Tuesday 31 December 2013

Best Wishes for 2014

Hogmanay 2013 and that's another year nearly over. I'd like to thank the readers of my blogs and wish you all a happy & healthy 2014.

Most bikers in the UK have their machines tucked up in the garage at this time of year. I'm one of the odd ones that keeps riding. Well, a little. I go to the shops etc and some short runs when possible. We have basically two types of winter weather - wind & rain or snow & ice. Its mostly been the former this year so riding has been possible, if a bit unpleasant, rather than dangerous.

During winter I use my Honda CBF250. Its light weight makes it ideal for roads that are wet and covered in mud & gravel. The FJs will make an appearance when the weather improves in April or maybe March if we're lucky.

None of the bikes have any maintenance or repairs planned so there aren't any "Tales from the Shed" in the pipeline, maybe I need a project.

I've no particular plans for the coming year bike-wise just more of the same. Riding the highways & byeways and bringing you photos & tales of anything interesting. Maybe more videos next year.

The CBF & myself on a Boxing day run to the Rest & Be Thankful


Sunday 29 December 2013


I came across  this small memorial, near a farm in the Gleniffer Braes (hills), a few years ago. It is to an American airman who was killed 70 years ago today. During the war aircraft were transported from the USA to Glasgow in crates by cargo ship then taken the short distance to Renfrew airport (then HMS Sanderling) for assembly.

The pilot was ferrying an aircraft to RAF Burtonwood, Warrington, the main US air base in Britain, when he struck trees in poor weather conditions. The memorial and the gap in the line of trees marks the location of the crash.

Lt Casey was repatriated and buried in his hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee.

information on crash 

Saturday 21 December 2013

Shiny Beast

A very early start this morning for a visit to the autojumble at Scorton, North Yorkshire. Thanks to Malcolm for providing the transport.

Visitors' bikes - BSA Gold Star Scrambler & BMW R69

The highlight of the day was on the way back when we dropped into Penrith Motorcycles. The owner showed us his recently acquired Vincent that has everything chrome plated or made of polished stainless steel.

Saturday 14 December 2013

Past Bikes - 1980 Suzuki GSX750

By 1983 I felt that the GT500 was a bit crude and lacking power for the European tours I was doing. The GSX was my first big four and I really liked it. The bike was cheap and made a good tourer. It was smooth, reasonably fast, surprisingly economical, and roomy enough for two people and their luggage. The bad bit was the handling. I fitted a fork brace and a pair of Marzocchi shocks which improved things a bit. I also fitted a handlebar fairing for wind protection. 

Austria, 1983

Germany, 1986

Tuesday 10 December 2013

Tax Disc No More

The tax disc that UK road vehicles are required to display is being discontinued from October next year. The disc is proof of payment of vehicle excise duty (commonly known as road tax) The duty will still have to be paid you just won't get a disc in future. The tax disc is considered to be redundant because checking is now done by registration plate reading cameras. The disc was first introduced in 1921. 

An old tax disc from my CBF250. This is a "duplicate" because someone (ahem) did not propertly tighten the bolt that held the disc holder in place.

Sunday 8 December 2013

CBF Caliper Clean

If you're going to ride a bike through the Scottish winter then you're going to become an expert at servicing disc brake calipers. The rain, salt & muck that is flying about affects the caliper and eventually leads to them seizing up.

The CBF's caliper was ok but I stripped & cleaned it based on the principle that prevention is better than cure.

Looks a bit rough

Looks very rough

Parts to be cleaned up

The caliper cleaned up ok with white spirit & and an old tooth brush. I didn't have to remove the pistons.

The pistons are pushed back using a clamp

The pads have a little life in then but I've got a spare set ready.

The carrier gets a coat of paint
Caliper re-fitted

Wednesday 4 December 2013


Way back in the early days of this blog I mentioned the Kelpie horse statues at the Falkirk Wheel here. These were models of huge statues to be constructed at the Helix Park development centred round the east end of the Forth & Clyde Canal between Falkirk & Grangemouth.

The full size statues are now complete and I took a run over today on the CBF in bright & mild conditions. Work is ongoing in the area around the statues but there is a good view from the far bank of the canal.

Sculptor Andy Scott's website here