Straven Guest House, Edinburgh – A Biker’s Review

April 22nd, 2014

Firstly I would like to say a big thank you to MotoGoLoco for the fantastic opportunity to choose one of their hotels for a night away having won one of their competitions. After some fun browsing the MotoGoLoco site and speculating the potential rides, we settled on Straven Guest House for our night away.

Straven Guest House, biker friendly B&B in Edinburgh

Straven Guest House, 3 Brunstane Road North, Portobello, Edinburgh, EH15 2DL


April 14th dawned bright and sunny so with the bike all prepped and ready we set off via the A701 then the A702 to Edinburgh. Arriving at the guest house, we were very pleasantly surprised to find the location was just off the Portobello road, with very easy access to a beautiful promenade along the beachfront. Mac (our host) met us and quickly got the bike settled into a secure garage before giving us a great introduction to the area, local eateries and the regular bus services in to the centre of Edinburgh.

Our room was very spacious and comfortable giving us a perfect base from which to explore. The location of the B&B is ideal for access to the centre of Edinburgh which allowed us to enjoy the best of Edinburgh in the evening and through the day.

No review could be complete without mentioning the breakfast! Marion provides an extensive spread with lots to choose from all served in person by Mac. So after enjoying an early stroll along the beach, you have the choice of an extensive buffet of fresh fruit, yoghurt and cereals to start but if that doesn’t take your fancy you can always have the hot Scottish porridge oats. After that it is up to you whether you want to indulge in a full breakfast or one of the other many options which you are presented with. I have to confess that the hot croissant and pain au chocolat was too good to miss!

Neil's Honda CB1000R arriving at Straven

Feeling replete, we reluctantly took our leave of our lovely hosts and chose to follow the A701 all the way back to Moffat where we stopped briefly to enjoy the coffee and company at the Buccleuch Arms. The sweeping bends and fantastic views of the “tub” were too tempting for Neil who had to indulge in a little fun going down and back up the run into Moffat twice!

Thanks again to all at MotoGoLoco and to Mac and Marion at Straven Guest House. We really enjoyed our birthdays thanks to you and the amazing weather we were treated to!

Karen & Neil Martyniuk

Have you ever had one of those days?

April 22nd, 2014

Where you just can’t do right for doing wrong?

My journey north; originally slated to commence around 10:30, was delayed by me being required to act as chauffeur for M. who needed to be at a meeting across the other side of Leeds – M. having experienced her first ever pulled muscle and unable to drive.

The meeting was scheduled to finish, “by 14:30 at the latest”. Two thirty came and went, so too did three pm, so too three thirty, four pm and four thirty! M. appearing at 16:40, looking as if the meeting had not been the easiest she’d ever attended.

We were lucky in our journey home around Leeds as the usual snarl up that is the Leeds Ring Road during rush-hour seemed to be taking a break – perhaps assisted by the start of the half-term holiday. Nonetheless, we arrived home some two hours plus later than my second best plan for my trip to Scotland.

The bike was packed ready, fully fuelled and ready to go, so a quick call to the hotel to let them know that my original ETA of, “late afternoon/early evening”, was now a fond memory and please could they make sure that there was something for me to eat when I would be arriving around 20:30 (ish).

Out the window went my earlier fond wish to use the delights of Horton-in-Ribblesdale, Hawes, Buttertubs, Kirby Stephen, Melmerby, Hartside, Alston, Brampton, and Longtown, as my route north. To be replaced by the A65, and M6/M74. In addition to the increased fuel consumption and resultant boredom of a major A road and motorway, came the long periods of sustained vibration compounded by something called, “sympathetic resonance”. Now for those who have yet to experience sympathetic resonance, allow me to explain. This is a phenomenon most assuredly unsympathetic, and on this occasion resulted in one of my light brackets fracturing. And, as if that was not enough, an exhaust baffle detached itself and smacked into my nearside rear indicator housing, destroying it in the process. Not content with that, the baffle managed to become lodged between the remains of the indicator and the pannier. Metal is an excellent conductor of heat, and the baffle was stuck transferring exhaust heat into the top inside corner of the pannier – result, a Daliesque effect that I could have done without.


And, my time at speed on the motorway ensured that my mpg was decreased, so much so that I needed a “splash & dash” at Gretna to forestall the likelihood of running short of fuel in the wilds prior to reaching my destination. It might, just, have had something to do my making haste, as I suffered some blowback of petrol – all over the tank & engine – @#¥~}!<€!!

So, lessons revisited – never, ever, rush, always take your time, and enjoy the journey because that is one of the cardinal joys of being a motorcyclist.

PS – and thanks for the tape & (Clint) Jaffa Cake wrapper (James) – at least I can get home safely & legally thanks to you two.

Jim’s GP Blog Grand Prix of Americas 2014

April 14th, 2014


Marquez manages to push the boundaries; using the Tigers’ Teeth to slice additional feet off every corner/lose the front every other lap, (having ignored the rear for several seasons), and still leave everyone in his wake – then on the last lap, last corner, he locks the front wheel and collects it all up with a hoot of laughter & a shake of his head. What entertainment at this year’s Grand Prix of Americas.
Marc Marquez

And, we also see Dovi posting a superb ride to put the, “un-rideable” Ducati on the podium, Bradley finishing in fifth, (the top Yamaha), ahead of both Rossi & Lorenzo, and Scott showcasing his wealth of talent until front tyre woes scupper his race.The only fly in the ointment was Cal’s crash, resulting in a, “broken hand”, (metatarsal?), his right to make matters as awkward as possible.

So, despite Marc making the race a bit of a procession, MotoGP continues to enthral – roll on Argentina.

Congratulations Mike Taylor

April 8th, 2014

Congratulations to Mike Taylor of East Lothian & who’s bagged himself a night away for 2 at the brilliant, bike-friendly Fernhill Hotel, in Portpatrick just by creating and saving one of his favourite biking routes (‘Up the hills and doon the coast‘) on our motorcycle route builder.  Easy as that!

MotoGoLoco up the hills and doon the coast route

Mike’s “Up the hills and doon the coast route”


Well done Mike, enjoy exploring Dumfries & Galloway’s quiet, twisty roads, rolling hills and seemingly endless coastline.  We think you’re in for a cracking run!


Breast Way Round Meet & Greet

March 31st, 2014

Yesterday (Sunday 20th March) saw the Breast Way Round girls descend upon (and pretty much take over) Moffat for their annual Meet & Greet day out at the Buccleuch Arms Hotel.

Breast Way Round at the Buccleuch, Moffat

The weather was particularly kind, with glorious warm spring sunshine to go with the teas, coffees and (awesome!) strawberry tarts kindly laid on by good folks of the Buccleuch and R. Little the bakers in Moffat.

Strawberry tarts

Finally, our very own big tart (James) had the pleasure of handing over MotoGoLoco’s donation (cash + prizes) to Breast Way Round Chair Person, Chrissie Evans.

MotoGoLoco's James and Chrissie from Breast Way Round

It’s always amazing just how much draw a big crowd of bikes has to people, with loads of passers by stopping in for a nosey and a chat (and more than a few kindly offering donations too).  Moffat itself was buzzing with the kind of fantastic, friendly atmosphere events like this brings, and all the better for it.

All in all, a cracking afternoon with some great company – thanks girls, all the best for 2014′s efforts!

Team MotoGoLoco

Be careful what you wish for!‏

March 24th, 2014

For years I’ve been muttering about the BBC’s apparently perverse decision to persevere with Charlie Cox as half of their MotoGP commentary team. If I heard, “across the stripe!” one more time, I’d have screamed. “He’s got the magnets on”, was slightly less irksome, but I would have paid good money to fit the antipodean plank with his very own third armpit. On learning of the BBC losing the television rights to MotoGP, I thought that BT Sport might make a better fist of it all minus Mr Cox.

MotoGP Qatar

Today I watched the excellent race at the Qatar GP on the Losail circuit, and I missed the BBC quality I had begun to take for granted over the last several years. Gone was the annoying Cox, but so too was Steve Parish whose appreciation and inside knowledge was so pivotal to my watching pleasure. Replaced by Keith Huewen, almost as knowledgeable as Parish but lacking his adroit commentary skills. Julian Ryder is a walking GP encyclopaedia and well worth listing to, but his commentary style is overly mannered and, to my ears, best suited to the written word. James Toseland added style, knowledge, and recent experience to the mix, aided by the excellent Neil Hodgson whose riding is somewhere north of Mr Parish – who is no slouch.

BT Sport's MotoGP Team

And the anchor presenter?

One Melanie Sykes, who makes Charlie Cox look like an asset! Her whining, nasal, delivery intrudes, and merely serves to highlight her complete lack of motorcycle racing knowledge and understanding.

And I haven’t even mentioned the inevitable advert breaks – I was spoiled by the BBC.

My plan now is to record the races and fast forward those parts designed to attract an audience profile south of puberty.

Yours in curmudgeonly angst,


Flies on the visor

March 14th, 2014

Off to Pinchbeck on Monday for a day road training, sun shinning from early doors and a completely dry day throughout.

This winter has been characterised by wet and mild days, with only three days marred by road salt, so the 386 miles were enjoyable if a little cooler than Sunday’s glorious spring conditions.

If doubt existed as to the season’s change I collected four flies, (the first of the year), and they’ll be joined by thousands of their brethren as the year unfolds – here’s hoping for a repeat of 2013′s glorious summer.

Visor Flies


All the best, Jim

Soft days and shiny Altbergs

March 3rd, 2014

At last Ireland’s long awaited summer is here – from 09:30 it rained, then rained some more, and then it really let loose. What is termed in these parts as a, “soft”, day.

However, it felt OK compared to most days over the last six weeks, as the temperature had raised itself off the floor, and whilst persistently persisting, it was relatively warm. You take what you can when you don’t have an option.

Having lubed the chain last night, and cleaned & polished my 20 year old Altberg “All Season Hoggs”, I started the day in fine shape. By the time I got to Wicklow however, by boots were the worse for wear, covered in animal excrement, grit & general mire – you guessed it – another polishing session ensued! (NB – at my age polishing boots is about all the excitement I can handle!)

Jim's Alberg boots - 20 years old & going strong!

Jim’s Alberg boots – 20 years old & still going strong!

Today’s route took me through the Wicklow Mountains, at least according to Mapsource it did, I saw nothing as the cloud cover was at zero feet above sea level.

Arriving at tonight’s hotel I took childish delight in my bike being the talk of the lounge, one in the eye for all those tin boxes parked outside. That said they were remarkably dry whilst I was creating puddles wherever I walked.

Photo Competition Reminder – get your entries in!!

February 17th, 2014

There’s just under a fortnight left to get your entries in for our February photo competition – click the link below to check it out:

Valentines Photo Competition

Valentines Photo Competition


Congratulations to Neil Martyniuk

February 7th, 2014

Congratulations to Neil Martyniuk, from Dumfries & Galloway IAM who’s bagged himself a weekend away at Straven Guest House, in Edinburgh with the Mrs for being our First Facebook Like.

MGLUKP1300039 - 1st Fb Like - neil-martyniuk-straven-3998323

Nice one Neil – enjoy and we’ll look forward to hearing all about it when you get back!

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