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Thursday, December 26, 2013

C90 Boxing Day Adventure 2013

With the weather set to be dry and sunny what better way to spend the day on my beloved C90 "Lucille ".

So up bright and early and loaded up in the dark, a heavy frost had kicked in and all the rain that had fallen over night had frozen onto the bike. However after a couple of kicks she spluttered into life!

First stop to top up fuel and check the oil was at Hythe Ferry. A quick coffee and off towards Southampton.

Managed to get through the city ok and picked up the A27 stopping at Fareham to thaw out! The sun not being high enough yet to warm anything.

Whilst at a garage buying a coffee I decided to buy a small map book. The old girl serving asked where I was heading so I said towards Eastbourne. Oh it's lovely down in Devon isn't it? she said! I think she was in a greater need of a map book than me!

Onwards through Havant and then the busy dual carriageway part of the A27 into Chichester.

Turning towards Bognor Regis a quick run to the coast and time for a brew and a picture.

From here I continued towards Worthing where once again I found the beach but it was packed with people from the road you can't even see the sea so I carried on and found a side street to have a brew and refuel.

My intentions were to carry on towards Brighton but the roads were boring so decided to turn and head for home.

With a full tank I didnt stop again till I got through Southampton and arrived at GoOutdoors.

As Santa had obviously forgotten me this year I thought I would pop in just to have a look incase there were any bargains to be had.

I also wanted to take a look at the remaining tents which they still have pitched outside to see which ones fared better during the recent storms.

I had a liking for the Vango Banshee 200. A 2 man tent with a 5000 hydrostatic head which basically means it's very good at keeping out the water!

The tent that looked the best after the storms just so happened to be the Banshee!

Inside I found that they were in the sale at £79.99 so along with a sleeping mat and some bungees I bought them. Thanks Santa!

Strapped onto the bike that is about it as far as camping gear is concerned!

The journey home was uneventful and I managed to clock up 154 miles today.

So another good days riding all though cold to start with was warm enough from lunch time onwards.

Where to next?

Till later........

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

C90 Christmas Day Adventure 2013

Up bright and early this morning, a quick check to see if Santa had been but no, missed me out this year!

Loaded bike with panniers and 2 x 5ltr fuel cans as I wasn't too sure how many garages would be open.

As it turned out I didn't need to worry at all!

On the road at 0700hrs and heading for Bournemouth.  First stop was Boscombe Pier the storms had brought tons of sand up onto the road. A quick photo and not being as organised as I should brimmed the tank with fuel.

Heading through Bournemouth then Poole with little traffic I was soon off towards Wareham where it decided to chuck it down with rain.

I had my new trousers on and a pair of waterproof trousers hoping that these combined would keep out the wet!

Through Wool and over the hills towards Weymouth where it got very dark and the heavens opened with hail. Bouncing off my helmet I nearly went deaf!

The roads were nearly an inch thick with it. Luckily a couple of cars had left tyre tracks so I followed those.

Did have a bit of a moment as stupidly I thought I would stop for a photo and pulled into a layby, onto virgin hail and I was all over the place. So cursing myself I pulled straight back onto the road and kept going.

Got to Weymouth and was in need of food and warmth. As everything was shut a beach shelter on the front had to do whilst I got my flask out and thawed out for 10 minutes.

I decided to ride round the old part of Weymouth. This is where I nearly lost the bike again! In the past the trains used to go along the road directly to the ferry terminal. However the rails are still embedded in the road and being wet are slippery! Needless to say I won't be riding round there ever again!

Out of town and over to Portland Bill lighthouse.  Very windy and a photo opportunity.

Stopped at a garage, brimmed the tank and after a pee back on the road and headed for Bridport and Westbay.

On the exposed parts it was very windy, but at least it had stopped raining.

Pulled into Westbay but it was blowing a gale so no chance of cooking my lunch, so bread rolls only for me!

As it was now 1200hrs I was in two minds wether to head for Lyme Regis or turn and head for home.

For once in my life I took the sensible option and headed for home. I wanted to do 200 plus miles today but I have nothing to prove and as the weather was bad thought it prudent to head home.

Lucille coped well with the hills as the road between Bridport and Dorchester is continually up and down.

Approaching Dorchester the sky turned black and once more it chucked it down.

I kept going finally stopping at the shell garage at Bere Regis. I was so glad they were open, complete with a costa coffee machine and hotdogs!

From here it was a dash to Ringwood,  down to Christchurch through New Milton and home.

149 miles completed.

Lessons learnt today,  take it steady in hail, don't try and ride over railway tracks embedded in the road as they are like ice and wear more layers of clothing!

Currently in bed still trying to warm up!

So all in all a great day out. Not what I thought I would be doing but that I guess is the beauty of being single!

Till later......

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

C90 1st Modifications

Today I bolted to the leg shield a couple of bike water carriers costing £2.50 from Asda. Bargain!

I think I might get a couple more and bolt on the front to carry either more water or just containers for all those odds and ends like bungees and the like.

Christmas Day tomorrow and a day planned out on the bike complete with stove for brews and lamb steaks and as it's Christmas Lucille is now adorned with tinsel!

Till later......

Sunday, December 22, 2013

C90 Calshot Beach

My replacement trousers by Richa had arrived, so this morning I went to collect them from Rod at "The Bikeyard" Christchurch.

I must say it's refreshing to shop somewhere and be properly looked after!

A quick cuppa made by Rods Mrs was greatfully drunk and we also sorted out a pair of waterproof over trousers as well. So no more wet arse for me!

As the sun was shining I got home and fired Lucille up. I'm waiting for a cover to arrive so at the moment she is exposed to the elements!

Considering the amount of rain we have had the last few days 4 kicks as she fired up and ran sweetly.

I didn't get the chance to wear the over trousers as the sun was shining. Today was the first day I have ridden in the dry and what a great feeling that was.

I had planned to go a little further than I did but after a quick pat down I realised I had left my cash at home so with no brew kit on board either I headed out through Beaulieu towards Calshot and the sea.

A quick photo shoot and back towards Lepe beach heading back towards Lymington through the New Forest.

Only 35 miles but another lesson learnt - make sure you have cash on you!

Once again the only problem was at flat out she coughed a bit, eased back to 35 and she ran smooth so suspect not enough fuel getting through so could be a carb issue?

More recent purchases have been a carry rack which when modified will fit over the front wheel.

Two drinks bottle holders which will be bolted to the leg shields. One will hold spare oil the other for water.

Tyre levers - metal, and on Tuesday I will be buying a couple of inner tubes so if I do get a flat I can hopefully sort and be on my way again.

So it's all slowly slipping into place.

Just over 3 months to go!

Till later.......

Sunday, December 15, 2013

C90 Trip To Swanage

With the weather not looking good I wasn't too sure how far I would get today.

So loaded panniers with brew kit and some grub and set off with only a light bit of drizzle to slow me down.

Headed for Christchurch and to Rod at "The Bikeyard" as I have managed to loose my neck tube and wanted to get a replacement.

Glad I called in as Rod had read my previous post and was disturbed to hear that my trousers leaked! So replacements are now on order!

A massive thankyou to Rod for looking after me and his Mrs for making me a cup of tea!

Neck tube on and off I went going through Bournemouth and Poole which is when the heavens opened!  On to Wareham where it got worse and by the time I went past Corfe Castle I needed oars!

Pulling into Swanage I felt as if I was sat in a puddle! Standing up made the water run down my legs which was not a pleasant experience!

A bag of chips and a brew soon sorted me out and the rain had eased off so all was well.

Deciding to take the shorter route back and use the Sandbanks Ferry was a great idea. Only a £1 for the bike - brilliant!

Got back with only light rain but 30 minute's after getting home it poured down so real glad I took the ferry!

My hands stayed dry as this time I had my gloves inside my sleeves. Last time out the water ran down my sleeves and filled my gloves up!

Apart from leaky trousers which we know about my right foot got wet. Due to the water running down my leg into my boot.  Strange thing was my left foot was bone dry!

No problems with the bike apart from a 5 minute period where she spluttered momentarily. This was at maximum revs flat out doing 40mph in heavy rain. She did exactly the same thing on friday. I eased off and she sorted herself out and never had any other problems.

Total mileage today 72 miles.

So another good day out and with another day off tomorrow pondering where to go! The weather is supposed to be bad again - typical!

Till later......

Saturday, December 14, 2013

C90 1st Daylight Ride

With a day off I set off on Lucille heading towards Sturminster Dorset to collect my recently purchased panniers from my sister who kindly collected them for me.

The weather when I set off was a bit overcast but as I headed North it took a turn for the worse and was soon in heavy rain.

Lucille performed as I hoped she would and coped well with the few hills I had to negotiate.

Fitting the panniers was easy as they are just slung over the seat but I did notice a busted zip which certainly wasn't on the listing! So will see how I get on with them.

Off then to Gillingham Dorset to see my folks and it really started to chuck it down!

The only bit of me to get wet was my crutch! Not pleasant! I wasn't expecting this as I have full gortex riding gear!

The return trip was wet all the way and as I was going through Ringwood I got a rear puncture!

With no spare tube and it pouring with rain I called out the AA who came to my rescue!

Loaded on the truck I was dropped off with no fuss and although a tad soggy a good day was had.

So lessons learnt on my 103 mile journey?

1. Spare tubes and learn how to remove wheels.

2. Buy some waterproofs.

3. Always ensure you have a brew kit and grub.

4. Don't try and adjust mirror whilst riding and sneezing with vizor down!

So my first day out was interesting, now waiting for mobile tyre man to arrive to fix the puncture.

I probably could of done it myself but thought it worth the money to watch someone do it. Next time I'll know how to get the back wheel off!

Till later..

Sunday, December 8, 2013

CBT Passed

Today saw me pass my CBT test. It should of been yesterday but a last minute cancellation by the company put it back a day!

The course itself was run well by the instructor with plenty of practical advice, but to be honest as long as you don't fall off or drive into anything it's a done deal!

There was just myself and a 17 year old on the course,  who turned up with no safety gear at all. A hoody is hardly going to protect you.

It was a cold day but with my gear on I was roasting! Even when riding it was ok.

I used the companies bike a 50cc Sym which was good but heavy compared to my C90.

When I got home I then had to take my bike out for a quick spin! Well you have to don't you!

30 odd miles later I collect my curry and head home with a big grin!

Till later......

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Introducing Myself And Lucille!

Better late than never!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fr8R4pv3FpM&feature=youtube_gdata_player

CBT Booked

My CBT or for those not in the know Compulsary Basic Training is now booked for next Saturday.

I'm using the companies twist and go scooter for the day so Sunday I'll be out on Lucille come rain or shine giving it a good work out.

I've got to get some miles under my belt so that on the day it's not too much of a shock to be doing several hundred day after day!

My list of spares and equipment seems to be getting longer by the day.

What do you take as spares? You can bet your life the one thing you don't take will be the one thing you need!

So far to be on the safe side I'm opting for oil, spark plugs, throttle and speedo cable, inner tubes and air filter. But do I take spare tyres?

If I rip open a tyre up in the Highlands I could easily loose a day and that is a day I don't really have. Guess I just answered my own question!

Bought a Highlander field stove that is running on a propane and butane mix cartridge. I was thinking of a dual fuel stove as the temperature up North could still cause me problems using just butane. But the cost of those stoves are a bit steep.

Just to let you all know the cost of this trip is being met by myself. All money raised will be going directly to "Help For Heroes" I reckon it's going to cost me around £1500 minimum. But what an experience it will be!

Till later.......

Sunday, November 24, 2013

I've Got A Bike!

I've been constantly watching ebay these last couple of months waiting for the right bike to come along.

I had set my heart on a Honda C90 they are reliable,  simple to maintain and ride and there are spares everywhere.

But you try and buy a decent one at a realistic price! I had lost out on several, pipped to the post in the dying seconds of the auction so decided that the next bike that came along and matched all my criteria then I would just go for it!

So I eventually found one over near Highbridge in Somerset. To far to go to view so I bought blind trusting the seller would be honest.

As it turned out they were real gents in every sense of the word. Both retired brothers the elder in his 80's kept this bike just for emergencies but in the last 4 yrs has only been for its yearly MOT.

With brand new tyres and battery the brakes being overhauled recently and with only 2 owners from new she is the real deal! Oh and only 10, 000 genuine miles on the clock.

I paid £641.03 for her and reckon she is worth every penny!

She has been christened "Lucille" as the great blues guitarist BB King calls all his guitars Lucille.

I got her back home with the help of my brother in law Andrew Faber of the company Jordan and Faber Builders. I borrowed their tipper truck and with a ramp loaded her up and got her home safely.

So if you do need any building work done please contact them, they are based in Sturminster Newton Dorset.

I took her out for a quick spin the other evening and she goes well. It was freezing but found my jacket to be roasty warm as were my gloves. However after a very short space of time my legs went numb with cold.

So this morning I was back to see Rod at the Bike Yard in Christchurch to find me some fatboy trousers!

The first pair were a bit of a nightmare to do up, very fiddly, well that's my excuse but the second pair I tried fitted easily with just a couple of poppers and two adjustable velcro belts. Made by Richa and are the Everest edition with a removable lining.

I then decided that as I had invested in all the gear I really should get a proper pair of boots. Yet another challenge (big calves)! Eventually found a pair of Oxford Comanches that fitted.

So many thanks to Rod and his Mrs for helping me out. Really great folk that have been involved in motorbikes and clothing for years so if you need advice this is the place to go!

I'm all set bike and clothing wise now. Just some camping gear and my CBT to sort now!

Friday, November 1, 2013

No Going Back Now!

Well that's it now I've just bought my motorcycle jacket!

I dropped in to see Rod and Scott at Bikers Yard in Christchurch. Www.bikersyard.co.uk

So I told them my plan and once they had stopped laughing at me they said they could kit me out at a realistic price. So I took them up on their offer and bought a Weise Colorado jacket.

Ive just checked the internet and I got a cracking deal and all the write ups are excellent so well chuffed!

As they are happy to do a deal on all my clothing then it's only fair I give them a good plug!

So cheers guys - just need a bike now!!!!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Which Motorbike - Honda C90 Lookalike!

I've been doing a lot of research on motorbikes recently.

There is obviously a restriction of cc/power as I do not hold a full motorcycle licence.

The rules being somewhat strange: I can ride a 50cc moped/scooter with no "L" plates and carry a passenger!

However above 50cc and upto 125cc I must display "L" plates and pass a CBT test and cannot carry a passenger.

I can assure the Government that I could just as easily die on the wheels of a 50cc as I could on a 125cc! And that's without carrying anyone.

Anyway, I digress!

My search brought to a conclusion. I definitely want to do the challenge on a Honda C90 or something very similar.

Now the Honda C90 is no longer built in the shape as the one above, so I am left with the option, of a 20 year old one which may or may not of had some work done to it (a bit of a gamble), or for the  same amount of money buy a brand new Chinese copy.

Now before any one says, don't do it, they will fall apart within seconds, I do have proof that they are well built and can withstand a long trip.

If you take a look at the Gobi Girls Blog you will see that they took the exact bike and bought it from the same place as I intend to buy mine all the way to Mongolia!
I will do exactly the same as they did and buy a bike still in it's crate, so I will have to bolt it all together, which is a good way in my opinion of learning a bit more about the bike.

All being well I intend to buy the bike in November 2013 from Riders in Yeovil. 

This gives me the winter to get familiar with it and some cold weather runs and camping trips!

It's slightly more powerful at 110cc but other than that it is basically the same bike with most of the parts being interchangeable. So no shortage of spares.

I've learnt a few tricks from reading blogs on adventure biking as to what to take and what not to take along with which spares and mods to do on the bikes to make the journey easier.

So that's the plan as it is today, but who knows, could all change tomorrow!

Don't forget if you would like to donate you can by clicking HERE

Till later.....



Friday, July 12, 2013

Route Plan B

Well things are coming along fine with this challenge of mine.

So far we have raised £80.00 which is a fantastic start, thank you to those who donated, it really is appreciated.

I've been taking a more in depth look at my route. My main concern is riding a low powered motorbike at 30 to 40mph on busy roads.

As I do not have a full bike licence I am not allowed on motorways, not that I would anyway, how boring would that be!

But, I've also decided that unless absolutely necessary I will avoid dual carriageways as well.

When I first planned out the route I didn't take this into consideration, but with the help of Google Maps and more importantly "Street View" you can see exactly what type of roads I will be riding along.

This was really brought home the other day with the unfortunate deaths of two cyclists attempting the Lands End to John O'Groats ride for charity. Full Details Here.

Who is to say that smaller roads are any safer, but having travelled the A30 on numerous occasions Ill take my chances with the smaller ones!

The mileage will increase, but I am now riding through a good chunk of Wales, as my proposed route took me straight up the A5 which has long dual carriageway stretches.

One part I'm  not looking forward to is the Mersey Tunnel. However the time I intend to go through it I should be ok (early o'clock)!

I've also been looking into coming back down the West coast of Scotland and doing a bit of island hopping!

For a motorbike it isn't that expensive on the ferry's and as it is an adventure, why not! Really depends on weather, as the ferry's can be cancelled for days, so the last thing I want to be is stranded!

The team at "Help For Heroes" are doing a grand job and sending me out promotional material which I can give away in return for a very small donation!

Also sponsorship forms have been sent over to me, so those once printed out will be doing the rounds.

In a couple of weeks we are off to Ireland on a camping tour, so all will be quiet for a bit.

Till later.....................

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Rough Route - Lands End to John O'Groats and back!

I've spent a lot of time thinking about the route that I want to take.

Being on a moped with L plates automatically excludes me from motorways which suits me fine. I have no desire to look at motorway embankments for 12 days! I'm also going to try and avoid dual carriageways as well.

After much studying of the map I have a good idea of how I'm going to get to the top and back again.

I didn't just want to travel from Lands End to John O'Groats but to do a back to back journey going back to Lands End. But why do that when you could also incorporate the other corners of Durness and Dover!

In a nutshell I'll be leaving Lands End (LE) and heading up the Cornish and Devon coast where I will be scooting towards Bristol and plan to stay around the Ledbury / Hereford area for the night

Day 2 will see me heading towards Shrewsbury, through Oswestry and Wrexham finishing the day at Heswall and at the home of my old army mate Mark and his family.

Day 3 and through the Mersey tunnel to Southport then Lancaster before I turn towards the Lakes. Going past lake Windermere to Penrith where just after this I pass into Bandit Country or as they like to call it Scotland! Continuing North sees me through Dumfries and Kilmarnock. The next part of my journey takes me through Glasgow, thankfully I know Glasgow well as there are some places where not even the police venture! Heading towards Loch Lomond will eventually see me at Crianlarich for the night.

Day 4 off to Fort William before I switch coasts from East to West and Dingwall. From here its due North to Lairg.

Day 5  and on to Tongue, turning right and following the coast through Thurso and finally John O'Groats. (JOG)

An approximate mileage of 993

After a quick photo shoot of my arrival its off again the way I came, back to Tongue keeping the coast to my right as I head for Durness.

Day 6 and it's all down hill from here! Once more I hug the coast as much as possible through Scourie,  Ullapool and hopefully end the day around Invergarry.

Day 7 A return to Fort William and depending on weather and progress have an easy day. Trying to push on to Inveraray before resting my head.

Day 8 on to Helensburgh, back through Glasgow and towards East Kilbride and heading slightly East to Moffat and Selkirk.  Over the border at Carter Bar I'm heading through Otterburn towards Ouston where in 1983 I started my army career. Stopping the night at Catterick.

Neil if your reading this I've just bagged your sofa for the night!

Now not only is Neil an old army mate but also a childhood friend from Shaston. I feel partially responsible for him following me into the Royal Signals and doing his 22 years service!

Day 9 a big push today! Heading for Scarborough, Grimsby and Skegness will see me end up around the Sutton Bridge area for the night.

Day 10 heading for Norwich and the coast at Great Yarmouth continuing South to Lowestoft which also boasts the most Easterly part of my journey. From here to Ipswich and on to Colchester. Across the Thames and towards Gravesend and on to Margate.

Here lives another old Army mate going by the name of Diggers!  He doesn't know it yet but I'm hoping to kip on his floor!

Day 11 and home is in sight! Following the South Coast through Dover,  Rye, Eastbourne,  Brighton,  Bognor Regis, Fareham,  Totton and finally into the New Forest and home to Lymington.

Day 12

Not that this is the end as I have the last 238 miles to do along the coast all the way back through Dorset, Devon and Cornwall to arrive in Lands End that evening!

So that's a rough guide as to my route a total of approximately 2700 miles!

What could possibly go wrong!

Till later..........

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Lands End To John O'Groats And Back - The Mission

Well, I've been inspired by Will Geordie English an old army mate and Ed Marsh who is a mad bloke who has travelled the world on a Honda C90.

After reading of their adventures, I thought it about time that I did something similar myself!

So the mission is to travel to Lands End, where I will set off using a Honda C90 or similar, travel up to John O'Groats, across the Northern coastline of Scotland to Durness where I will head south and ride to Margate/Dover, then across the Southern coast to finish back where I started at Lands End.


This is all to be completed in a two week time slot in April 2014.

I will be raising money for charity. The charity that I have chosen is "Help For Heroes" A charity which helps wounded ex service personnel. Doing the job that our Government should do!

I have set a target of £2000, but to be honest anything I get is a bonus!

You can donate via my justgiving page at http://www.justgiving.com/Julian-Mauro

There is lots to do, I've more or less planned the route but that can change and probably will.

As far as equipment is concerned, the only thing I have is a pair of gel pants and a lot of determination!

Now that I have gone public with this mad capped idea of mine I had better get organised and start trying to blag the equipment I need!

I will try and up date as often as possible so stay tuned to see how things turn out.

Till later.............