Saturday, 29 July 2017

That is not Skye or the highlands...

At the end of the last blog post I said that Skye and the central highlands were on the cards for June, well something got in the way.  I changed my bike...

Carbon Black Metallic RT SE - it is blue & stunning
There I was innocently buying some oil & antifreeze at my dealer of choice, when out of the blue I was suddenly looking at a new bike.  It was never my intention to change the bike right now but when the salesman ran through the figures, plus a wee cash incentive I was getting from BMW somewhere in the swirling mass that is my brain it made sense.  I set the guys at Parks Motorrad a fairly stiff challenge, I was happy to keep my existing bike, but if they could come up with the bike I wanted then they had the sale.  Demand for the RT I wanted, well all RT models actually, is outstripping supply right now.  However the guy's at Parks (Scott & Allan) came through and I collected my new R1200RT SE in Carbon Black Metallic from Scott on Friday 30th of June.  It is not black at all it is a very, very dark metallic blue and it is stunning!
Parks rekeyed the top box from my existing bike and I was ready to go, I booked the bike in for it's first service on Monday, so 2 1/2 days to rack up a gentle 600 miles.

I decided to get a head start on the running in, the normal the 35 miles dash home from the dealer became a 115 mile trip around the Trossachs.  This meant running the bike along the motorways of Glasgow to get to the good bits.  Stuck in the inside lane while speeding up, slowing down and blipping up and down the gearbox to keep the engine revs changing was a bit of a chore - especially with the cruise control calling me!
Soon enough though I was at Balloch and the decent roads were starting.  The hilly sweeping corners from Balloch to Aberfoyle are ideal for running in a new engine and the long straights of the A81 allow you to pass without loading the engine up to much.
Leaving Aberfoyle I picked up the superbly twist Dukes Pass.  Ideal for scrubbing in new tyres.... or it would have been if the constant rain had not left gravel streams across every corner!  Never mind, a bit of caution still made for a great ride getting the bike further over as the corners swept by.  The scenery is pretty stunning as well....

Carbon Black RT on a gravel strewn Dukes Pass
Callander was heaving, as usual, and the run back home finished the day on 115 miles...

Saturday dawned bright and breezy but soon deteriorated to the by now normal, blowing a gale and pissing down.  I met Andy at Stirling and we headed for Inveraray, we would decide where to go from there.  We ended up in Oban, where the weather could be measured on the Richter scale.   Cold and wet from the waist down, we headed for coffee and food.  Wetherspoons was full of equally wet and miserable people serving food to match, the coffee was good though.  Somehow I had managed to catch the bottom of my jacket in my trousers when we left Inveraray inadvertently creating a direct route to my crotch for the run off from my jacket.  At least it wasn't as bad as the other thought that had crossed my mind as warm moistness slowly spread over my nether regions!
The ride back home was equally miserable.  If you need to ask why there are no pictures from this wee sortie, go and stand in the shower for 7 hours and think about it...
The bike mileage is now up to 426 miles.

When I woke up on Sunday, I was scared to look out of the window.  Amazingly it was dry and just a little breezy.  Lets get on with it then.  I had no plan for today so I asked the satnav to take me to Aberfeldy asking for twisty roads.  According to the BMW nav VI twist roads includes dirt tracks.  Not the best habitat for an RT, but I suppose it would be fine mounted on a GS.  After a 12 point turn to get back to real roads I was directed through Crieff and then on up through the  Sma' Glen past Amulree.  I'm am starting to like this wee bit of road (A822 & A826) more and more.  The corners are long and sweeping, there is plenty of visibility and very few surprises to catch you out.  It is easy to make very rapid, flowing progress on roads like these.  Crossing the Tay in Kenmore it was time to track down a coffee.

Coffee time at Kenmore
After a quick coffee it was back on the road and amazingly it was still dry.  Hammering down the side of Loch Tay, I reigned it in a little as I had a close call a couple of times with branches that had been displaced with the recent wind and rain.
Unfortunately as I crossed the bridge over the spectacular rain swollen Falls of Dochart, the rain once again made it's return.
At Lix Toll I picked up a police car that would accompany me through the ridiculous 50mph speed limit over Glen Ogle all the way down to Lochearnhead.  The police stopped in Lochearnhead as I pressed on for Callander.
I picked up the M9 at Stirling and headed for Linlithgow, for the first time enjoying the pleasure of cruise control on a bike.  That is going to take a bit of time to get used to!
As I pulled into the drive the bike was showing 550 miles, so 35 or 40 miles to Parks on Monday will be close enough to 600 miles for me.

The 2017 model RT is much smoother than the 2014.  Maybe it is because it is new and not as worn as the old one.  The gearbox is smoother with less grinding between gears.  There is still a knock as you change gear, but it is noticeably smoother.  The suspension feels plusher, but that could be down to wear on the old bike.  It could also be down to the fact that the EAS make adjusting the suspension easier, so you will set the suspension up correctly.  Anyway, it's a better bike!

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Photobucket business model...

Well it looks like my relationship with Photobucket will be coming to an end.  All the images on this blog and almost all of my forum posts are linked from a Photobucket account.  As a lot of you will be aware from the end of the year (July for me, as my reasonably priced subscription expires then) Photobucket will no longer allow third party hosting unless you stump up $399.99 per year.  As I do this for fun, I can't justify subscribing to Photobucket's new extortion racket business model.
I have resurrected an old flickr account and I am slowly going to update the links from this blog to my flickr account, so some older images may disappear for a wee while until I get through them all.  As I am only going to be hosting motorcycle and travel images there I am going to open access up so anyone who wants to, can see more of the images from my travels in one place.  There is a link over on the right of the blog home page or you can view it all from here: and maybe even follow me as well!

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible!