Sunday, November 01, 2009

FZ1 Fazer Test Ride

Helen tested a demo model 2009 FZ1 Fazer yesterday at Keith Dixon in Accrington.  She expected to love it but she didn’t click with it in the same way she did on her first ride of her BMW or on my VFR…and Mr Sale Yamaha you were wrong, it didn’t make her smile but the VFR does! 

This is Helen’s review of the FZ1 Fazer


The engine – nice and punchy, sounded gorgeous, pulled well and overtakes were an effortless hoot, felt miles more powerful than both the VFR and mine.

The gearbox – nice and smooth, never missed a gear and I wasn’t up and down the box like I am on mine.

Steering – very agile, turned really well and I felt confident cornering and turning at slow speeds, very well balanced.

Part-ex price they offered for mine – about £400 more than the bloke at Sale Yam, and a couple of hundred more than book price gives for 3.5k miles less than mine has.

Price for the bike – decent price compared to the tatty 07 plate at Sale Yam which was almost £6k, and it had done just 21 miles after being pre-reg in August (plus the 30 odd I put on it today!) – if anyone’s after one go and check this one out!

Didn’t love:-
Riding position – too upright, bars a bit too high for me and I felt a bit exposed and plonked on top (like driving a sports car perched on a bar stool!), rather than at one with the bike, didn’t feel natural gripping the tank with my knees, the ergonomics just didn’t go with my thighs and knees!

Seat – uncomfortable compared to mine and the VFR, and I don’t think I could cope with a long day on it.  Although I wasn’t leant forwards, the shape of the seat kind of tilted my pelvis so I wasn’t sitting on the bit of the body we’re meant to sit on (which made for very uncomfy lady-bits!).

Suspension – felt very hard and was rough over some of the sunken grids and pot holes you always seem to hit no matter how hard you look for them (I’d have to add some more sports bras to my wardrobe if I bought a Fazer!).

Cost of extras – to get up to the accessories/gadgets standard of my BMW it’d cost me another £1.5k on top of the £4k I’d have to give them in addition to part-exing my bike (fairing lowers, touring screen, crash bobbins, heated grips, luggage, oh and the new sports bras!).

I can definitely see how some folk love them, but it just wasn’t for me, we just didn’t click.  Getting back on the VFR and then back on mine on the way home was what really made me smile, I’ve forgiven mine after falling out with him post-VFR riding, and I know that the VFR with higher bars is likely to be the perfect combination for me.


Monday, October 05, 2009

Rideout to Crossgates

Helen on My VFR Helen and I went out with NUKB yesterday on a rideout to Crossgates in Wales. Due to Helen’s bike being in bits (forks off, sheared bolts, long story) she decided to give my VFR a try, which obviously means I was on the ZX-9R.



We met up with everyone at around 9:00am at Lymm Services. We left Lymm on the M56 and got off at junction 10 and joined the A49. We took the A49 all the way down to Whitchurch where we joined Lymm Services the A525 and then turned left at Redbrook onto the A495 to Ellesmere, at some point we lost Andy who let us know that he had had a puncture. We continued through Ellesmere and Whittington on the A495 and joined A483 near Oswestry. We then stopped at Oswestry services for a quick break.


We left the services on the A483 My 2 Bikes @Crossgatesand  followed that all the way to Newtown via Welshpool. We then turned left to continue on the A483 to Crossgates. We stopped just outside Newtown and then set off individually to enjoy this stunning road at our own pace. We arrived at Crossgates after a slightly damp run and stopped at the services for lunch.

We left Crossgates and took the A483 back to Newtown. This time the road and dried and we were able to enjoy the run to its full effect. CJ went off 5 minutes before us so he could find somewhere to take some action shots with his camera, as we came past. We all re-grouped in Newtown and then set off back up the A483. On the outskirks of Newtown we turned right onto the A489 to head across to Shrewsbury.

Me Cornering on A483

We got a few miles down the road and stopped in Kerry when we realised 2 people were missing. We left Mike a message on his phone and set off again. We continued on the A489 and then cut across to the A488 at Broadway. We took he A488 to Shrewsbury where we turned right onto the A49. We took the A49 up to Whitchurch where we stopped for a quick break and managed to met up with our 2 lost souls. Wolfrunner’s bike wouldn’t start in Newtown and had to be push started, hence way they got left behind.


Re-Group @Kerry We set off again and continued on up the A49 all the way to the M56 and then we went home via the M6, M62 and M60. Helen really enjoyed the VFR and up until 30 minutes from home she was all up for trading her BMW in against one. The only problem she found was that her wrists started to really hurt, also she would want heated grips. She may look into getting one next year and get bar risers fitted to it.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Mini Lakes Tour

Helen and I have just come back from a short tour of the lakes while staying at my mother’s static caravan near Bouth. For obvious reasons I went on the Viffer, luggage, fuel range etc.. Getting on it for the 1st time since getting the ZX-9R it felt like riding a comfy chair.


Sunday 20th September

We set out at around 11:00am on Sunday and headed up the A56/M66 to Clitheroe. However as seems to be the norm I forgot the caravan keys so had to turn back after about 5 miles. Helen carried on to Clitheroe services and we met back up after I had gone back for the keys. We filled up at Clitheroe and then headed into Clitheroe and then got on the B6478 to Slaidburn via Newton Fells. We then turned left in Newton and took the road to Dunsop Bridge. We then turned right and took the road through the Trough of Bowland. They still have the road blocked off near Lee Bridge and you are diverted through Abbeystead before rejoining the main road just before the Tower. We then turned left in Quernmore and headed over to Caton and joined the A683 to Kirkby Lonsdale. We stopped at Devil’s for a brew but it was far too busy, so decided to just go to the caravan.


We left Devil’s and headed on the A65 towards the M6. We crossed over the M6 and joined the A590 to Kendal. We continued on the A590 all the way to the caravan at Bouth.


Monday 21st September

We set out at around 10:00am and joined the A5092 at Spark Bridge. We then turned right onto the Kirkstone PassA5084 to Torver. At Torver we turned right on the A593 to Coniston and then continued on this road to Ambleside via Skelwith Bridge. In Ambleside we joined The Struggle which we took up to the top of Kirkstone Pass, where we stopped at Kirkstone Inn for a brew.


After the brew we went down the otherside of Kirkstone Pass on the A592 and went through Patterdale and Glenridding before riding alongside Ullswater. We turned off the A592 at Waterfoot and joined the B5320 to Haweswater Reservoir Eamont Bridge, just after Pooley Bridge we turned right onto minor roads to Askham. We then continued on minor roads through Helton and Bampton before joining the road to Haweswater Reservoir. We rode alongside the reservoir to the far end where the road ends. We stopped for a brief while to take some pictures and then went back along the road again briefly stopping at Haweswater Hotel. Unfortunately they don’t serve food on Mondays and Tuesdays due to hardly any passing custom. So we headed over to Shap via Bampton Grange and Rosgill where we managed to find a pub serving food.


Haweswater Reservoir We left Shap on the A6 heading to Kendal and soon hit some very wet and windy weather. We were not able to enjoy the road due to the poor conditions. We stopped in Kendal for some fuel and then after dodging a lunatic car driver, who nearly had me before deliberately crashing into a people carrier, we then joined the A591 and then the A590 back to the caravan in Bouth.


Tuesday 22nd September

Sheep @Wast Water We set out at about 11:00am and joined the A5092 at Spark Bridge. We took the A5092 to Grizebeck where we joined the A595. We took the A595 all the way to Ravenglass and then joined minor roads to Santon Bridge. We then joined the road to Wasdale Head and rode alongside Wast Water to the end. We stopped at Ritson’s Bar at Wasdale Head for a spot of lunch.


Birker Fell After lunch we rode back alongside Wast Water before stopping for the obligatory photo of sheep for Helen. We then headed through Eskdale Green and over Birker Fell to the steep hairpins at Ulpha. We then continued on and went over Dunnerdale Fells to Duddon Bridge where we joined the A595 again. We then joined the A5092 at Grizeback and headed back to the caravan via Spark Bridge and a quick drink in the White Hart Inn in Bouth.


Wednesday 23rd September.

Clapham Common We set out at around 11:00am and headed on the A590 towards the M6. We went over the M6 and joined the A65 to Kirkby Lonsdale. We stopped in Kirkby Lonsdale so Helen could go to the cheese shop. We then proceeded over to Devil’s Bridge for a bacon butty and a brew.


We left Devil’s on the A65 and just after Ingleton we turned onto minor roads and went over Clapham Common and past Stocks Reservoir. We then joined the B6478 to Clitheroe via Slaidburn and Waddington. We then proceeded home via the A56/M66.

Church in Gisburn Forest


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rideout to Blanchland

Helen and I went out with NUKB last Saturday on a rideout to Blanchland. The rideout was planned and led by DocB. I decided as the weather looked pretty good all day that it was a good time to try out the ZX-9R.


We meet up at Clitheroe services at 8:00am and then set out on the A59 to Skipton. Just after Skipton we turned left onto the B6265 and headed on up to Kettlewell where we stopped for a brief comfort break. We left Kettlewell and immediately dropped onto the goat tracks over North Moor and then joined the A684 into Leyburn. In Leyburn we then took the A6108 towards Richmond. Before we got to Richmond we turned left onto minor roads and headed over High Moor and through Ravensworth before turning left onto the A66. We then headed up the A66 before turning right and heading into Barnard Castle for a brew. Helen also visited a craft shop and bought a porcelain pig, which she has named Barnard (even though it is a sow).


Kettlewell We left Barnard Castle and headed on the B6278 heading for Egglestone. We continued on the B6278 through Egglestone and headed over Egglestone Common and then Bollihope Common. We then arrived in Stanhope and after crossing the river once again continued on the B6278, shortly after leaving Stanhope we turned left and went over Edmondbyers Common and into Blanchland for lunch.


Here is some previous on-board video footage that I shot on the B6278 earlier in the year.

B6278 to Blanchland on Honda VFR800 Vtec from Cavturbo on Vimeo.


We left Blanchland on minor roads and went over Hunstanworth Moor and then dropped down into Lintzgarth. We then went over Lintzgarth Common before arriving in Westgate. We then had to make a slight detour to avoid a ford before going over Langdon Common. We then joined the B6277 and headed into Middleton-in-Teesdale for ice creams.


We left Middleton-in-Teesdale on the B6276 heading towards Brough, passing by Selset Reservoir. In Brough we joined the A685 to Kirkby Stephen and then headed on the A683 to Sedburgh. Once past Sedburgh we continued on the A683 to Devil’s Bridge. We stopped at Devil’s for a brief break before joining the A65 towards Settle. After Ingleton we turned onto minor roads and went over Clapham Common and past Stocks Reservoir. We then continued on minor roads to Sawley and then joined the A59 to Clitheroe. We then proceeded home via the A56/M66.


The ZX-9R performed perfectly all day and was fairly happy on the goat tracks we went on today. It was also pretty comfortable and the 200 mile rideout didn’t seem to cause me any problems either.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

ZX-9R Service

Well because the bike has been sitting idle pretty much for the last 2 years I decided that it needed a good service. So I replaced the oil and filter, I also replaced the air filter and coolant. I also cleaned out the filthy coolant filter and also changed out the plugs for a nice set of iridium ones. After removing the plugs I had a look at them all next to each other. 1 of the plugs had less tanning than the other 3, non of the plugs showed signs of any other problems though.


After I had put the bike together I started it up and instantly noticed that it sounded different and idled better. When I revved it, it sounded more zingy and less throaty. I took the bike out for a quick spin and it has been utterly transformed. It now pulls very strong from low down before charging for the horizon past 6000 rpms. If I didn’t know any better I would say that it had only been running on 3 cylinders.


I am going to leave the rest of the servicing requirements for now as the bike isn’t that far off its 7500 miles service interval. That will also include it 1st ever valve check. Will also balance the cards at the same time, as they will have to come off to get at the head anyway. I will also change out the brake fluid as well, the front brakes feel fine at the moment but the back does feel a little spongy.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

New Toy

Here is my new toy a 2001 ZX-9R E1. Apart from a slight altercation with some tarmac on it's right side at some point in its life, its pretty tidy. Only done 6500 miles so far in its life, main reason why I bought it. It's only done 60 miles in the last 2 years, the engine does feel a bit tight, probably just needs a bloody good service.

And no. I haven't sold the Viffer, this is my cunning plan to stop so many miles going on the Viffer.

My New 2001 ZX-9R E1


Monday, September 07, 2009

16,000 Mile Service

Recently took the VFR in for its 16,000 mile service at Rochdale Honda. Well I knew it was going to be expensive, thankfully all valves and shims were fine but it still cost me £470.

The breakdown of the bill is as follows:-

Oil - £26.50
Oil Filter - £9.70
Lubricants - £4.34
Environmental Charge - £4.34
Spark Plugs - £62.20
Air Filer - £21.28
Labour - 7 hrs x £40 = £280

I'll give it to them though the bike did feel really nice to ride afterwards. Expensive things to run these viffers, although plans are at foot to reduce my current mileage on this bike.


Monday, August 31, 2009

Barnard Castle

Helen and I went out yesterday with NUKB on a rideout around the Dales and past Tan Hill. I planned and led the rideout employing the re-grouping at every junction system, with LilMike doing a great job at TEC all day.

We all met up at Clitheroe Service at around 9:30am, there was only 4 of us in the end. We left Clitheroe on the A59 heading towards Skipton, we took our normal route to Settle, via Sawley and Wigglesworth. We then went to Hawes for a brew via Ribblehead Viaduct and the great B6479 and B6255. We arrived at Hawes at around 11:00am and un-expectantly found that it wasn’t that busy.

Barnard Castle We left Hawes on the A684 to Sedbergh and turned right at the Moorcock Inn onto the B6259 to Kirkby Stephen. We stopped at the Moorcock Inn to put on our waterproofs as the sky didn’t look to good. Sure enough on the way to Kirkby Stephen we encountered rain. We arrived in Kirkby Stephen to find dry weather and roads. We then went up to Brough on the A685 and then turned right onto the B6276, which is a fabulous often deserted road to Middleton-in-Teesdale. This road was also dry but we were riding in a fine mist of rain. Just before Middleon we turned right and cut across to the B6277 to Barnard Castle. We arrived in Barnard Castle for lunch at around 12:30pm.

We left Barnard Castle at around 1:30pm and headed over the A66 and through Stang Forest. We then turned right and went over Arkengarthdale Moor and up to Tan Hill. On the way up Tan Hill a sheep tried to take me out, did miss it by much at all. At Tan Hill we turned left and headed down over Stonesdale Moor to the hairpins near Keld. We then went over Buttertubs Pass in the fog and arrived back in Hawes at around 2:30pm. We decided to carry on to Settle for a brew as it was raining now and retraced our previous route back to Settle via Ribblehead Viaduct.

We left a dry Settle after a short brew stop and retraced our way back to Clitheroe via Wigglesworth and Sawley. On the way home we encountered some more heavy and persistent rain as we got nearer to Manchester. Raining in Manchester, never!!!


Sunday, August 09, 2009

Pendragon Castle Run

Helen and I went out yesterday on a short run to find Pendragon Castle near to Kirkby Stephen.

We left home just after 12:00pm and headed up the M66/A56 towards Clitheroe. In Simonstone we turned right and went through Sabden and over Pendleton Moor and then into Clitheroe. We took the B6478 out of Clitheroe through Waddington and on to Newton. We turned left in Newton and headed over to Dunsop Bridge, where we joined the road through the Trough of Bowland to Quernmore. We turned right at Quernmore and headed over to Caton. At Caton we joined the A683 and took that all the way to Devils Bridge, where we stopped for a spot of lunch.

We left Devils Bridge on the A683 towards Sedburgh. At Sedburgh we continued on the A683 heading towards Kirkby Stephen. Just before we got to Kirkby Stephen we turned off the A683 and joined Tommy Road which cut across Wharton Fell. At the point where Tommy Road meets the B6259 just North of Outhgill is Pendragon Castle.

Pendragon Castle After a brief visit of Pendragon Castle we joined the B6259 and headed South to the Moorcock Inn. We then joined the A684 to Hawes where we took the B6255 to Ribblehead Viaduct. We then turned left onto the B6479 and headed down to Settle. We stopped in Settle for a much needed brew and cake.

We left Settle and headed home via Rathmell, Wigglesworth and Sawley. We then joined the A59 back to Clitheroe and then retraced our previous route back home.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Derbyshire Blast

I went out on Saturday for a quick morning blast around Derbyshire and met up with Mike from NUKB on the way.


I left home around 8:30am and headed down the M62 to the Milnrow junction. In Newhey I turned left and took the A640 and the the A6052 to Delph. I then carried on to Uppermill and then took the A635 over Saddleworth Moor to Holmfirth. In Holmfirth I joined the A6024 to Holme and then went over Heyden Moor to the A628 at Woodhead Reservoir. I turned right onto the A628 and then turned left onto the B6105 to Glossop. In Glossop I turned left onto the A57 and went over Snake Pass. I passed a safety camera van near to Ladybower Reservoir on the big long bumpy straight section. At Ladybower I turned right onto the A6013 heading towards Bamford, I stopped briefly at Ladybower for a comfort break.


I then joined the A6187 to Castleton and then turned left onto the B6049 to Bradwell. I continued on the B6049 until I came to the A6 when I turned right and headed into Buxton. I passed through Buxton and then joined the A537 and proceeded up the the Cat and Fiddle, where another safety camera van was parked up. When I arrived at the Cat and Fiddle I met up with Mike who also happened to be parked up there. After a brief chat I headed down the A537 towards Macclesfield before turning right and heading to Rainow. I then took the B5470 to Horwich End where I turned right onto the A5004 and headed back into Buxton.


By this time Buxton was starting to get busy so I headed out on the A6 towards Dove Holes. I stopped just before Chapel-en-le-Firth at a butty van for a much needed coffee and bacon and sausage butty. After my food break I headed on over to the A624 and went through Hayfield and on towards Glossop but turned off near Hollinworth Head Farm onto Monk’s Road to Charlesworth. I then proceeded on back roads till I joined the M67 at Mottram and then headed home via the motorway network.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

BMW K1300s

Yesterday Helen and I went over to Southport Superbikes to pick up her bike and for me to test ride a K1300s.


Due to us picking up Helen’s bike, I had to for the 1st time take Helen as a pillion. It was not a pleasant experience at all, the wind really didn’t help either. The bike handled like a pig at slow speed and I got cramp in my left leg holding up the bike when waiting a traffic lights. I am so glad that Helen rides her own bike as I don’t think I would like biking much as a couple on 1 bike.


K1300s Review

My review is going to slightly biased as I am going to compare the BMW against my VFR, mainly because I have to decide whether I would want to swap.



BMW K1300s The BMW with 175bhp and 103ft/lb is no slouch. The performance is immense with bags of power all over the rev range, even from low down in top gear. Surprisingly the vast majority of this power is actually usable and I was more than happy to wind on the throttle to the stopper. The engine is smooth with no hint of snatchiness at low revs. All in all the engine is a peach and a great asset to this bike. The Viffer simply can’t compete with this level of performance and is 1 of the main reasons for me thinking of changing.



The gearbox was really smooth and I never missed a shift even when being very aggressive on the downshifts. The quickshifter is a lovely thing to have and well worth the money for the ease of the upshifts. I would say the gearbox on the Viffer isn’t as good as I do fairly often get false neutrals.



This is 1 area of the bike that was a bit of a let down. At slow speed I felt much happier on the BMW than the Viffer, as it seems to hide it’s weigh very well and doesn’t want to fall over like the Viffer. The BMW was easy to turn in but was harder than the Viffer to flick from 1 side to the other. The real problem for me was once you had it turned in it didn’t give much confidence round the bend and just seemed like it really wanted to carry straight on. Whether a set of Pilot Road 2’s would help restore some of that confidence I don’t know, but it would be expensive to find out. The Viffer wins out here as the confidence it gives me in cornering is hard to beat.



The brakes on the BMW are in 1 word phenomenal, they bring this big bike to a stop very quickly indeed. I tried 1 emergency stop and they stopped the bike very quickly and it was very stable throughout. A minor gripe for me is that the back brake does nothing what so ever. For most people this isn’t a problem but for someone who is used to trailing the back brake it is a minor let down.



I found the BMW to be very comfortable to ride and the lean angle onto the bars for me was spot on. The BMW felt more roomy than the Viffer which actually felt awkward and cramped when I got back on it. My arms didn’t ache at all after my 2 hours out on the bike, even going slow through town, I wouldn’t be able to say the same about the Viffer. A minor gripe is that there seems to be slight vibration through the bars, it didn’t really cause any problems but potentially could on a very long day.


Build Quality

Well it isn’t a Honda for sure, in some areas it looks cheap (plastic front brake reservoir for 1). Considering the price of this bike it should ooze quality and I quite simply think that it doesn’t. From what I have read the switchgear seems to be causing problems for some owners already as well.


Overall Conclusion

The BMW is a very capable bike and as a touring bike it fulfills in pretty much all departments. I would be more than happy to have it over the Viffer on a long tour around Europe. However as an A to B or day bike I am not certain which bike I would prefer, to really decide I would need to ride 1 all day around the Dales or the Lakes, but unless I buy 1 that isn’t going to happen. The real problem for me is that this bike is way overpriced when you add in all the extras, I would say £2,000 to £3,000 overpriced. As a low mileage 2nd hand bike with £4000 off the list price then it would be a serious contender for me.


Whats next? I will probably wait till next year to see what Honda do and whether any 2nd hand K1300s come on the market. The other possibility is to try a Sprint ST1050, from what you read everywhere it is a VFR beater, we will have to see.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Roy Sidwell Tea Party

Helen and I went on a rideout with NUKB today to the Wensleydale Creamery Visitors Centre in Hawes. This rideout was in memory of the late Roy Sidwell who tragically died in a motorcycle accident near Scourie in Northern Scotland.


Helen at Settle Scotsy organised and led the rideout for the Lancs region to Hawes. We met up with the rideout at Clitheroe Services for around 10:00am. We then set off up the A59 towards Skipton, we turned off the A59 at Sawley. We took the minor roads through Wigglesworth and Rathmell to Settle, where we stopped for our first brew of the day.


Bikes at Vistors Centre After a break some of the group and Helen traveled to Hawes via the B6479 and B6255 past Ribblehead Viaduct. Due to me having new tyres on I decided to take the alternative back road route to Hawes. After Scotsy’s Satnav ended up taking us back to Settle, I choose to led the ride as I knew the way from memory. We headed out of Settle on the B6479 and then turned right at Lancliffe for Malham Tarn. We passed Malham Tarn on our way to Arncliffe and then joined the B6160 just before Kettlewell. We then turned left at Bucken and went through Hubberholme and then over the top of Oughtershaw Moss. We then dropped down into Gayle and met the other regions at the visitors centre.


Best Presented Bike Award Winner After a long chat and the best presented bike award was announced we all departed for home. I led a small group back via Ribblehead Viaduct to Settle. Then back through Wigglesworth and Sawley and onto the A59. We then went over Pendleton Moor and through Sabden. We said fairwell to the other bikers at the junction of the A56/M65, Helen and I continued home via the A56/M66. It was a great day with a fantastic turnout and a great tribute to Roy.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

New Tyres

Well with the bike on 15561 miles my rear tyre is shot again, I blame those fantastic twisty Spainish Roads. The middle 1/3 of the tyre is pretty much bald, the front is also heavily worn. What is most pleasing is that the tyre having had such abuse hasn’t squared off at all.

I again have been very happy with this set of Michelin Road Pilot 2's with their dual compound, that I have opted to have them again. They have lasted for around just less than 6000 miles this time, but considering the roads we have been on, I think that is dam good.

I got the tyres fitted at my home by bike tyre services again for £240 this time, Michelin have increased the price of the tyre by £20 over last time.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pyrenees Tour

Helen and I have just returned from a 2 week tour through France, Andorra and over the Pyrenees into Catalunya and back. We set out on Saturday 30th May and returned on Saturday 13th June. We have covered around 2,800 miles in total and climbed to over 2,400m in height. We have also been on some very twisty and well surfaced empty roads and also some rather less well surfaced roads. Below is a brief write up of our whole tour.


Sat 30th May – Home to Cirencester

We set out at around 10:00am and headed out on our bike tour. We decided that we would travel down to Cirencester avoiding all motorways. We went down through the centre of the country, through Buxton and then down through Ashbourne on the A515.


Tutbury Castle Near Burton Upon Trent we called in to Tutbury Castle as we were passing. The lady in the ticket office kindly allowed us to leave our bike gear with her for safe keeping. After a short visit we left the castle and proceeded down past Kenilworth and through Stow-On-The-Wold on our way to Cirencester on the A429.


We arrived at the Travelodge in Cirencester to find nobody about at check-in. After an hour’s wait somebody eventually turned up, we found out later that someone hadn’t bother to show up to work (we did get a refund on the room though thanks to Helen’s disappointed customer routine!). We went into Cirencester later that evening and had a meal in the Wagon & Horses, great food and a nice little place.


Sun 31st May – Cirencester to Nantes

Corfe Castle Up and out early and down the A350 to visit Corfe Castle in the morning. We were allowed to park free as we put the bikes somewhere that a car couldn’t go. It was pretty hot so we left the Castle and headed for the ferry. On the way down to the ferry we filtered past loads of stationary traffic that was waiting as the bridge over the harbour entrance was up.


For some reason security at the port was very tight and we, like everyone else, had to have all our luggage searched. Silly question of the day from the security lady was “Do you have any petrol cans in your luggage?” – like we had room!!!  After that it was a short wait and then we boarded the ferry pretty much first. They put our 2 bikes in the wheel clamps at the side of the boat and tied the bikes down by the handlebars. Seems a lot more secure than ratcheting the bike down over the seat on the side stand. We then went up to the lovely Club Class lounge we’d upgraded to and had a table to ourselves as the boat wasn’t that full. We used the Condor Fast Ferry that runs to St.Malo via Guernsey in around 4.5 hours.


After arriving in France we headed out of a very busy St.Malo and onto the motorway network. This was also very busy and much filtering had to be done to make any progress. Eventually we got out of the heavy traffic and could open the bikes up and get to our hotel on the outskirts of Nantes. Which thankfully had air-con as we were quite warm by then.


Mon 1st June – Nantes to Bordeaux

Up and out early today, everywhere was strangely and eerily quiet. Got around Nantes on the motorway without any fuss and hardly any traffic, then we arrived in Rochefort to utter chaos. Big queues and cars being abandoned all over the place, we managed to filter past most of the chaos and make decent progress.


St-Seurin d'Uzet Once we left Rochefort we were back on quiet roads and passing through small deserted towns. We then went to an Intermache to get some fuel from the automated station and lunch, but the Intermarche was closed even though it should have been open (we later found out it was a national holiday). We carried on back to the main road and managed to find a petrol station that was open and got some French bread. We then stopped at a beautiful and quiet little inlet in St-Seurin d’Uzet to have lunch and a break.


We then proceeded on more nice quiet country roads over several high bridges (to Helen’s dismay) and eventually arrived in Bordeaux and found our Etap Hotel for the night on a quiet industrial estate. We went across the road to a Courtepaille Grill and had a much needed bottle of wine, I also had some still partially alive burgers.


Tues 2nd June – Bordeaux to Carcasonne

Lake at Mauvezin We left Bordeaux at around 8:45am and quickly encountered very heavy traffic on the motorway. Traffic at times was pretty much stationary but we and all the other bikers where able to filter. However it is the first time that bikers have ever filter past me while I was filtering the cars! I just can’t believe how foolish some of them are, filtering near stationary traffic at up to 80mph in casual clothes beggars belief.


After Bordeaux we got off the motorway at Langdon and got on to quiet country roads again. We found some nice roads and headed on down through Condom (we just had to visit!) towards Auch. We stopped by a beautiful lake and watermill for lunch at Mauvezin.


La Cite Carcassonne After lunch we set out on country roads again and then joined the motorway at Toulouse. Helen didn’t like it around Toulouse as the traffic was very fast and heavy, and cars were changing lanes very erratically. We continued on the motorway to Carcassonne arriving around 3:00pm. Once we had unpacked we headed out on foot to La Cite. We walked around the walled town and took some nice photos and had the customary and much needed ice creams (pear and lemon for Helen and coffee and white chocolate for me). We walked back to the hotel and had dinner at the Buffalo Grill down the road, rather rare “medium” steak for Helen, good job she didn’t order medium-rare. We could see the Pyrenees in the distance and I was itching to get back on the bike and attack them.


Weds 3rd June – Carcassonne to L’escala

Up at 5:45am as we had a long day ahead of us, went down to breakfast and took a doggy bag of food for lunch later on. As I was setting up the camera and sat-nav on the bike we spoke to a Spanish guy on a Deauville.


Andorra here we come We set out and headed for the Pyrenees up the D118. We soon arrived in Quillan and then went on our first climb of the holiday on the D117 up the Col du Portel, a very rapid climb to 601m. Helen didn’t like this climb at all and I worried for the rest of the day – compared to what was ahead this climb was nothing really! At the top we took the D613 and briefly stopped at the Col de Marmare at 1,361m to take some photos. We then climbed to 1,431m on the Col de Chioula before dropping back down rapidly into Ax-les-Therms. We then took the N20 towards Andorra I though this would be a boring road, but much to my surprise it wasn’t and traffic wasn’t as heavy as I had anticipated. We climbed up to around 2,000m and hit some roadworks, we waited here for a while as they are building a new passport control building.  Because of this we got into Andorra without being checked at all. We then filled up with some very cheap fuel around 98 cents per litre. 


Helens Bike in Andorra After filling up we climbed up to Port d’Envalira at 2,408m (Ben Nevis is only 1,344m high) on the CG2. We then dropped down the other side (after Helen had bravely got off and took some pics of her bike) and through the empty looking ski resorts at Soldeu. We stopped at Canillo as I wanted to take a detour onto the CS340 and Helen didn’t like the look of it, so I arranged to meet her in Andorra La Vella in a little while. I then proceeded on the CS340 and a very rapid and tricky climb to the Col d’Ordino at 1,981m - nice surface, very tight hairpins, stunning views and immense drops. I dropped back down the otherside and stopped at a petrol station in Andorra La Vella to check my text messages from Helen on her whereabouts and by complete coincidence had stopped at the place where she was waiting for me!



Andorra CG2 over Port d'Envalira @2408m from Cavturbo on Vimeo   


My Bike at the Col d'Ordino in Andorra After a short break we left Andorra on the CG1 and was stopped at the border and had our luggage searched for cigarettes. They weren’t interested in seeing our passports at all. We then joined the N260 which has a nice set of long sweepers with good views. We stopped for lunch alongside the N260 at a picnic area then continued on the N260 and had to do a U-turn through the cones at a toll tunnel as we missed a turning. We then joined the C16 which was spoilt by nasty raised tar banding crack sealer that dragged the bike all over the place if you hit it.


We then joined the N152 which is a great road, with a wide variety of bends and a good road surface. There is also plenty to look at as well if you have the time and best of all due to the toll tunnel the road is virtually deserted. We climbed up to the Coll de Toses at 1,800m and stopped for a much needed break. We then dropped back down off the Coll through loads of sharp sweeping hairpin bends into Ribes de Freser. The N152 then turns into a completely different road with wide fast sweepers all the way to Ripoll. At Ripoll TomTom made a mistake and took us on the very twisty N260 over the Coll de Coubet and then on to Olot. I had planned to take the more simpler C26 through the Tunel de Collabos to Olot. By the time we arrived on the A26 we were very tired and so stopped in the small town of Besalu and had some cold refreshing Cokes in a little bar.



N152 - Climb of the Coll de Toses from Urtx. from Cavturbo on Vimeo


We then proceeded to the villa in L’escala on functional boring roads via the local Intermache for some essentials – wine and pizzas. We arrived at the villa and cooled down with a quick swim in the pool and reflected on an amazing but very tiring day. I am extremely proud of Helen as some of the roads we went on today were very high indeed, I don’t think Buttertubs pass will bother her anymore!


Thurs 4th June – Rest Day

Harbour at L'escala A good sleep in the very comfy bed and a lie in then a lazy breakfast while reviewing maps and routes of our journey. Then we went down to the local Intermache to do the main shop for the week. It’s amazing how much stuff you can fit in 4 panniers and 2 top boxes! As we arrived at the petrol station near the Intermarche Helen’s bulb warning lamp came on and one of her headlight bulbs had gone.  Some bits of Spanish and flashing fingers motions later the non-English speaking cashier pointed out the bulbs and we got the right one for around 8 Euros. After lunch we strolled down to L’escala and took some pics of the harbour and had some ice creams. We had Bolognese with Tomato soup (which we thought was tinned Tomatoes!) and Sangria for tea.


Fri 5th June – Tossa de Mar and Montseny

Up at 7:00am to an overcast sky, it started to rain as we got kitted up. We waited it out for around 15 minutes and it was looking clear to the West so we decided to do the Tossa de Mar route instead of the planned Valter 2000 route. Got the bikes out on to the road at which point Helen noticed that her bike was covered in ants, in her haste to get off the bike she almost ran me over and nearly dropped it. I initially tried razzing the bike round the block to blow the ants off but to no avail, they seemed to be pouring out of everywhere. Helen got a bucket to wash the ants off but dropped and broke it while having a hissy fit. I got the kettle out and used that to direct the water better, but in the end it was a simple case of removing them on a 1 by 1 basis. After approx 45 minutes I had managed to remove all the ants to Helen’s liking (comment from Helen – “no it wasn’t, they kept appearing in twos every time we slowed down or stopped at a junction!”).


Parc Natural del Montseny We set out and went over the Coll de la Ganga (220m) on the GI660 and into Sant Feliu de Guixols. We then took the legendary GI682 to Tossa de Mar. This road is nicknamed the ‘road of the year’ as it has a corner for everyday of the year. Yes 365 corners in around 11 miles on a tight and twisty mental coast road with nasty drops at the side to Helen’s dismay again. Luckily traffic was pretty light as it can be a busy road at times. I really enjoyed the road but it could be mind numbing if done at the end of a long day of riding. You are simply never out of a corner and can’t really have a rest from it unless you stop. After the 11 miles of twisties we stopped just outside Tossa de Mar for a much needed rest and fluids.


GI682 to Tossa De Mar on Honda VFR800 Vtec from Cavturbo on Vimeo.


Due to roadworks we couldn’t go the way we wanted and ended up being forced to go through the horrendous Lloret de Mar (chav package holiday hell). We eventually got through all the traffic on the roads and turned off on to the BV5301. This road climbs up through the Parc Natural del Montseny to 1,145m at Collformic where we stopped for lunch. Again this was a difficult twisty road but had a pretty good surface and some cracking views. We dropped down into Seva and then took another very twisty road the GI520 through Viladrau to the C25. We then headed back to the villa on this fast and functional road via the Intermache for the biggest can of ant killer you’ve ever seen. On arriving back at the villa I discovered that I had lost the rubber eyepiece of my camera, and Helen encircled her bike in a protective ring of anti-ant spray.


Sat 6th June – Valter 2000

After all the twisties of the recent days Helen decided that she had had enough of that so stayed at the villa to relax while I went out for a play. We had had an incredible thunderstorm overnight which had left the roads still a bit damp as the sky was still overcast.


I headed out at around 8:00am as it was starting to clear. I went on the N260 coast road from Llanca to Port-Vendres, over the Coll des Balitres on the Spanish/French border. I was expecting this road to be great, but alas it was damp and the surface wasn’t good, especially on the French side. However the views where good so I just took it easy and took in the atmosphere instead.


My bike at Coll d'Ares I then headed West on the D115 and climbed out of Arles-sur-Tech up the Coll de la Seille (1,185m) and then up the Col d’Ares (1,513m) on the Spanish border, where I stopped for a little break. I then went down the other side on the C38 on my way into Camprodon via a fuel stop. I turned off the main road at Camprodon and headed up the GIV5264 towards the Valter 2000 ski resort. This road climbs very steadily on a nice surface with some nice flowing fast sweepers. However once you reach Setcases the road suddenly changes. From this point it starts to climb more rapidly and the road surface isn’t as good. The road is fairly narrow at this point but still with plenty of room for 2 cars to pass. Due to this the road isn’t really one to attack but it is technical and the views are to die for as you climb up in a valley between some very tall mountains. Eventually I arrived at the bottom of the ski resort and then climbed very rapidly up some tight hairpin bends to the very top carpark, which is at around 2,000m. Due to it being the off season and hardly any snow about everywhere was closed, however about 10 or so cars where knocking about. I stopped up here to take in the views and have a spot of lunch and take some photos. While I was up there a big grey cloud came over and tried to drop a few snow flakes on me.


D115 Coll d'Ares Climb from Cavturbo on Vimeo


My bike at Valter2000 ski resort I left and dropped back down into Setcases and then went on back down to Camprodon. By the time I reached Camprodon the rain had been through, looked like it had been quite heavy. I turned on to the C38 and headed South and soon was back on dry roads again. In Sant Pau de Seguries I turned on to the C153a and went over the Coll de Capsacosta (870m), this roads was very twisty, had an excellent surface and was completely deserted of any other traffic. I then got on to the fast C26 with its beautiful following sweepers before joining the A26 and heading back to the villa.


I arrived back at around 2:00pm and Helen and I walked down to Montgo Beach for a bottle of wine and a brief spell on the Internet to look at the weather and log onto NUKB.


Sun 7th June – St Marti

Church in St Marti We had a lie in and a partial rest day as we were off to Barcelona the following day. Pootled down to St Marti on the bike and parked up with a few other bikes. Not really much to see, so a few quick photos and a brief walk and back to the villa via the Intermache.


We went down to L’escala at around 8:00pm for an evening meal. The restaurant at the port that we were going to go to was shut, so we went to a nice looking pizza/pasta place instead. We had Calamari and Octopus to start, followed by Rabbit for me a Steak for Helen. We also had a lovely bottle of Torres Cabernet Sauvignon/Tempranillo red wine.


Mon 8th June – Barcelona

Sagrada Famillia We got up and left at around 9:30am to go to Barcelona for the day. We went on the payage motorway to save time and to make life a bit easier. The traffic was quite clear really, not surprising though as it was 8 euros each for around 97 miles to Barcelona, much dearer then the French ones. I had already found a bike only parking place in Barcelona for us to park in and plotted its location on the satnav. Although the Spainish just park their bikes free anywhere, we though it best to park somewhere safe that was near a Metro station. We found the bikepark easily, however the traffic was a nightmare and the moped riders complete lunatics in flip flops and skimpy clothing. The bikepark was in a narrow street with little room to get the angle up the very steep curb into it, then there was a big steep slope down to the underground parking.


Although bike park has space for 200+ motorbikes, only a handful of bikes had been parked there. Worse of all they only had 4 lockers for storing bike gear. Fortunately we had already tested whether we could get all our gear into our luggage, and could so it wasn’t a major issue. Due to being me being hot/tired and flustered I some how managed to push my bike forward as I got off and it fell off the sidestand. I managed to catch it as it fell with Helen soon at the rescue too, but couldn’t stop one of my panniers touching - it now has a small scuff on it. It could have been so much worse though, a broken pannier (or even the fairing without the luggage on) doesn’t bear thinking about.


Fountains in Barcelona near Marina Anyway we left all our gear with the bikes and set off to find the Metro station. The Metro was a breeze as we got a 10 ride ticket for 7 Euros that you can share. We went to the Sagrada Famillia first but it was very busy, covered in scaffolding and had load of cranes around it. We then went to Porte D’Olympic to have our lunch by the marina, it was quite peaceful and fairly calm there. We then went back on the Metro and to Lar Rambles area to have a look at the Cathedral. Unfortunately it was covered in mesh and scaffolding also, so much so that a photo was pointless. After that we were fed up so went back to the bikes, put our gear back on and headed back to the villa by via the motorway for another 8 Euros each. All in all I would say going to Barcelona was a complete waste of money and time - stressful, disappointing and grubby too.


Tues 9th June – Sant Ferran Castle and Monastery

Sant Ferran Castle We set off late at around 10:30am and headed over to Figueres to visit Sant Ferran Castle. The carpark was gravel but not too bad really. The Castle is a huge fort with lots of defensive walls and structure. The audio tour was in English and had some very interesting facts about the Castle, that we would have otherwise missed out on.


After the Castle we headed over to the Monastery at Sant Pere de Rhodes. We when on the steep and twisty GIP6041 out of Vilajuiga. The road had a great new tarmac surface we had some nice following corners and great views. We turned the last corner before the carpark and were greeted with a stunning view of El Port de la Selva below and the Monastery ahead teetering on the edge of the mountain. There was a charge to park, but the attendant waived the fee for us as we could park where no cars could. The Monastery is in a beautiful setting and pretty much intact, best of all it is free to visit on a Tuesday for some odd reason.


View of Port de la Selva We had lunch in the carpark before setting off and then continued on the GIP6041 to El Port de la Selva. However the road on this side isn’t so good, the tarmac hadn’t been re-surfaced for a while and was showing it (holes and gravel here and there, mostly on corners). There was a particularly nasty patch of washed down gravel just as we got to El Port de la Selva, it ran diagonally across a very steep slope in a 10ft wide band, and the gravel was golf ball sized. After that the town itself was very nice and unique. We joined the GI613 and headed down this nice twisty road and the GI614 to Cadaques. We arrived and parked right by the bay in a bike only parking area and had some ice creams.


Monastery Sant Pere de Rhodes We headed back up the GI614 and temporarily got stuck behind a huge queue of traffic following a tipper truck going very slowly on the twisty road. But we were able to use the bikes to get past all the traffic and on to clear roads again. We soon got back to the villa via the Intermache for crisps and French bread before tea.


Weds 10th June – L’escala to Lavaur

We set off at around 8:30am and said bye to the villa that had been our home for the last week. We were soon back up in the Pyrenees and on the N152 headed up to the Coll de Toses again. It is such a great road that we just had to fit it in again, this time I took it a bit slower and took in some of the amazing views. We had a little break at the top and a German biker on a Fazer took an interest in Helen’s beemer.


N152 Ribes to the Coll de Toses from Cavturbo on Vimeo


We set off back down the Coll to Urtx and on to the N116 and back into France. We then climbed up over the Col de Louis (1,345m) and the Col de la Perche (1,579m). We then turned left at Mont-Louis and took the D118 to Axat. Unfortunately this road was very bumpy indeed and hard on the wrists and Helen’s dodgy neck, probably more so because we were running some preload because of the weigh of our luggage. We climbed up over the Col de la Quillane (1,713m) and once past Puyvalador the road started to drop down very gently and got very twisty and even bumpier. The road and views were beautiful with the adjacent river and overhanging trees lining the way. Towards the end of the road near Axat we passed through the Gorges de St-Georges and its overhanging rock faces. We stopped at a carpark in Axat for a spot of lunch and a break.


D118 Gorges de St-Georges from Cavturbo on Vimeo


Somewhere in French Countryside After lunch we arrived in Quillan and filled up with fuel. We then took the D117 up the short but very good climb of the Col du Portel (601m). You might remember from earlier that this is the climb that had Helen in fits of hysterics last time. After the climb I ask her over the intercom if she was alright this time. To which she replied ‘that wasn’t the same climb was it?’. So she had obviously got used to these types of roads after a week of doing them, don’t think anything in Great Britain should bother her now.


After that we were pretty much back down to the flat and took some nice tree lined straight country roads all the way to our hotel in Lavaur. It had some nice secure parking round the back, although the road was being dug up which caused a minor issue getting the bikes in.


Thurs 11th June – Lavaur to Rochefort

We woke up to very overcast sky and black clouds, it had also rained overnight. We set off out and within the hour we had to put on our rain gear. The majority of the morning consisted of wet roads and intermittent showers. We stopped for lunch in a quaint little town and the sun was now out so we decided to talk off our rain gear.


Rochefort Cathedral After lunch we set out on more nice quiet French roads and the weather for the rest of the day was hot and sunny. We soon arrived in Rochefort and found our hotel near the local courts. There was secure parking at the back that cost 5 Euros, we felt better paying and leaving the bikes safe and paid only 5 Euros as we got both bikes in 1 space. We had tea later in the middle of town in a large plaza, I had Duck and Helen had another perfect steak – French medium seems to equate to rareish in the UK. We finished the meal off with Cognac Creme Brulee, fantastic desserts.


Fri 12th June – Rochefort to Poole

We set out and headed for the port at St.Malo, we called in at Fouras to visit Fort Vauban and get a glimpse of Fort Boyard. However there was a parade on and most of the beach area had been closed off by soldiers (one of which shouted at Helen for wandering where she shouldn’t have!). We manage to see both forts at a distance and also saw a fly past by 4 WWII fighter planes.


Fort Vauban We left Fouras and headed past La Rochelle onto the payage motorway and into St.Malo. We parked in the harbour right by the ferry port and strolled down the beach to a cafe and had coffee and crepes (bananas and chocolate for me and Helen had caramelised apples). We then walked further round the harbour and took some photos before going back to the bikes and checking in at the ferry port.


Check-in at the port was chaos due to a previous sailing being delayed which caused our crossing to be also delayed by 45 mins. We got moved out of the correct lane and then they want us to turn around and move back again. We said no, we will walk to the check-in and then go through the gap in the barriers. At this point we met up with a couple of bikers heading back to Jersey. Unfortunately their planned trip to the Pyrenees had hit problems near Bordeaux, when 1 of the bikes (a VTR Firestorm) had broken down with a burnt out rectifier. Due to waiting for parts and repair they never actually made it as far as the Pyrenees, but they had had a good time non the less and found some nice roads near Bordeaux.

WWII Fighter Flyby at Fouras We boarded the ferry and went upstairs and saw the chatty young stewardess that had asked about Helen’s jacket on the way out. She had taken Helen’s advice and been to Hein Gericke to check out the jackets. We arrived in Poole at around 12:45am and went to our B&B for the night. The drive had very dense gravel on it so though it wise to park bikes on the road instead. The road was a very quiet dead end road so it wasn’t a problem really.


Sat 13th June – Poole to Home

Set off just after 9:00am and took the A roads up to meet the M40 just North of Stratford-upon-Avon. We then proceeded home via the motorways, stopping briefly at Hilton Park services for lunch and talked briefly to a biker on a Fireblade. On the way up the M6 we passed a load of bikers going South, presumably they had just got off the boat from the Isle of Man, having been to the TT races.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Early Bird Run to Hartside

Helen and I went out with NUKB yesterday on an early bird run up to Hartside Cafe. We met up with all the Lancashire guys at Clitheroe Services for 7:00am. Scotsy had organised the route and was rideout leader.


2 x ST's at Hartside We set off from Clitheroe up the A59 heading towards Skipton. We soon turned off the A59 and headed through Sawley to Wigglesworth. In Wigglesworth we took the B6478 to Long Preston, in Long Preston the Police had closed off A65 heading towards Ingleton. However we turned right here and took the A65 towards Gargrave. We turned off the A65 at Hellifield and met up with some of the Yorkshire Guys.


We left Hellifield on minor roads and headed through Otterburn and turned left in Airton and headed towards Kirkby Malham. We stopped in Malham for a quick comfort break and then headed round Malham Tarn over West Moor to Arncliffe. We turned right in Arncliffe and continued along this road until we met the B6160 and then turned left towards Kettlewell. We went through Kettlewell and then turned left onto minor roads at Buckden. We proceeded through Hubberholme and Deepdale before going over Oughtershaw Moss and down into Hawes, where we stopped for a brew.


Busy Hartside Cafe We left Hawes and then went over Buttertubs Pass to Thwaite. Just after Keld we turned right off the B6270 and headed up the double hairpin bends and over Stonesdale Moor to Tan Hill. At Tan Hill we turned left and headed over to join the A66 near Maiden Castle. We continued along the A66 and eventually turned off near Temple Sowerby and took the B6412 to Culgaith. From there we joined minor roads and went through Skirwith and Ousby to join the A686 at Melmerby. We then went up the A686 which was slightly spoiled by traffic and stopped at Hartside Cafe for lunch.


Ice Creams in Middleton We left a very busy Hartside Cafe and headed on the A686 to Alston. We took it easy as we had already been warned that a safety camera van was down the road towards Alston. We filled up at Alston then turned right and took the fabulous and often deserted B6277 to Middleton-in-Teesdale. We stopped in Middleton for some much needed ice creams and then said a fond farewell to the Yorkies.


We then took the equally deserted and fabulous B6276 to Brough. From Brough we took the A685 to Kirkby Stephen. In Kirkby Stephen Scotsy relinquished the lead and I then lead the group down the A685 and soon turned left and took the very fast A683 to Sedbergh, on the way we passed another safety camera van. In Sedbergh we continued on the A683 down to a very busy Devils Bridge. We only stopped from a short while for a comfort break, it was far too busy.


Drinks at Clitheroe McDonalds We left Devils Bridge with DocB now taking up the lead. We continued down the A683 heading towards Melling and Hornby. We continued past Caton on the A683 and once past Caton turned left towards Quernmore. At the crossroads in Quernmore we turned left and headed for the Trough of Bowland. We pasted through a very busy Trough and turned left at the end of the road at Dunsop Bridge. We continued down this road and then turned right at Newton onto the B6478. We went over Newton Fells through Waddington and into Clitheroe. We stopped at Clitheroe Services again and visit McDonalds for a much needed drink. After a brief break we said our goodbyes and proceeded home arriving back at around 5:00pm after a wonderful 277 miles round trip.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Chain and Front Brake Pads

In preparation for our trip to Catalunya in a weeks time, I have today changed my chain and my front brake pads. The pads probably have 2,000 miles left on them but we will be doing more than that on our bike tour. Although I have only done 12,500 miles the chain looked in a bad way (which Rochdale Honda confirmed), it has a very bad tight spot on it.


Anyway I got up nice and early today to get a good crack on with the jobs. I expected to have finished by lunch but things are never that easy are they? I ended up having 1 of those days today, when nothing goes right and everything takes far longer than it should.

DID X-ring Chain I broke my old chain and pulled the new DID X-ring gold chain through. I then pressed and riveted the master-link only to get a hairline crack in 1 of the master-link rivet pins, so off out to get a new link, 2nd 1 went on fine.

Then I changed my front pads and realised that Hunts had given me the wrong pads (Honda changed the caliper in 2007), so I had to go all the way to Hunts to change them. Got back and fitted them both within 10 minutes. The bike is now sorted and everything is looking good for the trip.


12,000 Mile Service

I took my bike in yesterday to have it’s 12,000 mile service. I went to the newly opened Rochdale Honda rather than going all the way round to Hunts.


I was very pleased with the service and think they have done a much better job than Hunts and seem to have done a lot more things even though it was only a minor service. They took 1.5 hours longer to do a minor service than Hunts but where around £20 cheaper.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Helen's New Panniers

BMW F800ST with Panniers As I mentioned yesterday we went over to Southport Superbikes to have Helen's F800ST serviced before we go to Catalunya. While we were there Helen had also arrange to have a set of BMW panniers fitted.


The bike had already been fitted with the rails by the previous owner so she only need the panniers themselves. They are quite nice looking things and very clever in the way that they can be expanded if required.


BMW F800ST with Panniers Helen has just had a trail pack for Catalunya. Which has also included a run out on the bike to get a feel for the handling with the extra weight of fully loaded panniers and topbox. I added a bit of extra preload and damping on the bike for her which was very simple as the bike has adjuster knobs for both.