Thursday 29 December 2011

UK Road Numbering System

Ever wonder about the logic behind the country's road numbering system? The system was developed in the 1920's as motor vehicle use increased. In England & Wales six routes radiating clockwise from London were identified:

A1 to Edinburgh
A2 to Dover
A3 to Portsmouth
A4 to Bristol
A5 to Holyhead
A6 to Carlisle

These routes created six sectors eg sector 1 was the area between the A1 & A2. Any road starting in this area was named A1x, A1xx or A1xxx the longer numbers been generally more minor roads. B roads are local routes. Roads crossing sectors will use the lowest sector number.

Similarly Scotland has four routes from Edinburgh giving 4 sectors.

A1 to London
A7 to Carlisle
A8 to Glasgow, Greenock
A9 to Thurso

The system is pretty consistent but there are anomalies. There two roads called A594. One is the Leicester inner ring road and the other runs from Maryport to Cockermouth in Cumbria.

Then there's the Motorways........

UK road sectors

Thursday 22 December 2011

Featured Bike - 1952 Cyclemaster

The Cyclemaster was a powered wheel that was fitted to a bicycle to provided basic transport in post war Britain. The 26cc engine produced 0.6 bhp and powered a bicycle to 20mph (wind & gradient permitting, I suppose) This one was on show at Biggar in August.

Sunday 18 December 2011

Makin' Movie #2 - How it was done


The "bodycam" was something I thought up a while back but didn't use because it doesn't work on the FJ - you only see the inside of the fairing. The prototype is a piece of plywood with a metal plate attached. I found that attaching a camera to your helmet gives too much movement and to the bike too much vibration.  

Makin' Movies

In the past I've make on-board bike videos with cameras attached to the bike or my helmet. Today I tried using a "body cam" with the camera strapped to my chest. I did a short run to Eaglesham and onto the moor and yes it was as cold as it looks. I've added a music track because all you get is wind roar once you're moving.

Saturday 17 December 2011

War Horses

I was looking through photos of bikes I had taken at shows this years and found two WW2 army bikes.

M20's history

Indian Scout

Thursday 15 December 2011

Road Related Sculpture of the Week

If you have used the recently opened M80 motorway extension will not have failed to notice the striking sculpture erected beside the road. "Arria" represents "the coming together of the waters" the translation of Cumbernauld's Gaelic name "Comar Nan Allt. I took these pictures today.

Monday 12 December 2011

Featured Bike - 1931 Matchless Silver Hawk

I photographed this bike at the (rather damp) classic show at Glamis Castle this July. The bike was described as a 600cc ohc V four but it only had a single barrel & head. I had difficulty understanding the engine but research found that it is a very narrow angle V of 18 degrees, so the pistons sit in a "square four" arrangement. The single overhead cam has bevel drive.

Wednesday 7 December 2011


A rare Met Office "Red" warning for central Scotland tomorrow - wind & snow. "Take Action"?


Follow the rainbow and you will find.....a Honda?

Today at Loch Lomond

Tuesday 6 December 2011

CBF Problem No. 2

I did a short run today to check that the front brake was working and it was. But there was a loud "klunk" from the rear end. The chain? No, it was ok. The rear sprocket was moving about a bit though. The sprocket carrier bearing had broken up. By luck I had a spare and fitted it this evening. Do these things happens in threes? I'll keep you posted.

The remains of the bearing. I welded a bar onto the outer race to drive it out.

Monday 5 December 2011

Strange Brake Problem

If you are going to run a bike through a Scottish winter then stripping & cleaning brake calipers becomes a routine task. The CBF's front brake was becoming a bit "notchy" so I thought nothing of taking it apart. But when I put it back together there was something amiss. It felt wrong and was dragging badly. Inspection found that the dust seal on one piston was poking out. It turned out that a small chip has come off the caliper body at the seal groove.

I put the caliper back without the dust seal which should work for now (hard to test due to snow & ice on the roads) but I'll need a new caliper. The CBF is fairly rare so there aren't too many parts about. I checked the excellent EBC catalogue and this allowed me to cross reference the CBF's pads with others that use the same pads and thus possibly the same caliper - Honda 125 Varadeo & Kawasaki 125 Eliminator are candidates amongst others. I should find one on eBay.


After the rains; the snow. No biking today. I went for a walk & snapped this nice winter scene of Mearns Kirk.

Friday 2 December 2011

Featured Bike - 1988 Silk 500S

I photographed this bike at the Classic Bike Show at Stafford in 2005 and had a chance to talk to the owner. Silk make the 700S using an engine based on the Scott two stroke twin engine in a modern frame in the '70s. The bikes looked great but were made in small numbers and were expensive.

This 500 was one of two built. They seem to have been built in 1988 some time after the factory closed using a prototype engine and were prizes in a Classic Bike magazine competition.