23 April 2013


Unfortunately the images were too big to post directly from the Movember email so I had to "save as" and re-post.

14 April 2013

Blockhouse 3 - Eperlecques

Finally spring arrived, but not until about 1040 CET today.  Before then it had poured with rain and then eased to drizzle and wet roads. But a few miles south of Calais, the sun begun to peak through and the roads had dried.
The plan was to fit in the Blockhaus in Eperlecques, then lunch in St Omer, the La Coupole. 
Since I last went a few years back there has been a little development and we can now get inside the bunker to see it and where the rockets were assembled and  then moved to the firing area.
Anyway, I can tell the story better by letting wiki and the net save me plagiarising them.....


13 April 2013

Cardo Scala

Over the years with the Garmin Quest I strove to find a wireless solution to hearing the satnav instructions. Finally using a Cardo Bluetooth transmitter designed for older mobile phones.

With the TomTom the solution is built in and so recently I have dug out the original Scala unit.

Charged and ready to go.

Cardo Scala on my Nitro

11 April 2013

10 April 2013

Competition - Cool Places to Park a Motorcycle

Windmill @ Woodchurch Kent, originally uploaded by InvictaMoto.

My entry for the photo competition on the "Flies in your Teeth" blog. You can see my 1150GS and a friends's 1100GS in the bottom left sort of direction.

9 April 2013

Project "Operation Kettle 13"

The code name for the mission to finally extract the GT from the garage and back on the road.

It won't be cheap and although most of the jobs will be achievable by a part way qualified home mechanic, some will need an expert hand.  And that's where my old friend John Storrie comes into the project.

John is renowned as Mr Kettle in England. A SOC life member, like me, and also he was a founder member of the Kettle Club. In fact it was at a SOC camping weekend in Oxfordshire that it was born. One that caused some problems back in the day!
19 years ago

For a variety of reasons the project won't happen until the summer as my commitments at weekends don't leave much time.

The plan is to get a van with a tail-lift and take the bike and bits across to Oxfordshire. Early start and back the same day. Doable.

Now I need to speak to John and discuss what needs to be done to start the project running.

I also need to get all the parts I have assembled together in one box.

I have already got a lot in stock and I have ordered three carburettor rebuild kits and new NGK spark plugs.
The carburettor kits aren't genuine Suzuki parts as that is simply entering into a world of unobtanium unless you are a Premiership football player and paid by Arabs Oil Billionaires... So these are pattern parts.

The part I need most is the choke puller. Over time the metal on metal contact between the choke lever an the plunger's head wears it away until "ping" and it has gone.  For about £12.99 each they aren't too expensive.

Another possible "must get" is a new battery.  The old one has been used as a jumper battery when the GS is cream-crackered and it is very low on power. It might not be essential straight away but we'll have to see.  It looks as though the gel type batteries are replacing the old style lead plate and acid jobs, and subsequently, that looks like an option.

I already have new grips. When we had an accident (a few years ago) when we were hit up the arse by another bike (!) the right grip looked to have been simply grazed at the end, but in fact the throttle assembly had been cracked and it caused a few problens with the throttle sticking open. New grips essential.

New grips for the Kettle

Mpgcalc app

There seems to be loads of apps available that can record journeys you have ridden. Whether iPhone or Android the app stores have loads.

What I find most useful is this app. Mpgcalc.

I upgraded to the plus version for a small amount and it keeps track of your miles per gallon. Nothing too flash but if, like me, you like to know, then it calcs in seconds.

The app version I use is the UK version tailored for the larger imperial gallon rather than the smaller US gallon.

The stats page is quite good and shows enough information on how you are riding. I know on days where the right hand has been more active that MPG will be lower.

7 April 2013


Eventually the weather has improved and after some work in the house, cleaning and moving furniture, I got out for a short ride.
Less than an hour on the road but after a few weeks in the garage in freezing conditions and snow on the ground, after a wash and brush up, the GS started first touch on the button.

It was even warm enough to go out and wash the bike wearing only a t-shirt.

Modelling the MAG 40th Anniversary t-shirt
Next week we have the trip across the France. Only six of us this time but a more manageable group. So I was glad it started and I filled the tank for the first time since September!! 

Washed and after a ride out

4 April 2013

Decision Time!

"What difference a day makes, twenty four little hours" goes the song, or something along those lines!

I have been like a child in a sweet shop. Spring is assuredly on its way any time in the next few months and every year I become disturbed by the Dark Side.

Last year it by the BMW K1200S that was being sold off at a slight discount (BMW!!) as the new 1300S was in the showrooms.

This year it is less simple but all the options have Triumph on the tank!

Sense prevailed and the Rocket Touring was sent for the early bath. Next up the Sprint GT, favoured by my brother. Then the Explorer.

But why?

Okay, my GS is 14 years old in May and already over 10 in my ownership.

First registered in 1999 in Bavaria, before being wrenched from the loving hands of some blonde pig-tailed Fräulein. Isolda or some such statuesque figure, now she uses her arm to carry 12 big steins of beer to waiting and thirsty Munchener customers. We can but dream.

It has over 81000 miles (not inferior kilometres) on the odometer.

It is personalised to my tastes.

It has been a reliable work horse when plugging up and down the motorway to work; 158 miles a day, and just as good on short trips with my riding mates, with and without pillion, and similarly on longer runs across Southern and Eastern Europe, as well as great tranches of the UK.

So why sell it?

It needs a £400 (approx) service and the alternator belt replaced (routine and overdue).

Everything else is good; tyres etc.

After the shunt in 2009 the main painted areas were replaced or repaired and repainted. So it goes look a lot fresher than a 14yo used specimen of the breed.

Maybe give it another year and leave my money in the bank earning 1% interest if I am lucky!

Another reason for this is the guilt that also builds at this time of the year. My 1977 GT750A languishes in the garage. Unused and unloved for too many years. Definitely in need of some TLC.

I have a plan, nay, a cunning plan.

In the next couple of days I hope that "Operation Kettle 13" will get the green light.

So I'll finish now so that the operation doesn't get scuppered before it takes off!

Roger and Out.

The Big Six-O

The Big Six-O has to come around at some stage and it has arrived on our front step, crying and mewling like a new born kitten, or 2014 as it is also called.

So what to do to celebrate?  Unless we win the National Lottery or the Euro Lottery in the next year or so, it looks as though my annual leave expenditure will rise to ever higher levels. This year we are cruising to Norway and the Fjords.  Not a biking holiday, but I guess something has to give a little as age and impending senility beckons.  At least they feed you 24/7.

So where to go?

At a travel show earlier in the year we looked at some exotic and some less exotic places. The proviso for the trip is/was that we could use the timeshare exchange system and cover our accommodation that way.  Touring sounds good, but Claire wants a mixture of looking at things and quiet time.  So after my brother's experience on Route 66 on a Harley, that was scratched off the list. With Claire off the bike for a while, we'd have to hire a car in any case.

At the same travel show was an RV rental company displaying one of their four sleeper vans.  These looked good and the example prices seemed pretty reasonable, but once I investigated, courtesy of the www, the cost was over $2000 for the base rental and the daily mileage allowance rued out LAX to LV and the Grand Canyon and other western movies sets. Florida was even more expensive!

We liked the idea of the US, and leaned more towards Florida.  There are timeshares galore and I set about checking the RCI site to see what was available and when.  It has to be after April 1st as that's the start of my annual leave year, plus I have great difficulty working in the education sphere to have two weeks off not in school vacation time, so it had to be when I could have a week off in term time and week in vacation.  End of May was chosen.

So that's it.  RCI checked, dates entered into the search, results sorted on reviews, best to worst in that order and I "held" a couple of places. One on the Gulf and one on the Atlantic near Miami.  The costs is £169 per week, so about $250. Both get 4* from the other visitors. So I booked them.

The first place is called Fisherman's Village Resort in Punta Gorda and the second is Mizner Place in Weston.

Fisherman's Village should let us see the much talked about sunsets over the Gulf and Weston is in striking distance of Miami and of course US1 and the Keys.  At $36 a night for two people what other accommodation could you expect?

The next step, and some months away, is to look at airfares to Miami. Orlando looks too far to the north and both sites look to be easy accessible from the I-75 main road.

After that car-hire.  As this is a big trip and most of it paid for well before we are going, then I can look at what to have. I fancy something American. Last time I was there in 1991 (!) I had a friend's Toyota and it isn't the right car.  Back then, tourists were told to avoid convertibles in the Miami area so maybe air-con is still the way to go.  Suggestions on economical yank-tanks accepted.

So, here endeth the opener for Big Six-O blog.

I could spend a fortune here!!!

When someone sent me this website link, I had a quick look and then I thought I'd see what they had.....
Search GT750 and there are loads...... of bits and farkles.....

2 April 2013

Motorcycle Blogs by Blog Nation

I saw this advertised on a blog I follow and it looked like the gateway to motorycle blog paradise. So I signed up to get access it and maybe get on eof my entries featured.  One day I guess?


SanDisk Eye-Fi 4GB SD Card (Reprise)

It's about a month since I got hold of this card and it has been pretty good. The "save" time seems no different to the Kingston and other SD cards. I am using it in a Canon 300D that usually takes compact flash cards, so I have a CF to SD adapter as well.
It is very easy to setup and works pretty well. What is a surprise is that when the camera is on and the laptop with the Eye-Fi software installed that there is a delay before the pictures start to arrive.
In the first blog I posted a pic of the photos arriving. As well as a delay in the first one arriving, they arrive in batches. 
I took a small batch at the Ashford Classic Motorcycle Show, and once home, it took four or maybe five bursts to get the dozen or so photos down, and better part of 25 minutes.
The system's "Endless Memory" is turned on but as yet, with a card that holds over 900 photos, I've not got to the point when it starts to overwrite the oldest ones.
All in all it has been a success.

Safety Camera Sites?

This email was sent to the Kent and Medway Safety Camera Partnership.

Dear Sir,
As a motorcyclist in Kent I would like to congratulate you on the initiative to put "Think Bike" posters up at the camera sites that you manage. It supports the similar messages that are conveyed on the motorway signs on the M20.
However, I have a question that I have been meaning to ask for a while.  Are the camera sites simply to catch speeding motorists or are some of them sited at traffic light junctions?  In recent years there seems to be an increase in the number of  red light jumpers and there never seems to be anyone about to apprehend them.
On my current journey home I go through the same set of lights in Hythe where Scanlon's Bridge Road (by the Light Railway Station) meets Dymchurch Road. I can almost guarantee that on three out of five weekday evenings, once the lights to those leaving Hythe towards Dymchurch have gone red that there will be at least one car that runs the red light, usually at speed. Most go straight across down Dymchurch Road, but some even turning right across my path after my light is green. 
Either the lights need re-phasing to increase the red/red duration or you need to site a camera there and get their numbers. Luckily, us locals don't set off on green until we can see it is clear. I am sure this happens all across the county and accidents and casualties are not always going to be avoidable.
I await your reply.
Paul Devall
Sent from a normal computer using Gmail webmail

Your Europe Advice enquiry 121833

This email was sent to FEMA to see if they can help with the problem we may face on trips to France.  I sent to Philip Vogl  as he was on the website as being the campaigns leader at FEMA, but his email rejects as he no longer works there. So I re-sent it to their main info@ email address.

Dear Philip,
In view of the reports in the UK press that since the rejection by the new French Government for the 150cm2 hi-viz patch for motorcyclists and the failure of the alcotest law, that the French police are now cracking down on riders without the reflective helmet stickers,  I asked the EU's "Your Europe Advice" whether a member state that signed up to ECE 22-05 can impose extra restrictions on citizens of other EU states that also signed up to ECE 22-05.
Their answer, below, isn't too clear, and I feel that maybe FEMA through its contacts within the EU in Brussels can look at getting a definitive answer, and take this up as a campaign.
Maybe riders from other member states can avoid France, but realistically this isn't the case for UK riders heading anywhere in Europe.
My Shoei Qwest was bought recently and complies with ECE 22-05 and meets British and EU law, it doesn't come with four little reflective stickers as they aren't required in the UK and all the other EU member states EXCEPT France.
Paul Devall
Sent from a normal computer using Gmail webmail

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Dear Sir/Madam,

Please find below the reply to your enquiry. Please note that the advice given by Your Europe Advice is an independent advice and cannot be considered to be the opinion of the European Commission, of any other EU institution or its staff nor will this advice be binding upon the European Commission, any other EU or national institution.

Dear Sir,

The mutual recognition principle guarantees free movement of goods and services in the EU Internal Market without the need to harmonise Member States' national legislation. Goods which are lawfully produced in one Member State cannot be banned from sale on the territory of another Member State, even if they are produced to technical or quality specifications different from those applied to its own products. The only exception allowed - overriding general interest such as health, consumer or environment protection - is subject to strict conditions.

So, in principle, you should not encounter any problem if you carry with you evidence that you purchased the helmet in the UK. You may however, in the respect of the proprtionality principle, be asked to add reflective stickers to your helmet, to put it up to French standard.

With our best whishes,

Your Europe Advice

To submit another enquiry, please visit Your Europe Advice, but do not reply to this e-mail.

Your original enquiry was:
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 tot he 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 thse 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. 
Paul Devall.

Thankful Villages Run 2013 - Kent Section

I have volunteered to help the organisers with the Kent Section of the Thankful Villages Run this year. It means that we need to decide on a meeting place and a break on the way.

As the run is being sponsored by MAG and Triumph, when I was in the Triumph dealership in Ashford, Laguna Motorcycles, I had a chat with them and they will have the kettle on...

Once I have more information, then we can arrange a meet.  On the Runs own Facebook page (see link below) I have posted a suggestion that we meet at Rye and then ride via the A259 (some lovely tarmac) and then via Ashford to the A20/M20 and then to Dover and onto Knowlton.

In advance I might have a ride to Knowlton and see they lay of the land. 

Ashford Classic Motorcycle Show - April 1st 2013

Yesterday it was the Ashford Classic Motorcycle Show in er, well, Ashford in Kent.  The event is held at the livestock market.  Thankfully there is no livestock hanging about and they do a superb job of removing the excremental evidence.

The show has the auto jumble outside and the bike displays from clubs in inside in the "warm".   Even with the UK in the grips of the arctic winds coming in from the east, many riders had taken the opportunity to ride into the event.  In fact. some of the bikes in the bike park were more interesting than some inside!

Sadly, with my wife Claire, a currently non-riding pillion aboard we had to take the car and inch our way to the rear car-park.  Once in, a fiver well spent, we met up with my brother, Neill, and his partner Catherine, and took a turn around the show.

I was very taken with the Sixteener club with their display of FS1-E sports mopeds (with pedals) and something I have never seen outside of the scooter shop in Tolworth, the Fantic Chopper!

Ashford Classic Motorcycle Show

Ashford Classic Motorcycle Show

It seemed that a lot of the visitors were there to re-live the good old days of the British Motorcycle Industry. Those halcyon days before Honda released the CB750 four cylinder superbike.

There were quite a few old British bikes in the halls and corridors and there were some surprisingly unrestored bikes as well as the multi-quid restored classics.

I guess my favourite was the BSA Rocket-3. There were two but the one with the ray-gun silencers looked the part and turned out to be a re-import from the US.

Ashford Classic Motorcycle Show

Although it would be a toss-up between the Rocket-3 and the red Vincent I found in another hall. There is something about this one; it looks a bit more modern than the usual dual seat Vincent. The tank look vaguely like a Hesketh......

Ashford Classic Motorcycle Show

What do you think?  Gorgeous eh?

From that point we ventured outside and it was freezing. There was a guy with a load of junk, although he liked to call them "Italian imports" including a Piaggio Ape pickup that had seen many better days for £950 and some rather banged and chipped scooters, Honda not real Italian stuff!

Then after a look around the auto jumble stands and wondering what half the bits were for and even what they came off, we headed for the exit an a drive to the local Triumph dealers.

And lastly, some more pictures taken on the day...... Click on any of the photos to see the bigger one.....

Ashford Classic Motorcycle Show
Ashford Classic Motorcycle Show
Ashford Classic Motorcycle Show
Ashford Classic Motorcycle Show
Ashford Classic Motorcycle Show

An after all the old British stuff there's at least a Jap 4 and a modern bike....

Ashford Classic Motorcycle Show

Ashford Classic Motorcycle Show

In fact, the lack of classic Suzukis in the show made me feel even more guilty that I have one in my garage that I used to pore love over and spend hours on a camping stool keeping the alloy bright and shiny and since I moved to the south coast (and to garages with no power and light) I have lost interest.

Maybe the Ashford Classic Motorcycle Show 2014 is a goal?

1 April 2013

So much choice!!

Took a visit to Laguna Triumph in Ashford to have a look at bikes.

They have Rockets in the shop but looking at them shows how enormous they are. The Touring's panniers are very small inside though. Very impractical for me.

I had a look at the Explorer and liked that but to get it up to the spec of my current old GS would mean spending the thick end of £14000!

The Tiger Sport that I have looked at a few times on the web wasn't in stock.

Shame as I like the look, more like my old TDM than the off-road look of the GS.

But what about the Sprint? Well, I do like it, but it wasn't seen in a good light by Claire. Admittedly it is the cheaper option but that doesn't mean it's inferior. I like the Sprint. So it is cheaper, but it is well received and maybe what I need is a test ride of both. 

Still, plenty of time to think about it!!! Maybe the Diavel is back in the frame!!!!

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