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Category Archives: Isle of Luing

Good Bye Old Friend – Tenere Bites the Dust

I didn’t think this day would come – but – through gritted teeth –

I’ve sold the Tall Tenere —

She is still the same bike she always was – tough – dependable – would fight her way through the Frankfurt 80-100mph ‘rush hour’ with the bit between her teeth in torrential rain at the end of a 100mph/400 mile day and gallop solo or bimble two up through the endless forest roads of Dumfries & Galloway without missing a beat —

She is probably the most photographed bike I’ve ever had but no one in their right mind could declare that she doesn’t deserve to be —

Long days across Europe stretching down into the Balkans in her unforgiving saddle have caused me more pain and cost the NHS more money than I ever thought possible —

Five operations on my nether regions didn’t come cheap —

and probably account for my membership of the Ministry of Funny Walks —

Riding the bitch isn’t the problem —

but getting on —

and off —

her tall saddle —

is proving to be —

too much for my geriatric pins —

making climbing into —

and out of her tall perch —

a bit of an —

inelegant lottery —

Since buying her new in Feb 2009 —

I have had so many fun days aboard her —

and judging by the pics in my gallery —

many sunny days too —

I hope her next owner —

treats her with the same care and respect —

she has had from yours truly —

and reaps similar rewards in spades from this great bike 🙂

 

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2017 in Isle of Luing, Motorcycling, yamaha tenere 660z

 

Yellow for CRF 250 Rally

Was heading out of Oban yesterday when I spotted that despite the odd blue bit in the skies above – the electronic traffic warning sign on the roadside approaching Dunbeg giving it Large with ‘YELLOW WARNING – HEAVY RAIN DUE TODAY!’ It made a change from the usual rubbish  – ‘Fasten Seat Belt’ – Deer Crossing Road’ – ‘Check Your Tyre Pressures’ – ‘Did You MacClean Your Teeth Today’ – ‘Don’t Pick Your Nose and Flick’ and many more useless sound bites —

So-o – it was up through the lights onto Connel Bridge – I can remember when we shared it with trains in the pre-Beeching era. Probably makes me too old to work a computer and there could be something in that as I have to click the Scroll key every time I want a capital B or N – no doubt today’s infant would know what I’m doing wrong on my old HP laptop —

No worries – being an ancient has its blessings at times – especially lunch times and I’m on my way to a Benderloch cafe cum restaurant where they do pensioner sized portions for not-a-lot of dosh —

I can only think they have n’t paid their dues to the Man above  —

for all the rain tagged in the YELLOW WARNING appears to have fallen on the lonely CRF in their carpark while I enjoyed my mini chicken chips and salad in the dry 🙂

 
 

Honda CRF250 Rally to Aird Luing

Aird Luing – the high point on the southern end of the Isle of Luing – at a mere 65 metres it’s not particularly high but with sea in most directions the views are spectacular and the trail up and over is a class act.

Quite different from my Saturday ride on her down to the Green Welly at Tyndrum when I caned the lil beauty over the hundred miles or so there and back on the ‘big’ roads.

Having ‘obtained’ permission for this ride I didn’t want to blot my copybook by stampeding the famous Luing cattle that appeared to have laid claim to some of the track although many of the ‘flighty’ sheep scarpered no matter how quietly the jewel-like CRF 250 whispered past.

I guess it’s brightly coloured flanks were like something from outer space to a wooly-back on the bottom end of Luing.

And all too soon we were there —

having looked over to the dangerous Passage of the Grey Dogs twixt Scarba and Lunga and the wild Atlantic Ocean beyond on the way.

No danger on Luing – except from the Red mother cows –

but the wee Honda has a fine turn of speed when needed –

and took me down to Aird Luing and back without fuss or drama 🙂

 

 

 

 

 
 

Honda 250 Rally on Wishing Tree Lane

A quiet Monday after what has gone before – time to take the covers off the CRF and go for a spin.

There’s a hill way over there I would love to cross —

But first there’s a spot of TLC to attend to – the final drive chain for instance – she looks to be on the dry side. I’m using Putoline Chain Lube on this bike – a first for me. I’m quite impressed with the flow from the aerosol and the job it does.

But – the CRF hasn’t got a centre stand and up till now it’s been a bit of a wrestling match to get the rear wheel off the deck – spin it and spray chain oil with my third hand – which I haven’t got. It’s probably why I needed a wife but they are seldom around when you need them —

No worries – a couple of wood blocks and my scissor jack did the lifting job just fine and set the 250 Honda up in the air quite safely.

Even the hill crossing turned out to be a piece of cake on the 250 Rally —

Some of the steeper parts on the far side had been torn up by tractors or four wheel drive vehicles but they were of little consequence to the CRF which just sailed up them —

I didn’t even bother switching off the ABS on the rear wheel for the long – loose surfaced downhill section with it’s occasional steep bits leading into tighter turns and cruised on down —

The wee bike is proving to be as sure-footed as a mountain goat —

The downside being that tea break arrived far too early —

and the reminder clipped to my binos was hardly necessary as I never raised a sweat on the whole ride – sorry about the picture quality —

just could n’t get ’em right today —

which is a shame —

 

as the views were out of this world 🙂

 

Pan Euro to get a Chance to Shine on the NC500

With that good allrounder – the Tenere XT660Z once again Sorned as a result of the CRF 250 RAL taking over local and off-road duties – the ST1100 Pan European will get another chance to shine on the serious stuff.

Who knows – it might cover itself in glory on the NC500 this summer if we can string a few dry days together.

Yes my long distance rides in any weather are probably a thing of the past.

But I have suggested to H that we look at heading up there this summer – should we get one – and the rider stays fit.

Shouldn’t be a problem really as I did it clockwise as far as Bettyhill back in 1995 on my BMW 1100GS.

Now there was a bike for any occasion – she could tour two-up complete with the kitchen sink on the back – plus – give a good account of herself while scaring punters on their new Fireblades as she scraped her pots round the Isle of Man TT course on Mad Sunday.

I seem to remember clocking up 42000 miles in her first year including an all-time high when I galloped her down a dried up river bed in Andalucia – stood on the pegs – whooping like a wild thing with 100mph showing on the speedo. Judging by that sheepskin on the seat I was bothered with a sore butt way back then too. For once I couldn’t argue with the dealers when I tried to trade the GS in the following summer. Their standard pitch – ‘but your BMW is above average mileage sir’ had a ring of truth in it 🙂

 

No worries — if there’s one thing the Pan has it’s a comfy seat —

After all – it is why I bought her in the first place 🙂

 

 

Honda ST1100 Pan European – leccie fault

My very low mileage 1995 ST1100 had an obscure electrical problem when I bought her two or three years ago and they have come to the fore on a few occasions since.

She looks good and generally is good but occasionally refused to recognise that I had pressed the starter button. The supplying dealer’s answer was to throw a new battery at it – and it helped – but not forever. Last time I was on the ferry with her I had to suffer the ignominy of being pushed off and bump starting her down the ramp. That was on the awkward Grey Dog where a reverse gear would have been useful.

So – it was a relief to see that our regular ferry – the drive on – drive off Belnahua was back in action after a three week sabbatical while it underwent it’s annual service. She is at the North Cuan jetty across the water but will be over in a few minutes. The little motorboat passing down the sound is our Passengers Only ferry for Sundays and evenings. Looks like it’s heading for Easdale where they have a similar ferry. They can be temperamental little things and often break down.

No worries – there was no pushing heavy Pan Euro today – my time spent on battery maintenance seemed to have done the trick – sort of. My multi-meter still showed an unexplained voltage drop when I switched the headlights on even with the battery charger connected. My friend Ali at West Coast Motorcycles in Oban had his theories and I had mine. I saw it as a cheap fix – if we could find the obscure fault – which could take hours on a Pan with so much bodywork to remove.

I thought I was dropping into WCM on a social visit with thoughts of blagging a cuppa before heading for the return ferry with my panniers laden with cat food. Before I could greet Big Ali with the magic words – ‘how’s it gawnn Big Man?’ he had the sidepanels off the Pan and was playing tunes on his own multi-meter in the wiring. Frighteners were thrown around like ‘700 quid for a new alternator’ or ’70 -90 quid for a pattern rectifier’. Hell doesn’t he know I’m getting married next week and all those fish suppers at the prosecco lunch will cost a lot.

Thankfully – after much head scratching and beard pulling the main items were passed as fit for service leaving thoughts of a wiring fault as being the culprit.

And there they were – a hidden bunch of connectors that had been subject to a botched wiring repair leading to overheating  long before the Pan came into my life.

In the time it took me to dander round to Tesco Hole-in-the-Wall for some folding stuff Ali had renewed all the connectors and pronounced himself satisfied the job was a good ”un.

As for me – I was more than happy that the wedding will still be on without having to tell H that prosecco is off the menu as Ali’s bill for the electrical repair on the Pan was well below what I expected for the work 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Yamaha Tenere XT660Z

My Tall Ten has seen a fair bit of competition for her place in the stable come and go since I bought her new in Feb ’09 and up until now she has remained my ‘go to’ bike when a choice had to be made  —

No doubt her nose has been put out of joint with the arrival of the ‘bright young thing’ in the shape of the Honda CRF 250RAL – after all the Tall Ten has shared many an Adventure with me – some good – some bad.

Late winter snow on the ride home from Braemar —

It wasn’t too bad although the road over the Lecht was blocked and Landrovers were the favourite form of transport —

Cruising on the German autobahns on my way to the Balkans was restricted to 108mph til I pulled into a service station and got busy with my Swiss Army knife.

A spot of ‘fine tuning’ saw me cut through the 90 degree bend on the airbox intake allowing me to do the following couple of hundred miles at 113mph. Seemed important at the time – makes me shake my head now 🙂

Long 4-500 mile days across Europe in the unforgiving saddle eventually put me in hospital — enduring 14 days torrential rain on an autumn tour of the Outer Hebrides was the last straw and the subsequent botched operation on my ass put an end to my long-distance motorcycle touring.

Daytrips became the norm with lots of time for posing —

Although somewhere along the line the Ten and I did visit the Isle of Tiree and played on the white sands —

It was the greatest feeling on earth to be setting out for an early ferry with the panniers full and very little set agenda – it appealed to the gypsy in me —

I’m supposed to be selling that big blue bike to make room for the CRF but somehow I can’t see it happening —

Horses for courses —

It will take at least two bikes to replace the Tall Tenere 🙂

 

Never a Driech Day with the CRF 250RL

Driech – if there was ever a word to describe a wet June day on the west of Scotland it is that fine old Scottish word ‘driech’. Best analogy I can make for those down south is to imagine Theresa May’s face when she had the recent election results relayed to her – bet it was even worse than Nicola Sturgeon’s..

Best thing Theresa could have done was to take a few days off – summon up a CRF 250RL from somewhere and head for the wilds.

For if ever there was a bike to brighten up your day it’s the honest little CRF.

Prior to taking delivery I had my doubts if I could live with her gaudy colours but in actual fact I don’t see them from the seat. On the trail I am too busy praying I stay on the thing and picking my route while on the road I am happy that even the most myopic of drivers will see the bike.

 

Although I’m not so sure about her from head-on – it will probably send small children screaming for their mammy —

 

If all else fails I can always use the advice I received from my Nigerian driver back in the day —

‘Give him hooter Master! 🙂

 

 

CRF 250 Rally – More Angles

Have turned up a few more – hopefully unused – pics from my foray’s on the little Honda. This first one indicates just how well made and finished the new model is —

Not in the same heavyweight league as the Connel Bridge perhaps but that was built in a different era.

The bungee fixings keep my Givi tailpack secure.

Most of the time.

If there is a part built down to a price it’s the handlebars with their welded cross-brace which is a shame because it’s the first thing you notice when you climb on the CRF. The bars don’t do the rest of the bike justice but the tidy wiring and well clipped brake hoses will stop it being a straightforward job to replace them with something that suits me better.

Not enough to condemn the whole bike tho’ I do remember spending a day hunting around Switzerland for a pair of Renthals that would make touring easier on my XJR1300 – a four thousand mile round trip is a long way to carry a crick in your neck.

On the other hand the mirrors are as good as anything I’ve had on previous bikes and if they escape damage on my off-road excursions they could be on there for a while.

Sidestands can often be a source of aggro – especially on dual purpose bikes with their long-travel suspension but it’s hard to see how this one could be any better. It just needs a watchful eye for ground levels when choosing a parking spot.

Like jeans – riders come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Oops! – Sorry missus.

Some bikes fit —

Some don’t.

But they can all make me smile 🙂

 

 

Honda CRF 250’s First Adventure

This is her first adventure off the island if we don’t count a day trip into town to measure up her worth on the open road – where – much to my relief – she did well enough for a 250cc dual purpose bike even at this early ‘running in’ stage.

The CRF has already proven her worth on our current ferry – the Grey Dog – which measures about one car in width and three in length. Cars drive on and reverse off when they reach t’other side – some with greater difficulty than others.

Having to wrestle my tall Tenere or the heavyweight Pan European round in their own length so that I could ride off the boat was in danger of giving me a hernia – something I didn’t want with my wedding coming off in two weeks time – Helen would not be amused!

No worries – the lightweight CRF 250 Rally can spin around on the ferry in it’s own length and be off down the road like a whippet after a hare while the car drivers are still looking for reverse gear.

Over a coffee and breakfast bun in town this morning I was able to catch up with news in the MCN of the TT races currently running on the Isle of Man before heading north over Connel Bridge —

I remember that bridge when it carried a single lane for motor transport and a railway line along side it. The single line to Fort William is no more leaving a single lane and a safe pavement for walkers.

This is what happens to the ‘safe’ walkers when they stray into the woods on the far side. They are de-bagged – their jeans stuffed with compost and flowers planted in them. I’ve heard a few stories about the strange habits of North Connel residents but never came across this one til today.

Best keep the wheels turning – I’m gone – to quieter places. Just up the road I found a natural water feature as the burn emerged from under the road —

No doubt all that rushing water will have the same effect on you as it did on me and it was quite a relief to find a deserted spot for a break on the dirt track by Loch Etive —

The hills in the distance are overlooking the wilderness of Rannoch Moor where I rode a 197cc Seeley Honda in trials during a previous life —

Fantastic views and the CRF does look tidy in this setting —

Not another soul around —

just hills – trees and more water tumbling down the rocky hillside as I head for Barcaldine —

Time for some wildlife to get in on the act – first off – some long-horned hieland coo’s —

Well worth another shot —-

Helen and I have been trying hard to find a cattery to take Seamus for a few days after our wedding but they are in short supply in this part of the world so when I spotted this sign on the side of a dirt road heading off into the forest I thought my luck was in —

Two cedars —

three gates —

and a stunning bunch of ponies —

later —

on the cracking cross country route – (I love you too honey) —

I pitched up at the best cattery cum kennels in the world set in the middle of the forest – only to find it completely booked for our dates.

No worries – we will sort something out for Seamus and Sid —

and in the meantime the wee Honda and I are getting on just fine 🙂