Monthly Archives: April 2012

Tenere and the Wickerman

I’ve got a 32/33ins inside leg measurement and I have to stand on a peg before swinging my leg over the Tall Tenere but for the Wickerman it’s no problem to get his legover my bike —

Just as long as he doesn’t sit on it. Yes – the protective fencing was gone – the gate was open and the sun was shining as I rode home tonight. What more of an invitation did I need to play?

The field is being prepared and already looking great for the Wickerman Music Festival that takes place around 21st July. Headline acts this year will be the Scissor Sisters and Texas —

Now wouldn’t it be great if they get this weather for the event instead of the usual rain. I might even be tempted to get up there and strut my stuff 🙂


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Posted by on April 30, 2012 in Uncategorized



Tenere Rides the Triangle

I first wrote about the Triangle on 19th Sept last year. It’s a big lump of hill and bog in the south-west of Scotland bordered by the main roads between Newton Stewart – Stranraer and Girvan. There are bits of it where nothing grows except rushes – rough grass and heather.

But – one thing that is sprouting in those windswept hills is the penchant for Wind Turbines. They are everywhere with more to come and they do have wind up there and very few neighbours to complain about the their view being spoiled.

With the Tenere back under me as the weapon of choice I was drawn to the gravel strewn single tracks in the Triangle. There are miles and miles of them cutting across that desolate area.

There’s even an old phone box —

or two —

But first some cheapish petrol in Newton Stewart then off into the boondocks —

Gael Force is just one of the many wind farms being put together up there.

I came upon this old wreck of a Massey Ferguson 35 by the roadside and stopped for a pic cos I used to drive one when I was a spotty youth with nuthin in my head but motorbikes – girls – and dancing —

This one wasn’t going far on three wheels —

But by the looks of the Perkins 3 cylinder deisel engine she was still a runner and there was good reason.

Not one to waste a thing the upland farmer was driving a high pressure pump off the PTO. No doubt to wash down his cattle float and other machinery —

The suction was dropped into the burn running under the road and the lance gave every impression of being used – just the job for washing the bike after a day in the hills —

I found my way over to New Luce where the Pub was shut – the shop was shut and the only sign of life was a well built guy walking down the street with a chain saw on his shoulder. He was probably off to open the pub 🙂

Ten miles or so further on had me off the hills and down on the lowlands of Stair Estates where the platful lambs caught my eye —

A nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon and thanks to the wonders of i-player I was able to watch a replay of Stoner winning the main race at Jerez on my puter once I reached home 🙂

Jerez GP circuit – down near Gibraltar. I remember driving my Merc Truck down there from Rotterdam in 32 hours with just a four hour sleep somewhere near Bilbao. That was back in the days when 500cc two-strokes were the top GP bikes and I had one in the back of my truck for Neil Hodgson to ride. It seems like a lifetime ago now and to be honest I would rather be trundling around the Triangle on my Tenere and back in my own bed at night. Does that mean I’ve got my priorities right at last? I hope so 🙂

Back to the Triangle

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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Uncategorized



Tenere is Back in Favour

With the XJR delivered to a ‘Happy’ new owner today The Tenere is now in pole position as the weapon of choice. The XJR has moved to Watford but the new owner has a Scot’s grannie and it showed today 🙂

Lunch of Carlisle Stotties was his ‘push’ but he somehow forgot to pay! I did give him plenty time cos I just HAD to take a photo in the cellar as I headed for the loo —

No worries –  new owner Ratboy texted me a few minutes ago to say he was home and the bike ran beautifully. Just as it should! And also to inform me that he had ‘forgotten’ to pay!

So – o — after a train plus two bus journeys to get home from Carlisle I took the Tenere for a spin this evening  just cos I could now that the big lump of an XJR isn’t in the way. I found an old forestry track just begging to be ridden and there’s no better night than a Friday to do it when all the forestry workers have gone home from their honest toil. The Tenere and I hit a dead end before long but the bit we did ride was fun —

I wasn’t sure how the Tenere would fair after riding the four cylinder XJR but we gelled right away and I’m looking forward to the next few months with the blue bike. She brings a completrely different style of riding into play —

I even found some rocks to pose beside —

and the hills across the Irish Sea are actually the north end of the Isle of Man which will come alive with the sound of racing motorcycles when the TT fortnight kicks off at the end of May —

Not bad considering I had no sleep last night due to this dental work which has gone bad. There aren’t enough pain killers in town to quiten it down but at least I forget about it when I’m out on the bike. I’m beginning to flag now so I’d better not even think about riding through the night 🙂

H-mmm – Carlisle stotties. A Stottie appears to be a big round flat soft textured bun filled with sliced meat and comes with fried onions on the side. It was hard work considering the mess my gum is in but the thought of Ratboy paying ensured I cleared my plate. I daren’t show my face back there again knowing he did that old Watford dodge and legged it 🙂

Tenere on Pole

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Posted by on April 27, 2012 in Uncategorized



End of an Era

Tomorrow marks the end of an era! I’ve ridden the mighty 1300XJR since the year 2000. Scrapped and fought with sports bikes in Wales. Joined group rideouts all over England – seen mates crash – had friends die and I’ve toured as far as Dubrovnik on what is basically a naked street bike.

I’ve had four of the breed altogether and yes it’s a heavy ol’ motha but it’s not the fact that anno domini is catching up with me it’s more to do with fuel consumption. On a good day this four carbed four cylinder bolide will only return about 42mpg. My modern fuel injected bikes will get me where I’m going in roughly the same time if not with the same smile on my face and give around 60mpg or better in the case of the XT660Z Tenere.

Time to go buddy —

End of an Era

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Posted by on April 26, 2012 in Uncategorized



River Fleet

My urge to wander didn’t take me far today. Just over the hill to Gatehouse of Fleet. A cafe latte was the main attraction but I did walk by the River Fleet afterwards.

To call it a river is a bit of a mis-nomer as this section between the sea and the town of Gatehouse of Fleet was actually straightened in the 1820s and re-designated a canal.

It says so here —

This is one of the old moorings and loading quays and it explains why Gatehouse railway station is sited many miles away in the hills. The protectionist policy operated by powerfull local landowners and presumably shippers ensured that the Railway Company was unable to buy land that would have enabled them to bring their railway close to town.

the moorings —

The hills were full of rain clouds —

But quite often down here you can find a dryish strip right on the coast and that proved to be the case today —

This path would have been the original towpath by the canal —

but now it’s left to the occasional walker such as mesel and the birds —

I had stopped to visit the castle out by the busy A75 —

It’s run by Scottish Heritage but when I saw they wanted four quid for the pleasure I decided as I’d already spent that amount on a Sunday newspaper and latte I would give the old castle a bodyswerve  —

and went off to visit Mossyard Beach instead —

On the way I spotted a few bikes by the Tea Pot near Spyreburn — i stopped for a natter and a look at some of the exotica. Turns out they were a bunch from Kilmarnock based Ayrshire Bikers on their Sunday run.


OK – time for Mossyard beach.

Now I know why I haven’t been there before. The local farmer charges two quid per vehicle for parking. I object to paying the same price for my tiny Smart car or motorcycle as the 4×4 and family of seven so I reneged and went to Kirkwhatsit instead.

Had my soup lunch down on the shore – yes I’m still on a liquid diet. It’s doing wonders for my waist-line but when I get my broken root fixed at the dentist on Tuesday I’m going to pigout on a massive ribeye steak  🙂

Incidently – does anyone else find it strange to see that so many of those government funded solar panels are roof mounted. I always found roof tiles to be fragile things and even being up there to adjust a television aerial was liable to crack one or two. I think with all that grass out front I would have sited the panels down there.

Just had time to wander round the old graveyard with stone inscriptions dating back to the 1700s when the rain that had threatened all day finally caught up but the car wasn’t far away. Good timing and keeping a weather eye open is everything in this part of the world 🙂

River Fleet

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Posted by on April 22, 2012 in out and about


Balcary Point Caves

Seabirds are nesting on the cliffs and some black and white ducks or guillemots were at play in the sea below the point. Judging by the quacking I suspect they were ducks —

But these ‘duck’ pictures are horrible so I’ve replaced the second one with flowers. I’m slightly better at flowers –

they let me get right up close —

and I’m on safe ground with seagulls — not sure why I cut that top bird’s body off —

and there were a few of them —

cuddling up and nesting too —

Far-off wind turbines —

and close up bloggers were strutting their stuff —

While keeping a watchfull eye for the high speed rock doves on whirring wings that shoot past his shorn head as they dive at full chat before sweeping into the caves below. Yes I had put my own clippers on ‘short’ setting to tidy up a ‘bad’ haircut I got in Newton Stewart last week – thankfully it will grow back in 🙂

If I can nip along here I might get a better shot at the caves – maybe see how far into the cliff they go —

Well that didn’t help much — and look at that sky. My car is parked over that way —

Time to click a late primrose or two in a sheltered nook down the cliffs —

Before cutting back across the fields with there ewes and lambs —

That’s where the rain caught me —

and when a big drop hit me dead centre it was time to put the camera away and head for the car —

Loved it! Put me in the mood for more 🙂

Balcary Point Caves

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Posted by on April 21, 2012 in out and about



Looks like my XJR1300 is sold to a new owner. I will be sorry to see her go but a man’s gotta eat and pay his taxes unless you are rich enough to move income offshore – or hide it in charity donations then syphon if back through an overseas connection – or just be plain bloody-minded and cheat!

No worries Black Beauty —

You will go to a good home — 🙂

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Posted by on April 19, 2012 in Uncategorized



Suzuki XR69

The iconic Suzuki XR69 —

No she isn’t pulling a trailer although she has enough ‘grunt’ to do it. That’s the starter behind her which works by driving a motor driven rubber tyred wheel against the rear tyre of the XR69. Get up to speed – engage gear on the XR69 and Bingo! She will fire up!

But only if the clutch clears and this one didn’t. The motor in the XR69 hadn’t been run for five months and we were unable to free the clutch sufficiently to get the thing going. So – clutch was pulled apart and both steel and friction plates cleaned of oil. The oil level was dropped because the heavy when cold Silkolene 10-40 grade was reckoned to be the main problem causing stiction between the clutch plates —

With the oil cleaned off the clutch plates and the level dropped below the lip of the clutch basket so she wouldn’t pickup any more she fired up first time and the job’s a good un:-)

Well not quite – running a 190 section rear tyre in this bike brought it’s own issues —

Namely – getting clearance between the final drive chain and the edge of that wide 190 tyre.

No worries – the ever-resourceful Buffalo turned up some neat spacers with his lathe down in the corner of the workshop and this baby is ready for the truck to go testing down in the warmer climes of southern Spain some time soon 🙂

Ok – Jessica – just for you – the ‘cheesy grin’ —

I don’t expect to have the overalls on again for a while – but – Aldo has promised me a couple of fresh brown trout so I could do with that recipe you promised me 🙂

No that I’d ever thought there would be a special recipe for trout. I’ve been salting them – peppering them – coating them in oatmeal and throwing ’em in the frying pan since I was a kid. Doesn’t come simpler than that. On one memorable occasion I cleaned ’em and fried them on the riverbank without the oatmeal and condiments. I think they were the best 🙂


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Posted by on April 14, 2012 in Uncategorized



Up the Creek

I’ve used what passes for Palnackie harbour for photographs on a few occasions with a motorbike centre stage —

The harbour is little more than a muddy creek but it does hold enough water at high tide to bring in a shallow draft vessel like the ones used to service fish farms —

There have been quite a few of these flat bottomed craft in here for modifications in recent years before heading off to fish farms – mainly in clearer water up the west coast of Scotland.

Today is the first time I’ve seen one this size up on the bank  —

Business must be good. I wonder if they’ve found a new seam because there must be a market for specialised craft servicing the Wind Turbine industry – especially here in the shallow waters of the Solway Firth where there are plans to establish many more of the ugly brutes.

Having said that about ‘ugly brutes’ I do like this picture I took of the off-shore Robin Wind Farm as the ghostly silhouettes of the wind turbines appeared through the mist one day last year. Is that what is meant by ‘ethreal’?

Up the Creek

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Posted by on April 13, 2012 in out and about


Susie and Co

The head-scratching yesterday bore fruit and the big Susie cracked into life by lunchtime today after a spot of soldering. Some previous owner had got carried away when they removed the troublesome alarm and took out one wire too many. She’s fine now and my reward will be to take my mate’s other bike for a spin.

A Ducati Diavel – fingers crossed for a dry day tomorrow —

I will probably fit perfectly on the 162bhp Ducati Diavel which is more than I could hope for on this lovely little V Twin GP Yamaha that I helped to finish off this afternoon —

She is a jewel of a thing. A ‘V’-twin twostroke – she’s so light compared with anything else out there. It’s a crying shame they stopped them racing in GPs.

A rev counter and a temperature gauge is all you have to bother about —

Just keep nicking in the gears —

It even has an idiot’s guide to the shift pattern printed on the swingarm – must be for the American market 🙂

Top class suspension —

She has an exup valve on the exhaust port of each cylinder —

Controlled from here – the valves start to open around 7000rpm but that like everything else on the bike is adjustable —

Gull arm swingarm makes room for the expansion chambers —

and ofcourse slick tyres are de rigeur —

but there’s no chance of me twisting this in anger — I would need to be a tiny Danny Pedrosa size to tuck away on this little bike 🙂

There’s no race series for the 2009 bike at the moment so she’s being fettled ready for a trackday at Jerez race circuit down near Gibraltar in two weeks time. Takes me back – feels like only yesterday – but 17 years ago I was down there with the 500 Grand Prix boys and their strokers when Scwantzie – Doohan & Co were ruling the roost.

My team on that occasion shared a pit (garage) at the circuit with the legendary American ex-World Champion, Wayne Rainey. Wayne had suffered a broken back in a horrific accident and was making a come-back as the wheel-chair bound Manager of the Works Yamaha team. They were funded by the Marlboro millions while we got by on a wing and a prayer.

So that was the 2009 Yamaha 250 GP bike. The TZ350 on the right is from 20 years before that even and is being prepped for another season in ICGP racing on the old GP circuits of Europe.

A really tough series getting tougher each year as more ex-GP riders return to the saddle with fast – well prepared bikes under them. Two races per meeting and nine meetings per year are hard on the old TZ350s requiring constant fettling and bike development is ongoing. The 30 bike isn’t just making up the numbers – she has been 2nd in the European Championship for three years in a row and last year was leading going into the last race of the season only for an unfortunate break down to rob the team of the 2011 championship.

Susie & Co

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Posted by on April 12, 2012 in Uncategorized