eye on the weather forecast!

You can do this run in a single day from West Central Scotland (I have), but travelling from further afield, it would be worth staying in Inveraray for  couple of nights and spending a day doing the route. Details of accommodation here. Nearby campsites here. Note: I haven't stayed at any of the places on these websites, so can't give any opinions on them.

Alternatively, you could split your journey with an overnight stay near Campbeltown. Accommodation: here, camping at Machrihanish: here. Again, I've not stayed in any of the places on these websites.

More information: here, here, and a leaflet from Argyll and Bute Council (including a map) here.

If anyone rides this route, please post comments below.

Friday, 7 July 2017

More SRZ660 progress

I'd bought a replacement saddle cover some time ago to replace the somewhat tatty, porous and discoloured cover that was on the bike when I got it. I'd tried lining it up and quickly worked out that fitting it to the fairly complex shape of the saddle without folds and creases was beyond my ability, so found a local company who could do it. I took the saddle in and they fitted it perfectly while I waited.

I did a 'test fit' of some of the bodywork (still to be painted) to see how it'll look and am quite pleased with the result.

Yes, even by 90s standards, it's pretty ugly!

The company I went to was Baillie's Car Trimmers in Linwood. they mostly do cars, boats and campervans, but the guy showed me lots of photos of bikes he had done, including lots of classics and one-offs for custom bikes. They also have a Facebook page here.

If I get nice warm weather over the weekend I should get some painting done - at last this is starting to feel like it's on the home stretch!

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Yamaha SZR660 update

As some of you will know, I've got a Yamaha SZR660 that I bought a few years ago. When I bought it, it had been sitting in a leaky shed for a few years, had been dropped on one side (probably just fallen off its stand), and was generally scruffy and neglected.
I started doing some work on it, but it was very 'off and on'. I didn't have regular work at the time, so suffered from 'when I had money I didn't have time, and when I had time I didn't have money'.
However, with both my Skorpions away, I've had some time to do some more work on it. I'd had to strip and clean out both brake calipers and replace the front brake reservoir. I fitted new brake pads and this week replaced the brake fluid. This went reasonably well and it now has two working brakes.
I've been running the engine now and then to keep oil circulating, but have only this week replaced the airbox (with new air filter). It's a bit of a pain to wiggle into place and get both hoses onto the carbs - no wonder most SZRs I've come across have pod filters.

It's now running well without any hiccups or visible smoke.

I've also dug out the bodywork that I repaired and resprayed a couple of years ago. It's in very good condition, but I was never really that happy with the paint finish. I spent hours today smoothing it down with 2500 grade 'wet and dry', and I'll give it another coat or two fairly soon.

Once the bodywork is resprayed it can be refitted and have some small bits and pieces sorted out. I'm planning on having the bike finished and ready for sale before the end of the summer (ha, ha - we've heard that before!).

Friday, 30 June 2017

Scottish aviation pioneers

I've been working in Stirling for a few days this week, and noticed a small aircraft sculpture at the side of the Causewayhead roundabout. I stopped today and it commemorates to Scottish aircraft pioneers, the Barnwell brothers.

Frank and Harold Barnwell had a factory nearby where they build the aircraft that achieved the first powered flight in Scotland in 1909.

More reading on the Stirling Archives website. 

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Coupes Moto Legende videos

Sorry I've been a bit quiet lately but I've had all sorts of computer problems. After a couple of weeks of reinstalling software numerous times without any joy, I finally bit the bullet and bought a new laptop.
Here are some short videos I made at the Coupes Moto Legende last month. They are basically just me walking about the event talking rubbish, commenting on how hot it is, and saying 'there you go' quite a lot. Hope they give you a flavour of what it's like.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Ayr Classic Show

Another weekend and another bike show. This time the 28th Scottish Classic Motorcycle Show - Ayr to give its correct title. This is held each year at Ayr Racecourse and is hosted by Ayr Classic Motorcycle Club.

It was a bit dull and blustery when I rode down but some brightened up. I think there were fewer bikes there than on previous years, but they were higher 'quality' and laid out a lot better. There were also more trade stall including a very good display by a local Royal Enfield dealer.

Always a good show with plenty of good bikes to see both at the show and in the parking area.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find my camera, so had to use my phone. This means the quality of pictures is a bit poor, especially those taken indoors. Sorry about that!