Thursday, 22 June 2017

Beaulieu hot rod show

I set off Saturday morning to ride down to the New Forest as there was a car event at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu. Unfortunately I'd picked the hottest weekend of the year so far (30 degC) and Fathers day weekend, so it seemed like every motorist in England was heading south for the coast to enjoy the weather. It also soon became apparent that full riding gear and high temperatures don't mix - it was like sitting in a sauna! Be fair, it is only a day or two every few years that we get this weather so I tried to be a man and put up with it.

After filtering between miles of stationary traffic on the M25 then the M4 motorway I began to realise I wasn't going to get down to Beaulieu in a day - I spent 3 hours to travel 60 miles! So after cooling off and re-hydrating in a motorway service station I decided to head over to my son's house in Henley which wasn't too far off track. Luckily his little son was visiting for the weekend, so we called my daughter up and all went out for a Mexican meal to celebrate Fathers day.

Sunday morning I was up early to ride the rest of the way to Beaulieu before it got too hot. Much better! Made it there by 11am, by which time the temperature was back up to 30 degC again! I had a pleasant time strolling around the beautiful grounds of the motor museum looking at all things mechanical, then on to the hot rod & American car show, these being my first love going right back to when I was a teenager reading American hot rodding magazines.

By mid-afternoon it was melting hot, so I decided to set off back home. Unfortunately all those motorists I'd passed in the massive traffic jams on Saturday all had the same idea, so back to gridlock again! By this time I just could not be arsed with it, so took to the little country lanes and meandered back up to my son's house again, slept there overnight, finally getting home around lunch-time Monday. I enjoyed the cars, the riding not so much! Still, as I write this the weather is cooling down so no doubt it will be raining by the end of the week! Here's a few pictures of some of the cars that took my eye.
1934 Ford 3 window hi-boy


1932 Ford 3 window

T bucket with Ford Pop behind

Mk 1 Ford Consul


Pop with supercharged V8


Jiving in 30 deg heat - mad!

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Sunday morning ride to Battlesbridge motorbike museum

Another bright sunny (if a little chilly) morning, so I decided to ride over to Battlesbridge bike museum, which I'd spotted online while checking for biker-friendly destinations. It was smaller than I'd expected, basically just a wooden shed crammed with old bikes, signs & paraphernalia, but the guys working there were friendly, welcoming and happy to chat about old bikes all day. A great little place. I spent an hour or so there, had a coffee & cake in the cafe next door then rode home the long way back via Horndon & Bulphan. What a pleasant way to spend Sunday morning.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

No particular place to go ....

We're having some great spring weather here - 15 degC today with bright sunshine. It would be rude not to go out and burn some petroleum. Essex country lanes explored - the snap below was taken on Bulphan Fen. Happy Days!!

Now you see why I don't take selfies!!

Monday, 6 March 2017

Guilty pleasure

The guilt comes from making the Tiger filthy dirty by riding all day today - the previous owner told me he'd never used it in the rain and kept it spotless. The pleasure comes from... riding all day with nowhere to go but round bends.

I recently bought a book called 'Bikers Britain' which lists over 70 good rides; I figured there must be some near to where I'm living down in darkest Essex; sure enough there was a 125 mile loop that went out to the coast and back, plus a second south to north road that I could use to get to the loop. 

125 mile loop

Connecting ride
 So I set off around 10am, the weather was bright and blustery, the roads wet but drying out. I took the back roads through Brentwood up to Chipping Ongar, plenty of traffic this close to the motorway but it gradually thinned-out going up to Great Dunmow; wide sweeping B roads with nothing but farmland and the occasional picturesque village to slow down for.

The first part of the ride proper started at Great Dunmow, up through Finchingfield towards Steeple Bumpstead (I just love that name!) and I have to say it was fabulous! Well-surfaced, if a bit greasy and damp, with plenty of bends and elevation changes to make it quite exciting. Finchingfield was one of those impossibly quaint villages, all thatched cottages and old churches beside village ponds. Just lovely even in the winter sunshine.

 I turned East at Steeple Bumpstead onto the Loop; again, just great twisty roads all the way to Laverham and beyond. I must own up to feeling a bit tired by the time I got to Manningtree - it was all a bit intense for the first ride of the year, so I had a little break then picked-up the bottom of the Loop to head back towards Finchingfield via Sudbury.

By the time I got back to Finchingfield I was knackered, so stopped in a little tea-shop for some refreshments; soup and a sandwich always goes down well, plus they had gluten-free vegan cakes so I made a bit of a pig of myself!
Bentley on the village green

 I then headed South through Great Dunmow then back the way I'd ridden up in the morning, all great roads that I shall need to ride again. Got home around 4pm that's around 5 hours actually riding. I have to report that my new Touratech comfort seat worked well, hardly a twinge from my rear end! What a great way to use a tank of petrol!

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Back on 2 wheels - thanks to late-night e-bay purchase

Amazingly, when we unloaded it from the delivery man's van it looked even better than I hoped. Nice and clean. Right, need to start planning some nice long rides ........

Sunday, 19 February 2017

The London Bike Show

 It's mid-Feb so time for me and the Kid to make the trek to the Excel centre in East London to look at all the new bikes. Lucky for me the Kid was with me; I nearly bought a bike, helmet, boots, jacket - well I'm determined to get back on two wheels this spring - but as he reminded me I've already got everything except the bike, and e-bay is sitting there just waiting for me to make a late-night bid :)

This year's show seemed better than ever, all the major manufacturers were there with large displays, plus some new small ones, custom corner, classic bikes, even a couple of auction houses with a large selection of 'interesting' bikes. Plus of course plenty of clothing and accessory stands. A nice day out. Here's some photos.

Nice pair of Nortons

Custom scrambler based on new SC950 - you'd need to have a really long right leg to ride it though!

Belonged to some racer - Rossi

Suzuki had a selection of Barry Sheene's machines on show

We wondered how you get this thing to go round corners

The Kid tries the new Thruxton R for size

Just to prove Triumph don't always get it right! A bobber with ape-hangers.

El D tries scrambler - felt like I was on a moped

Ducati just looked EVIL

Started making these again

I didn't know they'd started making these again

Nice custom

Hand-built instrument

Not sure if exhaust will melt rear light - looks cool though

This machine was based on a triumph and had incredible details - see also 2 pics above

Beautifully detailed - looked a bit weird though

Not sure if this Custom entry was built by Disney

Wonderful hand crafted Ally body panels