29 March 2013

Triumph Configurator

Your Configuration

Had a play with the Triumph Configurator and this looks like a really good option. The top case (it's powered too)  is an extra but the rest is as it comes from the factory.
Colour choices are silver, black and this blue. I can't make my mind up what colour but the bike is the sensible option for two-up touring with luggage.
The engine is the liquid cooled 1050 triple.
Although I have fancied a Rocket, at the end of the day, it is too impractical for what I need and not the right choice, but I do like the styling of this model.

26 March 2013

Thankful Villages Run - July 2013

A charity run to raise money for the Royal British Legion. Two riders will travel around the UK calling in at the "Thankful Villages"; villages that didn't lose anyone in the carnage and slaughter in WW1.

The run comes into Kent on Tuesday 30th July. I'd like to join the run when it arrives in Kent and ride with them. It's about raising money for the RBL and also showing respect for those that gave their lives for our freedom.

More reading for anyone that's interested.

New Call - Vodafone

Please tell me when my current contract ends and what date I need to tell you that I won't be renewing it.

I am tired of paying £36 a month for a contract that results in no signal most of the time in my house. A signal that is poor across most of Kent despite the alleged coverage on your over optimistic and misleading website.

For the largest network in the country maybe someone should speak to your colleagues in the Netherlands where even the remotest places have a full signal.

There's a 20 mile long dyke in the north west of Holland with a better and more consistent signal than in Kent.

Maybe before telling how good 4G is, how about sorting out the crap 3G network for the mugs that have contracts now?


Paul Devall
Sent from my iPhone on one of the few occasions there was a signal

25 March 2013

The Laycock Heron

The Laycock Heron, originally uploaded by InvictaMoto.

In the back of our building we have a garden and a pond. The pond is stocked with koi and goldfish, and as such have attracted the occasional predator.

We have heard about the heron, but today was the first time in all the years i have worked here that I have seen it.

Sadly, I didn't have the Sony camera wit me and had to rely on my iPhone, so the pic is a little blurry.

He (or she) sat on the wall for a while until too many people walked past and then it flew off.

21 March 2013

Someone voted for this lard belly!!!

Sad to say that there are those amongst us that we're given the right to vote. Millions have died to support the idea of democracy.  And then you see a prat like this was elected to the European Parliament.

Not only does he sound like an idiot, he turned up to work dressed like a tramp.

More confusion in France!

So, firstly we had the French Farce regarding the last Government;'s attempt to make motorcyclists more visible shot down and in the end cancelled completely.

Then we had another of their ideas that all motorists should carry two alco-testers with them at all times.  Of course, the supplier couldn't make them quick enough and the date was put back and back and back, and now it's so watered down that it is another case of oeuf sur visage.

But, to make up for it, the often forgotten piece of legislation that requires motorcyclists to have four stickers on their helmet is being enforced.  It was brought in as an option when the EU created its (lower than BSI) standard for helmets. France was the only country that picked up the option.

I'm sure no other law of this nature is applicable to overseas drivers/riders that comply with an ECE regulation, and this is likely to cause problems.

It needs someone to look at this as potentially the rest of Europe needs to have something completely unproven forced on them.

So. Someone. I googled the EU to see what the situation is and in the end I found https://ec.europa.eu/citizensrights/ and a form to ask for assistance.

I sent this:

When the standard for motorcycle helmets ECE 22-05 was introduced for all EU countries only France took the option to mandate that all helmets sold to French consumers should have four reflective stickers attached to the outer shell.

No other countries accepted that option.

It is now being published in the motorcycle press in UK and on the internet that the French authorities are stopping and fining riders and their passengers €135 in the absence of these stickers.

My Shoei Qwest helmet was made for the UK market and complies with ECE 22-05 as mandated in UK law. It does not come with any reflective stickers as required by the French option.

I do not believe that France has the right to impose any fines against citizens of other EU member states on this issue if they are wearing equipment covered by ECE 22-05 in their own country.

I want to check the legality of this.

I have already contacted the riders right organisation, FFMC (www.ffmc.fr) for advice.
Let's see what happens.

My Profile

When I filled on the "My Profile" section I didn't realise that it would appear on the front page of the blog and I have been thinking of way as to get just a synopsis, but nothing has worked.

In the end I have cut and paste the contents here.

I started this blog a few years back and then hardly used it as I preferred to use the website hosted by Yahoo with its Geocities service.

When Yahoo decided to kill off Geocities I shifted some of the things I wanted to save to the blog.

The blog I suppose is representative of my interests; motorcycling, the Suzuki Owners Club, MAG UK, travel (not only on a motorcycle!!) and football.

My first love is Oldham Athletic, where I had a season ticket at 5yo, but for the last 40+ years I have followed Arsenal and have been a regular at games since about 1997. I am also a season ticket holder at the Emirates Stadium.

18 March 2013

Latham Monument

Hubert Latham
I have passed old Hubert so many times as I have headed along the D940 to and from Calais so I thought that it was high time I stopped and maybe even find out who he was.

I was surprised to see that he is in fact one of the daredevils of the early 20th century; an aviation pioneer with the possibly accidental claim to fame as being the first person to land an aircraft on water.

So I googled him.  Rather than copy and paste, I'll let you read the Wiki entry.


The waterwheel at the Musee du Moulin
Due to a combination of sickness and atrocious weather our original trip last month for Claire's birthday never happened and I had to re-book the ferry for another date.  With so many things to do at weekends it meant that it had to be the 17th March.

A Sunday. Not ideal for day trips to France, as unlike us in the 51st State most of the shops are shut. Some local bakeries stay open as the French like to eat fresh bread with their meals and poo-poo (pah?) the idea of that white spongy stuff in a plastic bag we like to call bread.

Heavy snow fall last week that extended into the early half of the week meant that our horizon was set a lot closer than usual.  In fact Wissant.

Wissant is a small coastal town just south of Calais.  In fact, using the autoroute took us a mere 20 minutes to get there from the ferry.

Lunch was at La Chaloupe in Wissant. A new build on the edge of town just off the D940 coast road. Inside though it has been tastefully decorated and has wood panelling and floor boards. Most of the reviews on Tripadvisor were very positive with the exception of the last one before we went.

We were very boring and ordered the same things, soupe de poisson for entries and then steak for mains. All served and cooked to perfection.

Once we had eaten we drove down into the town and remembered we had been there before a few years ago on a day trip with friends, that time on the bikes.  The plan was to have a walk to maybe offset the calorie intake but within minutes the rain started again.

Not before we had a look around the village.

Here's some views:

Hotel Normandy

Musee du Moulin

Hotel Vivier Terrase

Hotel de la Plage

Once we had rushed back to the car to get out of the rain we had a drive along the coast, southwards stopping at a newly renovated car-park at the amusingly named Dunes de la Slack.

The local authority have cleared a lot of the scrub and are trying to get the dunes back as they should be. The area is littered with concrete courtesy of the German Army as it was a major part of the Atlantic Wall. They have started to clear it but the "beach" is still littered with concrete and other crap.

From the car-park, the new(ish) wooden steps go right down to the sea. Once cleared it will look really good.

Slack Dunes
Dunes de la Slack

Slack Dunes
Dunes de la Slack

Slack Dunes
Dunes de la Slack
On the way back up towards Calais on the D940 we came across some snow banks where the ploughs had turned it all off the road. We don't generally have this much snow here. We live in a pretty temperate climate. Not too hot in the summer and not too cold in winter.

Snow Bank
Snow bank

One of the places we have visited before and one that usually merits a stop is the Todt Battery, housed in a huge bunker built by the Germans. Of the exhibits the biggest is the railway gun. A huge cannon capable of lobbing a large explosive shell across to the English coast some 30 miles away.

Disappointingly, they have fitted a green plastic screen along the wire fence that obliterates the free view. So instead, we took a few pix of the donkeys in an adjoining field!

Todt Battery native neigh-bours

From here it was but a short drive back to the Port of Calais and the "Spirit of France" back home.

Sec of State wishes to meet MAG members

Just thought I'd let you know some terrific news and an example of the high regard with which MAG campaigning is now held.

Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP, has decided to visit one of his local Motorcycle Action Groups to hear first hand of the issues that concern riders!

Paddy Tyson
Campaigns Coordinator
Motorcycle Action Group

15 March 2013

Hythe Snow

Hythe Snow, originally uploaded by InvictaMoto.
Although it was cold over the weekend following what seemed like Spring had arrived and then snow.

Not that much snow, about 6 inches but problems were caused by a dip in temperatures that froze the already damp ground, and roads in particular, allied with 50 to 60mph winds that whipped it into blizzards.

I was lucky. The Punto was at the station, I cleared about 4" of snow off the windows and discovered the ice against the glass that took some scraping to remove.

Although the roads had been treated, the snow had overwhelmed the grit and salt. I made it home without too many dramas; avoiding the cars that had skidded into each other of wedged and abandoned all over the place, navigated a 1 in 6 hill, downhill, in an automatic, no skids, no drama.

The snow continued into Tuesday until mid-morning and then the sun came out.

I took this picture of a pot in our back garden to catch the snow and the sunlight. Not a single view on Flickr!

Bird Snow Bath

5 March 2013

Letter to your MEPs about the Super MoT.

As promised on Friday, please see the text below for a suggested letter to your MEPs about the EU plans for a Super MoT.
If this is the first time you've contacted your MEPs please note that you have more than one because the voting system for European elections is different to what we use in the UK for Westminster parliamentary elections.
MEPs from different parties are meant to represent you, so please consider writing to them all (although those of you in the East Midlands may not want to bother contacting Bill Newton-Dunn given his previous performances!).
You can find all the contact details through the link below. Just click on the region of the map relevant to where you live. Feel free to write a letter or send an email
I am writing to raise my deep concern over current proposals that would raise the cost and complexity of the UK's MoT test.

The Commission's proposals for Road Worthiness Testing (Regulation COM2012/380) will require MoT stations to make considerable investment in training and test equipment to a different, but not better, standard than at present.
This and other aspects of the proposal threatens to put smaller local MoT stations out of business and make it harder to find a motorcycle MoT test station in rural areas.  The UK's record on vehicle defects, especially motorcycle defects, is already one of the best anywhere so there is no sense in putting it under needless pressure at a time when many small and medium size businesses are struggling to stay afloat.
The Proposal is for the harmonisation of roadworthiness testing systems, but this appears to be pursued as an end in itself with little road safety advantage for motorcycle users; several countries with a similarly very low rate of crashes involving motorcycle defects do not include motorcycles within their testing regimes at all.
There is no clear case for the harmonisation of motorcycle RWT in general and no case at all for the UK to adopt the proposed system in support of better motorcycle safety across the EU. The Commission relies on a single report by an organisation with considerable financial interest in expanding the RWT industry.  The report claims that 8% of motorcycle accidents are attributable to component failures which could be avoided by periodic testing.  The Council has found that these findings are ambiguous and bear no relation to other EU studies which typically find less than 1% of motorcycle crashes are directly caused by a defect and that no more than 5% of crashes have any relation to a defect.
The Council of Ministers' have proposed to exclude motorcycles and reclassify the proposal as a Directive which would give each Member State far more control over the right course of action for their circumstances. For the UK, this would be beneficial in terms of cost and inconvenience when no discernible benefits have been identified.
Four national parliaments have voted against implementing this proposal, the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee and the DfT have rejected the proposals for motorcycles.
The representative body of motorcyclists in the UK, the Motorcycle Action Group, is calling on MEPs to take an interest in this subject and to make it clear to their colleagues on the TRAN committee that public opinion and the Council of Ministers are against needless change that threatens the interests of riders and business alike.
Yours Sincerely
Paddy Tyson
Campaigns Coordinator
Motorcycle Action Group
01926 844064

3 March 2013

Burmarsh Alpaca

Burmarsh Alpacas, originally uploaded by InvictaMoto.

Had a ride out today around the Marsh just to get some miles under the wheels. It's MoT time next Saturday and I wanted to make sure everything was okay. It's only the second time this year that I have been out and when you consider it's March already......

The roads were almost deserted. Between Burmarsh and Dymchurch I came across a field of alpaca. The farmer keeps them for their wool and in the nearby craft shop they sell the wool and also knitted goods made from it.

It was a little chilly but things are looking up! Maybe in a few weeks it will be good enough to stay out longer.

Living on the coast we do get a variety of seafood, fish and er... the other stuff.  These are whelks. Claire and I often go to Folkestone and Bob's in particular for fish and these molluscs. 

We also had a "lobster flavoured" tail.  It is in effect fish pressed into a shape and flavoured.  Supermarkets sell a product called "crab sticks" that are a similar mixture. 

1 March 2013

Cavalcade and beyond....

Over the years I have had a few "big" bikes.  Size big not just named Big (had one of those as well!) or with a big engine.

Cavalcade and Me!

The small picture is the biggest engine I have had to date in the biggest bike, a 1987 Suzuki GV1400GDG LX "Cavalcade".  The photo was taken in 2007 when a friend in the Suzuki Owners Club brought it on a run to let me see it.   I sold it in 1991 as I had been made redundant for the second time in 7 years and simply couldn't afford the luxury of keeping it.  He bought it more recently and restored it to its former glowing glory, and he sold it last year.

I should have really have kept it. It would have been a far better prospect for towing a trailer across Europe to my new home for 1992/3 in Brno, Czech Republic. In the end I had to make do with my Suzuki GT750!

All nostalgia brings me to the idea of a new bike.  Had I had the cash in pocket I may well have bought the Cavalcade back. It is a super tourer, the 1385cc V4 is relaxed and unstressed and the comfort is all in those massive seats....  But I didn't, so there's no point looking back.

So what next?

I do like my GS.  So much so that my arse has glazed the front seat for the better part of 81000 miles over the last ten years, but I have a small inheritance coming any month now and my head has been turned.

But to what?

Last year I toyed with a Triumph, the America in fact. It is still a nice bike but maybe I need one last adrenaline buster? 

Enter stage left, the Triumph Rocket III. In Roadster format it is a little fire breathing packing 146bhp from the water cooled triple.  A vanity purchase indeed....


Triumph Motorcycles Press Photo

But, my riding is more touring and it so happens that Triumph make a slightly detuned version and decided that Touring was a good name.

The Touring comes with different seats, a screen to keep the blast off and purpose designed luggage.

It was designed maybe to offer something different from Harley's and their even more eye watering price tags and vastly different from the oriental Harleyesque cruisers with luggage, and far removed from the GS's Teutonic influences.

The Touring has the largest production engine in a purpose made bike. Some home mechanic or custom shop will have squeezed a small block V8 Chevy or Ford motor into a frame, but this bike was designed from the deck up and I love the look, I love the idea of it, and am just about starting to love the price in the dealers.

So I open the floor to comments.

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