Grim Riders MCC Charity Ride 2010

. Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Grim who runs the Grim Riders MCC has posted few a subtle hints regarding next year’s charity motorcycle ride, it’s going to be called the Battlefields Ride 2010 and as with the previous year’s charity motorcycle ride it will involve visiting a number of specific places around of Britain within the year.

While Grim has still to announce the names or number of Battlefields that will make up the Battlefields Ride 2010 you can be sure that they will cover most of Britain and prove to be interesting, thought provoking and challenging.

2009 was the 1st year of Grim Riders MCC's charity motorcycle rides and consisted of visiting as many of the 15 British National Parks within the year and getting a photograph of your bike and your rally number at each location, the more parks you visited, the more points you got were awarded and at the end of the year your points are added up and you receive either a Bronze, Silver or Gold award. Currently the total raised for the Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance by the 2009 British National Parks Challenge is £2395!

Congratulations to Rig, Bob and Bonzo who visited all 15 British National Parks and have been earned a Gold award and congratulations to Chinny who visited 10 National Parks and earned himself a Silver award.

Unfortunately Grim Riders MCC don't offer awards for visiting any of the National Parks more than once as both Bob and Bonzo visited quite a few of the National Parks twice including the ones in Scotland!

Grim Riders MCC was setup with 2 primary goals, to give you a reason to get out on your motorcycle and at the same time support a really worthwhile charity – the Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance.

If you want an excuse to get out on your bike next year and feel that you’re doing something to help a worthwhile cause, head over to the Grim Riders MCC website and sign up for next year’s challenge, it's going to be great fun!

Grim Riders MCC Website

Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance

RigsVille's 2009 motorcycle rides

Winter Clothing

. Wednesday, November 04, 2009

How you dress for motorcycling can depend on the type of bike you ride. The top sports bikes for 2009, as chosen by Motorcycle News (MCN) are the Triumph Daytona 675, long standing favourite the Yamaha R1 and the new Aprilia RSV4. However, in terms of sales, Honda`s ever-present Fireblade is the unsurprising biggest bike of 2009. Honda`s Honda CBF125 is the biggest selling `naked` bike, while Yamaha`s YZF125 has also sold well, suggesting an appetite for smaller engined bikes in the recession.

The primary concern when dressing for any type of bike ride should be safety. You should try to choose armoured clothing, which has plates and padding in vulnerable areas to protect you. This is true for jackets, trousers, boots and gloves - many riders will only concentrate on choosing a good jacket, or may simply choose a `tough` ordinary jacket, particularly for shorter rides. For long rides, the issue of comfort becomes a more important consideration. Comfort is generally the result of two factors: the material the clothing is made of and the fit. For example, leathers are the traditional answer to giving good friction resistance in the event of an accident, but can be bulky on long journeys. They are naturally insulating, which is an advantage in colder weather, but if journeys involve a lot of start-stopping through traffic, you can quickly become too hot in the summer months. Therefore, for longer journeys, a range of synthetic of materials are now available. Many of these come with adjustable cuffs and legs, as well as flexible joints. Some of this type of clothing offers the ability to remove body armour, which can be useful for wearing the clothing when not riding. If you use a sports bike, you`re more likely to want close fitting clothing, as this will feel more comfortable with the very rigid riding position these bikes offer. For tourers or other more upright bikes, a looser fit may feel more natural, especially when on longer journeys.

You should try to look at the ventilation offered by different clothing, as this is a big selling point of more expensive equipment. Ventilation should be designed so as to keep you cool and dry when you`re not moving, but also insulated. Premium level clothing does this by offering sealable vents. To cope with different weather conditions, it may be easiest to find a light, but protective main jacket and trousers and supplement this with waterproofs as necessary - although a large proportion of synthetic type jackets are now already waterproof. You can become surprisingly cold when riding more than a short journey, especially given the unpredictability of British weather, even in the `hotter` months. The best way to tackle this is by choosing specialist thermal clothing, such as those offered by North Face in the UK. These sit comfortably underneath your clothing to offer a good level of insulation, while being designed to be light and unobtrusive.

Now that the clocks have changed and winter is on the way I know quite a few bikers put away their bikes until next year but love to ride all year round and as long as I'm warm and dry I find at times motorcycling during the winter months can be more fun than the summer ones, just was long as there's no snow or ice around!

The key to staying warm, dry and safe is LAYERS

I'm a big fan of North Face clothing and often wear my North Face fleece over my EDZ base layer t-shirt, over these go my winter jacket which is the excellent Belstaff Discovery

My winter trousers consist of my usual EDZ base layer leggings and then, depending on how long I'm going to be out and the outside temperature I wear either my excellent Hein Gericke Oxan II leather trousers or my Wolf 2030 textile trousers.

On my feet are my all time, all year favourite boots the Altberg Clubman Roadster. These are the best boots I've ever worn and even now after over 60K miles and 7 years of use they are still warm and 100% waterproof.

On my hands I wear my trusty Hein Gericke Pathan Gloves along with a set of Oxford heated grips.

I find that wearing the right clothing that keeps me warm and dry enables me to still have a great time on my bike over the winter so if you normally don't venture out on your bike at this time of year, give it a try and remember to wear as many different layers and to have fun!

Fowlers Motorcycles in Bristol

. Monday, November 02, 2009

Another Saturday morning and another excuse to get together for a ride out and a breakfast, unfortunately I was unable to meet up with Bob, Chinny and Bonzo at Fromes Hill café where they started the day with a Big Boy breakfast before heading south towards Fowlers in Bristol where I met up with them.

When I arrived at Fowlers to meet up with the boys there was only 1 thing on my mind! so I walked past all the shiny new Suzuki’s, Kawasaki’s, KTM’s and even Triumph’s and headed straight for the top floor at Flowers where they have a great cafe called Harry’s Cafe where after saying hello to the lads I tucked into one of their outstanding breakfasts.

After a couple of rounds of tea, coffee and diet cokes we then proceeded to have a wander around the bike shop, if you have never visited Fowlers your missing a treat the place is massive and spread over 2 buildings and 3 floors they sell not only new Honda, KTM, Suzuki, Triumph and Yamaha bikes but also stock a wide range of second hand bikes, scooters, parts and loads of motorcycle clothing and accessories.

After over an hour of wandering, pointing at things and in some cases rubbing against them (cannot take Bonzo anywhere!) and we returned to our bikes and planned the route home, for Bonzo it was simply a case of jumping onto the M32/M4 and heading west but myself, Bob and Chinny didn’t fancy the drone of the M5 so we decided to head along the A433 through Tetbury and into Cirencester where we picked up the A429 and followed the fosse way past some of our favourite places like Bourton-on-the-water and Moreton-in-Marsh until we were nearly home in Kenilworth.

The pictures can be found here.

Have your own say!

. Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I just wanted to let you know about a minor update over in the product review section at RigsVille.

Now you have the opportunity to have your own say on any of the items reviewed at RigsVille, maybe you agree, dis-agree or maybe you just want to update any of the reviews. All you need to do is scroll to the bottom of any review and you will see a box titled Add your own review simple click the + box and sign in with your Google, Yahoo!, AIM, Netlog or OpenID account and enter your own opinion.

If this proves successful then we might add this feature to other areas of the website, so get over to RigsVille's product review section and have your own say!

Chinnys BNPR rides

. Monday, September 21, 2009

As Chinny was unable to make this trip in April he and Bob decided to brave the wind and rain and have a short 400 mile ride so that Chinny could add the Lake District National Park and the Yorkshire Dales National Park to his list of national park's he had visited this year.

After stopping for a welcoming breakfast at the Charnock Richard services on the M6 Bob and Chinny carried on up the M6 and their 1st destination was Lake District Visitor Centre at Brockhole near Windermere where Chinny got his evidence picture taken.

After the Lake District they headed east along the A684 and 38 miles later they arrived at Hawes National Park Centre, the home of the visitors centre for the Yorkshire Dales where once again Chinny got his evidence photo taken.

The pictures can be found here.

Scottish National Parks - Take Two

. Monday, August 31, 2009

Just a quick post to let everyone know that I've finally got round to posting loads of pictures from our 2nd recent Scotland trip. Yes you read that right - 2nd!

Although Bob and Bonzo had already traveled to Scotland last month (read about it here) to grab their final British National Parks I was unable to go along due to last minute work commitments, well the boys did good and after I announced that I was going to head north on my own they both decided to do the trip all over again.

The pictures can be found here and I promise to post the road trip report as soon as I can.

Bobs gone Blue

. Monday, August 03, 2009

Bob decided to change the color of his wheels on his Blackbird while he was over at Wheel House Tyres so after a quick chat he left his bike with them and after 6 days picked it up with bright shiny blue matching wheels.

I've not seen the bike in the flesh but according to Bob they have done a great job and well worth the money, total cost including fixing a puncture in the rear tyre was £170.

Wheel House Tyres can powder coat your wheels to many different colours from around £70 per wheel and they also offer a ride-in, ride-out service where instead of taking your loose wheels into them, you simply ride your bike there, leave the bike with them for 7 days and then collect your bike complete with new shiny wheels, all without having to lift a spanner - this is the service that Bob used.

A few more pictures can be found here

Pembrokeshire National Park

. Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bob, Bonzo and Chinny had already managed to bag Pembrokeshire National Park but due to work commitments I was unable to go along with them at the time, fortunately this weekend I happened to have a rare Saturday free and although Bob and Chinny were unable to come along Bonzo agreed to meet up for the ride out west.

I arranged to meet up with Bonzo at a cafe on the A40 near Monmouth called The Highway Star where after a much needed full English breakfast we jumped onto our bikes and headed down the B4521 into Abergavenny.

Once through Abergavenny we headed west along the caravan filled A40 through Brecon and after topping up with petrol stopped at the West End Cafe in Llandovery where we had arranged to meet up with Ray for a quick chat and a coffee.

After our coffee break we said good-bye to Ray and headed up along the fantastic A482 to Lampeter where we turned off down the A475 through Newcastle Emlyn and then along the B4332 until we eventually arrived at today destination, the Pembrokeshire National Park visitors centre

Once I had my evidence photo for the British National Parks Challenge we decided to head back a slightly different way, so we headed north along the A487 coast road and into Aberystwyth and then took one of my all time favorite roads, the A44/A470 to Newtown.

Unfortunately while heading along the A44, just west of Llangurig we came across a queue of traffic a couple of miles long and when we got to the front of it we joined a large group of other bikers who were waiting for the road to be opened. It turns out that a Yamaha R6 rider had collided with a car on one of the bends and the Police, Recovery and Council were just finishing off recovering the bike and fixing to road. According to one of the Police officers although the rider of the R6 had been taken to hospital he wasn't badly hurt, all of our best wishes go out to him.

Once at Newtown I waved good-bye to Bonzo who headed south along the outstanding A483 and back to Cardiff while I carried on through Welshpool, Shrewsbury and Telford until I got home.

Another British National Park done and while Bob and Bonzo have already managed to visit all 15 parks throughout the UK and received their Gold Awards I'm still 2 short, so I'm hoping to get up to Scotland over the next month or 2.

A few more pictures can be found here

Scottish National Parks

. Friday, July 24, 2009

Where shall I start?, well there were supposed to be four of us to go on this trip up to Scotland as a finale to completing the British National Parks Challenge but unfortunately Chinny dropped out because he couldn’t get the time off from work... Bugger!

At the very last minute Rig could not go due to someone being ill in his office and he could not leave them without IT cover! Double Bugger!

So we are down to two, just myself and Bonzo.

We were planning on leaving on Monday morning but now there were only two of us so I rang Bonzo we decided to go on the Sunday so he came up from Cardiff on Saturday afternoon ready for an early morning start.

Sunday morning 6.40am and we leave and head towards Coleshill and jump on the M6 through spaghetti junction and head north, the roads were a bit boring but quite quiet and a quick way to Scotland. After the first 100 miles we stop for breakfast at a robbery station (Motorway Services) and paid £17.50 for two breakfasts! (robbing barstewards) but once our bellies were full we set off again along the M6 and eventually turned off onto the A75 towards Dumfries.

We eventually stop to fill up with petrol just before Dumfries and then take the A76 towards Kilmarnock where we next jumped on to the M77 to Glasgow and then turned off at junction 3 to Paisley.

We went through Paisley and onto the M8 across the river Clyde onto the A82 where we then turned off to Balloch to get the first of the two National Parks done.

We found the Visitor centre at Loch Lomond and drive on the path get our evidence photos done once that was sorted we decided to park the bikes on the road and nip into the local cafe for a diet coke break.

After an hour’s rest we set off again on the A82 towards Fort William but just before we stop at Ballachulish and the Loch Leven Hotel, I luckily managed to park right by the door and booked in for the night.

We had a quick shower, got changed and went down to the bar to have a few pints of Guinness, a bar meal followed by more beer and then off to bed. (By the way the Loch Leven Hotel is a great hotel and bar if you’re up here looking for somewhere to stop I would recommend checking the place out)

The following morning with a full Scottish breakfast in our bellies we set off along the A84 and turn off along a small road to see Ben/Glen Nevis but found that after a few miles we had to turn around as the road was a dead end! We had to come all the way back into Fort William before taking the A82 alongside the Loch Lochy and Loch Ness but we didn’t see Nessie, must have been asleep. (More likely Nessie saw Bonzo and did a runner – Rig)

We finally stopped for another diet coke momment at a road side shop called The Seven Heads Store and being the nosy bugger that I am I asked why the shop had such an interesting name, as it turns out the place had quite a story about it as it was named after the nearby monument known as The Well of the Seven and commemorates a very ghastly story.

The inscription on the front of the monument read:

Which in the swift course of feudal justice inflicted by the orders of Lord MacDonnel and across overtook to perpetrators of the foul murder of the Keppoch family?

A branch of the powerful and illustrious clan of which his lordship was the chief.
This monument is erected by Colonel MacDonnel of Glengarry XV11 Mac-Mhic-Alaister his successor and reprehensive in the year of our lord 1812.

The heads of the seven murders were presented at the feet of the noble chief in Glengarry castle after been washed in this spring and ever since that event which took place early in the 16th century it has been know by the name of Well of the Seven Heads.

Later on that day, after a few sharp showers Bonzo, who had being riding in leather jacket decided that he would like a waterproof jacket so into Inverness we went looking for a bike shop, we went along an industrial estate saw a butty wagon (Bonzo can sniff out a fryed pork from 100 yards) and asked the guy behind the counter if he knew of one luckily he did and pointed out where the local bike shop called Mitchells Motorcycles on my GPS. So 30 minutes later and Bonzo was £110 lighter but he’s got a new waterproof jacket (Mrs Bonzo will kill him) he he..

So back into Inverness and onto the A9 and across the Kessock Bridge keeping on the A9 coastal road towards Wick and then took the A99 towards John o' Groats.

We arrived in John o' Groats about 5 ish but unfortunately there’s not much there so we took a few photos and had a drink and a cake in the cafe (more diet coke). They take the distance signpost down unless you pay so we decided to go to along the single track road out of John o' Groats to the lighthouse at Duncansby Head as that’s the real north eastern tip of the Scottish mainland beating John O’ Groats by a good mile, plus the view over the high cliffs are outstanding.

We then headed back to Wick to find a nice hotel where we found a great hotel called Mackays Hotel so we got booked in, found my tiny cupboard room, showered (Yes even Bonzo) and found the bar and preceded to sample some of the local food and beer.

While we were staying at the Mackays Hotel we found out that the street next to the hotel is in the Guinness World Records for having the shortest street in the world at only 6ft 9in long.

We got up next morning and after hearty breakfast we headed off along the A9 to Inverness and then out towards our 2nd National Park at Nethy Bridge where we got to take some more evidence photos, drank more diet coke and much needed toilet break.

While playing with the Sat Nav looking for something interesting I found an appealing sounding place called “Waltzing Waters” that was only about 25 miles away, thinking it sounded a nice water fall we headed out to it only to find out it was a new industrial unit with lots of water and flashing lights for the kids...What a pair of prats….lol.

We did meet up with another biker in the hotel in Wick, a American chap from London travelling around Scotland, he came up across the mountains said it was a good road apart from getting a soaking. So we set off back along the A9 towards Inverness, turn off on A95 to Ballindalloch and turn down the B9008 then onto the B9136 then onto the A939 across the Cairngorms Park, what a fantastic bunch of roads. We keep going and find ourselves low on fuel (it’s further than we thought) thank god for Sat Nav it said it was only six miles to the nearest garage. So we then keep going along the A939 peering into the distance in the hope of spotting the garage before we run dry.

When we get there its two old pumps on one side of the road, looked like something from 1940’s (Bonzo should know) and small stores across the road, we thought it was derelict till the lady came out the shop!

Now filled up with fuel and raring to go we kept on the A93 towards Perth. We cut around Perth and onto the M90 turned off at junction 6 to Kinross and found another hotel via the Sat Nav called The Green. The hotel turned out to be a very nice hotel costing £62 per night with breakfast, large rooms, good food and service (!). After showering, more beer and food it was time for bed. (Isn’t it funny how you are still hungry in the mornings? He He)

After breakfast we started to load our bikes up with luggage and it just was starting to rain! Great...We then jumped back on the A90 towards Edinburgh, around the ring road turn down the A68 to Newcastle, down the A1 to Leeds, jumped on the M1 and M42 to Coleshill and called in the Wheel House Tyres where Bonzo had two new tyres fitted as he had worn his out!

We left about 4 ish and got to my house by 4.30 pm. Bonzo had a bit of a rest then decided to head home in case it started raining, he only had another two hours, 120 miles to Cardiff.


1st Day - Loch Leven Hotel £ 55.00 - (416 miles)

2nd Day - Mackays Hotel £ 76.00 - (239 miles)

3rd Day - The Green £ 62.50 - (344 miles)

4th Day – 356 miles

Total miles: 1,364

Petrol: £112.94

Loads more pictures can be found here

Breakfast at Wellesbourne

. Sunday, July 19, 2009

Saturday morning and after a few cups of tea at Bob's house we decided to head out for a breakfast at one of our favorite places, the Touchdown Cafe at Wellesbourne Airfield.

Once we had fueled up our bikes, Myself, Bob and Chinny made to 20 mile rider over to Wellesbourne Airfield where we found the car park was full of other bikers with the same idea!

Once we found somewhere to park and had ordered our food we sat back and did what most male bikers like to do, talked rubbish (and I played with Twitter) until our food arrived and then is was strangely silent as we devoured our full English.

Afterwards we spilt up as Chinny had other things to attend to so myself and Bob headed towards Coleshill and into Wheel House Tyres as Bob had decided to had the wheels on his Blackbird powder coated.

Wheel House Tyres not only do powder coating to loose wheels but also offer the additional service of allowing you to just ride in on your bike, they remove the wheels and tyres, powder coat them and then re-fit the wheels and tyres to your bike and you return 7 days or so later and ride out on your bike complete with new shiny wheels.

We will be sure to update you when Bob collects his Blackbird with his new pink wheels but in the mean time loads more pictures can be found here

We're still here!

. Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I've had a couple of emails from people asking if RigsVille is still up and running due to the lack of blog posts and the answer is YES

Unfortunately due to a lack of time dealing with a new job and also recently moving house I haven't had time to write-up many of this years trips and for this I can only apologise and say that I hope to get round to updating the website and blog more frequently.

While the blog hasn't been updated very often we have been out on our bikes and have spent lots of time, burned loads of petrol and travelled many miles taking part in the British National Parks Challenge and all of the National Parks that we have visited are on RigsVille.

Next week will see us heading north and into Scotland for 5 days and as part of this trip I will be experimenting with live GPS tracking, so if you want to know where we are during our trip you will be able to visit a website (details to follow) and see where we are in real-time.

I will also be trying to 'tweet' about the trip as often as I can via our twitter page so you will have the option to see us on GPS and twitter (Sad bunch aren't we?)

Many thanks to both Grim Rider and everyone over at the Iron Butt UK forum for their help and advice of the year.

South West National Parks

. Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Today’s ride out was going to involve a lot of motorway miles, we were planning on getting down to the South West and unfortunately there’s only really one way of getting there quickly and that’s the M5.

We left Bob’s house after our usual pre bike ride cuppa courtesy of Bob’s better half Lynn, we had arranged to meet up with Bonzo and his nipper the other side of Bristol at Gordano services.

When we arrived at the services and met up with Bonzo and his daughter Emily we headed straight inside and we were all quite surprised at the prices and quality of the food on offer, we were going to head off and find somewhere else for breakfast due to most motorway service stations serving very bad food at expensive prices but the food here look good enough to eat!

After enjoying our breakfast we jumped back onto the bikes and carried on heading south down the M5 towards our 1st destination - Dartmoor National Park.

Once we had run out of M5 we carried on down the A38 and then thankfully after all those motorway miles we turned off the main roads and through Bovey Tracey before turning onto the B3387 and suddenly the landscape changed from boring to beautiful as we passed through the national park until we arrived at Princetown.

Once we found somewhere we could take our evidence photos Bob decided it was cake time so we parked up at the nearby old police station cafe and enjoyed some cake, tea and pasties!

Our next destination was Exmoor national park so off we set back the way we had just come along the B3387 following the river Dart until we hit the A38 and again found ourselves back on the M5 but heading north. Thankfully we only did a few miles on the M5 as we soon turned off onto the A361 and then things got even better as we turned right onto the outstanding A396 all the way to our final park of the day in Dulverton - Exmoor National Park.

Once again we managed to get our evidence photos taken outside the national park shop in Dulverton before heading back towards the M5 and the start of our journey home.

As always loads more pictures can be found here

Northern England National Parks

. Monday, April 27, 2009

Early Saturday morning and it’s another great weekend away on our bikes and this time we had a cunning plan, we aimed to visit the North of England and visit as many of the national parks as we could as part of the British National Parks Challenge.

Unfortunately Chinny would not be able to make this weekend’s trip which was a shame as he was missed and not only for his amazing ability to eat huge quantities of fried pork and so at 7am on a cold Saturday morning we met at Tamworth’s M42 services all ready for a weekend of many miles, cold weather and smiles!

We had already decided that because we wanted to try to cover 5 parks this weekend that we would have to do quite a few miles on A roads and motorways instead of using the more scenic back roads so once leaving the warmth and comfort of the services we headed up the M42/A42 (Hi Derek!) and onto the M1 until we turned off at Junction 29 and headed around Chesterfield and along the B6051/B6054/A6187 into Hathersage where we could see the mornings mist clinging tightly to the hills we then turned right onto the A6013 where the road takes you along the beautiful Ladybower reservoir shortly we arrived at the Upper Derwent Visitor Centre the site of our 1st national park of the day - The Peak District National Park.

After arriving at the Upper Derwent Visitor Centre we then had the task of finding somewhere we could park our bikes that would show that we really were at the correct location. After looking around we found a notice board that proudly displayed “Welcome to the Upper Derwent Valley” and then we each took a few photos of one another near the sign with our bikes while holding our placard's that show our own personal number as evidence that we did find the location and did so while riding our bikes.

While we were standing around trying to figure out what, where and how it seemed that the park was due to host the 4th Derwent Dambuster organised by Challenge Cancer Through Adventure and the car park was slowly filling with more and more people in lycra each one of them staring at us (or maybe just Bonzo) wondering WTF was going on?

Once we had taken our photos the next important decision was breakfast, we decided that because our next planned national park was going to be the Yorkshire Dales it would be foolish not to call into the world famous Squires Cafe on the way oop north.

So after another bunch of miles on the M1/A1 we arrived at Squires Cafe which is just outside Sherburn-In-Elmet only to be greeted by what we thought was Bonzo's fan club - as it turns out the 50+ bikers already at Squires Cafe were members of York Advanced Motorcyclists who meet up here every Saturday. After parking the bikes and wandering around the car park checking out the other bikes, like you do, we headed indoors to sample to delights of a Squires fried breakfast.
After munching our way through a load of freshly cooked pork we jumped back onto the bikes and headed back up the A1 for another 36 miles until we turned off onto the very welcoming and twisty A684 that took us all the way into Hawes and our next photo stop at the Hawes National Park Centre.

Unfortunately due to the lack of time we didn't have much chance to look around Hawes but it looked like a lovely quaint place and would be well worth a return visit some other time even if it's just to ride the A684.

We continued west along the A684 and with each twisty mile after twisty mile the scenery became more and more beautiful so much so that we just had to pull over and take in the scenery and snap a few photos.

After crossing the M6 we then navigated the tourist traffic around Kendal and Windermere until we found our 3rd national park destination of the day - Lake District Visitor Centre at Brockhole.

Again we parked up and took the photo's we needed as proof of our visit to the Lake District but instead of heading straight on to our next destination we decided that it would be a nice to head to lake Windermere and take a few photos so we followed the lake north and arrived in Ambleside where we found a place to park the bikes and took a few moments to appreciate the natural beauty of the lake district but resisted the temptation of the local ice cream seller.

Once again we jumped back onto the bikes and headed north out of Ambleside and as we travelled along the Kirkstone pass and then along the A592 the hugs the shore of Ullswater we enjoyed both the roller coaster twists and turns but also the outstanding beauty of the scenery unfortunately we arrived at the M6 all too soon and again headed north.

As we neared our next national park the roads became straight and seemed to almost disappear into the horizon but soon enough we arrived at the Once Brewed Visitor Centre that is home to the Northumberland National Park and went through our now almost near perfect F1 pit stop style routine of finding a place to park the bikes so that we could get our evidence photos taken and then after a quick cup of coffee from the visitor centres vending machine we headed off in search of our next destination.

By now it was getting late, we were getting tired and we had another whole day left to do just one more national park so we decided that we would head towards our next national park but find a hotel where we could stay for the night.

Fortunately Bob had stayed in the area before and being a big fan of the television program Heatbeat he knew of a nice hotel in a little village called Goathland otherwise known to the rest of the TV world as Aidensfield.

We arrived in Goathland and went straight to the hotel - the Inn on the Moor Hotel where after booking in and sorting ourselves out we headed straight into the hotels bar for a plate of Whitby Fish and Chips and then afterwards it was only polite to head into the village pub for a pint of Guinness or 3.

The following morning we got up nice and early and had a wander around the village before heading back to the Inn on the Moor for a nice cooked breakfast. Once we were fed and watered we took a couple of photos of the bikes around the village and then headed back the way we had come the previous night to get out 5th and last of the weekend national park at the Moors National Park Centre in Danby.

After getting our usual photos we headed into Whitby and parked at the Whistle stop Cafe we then had a wander around then decided to start the long journey home.

As always loads more pictures can be found here


. Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Once again Bonzo's craving for ice cream, sand and seagulls took over and he insisted that while meeting up for breakfast at Crossgates Cafe we head over to Aberystwyth. for him to satisfy his primeval urges.

As always a few more pictures can be found here

Brecon Beacons

. Thursday, March 05, 2009

As most of us had now signed up to the British National Parks Ride we decided that we had better get started and went looking for our 1st point of the challenge.

We decided to meet up with Bonzo (Ray was still off the road after last week's incident and Chinny was also not able to come out) at a new cafe located on the A40/A4137 called The Highway Star where we had an excellent breakfast (Possibly a future RigsVille recommended breakfast cafe)

After having our usual fry-up we headed up the A4137 and then turned left onto the B4521 and followed this great road into Abergavenny where we picked up the A40 and then the A470 until we arrived at our 1st BNPR destination - The Brecon Beacons National Park visitor centre.

When we arrived the next task was to find somewhere we could get a photo of ours bikes showing both our rider number and the destination as proof that we had ridden here. We now spent over half an hour pushing our bikes around to different spots in the visitors centre and taking photo's to make sure that we had evidence we required for the BNPR.

It was getting late in the day now and as Bonzo only lived a few miles away he decided to head home while me and Bob headed back home to the midlands but via the A438 to Hereford and then the A4103 to Worcester and finally a quick blast up the M5/M42

As always a few more pictures can be found here

Not Ray's Day

. Wednesday, February 25, 2009

This was intended to be our 1st proper ride out of the year, OK that's not exactly true as we had been out a number of times battling the frozen roads around the West Midlands, including a couple of trips out for a quick breakfast to the Long Itch Diner or Welsbourne Cafe but we didn't take any photo's or get up to anything interesting other than eating and talking about how cold it was but then Saturday morning dawned (like it normally does) and we decided to meet Bonzo and Ray over at Fromes Hill cafe to say HI and tease Bonzo about his baldy head and to ask Ray if he had gotten any new thongs for Christmas.

Unfortunately Chinny couldn't make today ride out, even the promise of a large plate of fried pig couldn't tempt the poor fella, so after a quick cup of tea at Bob's house (Thanks Lyn) we set off down the back lanes and onto the M40/M5 towards Worcester.

The ride over to Fromes Hill cafe was fun, including a sphincter clenching moment when we approached junction 6 of the M5 and on the bridge above was a couple of fluorescent clad gentlemen and a rather large speed camera along with a couple of police cars on the hard shoulder that had pulled over a few cars.

After we arrived at Fromes Hill cafe and gotten our cups of tea we waited for Bonzo and Ray to arrive and noticed that they were late, after a while Bonzo turned up on his own - Where's Ray?

It turned out that poor old Ray had slid off his bike while coming off and island near Cardiff and while Ray was OK (except for some bruising) the bike was not really up for the long ride over to Fromes Hill cafe due to the mirror/indicator hanging off but was ridable. After Bonzo and Ray checked everything was OK Ray insisted that Bonzo continue on to Fromes Hill cafe and Ray rode his bike home to inspect the damage.

After Bonzo had told us about Ray we immediately ordered breakfast (well we were starving!) and only then after eating up we decided to head back to Cardiff with Bonzo to check on Ray and his broken Blade.

After following the whirlwind that we call Bonzo, we arrived at Ray's house and checked that Ray was OK and then we retired into his garage to inspect the poorly Honda CBR1000.

The initial inspection showed that the bike had slid down the road on it's left hand side and as well as snapping off the mirror/indicator and sand papering away the engine case and fairing we noticed that the link arm to the gear change was also bent, the clutch lever was bent and the foot rest hanger had cracked pushing the heel plate into the chain guard.

Thankfully most of the damage was cosmetic but that also means it's not going to be cheap to fix.

The obviously most important fact was that Ray was OK and only battered and bruised so all that was left was for the p*ss taking to start.

As always a few more pictures can be found here

Jaws Motorcycles

. Sunday, February 15, 2009

9 am on a very cold December morning and I was heading east along the A14 through Cambridgeshire and towards the market town of Thetford.

Why Thetford? well apart from being known as the place where queen Boudica once lived it's also well known (at least within the Honda Blackbird community) as the place where Jaws Motorcycles are based, the oracle of everything Honda Blackbird related.

The reason why I was heading to see John at Jaws Motorcycles was that Flo had now covered over 24k miles and she was due her 24K mile service.

After arriving at Jaws Motorcycles and meeting John, who is a very friendly guy with an obvious passion for all things motorcycle related, not just Honda Blackbird and having being given a most welcome warming cup of tea John took Flo into his workshop and began the process of giving her a 24K service.

I'm no expert when it comes to motorcycles mechanics, hence the reason for the visit the Jaws and John's vast knowledge of Blackbirds but over the next 3 hours or so John and his son (sorry I forgot his name) gave Flo a very detailed going over, including changing the oil and filter, clutch fluid, air filter, fitting a Scottoiler, checking that the cam chain tensioner was working OK and that the suspension was OK as well as loads of other little checks.

The service given by John was first class and he's obviously not only very knowledgeable and passionate about motorcycles but a true gentleman and well worth the 7 hour round trip and one that I will certainly be doing the next time Flo's due for a service.

British National Parks Ride

. Thursday, February 12, 2009

Grim Rider has just posted over at his blog about a great idea on how to not only raise money for a worthwhile cause but also to give you a reason (as if you ever needed one in the first place) to get out on your bike.

The challenge is called the British National Parks Ride and the aim is for you to visit as many of the 15 National Parks of Britain within a calendar year on your motorcycle and depending on the number of parks you manage to visit you can earn a Bronze, Silver and Gold certificate all while helping to raise money for the Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance

I've just signed up for this challenge and over the next 12 months I aim to visit as many of the National parks and I will obviously post my progress over at RigsVille.

So if you want to get out of your bike and explore different parts of Britain while feeling that your helping out a worthwhile cause - get over the British National Parks Ride website and to find out more.

Cold day in the Cotswolds

. Sunday, January 04, 2009

It was a very cold day on Saturday as we sat at Bob's house drinking tea and talking bollocks, nothing unusual there it must be said but while twittering away we eventually decided to head south into the Cotswolds and hopefully end up at Fox’s Diner for a warming breakfast.

Well that was the plan and as we all know things never go to plan, so after jumping onto the bikes we headed down the A429 and passed our usual breakfast stop near Wellesbourne and carried on through the popular market town of Moreton-in-Marsh where we turned onto the very frosty and cold A44 until we came into the infamous town of Chipping Norton.

Once we arrived in Chipping Norton we decided to stop and try to find somewhere to get a hot drink and get warm as even the local brass monkey’s were started to get worried.

After finding a local book shop that also sold coffee (the cakes look very nice as well but we decided to wait until we got to Fox's Diner) and had warmed up we decided to head in a more direct route to Fox’s Diner due to the cold.

So on with the GPS and through the centre of Oxford we went until we arrived at Fox’s Diner only to find it closed – crap

The lucky thing about Fox’s Diner is that next door the bike accessories shop MPS Express were open so in we popped to have a mooch about.

Due to time getting on a bit and the fact we were all starving (knew I should have had some cake in Chipping Norton) we decided to head to the nearest Little Chef, unfortunately this meant a trip around the Oxford ring road that just happened to be almost full of stationary traffic but nothing gets in the way of Bob and his Full English so 15 minutes later the bikes were parked in the Little Chef and we were in a nice warm restaurant ordering coffee and Olympic Breakfast (Cheers Chinny)

We decided that is was in fact way too cold, even for us so we took the decision the jump onto the A34 and then the M40 and get home nice and quick rather than take the long way home.

As always a few more pictures can be found here