Sunday, 3 April 2011

A trip to the Surrey countryside with Helga.

I finally collected the BMW yesterday; my first reaction was to be slightly disappointed that it wasn't quite as good as the blurred e-bay photos had led me to believe, but there again, what did I expect for the money? Anyway, as soon as I set off on the road home I cheered up, everything seemed to work well, although the front end felt both wobbly and wooden (technical terms these) at the same time - I stopped a couple of time to make sure I didn't have a puncture! Still, we managed to 60 mile trip home with no problem, and after a quick wash Helga looked quite respectable.

Fired-up with enthusiasm, I was up and out early today for a ride; it started off as just an aimlessl ride out to the Surrey countryside, then I saw a sign for Brooklands, the world's first purpose-built motor racing circuit.

A look at some of the early cars and bikes then a wander up to the banking left me amazed that those rickety-looking machines were piloted at speed round here.

The Brooklands museum is pretty interesting; as the place was originally used to develop cars, bikes and airplanes the whole place is like a big boys playground, lots of machinery and bits of planes scattered around to investigate, plus all the old sheds and buildings full of racing memento's from days of yore - well worth a visit if you're in the area.

While wandering around the motorbike shed I spotted a white-overalled chap moving a combination out into the sun, so walked over to have a look. It turned out to be a 1933 Brough Superior, which Mr Brough (no, really!) explained to me was used by the West Riding Police.

 He then persuaded me to sit on it and took my photo. I did offer to swap it for Helga and some cash, which for some reason send him into fits of laughter - guess it's worth quite a bit of money, then?

There also seemed to be quite a bit of car-related activity; a porsche club meeting in front of the clubhouse, a Roll Royce meeting on the lawn, and a dead-hard looking Lagonda, which was driven by a real cad, all pencil moustache, flying jacket and co-respondent shoes, parked out front.

After a quick cuppa I was off again, more aimless riding down towards Guildford and Farnham where there were some smashing little lanes to ride down (and back again, and down again); starting to get used to the feel of the front end now, although I suspect it needs some serious work. With the sun stlll shining but wrists and bum aching from the unaccustomed riding position I eventually headed back up the A3 towards London; Helga cruised quite comfortably at around 80mph, which was about the fastest I could hold on at without any wind protection, although I did briefly do a Mr Toad impression, crouched down on the tank she wound up to 3-figure speed pretty quick so maybe a screen should be high on the list of 'improvements'.

Got home, and in the road outside was parked this pretty Alfa - I was amazed how small it was!

So, a good weekend at last; funny how a motorbike ride can banish all the depressing thoughts and boredom of modern living. Cheers!

Late Postscript - I've been reading-up online on the K series and their problems; my wobbly front end seems like knackered bearings/forks, and the problem I was getting changing up into 41/2 instead of 5th gear is a clutch spline problem. Evidently. Sounds like I'm going to need either a good mechanic...or get her up on e-bay quickly.


  1. Dear El D

    How funny that you are now riding around my old hunting ground whilst I have blown in to Cheshire!

    The handling is top heavy compared to modern bikes but can be improved at relatively small expense with new rear shocker and maybe put SAE10 in the front forks.

    The false neutral problem is a BMW feature as is the clunk into first - I would not assume a spline problem causes that (splines probably have failed too and that is confirmed by a nasty coffee grinding sound coupled with zero forward motion).
    TTFN N

  2. Thanks Nikos - I won't panic then, just polish up the credit card and get some goodies on order. Cheers, El D

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  4. What a great day out....if only it had been on a Triumph (;-0)! I've 'done' Brooklands thrice now - I could never be bored with it, and just to stand on the last bit of banking is enough to raise the hairs on the back of my neck. If I had any (hairs, not neck).

    Re the Alfa, perhaps Benjamin Braddock was making a call in the area.....!!

  5. Affer, you're absolutely correct, it's a place you could visit time and again and not get bored.
    As for the bike, well I would have loved to get an old Bonnie, but there's a difference of about 5 grand between a good one and what I paid for Helga, so she'll have to do for now...and you could be right about the Alfa, I do believe there is a married lady of loose morals living round here somewhere......