If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Sunday, 2 January 2011

New Year Ride

I fully intended to have a ride out on New Year's Day, to mark the etc. etc., but in the end I succumbed to a general bout of couldn't-be-arsedness. It was cold and damp, and I was lazy and holidayish, and I stayed indoors. Today dawned a much nicer day - damp and cold, rather than the other way round, and I took it as a sign that the gods of biking intended me to put some miles in.

The Triumph has stood for about three weeks now, since before Christmas (I have been using the much more winter-friendly XT), and the weather has not been kind to it. The 'new' chrome rack that I got off eBay is peppered with rust spots, and the chain and rear sprocket are orange with corrosion. The sprocket, which was almost new when I got the bike, and looked pristine, has so much surface rust that it has dripped an orange stain onto the rear tyre, and the whole bike is starting to look like a neglected thing. It won't take much to put it right, but it's a pity that Triumph don't make their bikes more resistant to British weather.

When I got going, I realised that I hadn't given it a proper workout since I returned from Newcastle. There is a strange whirring and whining noise from the front wheel, which can only be the new speedo cable I fitted on my return. So tomorrow, regardless of the weather, I am going to give the old bus a good clean and fix the speedo cable problem - whatever it is. The weather is now normal for January (cold and damp, did mention that?) so I will start going to work on the bike again. I suspect it will be the Yam for a while, until I get the Triumph back to a proper state of repair.

Today's ride was cold. (And damp.) Bloody cold. But worth doing. The roads were almost empty, although there were a few holiday dawdlers for me to practise my overtaking skills on, and relatively dry. I did my usual loop of the North of the county, taking in the ferryport at Fishguard and the centre of St Davids, and it took me about an hour. I took some photos, but the light was poor and the iPhone doesn't like low light conditions. It extends the shutter time until all you have is poor colour and a lot of shake. Here's the best: St Bride's Bay from the top of Newgale Hill.

Now, I need to warm my hands somewhere. A glass of Scotch would be a good place to start, methinks.

Post corrected, thanks to an eagle-eyed Joe Public. Smartarse :)


  1. "There is a strange whirring and whining noise from the front wheel, which can only be the new speedo cable I fitted on my return. "

    I guess motorbikes don't offer the same solution to worrying & unusual noises as cars then?

    By which I mean rolling up the windows & turning the radio up..? ;)

  2. Funnily enough, yes they do - just go faster. This noise starts when I reach about 40 mph, but I only hear it when I slow down to about 20, at which point it seems very loud. But whacking it up to 80 drowns everything out. It's like virtual windows and a virtual radio.

  3. @ Julia - A loooong time ago a friend of my mother was being bothered by her cars oil warning light flashing all the time. Her solution was to stick a Green Shield Stamp over it....

    @ Richard - are you sure there isn't an illegal (possibly Australian) immigrant caught up in the spokes?

    As for the Triumphs corrosion problems, it sounds as if they aren't much better than my old Morini, which is a real shame.

    I always thought having exposed chain drives was a stupid idea - the CZ had a fairly effective enclosure, and the BMW was shaft driven, so I managed to avoid most of that hassle!

  4. I wouldn't compare it with Italian quality (which seems fine for Italy, by the way, just not for the UK), but there are a lot of little spots of rust appearing. The rack is Hepco and Becker, so nothing to do with Triumph, but elsewhere there are small paint chips and knocks on the chrome that have all spouted rust. All are treatable, so it's not a disaster, but it's irritating. The Yamaha (which is not renowned for its quality of finish, being a cheapo tool even when new) has fared far better.

    My Jawa used to eat the rubber boots that covered the chain. They wore through in under 1000 miles. I think I went through three sets until I gave in and went wothout. Shaft drive is the way to go, if you don't mind the power loss.

  5. I forgot that the Jawa used rubber boots - the East German MZ did as well. Mine had a pair of metal casings, so didn't suffer that problem.

    The argument about shaft drive loosing power is countered by pointing out that chains are only more efficient when they're clean and properly lubricated.....

    Which is about 2% of the time!!

    I remember changing from EP90 to Duckhams EP75, which was developed for Saab Transmissions. I figured if it would cope with 175bhp (I think) from a turbo, it would be fine with a mere 45bhp! It did make a noticeable reduction in drag when rolling off the throttle.

  6. Point about chains is a fair one. I like having the ability to alter the final drive ratio, though, and you can't do that with a shaft. I've lowered the gearing on two recent bikes (Yam XT660R and a Ducati) and it transformed them both. I'm planning on raising the gearing on the Trumpet, as it over-revs like a bugger on cruise. Boys and their toys. Agreed that oil weight can make a big difference.

  7. "@ Julia - A loooong time ago a friend of my mother was being bothered by her cars oil warning light flashing all the time. Her solution was to stick a Green Shield Stamp over it...."

    Clearly a lady after my own heart! :)

  8. Do you also believe that if you can't see something, it can't see you? :)

  9. An equally long time ago (the Green Shield Stamps should give it away) there was a kids TV programme called "Romper Room". At the end of each show the presenter, Miss Rosalyn, would look through her "magic mirror" and announce the names of children she could see. We used to hide behind the settee in the hope that she wouldn't call ours out..........It didn't work!

  10. I went for a ride today too, with 3 other freinds, we went out on older machines, a '71 honda 750/4 a moto guzzi California 3 another '71 Honda, a CB 350 K3 and a 1965 BSA Lightning Rocker/ Firebird Scrambler hybrid, we did about 160 kilometers in cold but sunny weather (6 degrees) and stopped off in Perigeux, the Prefecture town of the Dordogne in Aquitaine S/W France for Lunch, which is rather different than stopping at a greasy spoon in the U.K., a very pleasant bimble on dry roads not really exceeding 100 kph and mostly resting at the limit of 90 kph, loads of twisty roads with hardly any traffic AND NO snow, too far south, all in all a very enjoyable day.

  11. @microdave: I suppose you did the same for Doctor Who (the proper one, with William Hartnell)? I did. It terrified me.

    @Johhnyrvf: that sounds like a great day, with proper classic bikes and proper weather. I've been to Perigeux, although not on the bike, and it's a lovely place. The thought of a ride with a break for proper food rather than a corpseburger and chips makes me envious. One thing (among the many_ that I love about France is the way that the lowliest trucker on a meal stop will eat better than most high-flying executives in the UK. Confit de canard, as opposed to a curly tuna'n'cucumber sarnie. Thinks: must get back there asap.

  12. If you do come down this way, you would be most welcome to stay over, I can lend you a bike too! Let me know how to get in touch and I will send you more info.

  13. That is a very kind offer, and I will have a think about coming your way next year. Email address is in the profile info at the top of the page. I wouldn't need to borrow a bike, though, as I will be bringing my own. (Unless of course it's something really special. I have never ridden a Fireblade, for example.

    Kidding, sort of.)


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