Saturday 5 October 2019

Distinguished Gentleman's Ride 2019 – Glasgow

The Glasgow Ride of the DGR 2019 was a great success – about 200 riders and no rain!

The day before, my friend's daughter Summer came to my house and we had an afternoon of baking cakes for the after ride party.

We assembled at a supermarket carpark in Milngavie.

Motorbike Milly put in an appearance

Then headed off through Bearsden, Maryhill, and Hillhead to our assembly point in Kelvin Way.

From there it was through Partick, Clyde Tunnel, and on to Triumph Glasgow for the after ride party.

There were awards for Best Bike, Most Dapper Gentleman, and Most Dapper Lady – won by Summer!

The riders and families had a great time chatting, looking at the bikes, eating summer's cakes, and listening to a superb young jazz band.

A great day and at time of writing, the Glasgow ride raised about £20,000 and the global amount is US£5.7 million. (£ 4.6 million ). However, there still time to donate!

My fundraising page

My photos here

My brother also posted on his blog 

Tuesday 24 September 2019

Distinguished Gentleman's Ride 2019

This coming Sunday (29th September) I'll once again be taking part in the Glasgow ride of the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride to raise money for prostate cancer and mental health charities. This involves dressing in our finest attire and riding in a group through the city. You can read more about the Ride and their aims here: about

Last year my friend Jane rode pillion with me,

This was only the second time she'd ever been on a bike, but still managed to shoot some video:

Jane's daughter Summer baked lots of cakes for the after run party earning herself a rosette.

Jane won't be able to take part this year (health reasons) but Summer will be baking again.

If you can, please donate to this very worthwhile cause on my page:  Norman's page

Some photos from last year's event:  DGR 2018

A fine weekend

Really good weather the last week, unseasonably hot and sunny – just right for riding the bike.

The Triumph Owners Motorcycle Club (TOMCC) had arranged a weekend rally in Kyleakin on the Isle of Skye, a really good ride to a very scenic part of the country. I would have gone, but the TOMCC insist that entertainment at rallies is provided by rock/heavy metal bands, so not for me.
A group from the Glasgow section of the club had arranged to meet at Dumbarton and ride up to the rally, so I decided to join them for part of the route then return home. I got up on Friday morning and couldn't see across my street due to thick fog! I hadn't got any better by the time I left, and traffic was down to 40 mph/60km/h due to poor visibility and I was struggling to keep my visor clear.
Just after the Erskine Bridge I saw a couple of heavily laden bikes at the side of the road, and as one was a Triumph Tiger, I stopped to see if they were heading to the rally. They weren't, but asked if they were on the right road for Loch Lomond (they were) and if there was a café nearby. They had Lancashire accents and were shaking with the cold. If they'd left Lancashire that morning, they would have been on the road for 3 or 4 hours by that point. Luckily there's a service station a couple of miles further on with a Starbucks that I could direct them to.
I headed on to the service station at Dumbarton, went into the café for some coffee and waited for the others to arrive. Eventually about 20 other Triumph owners turned up and the fog had lifted a bit.

The group headed off towards Loch Lomond and it became clear that the Triumph Club doesn't do group riding – everyone just rode off at their own pace and would see the others at the next stop. One rider had gone into the shop at the services just before we left and the others had left without them. I rode slowly to see if they would catch me up, eventually stopping and waiting for them. From there we had a good clear ride (fog had lifted), albeit a bit slow due to touring coaches. Next stop was the Green Welly Stop at Tyndrum where we met with other riders.

From there we rode through Glencoe where I managed to shoot some video. As normal of these roads, I was stuck behind a touring coach driving unreasonably slowly.

I'd completely lost sight of the other Triumph riders, some were in front, some behind by the time I got to Ballachulish where they would head north towards Fort William and I would head round the coast to Oban.

I love Art Deco buildings

I was unlocking my bike to leave when I was approached by an elderly American tourist. He asked, incredulously 'how to you manage to ride on these roads with so many curves? He must come from somewhere where the roads are dead straight!
From Oban I headed towards Lochgilphead, where I stopped for something to eat, I'd worked in Lochgilphead at one time, but hadn't been there for a long time.

Worked on an alarm system in this building. Think it was Social Work Department at the time

From there it was an easy ride back throught Inverary to Rest and be Thankful.


The following day I did some jobs around the house and garage, then in mid afternoon I decided to go for a run. I had the scooter (Honda Forza 300) out of the garage to wash it, so went on that. Had a pleasant couple of hours riding backroads of Renfrewshire and North Ayrshire, no real plan, just taking roads as they came.
I stopped at the Harelaw Dam above the village of Neilston. When I was a teenager me and my friends used to cycle here. It was mostly uphill, so it was fun freewheeling for miles on the way back! Back then it was 'the middle of nowhere', but now there's a carpark, an angling club, a trout hatchery, boats, etc. Changed days!

The road after that becomes rougher and narrower, eventually becoming little more than a farm track with grass up the middle. This showed a limitation of the scooter - its small wheels and limited travel suspension make this kind of road a bit of a challenge! On surfaced roads it's fine, but this was taking it a bit out of its depth. Once back on surfaced roads it was a pleasant ride home.

One thing today's trip showed was how good a touring bike the scooter would be. I normally only use it for commuting on a journey that is 99% motorway and dual carriageway. However, it's perfectly at home on winding country roads (as long as they are surfaced!) It has enough power to cruise at 70 mph/115 km/h, has good fuel range (150+miles/240+km), is comfortable, and has luggage carrying capacity under the saddle. You could comfortably ride one from here to the South of France and back without any problems. A single you could tour on!

Sunday 22 September 2019

Engine sound

Ignore this post. I'm posting a video of my engine running so a friend can compare it with his. The video file is too big to be e-mailed, so I have to post it here.

Saturday 14 September 2019

Fairport's Cropredy Convention – Day 3

I was woken during the night by very strong winds. I knew my tent would survive, but it was whipping about a bit, which meant that I didn't get a very good sleep. I got up about 6 and had a shower, it was still windy and some people were starting to pack up and I saw a number of tents in a sorry state.

For some reason I was feeling really down and seriously felt like packing up and going home. I knew the mood would pass, so I had breakfast and went for a walk along the canal and back through Cropredy.

Only in Cropredy would you see a bicycle drawn record shop - it's that sort of place!

I got back to the campsite about 9 and had a sleep for a couple of hours in the car as my tent was still flapping about a bit. More tents had collapsed and there were a number of spaces where people had left. I made my way down to the performance field to find a crowd waiting. Due to the high wind, the opening of the field had been delayed for 45 minutes for checks on the stage and lighting to see if it was safe to proceed. Eventually the crowd was let in and announcements were made saying that the crew had been working on the stage since 4 am to get it ready and the Safety People had given the OK for the Festival to continue. A number of the food and clothing stall looked a bit worse for wear and apparently a caravan had blown over!

As they were running a bit late the first act came straight on and the festival was back on.

 Richard Digance - has opened the Saturday session at Cropredy for the last 16 years!

Daphne's Flight 

Tide Lines - young band from the Highlands showing there's not enough bagpipes in rock music! 

Only really bad band at Cropredy - Zal Cleminson's /sin'dogs/ (that's how they write it.) I'd seen Zal over 40 years ago with The Sensational Alex Harvey Band. SAHBs were a really interesting band, they took music from a wide range of backgrounds, Jacques Brel, stage musicals, etc and performed then in a rock vein. I was expecting something similar, but the /sin'dogs/ were just a really poor heavy metal band. I texted a friend saying there was a 'Spinal Tap tribute band' on stage, but at least Spinal Tap had a sense of humour! It gave me an excuse to go for a walk and look at other things.

 Martin Barre Band. They were billed as 'plays 50 years of Jethro Tull'. Martin had been a member of Jethro Tull for about 50 years, so I expected a sort of 'tribute band'. However, they performed modern interpretations of Jethro Tull songs and were much better than expected. Band included ex-Jethro Tull members Clive Bunker on drums and Dee (formerly David) Bedford on keyboards, and Fairport's Dave Pegg, himself ex-Jethro Tull joined them on stage for a couple of songs. 

 Martin Simpson

I had filmed a number of acts with a GoPro clone action camera but it hadn't really worked out as the lens is too wide and the microphone a bit poor. During Martin's set I filmed him using the video function of my still camera and was very impressed with the result.

Now was time for the hosts, Fairport Convention to close the festival. They played a two and a half hour set and invited a number of guests they had played with over the years onto the stage.

 Cropredy residents Joe Brown and a fiddle player who's name I didn't catch joined them for a couple of songs.

At the end of their set all the guests joined them for a traditional singalong version of 
'Meet on the Ledge'.

After that we all made our way back to our tents for a well deserved rest - it had been a long but enjoyable 3 days!