Sunday 31 March 2013

Featured Bike - Ecorider

I hadn't heard of this until I saw an advert for one on Gumtree. It's a two wheeled all terrain vehicle designed for use on farms, estates etc and can be used for towing things (in the ad it's towing a glider) It comes with a 175cc petrol or 230cc diesel engine and has a high/low range gearbox with reverse. Made in Inverness in the Scottish Highlands the company seems to have gone bust in 2009. Yours for £825.

The bike is similar in concept to the Rokon from the USA

Thursday 28 March 2013

MIG Welder Repair

A "tale from the shed" rather than the "road" since I refuse to ride anymore until the cold weather stops.

A MIG welder is a useful tool for any biker. It can weld thin steel so works well on exhausts etc. I bought mine a few years ago but it isn't very good. Its a SIP HandyMIG. The main problem is the wire feed. The motor isn't very powerful and the drive often slips. This causes the feed to be uneven and the welds to be poor. An improvement I did, suggested on the internet, consists of a metal strip to hold the drive wheels in alignment. The plastic holder deforms and the drive is reduced. This helped some but the problem seems that the resistance in the plastic liner is too great. I measured this at 4 lb. So I replaced this with a steel liner.

MIG welder

 I'm using flux cored "gasless" wire. This is convenient and economical. The gas bottles the welder uses last only minutes.

 I've added a steel strap between the drive roller mounts to improve the feed

Measuring the force needed to feed the wire

 Plastic liner (top) & metal liner (plastic outer in place & removed)

The feed was smoother with the new liner and reasonable welds are possible.

Sunday 24 March 2013

Railway Bridge Replacement

For many years I worked as a Civil Engineer specialising in bridges. I retain an interest and snap anything interesting I see on my travels. In this case it was only a couple of miles from home where a railway bridge is to be replaced at Patterton Station. The new bridge has been assembled adjacent to the old one and will be lifted or slid into place, probably over a weekend. The old bridge has low headroom and has been struck a number of times as can be seen by damage to the steelwork. 

Friday 22 March 2013

Thursday 21 March 2013

Past Bikes - 1974 Yamaha RD350

After passing my bike test I wanted more speed and the RD fitted the bill. Basically a bigger version of the 200 and my first foray through the 100 mph barrier. In its day the bike was known for its speed. I was easily able to keep up with my friends who were riding big British bikes. The RD and myself were parted when it was stolen from outside Lloyd's motorcycle shop in Hamilton when I went to get an ice cream.

Not mine but the same colour.

Sunday 17 March 2013

Past Bikes - 1972 Yamaha CS5E 200cc

My first real bike. I bought this bike in July 1974 with money earned from a summer job in a local factory. The little Yamaha was a cracker. 200cc twin cylinder two stroke, twin leading shoe front brake, 85 mph - it was a light year ahead of the Bantam in speed & sophistication. It even had an electric starter. No separate motor, it used its dynamo to spin the engine.

I bought the bike from a guy in Bishopbriggs and had to ride across the city to get home. Only problem was I couldn't really ride! I kept stalling as I tried to move off. My father told me to start the engine, pull in the clutch, select 2nd gear then he and the owner pushed me down the street. I was told to drop the clutch and I was off. And that, folks, is how I learned to ride a motorcycle.

My first trip on the Yamaha was in September '74 when I went to Oban for the weekend staying at the Youth Hostel. I didn't have any bike gear so wore a plastic raincoat over a combat jacket. When I got up to speed the coat's buttons popped open leaving me with a flapping cape like Batman.

I did one long journey on the Yamaha with my brother on his Honda 175 from our home near Glasgow to London in the summer of '75. By that time I had passed my test but he had not and that meant the trip (about 800 miles) was done without using motorways.

Me as surly youth with the Yam. Note learner "L" plates on fork leg and home made plywood top box.

What a lovely paint scheme - could this bike be any more 70's?

Past Bikes - 1959 BSA Bantam D7 175cc

Spring seems reluctant to make an appearance this year so I don't have many "Tales from the Road" for you. So I'll take the time to recall the bikes I've had in the past.

In the summer of 1974 I was 17 and working in a local factory between leaving school and starting university. A fellow worker gave me a lift home every evening on his Honda CB125 and that began my interest in bikes.

I asked a neighbour for advice and he offered me his Bantam free. It had been unused for 5 years and the engine had seized. I freed it off and got it running but I lacked the knowledge to make it roadworthy. But the Bantam confirmed that I was going to be a biker.

I don't really count the Bantam as my first bike because I only had it for a month and didn't ride it on the road. With the money earned in the factory I bought another bike and the Bantam was flung into a skip.

D7 Bantam (not mine)

Friday 8 March 2013

New Blog

I've started a new blog called "Images from the Road" It is a kind of companion to this blog in which I intend to post a monthly roundup of photographs taken on my travels. I may post some videos as well, if I get round to it and if they're any good.

So if you've enjoyed the photographs I've posted in this blog there should be something of interest for you in the new one.

You can find the new blog under "MY OTHER BLOG" link (right)

Tuesday 5 March 2013

Run to Dumfries

A favourite run of mine today down to Dumfries. The main road, the A76, is good - fast with lots of bends. But today I took the minor road on the west side of the River Nith. This suits the CBF's pace better and, being a cool morning, reduced the wind chill effect.

 Road beside the River Nith

The CBF at Eliock Bridge

I like a yarn, but I'm not buying this one. No way did a horse gouge solid sandstone. If I had to guess, these marks were made by a steel cable being used to remove a fallen tree from the bridge pier.

 The River Nith from the bridge

Perfect - a nice quiet back road

The parish church at Penpont

Auldgirth Bridge.

 The bridge has unusual refuges built into the parapets

 Looks like a nice watering hole. And old - built in the 1500's.

 Spring lambs - new-born it seems

 Dalswinton Barony Church

Spring flowers in Dumfries

 Swans in Dumfries

 Abandoned fishing boat at Glencaple

Friday 1 March 2013

Featured Bike - Rickman Kawasaki Z1

When I started university in the mid '70's the coolest guy in the class rode a yellow Rickman Kawasaki Z1, wore an afghan coat and had the hairstyle of King Charles II.

The Rickman brothers, Derek & Don, first bikes were scramblers using Triumph engines, BSA frames & Norton forks. They were called the Metisse, mongrel in French. They then produced their own frame with a distinctive nickel plated finish for road racing and street using various British engines. Later they made frames for big Japanese bikes at a time when they were fast but didn't handle.