Wednesday, 9 October 2013

2013 Third Quarter Round-Up

Remember my very optimistic January blog “2013 Bring it on!”

Well not everything went to plan

Touring Derbyshire, Raymondo Style! CANCELLED! 

Hardwick Hall - Derbyshire

16th January  - will see me in Bonds Main for the 11th year with flowers in hand. “I Love & miss you so much Mum.”  DONE!

Miss You Mum X X X 

17th January - Lefty, LBK & one other TBC will be in Blackburn Empire Theatre at the Foggy & Whit, "Giving it Gas Show."  I for one cannot wait!  DONE!

Great Night Out with the Lads

19th January – It’s the Third Annual IBA UK January RTE to be held at John & Sonia’s. I've not put my name down but Ben & I will undoubtedly be drawn to the excitement, involuntarily.  DONE!

IBA UK January RTE

27th January – The  Manc Riders, also, Third Annual RTE will take place at the Moorcock Inn near Littleborough. Something I’m proud to say I have arranged each year since joining the Manc Riders. (Sadly I’m unable to put up a link to the site as we are suffering administration difficulties at the moment but normal service will be resumed imminently).  DONE!

Manc Riders January RTE

February, March and April at the minute are all FREE! Shock horror. Still with the onset of May it all starts to get really interesting.  

Ben with his bike 'Trinity'
At Manchester Bike Show

March - I think France Hates Me! Done!

10th April  -   Jeannie & I are going to see Mrs Browns Boys at Manchester Arena. DONE!

24th – 26th  May -  The IBA UK Britt Butt Rally takes place. As highest placed “Rookey” last year I’m giving it a miss this year but I do believe entries are still being take just take a look at 2013 Britt ButtRally

30th May – 4th June  - Horizon’s Unlimited Travellers Meeting (HUBBUK) being held at the all new location near Donington at the Donington Farmhouse Hotel.  I’m booked in again for the whole 4 days but it looks as if the family Walton holiday could wreak havoc!  Only time will tell.  DONE! (Well sort of!)

Ben looking far too comfortable on that Combination!

7th June – It’s off to Manchester to see Eddie Izzard with Jeannie. Now that will be a blast as Eddie is simply amazing “In my mind, in my mind." DONE!

21st – 23rd June –See’s Ben and I participating in the RBLR1000 (Royal British Legion Riders 1000 miles ride). Having ridden it twice, worked on it once this year I will be riding the 1000 miles in under 24 hours with Ben my 11 year old son as pillion. If successful, Ben will become the “Youngest EVER Pillion” to have completed the ride undercutting the current record by an amazing 5 years (to the best of my knowledge but I’m sure Paddy will let me know if I’m miss quoting here, won’t you Paddy!?)

Ben & I would like to raise £500 towards for our chosen charity and would really appreciate it if you would drop by and make a donation please. “Well if you can’t plug your own fundraising on your own Blog where on earth can you?” DONE! & we managed to raise £650 for the Royal British Legion 

RBLR1000 Done!

5th – 14th July – It’s adventure time! Bruce and I are off to NordKapp or North Cape as it’s said in English. Taking a leisurely crossing from Hull over to Rotterdam on Friday night we will then head up through the Netherlands, passing through the north of Germany into Denmark. Heading further north we will pass through Sweden and follow the Atlantic Coast Road up the West coast of Norway all the way into the Arctic circle to NordKapp.  “On the return trip I would like to call into Finland Bruce.”  All of which will enable me to add a further 3 flags to my panniers, “You see there’s method in my madness” LOL.  CANCELLED! 

August is a free month, as it stands that is,  thus enabling me to ensure Mr T is full serviced and set up for a rather interesting end to September.

27th – 29th September – Roland & I will be taking part in the IBA Germany European Road Runner Rally,  a 36 hour touring event set across the whole of Germany & Austria. Roland competed in the event last year and so I will be looking to him for guidance and inspiration.  DONE!

IBA Germany European Road Runner Rally - Done!

30th September – 5th October – Ron & Ray Ride Again! We’re off down towards Greece (Flag Collecting Again) taking in some of the most stunningly beautiful Eastern European countries as we feel happy to visit. These will, I’m hoping, include Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, on the way south. Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, Croatia and Slovania heading back home. Followed by a quick dash for the  Channel Tunnel through Austria, Germany and France. Thus adding another 13 more flags to my panniers. “Now do you see why I went for such small flags?” CANCELLED!

October RTTW 2013 - DONE!

So as you can see I’ve been able to get out and about a little but no where near as much as I’d hoped. The two Big Adventures where both cancelled leaving me donw in the dumps for a while. Still I did manage an interesting trip to Spain back in February that was not planned for plus I bought Tango’d a Yamaha XT660X and did it up. 

Tango'd my Yamaha XT660X

As you can see it's been an interesting year to say the very least but as it stands there is nothing on the horizon, bike wise that is. 

I’m having a good clear out of gear which is just cluttering up the garage. I’ve also started getting the 'New Wheels' itch! Having owned Mr T 2 & half years now and put 37,800 miles on the clock it just coming up to that time again.

To be honest I’m delighted with the Super Tenere XT1200Z in every possible way. Having the 31 Litre Petrol Tank built was a stroke of genius and just changed this all-round average bike into something of a star performer. The Ohlins Rear Suspension and the Akrapovic Slip-On just brought the rest of Mr T to life.

So what bikes have I looked at? Top billing still goes to the Honda CBR1000RR I just adore that bike but and its a big but the Honda Goldwing GL1800 is something else however a new one is totally out of my realm of purchasing power at £24,499+

Strangely enough the new KTM 1190 Adventure as landed square in my sights. Fast, sexy, smooth and fully loaded with loads of toys, it’s right up there with the ‘Blade’.

As Ben has only done one ride with me this year and Jeannie none! I’m really struggling to justify a tourer. As ever my head says ‘Wing’, my heart ‘Blade’ and the nutter in me is screaming ‘KTM’.

Still Look's Good 
After all those miles

For now though it’s me & Mr T all the way, unless someone offers me a good price for him then who know’s what will happen!

So till the next time, ‘Ride well and Stay safe’ my friends.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

RTTW 2013

Every year I sit here wondering what to write. Every year my eyes fill with tears as I look at the photo’s I’ve taken, photo’s my close friends have taken and skim through the countless YouTube Video’s that flood the site for weeks after the event.

"Lest We Forget"

Riding to meet my mates from the Manc Riders at our designated RV point, the BP garage on the A556, Bucklow Hill everything felt strange.

Sadly Lilie Rose had been ill all week which meant Jeannie was not with me. Ben was on a sleep-over so I was alone. My new Garmin 350LM decided not to work, little did I realise I’d accidentally deleted all the maps from the device the previous night and to hack me off even further, my iPhone decided not to play my music.

For the first time in 5 years I decided to take the M60 South circular past Stockport. Don’t ask me why because I really have no idea. As it turned out it was the right thing to do. My normal route across the M60, M62 towards Liverpool then dropping down onto the M6 was closed due to an accident. 

Arriving at the BP Garage I was met by a sole rider on a scooter! 

“Hi, are you one of the Manc Riders?” I was asked
“I am that” I replied with pride.

It wasn’t long before the rest of the motley crew started to arrive.

The Manc Riders

We all had a right good old catch up as I’ve been all over the place lately and missed a far few “gatherings” which usually involve “Compo’s Chippy”.

After a good half hour we all mounted up and rode the short distance to the official RTTW 2013 RV point.

RTTW 2013 here we come

Bez had kindly posted up the itinerary for this year event which read:-

Order of Events - RTTW 2013

10.30 - 1.30 Royal Veterinary Corp Dog Display Team
10.30 - 10.45 Mark Pidgeon - Folk Music on Heroes Square
10.45 - 10.55 Pipers mobile
Pause in proceedings for daily 11am service
11.10 - 11.20 City of Derby ATC Rifle Drill Parade below the Armed Forces Memorial
11.30 - 11.50 Military Wives performance below the Armed Forces Memorial
12.00 - 12.15 Pipers with Dedicated Music below the Armed Forces Memorial
Main Flag bearers start arriving at 12.20
12.45 - 1.00 Mark Pidgeon - Folk Music on Heroes Square
1.15 - 1.25 City of Derby ATC Rifle Drill Parade below the Armed Forces Memorial 
1.30 - 1.45 Military Wives performance below the Armed Forces Memorial
1.50 - 1.55 You are not Fallen solo by Emma Munro-Wilson
1.55 - 2.00 Pipers 
2.00 - 2.05 Red Devils Parachute Display Team
2.10 Welcome from Founder - Martin Dickinson
2.12 Short address by Major General Lamont Kirkland - Patron RTTW
2.15 Short address by Air Commodore Simon Richardson - Senior RAF representative to RTTW
2.18 Short address by Sarah Montgomery - MD National Memorial Arboretum
2.20 Service conducted by Mike Brotherton
2.30 Last post followed by a minute’s silence
2.34 Reveille
2.35 Wreath laying led Dave Smith (piper) followed by Martin Dickinson and Major General Kirkland

Knutsford Services was unusually quite but the word soon spread of the accident just one junction North. 

Knutsford RV for RTTW 2013

After a coffee and a trip to the loo it was almost time to head South to the National Memorial Arboretum to attend the 6th RTTW and my 5th attendance.

I had to smile in the services when the guy in front of me asked were the loo was. I pointed him in the right direction and he replied.

“You been to the RTTW before?”

“Yes a few times”

“I’ve been up all night, my misses thinks I’m mad, I couldn't sleep all night, I’m that exited”

The ride down was a little fraught this year, possible compounded by the fact the drivers had been stuck in the road block for so long. Still it was a nice feeling being surrounded by 100’s of other  like minded bikers. 

Just clearing the M6 Toll was fun!

How BIG is that Grin Lefty?

On our arrival at the National Memorial Arboretum we were professionally guided to our parking area, somewhat off the beaten track due to the fields around being full to capacity.

A little off the beaten track

There's always ONE!

A Sea of Bikes

The Army Wives were in full flow and sounding amazing.

It only took a few minutes for the Manc Riders to take up residence in our regular spot under the “Mercian Regimental Flag”. A place we have occupied for the last three years.

A Time to Remember

The rest of the day is something of a blur. The words spoken were thoughtful and full of respect. All of us having our own personal thoughts and feelings. There was a huge Flag Flying Bikers ride by, a spectacle I will never forget.


The City of Derby ATC Rifle Drill Parade put on a display of synchronized marching to some totally wild pop tunes which was both a welcome break from the solemnity of the occasion and simply fantastic to see. So young and yet so 100% dedicated. They were outstanding. As were the Red Devils Parachute Display Team.

Spitfire Flypast

The Red Devils were Outstanding

The order of service ran a smooth as clockwork.

After yet another hilarious joke followed by a truly thought provoking trip back to World War 2 by Mike Brotherton, dressed as ever in his patch covered ‘Parker’, our thoughts were drawn back to just why we were in attendance.

We stood in total silence. 

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old,

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them”

"We will remember them”

All too soon the day was drawn to a close.Heading back to the bike I found the issue with my iPhone not playing music, the volume was on zero! Sadly the Garmin remained resolutely blank. (That was until I re-installed the maps the following night).

We were all going to have a ride out to a nice pub for dinner but as we set off I felt that pang of loneliness and as the guys filled up with petrol I bid my farewell. With one of the lads in tow, I headed towards Stock -on-Trent and onwards up the M6 heading home to Jeannie, Lilie Rose and Ben.

It’s always hard to describe how I feel about the RTTW but I’ve got to be honest and say the overwhelming feeling this year was one of sadness. Listening to the shear number of losses our forces have taken in Afghanistan  and the preceding conflicts is just heart breaking. Not having Jeannie there to share this wonderful show of respect for our beloved Armed Forces with me made it all the harder to deal with. Still I was surrounded by true friends who in their own way know just how we all feel.

Sunday was dedicated to bringing Mr T back to his former glory which I’m pleased to say was achieved all be it with a little help form my friends. Cheers Steve, your an absolute gentleman.

Looking Good Oggy, Looking Good!

On a more personal note - My rides this year have all been subdued for one reason or another. Maybe I need to take a close look at what it is I’m really looking for when I ride off into the sunset as one thing is for sure. Riding with friends can be one of the most rewarding and pleasurable times of your life & sometimes not!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

IBA Germany European Road Runner Motorcycle Rally 2013

Thursday 26th September

Rochdale - Koblenz 
590 Miles (949 KM)

Koblenz from our kind hosts balcony
Thank you Thomas
Friday 27th 

Koblenz - Bamberg via Heilbronn 
266 Miles (427 KM)

Neckarsulm Motorcycle Museum

Saturday 28th / Sunday 29th

IBA Germany European Road Runner Rally 2013
968 Miles (1559KM)

Placed 16th from 52 Starters

Monday 30th

Bamberg - London
647 Miles (1041 KM)

via Rüdesheim on the Rhein

Taking the ferry across to Boppard 

 And on to Cochem on the Moselle
Back to London 
Tuesday 1st October
London to Rochdale via Norfolk
330 Miles (531KM)

Vincent Memorial Plaque

Norfolk Motorcycle Museum
2801 Miles (4507 KM)

IBA Germany 
European Road Runner Motorcycle Rally 2013