26 February 2007

Welsh National Rally - May 12th 2007 Part 3

Entry sent off a few weeks ago and I have been checking the post ever since.

In the end I emailed the Clive MCC and doh! Homer Simpson Devall had forgot to put the sae in the envelope!

My entry number is 25.

Claire's Birthday Weekend

Usually we go away for Claire's birthday, to Bruges or somewhere. This year we chose to have a night in London, and once again we stayed in the Marriott at West Quay.

We didn't get an upgrade this time and were stuck with an ordinary room for £119 B&B. As before we used Tesco Clubcard points to pay for it. With VAT and taxes it comes out just shy of £140.

Once parked in the car-park opposite we decided to have a look at Greenwich. Taking the DLR towards Lewisham and getting off at Cutty Sark station. Boing! First mistake. The Cutty Sark has gone, at least what can usually be seen on top! Masts etc!

We wandered back through the town, past the chuggers to where Goddard's Pie Shop used to be. Closed down! Becoming a burger bar or some shite. In the end we lunched across the road at Noodle Time, a sort of modern Chinese restaurant! Noodle? Check! Fried Rice? Check! Sweet and Sour Chicken? Check!

After suitably fed on a bowl of some noodles we set off back to Canary Wharf to get the Jubilee Line to Green Park. The idea being to do something cultural. At Green Park mistake number two. A huge anti-nuclear and war in Iraq demo was taking place.
Firstly we diverted into the Royal Academy to see the "Jericho" sculpture (see pic) and then across to France House before finally giving Fortnum's the pleasure of our price checking. How much for chocolate digestives?

We had a walk across Leicester Square to get away from the marchers and then into the National Portrait Gallery for another dose of culture.
Carefully avoiding the chance to see an exhibition (and pay!) on modern photography that seems the have featured "Cocaine" Kate Moss, the stick model with the t*sser boyfriend.

From then it was a bus ride to Bank and the DLR back to the hotel to check in.

After I watched England lose miserably to the Irish in the Six-Nations Rugby we went for a walk around to see what eateries there were, ending up a Skuzi where we went last time before Christmas. A pizza and a Peroni each was enough.

22 February 2007

Andalucía!

Usually for our wedding anniversary, Claire and I tend to add to the carbon deficit of the world and fly somewhere, usually short haul, as I am far too tight to put money into the pockets of the likes of Richard Branson and his Virgin airline.

I can often be found failing to get on "Airline" on the TV as a customer of Easyjet. Preferring to put my money in Fat Stelios' pockets instead. I have flown Ryanair before, but prefer to arrive at an airport somewhere near to where I want to go! Easyjet manages that quite proficiently.

The reason we do this rather than be real bikers and ride everywhere is that I have owned a weeks timeshare for about 15 years now. I bought it at a reasonable price and have enjoyed quite a few holidays across Europe and once my ex-partner used it in South Carolina.

On many occasions we have ridden to it, Hungary for example, the French Alps for another. A couple of times we have sold the week to friends to use instead of us to save losing the "banked" week.

"Banked" weeks are those that are logged with RCI and then you can go anywhere they have in their system rather than go in Week 49 to Tenerife. In fact, I am yet to go to my apartment in Sunset Bay on Tenerife, preferring to exchange with another resort.

As we have a week on the Isle of Man for the 100th Anniversary TT, Claire wanted another non-biking trip. The last in 2005 when we went to La Manga in June.

So for October 2007, we are going to the Marbella area again on the Costa del Sol. On RCI there were around 20 options for the week we wanted to go and we chose Torrenueva Park. We have stayed here before in 2004 when we went with Claire's Dad, Victor, and his partner Nancy. We did quite a bit of local touring but missed out on the one big day trip to Córdoba as the motorway to the north of Malaga was chock full of traffic due to an accident. In the end, even in an air conditioned Ford Focus estate (like a tank and lumbered like a three legged elephant) we got fed up and heated.
This time Cordoba is on the agenda. To give us plenty of time I have been looking at hotels in the area. An overnight would give us time to walk around and see the Mesquita in the early morning.

We have "done" most of the other local sights; Ronda, Gib, Malaga, so we need to get a bit further afield. I'd like to get the boat over to Tangier and have a look around. We'll have to see.

To aid my understanding, I bought the Rough Guide to Andalucía.
So far it has been excellent reading. As well as coveirng the 8 "departments" that make up Andalucía, it also has some history. It's interesting to read the background to Spain before the Moors came over and the efforts at re-conquest by the Catholic Monarchs before moving on to more recent history, a tale of coup d'etat and civil war.

Isle of Man TT 2007 - Club Meetings 2

Since the original post the IMTC meeting will be held elsewhere and is not being hosted by myself. A relief I guess as I'm not going to be an active member for much longer.

There is no change with the BMW Club Natter-Meet at Baldrine. All I need is some divine guidance to make sure it works.

Wipers Times - April 8th 2007 Part 4

Add-on to Part 3. A suggested meeting place in Ardres for those going by ferry to meet the Shuttleers.

Click on the map to see it full-size.

Wipers Times - April 8th 2007 Part 3

Short update - 22nd February

Nigel and I have removed the run from the IMTC and so we are running it totally as a Kent Centre Run. I've also plugged it again on the BMW Club Forum to see if there are any takers.

Travel on the Day

Ian Gardner asked about travel across as the return Shuttle is apparently full. If anyone want to use the ferries instead that is perfectly okay. We can always arrange to meet anyone that wants to use the ferry en-route. To save any backtracking for either party, Shuttle or Boat, we can meet easily enough at Ardres. We have done this before when meeting the Sussex Centre for a run to St Omer and La Coupole.

GPS Route

I have planned a route (as per Part 2 see link below) and have it mapped into Mapsource and I can create a .gdb file for anyone that uses a Garmin GPS. If anyone wants a copy I can send it, just email me. As for those with Tom-Tit or Navman (or whatever!) I have no idea how to get the map into your units! But there must be a way.

19 February 2007

Holland Hotel Weekend – July 6th to 8th 2007 - Part 3

We have decided on the times for the Shuttle for this trip.

Outward - UK to France - Friday 6th July 2007 at 0920
Inward - France to UK - Sunday 8th July 2007 at 1920

We will decide what will be the destination of Saturday's organised run at a later date. At the moment the favourite is Amsterdam, although there is a suggestion to look at a motor museum.

On Sunday we plan to leave after breakfast for a leisurely run back with a lunch stop in Antwerp so that the ladies can dream about diamonds.

Link to previous post.

13 February 2007

Motorcycle Bloggers International


Seemed like a good idea to join this bunch of chaps and chapesses on the 'Net.

Now is the time for the MBI Annual Awards and anyone that visits my blog can take part.

Click on the logo and then go to the public voting page. I've had a few goes as a member and the blogs etc that appear in each of the categories were whittled down from a cast of thousands or maybe hundreds.

6 February 2007

Excel bike Show - 3rd February 2007

Okay, I admit I went to the bike show in the car. But in mitigation it was because both Claire and I wanted to shop around for new helmets.

We have become quite good at parking up and getting the tube and used this to good effect over the last few weeks, firstly for the "Vive la France" Show at Earls Court when we parked all day for a fiver at the car-park at West India Quay in the newly "upmarketed" docklands. But the DLR is quite slow when compared to real Tubes.

Then last week we had a run up to London again for the Arsenal vs Bolton FA Cup 4th Round game and tried a different tack and parked for £3.00 at North Greenwich, by the Dome. Not only is it cheaper but the Tube is much quicker than the DLR!

So to get to Excel we did the same. It looks as though we really need to get an Oyster card as North Greenwich to "Custom House for Excel" is one stop on the Jubilee Line and two on the DLR and all for £4.60!

As fate would have it, Claire bought a new Caberg like the one she has had for a while, just a new one and in a different colour. The old one was having problems with the strap fraying.

I was on the look out for a new one too, but as I am on the bike more than she is and for longer, I wanted something a little quieter and one that I can listen to the GPS nagging me at speeds over 60mph. With my Caberg J1 that's not an option!

I checked out an Airoh Mattisse but the sizes on offer were generally too small and the one I tried was too tight. Had they had my size I might have bought one as it is a good looking helmet and at £75 or half-price looked the biz.

This of course was destiny. I've looked for ages on the 'Net and EBAY at Schuberth C1 and C2's. I've even been to Infinity at Holborn to try one on for size in case I could get one cheap on the Net.

As it is, I am a medium, although Infinity never had one in the shop to work that out. Only S or L and I wanted to be sure before shelling out. At their stand at Excel they had a large selection...

I won't bore you with the process but as soon as I slid the one on the counter over my head it felt like quality. It fitted sweetly and was instantly comfortable. Then again, for the price of three Cabergs (at show prices) I should think so!

I asked about colours... silver, black (the demo) and matt black... it looks so gorgeous in matt black and it was fresh out of the box, brand spanking new, untried by any head before me. Fitted like a glove....

Now I have it I have to get the GPS headset out of the old helmet and get it mounted in the C2.

As for the show. Minging. Only three manufacturers turned up (BMW, KTM and HD) to show off their bikes and the rest was a mid-size supermarket to buy gear plus of course accessory dealers... If I had not got advanced group tickets through the Kent Centre of the Suzuki Owners Club I would have been miffed to have paid the full entry of £16.