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Category Archives: Motorcycling

Bare Faced Rider meets Roland Sands

It seems I’ve turned the clock back much longer than I care to remember – all because I couldn’t resist an original Bell open face helmet for sale at a knockdown price from the Glasgow Harley Davidson shop recently. The clincher was the Roland Sands quality finish inside and out which I got for free —

I bought my first open face Bell back in 1960 from a pal in Dunblane who didn’t need it any more as he was finished with bikes having crashed head-on into a coal lorry wrecking both his Norton Dominator which my brother was in the proccess of buying and the coal truck. I kept up the crashing habit of that particular helmet a short month after I got it when I wrote off the ill-used Bell and broke my neck while suffering a head-on in my own little mishap while riding my ‘race prepared’ BSA 650 A10.

I might have more to add to this Post if I find any pics from back then – oh – and the facial fungus is my new look – riding in any weather can be a painful experience with a bare baby face when the rain – sleet and snow start pinging off my chin 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2018 in Motorcycling

 

Postman Pat rides a V-Strom

With a little help from his friend —

That’s snow on them thar Morvern hills on the far side of Loch Linnhe and it’s nippy out here too – brrr —

Although the sun-trap by the old Creagan Railway Station made a welcome photo setting —

Next stop was in Glencoe village on the southern shores of Loch Leven where Postman Pat stuck a newly purchased package up his jumper for the first leg of it’s journey to Japan —

If his beard get’s any whiter they will be calling him Santa Claus —

No worries – after a bit of lunch and a natter with a man who owns one arm and three Vincent motorcycles we were on the return leg and made it back to the Island in time to wash the salt and travel stains off the V-strom.

Helen snatched a quick pic of the snowdrops in our garden just before they closed their petals for the night —

and then watched as the sun went down over Garvellachs (a chain of uninhabited Hebridean islands with longstanding holy connections just a mile or three off our own island shores)  —

What better way to end a perfect day out —

than enjoying a welcome mug of hot tea at the bottom of the garden 🙂

 

650 V-strom on Ice

There was I singing the praises for the CRF250 Rally yesterday – a short day later with a hint of sun above I was heading for the first ferry of the day at 11 o’clock on Helen’s 650 V-strom. The Luing Island drama group are rehearsing their annual play to be performed this coming Fri/Sat which mean’t H was heavily involved and I was off on my ownio to enjoy a bit of 650cc V-twin power.

An hour later under grey skies and dropping temperatures I rolled onto the ‘popular’ Green Welly Bike Park to find nobody there! Perhaps the snow had something to do with it.

No worries – at least the macaroni and cheese was good and after an hour reading the Sunday Mail I did the old trick of sticking it up my jumper to keep the cold out and held that 650 V-strom honest on the way home. Her heated grips certainly put one over on the much vaunted CRF250 Rally on a day like this 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2018 in Motorcycling, out and about, Suzuki 650XT V-strom

 

CRF 250 Rally get’s Gold

No we haven’t been taking part in the Winter Olympics – better than that – the Rally has been elevated to the ‘go to’ bike and is the one that comes out every chance I get. She can’t exactly swim from the Island over to Easdale this weather but she can do almost everything else I ask of her.

So-o – what better accolade than to fit her with the alloy gold Renthal bars that have graced many of my bikes over the past twenty years during which time these bars have visited France – Andorra – Spain – Portugal – Belgium – Holand – Germany – Luxemburg – Austria – Italy – Croatia and several other Baltic and East European countries plus almost every nook and crannie of the UK.

They are the perfect width for me – with bent arms coming parallel from the shoulders they are less tiring on a long day in the saddle than others I have tried.

The bends are spot on too – my hands fall naturally on to the grips with no strain on the wrists – again unlike some I have come across.

The Acerbis brush guards – bought for off-roading in Wales back in the nineties have lasted well and I was pleased to find them in one of my many boxes of bits out in the shed as the Toys r Us guards that come fitted to the Rally as standard are neither use nor ornament.

Yes – she is a much better bike than I expected her to be and well deserves her Gold Bars 🙂

 

 

 

Caroline Caps Ben Cruachan

It was grim and more than a little blustery around here yesterday when a storm called Caroline blundered through —

but we held our ground and even found a gorgeous freshwater pool formed by rainwater dripping down from the cliffs above —

In fact beauty in abundance one minute —

and glowering storm clouds next —

Today was much the same leading to snow – especially on top of Ben Cruachan —

where Helen caught this shot of the snow-capped mountain from the roadside while on her ‘Santa’ run to Oban this morning 🙂

 
 

Yamaha FJ1100 in my Shed

A few years back I had a big workshop with not-a-lot happening in it. Modern bikes are pretty reliable and unless you are using them for something they weren’t mean’t to do they don’t take much spannering. Yes winter boredom had set in and I fancied a project.

A ‘friend’ spoke of an 1984 Yamaha FJ1100 ‘going cheap’ that would make a good project – especially with my long interest in the Yam XJR1300 which uses the same motor. I found my FJ in the middle of a D&G forest and of course paid too much for the bike which had been shut in the guy’s logshed for a number of years. She started up with the aid of a set of jump leads as the battery was duff and on the whole she didn’t look too bad.

Forget about the registration number – it’s on my car now —

Previous owner and his dog are not impressed by my first offer —

but she ended up in my workshop and it bit-by-bit she came to pieces —

despite a few pauses to read the newspaper which always looks more interesting second time round —

Wiring? it’s all there —

Sixteen inch rims on the FJ —

with big fat tyres to compensate —

She originally came out as top of the range sportsbike —

then Kawasaki spoiled her fun with a neatly packaged (for the day) Z thou —

A good condition Z thou will cost a small fortune nowadays —

and while prices may be creeping up for an old FJ1100 —

spares parts are still cheap —

 

and available —

 

if you know where to look —

 

but they still have a long way to go —

to catch up with the Z1000 —

The FJ with it’s strong wrap-around front end —

handled well for it’s time —

A dirty beggar right enough when the plastics came off but cleaned up well —

she will make a nice bike when completed —

Just can’t make up my mind whether to go for the ‘Luing Scrambler’ look – build her back as standard – or – flog her as ‘an unfinished project’.

Labouring in a cold workshop doesn’t have the same appeal as it once did 🙂

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2017 in Isle of Luing, Motorcycling, Yamaha FJ1100

 

The Road to The Isles

It’s fully 16 months now since Helen and I moved to the Isle of Luing in the Inner Hebrides where the weather can be wild and windy one minute and quite benign the next —

The roads are fewer, rougher and tighter than those to be found in the rest of Scotland so it’s very much a case of horses for courses —

Helen and I have had to adapt in many ways but overall it has been well worth the effort —

Shopping – gardening – cooking and baking can be more of a challenge but the occasional success has it’s own rewards —

and with our second Christmas together on the island fast approaching we are looking forward to 2018 with confidence —

The photo was taken just a few minutes before Boss-cat dug his claws into my forearm to get my straying attention! He is a farm cat after all and is as much at home in the tumbledown steading catching vermin or out on the hillside with the deer and the ever-present threat of attack from above as he is on my lap in front of the log fire of an evening —

I blame Netflix where ‘Medici’ has taken us into devious Italian banking circles and ‘murrder’ awaits round every street corner – ‘old hat’ to some perhaps but brand new to ourselves here on Luing 🙂

 

Ben Cruachan by CRF250 Rally

Temperatures around freezing don’t stop play when the sun is shining so once again our resident roe deer buck was left in charge of the old farmyard and out came the CRF250 Rally to make the most of the day —

With brilliant sunshine forecast for the day-  a snow-capped Ben Cruachan north of Loch Awe caught the eye from a high point twixt Clachan on the Isle of Seil and Kilninver on the road to Oban —

Possibly 25 miles as the crow flies but a chilly 40 plus by road – I will chicken out and settle for a distant pic and leave that trip for the V-strom with it’s heated grips on another day 🙂

 

 

CRF250 Rally Does the Cliff Walk

Sunday was one of those days when I thought I might dig over part of our vegetable patch only to find it water-logged from all the ‘weather’ we have had in recent months so I left it in the capable care of our resident roe deer buck —

and headed out on the 250 Rally with the intention of riding some of the farm tracks on the island —

The tracks were OK but when they ran out I found the grass covered sections to be just as water-logged as my garden —

Rather than cut them up I pulled out and cantered over on the tarry stuff to Blackmill Bay —

where I took a few ‘artistic’ shots of the remains of the old jetty —

that – as this old post card shows – had once been the main lifeline to and from the island —

But a red-blooded guy with a itchy throttle hand can only take so much of this before his mind starts to wander and thoughts turn elsewhere —

to the stony path running part-way up the cliff between the two slate quarries in the north-west of the island —

Stormy seas have washed out parts of the old track but there was enough left for me to get a pic or two —

and set the scene —

before heading back to meet up at the Atlantic Island Centre in Cullipool where my son Jim was celebrating his birthday with friends and family —

Not a bad day all round 🙂

 

‘No Snow on the Isle of Luing’ – says the MSX125 Gorm

Across the Sound of Luing our neighbouring Isle of Scarba has it’s cap of snow —

and our ‘big’ neighbour across the Sound of Lorn – the mountainous Isle of Mull has more than it’s fair share of the white stuff —

but here on the Isle of Luing it’s like a summer’s day —

if you give or take the occasional flurry of hail – sleet or snot —

So good in fact that I brought out the ‘surfer dude’ bike – the MSX125 Gorm and went looking for long distance Atlantic Breakers – only to find them a trifle benign —

No worries – as our near neighbours say over there on the Slate Isle of Easdale – ‘the nearest landmass when we look seaward is Brazil’ – that’s a smidgen under six thousand miles for an albatross so no doubt we will have many a ‘good blow’ before winter is out 🙂

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2017 in Isle of Luing, Motorcycling, out and about