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Friday, 29 July 2011

Trophy time again.

You may recall that last August, Pilot Rae and I, were crowned International World Scottish Trials-ish Champions, or similar, for riding various trials bikes at a trial where no-one knew us, along the road from the S&T (the first part of the Scottish Double), plus, at the S&T, GBC was awarded a trophy for being the "Best Sidecar Passenger". Well, we get to keep that invisible trophy but as it's almost time for the Double again, the organisers of the S&T would like their trophy back. No panic. Grab it off the sideboard, give it a quick dust, and rush into Turriff Tackle & Trophies to have it engraved - and the engraving lady was able to do it while I waited, so I thought I'd take a few piccies for you...

Setting it up on the machine...

Like so...
Laying out the words and choosing the font, spacing and size...

Then the machine whirrs into life and a few mins later...
The small shield is ready to be positioned, drilled and pinned to the wooden shield...
Just like this. Sadly I won't be able to attend the S&T this year to defend my title, as I have to be at a local rally - the organisers of which are kindly lending us their marquee for the Plus1. But everyone at the S&T, y'all have a good time now - I can't remember the last time I wasn't there.

Huge thanks to Turrif Tackle & Trophies for the swift engraving.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Cheeky little thing to use for premium phone numbers.

In case you need to call a company that uses a premium rate phone number as their main point of contact, what you need to do is type in this address and then search either for the company name or type in the number you've got for them, to find an alternative. Just been on the phone to get insurance for the MZ and it took 21 minutes - no cost to me cos I get all my 01.... calls for free. Bingo. So now I'm just waiting for the MoT man to do his thing, but there's another 6hours to go....til I get the word...or not...need chocolate....

Monday, 18 July 2011

One more done, 5 more to go.

Well, well, well well well. Looking back at the photos I took of my MZ Skorpion swinging arm strip down, I noticed that the date on them was....yes....wait for it....July 2010. I left it so long because I thought I'd like the challenge of trying to remember how it went together. A Grumpy club member kindly patched up and painted the old swingy, but when one in much better nick came up on Ebay I thought there'd be no harm in having two. The new one was powder coated and looks 'proper good', and seeing as the swingys are a bit hard to come by, I might try and get the old one reinforced or patched up some more and keep it as a spare. Or maybe I'll find someone to make me a brand new one using that as a pattern.

Anyway, over the last few days I've been messing around painting a few more bits that came off the bike - the dog bones from the suspension linkage, the footrest hangers, gear change lever and brake pedal. The search to find a spray can of silver Hammerite in Fraserburgh was epic, but that's another story all on its own. Did you know, that the Skorpion was fitted with an adjustable shock absorber? I'd forgotten, and mine was so caked in oil and mud that the adjuster couldn't be seen! So it was on with the shock, and all the linkage bits, then off again when I realised that the swing arm should really have gone on first!

Next up was my favourite bit - the fitment of a nice, shiny new chain, in gold, with O rings and ooooh it does look good, I could sit and look at that for a long time. To keep the chain in tip top condition, I thought the Scotoiler ought to be brought back into service. All the bits were there (or thereabouts, in a drawer) but the reservoir had a hole in it where it had been rubbing on the mudguard (ok ok so it's a hugger really, I know) so I nicked a reservoir from a box I found in the shed, and hooked it all up and stuck some blue gooey oil in it. A couple of cable ties sorted out the question of how and where to run the feed pipe to the back sprocket.

The brake caliper had a clean up, took out the pin that holds the pads, copper slipped everything I could find to copper slip, stuck it all back together and then had much fun trying to recall how the spring / washers / no washers / little thing on the bottom that pushes the piston into the rubber thing went. Tip: when you take pics of a strip down, try and clean the parts first so you can see what you're taking a picture of. Hmmm. Bled the brake and then time for a tea cake. Back out to the shed, changed oil and filter and cleaned the gauze filter in the junction above the back of the engine, almost lost a washer in the Cubbie Towers oil recycling bin. Finally got around to the gear change lever, which compared to the brake was a piece of cake.

The battery, which had been left on the bike over winter (errrrr, three winters) had been lovingly tended to over a few days with a top up of distilled water and a good charge, and on the third crank of the button (after a carb drain), bingo! Thump thump thump. Skorpy lives again! Not bad after standing for three years, yes, THREE years with no love or thought given to laying the bike up properly. A quick spin down the private lane just to check everything and the back brake is rubbish so that'll have to be bled again, and then I'll be on the phone to the MOT man. The sad thing is, after getting it back together, I'm not sure it'll be going on the long jaunt to Italy this year. Having costed it out properly, it would cost over a thousand great British pounds just for the fuel and camping. Then add to that food and fun for a week (I fancied a day trip to Corsica but the ferry is about £100+) and I dread to think what the total would be. Plus I really need to do some miles and re-acquaint myself with the potential oil consumption issue - does it really need to be topped up every 100 miles or was I imagining it? And yes, when the internet stops dropping the connection every couple of mins, I'll pop some pics on for you. Mind you, British Telecomedy estimate it will be Thursday before they can fix it.

Anyway, you'll be glad to hear that Skorpy is 17 years old now, so I can get away with writing about it on this here mostly classic blog. Hey, it'll make a change, and Cubbie ain't going nowhere, no Sireeee, I've got the primary chain case off and my spanners at the ready to give the clutch a strip and find out if all is ok in there - a chance glance at it a few weeks back revealed that the whole clutch basket moves in directions that don't look all that healthy. Then if you want more of a Brit bike fix, hang around, and with a bit of luck I'll be working on Terry the Terrier again sooooooooon.

Gotta go bleed that brake again.

PS, if you're wondering what the title means, 5 is the number of projects left to finish!!!

Friday, 8 July 2011

The 3rd Plus1.

Well that's the route taken care of - well, for the time being. Mrs BC and I went round plotting the main route with Captain Bill last week, now it's in his capable hands to be drawn out all nicely and neatly, ready for testing, then altering if needs be, then its back over to Cubbie Towers for printing on waterproof paper with waterproof ink (huh, you'll be lucky, a plakky bag is your best bet) and getting ready for the rider packs. The evening meals are taken care of, the lunch stops planned, the weather booked (can't be worse than last year....oh please....don't let it be worse than torrential rain and flooding...), the entries so far are all spread-sheeted in alphabetical order, colour coded and arranged in my own mad method, so if you really want to annoy me, best get your entry in ASAP so that I'll have to re-arrange the lists! Oh, yes, make it very soon cos the closing date is the 15th of July, so chop chop!

Off to Glamis tomorrow, see you there?

Monday, 4 July 2011

Cubbie...and BikeSafe.

I've been trying to get on the BikeSafe course for years, but never got around to it, or remembered to apply in time and all that stuff. This year, after a talk from Grampian Police at the bike club, I pestered all the Grumpy members to go on BikeSafe with me. And some of them did. Not many, but enough to get a group together and make a good showing at Aberdeen police station when we turned up on Sunday for the course. I was pleased - no, amazed to find a total of 3 Triumphs belonging to 'students' and 1 Triumph belonging to the Advanced Motorcyclist who helps out, parked up outside the station, and Cubbie made 5. In case you don't know, there are no tests or exams on the BikeSafe course, it doesn't aim to make you a faster rider, or turn you into an 'advanced' rider, it is merely intended to help make riders more aware, and therefore safer, on the road.

Can't tell you too much, cos that would spoil your enjoyment of reading all about it in Old Bike Mart one day soon, but in brief, the day started with a DVD all about filtering, junctions, overtaking and the like, complete with some rather weird computer simulations of riders doing stupid things and being smashed to bits between cars - all based on real life scenarios, sorry, road traffic collisions. Then we were split into two groups, the one I was in went out on the road first for the observed rides, while the others partook of some up to date first aid advice. The riding was observed by either a police motorcyclist or the advanced rider, and frequent stops allowed for feedback and advice.

After returning to the station a couple of hours later we were most certainly ready for lunch. After that it was our turn for the first aid bit. That was rather good as the speaker demonstrated helmet removal and how to turn a casualty over should it be necessary. Turns out that if you stumble upon a casualty out on the roads, after making sure all is safe, if they're breathing you just leave them be (calling the emergency services goes without saying, I hope!) - no hauling them into the recovery position for risk of damaging the spine, but if they're not breathing, then you must roll them onto their back and 'make' them breath - we were shown the 'new' jaw thrust technique - no more of the tilting the head back to clear the airway, because, again, that would put the spine in danger should there be any injuries to the back or neck. Have to say, I'm not all that confident I could master the jaw thrust, it looked easy when he showed us (it's a bit sore when he demonstrates on your own jaw!), and it sounds easy enough, but in real life....anyway, here's how you do it -

Kneel at the top of the casualty's head.
Rest your elbows on the surface where casualty is lying.
Place one hand on each side of the casualty's lower jaw at the angle of the jaw, below the ears.
Stabilize the casualty's head with your forearms.
Use the index fingers to push the angles of the patient's lower jaw forward.

After that, a guy from a local bike shop who doubles as a Special Constable took us through a bit of bike maintenance, most of which didn't apply to such an ancient machine as Cubbie! Then it was time to go home.

So there it is, I've done it, and so has Cubbie. I'm not convinced that all of the techniques apply to slower machines / riders though. For example, taking a nice long sweeping right-hander, you should place yourself as close to the left hand verge as is safe, thus giving maximum view of the road ahead and any hazards, but with a max warp speed factor of 50mph on Cubbie, I felt that I was giving an open invitation to car drivers to overtake me. So with some more advice, I modified that positioning slightly, and will take such bends a little further in from the verge. And stick my elbows out to make my presence on the road 'greater'. I could have said bigger there but you'd only tell me to eat more chocolate!

All in all, a good day out, and not bad for £20. And besides, what harm can extra advice from professional riders do?

Saturday, 2 July 2011


Woohooo, doing the Bikesafe course tomorrow on Cubbie, can't wait. Don't know why I'm so excited, maybe because like the local easter egg run, I've always missed out on entering or being able to enter or having a bike on the road. Hope they will make allowances for Cubbie - I suspect that the majority of bikes will be sports bikes....

Have you tried, recently, living without the use of a bank card (either credit or debit) and cheque book? It's extremely difficult. I've been trialling such a method for the last week, not from choice but from stupidity - if you lose your bank card, for some bizarre reason, it takes the bank 7 to 10 working days to make you a new one. Ok, so you can withdraw cash from any branch by using your passport as ID, but then you try eeking out the cash - no flexible friend in your pocket to help should you spend too much, and how much is too much, how much cash should you be carrying around in your pocket - oh, and that's another thing, try finding a cheap petrol station with is manned these days! Obviously the manned (or womanned) ones have to be dearer because they have to pay that man, or woman. Still, on the 7th day, my new card arrived. Now I just need the new PIN which I'm told, will be arriving under seperate cover. Shhhh.


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