Monthly Archives: March 2016

North Harbour – Ayr

Ayr 6What do u do on a wet Easter Saturday?

Slip across the road to the fair in the church hall — or —

jump in the sardine can and make a rare expedition over the hills to Ayr.

To be more specific – to North Harbour Motorcycles the Honda dealer.

We were not alone for when we arrived there we found —

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the NHS Emergency Rider Volunteer Service bikes which as the name suggests provide with their riders an emergency medical transport service in Scotland —

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The local Fire Service were in attendance too —

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likewise the polis —

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Thought ‘at least be a national emergency’ but there were no newsmen with TV cameras in tow -so —

I had a butchers at the new Africa Twin —


while H raided the clothing mall — ‘does my bum look big in this’ —

Ayr 11

and became a naturlised Scot so she could wear this bonnie lid —

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a steal at £79.99. The paint job alone could cost three times as much on an Aria.

Then the MSX125 got a test ride around the mall —

Ayr 9

While I made my getaway in the Knockhill Racing Circuit ‘Q’ car —

Ayr 3

H held the plod at bay with her cannon —

Ary 1

then set ‘Chum’ onto a harmless passing hoodie —


before spending the rest of the afternoon wishing she had a roof on her garret —


Well – what did you do on a wet Easter Saturday 🙂



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Posted by on March 26, 2016 in out and about


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Honda MSX125

A motorcycle in miniature —

MSX 16

but a thing of beauty —


whichever way you look at her —

MSX 15

She may only be knee high to a grasshopper —

MSX 125

but someone has to ride her —


whether delivering pizza’s —


or heading off to the beach with a picnic —

MX125 at Carrick

she’s a whole lot of fun 🙂

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Posted by on March 23, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Cave Bear

‘Your shadow is in the photo!’

Can am 4I confess here at the start – there are no ‘bears’ in this post – and – apart from the Can Am three wheeler under ‘H’ in the thumbnail – no spyders either.

But – for some daft reason – ‘Cave Bear’ was the only thing to come into my head when I was wondering what title to use for this post. It can happen at the start of the day when faced with a clear screen on your 74th birthday.

No worries – that’s the difficult part done. Yesterday saw us take a ‘ramble’ of a different nature. Wasn’t all about Spyder’s either although caves and spiders did figure in the life of King Robert the Bruce in his days as a fugitive.

So did Whithorn Priory which was last visited by King Robert in the days leading up to his death – when – in his early fifties and suffering in the latter stages of leprosy he made the arduous journey from Dumbarton Castle to thank the Order for their much needed assistance during the dark days of his reign.


A vist to the priory wasn’t even on the horizon yesterday but somehow we landed there and were struck by the far spread graveyards. Which – going back quite a few centuries in some cases were still well tended. With fresh flower arrangements in abundance.

orchid 2

Whithorn Priory was founded by St Ninian fifty years before Columba is credited with bringing Christianity to Scotland through Iona. It seemed like a good day to walk the woodland trail to his cave down by shore with views to his homeland across the Irish Sea. Splashes of unusual fluorescent yellow on the far side of a muddy burn saw me traipse across the log for a closer look —

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Bog Arum is but one name for this unusual plant —

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Very excotic —

Orchid 5

and a far cry from the ‘bare cave’ where the good saint Ninian had spent his ‘me’ time in meditation 🙂




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Posted by on March 21, 2016 in out and about


Can Am Spyder

Three wheels on my wagon and we keep rollin along —

Can am 3

The Can Am Spyder first released by Bombardier Recreational Products in 2007 certainly looks like a wonderful piece of kit —-

Can am 1

but I don’t know if I’d spend best part of twenty grand on one —

Can am 2

especially when they don’t even give you a front brake lever with it 🙂

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Posted by on March 20, 2016 in out and about



Honda Pan European ST1100

Pan 1Its that time again – the Pan has been sitting under dust covers all winter.

She’s a big heavy bike – I’ve got a birthday coming up this weekend that declares me another year older.

Perceived wisdom says ‘sell the brute’ – you know it makes sense.

But when did ‘sense’ play a part in motorcycling decisions where the heart invariably rules the head.

No worries – she’s gotta go!

The sun is shining – the river bank by the workshop door should give a scenic backdrop.

The Samsung will take a decent photo when everything is in it’s favour.

So – blow the dust off her and get on out there.

Full frontal in the thumbnail for starters and nary a blemish.

Front discs look set for a few years yet —

Pan 6

Clean enough to eat off —

Pan 5

Not a scuff nor oil leak to be seen down the near side —

Pan 3

Mmmm — lookin good —

Pan 2

Nothing that a good polish and clean duster won’t bring up good as new —

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After all – she’s only just come of age —

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Yup —

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She’s got the key of the door —

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never been twenty one before —

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Original cases —

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all lock with the same key —

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and ofcourse there’s two original keys and toolkit with the bike —

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Never been raced or rallied Sir —

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and at under thirty thousand miles she’s barely run in —

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Why am I selling ???

Pan 14

Y’know —

Pan 13

the more I look at her —

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from every angle —

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The more I ask myself —

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that self- same question —

Pan 21

It would be hard to find another like her —

Pan 16

best put her back in the shed then Danny Boy 🙂

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Posted by on March 16, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Scottish Motorcyclists — it’s Showtime!

Yes – second week in March at Ingliston Highland Showground on the outskirts of Edinburgh — Scotland has it’s major bike show of the year.

Show 2Just like the Agricultural Highland Show itself which travelled the country setting up on a different site every year – the bike show moved around the central belt before becoming an annual event at Ingliston.

I can remember attending the final travelling Highland Show with my father in the early to mid-fifties which was held at Kelso and no doubt qualifies me as an ‘Old Fart’.

It was around that time I rode a motorbike for the first time. A pre-war 200cc Ariel Colt with three speed gear change mounted on the right hand side of the tank – lever controls for the throttle and ignition and inverted handlebar mounted levers for the front brake and clutch.

I well remember the buzz I got from riding my grandfather’s Ariel on a farm track in the Scottish Borders and even now – sixty years later – I still get that self-same buzz when I ride a bike today.

Just looking at them doesn’t do a lot for me and I’m not an avid show goer but I have to admit this year’s event touched places previous shows had missed completely.

We had clocked this guy gunning his Indian out of a service station on the M8 which put us in the mood —

show 8

Then – having run the guantlet of the Carole Nash girls by the entrance we found a whole tribe of Indians just inside the front door.

This chap with the mullet and plaid jaickit showed us how it was done when he swung his leg over the Big White Chief —

Show 1

H likes these big cruisers because – despite their massive cubes – even the ‘vertically challenged’ can get their feet down on the deck at a standstill —

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But I know just how heavy these big muttha’s are to push about – so – I steered her round the corner to suss out the latest lightweight Scrambler from Ducati powered by a brand new 400cc version of their air-cooled twin —

show 9

Not sure if that expression means she likes it or not. The bike certainly fits her well enough — and — there is even a bigger 800cc version pour moi —

Showtime 19

if she can pull me off this nifty if expensive 530cc T-Max scooter to go see it. The wee lad is looking for his mum to come help her drag me off. He reckons it’s his turn on the T-max anyhow —

show 7

Must admit I felt at home on this well kitted out Triumph Tiger 800 Adventure as it tugged at my heartstrings —

Showtime 2

But – I’ve been there and done that with my Tenere so I went off to look at what was on show in t’other halls.

Shinier than a shiny thing – even my Samsung camera struggles with it’s reflection in the bright light —

Showtime 16

A biking conundrum amongst some of the brightest stars in the biking universe which I remember all too well from my time as an off-road trials rider.

Spend the whole week cleaning – fettling and polishing —

Showtime 17

then ruin the effect by going out to dig dirt and bogs with your pride n joy on the Sunday —

Showtime 18

The classics were a safer bet. They brought back black and gold memories of my grandfather’s Ariel – my brother’s Douglas Dragonfly and my first road bike – the beautiful Velocette 350 Mac – on which I passed my Test to get a full bike licence on the quiet streets of Dunblane in 1959 —

Showtime 5

Hard to believe but I rode these old girder forked bikes back in the day —

Showtime 3

solid rearends too —

Showtime 6

but I’ve got to admit – I have never ridden anything like this –

Showtime 7

Nor this style where many of the bikes have ‘ride by wire’ throttles and carry a multitude of switchgear to save the rider from grief when he loses traction. Most biker’s including myself seldom remember to switch the indicators off so god only knows how we are going to programme all the multi-function switches while on the move to adjust power modes for changing conditions. ABS braking and cornering degree sensors – plus a myriad of other widgets that were designed for today’s Moto-GP riders to help shave a milli-second off their lap times —

Showtime 8

Truth be told — most road-riders would be better following H’s lead and lusting after a bobber –  or a Gunner as in this case —

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They can be affordable —

Showtime 1

generally don’t have messy chains like ‘proper’ bikes do – and – ride so close to the ground it looks as if it would be nigh on impossible to fall off them ——

Showtime 12


Well that was Saturday sorted and apart from H’s decision to buy a membership at the friendly ‘Curvy Lady’s Rider’s Club’ where we were loaded with tea and home made cakes – we escaped from the show with our walletspractically unscathed.

Made it so much easier to justify taking a nice B&B for a night in the Trossachs. Next day while I re-traced old biker habits by lighting a fire on a roadside beach by Loch Earn before bemoaning the fact I hadn’t packed the neccessary tinny and teabags to boil up a smokey brew —

Showtime 14

the ‘H’ for ‘Hyperactive’ amongst us —

Showtime 15

went off to climb a tree 🙂


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Posted by on March 15, 2016 in Uncategorized



Tenere to the Rhinns

Brilliant weather. I fancy a ride over to the Rhinns of Galloway and lunch at the Mull itself. They do a mean macaroni and chips at the cafe down there – when it’s open. Turns out that this year they will have an extra long xmas break and hibernate till April – so I went hungry but I’m ahead of mesel.

Rhinns 13

First photo op was at Sandend looking onto Luce Bay — but I can’t find my pics from there so we will have to settle for these of the Ten playing hide and seek in the pampas grass at Drumore —

Rhinns 12

Those first two pics were both taken looking back into Luce Bay so you get my drift so-to-speak.

And there’s a lighthouse in this next one. I must be at the Mull of Galloway itself —

Rhinns 11

and I’ve never seen the Isle of Man appear so close —

Rhins 15

Despite the maelstorm of turning tides off the point below – all was quiet up top and I could park the Ten on the helipad without fear of disturbance —

Rhinns 7

and point the camera all around – magic —

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But I’m hungry — nothing else for it but to head for the nearest pie shop. That would be up at Stranraer —

Rhinns 6

Now Stranraer isn’t famous for it’s haute cuisine – just good honest tucker at a town centre pavement table in the sun with a view of an ancient castle across a paved street.

Can’t ask for much more than that a three o’clock in the afternoon of a small country town in the Scottish boondocks —

Rhinns 5

and I’ve no doubt there’s been a seagull playing King of the Castle up there for nigh on six hundred years —

Rhinns 4

Well that’s what it said on the plaque on the wall down below where I had tethered my trusty steed —

Rhinns 3

See —

Rhinns 2

A lovely ride – and back in time to catch the sun go down over Kirkcudbright Harnour —

Rhinns 1

Well – almost – I missed it by about five minutes 🙂

A quick Edit – just for Rod who jogged my memory with his comment.

I found my Sandgreen pic after all —

Rhinns 17

Bet your caravan isn’t too far from this spot Rod – with the snow capped Galloway hills just visible in the distance. Get yourself down there this weekend mate – it’s too good to miss 🙂




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Posted by on March 10, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Snow Over the Devil’s Beeftub

Brilliant morning sunshine fooled me into thinking it might be a good day to be out on the bike. When the bike in question is the Tenere there isn’t much protection from the elements – especially when I don’t have the heated grips connected —

Beefy 9

Was mobile by midday and pointed her in the general direction of Moffat for coffee by the Rumblin Tum before taking a ride up to the Devil’s Beeftub.

Beautiful – well worth the ride —

Beefy 7

Snow glistening on the tops above the Beeftub and more serious snow capped mountains hiding in the clouds over the Lake District far to the south —

Beefy 10

Must have spent too long over coffee and admiring the views for it was bl””dy freezing as I made my way home the long way round – over the still icy roads by Leadhills and Wanlockhead where our very own ‘Gold Rush’ took place many years ago.

One of those fine days I’m going to pack my ‘hot wok’ and go pan for gold up there. I havn’t been watching all those ‘Alaska Gold’ programmes on Discovery Channel for nuthin you know.

But not today – it was even too cold to stop for photos. I had my hands full dodging the icy patches on the road and still hadn’t learned anything by the time I reached Thornhill where instead of taking the quick way home by Dumfries and Castle Douglas I turned by Moniave and Dalry.

Thankfully I found a patch of sunshine in Wigwam Country and was only too pleased to stop and chat to a bunch of horses gathered by the roadside —

Beefy 3

This fine fella came complete with dreadlocks —

Beefy 6

While his bossy mate didn’t take long to shoo him away — and pose for pics herself —

Beefy 4

If I had forgotten just how cold it can be on a bike at this time of year —

Beefy 14

I got a rude awakening this afternoon and was pleased to see my local Galloway Hills silhouetted in the distance as the sun went down in the west 🙂

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Posted by on March 6, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Tenere trounces V-Strom

20160227_105742_resizedIn my previous post ‘ chasin the booty’ I had been looking at the latest Triumph Bonneville Speed Twin in the hope that I could find one motorcycle that would take the place of the mixture of bikes that I have in the shed at the moment.

Not that I’m particularly bothered about having more than one bike – if I had taken notice everytime the un-anointed said to me over the years – ‘ you can only ride one bike at a time’ – I might have retired rich if unfulfilled.

MCN testers like the new 900cc Bonneville but it doesn’t cut the mustard with me. The hard seat for the rider is a non-starter with my poor posterior and the pillion perch must be a joke. No doubt there is a proper seat somewhere in the long list of extras. Minimalistic fittings on bikes are ok in some areas but not where my ‘contact patch’ is concerned.

Suzuki V-Strom 650XT

Suzuki V-Strom 650XT

I did like the look of the XT version of the new 650 Suzuki V-Strom at the other end of the showroom and thought the broad but firm dual seat with decent provision for a pillion might be an improvement over the Speed Twin where comfort is concerned.

The central flanged – spoked DID rims allowing fitment of tubeless tyres was another step in the right direction in my book .

I already like that sweet 650 v-twin motor so it’s a no-brainer – clear everything out and go for the all-singing – all-dancing baby Strom — until I read the reviews on those lil suckers.

The seat may look the biz on the new V-Strom but the tester slates it for giving him a numb bum after a hundred miles. What chance have I got if these hard-assed Test Riders can’t even hack it?

No worries – bought new in 2009 the 660 Tenere XTZ is still in my stable. She spent a few years with me being hammered round Europe and looked just as good on the white sands of Tiree four years back as the V-Stroms did on a Lanzarote volcanic mud patch at the Press launch recently —

Tiree 174

and – after the best part of a twelve month rest in the shed and a little fettling she performed better than her rider on today’s gallop – bringing him home safe – if not sound.

She will do —


I guess the throbbing single in the Tall Ten will be with me for a while yet. She does most things well enough – doesn’t owe me anything after six years in my tender care – and –

Ten 2

it’s a poor workman wot blames his tools for his own shortcomings 🙂


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Posted by on March 3, 2016 in Uncategorized


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