London to Brighton 75 (59) mile off-road MTB ride 2015

Wow, what can I say about yesterday? Unbelievable!!

First off a big thanks to Rob for being driver for the day. It was great to have you waiting at each of the stops ready to re-fuel me. Thanks to Hazel for lending me Rob for the day. And thanks to Gary for letting us use the bongo (or not as it turned out) I wonder if we will ever get to ride L2B together? It all started at 6am on the 26th September 2015….. no wait, it all started in January 2013 when I decided that the British Heart Foundation’s 75 mile ride from London to Brighton would be a good challenge!! 2013I took part the event with a few mates and really enjoyed it. It was great to see the wife and kids at the end and I also raised around £800 for the BHF. A real sense of achievement. In fact, it was the point that I realised that life after dilated cardiomyopathy was gonna be ok! I enjoyed the first event so much that I signed up again to do it in Sept 2014 with Gary. Towards the end of August, I started to get quite ill. I had contracted pneumonia. I was gutted. I decided I still want to be involved so offered to drive Gary to complete the event. It was tough. Really tough, but not as tough as what Gary had to endure. So on to 2015. Again, I signed up and 2015 has been my best cycling year ever. So I was ready for it. Really ready for it. Bring it on!! At the beginning of September, I went along to the annual volleyball tournament. Started playing. Got through the first half of the game. Went to change direction and “POP!!” My knee dislocated. I’m now laying on the floor with my knee cap in totally wrong place thinking “Damn! No L2B AGAIN!!” 20 minutes later, the ambulance turned up and as they were transferring me to the trolley, my knee popped back in and I was up walking about 30 minutes later. It was sore. Really sore. After some amazing work by Alex and Romsey Chiropractic Clinic, I was back on the saddle. I was so determined to do the event. Nothing would stop me….or would it! So the morning of the event had arrived. I didn’t sleep much with all of the above swimming around my brain. The alarm went off at 6am and I was straight up eager to get the show on the road. I had sorted all the kit out the night before, so it was just a case of shower, shave, coffee and breakfast. Gary was picking me up at 7. Took the bike out the front ready and to check the air in the tyres. Took the cap off the front tyre and “Pisssssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” It took out the valve. No biggy, I have a track pump after all. Gary turns up and we load up the Bongo and off we go to pick up the designated driver. We pick up Rob, who was dressed up as a pirate and had a sword and parrot and everything, and he took on his driving responsibilities. Yay! We’re off to London!! Except….. just before reaching the M3 from the M27, the Bongo sounded like it started playing a kazoo. A few seconds later there was a bang and then steam coming out. So we pull onto the hard shoulder to check it out. We waited for it to cool, filled it with water and started to try and nurse it home. We got as far as North Baddesley, stopped to fill up again and the Bongo just wouldn’t play. So I get onto RAC to come and sort it. It’s now around 8:30. The start line in Roehampton for the event shuts at 11. l2bbongo Some time later, the RAC chap turns up. He identified that a hose underneath had split. He couldn’t change it as it was a specific shape and he’d need to tow us. So the RAC bloke started to set up the tow bar and realised that the bash bars on the front of the Bongo were in the way so he’d need to call out the flatbed truck. ETA for truck, 10:15am. Argh!!! Whilst waiting for the truck, Rob, who suggested it earlier, took my bike to ride back to his house to get his car so we can transfer all the gear ready to shoot up to London. Remember, Rob is dressed as a pirate. Tweet of the day: “#L2BMTB2015 highlight of the day: Riding @RiskyGeorge's bike across Sainsbury's car park dressed as a pirate. I freaked out a lot of follks” So the truck arrives at 09:45. The Bongo gets loaded on the truck. Rob arrives in his car and we all make our way to a garage near to Gary’s. At this stage, Gary had decided not to go. I don’t blame him to be honest. The whole morning had been a nightmare. But me, just reading the above you should understand why I had to at least try and make it right? l2b2015backontheroadIt’s now 10:30. We had 30 minutes to get to Roehampton. It was not going to happen. So we decided to make our way to the first stop and for me to start from there. The shut off time for that stop was 1pm and we got there at around 12:15. I did plan to add the missing 15 miles to the end of the ride, but with all the stress and chaos in the morning, I thought better of it. I made it. I only did 59 miles of the route, but still had to ride over all the key climbs and I did not walk up any of them. Well pleased   l2bfinish Stats: Distance: 59.6mi Moving time: 5:35:44 Elapsed time: 6:44:18 Elevation: 3,018ft Average speed: 10.7mph Average cadence: 90 Average heart rate: 153 Suffer score: Epic 511      

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Tuono – Down but not out!!

The crash

Basically the only person to blame here is me. This is how I remember it all unfolding. We were making great progress along the A488 towards Penybont. This is a cracking stretch of road. We then reached a section that had the 10mph Skid Risk signs. We dropped our speed obviously. There were gaps in the bits that had been done but the signs had been plastered along the road. Anyways, my observation was good all along the road. I was positioning well and able to make good progress. We reach a section that had not yet been done and picked up the speed a bit. We came down the hill and I could see the following • Skid Risk Signs • Gravel stricken road • Right hand bend with good visibility What I didn't see was the obvious cattle grid sign so I was shocked when I saw the actual cattle grid. As I planned my braking around there not being a cattle grid, I didn't have as much braking distance as I had thought meaning I was unable to slot into the car tracks where there was little gravel. As a result, My back end stepped out quite considerably which is normally fun, only when I caught it, it took me on to the grass heading for a wooden post. I tried to ride it in the ditch but soon realised the T is no match for the GS when not on the black stuff. So what I have learned? Well nothing really. I already know how important reading roads signs are, I just didn't read the fcuker. Moral of the story. The skid signs are there until they have swept up the gravel. If you choose to ride through it progressively, make sure you are on a GS or as your observation is taken up by looking out for gravel, don't forget to keep an eye out for the other signs. A view back down the road Gravel The ditch - I so would have just gone up the hill on the GS. lol

The damage

I did the screen with my face 😯

The awesome help

Starting off with Ady. He watched me fall off and then did everything he could to help. Cheers matey It was quite the adventure that day and I couldn't have spent it with a nicer chap. Neil and Will for riding up from Rhayader to Crossgates to lend a hand. Cheers for the water Neil Thanks for all the effort to try and get it sorted at the Crossgates Texaco. My mother in law says thanks for the cling film Will. lol A big special thanks to Graham at G sport. A welsh rally support team that helps make youngsters into rally stars. They just happened by the Texaco and came over and had a look. I explained what happened and the looked at our handy work and said "That wont work, pop it along to our workshop and we'll sort it for you" We followed them a few miles down the road, up a track onto a farm to their workshop. It had an amazing looking rally car propped up in it and another race car in bits. Anyways, they grabbed a t-piece they use for their braking systems, modified it by drilling it out to make it bigger. Fitted it on the bike and bob's your uncle. Sorted. We went back to the Texaco, stopped off to check it. I then used the jetwash to get the coolant off it and we set off back to the midlands. How lucky was that?

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DR-Z400 Supermoto in to Dirt Mode!

As you know, I recently bought a DR-Z400SM supermoto. Included in the deal was a set of plastics, spare tank, spare exhaust and a set of dirt wheels. I have now finally managed to turn it into a dirt machine. Why did I take so long? Well the supermoto is so much fun I really didn't want to change it over. Also, it meant having to split the chain so I was reluctant to do it. Any way, it's done now and here are some of the photos of the journey to braptism! So here is the bike in its former glory Starting to strip it down removing the tank and plastics All the SM kit bar the wheels removed. Dirt plastics, tank, exhaust and indicators fitted Supermoto front wheel - off Dirt wheel - on Grinding chain link Rear SM wheel - off Done! A little bit worrying. I'll keep an eye on it  🙂

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Sound’s sweet

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-sa3zgTwLA

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It’s running sweet but tucked up in the garage

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmhmfulIj1g

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Tuono starting issues

Ok so I get the bike home and try the new battery. Still nothing. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jnu6zrsyuu4 I have done a fair bit of research on these bikes and like any other, there are a few things that can go kaput and the Starter Solenoid is one of them. Apparently the older versions had a weak 50amp version and were later replaced with a 150amp one. I have ordered a new one. Lets hope that sorts it:

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Hello Aprilia Tuono Fighter

So my new bike finally arrived and what a beauty she is. I have not been able to road test it due to battery/solenoid problems which the dealer is helping me to sort out. Here is a video of me starting it for the first time. You can tell that I was having issues starting it so I ordered a new battery and charged the existing one over night.  The battery charged fine and according to the optimate, it was all good. Here is a video of me riding it for the first time. All I can say is doh!

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Bye bye BMW

As mentioned in my previous update, there have been some changes in the ukbiker stable. Those changes are now complete (almost) The plan for this year was to return the BMW F650GS 30th Anniversary edition and replace it with a Honda Firestorm (as I missed mine every time I organised an Operation Storm) and get a better dirt bike for the lanes. Well I have managed to do this now which I am really pleased with. BMW F650 GS 30th Anniversary edition wessonsrunweestopThe BMW F650GS is a fantastic, versatile motorcycle with superb handling and a joy to ride. I will miss this bike big time. I only covered just under 20000 miles on it but they were all fantastic. The bike did not miss a beat. The only downside was the cost of servicing. I could have done it myself or got a 3rd party to do it but this may have had an impact on the agreement with BMW. The only reason I had to get rid of it was due to the fact I was paying out each month for a bike I wasn't riding as much and wouldn't be mine at the end. I just couldn't afford to do that.   Suzuki DR-Z400 Super Motard K6 So, the search for a dirt bike began. I looked at Yamaha WR250, CRF230/250 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbut I also liked the look of the DR-Z. A mate of mine had a DR-Z400 Supermoto(SM) with all the dirt kit. I rode with him out on the lanes whilst the bike was in dirt mode, and it looked really good. He bought a KTM and decided to sell the DR-Z. At the time I was in no position to buy it. I was lucky though as he was in no rush to sell it either. By the time I had got the money together, he had swapped it over to SM mode. He offered to bring it around to mine for a test ride. I took it out around the block. Came back and told him it was shit. Obviously I was lying. It was a right hoot. Great fun. So about a week later I made him an offer and he accepted it. Honda VTR1000F Firestorm I had been looking at the newer Firestorm’s with the bigger tank for about a year. I especially liked the look of the fastest colour Candy Tahitian Blue. After attending the last Operation Storm, I returned with a renewed love for these bikes, especially after seeing lloydie’s bike. Having been spoilt with the BMW’s upright position for 2 years, returning to that sports bike position wasn't very appealing. The plan was to get the bike and convert it to a sit up bike with renthal bars and adjustable rear sets. lloydiesbikeI was now on the hunt for a storm. I looked on various sites and even made a few offeres on some. I wanted to spend as little as possible on the bike (1500ish) and then spend about a grand making it my own. People just didn’t want to part with them. I waited it out. Prices started to drop (and are continuing to) I got the the point of knowing most of the bikes on ebay quite well. lol I can’t really recall why what happened next happened. I think it was by accident. Perhaps clicking a wrong button but I was presented with a bike that just ticked all the boxes. Upright position, straight bars, uprated rear shock, after market cans and a steering damper. Hmm. How could I resist? The only problem was the bike was in Ormskirk. That’s 240+ miles away. Fortunately a good friend of mine lives in Warrington and was more than happy to go check it out (Thanks Martin ). After a bit of a kerffuffle, he finally got to see it. He phoned me and said “Buy it, it’s mint!!” lol I was like “Ok!” So I did. Was it a firestorm? Was it candy Tahitian blue? Here it is. Here is my favourite video of my BMW httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bzPx6Jtrp4

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Introducing the DR-Z400SM

I'm in the process of making a few changes in the ukbiker stable. The BMW is going and I am replacing it with another dirt bike (for lanes and enduro) and a road bike. More on the road bike to come. In the meantime, here is a look at the bike to deal with the lanes. Its in Supermoto mode but I have the kit to turn it into a dirt monster too 🙂 Enjoy. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmhjk1hBvII

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Operation Storm: Destination Derbyshire III – 7th-9th September 2012

Where do I start? Yet another bloody brilliant Operation Storm and this time it stayed dry. YAY!!! I rode up Friday evening and stayed at my mother in laws near Nuneaton. The ride up there was pretty straight forward. M3,A34,M40,M69,A5.  Arrived about 10pm so it was too late to head up to Coalville to meet up with the other who were staying at the vic. Saturday morning I head over to Coalville to meet up with the others. It was great to see the usual faces and some new ones too.  About 10:20 we set off towards Matlock to meet up with more picking up another rider on the way through Belper. We arrived at Matlock and playerone came over and informed me "everyone fooked off and left me in Coalville" wtf? oops, soz. 🙁 We had food at Matlock and then head to the Cat and Fiddle. On the way there we rode some awesome roads through some stunning scenery.  We had one break down and one off. I'm bored of typing now, here are the videos 🙂 http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkrMC0lvM-urv9NqMIhofKFMNEXkqG3ST&feature=view_all  

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