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Saturday, 30 April 2011

Nice day!

Wow, what a sunny day!

(Sorry, just testing the email feed thingy)

Thursday, 28 April 2011

100 Bikes - 100 Miles - 100 Years

Do you think there's any chance at all that I'll have Cubbie's brakes sorted by the end of May? At this rate, I think not, but after some advice from Mr Ex-VMCC-Pres, there might be a light at the end of tunnel. Not that Cubbie hasn't got any lights. Er, no, you're right, it hasn't got any lights or any brakes, but I'm assuming that's just a flat battery, even though its one of those solid ones that allegedly don't go flat...

Anyway, I recevied some info from the organisers of the Scottish Six Day Trial about their centenary celebrations over at Fort William - sounds like a bloomin' good day out and IF I can get Cubbie sorted, I'm going to enter. Anyone else going?

Here's the info...
Do you have a classic bike that doesn't mind a bit of mud? Are you up for a challenge? Then you might want to join us for our Centenary Bike Run!

On Sunday 29th May 100 bikes will take on a route of 100 miles to celebrate 100 years of the Scottish Six Days Trial. It's a day that is not to be missed for any SSDT enthusiast.

The run will start and finish near Fort William, covering a mixture of public roads and private unmetalled tracks. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to ride your classic motorcycle over some of the most remote and scenic routes that Scotland has to offer.

The event is restricted to 100 entrants and is aimed at pre-1960 bikes, although bikes up to 1970 will be eligible to take part. In the event of over-subscription any pre-1950 bikes will take preference. Throughout the day a full back-up service will be available and marshalls will be on hand around the route too. Before the run you can relax and enjoy a social gathering on the Saturday night

Doreen Stratford is co-ordinating the event - you can find more details in her event notes below and if it sounds like something you'd be interested in, you'll also find the entry form at the foot of this article. If you have any further questions, please just contact Doreen and she'll be able to provide you with the information you need.

And a little bit more to tempt you...there will be two routes - one for old trail/trial bikes involving some slightly rougher tracks, and one for vintage and road based bikes involving tarmac, and some properly graded unmetalled tracks - these will be suitable for road based bikes with reasonable tread pattern tyres.

Look at that - doncha just fancy poddling up there on your old bike? No pedestrians...maybe the odd bit of wildlife but you'll only be going slowly.

Sunday, 24 April 2011


Or to anyone who hasn't been off chocolate for Lent, Happy Easter. Either way, have a great day. The sun is shining at Cubbie Towers, the grass is growing, the lambs are skipping and the birds are singing merrily. And hopefully, I might get around to building a make-shift blasting cabinet today or tomorrow and I'll be able to get the Terrier wheels cleaned up.

Chocolate, anyone?

Tough, they're all mine!!!

PS in case you're wondering, I wrote this on Easter Sunday but it wouldn't 'post', possibly something to do with having just moved over to IE9, or maybe too much chocolate. I can't believe it, no choc for 46 days, ok ok, I had 2 little wobbles (possibly not the best word to choose) when an already opened packet of M&Ms wound me up so much that temptation got the better of me and I gave in. Only had 3 or 4 though. I think that's good going. You try it next year.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Terry / Cubbie update

What an exciting few days its been in the shed. Yes, I've spent a good few hours in there and achieved, let me think, hardly anything. I started at the beginning of the week with the intention of reassembling Cubbie's newly refurbished brakes, but ended up getting nowhere, because the brake arm is in the wrong place. I don't know what the technical names are, but the arm fits on a square 'thing' that is on the sticky-out end of the cam, therefore, the arm can only be adjusted in 90degree increments. This is inconvenient because one setting is too horizontal and the next one is too close to the bottom of the fork. After a long time spent head scratching, assembling it all again, checking that the brake plate was located correctly, spinning the cam around 180degrees, taking it all apart and putting it all back together again, it was time to go to work. Couple of days later, same thing, only this time, when I'd had enough, I moved on to fitting the 'new' speedo that Mr Pres (who incidentally, I should really call Mr Immediate Past Pres) sourced for me. Removed the headlight, ripped the sticky tape off the top of the nacelle (it was covering the hole where the speedo should go), removing a goodly amount of paint, cleaned the remaining sticky stuff and flaking paint off, rubbed it down and wiped clean with my favourite cleaning product, old petrol. Up on the top shelf, hidden away at the back was a pot of...wait for it...begins with H....yep, Hammerite. Smooth Black. Popped the lid off, it's still liquid, found a brush....lunch time! Followed by work time. Woe is me.

Next day, decided not to waste more time on the brakes, and it's too cold to paint - wouldn't want to have a bloom effect on my concors machine - so I take to cleaning one or two Terrier bits. I can't resist, I've got to try and undo the sludge trap in the flywheel. It's peened over to stop it from coming undone, so I un-peen it in a slightly amateurish way, but it works, and try the easy route first, just a large flat screw driver. It don't budge. Mrs BC lends a hand to hold the whole thing steady while I put all my weight behind it. It still don't budge. Back to cleaning then. So come Friday morning, I still don't have a bike ready for the Large Lunch, which was today (Saturday) but I've given up on that now and am more focused on that dratted sludge trap.

A few words of advice from someone point me in the direct of the impact driver - good idea but it still doesn't have any effect. Oh well, it the worst comes to the worst, I'll bundle it up and take it to the Large least I'll have part of a bike there... So at this juncture, I still haven't sorted Cubbie's brakes, or painted the nacelle, or fitted the speedo, or emptied Terry's sludge trap...but I should add that there is some positive news...but you'll have to wait a bit for that, busy day on the farm today with tail ringing and a poorly lamb born last night, then guess what, I've got to go to work. Huh.

SATURDAY - time for the Large Lunch, a good excuse for a get-together, eating and catching up after winter. And you know what that means...a gathering of men who know far more about bikes and working on them than I do. So I packed the flywheel thing into a box with rags, screwdrivers, hammers and the impact driver and popped it in the car. As Mrs BC and I arrived at the Sheiling Tor in Fyvie, some riders had just left on Bob P's treasure hunt style ride, and other were just returning, so I grabbed a few of them and lured them to the box of Terrier bits. First up was Andrew M but despite all his efforts, the sludge trap held firm. Next to give it a go was Bob P, but no joy there either, and then a team effort from Maurice C and Graham McC, with backup from onlookers Huey & Dewey forced the blighter to give in. A few good wallops on the impact driver and the screw loosened to reveal a pile of solid sludge, as predicted by everyone I'd asked if this was really necessary. Thanks guys, I would never have got that undone on my own.

Went to work on the way home from Lunch so no time to finish the job, but managed to sneak a bit of time back in the shed yesterday (Sunday, gee, this is confusing) before going to work, and picked away at the sludge, using a drill bit at first to wind the muck out and downwards, away from the big end, followed by an assortment of cable ties, plastic pointy things and a fine Allen key that was the only thing long enough to reach to the top. Then came my favourite bit; out with the GBC Red Plastic Flywheel Assy Washing Device, a turkey baster and some old petrol (old as in bought before the prices went sky high and not as in 'dirty'). The first rinse was shockingly filthy dirty and bitty, with a load of grit being washed out. Using clean petrol each time I rinsed and rinsed until it ran clear and free of debris, let it dry and then smothered it in fresh, new oil, before wrapping the whole thing up in a clean carrier bag and returning it to the shelf. Job done. (Thank you Larry for doing that research on sludge traps - just needed some muscles!)

A couple more rinses with the turkey baster and all that grit was gone.

Sunday was a very productive day, as not only did I do all that, but it was so hot that the Hammerite was at the right temperature and the nacelle didn't feel like a block of ice to touch, so after a lick o' paint, lick o' paint, Cubbie's looking a bit brighter and smarter. Trouble is, I'll have to do the other bits that need a lick o' paint now. Botheration!

Apologies for the really weird layout, I just can't get the pics to stay where I put them! Grrrrr!

PPS thanks to Gordon from Shetland the search for pics of Islay is over. Sounds like an interesting project that's on the go, update you later.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Photos or videos of Islay WANTED

Got the following email in a while ago, can anyone help?
I wonder if you could help me. I'm contacting you on behalf of a whisky distillery on Islay, Scotland, called Ardbeg. We are trying to find images/video or documentary evidence of motorcycles on Islay, from vintage to classics - owners or road trips etc.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

A new recruit to the Vintage world.

I'm pleased, and a little proud, even though I do say so myself, that as a result of the Scottish Vintage Training Day last year, at least one more person in Scotland now rides a vintage motorcycle - read on for Paul's story.

B.S.A. W32-6 VMCC training days can have strange and lasting effects; an interesting and challenging day was anticipated, but falling for side valve hand-changers? No, not really. And then, barely a week after the event at Alford last year, I saw an advert for a very tidy BSA W6 at a very fair price - some things are just meant to be. What we have here is a 500 sidevalve with full electrics and a four-speed hand-change gearbox. The new-fangled foot change was optional but a detachable cylinder head as standard was thought modern enough for 1932. Controls are not quite as they appear or as you might expect: the left-hand 'mag' lever is in fact the decompressor, ignition advance being controlled by a left twist grip (great fun!). Oh, and the horn button is on the right, as is the rear brake pedal. The machine has been beautifully restored, sometime in the early 90's I would guess, but the worthy emphasis on originality made it less than ideal to actually use. This might explain the mileages shown on the last 13 years' MOTs: 570 in 1997 and still only 980 in 2010. So ... firstly, the coiled copper fuel pipe had to go - it was routed close the cast iron engine and the resultant vapourisation of ethanol-laced fuel caused weak running and an absolute refusal to start when hot. Next the cable from rear brake pedal to front brake was removed - linking may have seemed a good idea but in practice it restricts the geometry of both brakes. A two-pole bulb holder has been fitted in the rear lamp unit so a brake light could be wired in - not a legal requirement prior to January 1936 but important for safety in modern traffic; rather like a mirror. A little fine tuning to carburation and ignition timing further improved things to the point where this is now a safe, reliable motorcycle. Just as BSA intended. Sorry if all this causes gnashing of teeth but I like to ride my bikes regularly over quite long distances without recourse to the tool kit and its a 115-mile round trip for an MOT here. We've done over 700 miles since the last one and the engine feels more willing than ever; I don't think it has been given the chance to 'run in' since the rebuild. The hand change can be a bit of a handicap in town where the W6 is otherwise sprightly enough, the brakes coping well. With a comfortable cruising speed of 45mph main road riding needs an eye on the mirror and, if a queue is beginning to build up, I pull in to the next lay-by to let them all pass. Its a pleasant surprise how many drivers appreciate this and give a wave or a hazard flash. But on back roads and single track the BSA is an absolute joy. Plod along in top gear or push on a bit just as the mood takes you. Either way concentrate on the road surface as girder forks have their limits, and allow extra braking distance on steep descents or when running above 40mph. Steep climbs need a drop to 3rd with perhaps a little retard on the ignition if the revs fall off. All situations need good anticipation and planning but with a little practice it will come together. And then comes the magic as the machine begins to talk to you. Your control asks the question and the way it responds gives reply as in "oh for goodness sake, what are you playing at", or perhaps simply "could do better", but best of all is "well, you got that right, didn't you". And so the dialogue continues to journey's end. Wonderful!

VMCC training days can have strange and lasting effects. You have been warned!

A few facts and figures... Engine air cooled 4-stroke single Displacement 499cc Bore/Stroke 85 x 88mm Compression (est) 5.0 : 1 Valves side valve Carburation 1in. Amal type 76 Ignition Lucas magneto, gear driven Lubrication pressure feed from gear type pump to roller bearing crank 3 pt. (1.7 l) reservoir in unit with crankcase Power (est) 13 bhp at 4000 rpm Transmission single row primary & final drive chains Clutch multi plate Gearbox 4 speed, hand change Electrics (optional) Lucas 6v 3-brush dynamo Frame I-section steel spine with bolt on front & rear down tubes, lower rails & rear sub-frame Front suspension BSA girder with coil spring, adjustable friction damping Rear suspension sprung saddle Front brake 7in. SLS drum (originally with additional link to foot brake) Rear brake 7in. SLS drum Tyres 3.25 x 19 front & rear Fuel 2¼ gal. (10.2 l) Wheelbase 54 in. Seat height 28 in. Weight (est) 360 lbs. (163 kg) Typical consumption 55 - 60 mpg

Friday, 8 April 2011

Confession time.

You know me, I'm fairly up front about things, so I feel the need to confess about a small departure from the chocolate free path I've been on since the beginning of Lent, which was many, MANY days ago. But what could I do? I was at work yesterday afternoon, and this particular job involved interviewing an elderly couple. Well, tradition in the north east of Scotland is that when someone is offered a cup of tea (or in my case, a glass of cloudy lemonade) and they accept, then alongside the drink goes a plate full, and I'm not kidding, FULL of biscuits, cakes and various other sweet things. In this case, every item on the plate had chocolate on or in it, and it would have been considered very rude and improper of me to refuse, so I opted for the coconut biscuit topped with dark chocolate. I only had one though. And I have confessed. So now I feel better. Only 15 days to go...

By the way, this is nothing to do with chocolate or confessions, but I'm fair chuffed, as they say, to have 27 'followers' who are bold enough to click the 'follow' button and have their little piccy / name added to the bottom of this page. However, I think there are probably one or two more of you out there who could be brave and click the 'follow' button and get the list up to 30 at least. Waddya say? C'mon, please?

***Wow, thank you guys 'n' girls, that it up to 30...I suppose 35 is too much to ask...?**

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

A trip to Inverness

Well, what a nice bunch of chaps. Just done a talk for the Highland Classic Motorcycle Club and VMCC Members, and jolly well it went too. After a day of admin duties and updating my slideshow, I arrived in Inverness in time to grab a pannini at Tescos - no other hot food is served after 6pm, and yes, I'm still rather peckish. Got along to their meeting in good time for the 8 o'clock start and sat quietly while Chairman Neil went through Club business. My turn came at around 9pm and I hope I didn't bore them all too much with tales of my first two years of Area Rep-ship. My favourite kind of talk is one where I ask a question and someone in the audience responds - exactly what Geoff, Burt, Neil, Andy-he of yet another bike purchase, and one or two others, I'm sorry I don't know all your names, did. It must have gone fairly well as I'm invited back - and I just had to go and say in my usual witty way that I'd only go back if at least one Highland Club member joined the VMCC - so two people then came up and hinted that they would possibly get around to filling in the form and joining the big happy gang that is the Vintage Motorcycle Club! Excellent, thanks guys, any questions etc, just give me a shout on cubbiescounties AT aultan.con but remember to change the AT to @ and remove the spaces. The Highland Classic Club organise the Loch Ness rally every year, an event worth doing for the scenery, good company and usually good weather. Thanks for the invite, be seeing you again sometime chaps.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Scottish Training Day ***CANCELLED***

No, this is not an April Fool, the Scottish Training Day really has been cancelled. This is due to a lack of bikes being available for the entrants to try. It's probably best if I don't comment further, other than to say once again, thank you to everyone who attended LAST YEAR and made that such a successful event, and thanks to those who have helped recruit riders, or helped finding a venue, or offered help for this year. ****Anyone who hasn't had an email from me about Plan B, please get in touch - cubbiescounties AT ****


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