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Saturday, 27 November 2010

Blackberry Day

Well that was odd. I got my new Blackberry on Thursday, logged on here to let you all know the joyous news, and although I was able to start a new post, I couldn't write anything in it. Hmmm.

Anyway, loving the BB and getting used to all the 'apps' and so on, got some lovely snowy pics for you too. Let's be having YOUR snowy pics perlease!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Hobart Day Tomorrow.

Here be the Hobart I mentioned.......with Shorty on board at the first Scottish Vintage Training Day last May. Why have I waited until it's snowing to go and collect it? Don't ask.

UPDATE, or should I say, DOWNdate. Johny, owner of the Hobart, has reported about 4" of snow over in his neck of the woods out west, so we've agreed to postpone Hobart Day. I hope this isn't going to be like Groundhog day....

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Christmas at Cubbie Towers!

Well it's like Christmas has come early to Cubbie Towers. Over the last few weeks goodies have been arriving though the post, left, right and centre. First was a little package all the way from Shetland, containing some clutch plates and shiny rocker box covers from the depths of Joe's shed. I was supposed to bring them back with me after the Shetland show, but I seem to recall, I was in a bit of a hurry to catch the ferry and didn't have time to pop in and collect them. I can use the clutch plates for the Terrier project, one day....before June 2011, hopefully. Thanks Joe.

Next to arrive was a parcel from Wales. It was Cubbie's speedo, being returned under separate cover. It had been something, but the good news was that Mr Pres's team of scouts had tracked down an identical replacement.

Low mileage Cubbie, one careful owner...tee hee...
And the third arrival, a couple of additions to my wardrobe, from a new blogger and Fleecebooker, Bob, from Massachusetts, I think...and no, I ain't modelling them for you.
One looks like it's from Bob's local bike shop, Licks Cycles where you can purchase all you'll ever need to customise your Tiger Cub, or Hhhhhhharley ... I probably shouldn't look any more actually 'cos I'm beginning to wonder if I can get Hammerite (other brands are available. Are they? Don't know, just thought I should say that in case anyone thinks I'm promoting one particular brand above all others) in sparkly pink. The second T is to commemorate the Fall Run from last year - there's a video on YooToob from this years run in aid of Shriners Children's Hospital - go have a lookie - Thanks for the T's Bob, will have to clean some grime of Cubbie and make room for the stickers!
Moving on to today, this wasn't a delivery, more of a collection. I went shopping on behalf of Robin of Wales and picked up a couple of bikes for him. Wait til you see these little gems. I'm temped to keep one, do you reckon he would mind?
Errr, vroomm?
Before you say anything, I would just like to point out I am sporting my winter layers in this photo. And I'd better also point out that Mrs BC took the pics of GBC doing the trials demo. So there.

Plenty of room. Oh, make way for the HOBART!! Snow permitting, it will be joining the merry band at Cubbie Towers next week.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Just doing a little research any of you have a Blackberry or perhaps an iPhone? If so, what do you think about them, do you use many of the apps on them, what's the best or worst thing about them?

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Smokey Child's trip across the water.

Hi GBC, it just occurred to me that I did a short article for SCCMC on a previous visit to USA (Report 1), this might be of some use to you. On my latest visit, (Report 2) I managed to talk to a few of the local Brooklyn bikers to get their views on what it is like running a motorcycle in such a huge and busy built up area.

Report 1
Just returned from hols in USA mostly in New York but trippies up to Michigan and Connecticut. Staying with my son in the Williamsburg Brooklyn area, which is of a largely Hispanic population, and is 4 storeys up on the corner of a built-up busy urban crossroads where it can get rather noisy. There are police sirens, fire-engines, ambulances, refrigerated lorries, mixer trucks, ice-cream vendors, reversing bleepers, car alarms, house alarms, shop alarms, taxi horns, drunks, singers, would be-singers, people who do not knock at doors but shout loudly in Spanish to see if anyone is in. There are even loud Scottish people on holiday shouting at loud Puerto Ricans to be quiet. There is also music from various sources, TV's, radio's, vans, taxis and cars fitted with the loudest sub-woofers this side of Cape Canaveral. I could swear the building shook when some of them went past. But do you know what, they were all relatively quiet compared to (I did not think the day would come when I would ever hear myself saying this) compared to passing or pausing motorcycles. Yes b. Harley Davidson's with slash or no pipes, Ducatis with race cans and Kawasaki's with no cans winding up the revs dropping the clutch and melting the rubber. Interesting for the first few goes but at midnight or 2 in the morning it can become a little wearing.

USA riders do not seem particularly safety conscious, either for themselves or for anyone else judging by some of the manoeuvres which I witnessed. Most popular riding kit seems to be t-shirt, shorts, trainers, no gloves and sometimes a lid. I did however see one guy riding down 5th Av. on a BMW with a Labrador on the front in the riding position holding on to the handlebars. It was wearing sunglasses and a helmet. I am still not sure who was in control. Brings a new meaning to "handles like a dog". There was some bike high-spots to the visit however. When visiting the Sloane museum in Flint they had a special bike exhibition which included a reasonable selection of old Britware. Also at the Henry Ford Museum in Greenfield Village Dearborn there was a good selection of all kinds of machinery from Harleys and Indians of course to Hendersons, Excelsiors, Whizzers and everything else in between. I was also slightly taken aback when visiting Keihl's Pharmacy in New York on the corner of 13th and 3rd Av. Keihl's is a kind of olde-time up-market, very expensive purveyor of beauty aids and applications, owned by Aaron Morse who has a huge collection of American motorcycles. I visited this establishment with my wife. (No I did not buy anything before anyone asks.) Inside I was surprised to see a good selection of oldish and newish American bikes including an ex Steve McQueen 1934 Indian "suicide shift" as they describe it. This shop was definitely not at all like Boots or Superdrug. Did not manage any biking on hols. but if it is OK to mention "car" in this publication I did have my first ever shottie of a Buick Reatta sports car, also a Porsche 911 RS America. I do believe I could get to like them. Still love BSAs though.

Motogrill workshop proprietor



Connecticut bike blessing

Hmmm, bikes not welcome?

Report 2
Like here although I don't like doing it, it is possible to categorize the different types of motorcyclists by what they ride. Harleys in particular seem to be pretty much a race unto themselves. One striking difference between here and the UK is that there is quite a lot of old Brit-iron running about and in day-to-day use, particularly late model Meriden Triumphs.
Hinckley Triumphs also appear to be very popular particularly the Bonneville models, there also appears to be a good spread of everything Japanese, German and Italian. One major difference compared to the UK is that I do believe that the almost total lack of silencing on a lot of bikes wouldn't escape the attention of our local constabulary, but when you see some of the crazy traffic and crazy drivers it is one way of alerting them to the (vulnerable) motorcyclists presence. But by and large everything is pretty much the same as in the UK in relation to types apart from I didn't observe many lightweights except Vespa scooters which seem to be gaining popularity, particularly in the Manhattan area. One guy I spoke to said that lightweights aren't too popular because of their perceived vulnerability in heavy traffic. As far as the classic scene goes there is a huge mixture of everything. I was lucky enough to be given a tour round a couple of bike garages and was pretty amazed at the variety of machinery within. One of the main problems about living with a motorcycle in such a huge built up area with mostly flatted houses is that their simply isn't many places to store a bike. One of the solutions is to rent a space in an outdoor off-street car-lot with all the attendant storage hazards that it can bring.

The other solution is to rent a space in one of the growing number of bike stores cum workshops. These take different formats but several of them in the Williamsburg area have bike shops, do it yourself workshops and in-house mechanics. Rates for repairs vary but they seem to average round about the 80-90 dollars per hour mark. Just total up some of the times you spend on your own repairs and potential costs could become quite frightening. Conclusion – apart from the low cost of fuel in USA we are doing pretty well in Scotland and the UK compared to motorcycling life in the Big Apple.

Williamsburg workshop

Smith & Butlers Boutique

Parking lot...

A New Jersey workshop

And A New Jersey frame builder

BIG THANKS SMOKEY for the words and photos. Don't be shy guys and girls, write something about bikes or bike trips, take a few photos and send 'em in...go know you want to...!

Cracking day.

BRRRRRRRRRR it's minus 1 degree out there. Musta been chilly last night. Got a right old tale from Smokey Child coming up later today. Make time to pop back and have a read....

Thursday, 11 November 2010


My grandad was an anti aircraft gunner in WWII. I should add that he was lucky enough to survive and lived to a right old age - it is probably him I have to thank for my interest in all things crafty / DIY / mechanical / making, breaking and mending!

Got the following email and piccy in from blog regular, Stuart.....
Hello GBC,
Thought you might like this picture of a Royal Enfield Paratrooper's bike, all crated up and ready to go. I saw it at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, Cambridgeshire earlier this year. Recent comments on the blog regarding our brave boys and girls both past and present brought it to mind.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Cubbie. Wales. Mr Pres. THE TRUTH.

You might not know this, but I converted my 1962 Triumph Tiger Cub to a 'rigid' some time ago. I'm not going to go into any more detail other than to say it was all my fault but hey, it's a learning process, and if I'd listened to the guys when they told me to get the swingy thingy pin / bush setup reamed when I rebuilt it, then maybe things would have been different...

So, it's been on the list of things to do for some time, but I just don't seem to have enough hours in my days, or days in my weeks, or even weeks in the month sometimes. Also on the list to 'look at' were the forks. The new seals I fitted never really fitted properly and they were yet another part of the bike that ran on a 'total loss' system. But guess what, the little bike got me around all 34 of the 33 Scottish Counties (yes, you did read that correctly) on Cubbies Counties (2008-2009) so I ain't complaining. Anyway, my reputation obviously goes before me, and the President, Bill Phelps, of the Vintage Motorcycle Club heard of my plight (no time, no skills, umpteen bikes to build / mend / keep / get on the road) and offered to fix Cubbie up for me. It worked out quite conveniently that he was attending all 3 parts of the Scottish Double Plus 1, and on the last leg at Blairgworie, he instructed me to take Cubbie to him and he would then convey my poor little bike to his Welsh workshop and attempt some repairs. See quote from previous post, below, or skip it if you read it before...

There was hardly time to breathe after the Plus1 was over, and on the Friday, I
was back to work and not home til about 10pm. While I was out, Mrs BC had
received an instruction from Mr VMCC President, Bill Phelps, via Past Pres Harry
Wiles, saying that I "must get Cubbie to Blairgowrie tomorrow for the National".
Frown. I was all set to head off early in the morning to accompany Pilot Rae on
his Ariel outfit, but not ready to have to extract Cubbie from the shed and
devise a safe and suitable way to transport it one hundred miles south. But when
The President gives an order, one finds it hard not to comply. So after my tea,
Mrs BC and I nipped out to the shed and moved a whole lot of junk around, and
wiggled Cubbie free from alongside Skorpy, where it had been sitting since about
June, when the MoT expired. The rain was lashing down outside, and the night was
of course, pitch black, so rather than load up there and then, we measured the
hay trailer and the back of the truck - in case there was any chance it would
fit in there. Well it probably could have been made to fit, but not without
draining all the oil and petrol and cleaning the muck off, so I came up with a
cunning plan, Baldrick. If I screwed some blocks of wood to the floor of the
trailer, and wheeled Cubbie on diagonally, it would just about fit and the
blocks of wood would stop Cubbie's back wheel from sliding from side to side. At
goodness knows what hour, I packed my rucksack, put the camera batteries on
charge and got to bed. Up at 5am on Saturday and at least the rain had stopped.
Once I managed to get Cubbie out of the shed, backwards, with little room to
manoeuvre, it was fairly straightforward to load it onto the trailer and strap
it down, and then we were off.
I wasn't there, 'cos they took the opportunity to load Cubbie onto Mr Pres's trailer while I was busy working, but some right old hilarity was had by all, and thanks to Pat Kirkham, there is plenty of photographic evidence, some of which you may have seen in the VMCC Journal, but in case you didn't, here are some snaps....

These snaps by Mr P, Pat's Snaps to follow...

So off Cubbie went, to Wales, in the company of an Indian and a Nimbus, (my, what quality company my little bike has been mixing with these days!) and once settled into Mr Pres's workshop, work began. After Mr Pres had been to the Isle of Wight and several other VMCC do's in his capacity as President, he set about examining the bike and making a mental note of a few more little jobs that he thought needed some attention...
On the bench, awaiting execution, er, I mean examination.
Quote "is this REALLY how the rear brake is adjusted?" I don't think Mr Pres wants me to actually answer that question, but the answer is yes, of course, how else would one adjust the brake?

Quote "Yet another horror - now gone". Boo hoo, I quite liked that funky little arrangement.
Rear end stripped, ready to remove the pin...

Like so...


Quote "YES I DID USE THIS HAMMER". I'm not sure I wanted to know that.
No quote, but I'm sure he was thinking this bit could do with a clean. I made him promise NOT to clean Cubbie though. And you think I'm kidding.

New pins and isolastic bushes ready to fit...

Like so.

After a quick cuppa tea, Mr P tackled (sorry, no rugby pun never mind) the forks

They look alright to me...but rumour has it, Mr P had to use the oxy torch to remove the screwed fork tops which were seized. Oh, and he had a bit of bother removing the offside stanchion due to the welded lug which had distorted the leg.

Just the shroud in place...

Hmmm, is that rust?

New stanchions in place - thanks to Bantam Cub, sorry it's taken so long to get around to letting someone else fit them for me.

Now, if I were doing this job, and I had to find or make a new oversize fork oil drain screw, I'd be stuck, but Mr Pres just goes and turns one up. Next thing I need is a lathe.

Old one on right, new 'un on left. A braw job there ma man.

The list of other odd jobs that Mr P carried out includes "re-fitting the Nacelle properly using nuts and bolts to replace the cable ties", ouch, ok, so I didn't get around to ordering some bolts that fitted. "Made a proper headlight rim adjuster screw and spring, fitted new W clips to headlight beam unit and rim and headlight was adjusted correctly for the MoT. Removed front wheel bearings and re-greased, replacing one that was noisy." Jobs that I've been told to do in the not too distant future chain, possibly sprockets too, and brake linings...oh go on then, maybe I can do that when it snows.

Hud on, just a few more pics to upload from the camera and then that's this tale ticked off. While you wait, have a look at the pics below, of Bill putting on some style at Aberdare Park in the early 1960s. The bike is a Manx by the way, but you'd spotted that already, I'm sure. What I probably shouldn't tell you is on the next lap, Bill decided to take a short cut through a tulip bed. Unfortunately, there are no pictures of that move - unless anyone out there knows of some...

I bet he didn't think, all those years ago, that one day, he would be the President of the Vintage Motorcycle Club, or that he would be fixing up a scrubby Cubbie for a wee lassie in Scotland.

I cannot say a big enough THANK YOU to Bill for all his efforts in, firstly, convincing me to part with Cubbie, then getting the bike to Wales, doing the work and finding the time to get it to the MoT test (hello Barry, hope the pic below meets with your approval) in between all his other commitments. I also must thank "Dickie" on the aberdeenbikers forum for collecting Cubbie on his way home from a race meeting at Pembrey.

MoT man Barry wanted to see what GBC looks like, but he's too late! She's gone!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010


Some of you may have read comments from "MZ Mark" on the blog over the years, and you may also recall his talent as a photographer when he he entered several stunning photos in the 2009 Winter Photo Competition. I found out today that Mark passed away on Monday, after suffering a heart attack, aged 44.
I pinched the following from "Adler" on the realclassic forum, I hope no one minds.

Mark recently stood down as Classics Officer with the MZ Riders Club, having
served in that position for a decade or more and helped countless members with
overcoming problems and assisting them with getting old MZ's back on the road.
Those bikes, on the road, where they belong is probably as fitting a tribute to
Mark as I can think of.

Mark's winning shot of his 1974 BMW R75/6 with a Russian Dnepr
chair, taken somewhere near Huddersfield.

And he kindly posed to show off his prize - no, not the TS 150 trail bike, the Cubbie tee shirt!

RIP fellow blogger -


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