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Monday, 31 December 2007

2007 - one last look.


2007 was quite a mixed year in terms of biking, for me at least. I was lucky enough to attend quite a few shows and classic bike events, and the biggest achievement of all is of course, my Cubby finally made it to the highways and byways. In this incarnation the poor wee thing has a quickly detatchable seat, a huge racing carb, drop handlebars, a special one off paint job, oh and a new fangled digital speedo gadget. My 'CBG' year started with Ingliston, the huge bike show there in March attracts the very best of classic bikes - and next year Cubbie should be there too for all to see. You can be as rude as you like about it, as long as you say these things to my face. I was lucky enough to meet Colin Seeley and he had time for a good ol' chat. He even signed one of his books for me! March was also the month when Geoff Brazendale from the VMCC visited the Central Scotland section to give a talk about motorcycle lighting, which was a jolly good evening out. One could even say it was, er, enlightening...

On April 1st this year, we (the Grampian Classic club) had our first Large Lunch. You've probably heard of the Big Breakfast they have down south, well I thought it was about time we had something similar up here. It proved more successful than I imagined with about 15 - 20 coming and going. Next up was quite a treat for me - I was off to the Triumph factory with Shirlaws of Aberdeen. I usually miss out 'cos it gets booked up as soon as it's ammounced, but I managed to get a place this time. The long coach journey each way was a drag but the evening at a posh hotel followed by the tour the next day was brilliant. The end of the month saw me gadding off to Paisley to attend a Skorpion Service Day, which was one of the MZers demonstrating maintenance and workshop techniques for our beloved 660cc singles. It was a useful event, one that I should like to see again. Short Stan invited me to give a talk to his VMCC section in April, so that was a busy old month.

No sooner was May on the calendar then it was time for the Pre65 trial over at Kinlochleven, followed by the MZ Scottish Rally. The ride west is wonderful and the weather is usually good. This time however, gales and heavy rain did spoil the rally a wee bit, but at least my tent didn't get damagaed. GCMCC members at the trial included Captain Bill and Chris whom I managed to con into putting my tent up for me, and Bob P who was competing, but sadly his bike suffered a terminal illness on day one. Robin of Wales and his daughter, Tiny Mite met me there and we headed to Gairloch for the worst weather conditions I think I've ever ridden in. We arrived late Saturday evening, and it was up early on the Sunday morning, tents down and head for home. I wore every item of clothing I had, it was so cold. The Skorps headlight threw a wobbly, only working on dip, and the wind nearly blew me off the road more than once. Luckily once I hit Inverness for brekky the weather was greatly improved. Blimey, the next weekend was the Cairn O'Mount at Banchory. I didn't have to do much for this one, as Davie Wilson (GCMCC) took on the organisation once more. The local branch of the Vincent club kindly invited us to their rally over at Applecross in May, so Mark from the Black Isle, Eddie, Alan, Doug & Sheena and Vic and little old me rode over to meet them. Doug, Vic and I went on the Friday, and somehow lost each other at the fuel stop at the Inverness Tesco. Then we rode to Mark's place and from there it was all a shambles! We had refreshments, then set off once more, this time following Mark so that he could fuel up. At the garage he realised he'd left his wallet at home, so raced off on his Guzzi to get it. He told us to ride slowly to the next village, which I think was Garve, and he would catch us up. Well, we got there and waited a bit but no Mark, so as the weather was rapidly closing in - dark storm clouds and a swift breeze, someone made an executive decision to carry on. We'd stopped at a petrol station and asked the chap to tell Mark just to carry on - he'd easily spot him as the Guzzi is bright yellow and so is Mark's lid! The guy said he would but also said he thought we were foolish for going over The Pass in weather like this! No choice, we had a table booked for dinner and the north route looked so much longer! With me in the lead, I had to keep an eye on Vic's BMW as he kept dropping back, but with Doug & Sheena on the 'Wing at the rear, he couldn't stray too far. By Achnasheen the rain was absolutly dinging doon and the wind was gusting. Visibility was limited and my hands were cold and wet. Not as wet as Vic though who refused to put his waterproofs on...Don't ask! D&S were booked into a B&B at Lochcarron, so Vic and I headed on to The Pass. The landscape up there is quite lunar and barren, but beautful too. With no time or inclination to stop we just kept on riding and progress was slow. Just as we'd pitched our tents, who should arrive in a yellow blur? Mark! I found out over dinner that Vic's BMW was misbehaving because the homemade luggage system he'd built was causing a nasty high speed weave. Mark was pleased to have caught us but he musta ridden like the Devil to get there at the same time as us. Alan and Eddie arrived on Saturday morning, in glorious sunshine - humbug!

The next weekend took us into June, and the Fraserburgh show, a small but pleasant gathering, followed by the Ayr Classic show. Shirlaws kindly lent me a new Bonnie for the journey, which was jolly decent of them. A nice bike the T100, but I ran out of fuel - luckily right by the slip road to the Stracathro services. I was accosted at the show by the Saints and Sinners who hauled me away from my presentation duties to sit me on their collective knees for a photo opp. Fyvie Castle was next on the list of shows, again, another small one with only a handful of bikes, but as it's just a few miles from me, I went along for a natter with the chaps. Saturday June 30th @ 10.30am was a time to remember. I was still trying to hook a kill switch up as a horn button on the Cub at about 9.30am, but my skills as an electrician came through and after nearly suffering a heart attack as a wire touched somewhere and set the horn off, I made it to Camerton Autotech in Cuminestown and watched the highly trained mechanics put it through its paces. I soon had the certificate in my paws and was off to Turra to get my free tax. Even the post office operative telling me I'd have to go to the DVLA place in Aberdeen didn't spoil my fun. It just felt so good to be riding a bike that I'd built (albeit with a lotta help from people) and brought back from a rusty grave.

The next day was July, and I took the Enfield down to the Strathtay Stravaig to meet the Scottish Classic club. It rained, my all-in-one suit leaked, I got wet and grumpy, got lost, missed the ride out, but got chatting to two handsome young bikers in the hotel until the group returned. They invited me to stay for the meal but I reckon that was just so that Graeme and John could embarrass me by presenting me some some cute undies in front of everyone! The ride back over Glen Shee was great, and I made good time even in the thick mist. Our club meeting that month was a BBQ at Eddies place down near Stonehaven, with an afternoon ride out. A few of us arranged to meet at Fyvie and the northern contingent would ride there together. This was my first 'long' trip on the Cub and everything was going swimmingly until just a few miles from Eddie's house, I nearly got us lost, then Cubbie just stopped. Not a dickie bird to be heard. Vic tried to leave half of my new back tyre on the road as he attempted to bump start it but there was just no life at all. A call to Eddie resulted in Captain Bill coming to rescue me with his trailer (which he'd used to transport his Connaught to the BBQ) and back at the ranch, the BBQ was lit and everyone poked and prodded poor old Cubbie. Much laughter was had at my expense when Davie hit the seat with a plank of wood 'cos they couldn't get it back on. I told them there's a knack to it but would they listen? Huh, would they heck. The next weekend saw me jetting off to Shetland for my day job, and while I was there, I happened to bump into some amazing, wonderful people. Geordie met me at the museum where we had a cuppa and he tried to arrange some bike tests for me. Annoyingly, with my work to do as a priority, when I had time off, the weather was misty and grey, not ideal for a photoshoot or riding bikes really. I did however meet a few people and got to test Geordie's Ariel and meet the 'Company'. That afternoon, the Shetland Cruisers were off on a jaunt to Eshaness on the west coast. I'd met Colin and his wife, Carol, a few days before and they'd thought it would be nice to invite me along. Carol rides a Harley and Colin's bike at the time was the Purple People Eater - a huge purple trike, so I had the privilege of a shotty on the pillion seat which was brilliant fun. Sadly a few months later, Colin suffered pnuemonia whilst on a trip abroad and didn't recover. He will be sorely missed. At the end of July, I had arranged to test a BSA Shooting Star, that was great fun and an ideal little bike for someone like me, if only it had a Triumph badge on the tank! You should have read all about that in the mag.

Into August and the year is fairly whizzing by now. The Garioch show at Oldmeldrum was Cubbie's first outing as a competitive vehicle. Although to be fair, I only entered so that I could do the games...but I ran out of petrol and the torrential rain put an end to play time. It's the middle of the month, and I'm getting ready to go to Crieff for the S&T. My friend and fellow MZer Andrew R had offered to pick me and Cubbie up as he would be passing my door. This solved the problem of how to get there, and also gave a bit of moral support. I was on the brink of crabbitness when he arrived, for I was sure I had a problem with the clutch. I'd just about given up but he insisted on having a look and getting covered in oil. We didn't arrived at the campsite until midnight, and it was a busy day we had ahead of us. One final check of the Cub showed that all was well and the clutch was working perfectly. About a quarter of the way into the route, an unhealthy squeaking started emanating from the primary case but Andrew (I'm blaming him as I don't think he reads the blog!) said it would be ok, so we carried on. The kick start lever started to spin round too, and just a few miles before lunch changing gear became a bit of a problem. We limped on and arranged for the breakdown boys to take Cubby and me back to camp. A nice guy called George wasted no time in stripping the gearbox (in the pouring rain and failing light) and was amazed, just as I was, to find there was practically no oil in the 'box. No damage was obvious so I thank my lucky stars and resoved to fix the leak in time for next weekend - the National at Blairgowrie. When I was doing a dry run before applying copious amounts of sooper dooper silicon sealer to the joint, I discovered that the gears didn't work at all, so it was a bit more of a rebuild than I'd thought. Eventually I narrowed the problem down to a selector fork not being in quite the right place - thank you to Diggy in New Zealand who was adamant that's what the problem was all along. Somehow, I got it up and running in time for the following weekend, when Captain Bill and I made the journey south to the National. This would turn out to be the first competitive event I've completed - yes, much to a certain person's dissapointment, I made it all the way round using Cubby power only. I was fair chuffit as they say, to win the prize for Youngest Rider too - at my ripe old age! A quantity of oil was also presented to me at the awards ceremony. Ha ha. Monday 27th Aug and I set off on the MZ, loaded to the gunnels, heading south to Heysham to catch the 2.15AM ferry to the Isle of Man. I made good time and met up with my friend Sandra. It's amazing how quickly the time passes when you're playing snap with a pack of cards with fifteen 8s of hearts, in a pub with a karaoke night going on. The Island was a blurr, so many VMCC events happening and a drop of rain or two but it was certainly an experience. Next time I go, I'll be better prepared and know the best places to watch the races from.

By the time I came home, it was September and time for the annual Alford Convention. For some reason it clashed with the Scone Farming of Yesteryear show and the MZ AGM in Wales, both of which I would have liked to have gone to again. I rode to the convention and exhibited Cubby for the whole word to see. Some people just don't know quality when they see it. The next weekend was the UCAN run, a charity ride to raise money and awareness for a local cancer charity, organised by Chris Norton. The weather was appalling and I chickened out, not wishing to get hyperthermia, but I did go and meet the guys at Alford for the prize giving. It was a well supported event so I hope next year the weather will be better and even more people will make it along. The autojumble that followed more or less signals the end of the season up here, but at least I got a nice spanner set (metric and imperial) for a few quid.

October greeted me with a nasty knocking noise coming from the Cubby, but where from? I stripped the clutch and all looked well, so I pulled the gearbox apart and lo and behold, the nut that holds the front sprocket on, fell off - the thread on the high gear being more or less non existent. When I get round to it, I'll order some new bushes and bearings for the rebuild. I've got a spare high gear in my box of bits, so that'll save a few quid. With a late spell of good weather, I managed to squeeze in a bike test in November. It was a nice little James. My grandad had a James (different model) but sold it before I was born. Well, I think you know the rest, since then I've been shedding and getting nowhere, and over this festive period I've had a chance to do a bit of writing, in fact, just finishing the RE report so you should see that in the mag soon, and I must do my VMCC monthly report pronto or I'll miss the deadline for the next issue.

All the best for next year, and a big THANK YOU to everyone who has let me test their bike, or invited me to an event, or helped me with technical mechanicl electrical stuff...this classic biking lark is great fun. See you on the road in a very sunny 2008!

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

A little ditty


On the first day of Christmas, my troo luv sent to me, a Triumph Tiger Cub.

On the second day of Christmas, my troo luv sent to me, two Triumph Twins, and a Triumph Tiger cub.

On the third day of Christmas, my troo luv sent to me, three Speed Triples, two Triumph Twins, and a Triumph Tiger cub.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my troo luv sent to me, four Triumph Speed Fours, three Speed Triples, two Triumph Twins, and a Triumph Tiger cub.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my troo luv sent to me, five big Ducatis, four Triumph Speed Fours, three Speed Triples, two Triumph Twins, and a Triumph Tiger cub.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my troo luv sent to me, six Bultacos, five big Ducatis, four Triumph Speed Fours, three Speed Triples, two Triumph Twins, and a Triumph Tiger cub.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my troo luv sent to me, seven MZs, six Bultacos, five big Ducatis, four Triumph Speed Fours, three Speed Triples, two Triumph Twins, and a Triumph Tiger cub.

On the eighth day of Christmas, my troo luv sent to me, eight more Cubbies, seven MZs, six Bultacos, five big Ducatis, four Triumph Speed Fours, three Speed Triples, two Triumph Twins, and a Triumph Tiger cub.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my troo luv sent to me, nine 999s, eight more Cubbies, seven MZs, six Bultacos, five big Ducatis, four Triumph Speed Fours, three Speed Triples, two Triumph Twins, and a Triumph Tiger cub.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my troo luv sent to me, ten Bonnie Triumphs, nine 999s, eight more Cubbies, seven MZs, six Bultacos, five big Ducatis, four Triumph Speed Fours, three Speed Triples, two Triumph Twins, and a Triumph Tiger cub.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my troo luv sent to me, eleven stunning Scramblers, ten Bonnie Triumphs, nine 999s, eight more Cubbies, seven MZs, six Bultacos, five big Ducatis, four Triumph Speed Fours, three Speed Triples, two Triumph Twins, and a Triumph Tiger cub.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my troo luv sent to me, twelve hunky mechanis, eleven stunning Scramblers, ten Bonnie Triumphs, nine 999s, eight more Cubbies, seven MZs, six Bultacos, five big Ducatis, four Triumph Speed Fours, three Speed Triples, two Triumph Twins, and a Triumph Tiger cub.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Shall I leave the hat on? No, don't answer that.


You have never seen a Christmas card as good as this one. I'll tell you why; I'm in it. Yep, GBC and Cubby. The Stirling Castle section of the VMCC apparently have a habit of sending personalised cards to entrants of their S&T regularity run. In mine, I'm hunched over the tank, front wheel just nudging the start line, and Big Rab next to me waving his flag. You can't see the rain dinging doon, and believe me, it was! It was a nice surprise to open it up and see Cubby there in all it's glory. Unfortunately, since then, I've removed the gearbox and clutch to try and trace / fix the strange knocking noise, and now the bike is sitting in the MZ shed looking rather sad and unloved. Still, Tuesday is the day for mixing concrete, providing the frost goes off...so then I'll have a Cubby shed to fix it in!

Due to circumstances outwith my control I missed the Toy Run today. I'm not a happy bunny as I bought a Santa hat especially for the occasion, and a couple of toys for the kids. But with the benefit of hindsight, it was -1 when I was getting the bike ready, and I guess the roads would have been a bit dicey between here and the big city. So I made good use of the day by trying to fix the headlight on the car (and failing), messing about with Cubby bits, catching sheep and trimming their feet, dishing hay and straw out to them, assessing the work that needs to be done to the bird table and finally, since 4pm, sorting the contents of my wardrobe. Just to put that last bit into some sort of perspective, I stopped for tea at 8pm, and I've still got piles of clothes that need to go somewhere! No matter how much I throw out (all to a good home; charity shops!) it never all goes back in without some left over. And before you lot start, it ain't all shoes. Oh but I found a fiver, how good is that!

I got an early Xmas pressie yesterday - which I was looking forward to wearing for the Toy Run today. Something to keep me warm and cosy on the bike - nope, not a Santa suit...thermals. Mrs GBC was going to buy me one of those windproof, thermal, sooperdooper special motorcycle tops, but they're quite pricey in the shops, so we were looking online but didn't find one that I liked. Then coincidentally, we were in Somerfield and saw they had a range of ski jackets - just thin thermal things, but they looked ideal for wearing under bike gear. They also had thermal under troos which Mrs GBC treated me to, as well as the jacket. So now I'm all thermalled up and nowhere to go...

PS, Tuesday was too frosty for concrete mixing, and I've been reprimanded by Jake & Gino from the Scottish classic club for not mentioning on here that they (well not them personally, but their club) invited me to their Christmas buffet, and what a wonderful time I had. It's true, I really did have a great time, even though the quiz team I was in only came third (that would be the team led by Jake...) even though I supplied them with a whole heap of correct answers. Tut tut. Thanks though guys, even the 3 hour drive each way didn't spoil the night.

Monday, 10 December 2007

How to get rid of the pre-Xmas blues; get on yer bike and ride!



I'm so excited. And I just can't hide it. I took the Enfield out for a spin on Saturday afternoon, and I have to admit, it was soooo scary, but fun too! By the time I got away it was almost dusk, the roads were wet and things were beginning to get frosty. I also have to admit that I haven't ridden a bike for a good few weeks, and I was a tad rusty. I just nipped over to pick up a key from a friend whose cats I had to look after while they went away for a couple of days, and rather than go the direct route, I decided to go the long way through Cuminestown. This meant going down a steep hill with a 90 degree left turn at the bottom. Rather interestingly, when I applied the back brake, the bike slid left and right so I dared not touch the front one. Luckily there was nothing coming so I just overshot the junction and paddled round the corner. Embarrassing or what? I don't know what was on the road; oil, ice perhaps but it wasn't nice, and t'would have been a lot more embarrassing had I ploughed into the metal barrier on the far side, or slid down the road on my you know what. Anyway, the journey home was uneventful, and where I'd been nervous and slow on the way out, with it being pitch black, I think I rode a lot more confidently, mainly 'cos I couldn't see enough of the road surface to panic at every dark looking patch of tarmac. I need to keep riding through the winter, within reason, even if it's only on my trials bike...which is nearly, oh so nearly ready! I've managed to house Cubby - temporarily - in the MZ shed but there's no room to actually work on it in there, so the BIG shed is a must!

It's amazing how much of a buzz even a short blast on a bike can give ya, but anything bike related - like planning, can be almost (ok, not quite) as exciting... I'm planning 2008 and I can't wait. I'm thinking about exhibiting Cubby at the Scottish show at Ingliston, providing a) theres room and b) I can get it there. And I'd love to return to Shetland for their bi-annual show in June, and I rather fancy a trip to Spain or Italy, or maybe Switzerland on the MZ. There's talk of a few of us heading to a classic bike event in Englandshire at the start of 2008 just for something different to do, I've apparently been lumbered with sniffing out a good place to go - so any suggestions for events in the north of England would be handy, otherwise it'll be a 'shut me eyes and pick one' jobbie.

It's the Aberdeenshire MAG toy run next Sunday, I'm taking the RE and looking forward to it. Most years I either don't have a bike on the road, or am working, or I'm up to my ears in snow. Having overcome the first two, I hope the weather stays open and I can make it this year. Which reminds me, I keep meaning to pop in to the supermarket in Turra and purchase a Santa suit...that should provide a little light relief for some of the kids in the homes and hospitals, and so what if I look like an idiot!

Over 'n' oot chaps.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Updated!

Oops, sorry to anyone who looked in for an update. I was going to do it yesterday, but nipped outside and it was such a nice day (tee shirt weather in December in Scotland!) that I got involved in mixing some concrete for the side bits of the shed base. Where the stones are piled up to make the inside bit level, I'm concerned that they might all tumble out when I remove the shuttering, so I'm plugging the sides with concrete.

Anyway, I suppose those of you who have sat through the slide show want to know how I ended up with a black eye...on Friday the fencers turned up to fence the top field. They had to move a concrete water trough and the only way of doing so was to pull it with their tractor - but they didn't have a tow rope, so muggins here got the one from the steading for them, which has a nice big metal hook on the end. It was stored on a high shelf, and wouldn't budge so I gave it a little tug...and yep, it whacked me in the face. A huge bruise appeared instantly where it caught the edge of my eye, then over night the rather pretty shades of purple, blue, black, green and a bit of yellow developed - and of course, I had to work on Saturday! I noticed that people in shops tended to move away from me and give me funny looks!

Tuesday was a chuckle 'cos it was the Grampian Classic club Xmas bash, and all those funny funny guys had a right old laugh at my expense - one cheeky so 'n' so even said that I'd been due a black eye for a long time! He was only about 4' tall though so I can cope with insults like that... The party was a great success, with a total of 40 members / partners attending and all seeming to have a good time. Some of us had a little natter and are planning some trips for next year - notibly to the Shetland show in June.

Roll on next year, I've got so many places to go to and things to do, I can't wait! Oh, guess I better put the gear box back in Cubby before I can go anywhere...

Thursday, 29 November 2007


Well boyz n girlz, I've been collecting and carting rocks, stones and pebbles for the last few days. We have an old tumble down croft on our land, so some of the bigger rocks have come from there to fill most of the 12" deep area which actually extends further than I thought. After the big rocks were down, smaller stones from the veggie garden were sprinkled on top and now we (Mrs GBC and my good self) are collecting slightly smaller stones to smooth the top off. Tis hard work but gotta be done. I've also been sneaking round the farm with my pick axe, digging any lumpy looking areas and leaving no stone unturned....sorry....
Won't be long and I can put sand on the stones, then the damp proof stuff and then, if the weather holds, I can start mixing. The pic here is one I took this morning so things have moved on a lot since then.

Did I mention I went to another MAG meeting? This one was about winter riding and although ex police Class I motorcyclist, Keith Henderson, covered a lot of the basic things, it doesn't hurt to remind yourself from time to time. Also, some things we think we know, we maybe don't! I hope to book him for the Grampian classic lot some time next year.

You'll have noticed the *NEW* slideshow feature. I'm quite pleased now I've managed to stop it zooming in and focusing on my, er, bottom in one of the pictures. That seemed to be popular with the chaps who viewed the blog before I had it all sorted so all I'm hearing now are complaints! It only takes about 25 photos so I might (no promises) try and change them from time to time. On the other hand, I might make the show last for a limited time only.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Hell and high water!


Well that was an intersting day. Captain Bill was booked to come over and continue welding the trailer, but at 9am it was still raining and the gales were still howling, so I telephoned him to call it off. He came up with a plan. How about doing some more work on the Bulto - this is my trials bike which required a new big end some months ago, and Bill agreed to help me. So I set off to Fyvie first of all to complain once again to the Doc about the severe pain in my shoulders, had to wait half an hour to see her, then she told me there was nothing wrong with my arms, so that was a waste of time but hey, I'm used to that now, this has been going on for four years. Carried on to Turra then out to the Foggie road which was closed at the bridge as a car had either gone off the bridge into the river, or there was deep water over the bridge - I couldn't really understand the council worker who was telling everyone to turn back. So I headed out to Huntly, thinking I'd just nip up to Keith then cut across country to Bills. Got as far as the Bognie Arms and the road was closed, diversion towards Banff. Some of the roads that were still open were flooded in places, and I did consider the foolhardiness of my journey several times, but the thought of working on the Bulto spurred me on. When I got to Marnoch, that road was closed too, so I headed north to Cornhill where I was finally able to get onto the Keith road and made it to Bills. A bit of progress was made, and I think another couple of trips should see it back together....just hope I can remember how to hitch it all up and find where I put the carb and stuff. Anyway, time to come home after a few freezing hours in the workshop and then the snow kicked off. Flooded roads in the dark are bad enough but with a complete white out at times, I'm lucky I didn't land in a ditch. This is the first lot of snow I've encountered with my 'new' (new to me, not brand new) car, and let's just say I thought I was in for a long walk! Some snow tyres will be ordered ASAP. Then I thought I might run out of petrol as I hadn't topped up in Aberdeen (with the cheap Asda stuff) 'cos I didn't anticipate driving round half of Scotland today. Made it back though, safe and sound.

The shed site is flooded, and boy, I mean FLOODED. 11 tonnes of sandy ballast are now deposited half on the driveway and half on the verge, with huge muddy ruts everywhere, left by the huge Lovies truck as it got bogged down and the driver burnt a bit of rubber. It was delivered yesterday in the torrential rain. He tried to reverse all the way down the drive but got stuck, so we (I) made an executive decision to leave it up by the top gate, which is a long walk with a full wheelbarrow. At least I should end up slim and sylphlike. Which reminds me, the Doc asked if I'm eating ok. Is she partially sighted! Look at me, of course I'm eating OK!

Sunday, 18 November 2007

All systems GO!


Well chaps, shuttering crisis over, good old Fido let me have the timber that he used for his shed base recently. The only thing is, its 4", so that's what my floor will be. It was a bit of a struggle getting it here as some of the lengths are about 4 or 5m I think, and with trailer still out of commission, it was time to invent some sort of roof rack using wood, cable ties and a ladder. Not as bad as you may think, and it stayed on all the way there and back. With these short days there wasn't much time after a quick lunch to to much 'shedding', but I managed to get the bits in place, chopped and lengthened to suit, also had to extend the site a bit to make room to work around it. Puppy enjoyed the digging, fetching every single stone that I chucked onto the pile. At the front of the site, the floor will be raised to about the level of 2 concrete blocks (the ground falls away quite a bit) so I'll have to construct some sort of wall to hold everything in place, and along the sides, there will need to be some sort of triangular shuttering to hold the rubble / hardcore in place. I know what I mean! Tomorrow I'll phone Lovies and order the sandy ballast, then pick up the mixer sometime in the week, and then on the weekend - when the weather is forecast to be nice on Saturday but wet on Sunday, I can crack on. According to the Met Office, the following week is going to be drier if a little colder so I should be able to get at least 2/3 of it down. I've got a tarpaulin to cover it with if (when) it rains, and some straw to keep it warm. Ah yeah, got to fit going to work in there too, somehow, and it's time for my Annual Review with the boss!

PS STOP CALLING IT CHUBBY TOWERS YOU 'ORRIBLE LOT!!!

Friday, 16 November 2007

Help!

Ok chaps, I'd like the benefit of you experience please. Should I make my shed floor 4", 5" or 6" thick? Vote above please to cure my confusion!

Well today I made good progress with levelling the site. Although there is hardcore over most of the area, the front right corner is, for some reason, a little bit soggy and although there are loads of rocks, they're a bit far down so I scooped all the top soil off and now have a firm base upon which I can pile stones, rocks, rubble etc to bring it up to the same height as the rest. My next move was to start chopping bits of wood up for the shuttering. I'm a tad embarrassed to say that I didn't buy enough in the first place, 'cos I'm having to use two lots of 4" as they didn't have any 8 or 9" boards, and I forgot about the ones that will go across the middle (so that I can lay the slab in sections). Not ideal but needs must. Also not ideal is the fact that when I have the sandy ballast delivered, the driver will probably want to dump it at the top gate, some 50 or 60 yards from the site, as last time they delivered, their truck got stuck at the bottom of the drive. Come on, get voting, how thick should I make the floor?

Monday, 12 November 2007

Knowing the right people.

It's important to know people, doncha think? I don't just mean any people, but people who know STUFF. Stuff about bikes, cars, computers, and most importantly (at the moment) concrete and calculating amounts, and building sheds and stuff like that. On Saturday, Mrs GBC and I took a trip to B&Q (other DIY stores are available) mainly to buy a pick axe but also to check prices of the necessary ingredients for my shed floor. I had some idea of what I wanted, but thought that I should check with one of their knowledgeable staff. Unfortunately, he must have been on holiday 'cos the lad whom I picked on couldn't answer a single question about what size aggregate to use, or if I could buy all-in 'sandy ballast' etc etc. He spent about 15mins looking for someone who could help, in which time I'd read the entire section about concrete in the B&Q (other DIY stores are available) DIY Handbook - on sale for about £26 I think. It answered most of my queries, and when I asked to see the sandy ballast, the young lad replied that they don't stock it. So after being chatted up by an elderly gentleman whom we asked where the nearest DIY store was, we ended up buying the pick axe and a couple of tarps and heading to Inverurie to the new DIY centre, GPH. It was shut. I had a bit of a crabbit moment, I'm sorry, but I just didn't think there would be that amount of traffic on the roads on a wet, snowy, cold Saturday afternoon. I hate traffic. So armed with a bit more info, I called my friend Tricky (an ex-builder) who confirmed most of what I'd read in B&Q (other blah blah blah) and then on Sunday, another friend (yip, I've got more than one) also called Tricky popped over to do a site survey. He's a bright lad he is, and eventually, after listening patiently to me going on about how I would dig this bit away, fill that bit in and put rubble in there, he worked out I'd need about 37 bags of cement, and 6 tonnes of all-in aggregate, which Lovies call block mix. So that's me sorted, all I need now is some timber for the shuttering and some damp proof material and a loan of a cement mixer, and a nice fine, dry day or ten, and then hey presto, Cubby Towers will be well on the way. By the way, this is supposed to be cheaper than a wooden floor....

By the way, I found a cracking shop on the way to B&Q (other.............) in New Deer. It's called Food for Thought and stocks all kinds of fresh fruit and veg - with real mud on the tatties and parsnips, delicious drinks and organic beer and luxury choccy bars, so if you're passing, stop in and sample something wholesome, it ain't that dear in New Dear.

PS ITS SNOWING

Friday, 9 November 2007

My first time

I was invited along to a MAG meeting the other night. That's the Motorcycle Action Group ya know. In general, MAG fight for bikers rights, and the local Aberdeenshire group in particular say "the group aims to build itself up, to be a powerful local force to ensure that the views of the bikers are being heard locally, while liaising with the MAG National Committee to help fight our cause on a National and European level". A jolly good idea, don't you think? So I'd been chatting with one of the committee members, Seona, about rules and regs for an event up here, and she suggested I pop along and see what they're all about. It just happened they had organised a talk by a biker friendly solicitor from a firm called Digbybrown. Brian Castle was his name, and backing bikers when they have diesel or pothole related accidents, is his game. He covered many topics and all the ins and outs are too numerous to mention, suffice to say, even if you think there is no hope of finding who is responsible for dumping a puddle of slippery diesel on the road, follow a few important procedures and all might not be lost. He emphasised if you have a spill, report it to the police, try and get them to attend the scene to measure up and record damage, inform the local council, try and get witnesses and ask them to examine the road, take pics if you can and note down EVERYTHING including your speed and even the weather. He did cover all this in much more detail but I'm not going into that here, just make sure you REPORT IT.

Also, here's a handy tip to help other people, if you see road damage or diesel, you can report it through the MAG website so that if someone does have an accident, things will be made a bit easier for them if the defect etc is already logged. http://aberdeenshire.mag-uk.org/html/road_defects.html

On the same topic, Brian, from Digbybrown will be doing another talk in march so hopefully I'll drag the Grumpyuns along to that.
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Camping trip this weekend is off :-( Bit breezy and snowy out there, especially at Aviemore.
But never mind, nearly 2000 hits on the blog!

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Oh what fun it is to ride....


.....a classic motorbike! I did a bit of shed prep last Saturday, didn't really get anywhere, just moved more stuff round in circles, then on Sunday I met a couple of fine chaps from Blairgowrie way, Shorty Stan the Man and Bullet Bill for a bike test. It was Bill's 350 RE that was up for comparison with my modern 500 Bullet, and it's a very fine little bike I must say. I also had the privilege of riding Shorty's Suzuki back from the test to the lunch stop. It's a bike we chuckle at, I don't know why, (honest) 'cos it's actually quite nice. It started on the button, clicked into gear nicely and it's got a funky digital gear display for those who can't count. It's quite low, and everything is on the 'correct' side making it easy to hop on and ride away, oh and it's a bit nippy too. Stan's winter hack, perhaps? I reckon it's too good for that - he won a couple of prizes with it at the Cairn this year.

Numpty here ran out of petrol on the way home, and had great fun trying to start the 500 in front of a garage full of spectators! Although one guy was impressed and was asking me all about the bike, as his son has just bought a Royal Enfield 500. I couldn't really be sure if it was an old one or the modern version as there was a bit of a language barrier going on, but he did say it needed a bit of a work doing to it, and that his son has yet to even sit his test. Either way I made sure he knew about the GCMCC so we might see him along sometime.

A while ago I received a DVD from the organisers of the Shetland show. For various reasons I've only just got round to watching it, and what a brilliant vid! I have my 5 seconds of fame, as does my fellow club member Davie Wilson. It covers all aspects of the show, from the arrival of particiapants, to the setting out of the vehicles in the displays, to the scenic run around the island. The weather was varied, some scenes show sheeting rain, but on the Sunday the sun shone from dawn til dusk (well that's how I remember it, I even got a bit of a tan!). They only have a show every two years, and 2008 is the next one so I suggest you make a date in your diary for 6-9th June.....I have.

The other DVD in my collection is a recording of the 2005 Lucas Rally in Norway. That was a good watch too, fine weather, loads of bikes and lots of nice Norwegians, not to mention one little GBC making a fool of herself...

I'm truly amazed that this blog, little old GBC's blog, is doing so well. Since last Thursday it has had over 100 hits - haven't you lot got anything better to do!!! Seriously though I never thought it would take off like this, so thanks for reading......

Monday, 22 October 2007

What did you do on the weekend?


Well my great plan to escape to the hills on the Enfield didn't happen. Saturday was such a beautiful day that I decided to try and do a bit more shed preparation. Using Vic's water level method (a bit of pipe full of water, and a few air bubbles) I messed around for a while trying to work out exactly where to put the shed. The original area does have a bit of a slope to overcome, but at approx 12' x 15' it's a bit too wide to bring forward, as it wouldn't leave much of a gap next to the greenhouse. Then I thought about tweaking it round so that it would be at an angle to the greenhouse, thus letting more light past and allowing more room to get to the steading, but there wasn't enough room. So after measuring and remeasuring, and moving plant pots around several times, I've decided that it's got to go in the original place, parallel to the steading and far enough back so it's out of the way. The first task after that was to strim the remaining grass, but I noticed the trigger needed a bit of lubrication. Easy, you might think. An hour and a half later, I'd finally put the handle / trigger back together! I shifted the pile of turf that came from clearing the plot next (used it to fill in some ruts somewhere else, a lot of wheelbarrowing was involved there!) and then loaded the van up with concrete blocks to get them all over to the site.

On Sunday I figured I deserved a day off, so togged up, fired the Enfield up and set off to visit a friend over at Ballater. Well the weather was bitter! Stopping at Inverurie for fuel, I considered going home it was so cold. Carried on though and called in to see Freddie near Alford where I received a welcome mug of cocoa and biscuits. He's got a 350 Enfield which he's rather pleased with, oh and he's promised me a go on that some day soon. Of course, I had to check out his wee 250 MZ too, and one or two other bikes. Feeling slightly more human I reckoned I could make it to Ballater. It's odd, because the air temp wasn't actually that low, must have just been the wind chill but by the time I rolled up at Chris's pad I was ready for another warming cuppa. For the ride home I went the direct route, via Echt and Dunnect which made a change, haven't been out there for a while. Back at Fyvie I stopped for a paper (there was a free book with it about Scottish place names) and got chatting to a biker with a 125 cruiser style Honda (a Shadow, I think) who took time to admire the RE. He also has a 1930s BSA in his shed, a few Donkeys and it turns out, he lives just down the road from me.

And just for you, BJ, a short report on the RE - it behaved rather well, cruising along nicely at 50 - 60 with that lovely puuuurrrrrrr at gear changes. That's all you're getting because it won't be long before the full story appears in a certain magazine, so you'll have to go buy a copy ;-)

Anyone watch the rugger or the F1? What a waste of time.....

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Bingo!

Well, you know that Cub noise that I was worried about? After chatting to my Cub Hexpert friends one of them got me to go out and make a sound recording of the noise so that he could try and determine where it might be coming from. I think my description of rattling, humming and a bit of whistling wasn't good enough for diagnosis. Eventually I had a brainwave and remembered that the camera I bought before the Canon I use for my work, a Fuji Finepix, has the facility to record movies. They'd be rather short movies because the max film length is about 15mins, that even so thats pretty good for a camera and plenty good enough for rattle recording. So I sent Diggy in NZ a huge file which, as well as capturing the noises, gave him some arty shots of the exhaust pipe and footrests - well to get the mic near to the engine thats what I had to do. I had a vague idea that the clutch was rattling, so it was off with the primary cover and a quick vid of the clutch - which I was able to move up and down, left to right and forward and back. I'm told this should not be possible. Diggy's instruction was to take the clutch apart. Got as far as I could without using violence, and found nothing obvious. Round to the gear box then and pull all the cogs out to check the condition of the bearing and bushes. Due to a rare bit of luck, Fido turned up to look at the RE I've got on long term loan (he's got a Lighting 535 so wanted to compare and contrast a few things) and I roped him into whacking the last bit of the clutch out - its on a taper and I'm only a girl and couldn't hit it hard enough. I don't quite know in which order things happened, but at some point, the nut that holds the front sprocket on fell out. Just like that. All by itself. So we concluded that maybe it was a severe lack of decent thread on the shaft and the nut that has caused the rattle. Too simple? Probably, but if I get a new one and fit it we shall find out. All I've got to do is track down a suitable replacement and then do a complete gearbox rebuild. Looks neat and compact from the vid, don't you think? hopefully this will aid the rebuild proces....
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I like the way some of you have picked up on the water cooled theme, some of the feedback I've got about that is a hoot! Thanks.
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Camping, anyone? I was planning to head to the hills next weekend but just remembered something else more important is planned, so reckon I might just take off tomorrow. Load her up and away I go. Anyone care to join me?

Monday, 8 October 2007

Uh oh.


I rode the Cub to work in Aberdeen the other day, and much fun it was too. I allowed plenty of time but actually got there in just the same time as I would have by car, if not a little quicker. Filtering was interesting, I think 99% of drivers were scared into moving out of the way by the snarling popping little Cubby. Sitting at traffic lights was a little worrying 'cos each time we stopped, a huge oil slick appeared as if from nowhere - aka the primary case. The place where I had to go for work had quite a new car park with those posh coloured bricks set out in a herring bone pattern....I did try to find a space already oil stained but they were all clean as a clean thing. I felt ever so slightly embarrassed when I returned to the bike, but kitted up and rode off quickly. Going to work hasn't been that much fun for ages. I took the opportunity to nip round to Shirlaws to show Cubby to the eager staff. One of the guys in the shop said it caused quite a stir when I pulled up outside, the others though weren't quite so complimentary. Donald, he of the immaculate old bikes, did find one or two nice things to say about it, like don't worry about the oil leak, they all do that. Hmmmm, have a look at the rear tyre....left handers could be interesting. But moving on a few days I'm distressed to hear lots of knocking and rattling, not to mention a sort of whistling noise emanating from the engine somewhere. I don't know much about this stuff but they sound quite terminal. I've checked all nuts and bolts and everything is tight, so now it's time for a bit of serious investigating. Oh, and I decided to remove the speedo to glue a new needle on and then the sprung bit somehow unsprung itself leaving me to guess how much tension to put back on it. I guessed wrong and now it doesn't work at all! All going well so far then.

Er...piccy to follow...can't find the one I'm looking for right now...

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Back on top of the world


Well chaps and chapesses, my AJS test went well the other day, although the ride to Nairn and back was, shall we say, slightly chilly. I'm going to have to see about getting some new winter gloves, mine are about 3 years old and look in good cond but are letting the autumn chill in. The day after the test, Mrs GBC and I went back to Nairn for the food fair at Cawdor Castle, and very nice it was too, lots of free food on offer!

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Sunday, what a lovely day. Hairyplanes buzzing lazily overhead, birds revelling in what could be the last of the summer sun, and I think I saw and heard more bees buzzing busily on that one day than any other through the year. With my electric fencing duties done and dusted, I decided to take Cubby for a wee spin. Oil levels were checked and topped up, petrol form the spare can tipped into the tank and Macduff was our destination. Out through Cuminestown I thought I could hear some weird squealing noise, but only faintly, so carried on. Once at Crudie we hit the main road and the wee beastie kept up with traffic well and added a tractor - a fast one mind, to our list of Overtaken Moving Vehicles. Arriving at Vic's in MacD, I popped it on the centre stand and saw a gallon or so of clear liquid gushing out on the ground. No idea what or where it came from, so it's either the radiator burst, or water has accumulated in some nook or cranny while it's been living outdoors. With my nice *new* horn fitted and working I set off home, going the more scenic route of Luncarty which took us into Turriff on the Foggy road. A quick lap of town and I thought I'd better head home before the popping and spluttering attracted too much attention! A perfect day, finished off nicely with home made sticky toffee pudding and sauce, and home made ice cream.

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Monday.....there I was, contemplating rolling from my nice comfy bed, when the puppy started barking his head off. Vic was outside all bright and breezy. He popped in to have a look at the shed and shed site, and after poking around with a spade discovered that most of the area had a nice layer of hardcore down already. We don't usually get luck like that! He then cleared off and left me to carry on digging, and a couple of hours later, I reckon I'm just about half way there. Have to confess it was too hot for digging then - and this, the first day of October, can't believe I got a wee bit o' sunburn.

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Club AGM tomorrow.......I could get the sack......

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Crabbit!

So there I was, enjoying the sunshine at the Alford autojumble, when Short Stan came up to me and said my last post here was crabbit. Now, how does that saying go...."it takes one to know one" or something like that! Actually, to fill you in, Stan and I have a bit of a war going on, he started it and now it just seems to run and run, but I just love banter like that. It's not often I meet someone who can stand up to my sense of humour but these bikers seem to be able to. The jumble was a good chance to meet people I hadn't seen for a while and catch up. I also spent all my pocket money on a selection of spanners, files and screw drivers. Lunch was a treat too, in good company and with good chat, although the cup of tea Mrs Bikerchick had was more akin to dishwater.

Poor puppy has a poorly paw. He clattered into a bit of rusty tin the other day and sliced one of his pads open. He didn't seem to notice at the time - he was able to carry on chasing sticks and stones, but for the last couple of days he's been suffering with it.

I keep marvelling at the wonders of modern technology combined with old bikes. My friend Diggy in New Zealand is a constant source of help via instant messaging, I don't want to embarrass the poor old chap but go check his blog out, it's way more interesting than mine. http://www.sportanduniform.co.nz/wrinklyracing/index.php

Got a bike test lined up for this week, on a nice little AJS. This will be my first AJS experience so fingers crossed the weather picks up.

I've just discovered that I can upload video clips to the blog, and rather fancy popping a vid of the Cubby in full flight on here, just to prove that it does really go. Trouble is, I don't have a suitable recording device.

I'm hoping to get to Knockhill next Sunday for the Jock Taylor memorial races, anyone else going? Look out for me and say hello.

Right, I'm off to do my nails, hope this post wasn't too crabbit for y'all.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

It takes all sorts...



A bit of a mixed bag this time. Last weekend I popped over to the museum at Alford to meet the riders who had taken part in a charity fundraising ride for UCAN. They had started from Balmoral and ridden a timed route to Alford, and I have to take my flame coloured helmet off to them for doing so. Did you see the weather that day?? It was chucking it down 99% of the time, and some of the hardy rufty tufty lads only had leathers and shoes - as opposed to waterproofs and waders! I think about £900 was raised. Tuesday this week I had to get the late train to Glasgow for a work briefing. I could have got the one 3 hours earlier had my 6.30pm appointment had the courtesy to let me know she wouldn't be in, again. I mean, what is it with people? How hard is it to pick up this wondrous device called a Telephone and make a 2 min call? And this lady is a teacher, so no wonder the next generation are growing up as they are. Call me an old grump then, I don't care. I have never experienced such a dull and boring day, well, not since the last briefing, and what's wrong with the people down there? It was roasting, the sun was blazing through the window and they all had woolly jumpers on and wanted the window shut! I was sitting there in a T shirt (and a few other items of clothing of course) and was too hot. I dunno, the soft south, that's what it is. Sitting at the station I was treated to more examples of humans doing what they do best; single mindedly going about their business with not a thought for anyone else. Woe betide an innocent pigeon who hopped in the way. Or an old lady who was lost. I hate being in a city. Although there were some rather good displays of something I think is called 'fashion', if you call turquoise tights, red shoes, three quarter length blue troos and a yellow jumper fashion. Maybe the lady wearing two satellite dishes on her eyes had it right.
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I really need to get on with putting the shed up (volunteers apply here...), as the MZ is going to need a lot of work this winter if I'm to ride it to places as exotic as Spain (and maybe Italy) next year. It passed the MoT last week but I did get a couple of warnings about wheel bearings and shock bushes, plus I'd really like to sort out the oil drinking problem. A nice chap in the MZ club has given me a few ideas on how to eliminate certain things, but one thing I have to do is take it for a long ride. Not usually a hardship but it always seems to rain on the weekends, and I don't fancy using it with the ContiForce tyres on. Call me a girl but they seem to be affa slippy in the wet and I find that scary! So, off to the autojumble this weekend, also at Alford. Wonder what go-faster bits I can find to bolt on to the Cubby!
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And finally, I must mention the sad loss of Colin and Johnny McRae. You've all heard about it by now, but I felt it should go on the blog and I've added a link to his official website so anyone wishing to post condolences can do so there.
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And finally finally...GBC's blog has hit and long since passed the 1000 hits which is greatly surprising, not to mention much appreciated. When I put my first post up I didn't really think anyone would be even slightly interested.....so thanks for looking...don't forget comments always welcome!
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Er....finally, no really, finally...I took the Cubby out of the van where its been living (no room in the shed cos some untidy wifie has left her junk scattered everywhere) and after not having used it for ages...it fired up first kick. Big grin factor that!

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Sad news.


Some sad news in this post I'm afraid. While the fun time everyone had at the Grampian Motorcycle Convention last weekend is still fresh in the mind, I received an email from a friend in Shetland yesterday telling me that Colin Fraser - he of the Shetland Islands Cruiser club had died. He and his wife had just returned from a trip to France via the Harley bash at Aviemore with a few friends, and due to having got soaking wet and very cold in Germany, Colin stopped off at the hospital in Lerwick, suffering from pneumonia. Sadly, he never went home. I only met him a few times, yet feel like I knew him for years. I was privileged to have been invited into his circle of friends, and to have been made an overseas member of the SIC. Thanks to his family for contacting me, anything I can do to help, you know where I am. RIP Viking, have fun up there.



Saturday, 1 September 2007

Giving us a bad name.


Well here I am, home from the Isle of Man, totally skint, totally tired and left with mixed feelings. I suppose every holiday has ups and downs, but to set the scene, just before I left, I was mid way through changing my bank account, so was left with just a few pennies in the box under my bed for spending money. The worst of it was I'd had to cancel my direct debits and couldn't pay my bike insurance. This wasn't exactly the best way to start the trip. Still, the insurance didn't run out until I was on the island so at least I could get there legally, and my trusty MZ Skorpion carried me all the way there (and back) without complaint. I think total mileage to and from the ferry was about 700 plus another couple of hundred on the island itself. That equates to a lot of petrol and more importantly oil. On the way to Heysham, a nice lady tried to take me on at the Haudigan (sp?) roundabout in Aberdeen, then she smiled, waved and drove off. Then a white van man attempted to run me off the motorway - three times! When I got to the ferry terminal, I met up with a friend from my school days, Sandra. She rides a green Kwakkysakky machine so was easy to spot. Arriving a few hours early we popped into a nearby pub to thaw out and dine. The only seats available were next to where the band was setting up, so after a few people cleared out we moved to the far end of the pub for some peace and quiet. A good move as it turned out for that was no band, that was karaoke! A pack of cards was then produced from my rucksack, the intention being to pass the time playing snap (we would never even considering gambling), but how can you play snap with 23 nine of hearts cards? Perhaps we should have gone home then. The crossing was uneventful, apart from waking up to find a man sitting staring at me at some hideously early time in the morning. Arriving at the campsite I pitched my tent (Sandra's was ready pitched for her, cheat) and we got a stern telling off for waking people - come on, it was 6am for goodness sake! Probably Sandra jousting with a lilo that did it.

Throughout the week I was most disappointed by the behaviour of some of the motorcyclists on the island. Ok, some roads don't have a speed limit, so if you really want to, you can go up to the Mountain and try and wrap yourself around a fence post, but surely when (if?) you get back down to the villages and 50mph limits, you can ease off the throttle. People actually have to carry on with their daily lives while we're there on holiday, and I felt so sorry for an elderly lady trying to cross the road with her dog, but she couldn't because of bikers riding like idiots, overtaking, and filtering in twos and threes through her village. Sadly it wasn't always plastic rocket riders to blame.

Ok, I’m off the soapbox now and would like to report that the Vintage Motorcycle club events I went to were great, and the Triumph owners club meeting that clashed with a Norton meet was also pretty good. The weather held fair most of the time, apart from when we were on a late night mission to deliver a kebab to Sandra’s boyfriend who was drinking all the pubs in Peel dry. I never did get to do a full lap of the TT / Manx course, but can’t say I’m terribly bothered, it’s not going to disappear. I might go back and do that next year on the Cubby.
Talking of which, I’d better give that the once over in preparation for the Grampian club run tomorrow. Oh yeah, Mum got locked in the bathroom today. I tell you, I go away and what do I come back to? Chaos! Look out for the full report (of the Manx events, not the bathroom saga) in your fav old bike mag.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

On a natural high, baby!


Captain Bill and I set off to the National Assembly of Vintage Motorcycles at Blairgowrie with the Cub in my van and his Connaught on the trailer. It was quite nice to have company (not to mention a supplier of chocolate) for the 3 hour trip. Normally I'd ride down on the MZ with all my camping gear on the back, but the Cub being a somewhat smaller capacity, I thought it best to take the easy option for once. We arrived with plenty of time to spare, even though I was an hour late picking Bill up, and there were some yummy stovies on offer at the pavillion. The banter was good, the UFOs were out in force and a good night was had by all. The rain set in on Saturday morning and stayed for most of the day, on and off, but that couldn't spoil my fun. With Short Stan running a book on the chances of me and Cubby completing the course, I was ever so slightly nervous. Adding to the nerves was the fact that I had no one to follow this time so had to navigate all by my little self. Obviously I can't divulge the results but I can say I'M ON A NATURAL HIGH, and I only took two wrong turns. Captain Bill filled his swag bag at the evening award ceremony and again, a fine night of banter - and counter banter was enjoyed by everyone. I hope to organise a regularity run like this for our North East Section one day. Don't hold your breath though 'cos it probably won't be until about 2010.


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Puppy is coming along very well, although he's not really a puppy now, at 6 doggy monthshe he must be a teenager by now. He seems to have eaten all his chews and the only toy left is the squeaky one. That's fine, but not when I'm trying to make phone calls! His obedience training is progressing nicely, and he's nearly mastered the Sit and Stay while I throw said Squeaky for him. He still thinks it funny to sit on Uncle Barney's head though, which doesn't help the poor old chap, whose head is permenantly to one side.


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Must start making a list of things to take to the Manx....and look up campsites....and dry the tent out after the deluge last weekend....and get the tyres fitted on the MZ....and....and....oh yeah, go to work. Humbug.


Sunday, 12 August 2007

100%


Just a quick report from the S&T at Crieff. Can't say too much because a full report should be in Classic Bike Guide in the near future, but thought you might like to know the Cub maintains it's 100% record. Each time I've been out on it, it's broken down. Minor details so far, and all to be expected after simply bolting the engine back together after a 30 year lay up. Some of these problems however, have been owner induced, but you'll have to check the mag for all the gory details. Thank the God of Classic Motorcycling for gracing us with so many helpful, friendly British bike enthusiasts.
For anyone not in the know, the S&T is an event where you nominate a speed and route length from the choices given by the organisers, and I think you're supposed to aim to maintain that average speed all the way around, arriving at checkpoints at the right times. I struggle to read the 'maps' they dish out let along make it on time, so I just had a good time chugging along in the pouring rain. I've acquired some of the stuff I need to fix Cubbie up for next weekend, so I'm in with a fighting chance.
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The 650 project by the way, is a no no. Not enough bits there.
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Collins dictionary definition of 'gorgeous' - splendid, showy, dazzling, extremely pleasing.

Monday, 6 August 2007

More o' this, more o' that and not enough fuel.

Got quite a lot of news this time. I finally managed to make time to finish the primary chain fitting. I had to attack the new Woodruff key I'd acquired with the grinder though as it was way too big. I started off with a file, then a hacksaw but neither made a mark, so after some advice from Diggy in NZ, I fired up the grinder, and I'm really quite proud of the job I did. Then all I had to do was cure the leaking petrol tap in time for the Oldmeldrum show (yesterday). I had a new circlip for it but that didn't help. I've lost count of the number of times I had to drain the and fill the tank, fit and remove the tap. I tried the tap from my Bulto, which did fit but leaked even more! (It didn't leak on the Bulto). I found an old push / pull device in the box of Cub spares, cleaned it all up, fitted it, put petrol in the tank, only to find that it was gushing out of the tap before I'd even turned it on. It took about 3 hours of this before I finally beat the old one into submission. It only dribbles a little bit now.

All that remained was to fit the new solid state rectifier, which should have been a simple case of removing the wires from the old one, and hooking them up to the new one. Wrong. With only a + mark to guide me, I didn't have a clue where to attach the other three wires. My electrical advisor, Fido, came up with a diagram showing which terminal was which and after that it was easy peasy. And guess what? The Cub still started. But this was Sunday morning by now, and although it started it just would not run. So, out with the old petrol which must have got contaminated and in with fresh which I'd drained from the Royal Enfield and my MZ.


That was enough to get me to the show, but during the games, Cubby spluttered to a halt. Oops. Luckily I'd taken the can with mower petrol in for emergencies (being Sunday the local garage was shut) and that was enough to get me home, well it would have done if we'd got that far without a breakdown. About 5 miles from home, and in the tipping rain, the clutch started slipping and then we ground to a halt, the clutch lever refusing to be moved. Luckily, good ol' Mum was to hand with the back up van and in the Cubby went. Investigations will take place soon - ie before the club run tomorrow evening.... At the latest, I need to fix it for next weekend, which is the S&T at Crieff, and the following one is the National at Blairgowrie. After that I'm off to the Manx GP - but that's not on the Cub. Can't wait!


I'm looking forward to tomorrow - it's viewing day. This is the 650 project I'm talking about. I'm trying not to get too excited, but having read a few write ups about the model in question it's hard not to. I'm still a little bit unsure if this is the right time to empty all my piggy banks, but I'm convincing myself it is an investment.


Robin of Wales and his clan popped in to say hello, they're camping a few miles away. Finn loves playing with the two younger kids, and they've been really good with him - a constant source of stick throwing! They joined us at the Oldmeldrum show and had a good time, although Robin refused to take a spin on the Cub in the games. I wonder how their tent stood up to the thunder storms and torrential rain last night.


Well, having just finished my write up about the Ariels I tested in Shetland I'd better start on the BSA Shooting Star report. Is there no rest? My boss of the day job has been on at me too for not reporting regularly enough. Think it's time for a doughnut. Over and out. Ps thanks for voting in the sidecar poll.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Carpet burns


My knees are sore, but it isn't what you're thinking! We've got an incontinent old Fox Terrier and a nearly toilet trained collie pup, and between them they've kinda ruined the kitchen carpet. The good folk on Aberdeenbikers came up with some second hand stuff and I've spent most of the day crawling around on my hands and knees fitting it. Not a bad job though if I may say so. I was hoping to have finished fitting the primary chain on the Cub but such is life, maybe I'll get that done tomorrow.

Santa arrived yesterday with a couple of early pressies for GBC, namely a nice little engine for my 250 MZ and that all important sidecar chassis. So now I've got all I need to build the Gromit Machine. Or should I call it the Stig? (The chair was found in a skip so if the name fits...). Let's see if I can set up a poll on here and you can vote on your fav name.

On the subject of MZs, I had to nip down to Perth yesterday to test a BSA Shooting Star for the mag, so decided to give the Skorp a run out. I'd forgotten how much I love to ride it. The chap who owns the BSA rode it for a while and commented on how light it is - one of the reasons why it's such a great bike for me, 'cos I'm only likkle. The trouble is, having a Royal Enfield 500cc Bullet with electric start on loan for the summer means my poor old MZ gets left in the shed sometimes, which, admittedly, is better than leaving it out in the rain, which is where it has spent most of the summer due to the Cub moving from the house to the 8 x 6 shed. I need more sheds. But I feel they'd end up growing bikes in them.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

A bitta this, a bitta that.


Well it's official, my 1962 cub passed the MoT recently and the proof is in Classic Bike Guide August issue. It still needed a new primary chain, rocker feed pipe and as I later discovered after my first ride out on it, a new battery and / or rectifier. There is also the small matter of a high pitched squealing noise from the speedo. First things first, I can't fix that problem until the charging issue is fixed (the battery only holds enough charge for one start at a time) so I decided to order the chain, rectifier and feed pipe and get them fitted. Easy jobs to anyone with a decent garage space and a few spanners. I've got as far as fitting the chain but needed to source a new Woodruff key for the rotor, which luckily my local garage had in stock (just hope it fits). Trouble is, I haven't had time to finish the job, and if I'm not careful, I'll forgot how to put the thing back together. I had a look at fitting the rectifier and couldn't work out which of the unmarked terminals connected to which wire. So it's all going to plan.

The 250 MZ sidecar project is taking shape now though, with the chair, frame and fittings all being sourced (from each corner of the UK) and with a bit of luck the engine for the bike will arrive very soon - Santa's visiting early in case he gets snowed out.

Latest news on the 650 potential project is that I'm going to view one in August. And that's all I'm saying on that one!

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Off to Shetland


So there I was, planning my trip to the Shetland Isles for my ‘day job’, and I suddenly thought of trying to organise some bike tests, or at the very least meet up with some of the chaps I met at their classic show last year. A quick email to my contact up there led to a reply from Geordie who is some sort of head honcho in the classic club. A few mails later and hey presto, there was a list of people to contact once on the island. Irritatingly, the best of the weather most days was when I was working, so only one of the tests happened in full – thick fog and torrential rain stopped play on the rest of them. However, I did get to meet Colin and Carol from the Cruiser club, and they organised a ride out on the Sunday – I was lucky enough to be allowed to ride pillion on the Purple People Eater – aka Colin’s new trike, while Carol rode her Harley Sportster (the Yellow Peril). The route was beautiful; we headed north west to Eshaness, site of the most westerly lighthouse on the mainland (I think but don't quote me on that), and a nice little cafĂ©. The weather had closed in by the time we got there so the view wasn’t up to much but check out the trike!
It sounds like a cliche to say the people were incredibly friendly and helpful, but it's true. Geordie, Tom and Robbie gave up a Sunday morning to let me test their Ariels, while Joe spent a good few hours letting me look around his collection of old bikes, as did the Johnson family, and the Leasks too let me have a peek in the garage. I was invited to tea a few times, and one of the highlights of the trip has to be being granted an Overseas membership of the Shetland Island Cruiser club! I'm now a SICO - see their site here www.shetlandislandscruisers.com.
Tom is the guy who runs the ferry to the small isle of Mousa and he let me hitch a ride there and back. The crossing is only about 10 minutes and the view looking back to Sandwick House is pretty impressive. I'm having trouble putting pictures on here, but I'll post one of that soon.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Gorgeous Biker Chick starts Blogging

Howdy howdy people, welcome to the first Blog from Gorgeous Biker Chick of Classic Bike Guide fame. While I live and work with old motorcycles, it is my belief that there is plenty of room for such modern creations as the the internet. In fact, without it, I probably would not have been able to complete my first restoration project, a 1962 Triumph Tiger Cub, but that's another story. Email, web forums and instant messenger are all great ways of keeping in touch but now I've been cajoled into trying a Blog. Hope you enjoy keeping up with me, and any comments and feedback will be much appreciated.

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