Monday 28 May 2018

Getting the Fleet Back on the Road

If you follow this blog you will notice that, since the start of the year, I've been riding my Suzuki SV650 exclusively. However I've got three roadworthy bikes and my master plan was as follows:

Honda CBF250 -  winter bike, general running about town
Yamaha FJ1200 - longer runs and touring
Suzuki SV650 -    back road fun

Well, for one reason or another (mostly laziness on my part) I ended up using the SV for everything. It's such a great bike this works ok. It is small, light and agile and fine for running about town. It's also goes as fast as I could reasonably want. But I decided to get the CBF & FJ back on the road. In the UK this means getting an MOT (safety check) and paying some tax.

The advantage of this is that I can do some maintenance on the SV. Also it's not a good idea not to use older bikes. Strangely random things seem to go wrong with them when just sitting doing nothing in the garage.

The CBF has been unused since the start of the year. It needed an sprocket carrier bearing and we were going on holiday……. The FJ hasn't been used since October 2016. I don't ride it over the winter so it didn't seem worth taxing & MOTing it. I intended to use it last year but with a broken collar bone it just seemed too heavy.

The FJ & the CBF are both well-used. They have a lot of years and/or miles between then and so it was a little worrying whether they'd pass the test. As it turned out they were fine.
My fleet
The FJ's MOT certificate - 76 miles until it goes round the clock!

Friday 25 May 2018

Electric Scooters for Hire in Valencia

At the start of this month we spend a very enjoyable week in the Spanish city of Valencia.

These electric scooters are for hire. Is this future? When you need a bike you just take one. (I'm guessing. I have difficulty ordering breakfast in Spanish so working out the scooters would be beyond me)

Like most Spanish cities parking places for bikes are plentiful. (Note cool old Boxer amongst the scooters)

If you prefer to pedal.

We chose to walk or take the tram (1€ per journey)

Wednesday 16 May 2018

In Search of Something Old

Today I took a trip to England to have a look at something old. Not hard in this country - there are lots of old buildings, etc, but this is something special (I think anyway) 

Bewcastle in Cumbria consists of a few farms and a church. In the churchyard is what I came to see. The Bewcastle Cross dates from the 7th century. The head is missing but the carving on the shaft is surprisingly detailed and clear. It's hard to imagine that this cross is still in its original location after 1,300 years. 

Old graveyard = spooky gravestones!
A direction sign to Rome? We are near to Hadrain's wall and there was a Roman fort here (called Fanum Cocidi)

In the 12th century the stone from the roman fort was used to build this castle.
I was thinking about exploring the castle but…..
….this little fellow took a great interest in me and so I thought I'd just view it from a distance. He seemed to be getting bottle fed and he thought I was the farmer with fresh supplies. I don't know much about sheep (except how to make a lamb curry) but this guy looks big enough to eat grass.
My kind of road. The journey there gave me an opportunity to explore the back roads.
I've complained about this before but….no direction signs? - we don't all have sat nav.

Saturday 5 May 2018

A Worrying Sign

While most of the country enjoyed warm temperatures and sunshine the west coast of Scotland remained gloomy, cool and drizzly. This was not good because I was at my annual camping expedition to the MZ Riders Club rally in Tighnabruaich.

It was worthwhile because of the opportunity to down a (good) few pints with old friends. During a stroll along the seafront I noticed this sign on the pier. I couldn't help but think "what events made the authorities erect this?" 

***update*** strange because the village has small but picturesquely located public toilets! (Google Streetview)

View from the pier

I don't mind camping but I wouldn't like to try it sober!


Ah, the beauty of the Scottish Highlands in springtime

Thursday 3 May 2018

Dumfries to Moniaive

Yesterday, a journey of only 15 miles as the crow flies but the map says that there is much to see…..

I planned my route and found info at

The ruins of Lincluden College Church in Dumfries. This was built in the 15th century on the site of a 12th century nunnery. Archibald, 3rd Earl of Douglas successful petitioned the Pope to have the nunnery abolished on the grounds that the nuns lived "disgracefully". The nuns were accused of failing to maintain the building and not being as celibate as the job description requires.

Just outside of Dumfries is a stone circle known as "the twelve apostles". Neolithic or bronze age. These stones could have been placed here 4,000 years ago.

Kilpatrick Irongay Parish Church. I like old graveyards. I'm looking for spooky old graves and quirky epitaphs.

Memorial to a soldier

The epitaph reads:

Captain Finnan

Maintained unsullied the character of a British Officer on the late war of Great Britain and revolutionary France. The hoary veteran hastened among the earliest of his countrymen to arms and headed a company of the Royal Dumfries Volunteers during the awful struggle of treason and anarchy against loyalty and order.

This tomb is dated 1569

Routin Linn waterfall
I have to include a bridge. It's good too see that this lattice truss has been well maintained.
Lots of rivets!

The schoolmaster's house in Moniaive. The clock tower in this village means that pupils have no excuse for being late for class!

My route follows that of the Cairn Valley Light Railway. It was closed in the 1940's but the station building in Moniaive remains. Maybe demolish it after 70 years?

A big sky up in the hills

It was a typical British spring day - showers, sunny spells, breezy, cool. A rainbow at my local park.