Sunday, 23 November 2014

Book Report: A Ride In The Sun or Gasoline Gypsy by Peggy Iris Thomas

Though not a prolific book reader, I own lots of books in the 'Adventure Motorcycling' category. I've even finished one or two of them. Actually it's exactly two of them and no, neither was Jupiter's Travels (though I did start that one). One was The Road To Gobblers Knob by Geoff Hill (Geoff's sense of humour made that one for me but ruined it for others). The second I finished yesterday having read it at my daughter's swimming lessons for pretty much the last 6 months.

The author, an English woman with an adventurous spirit, goes on an 18 month ride around North America (with a wee dip into Mexico) in the 50s. She makes the journey on a BSA Bantam which chewed through wheel bearings and inner  tubes. This was at least in part, due to it's huge load which included a sizable dog. Actually the dog was the only part off the outfit the author felt a strong connection with. He provided security way beyond that which modern bike alarms can.

At first it all seems something of a stretch. RiDE magazine UK, who drew my attention to this book, got it just right. I can't quote word for word but they said something along the lines of the only person who didn't think it all seemed a bit implausible was Peggy Iris Thomas.

As such, the person I most want to recommend this book to its my daughter. In fact Tom could do with reading it too. Unfortunately it would be rather lost on a six year old. A four year old who is just about able to recognise his own name certainly won't get it. Also, you need a rudimentary grasp on what was expected of young ladies in the early fifties. Having met a Bantam would also help.

So who would enjoy this book? Pretty much anyone with a sense of adventure. In fact if anyone wants a well thumbed and slightly waterlogged copy, message me and be willing to send a stamped envelope. You won't regret adding it to your reading list.

Have you read it? What did you think? Any suggestions on the next book I should leave in the swimming bag?

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Moto Guzzi Psychoanalysis

I woke up this morning, earlier than I would have liked, just as I was about to sign a deal on a very tatty looking Moto Guzzi Stelvio. Ever since I rode a Breva 750 around the car park the other day I've been utterly unable to stop thinking about that engine! It felt more alive than anything I've ever sat on even though it was less powerful than anything over a 250 that I've ever ridden. Suddenly, I can't help thinking how much I want that engine with a little more protection for those long winner rides and more upright ergonomics. Thus the Stelvio.

And why not? Well actually that's a question most easily answered with bullet points. Unfortunately that's not an option in Blogger for Android. Here goes anyway.
* Cost. They're not cheep.
* Pillion comfort isn't great apparently
* 29mpg according to MCN
* I hear lead time on parts can be up to two weeks.
* The parts department closes for August!
* It's a little more engine than I want to own.

It's probably not a good replacement for my Suzuki yet in my dream I happily threw caution to the wind, part exchanged my (fairly) trusty VStrom and signed a big credit agreement for the rest.

Thinking with my brain, there's enough there to stop me doing something silly. If Moto Guzzi took the engine out of a V7 and shoved it in an adventure styled bike I'm not sure I'd be able to help myself.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

I Need Help Naming a Blog

It's getting a little wintry here in Yorkshire but as usual, I'm not storing my bike. Like a few of us, I'm washing it more regularly, applying thick coats of chain lube pretty much daily and a good all over spray with corrosion inhibitor weekly (and after wet rides). Other than that, it's pretty much business as usual for me and the Wee. Not so for our little YBR125.

If all goes well, the YBR's time is coming to an end. Most recently, Ang has been riding it off to the training ground and swopping it for a Hornet (which she hates) and learning the finer points of passing the unrestricted motorcycle test here in the UK. She has suddenly grabbed the motorcycling ball and is making a solid run for the line. As such, she wants to start a new joint Moto Blog and I'd be really glad to be part of that. In fact, I'd even pretty much shut this down.

The only reason I haven't set it up yet is simple. WHAT SHALL WE CALL IT? Ang suggested 'Two Up' but as that's what she's working to leave behind, it seemed the wrong name. So I'm after suggestions for a name for a moto blog which is about:
a husband and wife:

  • He's a teacher who loves riding alone or with anyone and commutes all year.
  • She's a Nurse who rides a 125 all year and is trying to get a full licence.
  • Who have two young children, a mortgage and stuff.

A little side question is whether I should move us over to wordpress or stay on blogger?

All thoughts hugely appreciated. Please tweet or comment. PLEASE!

PS I don't like the name of this blog. It says nothing about it and probably puts some people off. I was in a difficult place when I started it and did't think it through. I'd like to not make that mistake again.