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Friday, 27 June 2008

Cubbie & GBC off on Summer Hols

Mrs BC doesn't know it yet, but there is a box of something rather yummy on the dining room table....so if she goes in there and has a peek...yep....they're all for her! I've managed not to eat them for ooohhh over a week!

Just a wee thank you to Mrs BC for staying here and looking after all the sheep 'n' lambs 'n' dogs 'n' cats and so on while I'm away having fun.

Got all the tools and spares I can manage to carry, camping gear packed, clothes, oh yes and documents for getting the tax with - can you believe it runs on on Monday, such poor planning on someones part!

Although I'll be away, Mrs BC has instructions on how to update the blog so make sure you pop back mid week-ish for a look.

Byeeeeee.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

NEW CUBBIES COUNTIES SPONSOR!!!

I'd like to welcome Diamond Insurance on board as the main sponsor for my charity challenge.

You can visit their website at www.diamondinsurance.net/classic.htm and I'll have a bit more info about their involvement when I return from Scarborough.

In the mean time, thanks to Sue there for sorting things out for me, and a huge thanks to YOU for reading this, we're up to over 11,000 hits now - simply unbelievable!

A quick update on Cubbie for you, still not running well, got my hands on a selection of different size jets and slides so in the 3 hours I have spare before heading south I shall have a fiddle and see if anything makes any difference.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

MoT day, ooh how exciting!







New to come...later...MoT result (fingers and toes and everything else crossed please!)....UCAN cancer charity trip....plans for Scarborough....Cubbies Counties news in association with RAF Lossiemouth....

35mins and counting to MoT......

When I was at the Shetland show, I bumped into a chap called Bill, who lives just down the road from me, and used to be a mechanicy/blacksmithy/weldery type person but has recently retired. He immediately spotted Cubbie's cracked engine mounting and offered to fix it for me - super, right in time for the MoT. So I nipped over there yesterday between the hail showers and watched the expert at work. It only took him a few minutes after cleaning the area, and he even painted it afterwards for me! Have to say, I was a mite nervous when he produced a fire extinguisher and set it down next to the bike, but better safe than sorry!

......So, Cubbie now has a brand spanking new MoT certificate. I have to say, I had my doubts as yesterday afternoon, the forks started to leak and I was on the verge of cancelling the test. A bit of poking and prodding (and praying) got us through though, albeit with an advisory notice but that's ok, they need fixing anyway. Somehow, I don't see them being re-chromed or replaced or fixed in any other manner before Friday...the day we go to Scarborough. Yep, that's right, Cubbie now has a passport and will be travelling to Engerland for the Vintage Motorcycle Club bike week. Not strictly speaking a Scottish county but I look upon it as a training week, each day will offer a ride out of anything up to 100 miles taking in the most beautiful scenery and roads suited to old bikes. The evenings will be whiled away with film shows, quiz nights and general rally type chatter, and I'm told, we even get some free fish and chips!

Despite passing the rigorous MoT checks, and making it to the other side with only a small blemish, Cubbie does not seem to be too well. Remember the Fraserburgh show, where Short Stan had to bump start it for me? And my vague feeling of "it's not running quite right"? Well even after Fido timed it and I fitted a new plug I'm still not 100% happy. Over time you get to know how a bike feels, sounds and goes, and sometimes you can't quite put your finger on what's wrong, but you know something is up. Well that's the situation I'm in. What to do? I messed with the timing on the way home today, adjusting it a fraction one way and then back, then to the other way, but nothing seemed to make it any better. I wonder if it might be the mixture, but I haven't changed anything for a year and then all of a sudden it starts to run a bit rough, similar to the feeling you get when a multi-cylinder machine isn't firing on all cylinders. Might it be to do with the clutch slip that I experience when starting it sometimes? When I removed the new plug and showed Fido, he said it looked a bit lean, but then I showed him the old plug and that was exactly as a used plug should be, apparently.

The other day, Mrs BC and I went along to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary to join the UCAN boys on a visit to what could be described as the 'cancer quiet room'. UCAN is a charity based in Aberdeen to raise awareness of urological cancers - that is kidney, prostate, bladder and testicular cancers. A rather scary fact extracted from their website at http://www.ucanhelp.org.uk/ is that around 500 people die every year in Grampian alone from urological cancers, and this figure continues to rise. I don't wanna preach and get all serious here guys but it's up to you to keep an eye on things and visit yer Doc if you're concerned about owt. And I would miss ya if any of you weren't here... On a more cheery note, there is a UCAN motorcycle ride in September (14th I think) so if you fancy helping raise some cash for them, and having a good day out on the bike, then keep an eye on the blog for more details. Er, obviously you chaps in Canada and Norway etc probably won't make it!

Oh yes, did I mention my Cubbies Counties RAF Lossiemouth trip? Well GBC has been invited to have a look round, and maybe, just maybe have a wee shotty on (in?) the simulator....oh yes....here we come!!!

PS, met the Scooter boys while I was down at Cameron's Autotech in Cuminestown, seems their idea of a day out is to the local garage...hehehe....could do with that sidecar for my wee MZ...
PPS, the arrival of a few packages in the post over the last couple of days has made up for the lack of chocolates on my birthday. My new custom made ear plugs (PLUGZZ to be correct) were in one parcel, while a box of electrical goodies from a Cubbies Counties supporter had me head scratching for a while before I ripped it open, and a couple of Classic Bike Guide tee shirts made up the third surprise bundle - ones that fit. Seems they've finally realised not everyone is XXXXXXXXXXXXXL!
Can't wait to try the PLUGZZ - you'll notice they are one my corporate sponsors, so thanks guys, will let you know how I get on with them. Apparently if you're working in industry then a noise limit of 85db would be in place, but on a bike travelling a 70mph, you are actually subjecting your poor wee lugs to 97db, so it might be wise to consider wearing some form of ear protection so if you see two handsome Geordies, sorry, Smoggies, at a show near you then sit yourself down and let the Chief Audiologist, Peter Craggy (he'll be the one in shorts) do his stuff. All he does is an ear check to make sure your ears are suitable, then fills yer lugs with blue stuff to take a 'cast' of the inside, which is used to make your very own plugzz. The other chap, Paul Lincoln does the sales and info bit and tempts you with a rainbow of colours to choose from, including a luminous selection - especially handy for us campers where the plugzz could end up buried under tents and sleeping bags. Both guys are experienced NHS audio/hearing people (ok, so I can't remember the technical term but you know what I mean!) and the plugzz are made from medical grade silicon.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Inspector GBC!




Well, what's been going on? Thursday, the anniversary of my birth, I took the day off work to catch up with stuff down on the farm. Spent a while strimming, then Fido came over and took a look at Cubbie's timing 'cos it was running a wee bitty hot on the Ayrshire / Dumfries-shire / Wigtonshire trip. He made sure I'd gapped the points correctly (which I'm sure I had but he gapped them again to be sure, to be sure) and then we thought it was just a simple case of slackening the retaining nut 'n' bolt on the mushroom and turning it one way or t'other. Hmmm, mushroom appeared to be seized. Nothing would shift it except a gentle tap from a wooden mallet...Good ol' Fido eventually persuaded it to move and timed it up, odd though that the timing marks on the mushroom and fixed gasket were in line, yet re-timing now means the marks are quite a way apart. But the good thing is the bike still starts and seemed to run ok....just to need to take it for a spin now....oh so little time for test rides! Half way through the timing drill Vic turned up to fix the water pump - not on Cubbie I hasten to add. Nothing wrong with it apart from an annoying little dribble. Thought he'd sorted it but no sooner had I made him a coffee, by way of a reward, it started leaking again. Anyway, being my birfday Mrs BC wanted to cook up a delightful meal so Vic and Fido duly left and she got on with the cooking. Mmmmmm - salmon, noodles, mange tout, baby corn, oriental sauce (excuse any spelling errors but I'm in a hurry, rather late for work!). Mrs BC is a great cook!

I'm not even going to mention Friday 13th. Nope. Not once.

Sunday saw me firing up the MZ Skorpion and heading to the Black Isle to inspect a bike on behalf of the MZ club. A great responsibility. Had a nice ride north apart from being frozen most of the way, oh and it rained...and did I mention it was fffffreezing? Then, at Inverness, just after I'd filtered past a line of traffic at the first roundabout, I spied a police car in a side road. Was going to filter again but thought better of it. Checked my mirrors as I approached the Tesco roundabout and uh-oh, I had company. Now that's a nasty feeling, seeing that brightly coloured motor lurking a few feet behind, silently hovering like a shark, watching my every move. Now I wasn't having the best of times on the wet roads with the Continental tyres, somehow I've got it into my head they're not as grippy as the Bridgestones I've always used before, and having a cop car right on my tail didn't help. Indicate, lifesaver, move across to the right lane, wobble round the 'bout and exit to the north. Still being followed. Sit at 50mph on the dual carriageway. Still can't shake them off, then all of a sudden, just as I was thinking oh that's it, the next layby is where they'll pull me, they obviously got bored and cleared off, not even bothering to signal as they exited the roundabout. Still, they can do stuff like that, well I hope they went on to have a nice successful day catching criminals in Inverness - I've heard there are quite a few there these days. Anyway, over the Kessock Bridge to the Tor roundabout, gale force winds howling, rain pinging off my visor, then back south to Beauly and the sunshine, followed by a stint on a nice little back road to Kev's place, checked the bike over, had a good old chat about bikes, all seemed well with the MZ in question, so I toddled off home.

Life on the farm has been, er, interesting lately. Lambing finally over, 13 in total, got the last o them out today in the sunshine. Raining now tho, poor wee mites. The story of Joey and her tail continues. Took her in to have the stitches removed from her tail and tummy to find out her internal ones had burst so she had to stay in again, be re-opened and stitched again. So thats another week or so for her to take it easy. Geoffrey (one of our other cats) came home a couple of days ago with a bite on his face, and this morning tottered in with a swollen leg, and Doolie (our other other cat) had a bite on the edge of his eye a few weeks ago. Our neighbours cat had its head slashed open recently too, so it looks like there is one heck of a nasty moggy (or something??) on the prowl out there.

Oh, message for John from Bikeshite, the Skye trip should be in the NEXT CBG, I guess that is....August....

Must thank a few faces from http://www.classicbike.net/ for their sponsorship....you know who you are guys!
Right, I'm off...promise I'll pop some Shetland / Ayr pics up tomorrow.....promise!

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Today

Well, seeing as no one else is going to say it, Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday GBC......Happy Birthday to me!


I thank you.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Shetland - there we've been! (Counties 3,4,5,6,7)






































Ok, here is a condensed version of the Shetland Saga. Wednesday afternoon I mixed and applied the Petseal to Cubbie's tank after carefully plugging the fuel tap hole with a bolt and wrapping the filler cap in plastic. I read in the instructions that it must be in an environment of at least 21degrees to cure, and left a minimum of 12hrs before filling with petrol. Hmmm, best pop it in the greenhouse then. Instructions also said to remove bolt when the mix was tacky so I did, only to find that the darn thing wasn't long enough and the hole was nicely sealed over. Not to worry, thought I, it would easily drill out. Thursday morning, find a small drill bit, cover it in grease to collect the swarf, start drilling. Ooops, small problem, seemed to be pushing the Petseal away from the tank base rather than drilling through it. Quandary; do I push it some more to snap it off, or just shove the fuel tap in and cross my fingers? Option one seemed most thorough and it snapped quite easily. All I had to do then was remove a chunk of the stuff about 6" x 4". Nearly 12 o'clock, two hours before I had to leave, finally got all the bits out with pliers and ready to fit and fill, albeit an hour earlier than officially allowed. No leaks, success! On to the points which needed to be cleaned and gapped after it had been running a bit 'odd'. Popped a new plug in too but checked for a spark and it seems to be a duff one. Lucky I had another spare. Almost attempted to do the tappets too as they're a bit rattly these days but time was ticking by and I wasn't confident I could get it right in a hurry, even tho good ol' Diggy was talking me through it all the way. Time to pack and get gone. Mind you, while I was doing all this, Mrs BC was keeping an eye on a ewe ready to lamb at any moment, hoping that she wouldn't get milk fever and need an injection.

1.30pm came and went and I wasn't quite ready, then Polly / Poppy (they're twins and we never know which is which) did need to have some medication so I didn't leave 'til 2pm. Told Vic to go ahead without me as the poor chap wanted to meet at 3pm. Parked the van in Aberdeen, stacked the luggage on Cubbie and sped over to the ferry, just a few mins late and caught Vic before he'd gone on board. 13 or so hours later we rolled off in Lerwick to a grey drizzly kinda day. Met me old mate Joe Gray, head honcho of the bike section of the show, and some of the guys I'd bumped into last time I was up there, nice to see them all again.

Davie and Mike from the Grumpy club (Grampian Classic MCC) set off to their hotel while Vic and I headed to the Clikimin campsite (who gave me a very good deal btw so thanks to them) and pitched our tents - we're real bikers you see, just got them up and the kettle boiled when the rain came on, and who should appear from a misty cloud but Geordie of the Ariels! He'd just dropped Mrs Ariel off at the show (that's his VB Ariel in case you're wondering!) and stopped by the campsite (a 30second walk from the show) to say HI. Vic and I decided to head north to Skaw which I believe is the most northerly (inhabited) point in the UK, while our two hotel-staying companions wanted to venture west, so we went our separate ways.

Vic's Triamaha started misfiring just out of Lerwick, not a good sign at the start of a 100 mile round trip! New plugs seemed to help so we set off again. 20miles further on and he glided to a halt. Checked everything we could, no spark tho, he seemed to think it might have been the little black Boyer box recently fitted, by Mr Prodger in our club. Phoned the AA in despair. Bad signal, kept asking him for a street name, cut off in the end. Waited a bit to see if they would arrive but didn't so sent him off on Cubbie to the nearest house to call again. Had a poke around at the wires meself, saw the main lead from the black box was dangling down beside the rear wheel, noticed the rubber bit from a bullet connector was embedded in the tyre....hmmm...other end of that connection seemed to be dangling too....hitched 'em up, switched in on, ticked the carbs, gave it a couple of kicks and voilĂ ! Should have seen Vic's face as I turned up outside the house he was at! Lovely couple, Tony and Beth, insisted we stop for a cuppa and a chat before heading off north again.

Shetland is made up of many isles and to get to the north tip, two ferries are needed, Toft to Ulsta and Gutcher to Belmont. You pay £6 on the first one, and that covers you for the second and your return journey too. As luck would have it, each ferry was waiting for us as we rolled down to the harbour. Cubbie was going well although the tappets were a bit on the loud side and the Triamamamaha seemed ok now. Made it to Skaw, looked at the beach and nice scenery, had our photo taken by a tourist then set off south. Talk about whistle stop! Pulled in to the local shop to get Victor some ciggies (he went through a fair few whilst broken down) and swapped bikes. His idea of a reward I think. He roared off, up to 70mph in no time, I had to whizz past and slow him down, he's a bad lad. Poor Cubbie! The Triamaha is made up of a Triumph T100 engine in a Yam racing frame and is a nice ride, even though the throttle is way too heavy for me, nearly pulled my arm out trying to hold it at 60mph. Oh, kept hitting my shin on the kickstart too. Anyway, got back to the tents and picked up fish 'n' chips on the way. Met up with the other lads in the pub and supped water all night.

So Saturday was the day of the Shetland Classic Motor Show, over 700 exhibits from bicycles and stationary engines to trucks, tractors and bikes of course. Renewed acquaintances with the likes of Maurice, Carol, Robbie, Geordie and Joe again and heaps of people who names were there then but gone now! Sorry! To everyone I met, t'was lovely to see you all again, and thanks so much for sponsoring me, tis really appreciated. Much more about the show in Classic Bike Guide soon......

Saturday night saw me back on the ferry while the guys stayed for the second day of the show. 7am Sunday, rolled off to a sunny Aberdeen, squeezed Cubbie in the van, and ok, so I cheated, but given the logistics of this run, I had to be at the Ayr classic show in time to cover it for the mag, and to dish out the prizes in the afternoon, and tanking down the main roads on a 40year old 200cc motorcycle for 150 miles isn't on my list of things to do! Arrived in good time even though the brakes on the van were sticking on quite badly (fuel consumption was baaaad), did my bit there, again, met loads of great people all of whom fished out their spare change for Cubbies Counties. Also got an offer of spanners / help / trailer in the fife area from a couple I met a year or two ago at the show.

Those kind people in the Ayr Classic MCC also did their bit to sponsor me by putting me up in a local B&B after the show, so that on Monday, I could trek round a few counties in that area. Stayed at the Langside B&B in Fenwick, very comfortable I must say and dined at the Kings Arms Hotel in the village, also very nice, oriental salmon on a bed of nooooodles. Yum. Monday morning the B&B and Hotel owners asked if they could be involved in Cubbies Counties and the answer is of course, YES! Can't wait to see the patch they want me to wear. Met a nice couple at breakfast who also offered assistance if ever I'm in Glasgow and need accommodation, handy to know.

Set off in the van, dumped it in Sanquhar and then after a visit to the highest village in Scotland called Wanlockhead, proceeded to cover some 60 or so miles to Newton Stewart, on a route that took me through Dumfries-shire, Kirkcudbrightshire and Wigtownshire which looks to me like the most southerly county in Scotland, but I could be wrong on that one. If ever you get the chance to ride the A702 then take it, grab it with both hands 'cos that is some biking road. A tad bumpy in places and not too well surfaced in sections, but twisty and undulating surrounded by jaw dropping scenery, mountains, lochs, hills, scrub land. Lovely. Cubbie seemed to be running overly hot on the way back, so I stopped for a while in St John's Town of Dalry (said to hold the record for the town with the most number of words) topped the oil up, had a Kit Kat and generally just chilled out. Took a slightly different road back from Penpoint to the main road which was a narrow, bumpy farm track really, only 10 miles the sign read but I feel it may have been a bit more than that. Got slightly worried when the tarmac gave way to rubble but kept going and eventually got on to a better surface. Then there were the re-surfaced areas which were, shall I say, interesting! I do wish councils wouldn't just throw chippings down on sections and call it 're-surfaced'. Grrrrrr.

Back at the van about 6pm, another 3 counties (4 if you count Ayr from Sunday, which I am) ticked off, did about 120 miles that day on the bike, just another couple of hundred in the van to get home.

Will pop some pics on later but best go unpack and catch up with emails etc, also got to put rings on the lambs tails. Poor Mrs BC had to deal with 3 lambings on her own over the last 4 days and she did pretty well, getting up at 4am every morning....just in case....Oh, and Joey the cat seems to be on the mend after having her tail chopped off, had a check up at the vet yesterday and back on Friday for the stitches to come out, poor wee moggy.

A HUGE THANK YOU again to every one of you who has sponsored me so far, be it a few quid, accommodation offers, spanners, or just your company on a journey somewhere. 7 down, 26 to go and £407 raised already plus the promise of more if I complete all 33 counties!!!

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