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Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Grubs up!

Well, here is the best part of my trip home from Leeds. This was the best, tastiest, most delicious and well cooked fish and chips I've ever eaten. Hope you're not too jealous.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Graham B's Top Tips, Part III.

Ok ya'll, here's another word or two from Graham B, our Top Tip man who writes books about Improving Classic Motorcycles and Speedometer Repair. Looks like he's getting his chain all spruced up and ready for summer...remember summer?

Linklyfing a chain, By Graham B.

I treat my final drive chains with a product called Linklyfe which I find gives very good protection and doesn’t fling off. I’m not sure if Linklyfe is still available but there is I believe a similar product called Castrol Chain Wax – if anyone has experience of both then it would be great to hear from you how the two compare.

My well used can of Linklyfe

As far as I’m aware, O or X ring chain is not suitable for treatment with Linklyfe as the heat may damage the O/X ring seals.

The trouble with oiling a chain is that it is easily washed off by rain. I find that Linklyfe stays on for much longer and one treatment will last for most of the winter.

Linklyfe comes as a solid in a shallow can that you heat to melt. The can acts as a bath to fully submerge the chain in. The following is the way I do it. You may have to adapt the procedure to suit your setup.

The bike is put on the centre stand in neutral so the rear wheel can be spun freely. Newspaper is put on the ground under the chain to stop chains picking up grit from the ground. The connecting link is removed and put somewhere safe where it won’t get mixed up with the connecting link of my spare old, worn out chain. Always keep an old chain, it’s not only handy for this job but for another I’ll describe at a later date. If you haven’t got a spare chain then you can still Linklyfe the chain but a spare saves time when it comes to threading the new one back over the gearbox sprocket.

The old chain is attached to the new one at the rear sprocket using the old chain’s
connecting link. The old chain is wound all the way onto both sprockets and secured with its connecting link.

The new chain’s connecting link is reconnected to one end only of the chain so it is not a loop but a long strand.

I use a rag that is already mucky enough to be destined for the bin to wipe as much of the dirt as possible off the chain. At this stage I either wash the chain in paraffin or cheat and go straight on to Linklyfing. The proper way is to wash every bit of grit out of the chain with paraffin so I make the decision of whether to wash based on how gritty the chain feels. Paraffin takes days to dry off. It may be ok to Linklyfe the chain with the paraffin still wet. I’m not sure about this, if it evaporates in the heat then no problem but it may dilute the Linklyfe it is submerged in.

I’ve made up a section of wire coat hanger to hang the chain from a garage roof beam while draining excess Linklyfe back into the can. This hook is attached to the chain by squeezing together the ends round the connecting link pivot. The hook stays attached throughout. Otherwise it’s quite tricky getting purchase on a hot chain when you
can’t see what you’re doing while it’s submerged in black Linklyfe.

A hook to hang the chain by made from a wire coat hangar

Squeeze the ends of the hook round the chain with pliers so it won’t come adrift while submerged.

Decide where you’re going to hang the chain. Hang the chain by the hook and cover the floor and the surrounding area under it with newspaper. There may be splashes later when the excess drips off the chain so the newspaper needs to cover a wide area. Place the open Linklyfe can centrally under the chain and mark the newspaper so you can replace the can in exactly the same spot. Try to make the length of the hook such that the end of the chain hangs no more than six inches above the can – this will minimise the distance any splashes travel.

Coil the chain loosely into a spiral and lay it on the yet to be melted Linklyfe with the end of the attached hook hanging outside the side of the tin so it will stay cool and dry while heating.

To carry the chain and can of molten Linklyfe I use molegrips locked tightly onto one side of the can and pliers on the other. Two sets of molegrips would be better if you
have two.

How to carry the can once it has been heated. Molegrips are best as they can be locked in place. If using pliers do not slacken your grip!

I suggest rehearsing carrying the can while it is cold from where it is to be heated to
where the chain is hung. Make sure the route is clear. If the molten Linklyfe is spilt it will be incredibly difficult to clean off of carpets as well as causing burns if you get it on yourself.

I heat the can on the kitchen stove, having closed all doors to the rest of the house. It gives off strong but non-toxic fumes as it is heated. You can heat it on a gas burner in the garage but make absolutely sure it is stable and won’t fall off the burner.

It may smoke a little as it is heated. But if it smokes a lot it may be nearing its flashpoint (450F) so back off the heat straight away. As the Linklyfe melts the chain will sink into it. The chain needs to be in the molten Linklyfe for five minutes, gently agitated by the hook and/or a screwdriver to ensure the Linklyfe finds its way into all the links. The chain needs to be in there long enough to reach the same temperature as the Linklyfe so that excess drains away when it is hung up. Pull it out too soon and the coating will be too heavy.

Turn off the heat, attach the molegrips and calmly carry the can and chain to the
chain hanging area. Position the can on the marks on the newspaper and without delay, pull the chain out of the molten mix using the hook and hang it up to drain. Be aware that the chain will be hot so use pliers to grab the chain if it has doubled up on itself and needs uncoiling.

If you have got the temperature of the Linklyfe just right then the chain comes out with an even and light coating – you should still be able to read the manufacturer’s name on the sideplates. If the Linklyfe was too cold, there may be some lumps of it on the chain. These can be removed using a very light application of a blowlamp and
they will dribble down the chain and off the end – don’t overdo this and melt
all the Linklyfe off the chain.

Leave the chain for an hour to cool and then remove the hook and refit to the bike. Double and triple check the spring clip of the connecting link is refitted the correct way round with the closed end facing the direction of travel (ie the closed end is nearest the engine when on the upper chain run). This is so that any brushing of the chain against the chainguard etc does not pull the spring clip off.

While we’re on the subject I suggest adding checking the spring clip to your weekly tyre pressure etc checks. If the spring clip falls off the connecting link will break soon
after so check the clip is there and fitted correctly.

A few spots of Linklyfe will be thrown off the chain in the first couple of journeys but after that it will settle down and be a much cleaner and better protecting alternative
to oil. And the chain will look like new, last longer and soak up less bhp !

The end result – a thin even coating that will make the chain last and last …

Thanks for your top tips Graham, can't wait for some more come next winter! You can find out more about Graham's books at

Friday, 26 March 2010

More from Ingliston.

Alright, alright, I give in! This picture is posted due to popular demand from The Fan/s. Ahem. No idea who the wee lassie is, or what's going on with the hat, but the bloke is Doug, one half of Paula & Doug, and they're the ones who organise the whole Classic Caboodle at Ingliston. They do a grand job an' all.

And this picture, by way of revenge, is someone who is a regular on the blog - meet Mr Kawa.

Off to work, more pics and video of the Wall of Death.....later!

And here they are.........

On Friday afternoon I popped over to Andrew's place with Terry the Terrier in kit form in the back of the van, plus a few bags and packages of literature / posters / forms / table cloths / monitor / netbook / extension cable and so on. It had to be mid afternoon as I had to wait until I got the nod from from Printagraph in Aberdeen, that the banners were good to go. So I gets there, in glorious sunshine but with a gale force wind blowing. We load all the gear into Andrew's car / trailer and set off to Aberdeen to collect the banners. It took a while to leave Aberdeen as there were roadworks and rush hour traffic to be negotiated, but we got to Ingliston show ground around 7pm.

Iain from Buckie, John and Captain Bill had arrived quite a bit earlier, and had left their bikes in the huge empty space that would be our Grampian Classic MCC stand for the weekend. Andrew and I checked in at the desk with Paula and carted all the gear, plus Andrew's very, very nice little MV in to the hall. It took a good couple of hours to hang the banners - one is 6m long, wow, wow WOW! Mind you, good job Kawa was there with his welding wire and pliers, 'cos he was able to knock up a few sturdy hooks for banner-hanging. My wire was too 'girly' I think. With the job done to our satisfaction, we were last out at 9pm and rather peckish. Being from Hillbilly Country, we let Kawa lead us to what passed for a fish & chip shop somewhere near our hotel, where we scoffed hot steaming soggy chips, a-standing on the pavement in the freezing cold. The only entertainment was when I threw a gallon of vinegar all over my jumper.

With comprehensive directions from Kawa, Andrew and I set off to find the hotel where Iain from Buckie, John and Captain Bill were waiting for us. We must have taken the long route, or maybe the wrong route, and didn't get there until 10.30pm, but two thirds of the trio were still in the bar, tsk tsk boys. Still, a confession from them that they'd accidentally gone to the wrong hotel, had us in fits. I was slightly perturbed to find this on the sink in my room. My supposedly clean and freshly serviced room. I left it there and it was still there when I checked out on Sunday morning.

So in the morning, we bundled into Andrew's car and toddled off to the show - can't show you the pic I took of the three squashed in the back seat cos someone made a rude gesture! I think the guys were secretly impressed with the stand. I don't actually know, because no one really said either way, but I liked it, and so did many people who stopped to chat.
There were the usual modern bikes on show, clothing, helmets and all the gear. I always feel slightly sorry for the guys (mostly guys) you see sitting on these 'several thousand pound sports bikes', it's all a bit of a dream for most people. Especially on the likes of the Ducati and MV stands. The MV guy proudly informed us that he was offering special show prices, something along the lines of £14,000... Cheap at the price! The Classic Hall had all kinds of stands - British, Jap and Italian bikes on show, owners clubs, riders clubs, builders and restorers, polishers and rusty buckets (that was my bike), racers too. I can't tell you about them though 'cos I've got to write about them for Old Bike Mart.

So enjoy the few quirky pictures I've got here, and the video of the Wall of Death when I get it stitched together, and thanks for all the nice comments about the stand and our efforts to promote the club.

HOW COULD I FORGET?? The great Tommy Robb gave Terry a full inspection, and GBC received a peck on the cheek for allowing him this photo-opportunity. I haven't washed that side of my face yet, and I don't think I'm going to. Ever.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

And the winner is....

Ladies and gents, I shall now pass you over to the Head Judge of the 2nd GBC Blog Winter Photo Competition, Professional Photographer, Phil Mather.
Ah yes, the photo competition. Can I say a few words?

There is a saying that can be applied to a lot of things we do, particularly in the art world - "If you like it, tell me; if you don't, lie."

But that can't apply to a competition because, no matter what, there are always going to be winners and losers. So I don't feel so bad about not giving everybody a prize.

Second thing with competitions - you've gotta try hard to achieve that winning edge. Some people simply can't take a good photo, I accept that, but I would never stop them taking photographs (**Note from GBC - neither would I, that's why I think it's nice to have a competition open to all, in these days of the digital camera it makes things like this, so much easier to enter**). Some people think an interesting subject makes a good photo, but they end up with a mediocre photo of something interesting. Some people observe all the 'rules' of photography, but never quite hit the spot. (**Another note from GBC - it's the taking part that counts ;-) )

And so it goes on.

From 64 entries I chose a shortlist of 6 - as they appear on the website they are:

No.2 Airport sunset - fantastic colour, with the plane in silhouette in just the right position.

No.7 Road over MZ petrol tank and No.21 MZ on side of road - using the bike as part of the composition, thinking about the shapes in the composition.

No.22 Twisty road through hills - a classic, it has movement, beauty and danger all in one.

No.25 Frozen canal - it's unusual and the composition is good. Crop a little off the left-hand side and a bit off the sky, it's the frozen foreground that makes it.

No.26 Setting sun at sea - don't you just want to be at home beside a roaring fire?
I must also mention the Guinness lorry (No.29) which was a great idea but somehow the shot doesn't work - needs more thought.
And none of the above were my personal favourite because an old bike frame left in the hedge (No.39) is travelling nowhere (unless I find out where it is!).

So who won?

First place, winning the fantabulous and limited edition GBC / CUBBIE TEE SHIRT - No.22 - The Twisty Road! (burst of applause). People jump to their feet and hug and kiss.

And second place, winning a YEARS SUBSCRIPTION to OLD BIKE MART - No.2 - Airport Sunset (cue Simon and Garfunkel singing 'Homeward Bound').

And third place, winning a HAYNES MANWELL for any bike or car, goes to - No.39 - the bike frame in the hedge on the basis that traditionally, in the UK at least, winter is the time the bike gets rebuilt ready for the next year. So in reality, for motorcyclists at least, travel and transport is a bike in bits.

Everybody have a party tonight and if you want to share any thoughts you can contact me through my website

It was really good that so many people had a go and maybe next time GBC will run a photo competition for turtles or landscapes or old yank cars.

Love y'all - take care now - good night and God bless.

Our man Phil might have had some firm words to say, but he also said that there were some good shots in the mix, which made his decision rather difficult, and because he's a generous kinda chap, he put up the prize for 3rd place / Judge's Fav Piccy. I shall be in touch with the winners to arrange the prizes, but if you see a picture you took with a rosette on it, you might want to give me a shout just to prove you're a regular blog reader!
So thanks to all who took part, all the pictures were great and I loved receiving them, wish I could give you all a tee shirt! Some people might not have seen the travel / transport link with the turtle, but I do believe that sea elves ride turtles to get around and do their shopping.
PS, Mrs BC is considering what she calls a 'mumsie runners up prize', no idea what that's all about. Watch this space.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

RIP Titch Allen.

Titch Allen, Founder of the Vintage Motorcycle Club, sadly passed away last Thursday morning.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Checking in from Ingliston.

Full report to follow, plus an article for Old Bike Mart, but just thought you might like to see a few photos taken with the webcam on my netbook - not the best quality, just a bit of a preview.

You can see our new GCMCC banners in the first three shots, made for us by Printagraph in Aberdeen (part of the Jasmine Holdings Comp), to whom we are incredibly indebted. We only had about a week and a half to get these designed and printed, so BIG thanks to MD Danny for pulling out all the stops, the design team for doing the fancy bits, and to Neil in the GCMCC for coming up with the idea. The big banner along the back wall is about 6m long and it must be about 4ft ish tall, and then we've got two vertical ones, one for each end, and they're both pretty massive too. More pics when I get home.

Some people are amazed by the advances of modern technology, and Shorty ain't gonna thank me for publishing the one of him getting up close and personal with the webcam! Dot has more sense and tried to duck out of it. The second shot here features Iain and John who both had a good look at the cam but managed to get further away than Shorty did! And then the third picture is from SFB who promised me something that would fit in the back of the new truck - thanks SFB!

Well I'm off to have some grub, only managed one burger today and that wasn't until 3pm. I'll waste away if I'm not careful.

Toodle ooh.
PS, hello to anyone who took a note of this blog address at the show today, make sure you read about the Training Day using the links on the left of this page, and have a good look at the list of bikes you will be able to ride. Remember to get those entry forms send off to the VMCC as soon as possible. I don't think the address is on the form, so here it is -

The Vintage Motor Cycle Club Limited
Allen House
Wetmore Road
Burton Upon Trent
Staffordshire DE14 1TR, UK

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Ingliston here we come!

Well I've spent the last week slaving over a hot computer and a steaming printer, running off copies of membership forms, posters, information sheets, adverts for events and such like for the forthcoming Ingliston Motorcycle Show. That's at Ingliston in case you were wondering. Oh, that's just on the outskirts of Edinburgh. I'm now suffering from repetitive mouse-clicking syndrome all up my right arm, which makes a change from repetitive bale of hay-lifting syndrome. So I think all I have to do in the morning is fit the hinges on the make-shift display boards I put together, gather the various bits of paperwork, netbook, extension lead, overnight bag and anything else I've forgotten, and then we're awa'. I shall load Terry the Terrier in the van and head over to Andrew's place where I'll jump ship and load all the gear into his trailer, then we'll head into Aberdeen to collect - wait for it - some humongous and gloriously beautiful banners, made especially for the Grampian Classic MCC by Printagraph in Aberdeen. I've seen the proofs, can't wait to see the real deal. Bring it on! See you at Ingliston.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Problem Solved.

Not that there was a problem (well there was, when we were snowed in for 3 weeks, followed by a spell of wet muddy weather, followed by another 2 weeks of being unable to get the car or van up or down the drive due to more snow), but more of a query as to which 4x4 to add to the fleet of vehicles at Cubbie Towers. Well that's all sorted now, with the help of Grampian Classic MCC member Geoff who spotted this little gem at a local dealers yard and negotiated a bargain deal for us. Thanks Geoff, and thanks Kwak for keeping your eyes peeled too. Now we've finally got a 4x4 you can guarantee there won't be any more snow for about twenty years!

Oh yes, well it had to be a Limited one of course.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Bikers eh, we're a terrible bunch.

Saw the report of this on the news, nipped on to the BBC website and found the following info - click on the link for the short video. Makes yer heart go pop pop pop with pride.

Thousands of bikers have been riding through Wootton Bassett to honour the
people of the Wiltshire town - and the soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

Each rider has paid £5 to take part, with the proceeds going to the
charity Afghan Heroes. An estimated 15,000 bikers and pillion passengers
congregated at Hullavington Airfield in Wiltshire earlier.

The first batch of 500 riders left at 1100 GMT to ride to Wootton Basset via the M4
motorway. The event was expected to last until early evening, with
bikers leaving the airfield at 30-minute intervals to make their way to Wootton

About 10,000 riders registered to take part. They were accompanied by some 5,000 pillion passengers.

'Noise and movement'

Crowds gathered along Wootton Bassett's High Street to watch the bikers
pass the war memorial. The town's mayor Steve Bucknell said the "vast
majority" of the people in the town "fully support" what the bikers are doing.

In pictures: Bikers'
"Too many times the town has had to stand still in silence but today
is all about noise and movement."

Local MP James Gray added that people in the town appreciated the gesture and were "very supportive of it indeed".

Sue Sullivan, from Gloucestershire, is one of those taking part. She said: "We rode at 1130 GMT and I've never seen so many bikes. "I'm one of thousands of people who support our girls and boys."

Denise Harris, the founder of Afghan Heroes, said troops on the front
line had sent her e-mails backing the event. She told the BBC: "It boosts morale for them.

"I mean they just are so grateful to the general public for their support and their kindness."

The Bike Run was the idea of 18-year-old biker Elizabeth Stevens.

The ride was organised by Elizabeth Stevens, 18, pictured with her
partner Ms Stevens, a mechanics student at the Central Bedfordshire College,
had only planned to ride through the town with a few friends.

"Our local bike club was throwing around the idea of a bike run," she said in January, "so I decided to make a Facebook page, and it's just taken off". Ms Stevens
is riding pillion on her partner's Harley Davidson Sportster.

Laurence Phillips from Afghan Heroes said the event had gathered pace after being posted on the social networking site Facebook. "It's quite a staggering
spectacle and an unbelievable show of support for the troops in Afghanistan and
a mark of respect for the town of Wootton Bassett."

Ch Insp Owen Gillard of Wiltshire Police said the force was working with the Ministry of Defence and Wiltshire Council to ensure public safety, with police escorting the bikers and a helicopter at the scene.

The Highways Agency said motorists would encounter increased traffic throughout the day, especially around junctions 16 and 17 of the M4.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Let the Judging Commence.

Well, here they are. All the photos that you good people have been out and taken for the GBC Blog Winter Photo Competition. I hope I haven't forgotten any or worse, lost any! If you sent one in and don't see it here, get in touch and jog my memory. Head Judge Phil is going to be taking a good, long look at these. We'll hear from him later. A huge thank you to everyone who took the time to take part, 'twould be nothing without you, as they say. And hi to a new reader, Pinky from Louisiana, good to have you on board.


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