Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The Boundary 500 Santa Parade

We rode in the Santa parade at the weekend, this is in aid of local charity Zoes's Place Baby Hospice.
This is our second year participating and again it was amazing, a real feel good day.

There were over 160 bikes with about 220 'Santas' the parade was led by an old fire engine and stretched about 3/4 of a mile! Not so good if you were waiting at junction for us all to pass.

The 22 mile ride raised over £29 000 last year and this one was even bigger. The local Mayor picked our bike out as her favourite so we won a bottle of whisky! This will go back for one of the charity tombolas. Can't wait for next year! Here's the video

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Ride Out Round The Bike Cafes

The weather was mild (18 degrees), not bad for the mid/end of October so I set off just on a quick ride before the weather changes. I used to commute by bike in all weathers but don't have to now so avoid bad weather when I can,
Heard the 100th Scott trial was on near Reeth so set off to the nearby Manor bike cafe (http://www.manor-cafe.co.uk) for a cuppa

 Then on to Reeth to watch some of the trial, the trial is around the long causeway, which is the road to the Tan Hill Inn (the highest pub in Britain) so it was a blast over the Pennines to the pub!


It was windy up at the pub as you can see by the sign, on again on the deserted road over to the Filling station Cafe at Keswick (http://www.fillingstationcafe.co.uk) and just a few spots of rain.

Then back on the road to The Hartside Cafe near Alston which sits on an amazing twisty road almost like riding in the alps. As usual there was loads of bikes.

Then back past High Force and home, 

240 miles, how did that happen?

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

New Bike Progress Report

Well we've had the bike nearly a year and done about 5500 miles so here's some observations compared to the 1150 GS we had before.

The first thing I noticed is the bike is noticeably sharper, with better acceleration, a smoother ride with a slicker (still a GS!) gearbox.
The bike hasn't lost any quirkiness with its weird switch gear and funny beak, and it's still BIG with the panniers on, nearly a metre wide, but you get used to filtering (the mirrors are wider than the panniers) and with the spotlights and headlight always on you look BIG and people see you and (most) tend to give you room.
The bike has ABS, which can be turned off, but I've never felt it come on yet.
Traction control, which can also be turned off, i have felt this kick in when I was a bit keen on the throttle out of a turn on a damp morning, it still wasn't drastic just a slight dip in power to stop the slide, then back to normal. This probably had the wheels about an inch out of line but in my mind I was Marquez!
The bike feels stable even fully loaded with a passenger up to motorway plus speeds with no wobble or weave, and you can dab the brakes into corners without upsetting the balance.
Compared to the 1150 GS the bike feels more stable in slow turns, this is probably down to the petrol tanks being re-positioned lower down, this in turn makes the bike feel lighter than the 1150 which it is... but only just!
The torque and power are up by 20-25% which is noticeable.
These bikes are known for their low down grunt and power though the rev range, loaded up with a passenger on a twisty road you can put it in 3rd and go from 2000 revs to 8000 and not need to change gear, where other bikes are really having to work the gears.
The features of the Premium and Dynamic Pack seem good, 
being able to adjust the suspension with the ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment) button for 1 person, 1 person with luggage and 2 people and also different modes for each, comfort , normal, sports, by just a touch of a button on the handle bar is great, no more messing about with spanners!
This has been great as the old bike was set up for 2 people so when I got on by myself it was too firm, but I was too lazy to swap it!
The digital display is better giving you a fuel gauge with a guide to how many miles left, like a car, also showing average mpg, tyre pressures which is great for lazy gits (like me) and outside temperature (frost).
Heated grips as with the 1150 are great on cold wet days, and the spotlights as I've mentioned great for day time visibility as well.
The exhaust has a valve on it that opens at higher revs, and for a standard can it is LOUD, with a thump not unlike a Subaru Impreza. Great for getting you noticed - Loud pipes save lives! and all that.
I've done a bit off light off road, some Metzeler Karoo 3's next and try a bit more adventurous stuff!

They're like riding nothing else I've ever been on, you will have to try one to know what I mean.

While the bike was in for a service I was given a 1200GS LC, in nthe short time i had it, the biggest difference is the engine and the throttle response from the fly by wire throttle, definately more powerful, great on the road but, it may be more off handful off road.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Bike Trip 2014 Day 16

Hull to Home

Off the ferry quickly but then held for 3/4 hour at passport control, 

they let us go and we set off via the B roads to Whitby for breakfast and then up the coat to home.

Miles ridden 2788
Fuel used 320 litres
Average miles per day 199
Most miles in one day 514
Highest pass 4452 feet
Longest tunnel 7 miles
Cheapest fuel £1.16 or €1.44 in Croatia
Average mpg 40

Bike Trip 2014 Day 15

Hamelin to Rotterdam

After a lazy breakfast we set of into another 100 degree day, with 260 miles to go we again decided to use the motorways to get there, although we got there quickly it was probably a mistake and we should have used the smaller roads and arrived a little later. 

We were quickly on the ferry the customs guy noticing it was Rach's birthday tomorrow, so they do actually look at the passports. After strapping the bike down and finding the cabin we settled in for some refreshments.

Bike Trip 2014 Day 14

Heidelberg to Hamelin 

We set off into the heat 32C / 94F at 9am, it got hotter and by 11am  it was 36C!

We decided to push on up the motorways to get there as fast as possible, but had to keep stopping to take on water. We got parked right outside reception, walked in dripping sweat to have the receptionist ask 'would you like to use our steam room or sauna?' 'Er, no' 'what about the swimming pool?' 'Oh yes!'
So straight to the pool then into town to follow the little brass rats, set in the floor around the sights.

There is a really stunning sculpture by Wolfgang Dreysse about the opening of the iron curtain in the Pferdemarkt. 

 We walked back to the hotel after an immense tex mex and in the park next to the hotel was a wine festival with live music so as we didn't have to away early in the morning it seemed rude not to go and try a few local tipples.

Bike Trip 2014 Day 13

Rothenburg to Heidelberg

After a huge breakfast and a talk with Walter about how good the German football team are (and I think he was hinting the English weren't!) we set off on the castle route (Burgenstra├če). 
After riding through more great medieval towns and castle spotting as we went, we stopped at Schwabisch Hall not technically a castle but Comburg monastery. 

Continuing to Heilbronn where we stopped for coffee and the temperature had climbed to 100 degrees! We followed the Rhine into Heidelberg and after seeing 18 castles we stopped at the ibis completely schlossed! 
After walking along the river into the old town overlooked by, you've guessed it, a castle! 

We ended up at a couple of the student eateries and got pasta to go and noodles to go, sat in the sun it was great and with drinks under €8.50 for us both. The weather was still boiling so we stopped at Rossi's cafe with all the trendy people for an ice cream.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Bike Trip 2014 Day 12

Fussen to Rothenburg

After an early call, the fire alarm in the hotel went off at 6.30 am when someone burnt the bacon! we set off along the romantic route (Romantische Stra├če). We traveled in and out of the small towns and villages stopping at Augsburg, in the Hansel & Gretal action movie was where all the witches were


and finished, cutting the route short at Rothenburg as we were going to pick up the castle route the next day.
Rothenburg is amazing, due to the strictest planning rules in Germany it hasn't been touched for years and is so perfect it's like being in a medieval theme park!

We had an amazing hotel (the Spitzweg) which was decorated with antiques, 

The big key is for the wardrobe lock!

even the owner Walter fit with the town, reminding us of Santa Claus.
Which brings us to the world famous Kathe Wohlfahrt's Christmas shop, which is also amazing, if not a bit strange when its the middle of July.

We caught the nightwatchman's tour, which was funny and factual, well worth a try.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Bike Trip 2014 Day 11

Innsbruck to Fussen, Germany

A short but still scenic ride from Austria into Germany, straight to, probably the most famous castle at the end of the romantic route, Neuschwanstein castle.
The view as we rode up was impressive the ques for tickets less so.
If you know you are coming here book in advance (at least 2 day before) then you can just about walk straight up and pick up your tickets.

We did the slog up the hill to the bridge for photos, the weather was in the 30 degrees plus and it was hard work (we should have waited for the bus and paid!)
But the views are worth the effort

Also Hohenschwangau Castle

Rach Was happy to find a Woolworths (Gone in the UK) dunno where we're gonna put it!

 In the hotel Fantasia

So picked up this little number!

Bike Trip 2014 Day 10

Lienz to Innsbruck

When we woke up it was dry and bright, we went for breakfast and took our stuff to the bike and it had started to spit with rain, by the time we we had our gear on to go it was absolutely lashing down!
I checked the weather up on the Grossglockner pass and it was saying 'heavy rain, thick mist with a chance of snow'
We set off up there anyway!
But even on the way to Winklern the rivers of water running down the road were causing front end slides in the tight turns.

So we turned round and went the other way, and the weather just got better and better as the day went on.
The ride through the national park to Innsbruck was still stunning and better for being dry, the small villages with their carved 'Hansel & Gretel' houses impressive.

The stop started well when the helpful hotel receptionist let us put the bike out the back in someones paid parking space as they were away for the night.
Innsbruck was a surprise, the old town was great with its traditional painted houses and the surrounding mountains made it all very picturesque.