The Perfect Accident?

August 20th, 2014

Someone’s guardian angel was looking out for them today…

We’ve all seen plenty of crazy Russian dash-cam footage, but a motorcyclist going car surfing…?

Wow.

A good road – A528

August 19th, 2014

As we were based in Shrewsbury (at the bike-friendly Sydney House, found on this very website – very good, by the way) I was exploring roads I perhaps don’t know so well. The one that surprised me was the A528 from Shrewsbury to Ellesmere.

A528 from Shrewsbury to Ellesmere

I thought it would be a fairly unexceptional bit of tarmac – just a handy transit route on our way to Llangollen and Horseshoe Pass. In fact, it turned out to be a great little road and the perfect way to warm up for a relaxed day rolling through the Welsh Marches and the hills around Bala.

Dex

Pillion pleasure

August 18th, 2014

As I’d been planning a weekend ride with the boys, my routes – even with consideration for Harry’s Hog and its lack of ground clearance – were tilted a bit more towards the fast-and-bendy end of the spectrum. Not the kind of thing I normally do with TFLS (The Fair Lady Scully) on the back of the bike. Especially not the back of the KTM, where I’m inclined to ride more enthusiastically.

Well, as it was the two of us I didn’t take the SM-T. There just isn’t the luggage space for two adults (unless you’re only toting bathing costumes). So I took the work stuff out of the Pan, replaced it with TFLS’s comprehensive travelling wardrobe and set off.

In fact, the roads were great – just ridden with an emphasis on smoothness rather than entry-apex-exit speed. Not a knocked helmet or punched kidney all weekend. TFLS said it was the best tour we’ve done together for ages and she really enjoyed it. Which was great.

Only one catch: she asked exactly where I’m going on the European trip. Surely she doesn’t want to do that one as well?

Dex

What an amazing place, so much to see inside and out

August 18th, 2014

A big thank you to MotoGoLoco for our free night dinner, bed and breakfast.  We had a very pleasant stay at the Glenuig Inn, Lochailort.

Glenuig Inn

We left Dumfries on Tuesday morning, brilliant ride up with spectacular scenery, we stopped regularly to admire the views. We called in at the Green Welly Stop, near Glencoe, which is very popular with bikers. The Glenuig Inn, 35 miles North of Fort William sits in a quiet, secluded and tranquil bay with lovely views over the water and surrounding countryside.  The Inn itself is very nice with clean, comfortable and modern rooms. The staff were very pleasant and on hand if you needed anything. The menu is varied, food was good and well presented in a relaxed atmosphere. This is the perfect place to go if you want to relax and get away from it all – so much so that we booked in for an extra night as we wanted to see some of the sights around Fort William.

We went to Neptunes Staircase, Inverlochy Castle and in the afternoon took the Jacobite steam train to Mallaig where we spent a couple of hours exploring the harbor shops and sat at the harbor watching the seals (one of the photos) coming up to the boats looking for fish.

We left the following morning and traveled to the Nevis Range, taking the cable car up the mountain where we could still see some snow on the top. Leaving there we headed for Fort Augustus then up the west side of Loch Ness to Dores, where we visited friends for the afternoon. That evening we headed to Inverness and onto the A9 South to another MotoGoLoco recommended guest house, called Torguish House at Daviot for the night.

Torguish House B&B, Daviot

What an amazing place, so much to see inside and out with all of the antiques and collectables, (they even had two vintage motorbikes!).  We were made to feel so welcome by Mike & Angie, the delightful couple who own the place. Breakfast was outstanding. Will definitely go back when in that area again.

George Maxwell Torguish

All in all a great 4 day break on some of Scotland’s finest motorcycling routes.

Thanks again,

George & Willow Maxwell
Dumfries

The Longest Weekend

August 18th, 2014

I’m not going to take up your time with the tale of woe that was our gentlemen’s weekend away. Because it never got off the ground.

For a start, there was the drama of Hogsback Harry – so called because he had a Harley in the Nineties and, after years riding sports bikes, he got a Road King last year. First thing he did was ride round and announce, “The Hog’s Back”. His tank/lumbago/arse range had been limiting our planning anyway. Then, the night before we were due to go, he called to say that he couldn’t make it. He’d let the MOT run out, so his insurance was invalid. He couldn’t get the bike booked in for a test in time, so we’d have to go without him. One down.

The second member of our group is a man who will remain nameless, identified only by the initials DA – standing not for his name but for his description: Dumb Ass. A lovely man and a senior functionary on the local council, but he’s hapless. Disaster dogs his every step. Always because he’s done something so stupid you’d have thought only a Jim Carey character could manage it. He has a permanently red forehead, from smacking it himself.

He was all packed and ready to go when I called him to tell him about Harry. Next morning, DA pushed his CBF1000 out of the garage and, while he went back inside to get his helmet and gloves, his teenage daughter reversed her Saxo into the bike. Not just into it, but over the front wheel, trashing the entire front end of the Honda. It runs in the family, apparently. Two down.

I’d only just had the call from DA when Dependable Dan rang. Being unreliable, as usual. He realized he’d double booked himself several weeks ago… but had thought he’d got out of the other commitment – some work colleague of his wife’s was having a 50th birthday party – but apparently he’d failed to sort it out (or the memsahib had put her foot down). Three down.

Frankly, a trip away from home with the boys is not much fun if all the boys drop out. But I looked so crestfallen, The Fair Lady Scully took pity on me. Number Two Son was called on to take charge of Castle Scull for the weekend and, with only an hour’s delay in setting out, I took my good lady wife away instead.

Much better than a weekend with chaps, to be honest…

Dex

Mondial Piega – Don’t see many of them about

August 14th, 2014

I saw a Mondial Piega today. I’ve never, ever seen one in the flesh before.

Mondial Piega

If you’ve never heard of it, that’s not surprising. It’s a really rare thing. When Honda was struggling to get started, Italian manufacturer Mondial helped them. Then in 2002, Honda returned the favour and gave Mondial a number of SP-1 engines to help revive the brand – they only people Honda had ever supplied their engines to (at least until the dawn of Moto2).

It’s a very pretty little motorcycle – a silver-and-blue sportsbike with, I think, flowing lines that are every bit as attractive as the MV Agusta F4. But this is even more exclusive. Only a handful have been built and I’m sure that at least half of them are in collections, not being ridden. So it was a surprise to see one parked up in – honestly – a LIDL car park.

Now, if they start selling THOSE at knock-down prices…

Dex

My keeper – Honda CB400:4

August 11th, 2014

If I was going to have a classic – which would have to be one bike to keep – I think it would have to be a Honda CB400:4.

Honda CB400 4

I had one in the early Eighties, just after passing my test. I never should have sold it. Of course, by today’s standards the motor is weedy and it’s woefully underbraked. I don’t care. It was the sweetest little bike. It’s the one I wish I’d kept.

Maybe I should keep my eyes out for one?

Dex

Fantastic weekend in Matlock – Lolo’s Review

August 8th, 2014

We road some spectacular roads into the High peak stopping for the most hilarious talk and boat ride into the lead mines at speed well cavern. We then road some beautiful roads include the via Gellia through Matlock to our B&B, Riverbank Guest House.

Lolo Gibbins Riverbank House Matlock

We were greeted with a nice welcome and the owner moving their car so the bikes had a safe place for the night. Once unpacked we walking into Matlock where there was plenty of places to eat, from Italian, English, Chinese, to plenty of takeaways and a few inviting pubs.

As the weather was so nice we decided to have a picnic in the park next to the river then returned to the B&B and had a well-earned glass of wine in their lovely garden. The room was clean and bright with everything you need from tea making facilities, TV, shower, hue windows and ceiling fan. The breakfast was great and staff very attentive.

The B&B is so close to many of the peak districts attractions that we managed to stop at the steam trains, Haddon hall, Chatworth house and a visit to the museum and village at Eyam on our way home.

All in all a lovely relaxing weekend away, thanks again to Jennie, Graham and Shelley at Riverbank and to all at MotoGoLoco for our prize!

- Lolo & Scott Gibbins

About the Venue

Riverbank Guest House
Derwent Avenue
Matlock
Derbyshire
DE4 3LX

01629 582593
Web listing
riverbankhousematlock@gmail.com

 

Classics

August 8th, 2014

Classic Motorbike

I’m not a fan of old things in general. I suppose that’s an IT-industry thing: the march of technology is a good thing; anything old is obsolete and therefore without value. But I do like old bikes. I don’t have one because I’ve observed that you can either devote a lot of time and care to the maintenance needed to keep them in tip-top condition, or you accept that you’ll spend a lot of time being let down by them – whether that means breaking down on the road or not even starting.

I don’t have the time for that level of maintenance and I don’t have the patience for bikes that break down all the time. But then, I do feel I’m missing out a bit by not having a classic.

Barry’s Scheme

August 7th, 2014

My old mucker Barry the Builder has two bikes. Both of them are Triumphs. One’s a proper classic Bonneville, one of the first unit-construction jobs from 1963. It had been his father’s – not from new, but he was the second owner. Barry restored it after the old man had a stroke (it had been rotting in the garage since the Eighties anyway). He’ll never part with it. For me, that’s the definition of “a keeper”.

It’s the opposite of bikes like the Huskie Nuda I tried the other day: a bike that you probably won’t hang onto for long but is great fun while it lasts.

Triumph Bonneville

Barry’s old Bonnie isn’t actually much fun, of course: it’s a temperamental brute of a bike that will run sweetly one day then splutter and stall on the next, for no apparent reason. I helped him rebuild the engine and though it’s pretty basic, fettling it left no knuckle unskinned and despite our best efforts it’s still not quite free of the traditional Triumph oil leak. It’s frustrating, for all that it is a keeper. So Barry does need a second bike.

Barry’s other Bonneville is a modern one. And he told his wife that it’s a keeper too. That’s why she agreed to let him get a second motorcycle. She really doesn’t care too much about the bikes: they just sit under covers and waste space in the garage as far as she’s concerned.

The covers are crucial to Barry’s scheme. Because his other Bonnie, the modern one, is anything but a keeper. To my knowledge he’s had three in the past ten years. There may have been four. His wife (don’t worry – she loathes bikes so she’ll never read this) has never lifted the covers or even noticed that it keeps changing colour…

Clever fella, that Barry.

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