Thursday, 29 May 2008

Red Marley Hill Climb

On Easter Monday I travelled with Ian and Guzzisue to the Red Marley Hill Climb, not far from Droitwich in the West Midlands. The event is open to pre 1971 machines with classes ranging from Pre 1950 Rigid, Pre 1971 Up To 350cc Pre 1971 over 350cc and an Allcomers Event.

The winners were decided from heats of four trying to reach the summit with the first two going through to the next round. There was also a Silver Helmet Award for the fastest time which went to Leigh Owen on a 500cc Jawa, who completed the climb in 19.14 seconds. This is a new record for the hill.

Last year when my friends went to watch the event the weather was very sunny, however due to Easter being early this year we had several light snow showers when we were near the top of the hill.

Close to the small autojumble area there was a small display of old motorcycles from which these pictures were taken.

This is a rather tidy 1948 MV Agusta 150cc Turismo Sport,

A smart Norton,

or how about a 1909 2.25bhp FN Lightweight?
Maybe a Coventry Eagle? Ian can remember an old school friend of his having a Coventry Eagle push bike in the 1970's.
To end with there was a pair of NSUs

and an Indian.

We clambered our way close to the top of the hill in order to see some of the action
and the view is well worth the effort.

The racing was hard fought from

On Easter Sunday a trials meeting is held and I think we will have to try and have a look at that next year.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Biker Ted - Mechanic

Ian on many occasions cannot be rushed into decisions, as I have learned. For 10 years I have heard him going on about needing to replace the silencers on his Suzuki. Last year when he was riding towards a landmark for the Round Britain Rally one fell off, resulting in a very battered silencer. For some reason this spurred him into action and he got in touch with Roy at OS Stainless
in Hixon. The old pair were taken in and two weeks later Roy had made a new pair for £300 and a 10 year guarantee. As the old silencers had lasted for 20 years, these could well outlive the Suzuki.
Incidentally these are the silencers that can be found on Guzzisue's blog photographed on the living room floor!
One day I helped Ian fit them to the bike so that we could go and do a few landmarks for this years challenge. All went well with the fixing but we had a minor problem when the floats in the carbs stuck and flooded the engine with petrol. With a new oil filter and oil, with a tap on the float bowls saw the engine roar into life.

We both think that they look great and are very close to looking original.
When Ian went for a test ride I decided to relax and had a ride in my friend's outfit.

Ian has since taken the Suzuki to show Roy, who took some photos himself and the bike will appear on his website sometime in the future.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

2001 An Italian Odyssey - On This Historic Day

Tuesday September 11th. There was no reason why this should not be the same as any other. In the morning we wandered round Reutte looking in the shops and taking photographs of the brightly painted buildings.

Around lunch time Ian and myself headed back to the hotel for a little siesta while Guzzisue went to look round the local museum.

When certain world events happen people can always remember what they were doing at that time. For example, be it the assassination of Kennedy, the moon landing, the murder of John Lennon. All events that in some way have helped to shape our history.

Tuesday September 11th. When Guzzisue returned to the hotel she saw both Ian and myself transfixed to the tv screen watching the collapse of the Twin Towers. All three of us just sat on the edge of the bed for most of the afternoon watching the events unfold.

The world seems such a small place when you can be 800 miles from home watching events unfold in New York, which in turn is only a few hours away by air.

All these years on this is still a subject that is close to many peoples’ hearts and anything I try and write cannot compete with what has already been written. My thoughts are still there.

9/11, I was in Reutte, in a hotel room, watching CNN.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

2001 An Italian Odyssey - In Which Guzzisue Gets Icicled

I’m not sure if the Guzzi was trying to tell us something this morning as she was refusing to start. Well it was quite cold but a change of plugs soon got us on the road.

For a change we rode up the Timmelsjoch and as we climbed it got cooler. Going through the tunnels Ian was being cautious of the water on the road, until we heard Guzzisue say ouch. Ian hadn’t done anything but Guzzisue told him to look up, she had just been icicled! On the tunnel roofs there were lots of icicles forming,some being two feet in length and one had broken off and hit Guzzisue, this also meant that the water was in fact ice on the tunnel floors. More caution was needed. No surprise here but we hit snow again on the pass.

Having paid the toll and collected the sticker it was into the café for a hot chocolate and warm up, well after Ian had worked out how to open the door.

Reutte is a town in Austria that we had passed through each time on our way to Italy, so we decided to stay here for a couple of nights and at about £20 each per night was pretty good value.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Dolomites by Motorcycle

One or two pictures cannot show the beauty of the Dolomites. This film does the area more justice.

2001 An Italian Odyssey - Head For The Hills

There is always a little excitement in the body as we hit the road again. Today we followed the west coast of Lake Garda from Lazise all the way north to Torbole and then onto Trento, where in the time honoured fashion we got lost.

Eventually finding the correct route we headed for the Dolomites and having done a couple of mountain passes and got through Predazzo without losing a rear light lens or bolt for the rear mudguard we decided to stay in Corvaria in Badia for a few days.

The first hotel that we tried was too expensive but we managed to find a time share apartment in a block that did bed and breakfast for less than half the price as they did discounts for bikers! We decided to stay for four nights.

During our stay in Corvaria we did the usual trips in cable cars up the mountains, once seeing a young girl with her wheelbarrow walking up to a rescue hut with her parents, much to many people’s amusement.

On another day we took the Guzzi out and rode some of the local passes and stopped outside a café at the summit of Passo Pordoi, where several people were surprised to find not only a Guzzi but one with GB plates. Talk about taking things easy, it took us three hours to do 60 miles – but that did include a coffee stop. Not all rides have to be fast to be enjoyable.

One morning they even brought out the band for us! Well I like to think that anyway.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

2001 An Italian Odyssey - Garda and Entertainment

For our last full day on Lake Garda we caught the ferry back up to Garda town. Here we spent the day window shopping and writing postcards to friends and relatives.

In an ice cream parlour we got talking to a couple of old English ladies who were on a coach holiday and staying in Garda. Many of their fellow travellers had gone on an excursion to the Dolomites but having already been there they were relaxing in their favourite place. I wonder if they enjoyed the parlour because the owners spoke English, had menus in English and promised an evening of English music. We decided not to stay for this.

What do you think to this bike we found outside a shop in Garda? Perhaps it runs on creosote.

While having our evening pizza the storm clouds gathered over the lake. The waiters hurried to bring all the tables and chairs inside before the heavens opened. It was then that the evenings entertainment started when a local artist decided to draw a picture of a German family’s son. He kept on telling the boy to look at a glass bottle on the table as he drew the boy’s portrait. While doing the picture he kept on adding different animal features and showing these to the unsuspecting boy’s parents and younger brother. This kept on for over an hour as the artist was bought drinks and given cigarettes. When the portrait was finished the Germans tried to pay for the picture but the artist would have none of this even threatening to rip up the finished piece of work.

This was a perfect ending to our stay in Italy for this year. Tomorrow we head for the mountains.