Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The Wandering Walton’s 2012 Annual Review - Part 1 The first six months.

What's not to Love about Biking

So much has happened this year that it’s hard to sum it up without boring you and so I have decided to present the year in two 6 month “Bite Size” Blog’s.

I started the year wanting to visit Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Nordkapp none of which I've actually achieved. However, having recently written up Mr T’s 24,000 mile service (with 25,500 on the clock now 26,082) I realised to my surprise that I've ridden 20,000 miles this year, so all in all its been a very good year for Mr T & I.


I remember January being quite a mild one so I was out and about all through the month, visiting my Mum’s grave on the 17th to lay some flowers. Then it was off down to John’s for the IBA January Ride to Eat (RTE) where Ben & I had a brilliant time on the Trike Go-Cart. Resulting in What a Great way to start 2012

IBA UK RTE Jan 2012

It was whilst at the  IBA UK RTE that I spotted the expanded petrol tank on Kevin & Lyn’s FJR. Adding this to the sighting of another huge petrol tank on a bike at Squires Bar earlier in 2011 all added up to me pondering, “could I get a tank fabricated for Mr T?”. It would sure put an end to the GSA owners “my tank is bigger than your tank” argument, that was for sure.

The following morning it was the Manc Rider 2nd Annual RTE at The Moorcock Inn at Littleborough. I’d organised the RTE last year and so did the same again this year. All the guys arrived in one piece, no mean task being as there was 6 inch of snow all around. We all had a fantastic time catching up after the Christmas break over some really tasty traditional “Pub Grub”. Having a fair few new faces join us made the occasion even better. I’m  smiling as I write this as it all feels so long ago but having just organised the 3rd Manc Riders Annual RTE for 27th January 2013 really makes it a very special memory.

Manc  Riders 2nd Annual RTE
The Moorcock Inn near Littleborough

Sadly I quickly needed to get a set of new tyres after just 7,500 miles so chose to try the Continental Trail Attack 2’s which proved to be brilliant.


Following quite a bit of leg work on the internet regarding the petrol tank conversion, I eventually found someone willing to take the project on. As it turned out that person just happened to live in the good old US of A and was called Jaxon of www.RideonAdv.com . Now of all the bike projects I have undertaken The Tank Conversion Project 1  has been by far the most followed Blog I have written. The project from conception to completion took 3 months and spanned 6 Blog entries making it the most in-depth Tank Conversion Project 2  ever blogged (as far as I am aware).

How to make 33 litres fit into a 24 litres Petrol Tank

It was rewarding to see Trinity appear on the “Readers Letters” page of Fast Bike Magazine after I wrote in and told them about Ben’s 21st birthday present. I had a play in the snow one morning on Mr T. the YouTube video of which received a few negative comments but at least I had a laugh!

Just messing about in the Snow 
Brilliant Fun!

Ben & I traveled to London for the Over-landers Meeting at the Ace Café where Ben met Sam, Birgit and Paddy. What topped the day off perfectly was Roland taking us on our very own guided tour around the city of London where Little Ben got to meet Big Ben. It was a shame that Ben’s heated gloves decided to burn him on the return trip home!

One very happy chap "Biker Ben"

The final week in February saw  Ben & I on the road again this time heading into Europe. This was Ben’s second ride abroad which and turned out to be a lot more enjoyable than our first attempt. We were heading to the first European IBA RTE of the year taking place in Belgium at the “Butte de Lion”. Ben had a fantastic time and it really got 2012 off to a flying start.

Ben "bag's" his first windmill

To cap the month off in style the Wandering Walton’s Blog reached 10,000 hits. I was absolutely delighted to say the least and had a small celebratory drink on 20th February to mark the occasion. (I never dreamed at that time that by the end of the year, we would have reached an amazing 30,000 hits but we just may well do at this rate. 29,000 & counting).


For some reason I started to fall back into my old habits, the first example of this was riding an IBA “Leap of Faith” SS1000 on February 29th. Just because Phil had posted a thread up about riding an SS1000 on the extra day in February as it’s a leap year, hence “Leap of Faith” I was the only person to rise to the challenge! Still it gave Mr T a good work out and was the first of three IBA  rides I would undertake in quick succession.

A quick spin around the UK before
Dinner out and a pint at my local.

I rode down to Spain a week later Blogging “Rochdaleto Reims in the rain and then some" on the way down and “The Road to Zaragoza”on the way back. Bagging an SS2000 Km on the way there and an SS1600KM on the way back in the process. Old habit die hard and the IBA Big Ride Bug was biting hard. The weekend in Spain with Jeannie made up for all the miles mind, we had a lovely time in and around Alicante.

One of my favorite photos of Mr T
In front of Castillo de Santa Barbara, Alicate

Mr T had his 12,000 mile service at the 8 months old stage so in Wandering Walton’s terms he was having and easy life. Unlike “The Beast” my FJR1300 who he’d replaced who had covered 20,000 miles in the same time period


As we all went on a family holiday to Cyprus April was quiet and other than getting things written up about the tank conversion project nothing blog worthy occurred.


Now something happened in May which was to fundamentally alter the way I approach my  riding.
A  ride was suggested on the IBA Forum which in a nut shell composed of ridding an SS1000 in each of the 4 countries that make up the United Kingdom. On paper the idea got me all fired up. I spent time plotting 4 quality routes that would fulfill the “British Isles Saddle Sore Insanity Ride” criteria.

Arriving in Belfast I rode down, up, back down & back up again “Early in Belfast, Breakfast in Cork & Lunch in Letterkenny,Brilliant!” Sat on the ferry heading to Scotland for SS1000 number two I realised something, that was the first time I had ever been to Ireland and all I’d seen was the inside of 5 petrol stations. The seed of disillusionment had been planted!

Waiting for the ferry in Belfast at midnight

I called Jeannie and headed home via the Scottish coastal roads all the way back to the M6 at Carlisle. What’s more I look back on that ride & the decision to quit the SS1000 attempt and I’m happy! Knowing what I know now, I made the right decision for me, to take my time and just enjoy the road.

Still I managed to fit in a nice ride down to the Touratech Head Office in the South of Wales, only to find it closed! And just to add some spice to life my riding, I did no more, I took part in the IBA Britt Butt Rally 2012 for the first time and wrote “A Rookies Prospective”.

It was an amazing adventure only tarnished slightly by Roland’s unfortunate withdrawal due to a mechanical fault. 36 hours in the saddle is not for everyone but I can thoroughly recommend it. If you’re looking for a new and exciting challenge then give the IBA Britt Butt Rally a go, you will not regret it I assure you.

It's amazing who you meet on an IBA UK Britt Butt Rally


Well with the IBA BBR 2012 behind me it was time for Mr T to get his 18,000 mile service and a set of new tyres fitted. I chose to get a set Michelin Anakee 2’s fitted this time so I could do a direct comparison with the Continental Trail Attack 2’s. Other than an initial issue of slight slipping when they were first fitted, it took about 500 miles to bed them in as opposed to the 100 for the Continentals. I’ve been delighted with the Anakee’s and at 26,000 there still going strong with at least another 1000 miles of life in them.

I also bought a new tent a Redverz Series 2 Expedition Tent, ready for the RBLR 1000 where I would be helping out on the IBA side of life. As the best part of 16 months had been spent as the IBA UK ride verifier I had volunteered to help Paddy and his team. I’d spent many an hour in front of the laptop, sorting lists of names, bikes, routes you name it I had it in my spread sheet. Having done so much work prior to the event I felt it was a logical choice to issue the riders their certificates personally straight after the ride.

Camping at Squires for the weekend was brilliant and I loved every minute of it. Not sleeping through Saturday night turned out to be tougher for me than actually riding the 1000 miles. Still the RBLR 1000 ran like clockwork thanks to Paddy and the team!

Snug as a Bug in a Rug!

So folk’s with that I’ll sign off for now and get to work on Part 2 of the Wandering Walton’s annual review 2012 - The final 6 months!

My favorite photo of
Ben & I in London

P.S. Please feel free to click on any of the links which will take you straight to the actual Blog or relevant Article.


  1. Ray,
    Did you have any issues at the 24k service and how much was it ?

  2. Hi Ray,

    No issue at all with the 24,000m service. Just a slight miss-hap at the 18,000m service.
    Full break down of cost of 24,000m service is below on the 24,000 service Blog.
    Here's wishing you a very Merry Christmas & a prosperous New Year.