Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Vimy 100

It's less than two weeks to go. I have my ferry booked and even took up the P&O offer to have RAC cover just in case Pepé breaks down.  Like all insurances you might never need it but...

So whilst I have a while before I need to pack the big lock and the panniers with stuff to wear whilst on foot at the ceremony, my thoughts turn to where to park.

The monument itself will be closed to the public, or at least private vehicles, with a shuttle bus service being laid on to take the public up there. As yet, there are no details in the website to say where the parking will be nor where the shuttle buses will run from. I assume as with the Somme 100 event last July the two will be about the same place. But where?

The FAQ:

Q 8: Will there be parking available onsite for the April 9th ceremony? Will there be accessible parking for those with mobility impairment? Will the site be wheelchair accessible?
A 8: There will be no vehicle access to the Vimy Memorial site for the ceremony on April 9. The Vimy Memorial site will be accessible to those with mobility impairments. More information will be posted on the website as it becomes available.
Q 10: Will transportation be available to and from the ceremony?
A 10: A public shuttle system will operate to transport the public to and from the Vimy site. Information about shuttle schedule, pickup points and designated parking will be posted here as it becomes available.
At the moment none too helpful. I go and check everyday.  I need to get the parking/shuttle into the TomTom so that I can find it off the A26 motorway.

On this trip I will be Johnny No-mates but I expected as much.  Things to do nearer the time. Decide what camera to take and charge the batteries up. Canon DSLR or Samsung compact?  Charge up the external power supplies for the mobile phone. 
A couple of pictures off the Canadian site.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Ride out

Today would have been the Meldrews' March meeting but most of the regulars were away and I was down with a cold. So I didn't feel like a breakfast meeting.

We took the dog for his walk and were back for lunch.  By 3pm I needed to get out and so it was.

Firing up the engine I saw that the miles to empty on the clock was 12. I am sure it would have been more when I was last out. Obviously not.

First stop was Tesco for petrol.  A ride up the A20 and past the Blue and White where I should have been some five hours earlier.  No waiting but annoying that "pay at the pump" wasn't working again. Always seems up the swanee when I am on the bike.

Where next? I decided to head for the coast and then loop back home. So opted for the B2070 to Brenzett and then the A259 to Romney, then Lydd and onto the Dungeness Estate. I was too late for the railway cafe although there was a train in the station.

Instead I tried to get a pic of the bike by the old lighthouse. The sun wasn't doing me any favours and so I took just the one.

From there it was back along the newly resurfaced estate road back to the public road and along the coast back to the 259 and home. A short detour across country via Burmarsh and West Hythe.

I was out about 90 minutes in all and for mid March it wasn't too cold.

In the picture you can just make out Pepé in the dark shadow. 

Monday, 6 March 2017

Vimy 2017

Planning has begun on the first run of the year. This trip will be to Vimy in Northern France. 

This year is the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Arras, and in particular the Canadian assault on the enemy held ridge at Vimy to the north-west of the city.

I have been several times before, lastly in 2014 and in 2015 I had a heart operation just days before it took place!

This will be a Johnny No-Mates trip as we had originally planned to have it as a Meldrews event but when we found that Eurotunnel had no day tickets to sell as it is the week before Easter, we dropped it.

The date is as always April 9th and this year it is a Sunday. Ferry tickets have been booked and so we are ready to roll. 


Report later.

Monday, 20 February 2017

First decent day... Red Pepé gets out

Yesterday was the first decent weather day for weeks and weeks.  The last time I had Pepé out of the garage was over a month ago and then for a ride to the January Meldrew's Monthly meeting at the Blue and White. That day it was cold.  Very cold in fact.

Since then, although we haven't had any decent snowfall nor any appreciable rain we have those horrible damp days where the air seems to consist of water just waiting to make itself into rain.  The roads are damp.  Occasional overnight frosts have the local gritters out coating the "major routes" with a mixture and gritty sand and salt.

It's the salt that plays havoc with bikes.  Over the years car manufacturers have got wise to this and use galvanised metal. Even the traditional rust-buckets from southern Europe are made of it.  Hence no more rusty two year old FIAT cars on the road...

But. Motorcycle manufacturers may have caught up with this for the frames and stuff like petrol/gas tanks but not wheels!  Triumph in particular are coming in for some criticism over the treatment of wheels, or lack of it.  

Pepé was two years old a few weeks ago and try as I may, the bike looks almost new except for the wheels. No amount of elbow grease and hard work can keep them looking good.

Don't talk to me about chrome! 

Anyway, the second run out of the year was to the Meldrew's!  I took a bit of back road to get out of Hythe as we had a weekend of road works on the main road in!  Then to make up time a quick dash up the M20 to Ashford to blow out the cobwebs, in me and in Pepé.

The big surprise was that despite residing in a an unheated powerless garage, Pepé started first touch of the button.

I was out a couple of hours, mostly chatting and eating a bacon and egg sandwich, and managed t

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Quiet time of the year

I used to be an all round the year biker. Only stopping when the snow lay on the roads or the ice was too slippery to make it safe.  Recently, I have become a fair weather biker although an all year round variant.

Also since buying a bike festooned in a lot of chrome, I find myself worrying about the effect on it from the treatments (read salt!) that we use in copious amounts as soon as the temperature gets near 0C.

This last weekend was Meldrews breakfast Sunday and I pulled Pepe out of the garage and as it seemed mild, I wore light gloves.  Mistake.  I hadn't gone more than a couple of miles and my fingers were numb.

Added to that finding the dry line through the damp so to avoid too much splashback was working me too hard!

I'd not got far and was in the next village, where there is a 40mph limit, and I was soon joined by a guy in a hurry in a small Peugeot. Maybe the 40 inside a red ring on the sign meant nothing to him as he sped up my tailpipes.

Don't get me wrong. In Kent there are many places you can do whatever speed you like and the chances of getting caught by the law is remote. But villages with houses and schools, is not the place. 

This a-hole decided to try and pass me into a left and then right S-bend. The local authorities have a solid pair of lines down the centre. It means no overtaking. But a-hole tries it anyway.  The truck coming the other way dissuaded him from that attempt.

Once through that S-bend, there the road straightens, still only two lanes though.  The limit ups to the national limit of 60mph and he has another go. By now I have begun to get annoyed with him. I speed up to the limit. First there is a turning on the right, then the left some 150 yards later.  A car turns out of the first to go the other way, he swerves back behind  me.  The other driver shakes his head.

Past the second turn and he pulls out and passes me.  We continue with him barely pulling away from me.  At the top of the rise he is maybe 100 yards ahead of me, his right turn signal comes on and he actually turns left!  I watch him make the turn and stop where a youth is waiting on the side of the road. I go past and in a half mile pull onto the forecourt of the Blue and White Cafe.  

The Peugeot goes past and the driver looks over and gives a hand signal that's not part of the highway code...... Describing yourself is all I can think as I laugh at him.

Anyway. As usual good company. Good breakfast. Too short a ride. Roll on the Spring.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Annual Service

Service date today.

As I haven't managed to hit 10000 miles yet, I booked the annual service instead. It's cheaper luckily.
It should have been last week but due to the building work at the Triumph shop it was put back a week.

This morning it was freezing. Cars iced over but at least the roads clear enough. By the time I got to Ashford my fingers were frozen at the tips. 

After changing the date when I got to the Triumph shop the workshop looked like it was weeks away from finished. So we schlepped across to the other shop where  they usually have KTM, Ducati and Kawasaki.

Outside was another Rocket fitted with a supercharger. I'd love to hear that running. I took a couple of photos.

Some three hours later I got an sms to say it was finished. We were in Folkestone  walking the dog and watching a ceremony where they were commemorating the centenary of the ending of The Battle of the Somme in 1916. A picture here too.

At least it was dry and cold but not as cold as the morning.

They have adjusted the clutch and that took a bit of getting used to. But otherwise it passed all its electronic tests and felt a bit more responsive.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Ride Out for Kelly - October 30th 2016 - Report

From five of us at the Meldrews' meeting point there were only two of us, me and Cal,  that made the ride to the Ride Out starting point in Canterbury. There we found that the local scooter clubs had turned up in large numbers and on a range of scooters form the 1960's right up to latest model four-strokes.

There were fewer motorcycles though and that was a little embarrassing after the publicity the run had been given locally.  

Not that I hadn't seen plenty of bikes on the road to and from the event.  

In the end we had donations from the non-attending Meldrews (well most of them) and this was handed into the run organiser.  Amounting to just short of £1600 in cash and some online donations made from people's phones to justgiving.

The run itself was along the A257 to Sandwich and then to Deal and then ending at Dover seafront.  Our group was led by a bloke on a GoldWing.  What a prat.  On an open section leading about forty assorted scooters and bike he did 30mph.  We all bunched up and there were cars getting mixed up with us. 

The guys on the 125cc scooters could cope with 50mph and were getting more frustrated than me, I was unable to run top gear even.  

Then he lef us into Sandwich.  An old town with narrow one-way streets, then after that the wrong way so we ended up u-turning to get out.  Cal and I passed a load on the way to the Magnet pub in Deal where we had a break. It was just after 1pm when we arrived.

When the run leader announced we were to leave at 2pm (!) at 1.30pm I decided to call it a day and head home.  

I have to balance a life out on the bike with a family home life and both are precious to me. Perhaps if I was single I'd be able to devote more time to one or more of my pastimes.

I was home about 2.15pm and had a spot of lunch before taking the dog out for a walk and a bit of a rest!

Once again, Red Pepe was the perfect gentleman.

#doingitforkelly #rideoutforkelly

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Ride Out for Kelly - October 30th 2016

This Sunday I am hoping to get out on this run for charity. It's for a local girl that needs some very expensive treatment that can't be funded on the National Health Service and is available only in the US.

That life saving medicine can cost $1m is a disgrace in the first place but that there is no insurance that covers it is equally bad.

So it is for the community to come together and raise the necessary funds to help save a life.

In July some thieves stole the collection from a local shop in Hythe. Despite the cctv video being shared thousands of times on social media and the TV, no one has ever been caught. A women and her teenage son were clearly seen stealing it.  Someone knows who they are and they haven't been turned it to the police or for some local justice.

So as well as having the just giving page to donate, bikers and scooterists will take a collection on this run.  it has been published across the South East and on TV as well as biker sites.  Hopefully there will be a massive turnout.

Service Time

It will be soon that time of year when a find out how much a kidney sells for as I raise the funds for a service.  Okay, it's not that bad, but I doubt it will be inexpensive.

As I haven't made it to the 10000 miles service interval it has been booked in for the annual service. Hopefully that will require fewer body parts being traded.

Before then there a few rides where I can make thew odometer look a little more respectable.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Ring of Red

This year the Ring of Red will be on 13th November. The official Remembrance Sunday.

We are too busy to actually have Remembrance Day on November 11th when it is supposed to be so the nearest Sunday suffices.

This year I plan to head up the A2 to Cobham Services and see if any Meldrews turn up and then about 1230 head up to the meeting place at Thurrock Services.

Hopefully the weather will be kind again.

Report and pix to follow - and they are here.....

Monday, 26 September 2016

Short Ride

Missed the DGR yesterday as I had a really bad dose of man-flu. Felt bad most of the day until late afternoon when I pulled Pepe out for a short run around the edge of the Marsh

Down to Dymchurch and New Romney then back up towards Ashford and across the top of the Downs back home. Altogether 25 miles.

Vimy 100

It's less than two weeks to go. I have my ferry booked and even took up the P&O offer to have RAC cover just in case Pepé breaks do...

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