RSS

Category Archives: Motorcycling

Yellow for CRF 250 Rally

Was heading out of Oban yesterday when – to my surprise that despite the odd blue bit in the skies above the electronic traffic warning sign on the roadside approaching Dunbeg gave it Large with ‘YELLOW WARNING – HEAVY RAIN DUE TODAY!’ย It made a change from the usual rubbish on these signs – ‘Fasten Seat Belt’ – Deer Crossing Road’ – ‘Check Your Tyre Pressures’ – ‘Did You MacClean Your Teeth This Morning’ – ‘Stop Picking Your Nose and Flicking’ – plus other useless sound bites —

So-o – it was up through the lights onto Connel Bridge – I can remember when we shared it with trains which probably makes me too old to work a computer even. Could be something in that cos 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 old 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 ย —

for all the rain tagged in the YELLOW WARNING appears to have fallen on their carpark while I enjoyed my mini chicken chips and salad under their handily placed cover ๐Ÿ™‚

 
 

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

 
 

While the Cat’s Away – the Mouse Will Play

and for once I don’t mean our Seamus – although he doesn’t always come home at night now either.

No it’s the new missus that’s gone south on a bit of biznez leaving my idle hands to get up to no good.

This time I was up at first sparrow fart – whipped the covers off the Honda 250 Rally —

slipped a rucksack on my back and rode over to South Cuan to catch the early (7.30 am) ferry to neighbouring Seil island and a quick blast had me over the Atlantic Bridge to the mainland and in Oban for 8 o’clock.

What’s the rush? The street’s are empty —

Seems nobody get’s up at this time – even the main newsagent where I’ve come for my weekly comic to keep up with motorcycle racing reults and gossip doesn’t open till 8.30.

Aha – I see a hint of movement behind Kronk’s coffee shop window – perhaps a stiff Americano-to-go will put my world to rights.

It must have been a twin-shot belter for I was soon along the front – cup in hand – checking out our new Council backed marina which is currently being constructed in the bay —

no – not that bay – nor this one —

but this one round the corner —

where the guys are setting the running posts —

which will allow the floating walkways to rise and fall with the tides — times like this I wish I was still working —

but all I need is the feel of grips in my hands and I quickly get over it —

Yes that ford was deeper than I expected on an Old Drover’s Road down in Wales about twenty years ago – it filled my boots —

when it drowned the spark plug on my tough old XT600 right in the middle of the crossing ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Two Wheels to the Trig Point

I suggested to my ‘lad’ last time he was home that it would be nice to try a run up to the Trig Point that marks the highest point on the island. Him on his 300cc Scorpa Trials bike and mesel on the new CRF 250 Rally.

Bugger me if he didn’t just slip away and do it by hisel and came back with photographs to prove it.

I reckon he was getting his own back for the times I went off over the hills competing in long distance trials – leaving him to play and practise wheelies in the paddock on his Yamaha TY80. Here he is in the pic on the left giving the front wheel a little air up on a farm on Rannoch Moor about forty years ago.

He must have thought a ride up to the Trig Point was out of my league and that I would probably hurt myself in the process. We will see about that.

Most of the way up there was quite easy —

It was just on the last little bit —

that I had to take the bull by the horns —

 

and go for it —

But I got there —

without even raising a sweat —

Wouldn’t be surprised if he takes my bike keys with him to keep me out of trouble next time he goes back to the rig ๐Ÿ™‚

What a day to be up there though —

and the way down was just as much fun —

and home without so much as a scratch ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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 haveย 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 –ย give a good account of herself while scaring punters on their new Fireblades as she scraped her pots round the Isle of Man TTย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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

After all – it isย why I bought her in the first place ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

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 ย —

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

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 –ย 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 byย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚