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.

Monday, 10 October 2016

St Nicks 2016

This year St Nicks (aka the Sinterklaastreffen) is the weekend of December 2nd to 4th. A little earlier that actual St Nicholas Day of December 6th.

I have already booked the Shuttle for the trip over and will make a day of it on the 3rd. I have invited the other Meldrews, but it is up to them if any want to come.

Hopefully the weather will be kind. 

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.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Back from Czech (2)

It's almost a week since I got home and I have just got around to checking the exact mileage and calculating the overall fuel consumption rates, what we call mpg. A bit lazy I know. 

The return trip from home to home worked out at 1767.3 miles on Trip 2.

Mpg ranged from 44.09 to 54.52.  I haven't sorted them in date order only lowest to highest. But at a quick glance at dates the highest consumption was on the way out in the middle of the trip.

Getting 54.52 mpg on a 2300cc cruiser is pretty decent I think.

The cross country sections in Bavaria and Czech were frustrating in parts due to traffic, trucks in the main,  but apart from a few miles the surface was better than anything we have locally in Kent or anywhere in the UK. So much smooth tarmac perfectly made for bikes. And at moderate speeds the mpg went up.

On the way back, one section, when we had to detour off S19 north of Pisek due to the Ždákovský most (bridge) being closed,  was cobbled. Not just by the edge of the Vltava but for miles until we eventually made our own way to the S4 after reprogramming TomTom. Bone shaking and a detour that cost us about 50 minutes.

It would have been nice had the local authorities bothered to signpost a detour! Once we got to the other side. There were diversions posted to Tabor, where we had come from!!!

Once we arrived at Plzen it was motorway mostly all the way to the stop at Leidersbach and a really superb guest house called Zum Grünen Baum.

For €30 a night each, we got en-suite single rooms. Superb place to stay and not too far off the autobahn. The food was excellent and the beer? German purity law standard means it tastes good. 

Wherever you are.  But here it was easily a euro a glass cheaper than our earlier stops.

Add caption
Selfie before the off

Friday, 26 August 2016

Back from Czech (1)

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.