Saturday, 29 May 2010
Wednesday, 26 May 2010
Posted by Highwaylass at 08:12 PERMALINK
Tuesday, 25 May 2010
Posted by Highwaylass at 06:57 PERMALINK
Monday, 24 May 2010
Sunday, 23 May 2010
Hey, Mr Audi Driver,
Thank you for the wash,
I'm not tailgating, I'm here to overtake you..
I'm ready in a higher gear,
I'm looking for the gap,
I won't ride in your parade,
Your memory will fade...
....and when Ruby and I have disappeared over the horizon you'll still be a wanker. Given that it's 27.5 C on the road today, a morning shower was quite welcome but as a note for the future, I'm more a Chanel girl than Eau d'Halfords.
Saturday, 22 May 2010
They let me go, though - here we all are at Ilfracombe RNLI.
Posted by Highwaylass at 14:44 PERMALINK
Friday, 21 May 2010
Posted by Highwaylass at 10:26 PERMALINK
Thursday, 20 May 2010
"It's 2000 miles to Beaumaris, we got half a tank of gas, 3 fully packed panniers, it's dawn, and we're wearing sunglasses."
Yes - it's LifeBoats Ride -1. We start tomorrow night at the Lizard but despite what you might conclude from my entry in Britt Butt Lite last year, I still don't like to ride more than about 300 miles in a day (yet) so I'm starting off today, stopping tonight after visiting a totally unique graveyard in Dorset (Sorry to be cryptic, I'm still not entirely abreast of the new rules on blogging about the LMs!) and making the second half of the run down through Cornwall tomorrow.
Last time I did this with the RBR we were visiting the Cardinal Compass Points of the UK - also known as the 6 points (You can read my blogs about it here, here, and..oops, there is no Part 3). This year we're visitng one of every kind of lifeboat station to raise awareness of and funds for the RNLI. Some of the guys have taken sponsorship forms out and about, personally I feel a fraud asking people to give me money for me to do an activity which is about as optional as breathing, so I'll make my own donation when we get back. If you do feel moved to support what, despite its life-saving role, is a wholly voluntary service please visit our team JustGiving page.
Why lifeboats? Boffin has been a big supporter since he was a young man, when the RNLI intervened to ensure he would be able to become an older man. I imagine
being plucked from a buoy in the middle of the Bristol Channel would inspire lifelong loyalty. I'm more in the deeply grateful category and thought that I was unique in being rescued by the Coastguard while on the bike, but it turns out that Mel was once rescued by the RNLI after knocking himself out duelling for second place in a beach race.
I wrote once before that sailing and riding had many similarities. We pit our talents and our training against a challenge which if handled poorly could kill us. And we thank the deity or ruling principles of our choice through fiscal donation that there are volunteers out there ready to help without judgement if things go wrong.
PS - forgot to explain the blues reference! Camping kit has been expanded by the world's smallest amp, for Steve Lockwood has an amp for all occasions. As we progress up the coast Ruby and I will be pausing to serenade the seagulls now and again in order to keep my hand in.
Sunday, 16 May 2010
Fantastic day yesterday at the BMF Show - HighwayPuppy came too, he's learning about travelling in cars and it was his first outing in a crate in the boot. He spent most of the day at the show being swept up and clasped to various bosoms which he enjoyed immensely.
My mission was to find a pair of warmer trousers for the Lifeboats Ride which starts on Friday - I've been riding in merino long-johns and Draggin Jeans because my Belstaff winter trousers no longer do up - that bike gear really does shrink in the cupboard, doesn't it?! - and it's just not warm enough for this chilly spring. The Triumph jumble sale was a bit too daunting, and I really didn't want to find the stuff I paid full whack for at the NEC discounted to a tenner, so I left sharpish and moved on to the Hein Gericke clearance tent where I found a pair of fat bloke trousers for 40 quid. So I will be warm if not stylish.
Less success on the social front - the Midnight Mud Wrestler was flat out all day leading ride-outs, and I got a call from Mel just as I'd put a very tired dog in the boot and set off down the A1. But I did get to say hello to BMF's Jeff and Chris, CrossRoadsRider and the guys from Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership who do a very fine training day at Cadwell Park with Hopp Rider Training. Polar bear lessons continue this afternoon with another outing on the China Girl.
Monday, 10 May 2010
Many of the ladies in Northwich high street yesterday were pushing prams and buggies. A handful were pushing shopping trolleys. Only one was pushing a fully-loaded BMW R1200GS. For the Thundersprint is rather like the Hotel California – you may check out any time you like, but you can never leave. Cavalcade completed and lunch shared with Mr and Mrs Nikos, I thought I could nip off early and fit in a visit to my Dad before a swift trip over the CatnFiddle and home to the Flatlands. Last year this worked well – quick left out of the paddock, down to the roundabout and away. This year, the helpful hand of Mr Melling stopped me as I headed left and explained that the fences had been replaced at the roundabout and there was no way out. But if I headed into town and cut through a car park I would be away. I headed into town, clearly missed the car park Frank had in mind and came to a gentle pause halfway up the hill next to the Retired Greyhounds Welfare Association. Many thanks to Wideparting and Friend from ukGser.com for taking a firm hold of Ruby’s rear and propelling me the length of the high street to freedom. Further thanks to the men and women of Cheshire Constabulary for not batting an eyelid as we rolled serenely past them.
I say “serenely” but I am lying, of course, for it is difficult to be serene pushing a bike in full kit under the bright shining sun – a prospect which seemed unlikely 24 hours earlier. There is a scene towards the end of A Perfect Storm which looks as if the director strapped George Clooney to an anchor and invited every member of the crew from the AD to the tea boy to line up with a bucket of water and throw it over him. This is what it felt like riding up through Northamptonshire and Derbyshire on Saturday. On the plus side, I now know that my new BMW rain suit will keep me dry on next week’s Lifeboats Ride. On the downside, my folder of RBR Landmarks has molded into one papier-mâché-stylee mass. Frank’s standing with the weather gods is superior to mine, and as I rolled onto the running track around the Quiet Area at Witton Albion FC I was met with gentle breezes, a clear blue sky and a cup of coffee from the three guys already set up and awaiting their friend the Syrian dentist (which, I note in passing, is exactly the scenario I described when I wrote about motorcycle camping for the Camping and Caravan Club magazine. Apart from the dentist. In the next piece I’m going to write about being greeted with a book contract…). Thanks for the coffee and apologies again for camping in the space that you’d clearly been saving for the late arrival.
The new improved Quiet Area was truly fabulous. In fact, the football club had created the perfect motorcycle campsite. Unlike the aforesaid C&CC sites which can occasionally require a pneumatic drill and the biceps of Arnold Schwarzenegger to get pegs in, the pitch required only a moderate shove with a size 10 East German Army boot. And I could park the bike on the running track next to the tent. We weren’t allowed to ride on the grass, though, which is a shame because I had spent Friday afternoon playing on a 100cc trail bike at the Venture Offroad Training Centre in preparation. (I say at the Offroad Training Centre, what I actually mean is on the flat grass bit next door. Mel is turning me into a polar bear and this is the first step on the path. Never has a two-foot grass hillock looked so intimidating…I think I’ve been living in the Fens too long.) After 14 years of riding I have just learnt that you can put a bike down with a knee in the tank and pick it back up on the throttle. I tried this while Cavalcading and turned so tightly that I nearly took out a Honda. Which would have been embarrassing. But probably not quite as embarrassing as pushing a large red BMW through the middle of the Thundersprint. Thank you all for stopping at “mildly puzzled” and not proceeding to “point and laugh.”
Sunday, 9 May 2010
QM:"oh, I just saw a road bike and thought..."
Me:"no worries..." (which meant, a road bike with a Thundersprint Paddock Pass and 3 technical control stickers from previous years? This is no ordinary road bike. This is Ruby Thursday and she is here because Frank invites her. But I let him go ahead only because he was pushing a very nice vintage Ducati)
Posted by Highwaylass at 07:23 PERMALINK
Thursday, 6 May 2010
Got this in my inbox from the Ace Cafe this morning - almost makes me want to change my phone. Because all bikers look like we belong in ZZTop and have tattoos. Don't we?
(Contact details removed to protect the innocent. Though if you do fit the bill, let me know and I'll send you them.)
The below enquiry from Tree Petts Casting has been received at the cafe. If you know anyone who fits the bill and may be interested, please pass on.
LOOKING FOR A BIKER AND HIS PARTNER FOR AN INTERNET SPOT FOR NOKIA
Nokia phones have free sat nav and they are starting a service whereby the guiding voice is either your own or someone's you care about.
BIKER: INTERESTING FACIAL HAIR, ZZ TOP STYLE. HARD CORE, TATTOOS. OVER 40 YRS OLD..AGED. RUGGED. GRAVELLY SMOKERS VOICE.
WIFE/PARTNER: SIMILAR TO THE MAN - WITHOUT THE FACIAL HAIR!!
SHOOT DATE: TUESDAY 18TH MAY 2010
Payment: £300 EACH FOR THE SHOOT DAY AND £1500 EACH FOR USAGE ON INTERNET. I.E. £1800 EACH FOR A DAYS WORK
I am holding a casting on Wed 12th May whereby we will need to meet you and put you on film if you fit the brief.
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED PLEASE TEXT OR EMAIL A PHOTO OF YOURSELF AND PARTNER. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CALL ME IF YOU HAVE ANY QUERIES.
Saturday, 1 May 2010
Eric2Spots went to the vet this morning to get chipped. It doesn't seem to have made him any faster, though this may be because, according to the vet, he's only got the single cylinder right now. Microchipping a puppy seems to work on a very similar principal to datatag, so I wondered if I could have saved myself some money by declaring him to be a BMW and using the leftover tags from Ruby....