Posts Tagged With: motoblogging

Moto Guzzi Panda Camping

2015-05-25 16.41.21Bank holiday Monday – traditionally that day when you rejoice in not having to go to work then arrive at the end of the day having done nothing better with it. That’s usually the case with us anyway. This time however, with a whole week ahead of us and the threat of serious DIY projects, I felt a camping trip would be in order. We’d done exactly the same thing at Easter but this time I had a tweak I wanted to try.

The Panda’s been camping a few times now. We can just about get the basics in there with a few folding chairs and a table thrown in for sheer luxury value. Unfortunately that usually means fitting a roof box. I hate getting the roof box on almost as much as I hate getting things in and out of it. Even with it fitted, we still end up cramming gear into every single nook and cranny the little car offers, including the foot wells, between the children, on the children…

Another less than ideal part of camping with a small car and two kids is that you end up having to pitch a tent and monitor two children exploring their new environs simultaneously. A more competent father would be teaching his children to help set up the tent but not me. Too stressful and I’m not carrying spare poles or patience.

2015-05-25 16.13.17So my plan was a simple one. I’ll pack the car. I’ll make sure everything’s sorted. Then I’ll pop the tent on the back of the bike, leaving the car with one less bulky item and one less person to carry. I then leave early, get the tent pitched in peace and get a free ride out into the bargain. What’s not to like?

Angie wasn’t convinced. I’m not all that sure she is now but the plan worked perfectly. After a fantastic ride to the coast (something I don’t tend to do for the fun of it) I’d paid up and pitched the tent by the time the main party arrived.
2015-05-25 21.09.07
In fairness, the bike then remained parked behind the tent for the rest of the short break. Even there it proved useful. The wing mirrors are a great place to hang your rubbish bag or towels. Then, when the children were tucked up in their bags and the sun was setting, I could admire the view over Robin Hood’s Bay, scotch in hand, feet up on the exhaust. It’s a beautiful view over the bay but when you add a Guzzi, it’s pure stunning. 2015-05-25 16.41.42

Categories: Camping, Moto Guzzi Breva 750, Traveling | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

My Life in Bikes 8 – Suzuki DL650 VStrom

2012-08-01 20.55.41I had a bit of time so I thought I should probably add something to the blog. Having recently sold my VStrom, it figured I should probably just write it’s entry for the My Life in Bikes series. It certainly earned it’s place.

I came to the  Vsrom after a fantastic road trip with my brother, swopping  back and forth between his Suzuki SV650 sport and BMW K75RT. I loved the SV’s stonking power delivery but it didn’t convert me to the sport bike world. The BMW on the other hand, was more appealing right up the the Lancashire Border 4 Bike Down Valleymoment it shredded it’s clutch splines somewhere in a Pennsylvania Forrest.

On my return to the UK, I started looking for something to replace the YBR250 I had. I wanted a midsize tourer but hadn’t even come across the VStrom so didn’t even know that engine was already in an adventure tourer. When I came across one in a showroom, it was a done deal.

The DL650, the less powerful but fantastic sibling of the DL1000, is affectionately known as the WeeStrom. Ours was crossing the border into Scotland withing month of us owning it so it gained the name, Wee Hamish.

2012-08-01 20.55.41In fact, in Scotland, two up touring, that bike was in it’s element. It had plenty of grunt and long legs on the motorway. At the same time, it was fantastic fun and brillient on the twisty roads of Yorkshire, our home playground. The Vstrom is known for budget suspension but I assure you, that bike was the best handling bike I’ve ever owned. On good tyres and technical roads, my friends sportier bikes seldom stayed with me. It was comfortable too. Sore bum came eventually as it does on anything but a sofa with handlebars. The upright riding position and fairing were perfect for long days in the saddle.

2013-02-14 20.34.24As with any bike, there are downsides. The Wee’s Achilles heal is, without a doubt, brakes. They simply couldn’t cope with winter. Whenever the gritters started spreading their corrosive horribleness all over the roads, my callipers would begin to bind. I’d be putting new seals and pistons in every year and eventually having to replace both front callipers, forcing me to lay it up for the winter and depend on the YBR125 for commuting.

That was part of the reason I sold it but not the only reason. It was a big bike taking up a lot space in our garage but we weren’t using its size all that often. Ang had passed her test but wasn’t tall enough to ride it where as she could ride the Moto Guzzi Breva, a bike I have a massive soft spot for. The VStrom simply didn’t offer anything we need but was using up resources.

Then, the weekend before it went, I took it for a ride. I was enjoying it I was loving it. I was having second thoughts, almost. However, as we climbed a steep hill on a sharp bend, I met a farm vehicle coming the other way and had to stop across the slope. I’ve always found the VStrom a little tall so with the ground just a little bit further away, I lost my ballance and down we went. It was a sign. It was time to part ways.2015-04-19 09.28.30

I’ll miss that bike. One day, when I’m richer and in need of something with touring intentions, I’ll certainly be looking at a Glee first, assuming I’m unable to own what I really want, a big Guzzi.

Categories: My Life In Bikes | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment


Recently, with the kids being off for Easter and me being flat broke, I needed a cheep activity to get us into. I’d heard about Geocaching, mostly through twitter and a consultant we’ve used at work. It quickly became an obsession. My daughter loves it and so does my son as long as it isn’t too far and he can swop a toy or two. However, it turns out, it’s most certainly not just a family event.

This particular geochach I'd ridden right past many times but this time I stopped and enjoyed the location. The cache its self was very wet so I never signed it.

This particular geochach I’d ridden right past many times but this time I stopped and enjoyed the location. The cache its self was very wet so I never signed it.

Nor is it that cheep. As well as constantly buying little toys for the children to swop, I paid for a three month premium subscription to (worth it by the way). Then I ended up buying a Garmin Etrex 10 handheld GPS unit as using the phone app just killed the battery way too fast. It’s dead simple and pretty much just tell me the heading and distance to the geocache I’m hunting. It does other stuff as well but having having just a heading and distance is the most important part to me.

I never would have discovered this location if I hadn't been out hunting down geocaches. Just a beautiful place to stop and just 'be' for a bit.

I never would have discovered this location if I hadn’t been out hunting down geocaches. Just a beautiful place to stop and just ‘be’ for a bit.

Thanks to the little Garmin and Geochachin, I’ve got a great new way to explore new places. Now, when I have a bit of time, I’ll choose a geocache based on how far I have time to travel then I mount the Garmin on my bike and just ride. The Etrex 10 is not a sat nav so, with just a heading to go on, you have to figure everything else out for yourself. Whether you get it right or wrong, it takes you to new places and down roads you’ve yet to explore.

I’m currently of the opinion that the YBR125 is the best geocaching bike. I did take the VStrom off geocaching just before I sold it but having to stop on a hairpin bend caused me to drop the bike. The Guzzi, well, you always feel like you’re lucky if it starts and with all the stopping, there’s a lot of starting to do. I don’t like pushing my luck when it comes to the Guzzi. With the YBR, you always know that it will go down any lane and just as easily come back up it after you had to turn it round somewhere narrow. Also, it’s pretty much fuel intolerant. Most importantly, it’s so easy to ride, you don’t struggle to pay some attention to the navigation.

Another unexpected find thanks to hunting down a cache. I parked by the gate to a field and walked the last 450 metres. This old church was in the middle of the field. Apparently it's lit by candles and isn't connected to any water, gas or electric but you can still have your wedding there.

Another unexpected find thanks to hunting down a cache. I parked by the gate to a field and walked the last 450 metres. This old church was in the middle of the field. Apparently it’s lit by candles and isn’t connected to any water, gas or electric but you can still have your wedding there.

I’ve now got a list of Caches I’d like to find on my way home. Once I’ve found them, that’s it. They’re spent. Done. Next time, you go looking for a new one, somewhere new. That’s the beauty. I’ve now found most of the ones on my route to work so next time I’ll be finding a new way. In this way, I’m finding I am visiting new places, or even just noticing places I’ve ridden through or past hundreds of times. It’s been quite a revelation.

I recommend Geocaching to anyone who just likes to explore their world on a motorbike, foot, bicycle, car (if you really must), unicycle or whatever. Check out for more information and a better explanation of what geocaching really is. You could also do a google (other search providers are available) search for other geocaching websites. I also recommend the Garmin Etrex 10 over depending on a smart phone. Give it a go but be warned, you might get addicted!

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Life In Bikes – Preamble

I found myself trawling though old blog posts this morning, trying to find if I’d ever had much to say about a bike I owned a few years back. There was barely a mention of it. In fact, there was little mention of most of my biking history.

Why was I looking? For several days I’ve been talking to @bikesandtravels on twitter. It seems we share a preference for smaller motorcycles. He recently toured Scotland on his CBF125 and I’ve been riding the YBR125 around all winter and intend to use it for most of Autumn. He also has a CBF250 which is having ‘issues.’ I’ve had two 250s in the past and both had ‘issues.’ Something else we share I guess.

Anyway, somewhere in this conversation, it was suggested I should write about the Hyosung GT250 I owned some years ago. I thought I’d probably written something but, as I already mentioned, I hadn’t. There’s little mention of the Yamaha YBR250 I had when I started blogging either. And with little else to blog about, it seems perhaps a series of posts on the bikes I’ve owned over the years is in order.

I don’t really do reviews, probably because I don’t really read them when others do, usually preferring to check it out myself or speak directly to owners. I tend not to care about people’s kit or bike reviews because, all to often, they review kit they haven’t had very long. In doing this, I will be writing about things I haven’t had for a long time. They will, therefore, be tainted with that sort of instagram nostalgic filter we so often put on the past. Hopefully a good balance between fact and opinion will be found.

Right then, I’m off to find a picture of the old CB100. That was an awesome bike (there I go).

Categories: My Life In Bikes | Tags: | Leave a comment

New Luggage for the YBR125 and the Guzzi is Fixed.

I’ve spent this week riding to work on the YBR125, preferring to leave the heavier, more powerful and harder to keep clean VStrom at home. Together we’ve battled strong winds, snow, ice and a particularly nasty man in a blue Zafira, coming out on top every time. Other that enough power to reach a reasonable speed in a steady 35mph head wind, the only thing it lacked was lockable luggage.

Well, the lockable luggage thing is sorted, though I don’t think Ang will be impressed. She, for reasons I can’t fathom, prefers to use a backpack. In fact, she was was rather pleased when the last box broke. I’m not a fan of backpacks and using a tail pack every day is a real bind so I waited till Angie was at work and fitted a back box.

This Lextec box is removable so Ang doesn’t need to use it when she rides the YBR. Also it can come off when we need to store the bike. This is particularly necessary as the box makes the bike much longer, blocking the steps.

Whether it’s any good or our not, I don’t know. It’s not been anywhere yet. It seems well made. It’s not Givi quality or construction but then, is not Givi money either. I doubt it’s construction will limit it. The problem is the rack on the YBR125 which isn’t really big enough. It’s only just on there. I will need to be very careful about how much weight I put in this thing. I guess we’ll see how it goes.

Not wanting to wait for something ordered online, I bought the box from G. W. Johnson’s. Alan and Sandra are great and is not uncommon to get a cup of tea and a biscuit out of them too so I didn’t mind paying high street price for luggage. They’ve had the Guzzi since last Saturday and I assumed it was still ‘awaiting spares.’ Imagine my surprise when I heard the distinctive sound of its engine starting up in the workshop below. Leaving the kids to wander the showroom, I popped my head around the door to find the Guzzi in its traditional parking space: atop Alan’s lift.


And good news! Having replaced the surprisingly expensive sensor, the speedo is working again. In fact is all working again. FOR NOW! Keep checking back for next week’s fault of the week.

Actually, the Guzzi will stay there for this week as we’ve no chance to pick it up. I intend to carry on riding the 125. Best bike for the job and, frankly, it’s a doddle and a joy to ride so why not.

Categories: Fettling, Moto Guzzi Breva 750, Repairs and Maintenance, YBR125 | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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