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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Honda C90 Final Expedition Preperation

With less than a week to go till departure day it was time to re-fit the legshields and try putting all the kit on "Lucille".

The legshields went on ok, still can't believe that Corolux Roofing Flashing works so well, all I had to do was drill 4 holes. It was exactly the correct length.

A rear mud flap was fitted and the "L" plate was bolted on to this, the amount of shite that comes up from the back is unbelievable so hopefully this will help a bit.

The front basket had a rubber mat cut to size to use as a base, a cycle pump was zip tied to it along with a tube of zip ties.

Fuel and water containers will sit in the basket along with tent pegs and poles plus any other loose odds and ends. In total I have 5 water containers equating to 3.5 litres which should be enough between resupplies.

The rear top box will now house all electrical and camera gear for the trip along with the multitude of cables that are required,

The two large black panniers will have clothes, sleeping bag, self inflating mat and dried food, plus cooking gear, all though the cooking gear may end up in the basket!

The two smaller camo panniers are full of spares and tools. The tyres which are still covered in silver foil type packing material will sit as they are shown over the top box but strapped down so they don't bounce off.

With only one full day off in which I can get everything done it is now a race against time to pack the panniers and get everything together to go on the bike.

I still have an important job to do on the bike, and that is to change the oil, however what I forgot to get was spare sump bolt washers, so as soon as I get a couple of those I will change the oil.

I received a bit of exciting news last night and that I will be getting a Police escort through the Mersey Tunnel! How cool is that!!!

So all systems go, just want to get going now, this trip has been a long time in the planning!

Till later.......

Sunday, March 23, 2014

More Modifications To Lucille Honda C90

A number of items have recently turned up for me that require fitting to my Honda C90.

The best one and the one part that I have been eagerly awaiting is a screen.

They used to be made by "Rickman" but the company no longer exists. However the moulds were bought by a company I believe makes race car components. As you can imagine Honda screens are not on their list of priorities hence the wait!

The screen itself was a bit tight to fit, to say it is snug around the indicators and headlamp is an understatement, but it went on in the end after having difficulty getting one of the fixing brackets to screw in.

It certainly makes a difference to the wind hitting you but one strange thing I did find was that more air hits my helmet making it a bit nosier!

Other modifications today was the front basket being securely attached with jubilee clips to the rack. There is not a chance that it will fall off!

The one final thing to do was the running lights. I wanted extra lights at the front, as the C90 headlight is not the best in the world. I mounted a pair of 12v LED running lights to a metal bar which is then held in place with a massive bolt and locking nut mounted straight on to the front rack.

Running the wires back I have taken a direct feed from my socket chargers and run it via a waterproof toggle switch mounted in a plastic box, which in turn is mounted on the leg shields.

Took her out in the dark this evening and all appears to be working well, nothing melted or caught fire so as far as I'm concerned it's a result!

Just the leg shields extensions to reattach, these should only take a couple of minutes but I ran out of daylight today.

Friday just gone saw another mile stone for "Lucille" as she passed her MOT.

After having trouble fitting my new adjustable shock absorbers as the top bush was too small I left a message for the garage to see if they could change the bush. Not only did they change it but fitted them for me as well!

Along with tightening of the chain and sorting out a loose rear indicator lens.

So a big thank you to Bursey Engineering of New MIlton. They also repair mowers!

Just a couple more things to do and that will be about that, oil change, new air filter and spark plug and we are ready to go!

With less than 2 weeks to go it is suddenly dawning on me what I have set myself up for. But as I often say "What could possibly go wrong"!

Finally hello to Kiera if you are reading this!

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

Friday, March 21, 2014

MOT Passed!

On Wednesday evening this week I popped round to Tricky Dickies, another bus driver who not only knows about plumbing but also knows a bit about mechanics.

So with my brand new adjustable shock absorbers waiting to be fitted it was arranged to get them done. My usual mechanic "Ghosty" is off work at the moment as he is having an operation to sort something or other out.

As the shockers looked original, we were not sure how easy they would be to come off, so a quick squirt of WD40 get the right size spanner and both nuts came off like a hot knife through butter!

Well that was easy! Lets just see how the new one's go on - well the bottom bush was ok but the top one was around 2mm too small!

Thought it was all going to easy!

So with no way of swapping over the bushes, the old one was put back on, and an early end to the evening's mechanics and a curry was devoured!

Today (Friday) "Lucille" was booked in for her MOT, she was being collected by the garage, so when I phoned up at lunch time I was a little surprised to find that they had not got her yet! I also asked if they could swap/replace the bushes, as I had left the new shockers in my top box.

Anyway, when I phoned back at 1630 to check on progress, not only had she passed her MOT but the new shockers had been fitted, along with brake and chain adjustment and my rear left indicator had been tightened up!

So all in all I was very pleased, and when I got home there she was waiting for me!

I had to go and test the shock absorbers out to see how different it all felt. The old ones were very soft/bouncy. I have the new ones set on the hardest setting, due to the weight she has to carry!

As soon as I got I knew there was a difference, with the old ones my feet were flat on the floor, I can no longer do that!

I thought a couple of miles would give me a good idea of how they were, ended up doing nearly 40 miles. It was like riding a different bike! So much better, handling was brilliant and she just soaked the bumps up.

Very pleased with the result.

The screen has also arrived - haven't looked inside the box yet, can't wait till Sunday to get it fitted along with the leg shields, basket and new lights.

She will look like a different bike!

Anyway, I also made it into the Company newsletter!

Many thanks to those who have donated via my "Just Giving" button, it really is appreciated and humbling.

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

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I Love It When A Plan Comes Together!

I'm getting there!

The list of items turning up in the post is slowing down - thankfully!

The final major part was ordered today, and that was the Rickman screen costing £127.00 brand new.

Really looking forward to this arriving which should be this Friday, it will be fitted on Sunday weather permitting.

Shock absorbers are still to be fitted, but that is a quick and easy job (famous last words)

"Lucillle" goes in for her MOT this Friday, fingers crossed all is well, should be ok so not worried about a big bill.

As a precaution I have removed the leg shields, not too sure how the test station would view these so thought it best they were whipped off, along with the basket. I've left the rack on.

This weekend should also see the wiring of the new LED lights to the front, again, waiting for the MOT to go through before I set about my modifications!

The route is sorted. Originally I was going to go in roughly a clockwise direction around the UK. However, the worst part of the journey I think will be around the South East coast and across the QE bridge into Essex/Kent, so I have decided to get all that done on a mammoth stint on day 2 and now my route takes me on an anti clockwise direction.

Getting the worst over early on in the trip means I can relax the rest of the way around, I say relax, relax as much as you can with still 3000 miles left of the trip to complete!

But with blind faith, a bit of luck and a fair wind everything I'm sure will be fine!

I also thought it a good idea to join the Youth Hostel Association, now I didn't really know too much about this organisation, but I must say I am might impressed with it. Some fantastic hostels and so cheap you would be foolish not to use them!

If the weather closes in on me and it really does get seriously wet then I will be finding the nearest one and checking in!

My next thoughts are to what clothing to take with me and how much do I need?

I'm not out to dinner (that I know of) so really don't need anything posh to wear, but maybe a pair of jeans and a shirt for at least one night of drunkenness whilst up in the Highlands!

Guess it all depends on how much I fill my panniers At least with the basket on the front, it will free a bit of space up, as some of the everyday used items that are weather proof will be left in it.

So the days are ticking by quickly now, just a couple of weeks to go!

Am I nervous? No, not at all, what will be will be, slightly apprehensive as I want to succeed and finish back at Lands End. No matter what happens though it won't be through the lack of trying!

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

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Honda C90 Front Rack Fitted

I bought the front rack a little while ago, but due to work commitments just haven't got around to getting it fitted.

It cost £14.99 and came from Argos, it is a standard cycle rack. The only Honda C90 rack I came across was a Chinese copy and to be honest having it shipped from China was a bit expensive.

As my living arrangements are somewhat different from most normal folk, I needed a place to work on the bike and a hand in fitting it.

Here I would like to introduce to you "Ghosty" of Ghosty Engineering. A fine fellow who before he was a bus driver was a plumber, well, a plumbers mate, but recently he managed to fix his own gas boiler without blowing up the street. So that makes him over qualified to fit my rack!

It took a bit of doing, firstly because we couldn't remove a bolt which was crucial to the whole operation. Was it seized? No. Difficult to get at? No. Thread knackered? No.

Between us, we didn't have the right size socket!

So a quick trip home to retrieve my socket set and we were back in action.

Whilst I was away, "Ghosty" came up with a cracking bit of engineering which sorted out how we would actually fix it to the front forks.

Holes drilled in the rack to secure a plate which in turn was then fixed to the forks by the way of a long bolt and spacer.

The Honda all ready has pre drilled and tapped holes, so all we needed was the correct size bolts!

After a bit of measuring we cut the bolt off, to realise we cut too much off - we got it right the second time.

After it was all bolted on we stood back and admired our handy work, a fine piece of engineering which is very sturdy. I'm not saying that I would like to sit on it, but it is more than up to the job of carrying weight.

I was very happy with the finish, it certainly makes the bike look a bit more butch!

Then I was off to Lymington to retrieve my basket, kindly liberated from a leading posh supermarket by another work colleague!

I have used zip ties to attach it to the rack, but the one's I used were a bit feeble, so will replace these with heavy duty ones when I next get a chance to liberate some!

I have bought a pair of LED spot lights which will be mounted to the front of the rack to give me some better light as the original headlamp is more of a candle than a light!

This will be done once I have got the bike through it's MOT. I may have to remove the leg shields and rack before it goes in!

Anyway, a successful day, and once more a big thank you to Ghosty for his help!

Till later........... 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Honda C90 Departure Day Fast Approaching

The days are flying by, and it will not be long before I set out on my 3500 mile challenge on my little Honda C90 aka "Lucille".

So since my last camping trip I have been looking into all the areas that needed improvement.

There seems to be a constant stream of items turning up in the post at work for me, much to the amusement to all there.

I have to get "Lucille" booked in for her MOT over the next couple of days. The front rack has yet to be fitted by "Ghosty Engineering".

A wire shopping basket has been sourced by one of the guys at work who forgot to take it back to the supermarket and it unfortunately found it's way into the boot of his car. A rather posh one as well!

This will be fitted to the front rack so that my fuel can and other odds and ends can be strapped to it or placed into it. A perfect carrying system.

I have managed to get hold of some pannier covers, as I was thinking the other day that if the panniers get wet, I would be taking them off the bike and putting them straight into my dry tent! Not a good idea so a couple of covers to keep the worst off may just do the trick!

Well, we will find out soon enough!

Something that I had not paid too much attention to was what sort of food I would take with me.

I don't really want to be shopping everyday, my stops at garages will have to suffice, so I thought that in the evenings all I want is something quick and easy.

I looked last time I was in GoOutdoors at the pre-packed food ration packs. Bloody expensive, so the search for a cheap alternative was on.

I tried out tonight something I came across on YouTube, quick, simple and tasty.

A packet of curry noodles,  a tin of tuna and a sachet of Dolmio tomato and herb sauce.

It was filling and tasted good, and after a long day in the saddle it will taste even better. What's more it's cheap, light in weight and therefore easy to pack.

So some of those will be going with me, during the day with the frequent fuel stops I will have to do, I will come across some hot food to keep me going.

All should be well till I get north of the border, but will find out as I go along. What ever happens I won't starve!

My stove is brilliant, and takes seconds to cool down, but I will be making a small flask of coffee every morning, as a hot cup always gives me a bit of a boost after a couple of hours.

Items, that turned up in the post today was a full face balaclava which feels great and will definitely keep me warm when used in conjunction with my neck tube.

Just two purchases left outstanding and that is rear shock absorbers and a front screen. I have finally tracked down a supplier who sells the original Rickman full screens. Expensive, but feel that it will be money well spent.

Shocks are still a little difficult to get hold of, as there seems to be so many to choose from. Price varies as well, guess you get what you pay for.

Tyres turned up as well. I was asked why on earth am I taking spare tyres? Your only in the UK.

Yes this is true, but up in the highlands if I do shred a tyre I could loose two days and part of the ride. So having them with me makes sure I can continue my trip with little or no fuss. Apart from changing them!

So everything is clicking into place, I even made it into the local paper!

Fame at last!

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