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Wednesday, 30 March 2011

And the Pre-Xmas Comp Winner Was...

You may recall the Pre-Xmas Competition, which was something to do with coming up with the funniest word or phrase to complete the wording on a snow covered sign at Cubbie Towers. You are a funny lot, but the one chosen by Mrs BC to receive the nearly invisible prize, was Stu - so I'll hand over to him...

Just a few words to say thankyou for the prize that I won in your recent blog competition. I thought my reward might be a tee-shirt and half expected a picture of an enigmatic GBC wearing her blue helmet and mounted on her faithfull Cubbie to be printed on the front. Imagine then my shock to find a rather devilish and scantily clad young lady posing on a piece of Japanese exotica! My ghast was well and truly flabbered! Is this to be your new image? Have the bright lights of Edinburgh turned your head? Has Mrs BC been hosting an Ann Summers party for the sheep? or could this be your almost twin sister making another appearance? Heeheehee! Thanks again and keep up the good work, happy biking, Stuart.

Er, yes, that's Stu! And this, was his winning witty phrase!

Things may move at a slower pace around here, but we got there in the end. Thanks all for entering the comp and well done to those shortlisted to go through to the 'Mrs BC Decides' round. Talking of competitions, it looks like your Head Photo Comp Judge, Mr Phil Mather was correct in his assumption that seeing as winter has very nearly left us (although it's cold, wet and windy here today) the famous, annual GBC Blog Winter Photo Comp is not going to happen this year. Sorry about that, where has time gone? I mean, I went to bed and there was 6ft of snow outside, and when I woke up the clocks had changed and the sun was shining! So I hope you weren't looking forward to it too much, but if you had already gone and taken some snaps please do feel free to send them in anyway.

AND IN OTHER NEWS - - - my contact in Shetland has only gone and found me Terry's registration documents!!! Oh yes he has, what a star you are Joe!!! Now I really must get myself into the shed and get working on the wheels....frame...engine...paintwork...etc etc etc.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

GBC's trip to Glamis.

Hmmm, just been pulled by Grampian's Finest (aka the local Constabulary) on my way home from doing a talk at the Central Scottish Section of the VMCC! More tomorrow, or should I say later today, but the good news is you don't have to come and bail me out.

Right, so there I was, heading home, minding my own business when my phone went 'ping', so being a law abiding citizen, I pulled into a field entrance to check it, suspecting that it might be Mrs BC checking to see if I'd forgotten to put the chickens away. Then I spotted the car that had been coming the other way had gone past, then stopped, and was now reversing back to where I was parked. Well, being a girly out in the middle of nowhere at what must have been midnight or beyond, I decided the best bet was to move on. Then about half a mile further on, my mirror was full of flashing blue lights and blazing headlights. Humbug. All I wanted to do was get home and go to bed (after shutting the chickens away of course). So I pulled over, rolled the window down and the nice policeman requested that I join them for a chat in their vehicle. After a 'what brings you out at this time of night on these little back roads' quiz, we established that the cop doing the questioning also has poultry, and recommends a light sensitive pop-hole that you can adjust to shut at certain light levels so that the chickens are all safely shut away before dark - only works though if the hens are trained to go in the shed before the door shuts! We had a grand little chat about ducks, geese, badgers and foxes but I couldn't get him interested in joining the VMCC. Through the course of the conversation, he also established that I wasn't drunk, nor had I been drinking at all (I'm just a naturally merry person), so I was free to go. Got the local paper the next day and found out that there's been a bit of a drink/drive crackdown in these parts lately - was relieved to see the name of GBC didn't appear in it!

Friday, 18 March 2011

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

She's back - again.

Well this time it was a trip away for work, followed by the Ingliston bike show, followed by work, but now I'm back, laden with new clothes, chocs and aching feet and legs. Will attempt a report later on, just got a few admin issues to deal with.

Ok here we go. Can't write too much as Old Bike Mart would like a report too. Saturday, and I arrived early before the doors were open to the public, had a quick wander along one side of the hall and ended up at the Bikers Gearbox stall. For about the last five years, I've attempted to buy a pair of Kevlar-type trousers, but either I haven't found a pair I liked or could afford or, as I absolutely hate clothes shopping with more of a vengeance than you can imagine, I've given up when I've seen the hoards of people pushing and shoving and queueing in a hot stuffy hall, all after the same alleged show bargains. But this time, because it was before the crowds came in, and I quite enjoyed a bit a banter with the Geordie sales lad, I decided to try a couple of pairs on. The improvised changing room (hallway at the rear of the hall, cold, concrete floor, two sets of double doors...) was, well, let's just say that it made for a quick change, and after trying on the medium pair which were way, way, way too huge - they fell down even when fully buttoned up, I was resigned to not getting any after all, because a) these places hardly ever have the clothes in small sizes and b) even if they did, I assumed they would be too small. But the helpful Geordie found a pair in small and after being walked in on by a guy when I was mid-way through trying them, I did a few turns, assumed the 'sitting on a motorcycle' position and decided that they did fit rather nicely, not too tight and loose enough to be comfortable on a bike or walking around. And I managed to get a fiver knocked off the price for the embarrassing interruption. So that was the only time I managed to get a little walk around during Saturday; the entire day was taken up with recruiting entrants for the Vintage Training Day and taking turns with Shorty in demonstrating how David M's Ner-a-Car worked - as UN put it, a left hand twist grip clutch, lever throttle and centre hub steering, what could be more simple? Johny J's Hobart - soon to be GBC's Hobart, albeit temporarily, was also on my portion of the Central Scottish VMCC stand (thank you Shorty for allowing me to have the little teeny bit of the stand on the end, all to myself), and a goodly amount of people I think were somewhat calmed by the tour of the Hobart's controls after having the Ner-a-Car demo. Thanks to both owners for putting the bikes on show. So I was that busy that I didn't eat until gone 3pm, and then it was only a packet of crisps, and boy was I starving! A scrummy Indian takeaway later that evening soon put things right though, when I eventually found the place, and found parking, and found my way back to my hotel.

Sunday, and it was up fairly early again and back to the grind. I had a quick march around the rest of the show on my way in to the classic hall. Not much to talk about, the usual array of modern shiny bikes with the usual array of middle aged men who should know better perched upon them. The usual troops of almost naked girls advertising, er, what were they advertising? I don't know, the shade of fake tan put me off from looking for too long. Anyone know? The Man from Muckle Flugga did a stint on the stall and assisted with signing people up and going through the Ner-a-Car routine, almost losing his voice in the process, then UN turned up for our luncheon date, bringing with him a set of lovely thermal undies which will come in handy should this wintry weather hang around. I reckon with that kit on and my new troos I won't ever get cold on a bike again. An hour or two before the end of the show I finally got a chance to nip round and speak to a few people and see some of the other stands. Had a nice chat with George Beer, the new organiser of the classic & club hall, also met one of my predecessors, Mr C, ex-Scottish Area Rep and had a good old natter with Doug Young, who, with his wife Paula, ran the classic hall for many years. Ah yes, mustn't forget Rick Parkington! He stopped off for a chat and gave me some instructions on riding the Hobart, all I can say is I hope the instructions that Johny J is going to give aren't quite so scary! I'll have to check my notebook for details of anyone else I spoke to - apologies if I haven't added you to the list yet!

So there you have it, the Ingliston bike show in a nutshell, but the nitty gritty will be in OBM in the near that space...

Now, whose idiotic idea was it to give up chocolate for seemed like a good idea a week ago, but now I'm getting bored (read CRABBIT) with the idea. Most people who choose to give up, for example, drinking or smoking, at least have smoking or drinking to fall back on when times are testing, but I don't do either, so what do I fall back on? And to cap it all, I've got more chocolate in my possession than is good for me. And to cap it all again, I've just read that Lent is in fact 46 days long this year. What happened to the good old fashioned 40 days?

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Places still available for VINTAGE TRAINING DAY


Due to the success of the first ever Scottish Vintage Motorcycle Training Day in Aberdeenshire last year, there will be another chance for you to try some rare and beautiful machines on SUNDAY 22nd MAY 2011. This time the event is being held at Lanark Auction Mart in Lanarkshire to make it more accessible for those in the central and southern parts of the country - and it is also within suitable travelling distance for those in the north of England. Accommodation is available nearby. The cost of entry to the event is £30 (+ £3 for non members) and pre-booking is a MUST.

If you have a pre1931 machine, or even a slightly later model with a hand gear change or lever throttle, or any features that make it just a little bit different and challenging to ride, then PLEASE GET IN TOUCH. We'd also love to have a few BSA three-wheelers, Morgans or sidecar outfits (these need not be as old, for simply riding one will be the challenge!) for the riders to try. Some of the machines kindly supplied by members last year include a 1923 Hobart...1930 Ariel LG250...1927 Raleigh Model 17...1929 Velo KTT...1930 Scott...1922 Indian Powerplus...RE Model K lots of different Sunbeams! Without at least 20 machines, we can't hold the Training Day so if you think you have something of interest, PLEASE GET IN TOUCH!!!

The training days are the only way that some people can experience vintage / veteran motorcycles and sidecars, so please consider lending a machine to make someone's day. The event is overseen by Chairman Kim Allen and is conducted in an educational manner with riders (and owners) being fully briefed before any riding takes place.

Please note that your machine must be roadworthy and road legal - but you've got 2 months yet so get those spanners out and get cracking, Grommet! Riders must hold a full motorcycle licence.
If you have any questions, have a bike to lend, want to help out (yes, we need a few helpers to make sure things run smoothly - how about if you were an entrant last year, switching roles and helping out this year?) or want to book a place, drop me an email to cubbiescounties AT but make sure you change the AT to @.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

However, the next, next, next project is...

...another Cub...

Initial research indicates it is a a 1961 T20SL (Scrambler with lights / referred to in some places as a Sports Cub) engine in a 1955 frame. The frame is obviously wrong for the motor, but it seems to have the correct quickly detachable headlight, heavy duty forks and a few other little bits that go with the SL style. It is not entirely mine, no, this is a joint ownership arrangement, like people do with highly strung and very valuable race horses.

The SL engine does indeed have a bit of a racy background, with a compression ratio of 9:1 (the standard T20 road Cub is 7:1), the 'R' cam, sports type valve springs, close ratio gears and flat styleee handlebars. Just imagine crouching down over the tank, elbows tucked in, hanging on to those bars for all you're worth and hitting the top speed of reported by 'Motor Cycling' in a road test in 1961. That's another 13mph faster than the T20.

All I need to do now is make a bit of space in The Shed, or perhaps, make Another Shed.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Moto Guzzi V8

Calm down, it's not my next project, it's from the Race Retro show...

Apologies for the video that accompanies the soundtrack but I was sitting inside the hall and really couldn't muster the energy to get up and walk outside into the cold, bitter breeze so I made a little gap in the marquee wall between the ropes and held the Blackberry outside. It does the job, and I wouldn't have been able to get to the front of the crowds anyway.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Race Retro Show 2011

Ok, here we go, off to the Race Retro show, hang on tight! It was the idea of club member, Andrew, after he spotted an advert for the show in one of the classic bike mags. It seemed like a good idea to do a bit of car and cost sharing, so we tried to get a few others to head south with us. Arthur was keen but no one else seemed to want to go, apart from Shorty but his weekend had already been planned for him, cough. So I found a B&B that turned out to be a miniature version of Fawlty Towers. Read on. I managed to be at Andrew's place nearly on time on Friday morning, and we set off to collect Arthur. We trundled on down the road, Andrew and I sharing the driving - Arthur did offer to take a turn but as he walks with the aid of a white stick we politely declined his offer. It took about 9hrs to get to the B&B near Rugby, and once we'd established who was having which room - Arthur got the best deal and I was left without an en-suite (had to creep down the un-creepable-downable stairs in the middle of the night, after slamming my door on the way, oops, sorry!), we swiftly headed to the pub for some food. My vote for getting a Chinese take-away was disappointingly over-ruled. The grub was great and feeling ever so slightly refreshed, we then spent the rest of the evening in the other pub (there are 3 in the village) playing pool. Heaven alone knows what the locals thought when Arthur walked in with his white stick and then proceeded to nearly beat me at pool!

Up early on Saturday, at Andrew's request, and down to brekky. The arrangement was that the rooms we were staying in were in a self contained cottage, but the food was in the pub across the courtyard. The 'waitress' was Irish, not that there's anything wrong with being Irish, indeed, GBC has a smidgen of the Irish blood in her veins, and Mrs BC has a whole lot more, so watch out. We dared to ask for some serviettes only to be told that the order hadn't come in, and then the Irish female version of Manuel (you have all heard of Fawlty Towers, haven't you?) shuffled off into the kitchen, came back a while later and chucked a pile of blue paper tissue, the type that you might find in a garage or workshop for wiping oily hands, on the table. After she offered the guys more tea and coffee, and made a range of tutting and huffing responses to their requests, I made the daring move of asking for some more orange juice (I don't drink tea or coffee), and I kinda wished I hadn't! Much muttering and more tutting followed, accompanied by our sniggers and giggles as we then caused as much 'trouble' as we could. Some people wouldn't think of simply ordering breakfast as causing trouble but Manwell did. The extra orange juice arrived in the carton and was thumped down on the table in front of me. Still, all this entertainment made getting up early more bearable. We arrived at the show in good time and were able to park quite near the showground and Andrew was the only one who had to queue for his ticket (Arthur having been sold a spare ticket in the middle of the field and I had prebooked mine), but the kindly souls that we are, we waited for him.

We eventually found our way to Hall 3 where the bikes were located. On the way though, I spotted a stall selling some rather nice motor-related trophies. We're always on the lookout for something a bit different to the usual cups and shields, so I had a little chat. Arthur borrowed the guy's pen, and then walked off with it and by the time we realised, I had also realised that I, for once, was without a pen of my own. So it came in handy - apologies to the stall holder who probably only realised when his next customer appeared. On entering the bike hall, the first machine that we saw was the (famous?) Moto Guzzi V8 that Bill Lomas and Ken Kavanagh raced in the 1956 Dutch TT. Apparently it was fast, very fast, with a recorded speed of 187mph. Later in the show it was fired up, and that's what all the little boys had been waiting for. Personally, I preferred the Manx Norton, which sounds very dissimilar to a Cub, and yes, I did mean to write that. The following photos will probably convey more to you than I enjoy...

Brit bikes don't look too bad either...

Is the guy propping the bike up, or is the bike propping the guy up?

One of the good things about going to shows like this 'south of the border' is that I get to meet people who have read my articles in Old Bike Mart, or been on the blog and whom I wouldn't normally get a chance to bump into. One such person is David "Kendo" Kendal, from the Warwickshire Section of the VMCC. We had a right old natter about all aspects of the Club and how to try and encourage more younger people to join. Didn't get us anywhere but it's good to thrash some ideas around with like minded people. Have a look at Kendo's blog for some more pics from the show I also had the pleasure of meeting Dave Mac on the stand, who describes himself as a Rudge enthusiast. I think being the past President of the Rudge club and owning a shed full of them probably qualifies him. Plus he is a technical advisor to both the National Motorcycle Museum and the Coventry Transport Museum. The bike in the picture is his 1911 single speeder, just look at all the beautiful work on the engine and the levers and the bits of curly pipe and the little oil 'can' tucked away under the seat, and the overall design. Very nice.

I also stopped off at the Northampton Section for a natter, mainly 'cos the stall was being manned by three handsome chaps who all stopped talking when I approached and smiled ever so nicely at me. Be seeing you in Scotland at some point, chaps!

For some reason, I was quite attracted to the clocks, lights, tanks and zorsts of some of the exhibits, hope you enjoy (or forgive) the following few photos...

Maybe should add, CLEAN translations only please!

So, after spending most of the day in the bike hall, and a trip outside to hear the Moto Guzzi V8 and the Manx being fired up, we dined on the obligatory burgers and then had a quick whizz through the other halls and exhibitions. Lots and lots of cars and car related things, quite a lot of jumble but mostly 4-wheel orientated. There were also some noisy rally type cars being started up, which really didn't do anything for me. Then it was back to the B&B for a rest (that's code for saying we got back there just in time to catch the start of the England Vs France rugby, which was most enjoyable!) and then the guys gave in and it was a Chinese takeaway for tea. We crammed into Arthur's room as he had the luxuary of a sofa, and we nicked the table from the hallway and munched on mountains of sweet /sour /ginger / spring onion / chicken /pineapple / balls (don't ask) with piles and piles of egg fried rice, YUM.

Up not so early on day two, only to find that there was no heating and no hot water. The chaps were most displeased, understandably, but there were kettles in each room, probably for this purpose so drop of hot water could be had for a quick rinse in the basin. Breakfast was just as much fun. We bumped into Manuel in the courtyard at the back of the cottage, and I enquired if we should place our order there and then so that it would be ready by the time we got to the table, and I can't repeat what she said, other than it must have been Irish! Good old Arthur mentioned the hot water situation and managed to negotiate a small discount for us - well done Sir! The journey home was about the same as the outward trip, boring and punctuated only by stops at service stations for fuel, food and driver swaps. The best bit was getting back to Andrew's and being invited to stay for supper - thanks Andrew & Audrey.
Don't worry, got a sound clip of that V8 coming right up after work today....

She's back!

Never fear Bloggers, I've been away and now I'm back - full report on the Race Retro show to follow - but right now, I'm off out to the shed to see what I can achieve with the Terrier rebuild before lunch. Just hope it's a late lunch!


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