Saturday, 30 December 2017

A Christmas Visitor


Urban foxes are common in this country. In the past we've had foxes visit our garden looking for scraps. I've not seen one for a while but this healthy-looking specimen seems to have decided we are part of his (or her) domain. Foxes are generally timid and avoid humans but this guy (or gal) is very bold and was unconcerned by my presence.

Some people are down on urban foxes but I've no problem with them. They scavenge anything that's left for them then go.
 
 

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

White Christmas


Snow at Christmas is fairly rare here but we got some this year (just) It has been mild recently but snow started to fall late on Christmas Day. I went for a short run today to get some snaps. It was a short run because I wasn't convinced that the roads were ice-free and, as the sun began to set and the temperature dropped, I wasn't convinced that my heated grips could keep my fingers ice-free. The pain as they thawed out was pretty intense. But, hey, I do this so you don't have to.
 

2:45 pm and the sun is about to set.
 
 

Monday, 18 December 2017

Every Picture Tells a Story #11 - Down on the Rhine, August 1986.


I was sent into the attic to extract the Christmas tree and I found a box with some old photo albums. These had probably been there untouched since we moved in, 16 years ago. There were lots of photographs of biking trips we had done years back and these certainly brought back some memories. 
This photo is of me on my Suzuki GSX750 in August 1986. Of note is the blue inflatable cushion on the pillion that Gwen brought to make things more comfortable for her. Maybe too comfortable. After one large German lunch of (I guess) sausage, sauerkraut and beer we were back on the road when I was hit of the back of my helmet. Gwen had fallen asleep and headbutted me!  
Also I'm wearing a satchel. This was to carry my camera since, from experience, they fall apart if carried in a pannier.

(picture from Wikipedia) On the back of the photograph it only says "The Rhine" but I tried to find out where this is exactly. I hoped that Google Street View would help in this but, due to privacy laws, this is not available for Germany.

I then typed "church with twin steeples on the Rhine" into Google and it came up with Church of St. Severus in the town of Boppard. From my notebook I still have I found that this was on the 4th day of the tour en route from Koblenz to Würzburg. Boppard is a very pleasant town in a winegrowing region and attracts many tourists (like us)

This tour followed a familiar route for us. We took the ferry from Hull to Rotterdam then south through Germany to the Alps, into Austria, then back via Lake Constance, Heidelberg, then into France to get the ferry from Calais to Dover.

I recall a funny incident at our destination that day in Würzburg. The campsite was some way out of town. We got the bus in for some food and drink and a taxi back. I didn't know the name of the campsite so I told the driver to go to the campsite beside the river. This he did but it was a different site. When we explained this he switched off the meter and took us to the right one. When it came to paying the fare there was a slight argument because I thought he was trying to cheat us. Turns out it was my fault for thinking he wanted fünfzig (fifty) DM when he was asking for fünfzehn (fifteen) DM (about £4)


At the German/Austrian border

 

I started off this ramble with a Christmas tree so here it is and this seems a good time to wish all you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

CBF250 Centre Stand Fix


Here I'm trying to fix a niggling fault on my CBF250. The centre stand has given problems over a long period. It was prone to jamming then it got loose and wobbly. The stand attaches by a pin through lugs on the frame and a tube on the stand. Water gets in causing rust. This initially caused it to seize and then it got loose as metal was lost.

If you run a bike for a lot of miles in all weathers then this is the type of repair you'll have to do. Remember this bike is used year round and for a good part of that it's saturated in salty water.

The pin

The stand


Frame lugs

The pin is nominally 16mm diameter but has worn

As has the stand (a 17mm dia socket fits in)

The gap in clearly visible

The socket easily fits into the lugs
In the past I spaced it out with bits of beer can but I thought that I could do better. Replacing parts isn't viable - the lugs are part of the frame. My plan is to drill the stand and lugs out to 18mm and make an 18mm pin.

I bought a 18mm diameter drill. I got one with a reduced diameter shank so that it fits into my drill chuck. I also got a length of 18mm stainless steel tubing. Stainless wouldn't corrode and also is quite hard so should resist wear.

The drill bit removes a small amount of metal

New pin
Back together. It's a nice tight fit - wobblyness gone.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Urban Run


Recently we've had some unusual weather. It has been cold but dry and sunny as opposed to the normal cold but wet and dull. It's too cold to go far but there are things of interest nearby. This is a random run through the city generally along the River Clyde.

At the Science Centre I found the paddle streamer Waverley at its winter moorings. The ship was built in 1946 and is the last passenger carrying paddle steamer in the world. The Waverley provides day trips throughout the country during the season and is claimed to be the "most photographed ship in the world".
 


A Clydeside montage - L to R the Armadillo (auditorium), the Hydro (indoor arena) and the Finnieston crane. 


Fair warning - there will be bridges. This is the railway bridge crossing the Clyde into Central Station. Ok, trains are heavy, but this bridge seems like overkill even by Victorian standards.
The Briggait was, for a century, Glasgow's fish market - now an arts centre.

I've always liked the winged sea horses

The place looks a bit rough. I found this photograph of the building when it was painted. I'm not sure blasting it back to stone was a good idea.



Cambuslang Bridge. This is a strange one. I worked for the Roads Department but never heard of this bridge. It was built in 1892 but at some point was found to be under strength. Weight restrictions were applied and eventually new bridges were built that replaced it. The bridge remained for pedestrians, In 1977 the council built another footbridge beside it presumably because demolition was planned. But it's still here with two adjacent bridges carrying out the same function. The bridge is obviously not being maintained but isn't in bad condition. Left alone it'll eventually rust away and fall into the Clyde. Maybe in 100 years or so.
Rosebank Dye Works. The east end of the city has many derelict industrial buildings but this is special. A fine structure with nice Greek key pattern in contrasting brickwork. It was constructed in 1881 for yarn dying. As far as I can find out it has been empty since 1945 (can that be true?). Cambuslang isn't the most desirable area of the city but surely something could be done with this place.
Cuningar Bridge. This new bridge gives access to a redeveloped area of land. It might look rusty - and it sort of is. This is weathering steel - steel with a small percentage of chromium added. This causes it to form a stable oxide layer that does not require painting. In time this should weather to a dark brown finish. The area was variously reservoirs for the city's water supply, quarries and a landfill site. It has been developed into a parkland. This is a good example of the development of the east end of the city - previously a fairly run down post industrial area.


Reel of Three. This is a sculpture on a roundabout on a recent development in Dalmarnock. It's across the road from my site offices (see below) When I was here this was a derelict factory (Phoenix tube works, I think) It depicts people engaged in a frantic dance.
 


Dalmarnock Bridge. I spent a year working on this bridge in 1996. The job was to replace the existing steel deck with a new one. Not too difficult but the existing ironwork - everything red in the photograph - had to be removed, refurbished, replaced if necessary and re-erected. Not any easy job, but hey, that's what I was getting paid for.

It might look bright but it was pretty cold.

Monday, 4 December 2017

SV Tank "Repair"


An outstanding issue from my accident back in May is the SV's tank. The bars bent back and dented the tank. I wasn't too bothered about it but, because there was some bare steel, I had to do something before it rusted. 

A possible "cheap and nasty" repair would be to fill the dent and find a nice sticker for the tank. 


Another option I thought about was a complete re-spray. I've never really liked the colour of the bike and, since it's a single colour with no coach lines this would make things easier. I'm not going to do this at present but might in the future.

The damage

I got this set of stickers from eBay. These are associated with the late racer Barry Sheene. I put his No. 7 stickers on the tank and continued the theme with Donald Duck on the back of my helmet.
The stickers were tricky to apply. They don't fit smoothly onto a surface that curves in two directions. I had to put some cuts in the stickers to get a fit.

The SV is currently laid up for the winter. When I post about my adventures next year you'll know why the SV has the tank stickers.


The man himself


Sunday, 26 November 2017

White Cart Run - Coda


During my run along the White Cart I was reminded of events from my past. In 1992 I was working on a construction site building the M77 motorway at the point where it crosses the river. 





Here I met Colin MacLeod. You could say we were on opposing sides. He was an anti-roads protestor. For the year it took to complete this section of the road he camped out in the woods engaged in a (mostly) one man protest. He came to prominence when he took to the trees and lived up there for nine days. He was dubbed "The Birdman of Pollok" by the press.
  

In June he upped the ante. We arrived for work on Monday morning to find Colin perched on top of the 150 foot jib of a crawler crane. The police were called and the crane operator told the cops "I'll lower the jib so you can arrest him". The cops replied that if he fell off and was injured they'd arrest the operator.  





So we waited…..for 6 days. Then Colin came down, was promptly arrested then bailed out by his supporters. The road was completed without much further interruption. I had to admire his dedication to his cause. He died at a young age in 2005.