22 November 2007

Simpsonize Me!

Okay, so it's not the most sophisticated software you can play with and I suspect anyone with a lack of hair will get the same character to add bits too.. but it passes a few minutes!

21 November 2007

Parisienne Walkways!

Best rock guitar classic ever?

I have several versions on my Muvo and it is excellent with the volume turned up!

Pukka entertainment!

20 November 2007

Isle of Man 1985!

GT550A_1976_on_IOM, originally uploaded by pauldevall.


Another pic from the past I found. Yes, it is me with hair!


Frozen-Up, originally uploaded by pauldevall.

Had to add this photo that I found whilst going through a box of stuff.

It's from 1991, the day before the Sinterklaastreffen and we were on the XJ900 heading for Ostend. By the time we had got towards Veurne my visor, glasses and eyebrows had frozen solid.

This pic was taken alongside the canal between Adinkerke and Veurne. The only main route as the motorway between France and Belgium was some years off being completed.

19 November 2007

Croatia 2008 (2)

Another night planned and booked. I have decided to look elsewhere, as the Youth Hostel in Zadar couldn't (or rather wouldn't) commit to letting us have a double room. Like I said in Croatia (1) going to somewhere with islands and not going on one would be a mistake. So I have booked a place on the Island of Pag. Not because Pag are my three forename initials! ;)

After some searching and emails I have booked Pension Gligora in Mandre on the west of the Island.

Prices in Croatia for decent clean accommodation seems to be on the rise and at €40 a night B&B, it isn't expensive by western European standards. On the website it looks very clean. Somewhere to get to reasonably early from Split and a bit of R&R. ViaMichelin gives a distance of 129 miles but that looks the motorway route rather than the coast road.

The next day will be a longer drag up to Ljubjana for our last night of the holiday, with the exception of the train to Germany. Okay, according to ViaMichelin it is only 159 miles and the journey includes the ferry from Pag to the mainland.

Map of roughly where we are going on Pag! Mandre

Slovenia 2008 (1)

The fourth and last of the eastern European states we will visit next year is Slovenia. I have been before, but not for very long, maybe two visits and a total of less than an hour, maybe as much as two hours!

The first time in 1986 when we travelled across the top of Istria to Trieste from Rijeka and the second in 1999 when Steve Hazlehurst and I dipped a toe in the country in the extreme northwest to "bag" the country as we rode northwards from a day trip to Venice to the Wassbüffel Treffen in Austria.

So maybe my first estimate of an hour was accurate after all.

In 2008 we have an overnight at the highly recommended
Alibi Rooms Hostel in the city centre at Ljubjana.

This is the last full day on the road to get to Ljubjana and one of the longest of Week 2. Setting off from the Island of Pag that morning. It doesn't look far on the motorways but we'll have to see. I am hoping for a stop off in
Postojna caves on the way, at east for a look even if there isn't time to go in.

I like to have accommodation planned in advance, and then leave the pace and route between stops take precedence and open to change. With accommodation booked, that is one consideration lifted off your shoulders.

18 November 2007

Chilli Heated Vest

I've had mine for four years I think and haven't worn it that often, reserving it for the really cold days when I think a bit of added support is necessary.

When I bought it I took the option to have the optional extra Chilli Control unit, a thermostat, as well rather than run the jacket straight off the battery. It does mean that the heat level can be variable.

Dur to that fact that I wear it when it is very cold, I tend to have it turned on almost to the maximum. The know on the unit seems to have about 270° of movement and I bet I used the last 20° of that most of the time. In Chilli speak "full on" is 100% so I guess I use the top 10% at all times.
On the bike you have to decide where you are going to site the thermostat. I am dead against abusing paintwork, so on the GS there is a small section of frame exposed just by the left knee. A bit of Velcro on the frame and the back of the thermostat is sufficient to hold it in place. When it isn't perhaps freezing (inc wind chill) this is a satisfactory arrangement, however, the lead from the unit to the jacket is not really long enough. When it is very cold the wire is quite thick and it goes extremely rigid, and the slightest movement of the rider, Me, on the seat allows the plug to slide off the jacket. I have seen some bikes with the unit mounted on the fork top yoke. I assume that an extension cable must be available to allow this! In fact after today's ride home when it fell off three times, I have written to Chilli.
Today on a ride to the Oakdene I was pleasantly warm on the way up with the dial turned to about 90%. However, on the way back it was appreciably colder and I had it full on for a half hour dash back down the M20.
Would I recommend the waistcoat? Yes, most definitely.
Any improvements? Yes. Make a version with sleeves.

First Impressions: Suzuki Jacket (Part 3)

Following on from Part 2 where I said that the jacket looked as though it was going to be a good buy.

I still stand by that but after wearing it for the first time in what could be called winter weather, the jacket was perhaps a little thin.

Okay, it wasn't a real good test as I have removed the inner zip-out liner, but that was replaced with a
Chilli heated waistcoat.

It;s quite common when manufacturers up the sized to simply as a percentage to all measurements, so by the time they get to XXL, my size, the neck would be too big even for Mike Tyson. And Suzuki are no exceptions.

The padded neoprene insert in the from of the neck looks good, but there is simply not enough Velcro on the tag not on the jacket itself to locate it tight enough to keep put the wind. Something that is essential on a four-season jacket. I'd say that the Suzuki Jacket is a two or maybe three season jacket.

At the moment I am happy with the jacket, but if I am too ride in the winter again, and I will be out in a couple of weeks at the Whitstable Toy Run, I'll seriously look towards getting an old Hein Gericke jacket out of the loft! Stylish it isn't but it is waterproof and might fit better round the neck!

Mali Madness - 'ello Tosh!

This morning I had a ride up to the Oakdene to hand over a Toshiba Portege to Bert to take to Mali. The PC that was my old work one will go to a new home.

I was joined by fellow SOC Kent member Brian Squibb and we had a long chat with Bert over a bacon sandwich. Excellent tales of Africa and a free brekkie.

Can't wait to see the pix when it is handed over. The laptop was owned by my company CEA@Islington and I hope that when the pics come back to get them on the website and maybe get a mention of the "Mali Madness" in the CEA newsletter.

The ride up was pretty cold and after an hour or more sitting in the warm cafe, the ride home seemed even colder. I wore my Chilli electric vest and it seemed okay on the way up, on the way back the power lead was so cold and stiff it kept popping the connection with the jacket. I suppose for safety it has to come apart easily, but this is too easy. Perhaps I need a longer wire from the thermostat to the jacket?

16 November 2007

Folkestone Invicta

Have to say I've not been this season yet as home matches keep clashing with the Arsenal games that my season ticket share covers!

15 November 2007

Mali Madness

Some links to a fellow GS owner's 3rd trip to Mali to take medicine and stuff to help out at an orphanage.

If you are this before the 20th November or even if you don't please make a donation.


Good luck Bert and best wishes from me and Claire.

14 November 2007

Whitstable Toy Run 2/12/07

After a year off last year when I couldn't be arsed to chivvy the rest of the Kent Centre into action I am suffering from bike withdrawal symptoms!

So. Meet at the Blue and White Cafe on the A20 for a 1230 departure for possible scenic ride to Whitstable.

The WTRA organise one of the largest runs in the South East and every extra rider that turns up swells the numbers greatly and increases the coffers of local charities, plus of course the main aim of collecting toys for under privileged kids.

Go on. Get to the shops and come and join us.

Croatia 2008 (1)

With the trip still so far away, plans liable to change.

In all we'll have 3 nights in Croatia. Two in Split and I have been looking for another night further up the coast road. Not too far in case it gets clogged with traffic!

Plan A had the stay at the Youth Hostel in Zadar. In the end this will change as being oldies we don't do dorms, and although the hostel has loads of private rooms they seem unable to commit to letting us have one. The explanation being that they reserve them for tour guides and coach drivers. So it may be a case of "bollocks" and go elsewhere.

I have a first reserve lined up on the Island of Pag. It seems a shame to go somewhere with thousands of islands and a) not go on one, and b) not take a ferry.

Pag isn't that far off the mainland and the bottom end nearest Zadar has a bridge, but the top needs a ferry. Okay, according to the website it is only 20 minutes! But it is a ferry, and I do like a ferry.

12 November 2007


Is everyone that wears one of the stinking wax cotton Australian wankers coats in the UK a twat?

The evidence of the last few days has to be a resounding YES!

Why get on a train with a thick waterproof coat and expect to sit next to some poor bugger that is already there, without taking your f*cking wet coat off!

Because you are a TWAT, that's why.

8 November 2007

Autozug again

All booked. In the end the anti-fraud system at Capital One, whilst a good idea, totally screwed my booking.

It became a case of get their bank to call us and we can authorise the payment. Not as easy as it sounds with the bank being in Germany!

In the end the booking was made through DB UK, whom I found on the DB website. An email and a fax of the train details got it sorted. A cheque for £380.16 went off today.

Yes it is a lot but a price to pay for getting 650 miles each way whilst mostly asleep.

Paying now means there is plenty of time for putting money aside for when we get there.

6 November 2007


Had a bit of a set back today with Autozug.

In the end it was good really that when I tried to book the motorail tickets that Capital One rejected the transaction as it was for a large amount and the website was based in Germany.

About 45 minutes later I got a text message asking me to call them at the bank.

Must remember to keep them in the loop when we go away! Especially as Bosnia might be a little unusual.

5 November 2007

The Eagles - Long Road Out of Eden

Bloody hell! I have become a fashionista!

I bought the album 'off plan' before it was released and am glad I did!

I've listened to it almost every evening on the MP3 player and each time I hear something more than the time before.

Blimey. I actually own the number one album in the chart!


All the advertising you are about motorail shows how well it compares with driving. Okay, they have bike places but the majority of travellers on the train will be families in cars. Or at least that's what over 20 years experience tells me.

So I did a bit of research. In the off season the difference between train and riding is much smaller.

I used Michelin's route planner to work it out for me - Dusseldorf to Villach. A route I did back in 1986 bit from Cologne on that occasion.

The train comes out more expensive but does the trip overnight. To do that I'd have to tranquilise Claire "Mr T" style.

So motorail it is!

2 November 2007

To SORN or not to SORN?

That is the question. Or it was. Can you SORN for a month?

With the arthritis in my knee I thought a bit of time off the bike might be in order. But I hate not to have it there when I need it.

So when I couldn't find the renewal form I had to resort to the 'Net and cough up the extra £2.50!

It is so easy with the renewal or log book! Type in a few numbers and it automatically checks MoT and Insurance and then enter card details and it is sorted.

Now, if they can check insurance online why don't they target the bastards driving uninsured? Get the coppers round and sort the scum out.

Paul Devall - sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

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