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Saturday, 20 August 2011

Hairy Larry's Very Own Blog.

...just for Mrs BC...

Well, not just for Mrs BC, you can all go and look at it too. Great read Larry, and some brill pics from the 'Mile' - don't know what I'm on about? Go and see for yourself.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Botheration and Skorpion gloom.

Having got Skorpy back on the road, I was really looking forward to trekking down to the National Assembly of Vintage Motorcycles (aka the National) at Blairgowrie on it (12/13/14th Aug). As if the Plus1 hadn't kept us busy enough on the Weds and Thurs pre-National, we also had the possibility of the sheep shearer turning up some time on Friday. He arrived at 3pm, although my watch said 4pm (he's always an hour or so late, worse than me, some might say) and by 6ish, it was all over. I hadn't started packing of course, much preferring to leave that til the last minute, so I looked out my throw-over panniers, tent and 'stuff' that goes with it, and even managed to find the non-slip mat that I use on the seat to stop the tent and 'stuff' sliding off. With the oil level checked and topped up, and everything bungeed on good and tight, it was time to fire the beast up and be gone. Poor old Shorty is always short (sorry) of volunteers to man the checkpoints at the National, so the Man from Muckle Flugga offered to spend his weekend standing in a layby in Perthshire doing the necessary time checking and logging of the bikes, so I met up with him on the way south and we trundled down the rain sodden A90 in the dark and cold and wind. Conveniently, there is a MacDonalds situated right on the exit that we needed to take to cut across country to Blairgowrie, so feeling a little peckish, and it being somewhere after 10pm, a food stop was in order. Luckily these places don't close til 11pm. We topped up on coffee and fries (oh, how American?) only I passed on the coffee, a cold drink being my preference unless the weather is really awful, and set off once more.

The MFMF's bike was suffering a little, with an indicator lense full of water and a hole in the underside of one of the panniers, the one above the exhaust, to be precise. Skorpy was performing faultlessly though, and I was quite enjoying the ride, now that the rain had stopped and once we were off of the main road, the side winds weren't so effective either. We must have arrived at the campsite some time around 11.30pm, set up the tents and then the rain came down once more. In the morning, it was quite sunny and warm, and I couldn't decide whether or not to wear my jumper. In the end, on the advice of Pilot Rae, I wore it but left the liner out of my coat. Wise move? Yers, it worked out ok, and taking my waterproof trousers bungeed on the back of the Ariel-ish-trials-outfit meant that we missed all of the rain that some of the other riders experienced. I think I should probably write a seperate review of the Plus1 and the National, seeing as this post is specifically to do with Skorpy woes, so I'll miss out all the bits about the ride, and skip to going home on Sunday. It was a bright and glorious day and I was looking forward to going on the social run to Glenshee. As it was roughly on the way home, I planned to do the first part of the run, stop for lunch with the rest of them, then head north while they returned south. Had to go and get oil for Skorpy, so fired it up, rode out of the campsite, and it started to pop and back fire - now, I'm used to Cubbie doing such things, but Skorpy? No, never. Not even when they say 'they all backfire on the over run'. Not mine. I thought perhaps a little rain had got into the petrol tank (I need a new seal for the filler cap) so rode to the garage, and just as I turned off the bike stuttered and died. Thinking it was out of fuel I switched it to reserve and rode smoothly up to the pumps. Filled it up, bought some ultra expensive oil, headed back to camp only to find that Skorpy wasn't happy at all. Decided to check the plug for signs of water in the fuel, which on this bike isn't an easy task. Off with the seat, off with the side panels, then off with the newly filled tank. Whip the plug out, hmmm, seems a little pale, but there are no signs of water. Clean it up with some borrowed emery paper (thanks Mr 'Sunbeam' Odling), gap it and replace. Checked the small filter that's located in the base of the fuel tap, no sign of anything untoward. Flicked the tap on just to make sure there's no nasty bits got in while the tank and tap were lying in the grass, and noticed that there wasn't much of a flow rate when on main, but put it all back together anyway. By now, a selection of chaps have been over to have a laugh and to pass derogatory comments about MZs, but I ignore them all, and besides, they're all heading off on the run in a minute, so peace will be resumed! Captain Bill had hired a van for the weekend to transport his Connaught to the rally, so a plan was formed that I would set off in front of him and see how the bike ran. I got as far as the other side of town, then Skorpy died. Bill parked the van up and the MFMF helped heave the bike up the very very steep and narrow ramp (desighed for the Connaught not a bike with a big fat back tyre!). Just as we got it inside, the Heavens opened and down came the rain, bouncing and pinging off of the road, I'm sure I head thunder too. If ever there was a good time to breakdown it was probably now! With all my gear in the back and Skorpy tied down we set off once more. Once back at Cubbie Towers, some proper ramps were used to unload and my heart didn't stop quite so many times as it did for the loading up.

After a quick brain storming session on my favourite Skorpion forum the guys reckoned my first port of call should be the fuel tap. So I spent far too long playing musical-spare-petrol-cans, filling one, then another, then emptying one into Cubbie and looking for other vehicles to empty the next one into, until finally, the huge Skorpy tank was empty.

Then removed the two bolts that hold the fuel tap in place. Took the tap apart, blew some compressed air through it all, finally got the long filter removed and gave it a clean, then put it all back together. Was slightly apprehensive as the last time I took one of these taps apart it never stopped leaking....chucked some petrol back into the tank, enough to take it over the reserve level and the tap leaked just a little, but seemed to dry up after a while. Ran the bike a bit in the shed, seemed fine. Just needed to test ride it before heading off to the Harley gather at Aviemore on the following weekend. Got a fine day midweek and risked a trip to Aberdeen. All was well. No back firing or stuttering. Could it really be as simpe as dirt in the tap? I hope so...

PS, if you're wondering where I've been, other woes, such as a broken water pump for the house and an extended search for a wheel bearing for the 4x4 have been taking up too much of my time lately! Hopefully both are now sorted and normal service can resume. I'm told, by the way, that there are two reports by GBC in OBM this comiong month, so check it out.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Bizzy bizzy!

Well that's the 3rd Plus1 over with, everyone got a really good soaking on the first day (Weds) followed by a sunny and warm ride on day two (Bob's Lunch Run), so now they've sampled both types of NE Scottish weather. Today, its time to take the marquees down and pack everything up, then there might be sheep shearing, then there might be work, then I might head down to the National at Blairgowrie. Or I might get up at the crack of dawn tomorrow and go then. Personally, I'd prefer going today but we have to wait and see what the weather holds in store.

Thanks to everyone who helped at the Plus1 - and thanks to all the entrants who braved the non-stop rain and chilly conditions to 'enjoy' the route we'd planned for you. Hope to get some of your comments and feedback forms back. Be seeing y'all again some time I hope.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

The Skorpy story first 'proper' ride.

Its been 3 years since Skorpy was on the road - last time I rode it I was terrified because the rear end seemed to wiggle 'n' jiggle and hop about all over the place. It was 'orrible in the wet and scared the daylights out of me when crossing white lines and overbanding. So I put it away in the shed and decided I ought to replace the worn bush in the linkage that sits at the bottom of the shock absorber, before I junked the new tyres (not my usual BT92s that I knew and was used to, but some slightly cheaper Continentals that I thought might be responsible for the handling) I'd just fitted. So after three years, I finally managed to make time and space to do that job (see - pictures now added) and other than a short run down and up the bumpy track that leads to Cubbie Towers just to check that all the brakes and gears worked after having their linkages disassembled, my first 'proper' ride was a couple of miles to the MoT station. I was majorly disappointed to find that it was just as scary as I remember - but that was probably something to do with having the wrong pressure in the back tyre! I'm a girl, so I can confess to that, and this; I didn't get into top gear or over 40mph all the way. The Skorpion doesn't have that great a top speed, but it is blessed with low down grunt, and going from Cubbie, who has neither, to a 660cc beast that can exit corners like a rocket (well, by comparison) is a bit of a shock to the system. Good job there's a grab handle at the back of the seat tp stop me sliding off the back!

Proprietor of Cameron Autotech, Roy, kindly adds some air to Skorpy's rear tyre.

Roy handles MoTs and repairs on any kind of bike from sports to 'middle aged MZs' to classics.

And even Velos...

My next 'proper' ride was from the MoT garage, where they presented me with a PASS and topped the back tyre up to the right PSI, to get the tax. I could have done without the gale force winds trying to push and pull me around but apart from that, I think it rides much better than before, although it still took a few miles before I got up to 60mph, and getting smooth gear changes is, er, interesting. I remember now, why I chose this bike in the first place. The balance is spot on for slow speeds and you can dribble along on the back brake in town without having to stop. The crazy rev counter is cute and the zorst - both looks and noise, is bootiful, and in the short space of time that I stopped to get and fit the new tax disc, two chaps stopped for a chat about bikes - admittedly not Skorpions, but one was a Triumph man and the other a Jap bike lad who remembers the days when he and his mates got their first 2 stroke Jap bikes and messed around racing their Brit bike riding buddies.

So, onto my first 'proper' proper ride. Oh yes. In at the deep end, and why not. With my timing being to perfection for once, the bike was MoTd on the Friday, then I picked it up on Saturday morning, which just so happened to be the day of the Grampian Classic club BBQ and Mr P's ride out. Setting off from Turriff, I was still feeling a bit wobbly, but on roads that I know quite well, I soon settled into Skorpy style again. It's rather strange having to use the throttle and brakes to adjust my speed for corners - on Cubbie it's usually fairly full on, unless the corner is very tight. Stopped at Huntly for cheap(er) petrol and a sarny, then cut over the hill to Gartley, Rhynie and then Lumsden. I didn't like that road. I never have liked it. I can't seem to get into a rhythm. I know a lot of local bikers who love it because of the combination of sweeping bends and tight corners. Anyway, met up with the Grumpies and after hanging around for a bit to see who would turn up, we set off in the wake of Mr P. I don't really know where we went, other than the Glenbuchat road which was a single track tarred road with gravel down the middle, and some stunning views. The sounds of our selection of bikes startled the sheep, horses and cattle who could be seen beating a hasty retreat up on the hills. We passed through the Cairngorm National Park, not all of it, just a smidgen of it, and ended up in Ballater for lunch. Again, some breath taking views along the way, which thanks to Slick Vic, we all had more of a chance to appreciate, as his bike decided to run on just one cylinder. After a hot chocolate and a slab of cake large enough to feed a whole fleet of Skorpion riders, Mr P set off again to take us back to Lumsden. The weather had been a little damp and chilly when we'd set off on the outward leg, but by now it was just about right. Again, no idea where we went, I was too busy re-learning how to ride my bike, but the roads were good and the pace at the back of the pack was spot on.

Up on yonder hill, don't know which one, but the views were nice.

Lunch time in Ballater.

The BBQ put on by club member and newsletter editor, Mr Jolly (yes, I'm sure he's heard them all before) was spot-on, with plenty of tasty burgers, sausages, salad and accompaniments, followed by a selection of puddingy cakes. By the time we all left to go home, the weather had chilled down again, but at least it was still dry. All in all, I must have clocked up 160ish miles and I'm pleased to see the squared off section of Skorpy's rear tyre has been replaced with a nice smooth rounded off bit instead. That'll soon be gone though, I've got a bit of a dual carriageway stint coming up next weekend when I go to the National Assembly of Vintage Motorcycles at Blairgowrie.


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