Saturday, 28 December 2013

The Wandering Walton’s 2013 Annual Review - A year of change.

Well as 2013 draws to a close I find myself coming to terms with a few changes. The first being my move from a svelte 11 stone something, size medium to my current 12 stone & a bit size large. Still it did give Jeannie the opportunity to refurbish my wardrobe with a nice selection of Fred Perry polo shirts, much to my delight on Christmas Day.

However as this is a Blog about bikes I'd best get back to the job in hand and review the Wandering Walton's year in the saddle.

January ran like a well oiled machine with a number of visits to my beloved Derbyshire in Zero Degrees, visiting family past and present. A ride to Shropshire to attend John and Sonia's now annual IBA UK RTE followed by the Manc Riders RTE the following weekend. Both rides proved interesting with a good coating of snow everywhere. I was really pleased with the Continental TK80's performance on Mr T. which made easy work of the snow.

My beloved Derbyshire

Continental TK80's are Awesome!

IBA UK 3rd Annual RTE 2013

Snow, what snow!
This Snow

Manc Riders 3rd Annual RTE 2013

My favourite photo of Ben in January
What an absolute star!

February I was back in Derbyshire sorting out a ride for the boys which involved a little 'green- laneing" which got the better of me on more than one occasion. Other than a trip to Blackburn to see Foggy and Whit's 'Giving it Gas Tour' with a couple of the Manc Riders plus a little 'farkling' nothing else of interest happened really. I must admit I wrote one Blog all about Ben call “The future of biking is in safe hands” which I’m still rather proud of to this day.
And no I didn't lay it down!
As Oggy will confirm.

March saw me heading to Spain to get a little weekend sun, how wrong could I have been. Riding through France the Sat Nav died on me for no apparent reason leaving me to turn back the years and open a map! 2 foot of snow at the Spanish border just cracked me up. Asking for a hot chocolate at a bar full of locals wearing shorts, sipping cold beers drew more interest than I'm used to but ‘I think France hates me’ was born!

Not what I expected to see!

Mr T had his 30,000 Mile Service when I got back in readiness for the rest of the year. Finally the month drew to a close with a bang! It's Show Time, Ben and I took Trinity over to the Manchester Bike Show after digging out the drive yet again.

First and last time in Pobsey's VW Caravel 

But the end justified the means
Ben with his bike Trinity

It was a really nice way to see Trinity finally at the stage where I can park her up for Ben. Long term storage is going to be an interesting issue in itself but 'a man has to do what a man has to do'. Only another 9 years to go! 

Decisions, decisions!

April  Fast forward to May!

May was a cracking month firstly attending the 70th Anniversary Dambusters Fly Past in Derbyshire with Lefty which turned out to be a very memorable day for the both of us. This was followed a week later by a ride down the A1 to the Peterborough Show Ground with Ben to attend our first BMF Show. I can thoroughly recommend taking the time to add it to your To-Do List!

What an amazing sight

Nooooooo Ben

Now your talking!

Do you see a pattern appearing?

Who's that behind you Ben?

Ben meeting Nick Sanders

June was a strange sort of a month with an aborted trip to the HUBB Meeting down in Derbyshire followed swiftly by a brilliant weekend riding with Nick Plumb and Nick Sanders in Wales.

Spot the XT1200Z

Ha there it is!

Time for a laugh

The highlight of the year though just has to be the Big 1000 written by Ben himself. Ben and I had a fantastic time riding 1000 miles in 19 hours. So much so that Ben is now chomping at the bit to take part in the next RBLR1000 in June 2014.

1000 Mile's Dad "Bring It On"

You asked for it Ben

500 miles in and buzzing

Job Done!

What an absolute star, you make me so proud
Love you Ben

July Ben and I appeared in the Manchester Evening News as Ben had become the youngest pillion rider to have completed the 1000 mile ride in the RBLR1000’s 5 year history. Talk about being the proudest Dad alive!

Nuph Said, or I'll cry

We also took part in a number of fund raising rides. including the Hadrian's Wall End to End organised by Kieron at the Filling Station Cafe in Keswick in aid of Help for Heroes . Next up was the Henshaws Sausage Run organised by Glen raising funds for Henshaws Society for Blind People.  

Half way there!

And he's in the press 

Had a cracking little ride
Even if the traffic was !!!

Finally we rode back down to Derbyshire to place flowers on Mums grave on the 12 anniversary of her passing. This was Bens first visit and one he will remember for many years to come.

I never realised just how much time
Ben spent on the pillion seat in 2013 until right now!

I even decided to buy a Yamaha XT660X as a project and to have a little fun doing it up.

August Fast forward to September. 

September other than Ron collecting his new Yamaha XT1200Z World Crosser it was fast forward to October.

Uncle Ron's new stead

October had Ron and I riding over to take part in the IBA Germany Road Runner Rally.  I attended my 5th RTTW with the Manc Riders which really finished the month off just the way I wanted it to. Mr T had a deep clean and was parked up yet again. 

Nice way to spend 24 hours

Manc Riders RTTW 2013

"We will remember them"

November I made the command decision to sell Mr T. and the XT660X to fund my dream bike. You see, I'd been looking at swapping to either a Honda Goldwing GL1800 or the very tempting CBR1000RR Fireblade for well over a year. 

After many months of trawling the net and local Honda bike dealers I decided to go with my heart instead of my head. The Fireblade won hands down! I bid 'A fond farewell to Mr T' which was bought by Kevin and Lyn Weller which really was the icing on the cake as after all the love and affection I’d given the bike it deserved a good home. One I’m now pleased to say I know it has. The XT660X was used as a deposit on my new pride and joy. An all black 20th Anniversary Edition 2012 (on a 2013 plate) Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade. 

She's arrived!

When I collected it from Rochdale Honda I was absolutely bouncing, so much so I even gave Kev the sales man a ‘Man-Hug’ much to both our surprise! It just so good to be ‘Returning to my Honda roots’ I’m over the moon with the Fireblade, it still brings a smile to my face just looking at it in the garage. Now thats saying something. As for riding it, well I’m still going through the ‘screaming with delight stage’.

A thing of Beauty 

December is upon us once again. The weather is rather blustery but as yet no snow, which reminders me, I have a set of TK80's in Keith Dixon's store room! 

We got a surprise in December when something arrived in the post for Ben from the IBA UK. Ben was absolutely over the moon to win the IBA Press Prize Award for the article in the Manchester Evening News regarding  the RBLR1000. What a fitting reward for all his endeavours in 2013. 

Well done Ben

So with only two rides under my belt on my new stead I'm absolutely delighted to have the bike of my dreams parked in the garage. 

All I’ve managed so far is a ride through Derbyshire and a trip up to the Filling Station Cafe in Keswick for lunch at Kieron's putting all of 400 miles on the clock but I don’t care. The whole point of buying the Fireblade was to ‘make a change’ from my routine of vanishing for hours upon end even days at a time in some cases. I just want to have some fun, its that simple. I’ve enjoyed all the bikes I’ve owned bar one (but the less said about that the better.) 

Best Biker Cafe in the Lakes

2014 is the year where I’m going to do different things, attend different events, meetings, show’s even try and get to the Isle of Man TT Races with Ben. 

I'm making no plans what so ever, zero, zilch! What comes around comes around. Yes there's all the usual annual visits to family, IBA and Manc Riders RTE's and of cause the RBLR1000 which I would not miss for the world but as far as planned rides I'm signing up for nothing!  

Im looking forward to a very enjoyable and different year riding with my friends and hopefully making new ones along the way.  Having recently joined the 1000RR Forum where there's a whole new world opening before me so who knows what’s going to happen.

Finally I’d just like to wishing each and every reader a wonderful, happy, healthy and prosperous 2014. 

Ride well and stay safe my friends, it’s a jungle out there!

Happy New Year Folks
from the 
Wandering Walton's

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