28 June 2014

AMRR 2014 - The Day

Up early and off to Nell's Cafe to meet Neill, my brother, and Frank from the Kent Centre. I was first to arrive and got myself a mug of tea and a bacon sandwich. Service at Nell's is very quick!

Neill arrived and ordered then Frank. By the time we had eaten it was getting on for ten and we set off. Booking in ends at 1130 and we we were well in time. Neill added his friend Bill to the list of riders that have died this year and when it came to Roar of Remembrance, most riders fired u the bikes. The air got a little foggy with all the exhaust.

Pano of assemble bikes
Me and Dora
Rain was forecast for the day and we had avoided it during the day and as we turned into the cemetery it started and by the time we were at the ceremony, it started to rain hard.  We made it though under the thunder to the new visitor centre. 

Out of the rain we could check out the displays. Very poignant.  It needs a longer visit to fully appreciate and maybe later in the year we can do that and combine it with a trip to nearby Duxford Aerodrome.

27 June 2014

AMRR 2014

It's tomorrow and this year as always it will go from Cambridge Services on the A14 into Cambridge and out again to Madingley Cemetery.

Madingley is the main cemetery for US Forces in the UK.

The walls are covered with the names of 5127 airmen killed in WW2 and that have no known grave. Mostly from the Battle of the North Atlantic and bombing raids over occupied Europe.

We owe these men our freedom.

MAG News Release - Plan 2B or not 2B? That is the question

MAG 'amazed' at BMF support for 'Killer' Roundabout scheme

26th June 2014 - For immediate use

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) has expressed amazement at the British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF) 'inexplicable' decision to cave in to the Council's proposals to build a dangerous roundabout in the town. MAG Chairman, John Mitchell, has said 'if this insane Bedford scheme goes ahead it strikes a killer blow against motorcyclists' rights to have their safety considered in line with other vulnerable road user groups such as cyclists. I can't understand how a riders' group like the BMF can possibly be supporting it, unless they really have failed to grasp what this scheme is all about – and that it's a potential killer.'

The latest plan to introduce what are known as 'turbo roundabout' principles in central Bedford were hastily drawn up by pro-cycling group Sustrans last month, after MAG caused Bedford to abandon two earlier proposals on grounds of safety. The proposal includes two 'pinch points' to 'squeeze' traffic into a narrowed channel on a roundabout used by 25,000 vehicles per day. Unglamorously known as 'Plan 2B,' it also uses raised 'spurs' of kerbing to funnel all vehicles into two channels on opposite sides of the roundabout. These channels are less than half the width of the current lane. ​ MAG's Policy Adviser, former BMF Chairman Dr Leon Mannings first challenged Bedford's proposals in April 2013. Dr Mannings says, 'the Council is doing this in the hope it would make cyclists 'feel safer'. MAG has no issue with schemes to help cyclists feel safer - unless the measures have significant adverse impacts on safety for those on scooters, mopeds and motorbikes – and indeed bicycles. Sadly, ALL the proposals have included new obstructions which many experts in the motorcycling AND cycling fraternities regard as new hazards that could seriously injure or even kill bikers on machines with motors or pedals.' Dr Mannings and his colleague Lembit Öpik, MAG's Director of Comms & Public Affairs have had a series of talks with the DfT to discuss MAG's objections: the DfT is allocating £420k of taxpayers' money to the scheme via their Cycle Safety Programme. MAG described the sessions as 'seemingly productive.' Thus it came as a total surprise when they learned that Graeme Hay, the BMF's newly Government Relations Executive, had submitted a report in support of Plan 2B. Leon adds 'up till that point, the BMF had expressed no interest in Bedford's proposals, nor had they had any involvement at all with discussions during the preceding 18 months. Indeed, Mr Hay had only taken office the week in which he wrote and submitted his report.' The DfT has now given Bedford the go-ahead to implement the scheme and the council has told MAG that they will start work in the next two weeks. In response, MAG has insisted that Bedford conduct a public consultation about the new proposal as it is so significantly different to the original proposals. Leon adds 'this scheme is crazy. If the BMF continues to support it, I have to assume they simply haven't understood the basic dangers of it. MAG will campaign for Plan 2B NOT to be built, despite the BMF's apparent last minute support for a scheme that can kill riders.'


Contact either Lembit Öpik or Leon Mannings via MAG Central Office.
Tel. 01926 844064

Editors Notes:

* The planned scheme is being considered at the Union Street junction with Clapham road. The most recent design is a new proposal, and has been created by pro-cycling group Sustrans. 

* The new proposal was a response to MAG's successful bid to request Bedford to abandon two other proposals. 

* A key concern for MAG is that the latest proposal involves the creation of two new pinch points on a roundabout which handles a high volume of traffic - approximately 25,000 vehicles per day. Plan 2B includes raised spurs of kerbing to funnel all vehicles into channels on opposite sides of the roundabout. These massively reduce the room for manoeuvre for vehicles under threat of collision from other vehicles. 

* Plan 2A also contained two raised kerb lane dividers - Plan 2B has two new pinch points with raised kerb spurs built out from traffic islands to encourage an early choice of lane before exit points. 

* MAG was not informed prior to Graeme Hay of the BMF submitting a report, even though MAG had clearly led on the issue with no request for involvement nor apparent interest in the BMF until the last minute. The BMF has attended none of the discussions about the issue during the preceding 18 months. Mr Hay had only taken office at the beginning of the week in which he submitted his report. 

* As Bedford's application for the DfT's Cycle Safety Programme grant shows here ( http://is.gd/b59oNf ) – they had to go back ten years to find eight serious casualties on a junction that accommodates 25,000 vehicles per day, of which only 2 were cyclists, 3 were pedestrians alongside 1 motorcyclist and 2 in cars.

26 June 2014

Tax due

"Road Tax" as we still call it is one of the bug bears of life. It's not actually a tax for using the roads but just another tax levied by a government wanting to raise more cash.

There is no requirement for motorcycle manufacturers to produce carbon emissions for bikes. 

The fact that Triumph have and that mine is very low, lower than cars that are paying £0 a year, it bugs me that I have to pay £80!! It is also printed on the "log book" that every vehicle has.

I take up less room on the road, no congestion, no damage to the infrastructure and pay loads more than small cars that take up space and are much heavier!!

Anyway, it's done.

Another year. Now the government has decided to drop the displaying of tax discs this will be the last one that Döra will wear.

Another tradition lost to the online world. 

25 June 2014


Booked Dora in for a visit to Laguna and after a few weeks of sunny dry weather, you guessed it. It rained.

It didn't look like rain at all as I came home from a school. So I decided to wear my mesh jacket.

I'd gone a few miles and it started. By the time I got to Laguna I was a little damp!

They wheeled her into the workshop and about fifteen minutes later they rode her out and I could go home. 

I spent that time looking at jackets and the new Thunderbird LT.  I need a new jacket as my old Frank Thomas, although waterproof still, is shabby looking.

This one is called the "Tempest".

Of course it rained again.

18 June 2014

Pet Food Run

With the panniers fitted I was able to get two three kilo bags in the larger one and one in the smaller one.

We also had quite a lot of sachets of cat food that our cat, Hilly, won't eat.

The ride up to the meeting place flashed past with the cruise set on the M20.

The Kent Riders were there already. 

Döra seemed to be running perfectly. Two up I should have faffed with the rear suspension but didn't. Döra didn't seem that badly affected although I noticed the headlights were a bit higher than maybe was right.

The only hassle was a nasty pothole that was hideen on the edge of a zebra crossing and hidden. Bang! Felt like a kerb!

The ride back from the centre was really good. Warm and dry and the route back was almost the same as the way I came back last week with TomTom "winding roads".

I hadn't topped the tank and the four bars quickly became one and the low fuel light came on. I switched the display to "miles to empty" and saw 4! By miracle, a petrol station appeared on TomTom and I dived in. Phew.

I was a bit disappointed to have done 198.4 miles to the tank but only managed 48.4 mpg!

From there we rejoined last week's route and stopped at Sissinghurst for coffee. This week not hot and sunny but overcast.

Perhaps not the best time to have worn a mesh summer jacket and t-shirt. Brrr.

When I restarted at Sissinghurst the spanner lit up on the display and didn't go out. It's supposed to be for a service. With 5200 miles under the wheels and 10000 mile service intervals. It can't be service time. Into Laguna tomorrow then!

With luggage fitted I need to adjust the suspension before we go to Spain in August.

17 June 2014

Schuberth SRC

Arrived whilst I was on holiday and I will fit it ASAP. Looks a decent bit of kit and the C2 might be a few years old but it is a proper piece of kit.

JustHelmets less than happy with my blog post,  as I told a porkie to get them to take it back. Shouldn't have but made it easier to return it.

Had so many problems in the past that maybe I shouldn't have thought the worst. Anyway. It's done and can't be undone now.

It cost me cash as well as a bit of integrity. 

There. In the public domain as they say.

16 June 2014

Kent Pet Food Run

After loads of publicising the run on Facebook, to local clubs and in the SOC magazine, the glorious day arrived and ...... a turnout of ten. 

Three from the SOC and six from the Kent Riders plus a new guy that turned up on spec that I most likely signed up for the Kent Riders as he was on a Kawasaki.

Pretty typical of the SOC.  "No one organises anything" but when we do they can't be arsed to turn up.

The centre had laid on a BBQ and luckily they hadn't invested too much.  And also luckily it meant two burgers each.

There are about 40 dogs in residence and a handful of cats.

Some are "lifers" that are too old or too cantankerous to be rehomed, but there are so many that need a home. Many Jack Russells and a cute little Chinese Hairless and Yorkie cross.

Adrienne from the Centre took some pictures and they are here. 


8 June 2014

Almost the Last Chance

Once Mr Dale had sorted Döra's earth lead, I togged up and set off about three hours later than planned.

The TomTom fastest route was M20 and M25 then A-roads to Edenbridge. On google maps the Last Chance is shown but the waypoint isn't quite right.

In the end it is about fifty yards away.

I turned in and took a couple of pix. I arrived after they had closed unfortunately.

I had no idea how to mark the car-park as the waypoint on the TomTom. On the old Garmin Quest there is a simple "where am I" button and you can give the waypoint a reference.

I set it to record route, and then set a route for home. So at least the exact waypoint will be marked. No cockups next week I hope.

Until recently I didn't realise I had more options for planning routes. I now seem to have wonders like "winding road" as well as bicycle and walking!  Before I had only fastest and shortest!

The run home was the shorter "winding road" and it was pretty scenic passing some National Trust sites etc, plus Groombridge Park. Took a pic whilst I was passing.

The entrance to the driveway is actually between the two county signs. Kent to the left and East Sussex to the right. 

I took a pano to see if I could get both signs in.

Then back on the road to Lamberhurst past the vineyards and then Goudhurst, nice little village marred by a narrow S-bend at the top of the hill. Today it was actually clear; no bus or truck getting stuck.

By the time I got to Sissinghurst I needed a comfort break and a drink, so I turned into the castle and had a pot of tea and a shortbread, and a pee of course.

The run home from there is pretty much an eyes closed experience as I have done it so often. 

An interesting day!

Won't start...

Came out to go on a ride to make sure my Pet Food Run route was okay. Dead.

Döra just clicking. Check the isolator in the side stand, click kill switch.  Nothing.

Called the Triumph Rider Assist outfit and 45 minutes later Mr Dale the RAC Man arrived. Meters everything. Relays all working. Power to the starter motor. Dead.

Put a the fiddly panels and covers back on. Earth the battery to his power lead and the engine. Vroom. Search with keyhole surgery precision to find the other end of the earth lead. Just visible and bolt almost out. 

What luck I wasn't riding along!

Tightened the bolt up. All okay.

This looks like when the engine was out for the new head that the Hinckley tech missed it.

I repeat.

Effing good job that it didn't happen on the road!

6 June 2014


No words can do justice to the memory of what the men of the Allied armies and navies did on this day in 1944.

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