Sunday 29 December 2019

Last Run of the Year

A short spin today on some local back roads. 12C (54F) so not much like winter.

Sunday 22 December 2019

Winter Solstice

Happy solstice! As one who doesn't much like Christmas & New Year I've taken to celebrating today.

The winter solstice occurs (in the northern hemisphere) when the axis of the earth's rotation is tilted away from the sun by the maximum amount. This happened at 4:19 GMT this morning to be exact.   
Winter solstice
The solstice causes the shortest amount of daylight. At my location at 56 degrees north the sun rose at 8:45 GMT and will set at 15:44 GMT giving 6 hours and 59 minutes of daylight. From now on this will increase.

This is midwinter but due to seasonal lag the coldest temperatures are yet to come. Seasonal lag is about a month so late January/early February is, on average, the coldest time of year.

Thus far winter here has not been bad. There were early frosts from the start of November but currently it is dull, dry & fairly mild (8C/46F) Zero chance of a white Christmas. Certainly no problems with getting about on the bike so long as I wrap up.  

Winter scene

The CBF is my transport at present

Friday 20 December 2019

Maximum Luggage

I snapped this Kymco scooter with an impressive carrying capacity last week in the Spanish Canary Island of Fuerteventurea.

The pair of huge cases is used to deliver pollo asado (roast chicken)  

Wednesday 4 December 2019

CBF Headlight Problem.

You may recall that I had a problem with the headlight fuse blowing on my CBF250. I put this down to a bad contact in the fusebox. I cleaned it up and all seemed well. But in the darkness of the Scottish winter the problem re-emerged.

I checked for bare wires causing a short but they were all ok. I replaced the fuse and the headlight worked….for a short time. The fuse blew again when I pressed the started button. This gave me a clue as to what might be wrong.

Bikes in the UK have had, for a long time, "always on" headlights - they don't have a on/off switch. This is for safety reasons. For staring the CBF has a microswitch that momentarily switches off the headlight when the starter button is pressed. This will allow all the power of the battery to go to the starter.

I opened the handlebar switch and found something wrong. A wire from the microswitch was trapped under a metal plate. The insulation was burst exposing the wire. This could cause the fuse to blow when the starter was operated.

I taped up the wire and the back of the plate and this has worked thus fair. Here's hoping. 


I can't blame Honda for this. About 9 years ago the microswitch stuck and I opened things up to clean it. I must have trapped the wire then.

Saturday 30 November 2019

Canal Revisited - Part #2

Canniesburn Locks

Walking on thin ice - a pair of moorhens. It has been unusually cold for this early in the winter and there was a thin layer of ice on much of the canal.

Reflections - Boghouse Lochs

The canal runs from sea level to sea level and rises to a height of about 200 feet. When you think about it, it has to be topped up to prevent to water draining away. 

This stream near Dullatur runs from Banton Loch which was built to supply water for the canal.

Craigmarloch Stables. In times past this housed the horses that pull the barges on the canal.

The Union is an old pub beside the canal in Falkirk.

Also in Falkirk is another pub/restaurant. It was once the Rosebank whisky distillery.

Dramatic sky in Grangemoth

The Kelpies sculpture at the start of the canal in Grangemouth. On my original journey these were 1:10 scale models.

Friday 29 November 2019

Canal Revisited - Part #1

Throughout this month we've had some cold conditions - sometimes the frost has persisted all day. So it's good that I have the CBF back on the road. Light weight and mild power are perfect for these conditions. The cold has prevented me from going any distance but I have been out and about.

Eight years ago I did a trip along the Forth & Clyde canal (see here) and I thought I'd revisit it and find some bits that I missed.

The west end of the canal at Bowling where it enters the Firth of Clyde

Boats in Bowling basin

Autumn colours, Clydebank

Cycle sculpture, Clydebank. The canal provides a safe route for cyclist.

Maryhill locks, Glasgow

The canal passes an old industrial building in Ruchill Road

Spears Wharf. These buildings were used for grain storage and later converted into flats

Wednesday 27 November 2019

Featured Bike - Yamaha Tenere 700

I took a run to my local Yamaha dealer (MCS in Kilmarnock) and had a sit on the new Yamaha Tenere 700. 

The Tenere 700 is an adventure bike using the same twin cylinder engines as the MT-07 (FZ-07) naked roadster and the Tracer 700 sports tourer. The bike has received praise for its off-road ability. The bike will go up against the KTM 790 Adventure and the BMW F 850 GS in the middleweight adventure class.

The seat height will be an issue for many. I'm 5' 10" (1.78m) and I was on both tip toes. I could ride one but it's way too tall for me. It is light and slim, however. For me a Tracer 700 would make a lot more sense.  

Down at the dealers

Tenere at speed

Tracer 700

KTM 790 Adventure

BMW F 850 GS

Thursday 14 November 2019

Autumn Colour

At this time of year I try to find some autumn colour. I don't have much but here's a couple.    

Dumbarton Road, Clydebank

Forth & Clyde Canal, Kirkintilloch.

Tuesday 12 November 2019

Clydeside Murals

I noticed that some colourful murals had been painted on the railway arches adjacent to the Clydeside Expressway and went to explore today. These seem to be associated with the SWG3 Arts Venue and there more murals on the walls of their car park and adjacent buildings.  

My favourite - a savage critique of modern society……or maybe just a burger van.

The CBF gleams in the weak Scottish sun

Wednesday 30 October 2019

Then Came the Last Days of October

Then Came the Last Days of October *

Last weekend was one of the most depressing of the year for me. Why? because the clocks went forward. We moved from British Summer Time to Greenwich Mean Time. It means darker evenings and winter on the way.

We recently had some frost and they started gritting the roads. This prompted me to get my CBF250 back on the road.  

I've been riding my SV650 and FJ1200 since spring but it's time to get back on the little one. I checked it over and charged up the battery and all seemed ok. I then took it for an MOT (UK annual vehicle inspection test) and paid the road tax (correctly Vehicle Excise Duty) The tax on the CBF, while less than the other bikes, is more than Gwen's Ford Mondeo - grrrr.  

I ride all year round and there is a logic to having a "winter bike" like the CBF. Road salt is damaging - it causes corrosion and it's best to spare the big bikes this. The CBF is also light and easy to handle so ideal for occasions when it's slippery. Its lack of power is not an issue when riding about town or going fairly short distances. It cruises at 65mph without fuss so it's not exactly slow. The CBF will be my primary transport for the next four or five months. The SV & FJ will always be available and I'll use one of them if the weather allows.

* I'm try to get a song title in here. I'm referencing "Then Came the Last Days of May" by Blue Oyster Cult - a nice little tune.  

Monday 28 October 2019


My garden weather station (the birdbath) indicates that its cold. Now where did I put my thermal onesie?

Monday 21 October 2019

Glencoe Run

It's getting close to the time when such journeys are no longer comfortable but with many layers and the heated grips at "high" I has a pleasant day run to Rannoch Moor & Glencoe. There was some ice in the puddles and it was about as cold as I'd ride 200 miles  

Sheep gallop along the banks of Loch Tulla

Glen Etive