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Author Archives: Don

Didn’t See it Coming —

Been thinking about scaling down for a while now – but I still didn’t see an RE350 on the horizon.

I admit to having looked at the cruiser style Meteor but the seat/pegs and bars didn’t appear to be in the right places for me.

Then I saw a chap riding a reborn Classic 350 version up to the Green Welly – he even let me sit on it to see if I fitted – I did! I was hooked!

Less than two weeks later the ultra-modern plastic X-ADV750 had gone – its place in the shed taken by a proper Heavy Metal Royal Enfield.

Even the Classic colours match my Roland Sands carbon fibre replica of the original Bell open- face helmet I was wearing 60+ years ago 🤠👍

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2022 in out and about

 

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Royal Enfield 350 Classic —

Owning the Enfield is just like motorcycling used to be.

No worries – there’s very little about the simple 350 Classic that a reasonably capable clown couldn’t fix —

The wee bike was delivered having been PDI’d – the gear lever had been fitted aiming at the road surface and there was no way in god’s earth a rider was going to get his toes under it to effect an upshift. I thought it would be a five to ten minute job with a 10mm ring spanner – but I was wrong!

There wasn’t sufficient clearance between the end of the splined spindle to allow the full removal of the pedal as it fouled the welded lug carrying the LH footrest. I had to unbolt a bottom section of frame rail and slacken an engine mounting bolt before I could adjust the gearshift lever. Not entirely obvious at first glance but that was my answer to the problem and it worked —

Fitting our Givi topbox in place of the pillion pad took a little longer. I used an alloy Givi mounting plate that first saw service on our 650 V-Strom before being modified to work with the X-ADV75O —

It was a fiddly job but I managed it using bits – bolts and bobs from my boxes of miscellaneous handy parts that I have been lugging around for years.

On completion – a ride up to Killin – where I filled the topbox with over thirty quids worth of groceries from the new Co-op general store gave the setup a worthwhile test and I’m happy that it works. Keeping the whole thing low lets me swing my leg over the top instead of using the ungainly -stepthrough – way of getting on and off the X-ADV that I’d had to adopt for the plastic Honda.

With 150 miles on the clock and ‘running in’ proving to be not too much of a hassle – I reckon I’d better get her booked in for a First Service which – as far as I know – comes up at a measly 300 miles – with regular services due every 3000 miles after that.

The Enfield arrived with no slack at all in the final drive chain which gives over-stressed bearings a hard time but I soon put that right. I’m no longer surprised to find bikes coming from new – or after being dealer-serviced – with tight chains – it happens so often —

With six notches available I’m running the rear suspension third notch from softest setting and it works fine with my 100 kgs and pile of groceries aboard. One thing for sure is that I won’t be adjusting the shocks very often as the job has been made so fiddly by the chocolate adjusting ring and a ‘C’ spanner that aren’t a match made in heaven 🛠️ —

She is turning into a lovely bike to ride though and I’m very pleased with the 350cc Classic – so far 👍

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2022 in out and about

 

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You Can’t Beat Heavy Metal —

My X-ADV750 was a lovely bike in it’s own right – yes I did say ‘was’.

I’m pleased I mastered the ‘Plastic Rocket’ – and enjoyed it’s idiocyncrasies to the full. But – during the soul-searching most of us do after a daft ride – I had to keep reminding myself I was an octogenarion and as such probably wouldn’t bounce as well as I did when I was younger.

The outcome being that I have traded the X-ADV for a Royal Enfield 350 Classic —

It’s the latest – ‘Made in India’ version and none the worse for that —

The new bike arrived by van mid-morning – a quick check over showed the tyres were a few p.s.i. above the recommended 32 front and 32/34 rear for solo riding and a loose bar mounted rear view mirror. Minor adjustments made – I was soon off to meet the missus over an out-of-town coffee —

Helen seemed suitably impressed with all those shiny bits and – pass gained – I was soon into proper bike gear and out on the open road —

First impressions are much better than on-line reviews had led me to believe they would be. Not only is she a similar black and gold colour scheme to my first road bike sixty three years ago – a 350cc Velocete – but the power is roughly the same.

Unlike the modern style of the X-ADV where handling shows a front-end bias and spirited riding wears the front tyres out in no time at all – the RE350 classic is very neutral and being a docile 350 cc’s – should be easy on its’ Seat rubber.

A brisk ride along my favourite Loch Earnside Twisties where I first crashed my long-suffering Velo as a tear-away seventeen year old – gave me hope that when running-in is complete – the wee Enfield will keep me in motorcycling for a few years to come. 😎

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2022 in out and about

 

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RIP Ma’m —

Our thoughts are with you —
 
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Posted by on September 19, 2022 in out and about

 

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The Shrimpers —

Been a busy day – I’ve carefully cleaned and hung my new ‘pic’ —

She is looking good —
better than good —

From around 1888 – fisher women netting shrimps – possibly on the mudflats left by the receding tides of the River Tay estuary.

As for copyrights – in the UK they last 70 years. I think this pic is over 100 years old so I should be OK on that score 👍

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2022 in out and about

 

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Helen’s Studio —

This is only one small part of it —

That gannet is truly spectalular and shows those daily crossings of the Cuan Sound on her way to and from work in Oban were not wasted 👍

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2022 in out and about

 

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The Shrimpers by Robert McGregor —

With H off to Ireland for her grandson’s birthday I came across a note in her studio asking me to frame her latest landscape painting which I have called ‘The Water’s Edge’ —

I had a mount that I thought I could make fit but no suitable frame —

Nothing daunted I took the easy way out and headed off to a major antique centre thirty five miles away – thinking I might find something suitable containing a non-descript painting or photo which I could pop out and replace with Helen’s offering.

Well – I did find something interesting tucked away in a corner gathering dust. The sizes were about right and I thought – ‘thistle doo’ and got it for a song —

It was only when I got home and inspected it properly that I thought – ‘wait a minute – this looks interesting’.

Signed by the artist – Robert McGregor it said on the sales label ‘The Shrimpers’ and Google soon provided a whole lot more info. A Scottish artist who lived 1847-1922 – Robert painted mainly fisher folk and farm workers going about their daily toil.

His paintings are well sought after nowadays with prices running into thousands of pounds when they come on the market. My purchase certainly looks old enough and tired enough to date from Victorian times – I wonder 🤔

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2022 in out and about

 

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Helen with the V-Strom 650 —

Looking across Loch Leven to Glencoe —

Those were the balmy or perhaps barmy —

high-kicking – pre-covid days – when we would nip off the island and up to Mallaig or wherever for an ice cream —

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2022 in out and about

 

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Thirty Years Ago —

Heading out on the Exup —

perhaps I should have stopped riding motorcycles then and taken up gardening —

but just think of all the ‘fun’ I would have missed 😎

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2022 in out and about

 

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Bramley Apples are Looking Good —

We have spent our third summer in Comrie and a need for something to do during the pandemic saw Helen and I dig in five different fruit trees.

Of the five – two have produced fruit this year and pride of place goes to the Bramley Apple —

The recent rain has played it’s part and the apples filled out nicely after a slow – dry start.

I can see ‘apple pie’ being on the dinner menu a few times this winter 🤠

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2022 in out and about

 

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