Friday, 10 January 2020

The Fleet 2020

This morning I took my annual "fleet" photograph. 
They are:

Honda CBF250 - looking a bit battered because it's been in daily use through the winter.

Yamaha FJ1200 & Suzuki SV650. They are in hibernation at present. I'll ride both this spring/summer/autumn. I favour the FJ for longer runs or when carrying a pillion and the SV for the twisty stuff.

Sunday, 29 December 2019

Last Run of the Year

A short spin today on some local back roads. 12C (54F) so not much like winter.

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Winter Solstice

Happy solstice! As one who doesn't much like Christmas & New Year I've taken to celebrating today.

The winter solstice occurs (in the northern hemisphere) when the axis of the earth's rotation is tilted away from the sun by the maximum amount. This happened at 4:19 GMT this morning to be exact.   
Winter solstice
The solstice causes the shortest amount of daylight. At my location at 56 degrees north the sun rose at 8:45 GMT and will set at 15:44 GMT giving 6 hours and 59 minutes of daylight. From now on this will increase.

This is midwinter but due to seasonal lag the coldest temperatures are yet to come. Seasonal lag is about a month so late January/early February is, on average, the coldest time of year.

Thus far winter here has not been bad. There were early frosts from the start of November but currently it is dull, dry & fairly mild (8C/46F) Zero chance of a white Christmas. Certainly no problems with getting about on the bike so long as I wrap up.  

Winter scene

The CBF is my transport at present

Friday, 20 December 2019

Maximum Luggage

I snapped this Kymco scooter with an impressive carrying capacity last week in the Spanish Canary Island of Fuerteventurea.

The pair of huge cases is used to deliver pollo asado (roast chicken)  

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

CBF Headlight Problem.

You may recall that I had a problem with the headlight fuse blowing on my CBF250. I put this down to a bad contact in the fusebox. I cleaned it up and all seemed well. But in the darkness of the Scottish winter the problem re-emerged.

I checked for bare wires causing a short but they were all ok. I replaced the fuse and the headlight worked….for a short time. The fuse blew again when I pressed the started button. This gave me a clue as to what might be wrong.

Bikes in the UK have had, for a long time, "always on" headlights - they don't have a on/off switch. This is for safety reasons. For staring the CBF has a microswitch that momentarily switches off the headlight when the starter button is pressed. This will allow all the power of the battery to go to the starter.

I opened the handlebar switch and found something wrong. A wire from the microswitch was trapped under a metal plate. The insulation was burst exposing the wire. This could cause the fuse to blow when the starter was operated.

I taped up the wire and the back of the plate and this has worked thus fair. Here's hoping. 


I can't blame Honda for this. About 9 years ago the microswitch stuck and I opened things up to clean it. I must have trapped the wire then.

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Canal Revisited - Part #2

Canniesburn Locks

Walking on thin ice - a pair of moorhens. It has been unusually cold for this early in the winter and there was a thin layer of ice on much of the canal.

Reflections - Boghouse Lochs

The canal runs from sea level to sea level and rises to a height of about 200 feet. When you think about it, it has to be topped up to prevent to water draining away. 

This stream near Dullatur runs from Banton Loch which was built to supply water for the canal.

Craigmarloch Stables. In times past this housed the horses that pull the barges on the canal.

The Union is an old pub beside the canal in Falkirk.

Also in Falkirk is another pub/restaurant. It was once the Rosebank whisky distillery.

Dramatic sky in Grangemoth

The Kelpies sculpture at the start of the canal in Grangemouth. On my original journey these were 1:10 scale models.

Friday, 29 November 2019

Canal Revisited - Part #1

Throughout this month we've had some cold conditions - sometimes the frost has persisted all day. So it's good that I have the CBF back on the road. Light weight and mild power are perfect for these conditions. The cold has prevented me from going any distance but I have been out and about.

Eight years ago I did a trip along the Forth & Clyde canal (see here) and I thought I'd revisit it and find some bits that I missed.

The west end of the canal at Bowling where it enters the Firth of Clyde

Boats in Bowling basin

Autumn colours, Clydebank

Cycle sculpture, Clydebank. The canal provides a safe route for cyclist.

Maryhill locks, Glasgow

The canal passes an old industrial building in Ruchill Road

Spears Wharf. These buildings were used for grain storage and later converted into flats