Sunday 30 August 2015

James Honda

I spotted this neat little hybrid at the car show in Linlithgow today. Looks like an early '50's James Comet with its Villiers engine replaced with a Chinese copy of a Honda Cub.

Wednesday 26 August 2015

FJ Brake Problem

It's not often that my Yamaha FJ1200 "fails to proceed" but that happened today. While riding on the back roads of South Lanarkshire I noticed that the brakes were binding a bit. Then they started to bind a lot more - to the point the bike wouldn't pick away. The right disc was very warm by this time.

At this point I started to regret not carrying a tool kit. I was in the sticks and had to think of a way to get going. With some difficulty I managed to remove the pads from the caliper using a tyre plug installing tool and a rock from a nearby field. It's unusual for a brake to bind so dramatically and I'll strip the caliper to clean, lubricate & check it out. 
I suppose there are worst places to break down
The "tool kit" I used to remove the pads

Monday 24 August 2015

FJ Tyre Valve Swap

I recently took my FJ1200 for its annual MOT (UK vehicle inspection test) the bike passed ok but I was advised that the rear tyre valve had a split in it. I fit my own tubeless tyres but don't routinely replace the valve. If this failed on the road there would be no way to do a repair. So I bought some valves and swapped it this evening. I remove the wheel & broke the bead. I could then access the valve inside the wheel. The valve is tight fit and I had to cut it out. I replaced the valve by pulling it through with a valve tool. At a cost of 30 pence each I'll replace the valve at each tyre change in the future.

well spotted by the MOT man
The bike uses car-type TR412 valves


Monday 17 August 2015

A Day at the Lochs

You're never far from a loch in Scotland. Here are some I came across today.

The first loch is…eh the Lake of Menteith. Why a body of water in Scotland is called a lake is uncertain - maybe a map-makers error. see here

 Loch Earn

At St Fillans I met a guy from Germany on this lovely Laverda 750 SF. Touring Scotland on a classic bike on a sunny day - does it get better than that?

 Loch Fruechie

 Glen Quaich

 Loch Tay at Kenmore

 Loch Rannoch

 The road around the Loch was nice & quiet.

Yes I'm on the CBF again. I'm trying to find out how long it takes to wear out a Honda. I'm beginning to think I'll die long before it does.

This tower is built on a crannog, or man-made island. Thought to be a reconstruction of an ancient prison.

Schiehallion from Tummel Bridge. The mountain was used in an 18th century experiment to calculate the weight of the earth (Really! - see here)

Loch Faskally at Pitlochry.

Friday 14 August 2015

Every Picture Tells a Story #3 - Bent MZ, February 2006.

What we have here is a somewhat bent MZ ETZ301 Saxon. This was caused by a car crashing into it. Unfortunately I was riding it at the time.

I was on my way to work when a car drove into me on a roundabout near my home. It was a woman taking her kids to school and was, I assume distracted by them. The car hit the bike side-on just behind me in the area of the rear wheel. The bike and I were sent flying. I recall lying on the ground, not in any pain, but wiggling my fingers and toes to check if I'd become a quadriplegic. All seemed ok, with only a little pain in my right hand. Being winter I was wearing many layers of riding gear and was thus well padded. However had the impact been an instant sooner the car would have hit my left leg.

The cops turned up and were quite relaxed about things. They consoled the woman who was a bit upset. They also pushed the bike to the car park of a nearby inn. The AA took my bike home and I went to hospital.

The damage: 
the bike:   indicators, exhaust, swing arm and some cosmetics
me:          broken 5th metacarpal (the bone between your pinkie knuckle and the wrist) 
Fixing both was simple. I had a donor bike that provided all the bits and the bone healed in a few weeks.

I also had a good experience with the driver's insurance company. The accident happened on a Monday, the guy came round on Wednesday.

guy - "what is it?"
me - "an MZ"
guy - "what's it worth?"
me - "£400" (probably too truthful)

The guy phoned later and said they'd give me £350 and I could keep the bike. The cheque fell through my letterbox that Friday.

The bike under repair. It only took a few days - MZs are pretty simple to fix

  Me "in stookie"

Monday 10 August 2015

Back Roads to Berwick - Take #2 - Part#2

After Berwick I rode south to the Holy Island (Lindisfarne) The island is reached by a causeway.

A combination of poor signage and a bad sense of direction means that I'm lost again but found this nice viewpoint. 

I didn't mean to but I found myself in Wooler. I was hungry but the chip shop was shut. But the baker provided me with an excellent lunch - a chicken & mushroom pie followed by a peach melba tart. I'd say the pie was so good I would ride back there to buy some more! (Google maps)

  Kelso - and the sun's out!

Floors Castle, Kelso

A great day out and again the little bike did the trip on a single tank full. 288 miles on 14.79 litres = 88.5 miles per imp gal (73.7 mpg US, 3.3 litres/100 km) That's pretty amazing for a bike that’s ridden pretty hard and about half what my FJ burns.

Friday 7 August 2015

Back Roads to Berwick - Take #2 - Part#1

Back in April when I did my "Back Roads to Berwick" run I thought that it would be possible to do the trip again but on entirely different roads. So yesterday I did just that. It was good to get out on the bike. The weather here over the last month has been bad, and I mean bad even by Scottish standards. So bad that health experts have suggested that people should take vitamin D supplements!

The run starts off damp & cloudy - but things are going improve. Aren't they?

 The route

I have passed this many times but not paid it much attention. West of Edinburgh this is the gateway to Hatton (or Haltoun) House. The gateway was built in 1692 and moved in 1829 (hence the two dates). The house was considered one of the grandest in Scotland but burned down in 1952 and was subsequently demolished.

 Hatton House c1900

 Yester Parish Church, Gifford

Climbing up the Lammermuir Hills and looking back over East Lothian and the Firth of Forth to Fife in the distance.

 In the Lammermuir Hills

 Another gatehouse, this time to Duns Castle. 

 Chirnside Parish Church

The grave of racing driver Jim Clark in the churchyard. Interestingly he is described as a farmer first and a champion driver second.

 Jim Clark

Berwick under heavy skies.