Tuesday, 31 January 2012

What a Great Way to start 2012

You know you’re in for a fantastic weekend when its starts on a Thursday.

Why Thursday you ask, simple! That’s the day Lee at B&C fitted Mr. T’s new tyres. Yes I know it’s a little sad (OK a lot sad) that I would be so chuffed but it was the first time I have ever stayed and watched anyone fit a set of tyres for me.

The job ran like clockwork, rear first after removing the brake calliper, torsion bar and ABS censor Lee removed the wheel. Then off with the old squared off tyre and on with the new.

As quick as you like, the rear wheel was
removed with skill.

Balancing the tyre was all done by hand by mounting the wheel a spindle and suspending it between two stays with rollers on top, marking 12.00 O’clock and allowing the wheel to turn slowly of its own volition until it stopped, marking the area and adding enough weight which in turn slowed and evenly stops the wheel from turning. Adding weights either side of the spokes distributed the weight evenly ensuring a perfectly balanced rear wheel.

“If it’s good enough for Valentino Rossi its good enough for me”
 Were Lee’s exact words.

The front took a little more time due mainly to the fact I have a “Fender extender” fitted which prevented Lee from moving the front wheel far enough back to remove the ABS Censor from the wheel hub. So the hole front mud guard, brake callipers and everything  had to be removed. With the wheel out it was a smooth and well practised manoeuvre to cut off the valve, remove tyre and remaining valve, fit new valve and attach new tyre. Balance the wheel, which in the case of the front needed a mere 5 grams. The tyres were inflated to, rear 42psi and front to 38psi.

Mr. T looking a little forlorn.
Now I would really liked to have had a ride out on Friday and scrub the tyres in but was a little pushed for time so the day passed without doing so. However what did happen was it snowed, profusely. Between 5.00pm and 7.00pm we had almost 4 inches of snow on the drive and it was not melting leaving me wondering if the IBA RTE at John and Sonia’s near Cannock and the Manc Riders Annual RTE at the Moorcock would still be on!

Out with the old,
In with the new!
Ben was getting a little upset having already tried on his gear ready for the ride down through Macclesfield, Leek, Stafford and on towards Cannock. Luckily I’d posted my route the night previous on the IBA UK forum and was chuffed when “Slowpoke” posted up that two of the roads I was planning on riding were closed due to the weather. So the M6 it was going to have be then, that was if indeed we could go. A restless night was had by both Ben and I but we were both chuffed Saturday morning to see the main roads were passable and once I’d cleared the drive of snow and gritted the ramp we were on!

The ride down was a steady one with the vast majority of drivers taking it steady in the slush around Rochdale. As ever there was one “White Van Man” in a Salford Van Hire Van (wish I could get that “How’s my Driving?” number, registration, time date, location info into my head) who I saw in good time, come flying out of the petrol station just before the M62. He just drove straight out in front of us with total disregard for us or anyone else, only himself. The plank got a good bib on the horn and a flash but as per usual he chose to totally ignore us. That’s if he even knew we were there, some drives really do need to sort the vision out, not everything on the road has four wheels you know!
Ben was happily chatting away as we cruised across the M62, M60 then left down the M6 to junction 14. We stopped at Junction 20 Lymm Services just after getting onto the M6 as this was exactly half way and 45 minutes into the ride. A couple of medium sized “Costa Coffee” Hot Chocolates’, loo and away again after re-heating nicely. Temperature when we left home was a nippy 4 degrees rising to all of 6 degrees all the way down until we got to Stafford turn off where  the temperature rose to a nice 9 degrees peeking at 10. We arrived at 12.35 just in time to be told food was ready to be served.

IBA UK Riders from all 4 Corners of the UK
and Switzerland
The meeting was very well attended as we were all eager to see John’s new garage and what a garage it is. To be truthful it is more akin to a Triumph Trident Mini Museum than a typical garage. With such a fantastic collection of bikes and memorabilia John has created a Triumphant Masterpiece (sorry John no pun intended), It is a credit to one man’s drive and determination. We all thought it was amazing and like so many I was very envious of such a collection mind they are Triumphs after all.

Now that's what I call a garage.
Ben was eager to have a ride on the “Trocket” but sadly it was off site so had to be satisfied with a downhill blast on the Trike Go-cart and he loved it. John took the first run down the hill then it was my turn, it was brilliant!

It just had to be done!

John showing Ben how it's done

Then it was Dad's turn...........
I loved it almost as much as Ben
I had a wonder around chatting to a few members who I have come to know and befriend over the last 3 years (my word is it that long since the RBLR1000 2009). Lynn spent a little time having a look at Mr. T’s panniers and top box; I had a good look at Kevin’s expanded FJR petrol tank which he informed me he’d bought from a guy in the USA. It’s so well finished to the un-trained eye it would be so easily missed, now that’s a compliment indeed to its maker and current owner.  It’s always good to see Ron and have a catch up chat and to top it all off Philippe was in attendance from Switzerland which was fantastic. The list of people goes on but to see so many new faces there is testament to the strength and camaraderie felt by this unique group of Long Distance Riders.

Looking good Kev, looking good
Sonia did herself proud as ever with a great curry, chill and rice plus other dishes which I didn’t get chance to savour but wish I had. So a massive thank you goes to Sonia for feeding all of us and to Arsenal Deb’s who provided the fruit cake which everyone barring “yours truly” devoured. Sadly I cannot stand dried fruit of any kind which is known as “Rabbit Droppings” in our house, sorry Deb’s (Chocolate cake for me next time please).
Phil the IBA UK President gave us all a rundown of how things were progressing and what was happening where and when. This was followed by the obligatory IBA UK RTE Photo. Shortly after which it was time to hit the road again and get home hopefully before dark and the all expectant fresh fall of snow. I had to smile as when I was telling folks about the snow almost everyone thought I was winding them up.

IBA UK January 2012 RTE
"The Grand Garage Opening Meet"
Once on the M6 north bound Ben decided he wanted to head straight home without stopping and so one and a half hours later we were riding through Rochdale looking up at the snow covered Pennine Way.

“Do you fancy popping up there to take a picture for the IBA folks so they know we were not winding them up?”
“Will it take long”

“No, ten minutes tops”

“Ok, as long as Lilie Rose is still up when we get in”

“Ben it’s only 4.45 so she won’t be in bed for a long time”

“OK, that’s cool, let’s get a picture then”

Happy to be "Back up't North"
even if it was 2 degrees C
Stopping in the car park just before the White House Pub on Halifax Road I found it was covered in sheet ice so rode straight back out with the tyres doing a great job of gripping what bit of gravel was available. The pub car park had been cleared so it was off the bike; two photos and back on the bike and away. Ten minutes later we were back in the house to thor out in front of the fire.
Sunday saw a leisurely start to the day with everyone getting up just before 9.00am. Ben was exited, Lilie Rose giddy and me well I was just hoping not too many of the Manc Riders would call it a day after seeing the picture of Ben in front of Mr. T outside the pub only 100 yards up the road from our meeting place, The Moorcock for the first Annual Manc Riders RTE.

The idea had popped into my head about 7 weeks earlier when I was checking last year’s diary of events and noticed it was a year to the day almost that I’d organised the first Manc Riders RTE at The Moorcock.  It would have been a shame to not try and get the guys (and Gal’s) together again. As ever the response was fantastic and within a few days we were into double numbers.

Ben chose to ride up to the pub with Jeannie and Lilie Rose in the VW. I set off on Mr. T at 12.30 and was really chuffed to find a few of the “Die Hard’s” had beaten me to it. Lefty, Martin, Phil and Big RedOne who I’d not met before were there waiting. I popped in to see that all was ready in the restaurant only to find they had not arranged the tables for a party of 20.

Good to see I was not alone like last year
Later when my mobile had charged up and I had rang a “missed call” number back I found out it was Alan the owner calling to see if we were still going to turn up due to the snow ever where, we both had a laugh about it being as we had already been and gone.
The Riders all arrived barring a couple of “Thick Headed Folk” suffering from having a good night out the night before (you two know who you are, I won’t name and shame). Jeannie arrived and I could hear Lilie Rose as they pulled into the car park as she was so happy to be seeing everyone again. She’s a real “Biker Chick” is our Pobsey!

Good to see a touch of Class

and Style
As ever the meal at The Moorcock was spot on, Pauline, Alan’s wife ensured we were well looked after.  The conversation flowed as well as the beer, cola, coffee‘s and juice. It was nice to see so many of the Riders again and to meet a few new members too. Phil got busy with his camera, as did Ben. Steve who had brought his brother came over from Huddersfield, which was nice as we had not seen him since the birth of the little one 9 months previous. Unfortunately we ended up on two tables as there were 18 of us in attendance. As it happened the second table was for the “late arrivals” having had a few issues en-route. The less said about that the better but being one week early is no excuse for being late. Mind dodgy indicator fitting and flat BMW Bus battery, are no better.

Good food, good company
Great Manc Riders RTE
All that was left to do was for the Obligator Manc Riders RTE Photo to be taken (is there a pattern forming here or is it just me?) and then fond farewells to be said. Mind Steve and Dave did follow me back to the house just to have a peep at Trinity, Oh and pick up a tow rope (nothing to do with the BMW Bus I must add).

Manc Riders First Anniversary
& 2nd RTE at The Moorcock

And so a folk as they say that is that! January is all but over and February beckons with the Rossendale Kawasaki New 2012 Bike Launch Part on the 2nd of February followed by IBA UK Waterloo RTE looming large at the end of the month and so it looks like it is going to be another busy bike month. The final word has to go to my good friend BadBoyBez, take it away maestro.

An Outstanding Month
January 2012

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