22 March 2018

Booking dot com

Booking.com - if you want to book hotels and aren't already signed up with them, please follow the link and sign up.  It's free to you.

12 March 2018

Vimy 101

Vimy on 2017
Time has moved on since the last update on this potential run andI have heard back from the Vimy people in France.

As with most years that aren't a big anniversary there will be the usual smaller scale commemoration at the Memorial and so numbers will be back into the hurdreds if not tens as previous years.

The ceremony itself usually takes place on the other side of the memorial itself to that in the picture, although this side allows for a far larger flat space for the visitors.

Last year there were many thousands and thousands of people. Mostly Canadian to celebrate a date that many see as "the birth of a nation".

In 2014 there were maybe 100 people, no more than 150.

So the plan. Unlike 2014 I will entrust my route to a TomTom. Which one I haven't decided but I have yet to try the 410 on the bike. 

Once one gets used to it, it is a better piece of kit than the old Rider. I have fitted a new Bosch style plug to the end of the OEM wiring loom and have got all the new fangled locking gear and RAM mounts out and set up ready to go but haven't done it yet. 

I have used it in the car and it is really good.  Such a shame that most mobile phone contracts don't include tethering when outside the UK,  as then it would use the phone to pick up road holdups and closures and automatically alter the route to avoid them.  As it is, it does that over wifi so a stop at a service station en-route can assist.

Anyway, back to April 9th.  My shuttle should arrive about 0955 local time in France and once clear of the port area I can have a relaxed (and no doubt Jean Pas D'Amis as usual) ride down to Vimy with a lunch stop on the way.

So stops on the way to Vimy: Access will be down the A26.  Then a first stop at the Loos Battlefield and the Memorial before lunch (place to be decided) and then I'll head down to Vimy.  Afterwards there are two craters I'd like to have a look at. Both are war graves.  Lichfield and Zivy Craters on either side of the A26 just to the north-east of Arras.

As for the return. The ceremony is at 1500 and lasts about an hour. Factor in travelling time back to Calais and walking on site as parking may be a way off, I have a Shuttle booked at 1950 local time and that arrives back in Folkestone at 1925 UK Time.

Then boom, Rocket back up the A26 to the train home.

6 March 2018

East Kent TOMCC

The inaugural meeting of a new branch of the Triumph Owners MCC.

It's been a while in gestation and tonight was the date chosen for the first meeting.

Luckily last week's snow had gone but the roads were still pretty away with accumulated grit and muck in the middle.

And I chose to take Pepé. What's that sound on game shows when the contestants get an answer wrong? Uh-uh?

After getting Pepé out of the garage and booting it up with the dbpower unit,  cleaned off some muck, it was ready.

It was only 5 miles to the Drum Inn but it was horrible. Dark and wet road. Crap everywhere.

It was getting cold so I stayed about 45 minutes, had a coffee. And as the only one that had gone by bike (!) I left.  It was worse on the way back. Fogged visor.  Cold and still damp road.

Some pix taken during fettling time:

18 February 2018

Meldrews' Sunday

Yep today. A milder weekend than of late with minus temperatures overnight being burned off by the early sun.

One again Pepé needed to be boosted by dbpower unit!

I chose a more roundabout way to the meet as I wanted to avoid the smaller country lanes that may still be slippy and debris strewn after many days of rain and the occasional snow storm.

Breakfasts and chat were good as usual. Only four of us as others working or at the London Bike Show.

Then time to ride back home. This time on the back roads.  Most of them dried up a bit but a lot in the shade still a bit slippery and the potholes! Big enough to take out a tyre. Luckily didn't hit one.

So another forty miles completed.

Today, I wore my old Belstaff gloves. Still waterproof and warm in low temperatures.  No frost bitten fingers today.

17 February 2018


The weather has been quite wintery of late. That's to be expected as we are more than a fortnight into February.

So after an afternoon walking the dog down by the sea in bright sunshine I booted the bike.

It needed the dbpower unit to get it started. I togged up and set off. Just a 25 mile run along the coast towards the sun thst seemed to set a bit too quickly and then it was freezing.

Body okay buy my fingertips were frozen. 

Nice to get out though.  Tomorrow is Meldrews' Sunday.

13 January 2018

MoT Day

This month Pepé turns three years old and in UK that means must undergo the first of what becomes annual road worthiness tests known as the MoT. Short for Ministry of Transport.

At this stage there are no worries. As vehicles get older than things can be more worrisome.

Although that birthday is January 25th it has to be done in the same month. And today was the only Saturday free.

It was freezing. Okay. An air temp of 5°C when I set off. I had to boot Pepé with the dbpower unit again.

On the move it must have been closer to zero at 70mph on the motorway.

I was early. Checked in at Laguna in Ashford.  The new Triumph showroom is open but not the workshop and so the MoT needs to be done at the Powersports shop across town.

This is where they have the Ducati,  KTM and Kawasaki dealerships.

Once I handed the keys over I had a look around. Lots of really nice bikes. But now out of my wallet range. Most.

The latest Multistrada fetching over £16000 looks nice.

They have one of the new Z900 Kwaks in and it is in the colours a guy I worked with in 1974 had. Lovely but chain drive? Not for me. I took a picture of the seat hump. Less duck tail than the original

From there a look at the used bikes. A 2014 Diavel Strada with touring pack of screen and  luggage at a fraction over £10k looked very nice and only 5k miles!

But who am I to scoff. Pepé goes in the book with 5986 miles. The mileages at MoT are recorded and kept by the DoT.

I had a turn around the helmet and clothing section.  Not that I am in the market but I like to see what's about. Could not believe that the latest Shoei Neotec comes with an inner sun visor (at last) but at over £550 ($700) is eye wateringly expensive.  I'd be afraid to take it off in case I dropped it!

On the way in I had worn my new Dainese gloves. Goretex checks the boxes when wet.  They are a good fit and the thick elastic cuff is good and keeps them draught free. But. Once the temp gets this low after about 10 miles. My finger tips were beginning to feel very cold.

And then it was time to collect the bike. All passed as expected for another year.

The ride home was as cold as the way in. But at least I tripped 6000 on the odometer. Yay!!

27 December 2017

No weather for biking

Being on leave from 22nd December until January 1st I had hoped we'd have one mild day to get out on the bike. It's a month since I was last out and it seems like much longer. 

Sadly it has been raining or merely drizzling every day and then it's taken a turn for the worst. Light snow and daily highs of 2°C aren't conducive to two wheel transport.

Thursday this week is supposed to be the mildest day. But...

Update: 31st December 2017

Sadly the Met Office were wrong. As usual. Despite all the computers and weather stations and access to every nutter with a pine cone, forecasts are still pretty rubbish.

The forecast changed and there should have been a five hour window today where the bike might have been dragged out of the garage.  Sadly. That never happened. It rained all day. It has rained all evening.

The forecast for tomorrow is much the same. Looks like 2018 will start as 2017 has drizzled away....

21 December 2017

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Whatever your faith this is a time for rejoicing and friendship.

Best wishes from Paul and Claire Devall.

P.S. Instead of posted cards I have donated to an animal rescue centre. http://www.hillside.org.uk

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