Friday, 26 August 2016

Back from Czech

I have been back a few days now. 

Overall the Rocket and I did over 1730 miles.

There were some really long days using the Czech roads off-motorway routes.  But rewarding to see the countryside.

The Burgenstrasse in Germany was a nice route but sadly most of the castles weren't easily accessible for the killer bike and building photo.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Packed and Ready

Well. Mostly packed. Just sponge bag and the new pocket atlas to go out and be stuffed into the Saddlemen bag.

It's a bit full as I wanted to save the panniers.

The left one contains my Kent Fire Brigade "Biker Down" first aid kit and... two bottles of English white wine from Chapel Down Vineyard (never call it a winery!) That's about 15 miles from home.  Both bottles wrapped in bubble wrap and then on a travel blanket.

The right one has my Triumph waterproof over jacket and trousers.  Plus a lock and a bag for race day.

I was going to manage without my tank bag, but I need somewhere for my passport and spectacle cases! 

Now I have to decide on what to wear. Vented jacket obviously but it looks like Hood jeans over leathers.

So. It's nearly 1030pm and I have to be up early to be on the train to France at 8.50am.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Short Ride

Sunday. A short run out this afternoon.

I checked the oil and topped up the tank.
The Rocket has a dry sump system with a car like filler cap on top of the oil tank on the left side below the fuel tank.  Luckily it comes with a dip stick attached to the cap. The Hi and Lo marks are quite close together and Pepe only needed a few drops to get it back to the upper level.

The tyres are another weekly check. With no centrestand it is hard to get both valves where you can get to them without moving the bike back and forth.

The rear wheel is so huge, getting a hand past the disc to the valve is quite hard. Getting a digital gauge in is even harder.
In the end I set off for the air pump at Stop 24. It's 50p for three minutes of air.

The front was about 6lbs down and it went up to 34psi and the rear was down to 36 when it should be 40psi.

That done I set off to see what difference it had made. Er. None. None noticeable anyway. 

Obviously the right pressure in tyres is important for handling and wear.

With the vague memory that we needed some cream to go with the strawberries we had bought. So as it was after 4pm  and Sunday opening means most shops and supermarkets close at 4pm. I remembered that Tesco Extra at Dymchurch was open a little later. 

I had a bumpy ride across the marsh to get there. The marsh roads are generally narrow and bumpy.  More suited to adventure bikes than cruisers.

I was hoping to find some Cornish Clotted Cream but had to made do with own brand double cream.

The small sissy bar bag I have fitted was pressed into service and it took the cream easily and I got it home unharmed.

The ride also was the first where I could test my new LS2 Metro helmet. It needs putting on carefully to make sure my ears slip into the recesses and the microphone os positioned correctly.

It is very comfortable and the inner dark visor worked really well in bright sunlight.
The only problem is getting my spectacle arms to fit between my head and the helmet lining.

A little jiggling about gets that sorted and then it is all okay.  Maybe I should have had that laser surgery last year after all.

Just over a week to the Czech trip and I have a working relationship between LS2 and TomTom. My phone is already on a BFF footing with TomTom.

All systems green.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Don't Ride Angry

Never ride angry. It leads to mistakes.

For some unknown reason people in England have this urge to travel. That's not a problem.

What is the problem is that no sooner has the final bell of the summer term/semester rung,  like lemmings they are in their cars and motorhomes  (RV) and heading on their summer holiday.

Why? Most kids won't be back in their classrooms until September 6th or even 7th!!

To coincide with this exodus, small 'e' as the waves don't part for them, after some terrorist activity in France (not to mention our vote to leave the European Union) the French boeufed up their ridiculously slap dash border control.

Traffic was queued back on the M20 for about 15 miles. Three lanes and then two.... The A2 into the port two lanes for about 7 miles.

Add to that both roads closed due to the inevitable accidents and a rare truck fire, and you have CHAOS.

People trapped for upto 14 hours.  It later turned out that for a few hours one single lone French douanier was the only one working.  At peak they had three booths out of seven working.

Now tell me that wasn't pipsqueek M. Le Président Hollande making a Brexit point!!

Where do I come in. Mr très angry.

Friday we missed a concert only 40 miles away as we couldn't get there due to the traffic and roads closed, see above, so that was £60/$80 up the swanee.

Saturday we were going with Pepe to a bike show and meet at Dover.

Roads blocked..we got as far as Folkestone (5 miles of the 14!!) And were blocked along with other bikes by a truck deliberately blocking the road. The temperature was about 80°F and little shade.

Another event missed. At least this one was just time and petrol wasted.

And as we got moving I made my mistake. I made a right turn into a one-way street. Luckily I was on the right kerb so the car coming was easily able to miss me. In fact it never got close. The passenger called me quite a few names. I shouted back to asked if he had ever fucked up? I rode off to more abuse.

My fault entirely.

So let there be a lesson in there somewhere.

The road is no longer one-way!!!

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Short Run

Just a short run today.  A week since we got back from the Somme and Pepe  needed a wash'n'brush up.

I togged up and with a plasttic bottle of cleaner  bungeed on the rack I headed for the jet wash.

The idea was to get the worst of the French crud off from under the engine, mudguards and if course the easy-corrode wheels that Triumph preferred to fit.

The wash machine has changed and takes £1 coins and you get three minutes. There are six options from jet to wax and rinsing.

In the end and £2 later it all looked good.  Ten minutes later I knew I had to do it by hand again when it was cold! At least the mud and crud was gone.

As it was sunny the wax rinse dried in streaks.   I had a ride to Tesco to fill up with their 3p a litre cheaper 95 unleaded, then a tour around Folkestone to check out the football ground for the next home game and then home along the coast drive.

It was some two hours later when I  went out with a  bucket and some Simoniz suds to clean the exhausts and the streaky bits.

Then after a mere 13 miles today,  Pepe went back to bed. Hopefully I can get out tomorrow.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Saddlemen FTB3600

Profligate that I am I decided the used bag wasn't going to work properly as it is simply too soft and doesn't hold its shape.

Looked at a few Saddlemen options and with my refund from British Airways I bought a new bag.

The quality is instantly evident. It came from a UK Harley dealer and luckily isn't badged HD at all.

It had its first outing on the Somme trip and was perfect  it swallowed all our "duds" for the Ceremony and more.

The bright yellow waterproof cover came in handy in some terrible weather and no water got in. The cover is big enough to fit over the main bag and the top back. It looks a bit flimsy but worked well.

At £138 inc taxes and delivery it's not cheap but you'd gave to pay more for hard luggage and a rack to mount it.

The standard setup was the right size for my sissy bar pad and I used two other supplied straps to keep it tightly in place on the little rack, should it try to get off on its own!

The Rocket is so heavy and planted on the road it didn't cause any handling problems as it was probably at the 20lbs capacity and it us behind the rear axle.

I saw a couple of Harleys with no racks  with bags not too disimilar mounted the other way around, so the bag was on the back seat. I don't think that will work on the Rocket.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Sissy Bar Bag

I have been lusting over some extra luggage for a while.

Checking forums there are lots of guys with some really good looking Kuryakyn or Saddlemen bags that are designed for the cruisers or customs and that attach to the sissy bar.

The plan was to look at them on a recent trip to the States, the natural habitat of the cruiser. In the end this never happened and so the lust has been cooled.

Instead I have invested a few pounds in a bag from a friend of a friend. It's not new, but hardly used.

It's basically a largish square bag with two pockets on each side.  There's a roll bag that is supposed to fit on the top but I have no idea how. There's no waterproof cover so everything will have to go in waterproof bags inside it.

I tested it for fit earlier and it has two velcro straps that one fits under the sissy bar pad, the other across it and two others to anchor it to the rack. It's semi rigid and looks like once it is filled with clothes etc it might firm it up.

Whilst out there messing about I fitted my new number plate complete with GB badge surrounded by the EU stars. These are legal in all EU countries.

Two rides

Had two rides out today and probably added 35 miles to the odometer!

Firstly to the Blue & White to meet the Meldrew's and possibly the largest turnout since records began.

Lively chat about the Somme trip in less than a fortnight. At least we have an idea who is going where and when.

The second was only to Folkestone to see how Claire gets on with the bike and the seating position. She has hip problems again and my large butt means she has her thighs wider apart. This causes some discomfort.

We had a gelato and a slow ride back home.

Friday, 17 June 2016


First trip out for way too long. Just back from holiday in the US, I found a letter in the stack of mail concerning my echocardiogram at the hospital. 

June 16th. Unable to work from home and going to a hospital that I knew the location but not the parking situation, I decided to ride. Also bikes still park for free! 

As there is a football championship on at the moment and England was playing Wales in the "Battle of Britain" at 2pm management weren't allowing any "work from home". At least our management weren't. I know other managers were allowing staff to watch, and schools allowing pupils to watch! What does that say about the trust between bosses and is plebs?

The appointment was 1030am and I was away from home an hour earlier. 

Canterbury is only 20 miles away but who knows the traffic situation. As it was it was just after ten when I pulled into one of the car parks and saw some bikes parked. The faded writing on the road said "m/cycles bay".

Getting in was hard enough as the narrow gap between two disabled car spaces was  blocked by a badly parked GSXR of some description.

I had to ride around the car on the left and across the entrance to Minor Injuries to get into the small space.   

After a reasonably long wait I had the echo and was back at the bike about 1115am luckily GSXR plonker had gone so exit was easy enough.

The "miles to empty" was showing 32 miles and so I set off firstly for Robinson's "The Foundry" to look at jackets. 

My Joe Rocket vented jacket is getting a little tatty and I saw a guy with a Furygan, made in France, semi vented jacket at th Dover run last month, and it looks good. Not cheap, but looks good quality.

They had a few although not my size. New stock in soon.

I had a quick look around the Victory and Indian stock. Very nice. Something for everyone.

From there, I called in ASDA, part of Walmart's web, for petrol and then home via Sainsbury's to pick up some lunch to be home in time for kick off....

England won 2-1 in the last seconds. Both teams played well and Wales must be disappointed. I hope they beat Russia in the next game.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Dover Transport Museum Open Day

The Meldrews decided to have a run to Whitfield and the museum's open day.  After breakfast at the Blue and White a small but elite group made the trip to the museum. Okay, three of us!  Cal, Ian J and me.

The weather was hanging on to the brief look at summer we get in England and it was vented jacket weather all the way.

I forgot my camera, but the iPhone made up for it and I took a few photos on some of the classics plus the Rockets that turned up.

Not along run out, but a few miles on the clock!!

The Gresham Flyer. I had one in dark blue back in the early 60's.

Yes, you are seeing a four cylinder Kwak two-stroke!

Red Pepe!

Yes, that is my finger!

This HD has a different picture on every panel depicting images from the Battle of Britain.

Modern Enfield Bullet 

We split up here as we all lived in different directions.  Ian was in fact going to Ashford rather than home and he followed me to the M20 and then showing off the power of his new 1200GS he was gone.