Monday, 30 April 2012

Honda BROS

The Handy Honda Bros

The Honda BROS was first introduced in Japan in 1988 and continued in production until 1992. It was never officially exported from Japan to the UK but a lot of grey imports found their way to Britain where it acquired a faithful following particularly among despatch riders due to its toughness and reliability. 

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Three Worlds in one week

Ecuador Freedom Bike rental are running a new 7 day motorcycle tour through Ecuador starting in the UNESCO world heritage town of Quito. Ecuador's climate is so diverse that it claims to have 'three worlds' inside one country and this tour will encompass them all. The tour is fully guided and takes in the atmospheric cloudforests on the slopes of the Andes, travels along the shore of the Pacific Ocean, over mountain passes as high as 14,000 feet, rides around the Pululahua Crater Geo-Botanical Reserve, and dips into the Amazon jungle.  There will be some driving on dirt roads but most roads are made up. At the end of the day when you feel like having a rest there are hot springs and pacific coast sandy beaches to enjoy and the nights are spent in private accommodation. This sounds like a fascinating cultural and riding experience and even takes in a visit to a chocolate factory! Follow the link for more information:

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Kicks On Route 66

David Royle proves in his new book 'Now I Can Call Myself A Biker' that it is never too late to learn to ride a bike. David grew up in the Cotswolds in England and decided, at the age of 47, to learn to ride a motorcycle. In this,  his first book, he charts his progress through all the stages of learning to ride a bike and then details his trip (perhaps inspired by Jack Kerouac, only motorbike-styley) across America. He ventured out onto Route 66 in an attempt to give himself a shortcut to all the motorcycling experience which he had missed from being a later starter and travelled along that famous road savouring the weather and the people and places he met along the way. It's nice to see someone coming fresh to motorcycling and having such an uplifting and positive take on it - despite taking it up a little later in life than usual!
David Royle: “Let’s face it, in this day and age with all its electronic, technological wizardry, riding a motorcycle is one of the few pleasures left in life.”

Charity Motorcycle holidays

There has been a great upsurge in fund raising holidays over the last few years and there are plenty of motorcycling ones to choose from these days.  This type of holiday started about twenty years ago when someone had the bright idea of combining a trip which was challenging and different and asking the participants to raise money for charity as well - double the challenge but double the achievement at the end.  Some holidays now ask you to pay a registration fee, part of which goes to charity, and/or then raise sponsorship for either a specific charity or one of your choice. This has provided a boost for smaller charities which struggle with funding and means that participants going on these holidays can support a charity which means something to them personally. If you don't have a specific charity in mind then you can have a look at what's already on offer and see if the challenge and the charity feels right for you - for example - the Enduro Africa holiday which raises money for four charities: Unicef, Sentebale, The Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and Touch Africa (see link below for more info).

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Old Bill

A real bit of motorcycle history the Brough Superior or 'Old Bill' is coming up for auction in October 2012 and can be viewed this weekend (April28-29th) at the Carole Nash International Classic Motorcycle show at Stafford Showground. This particular 1000cc side-valve V-Twin bike has amazing provenance. It was built in 1922 and raced at Brooklands circuit recording the first 100mph lap and V-Twin win.  George Brough rebuilt the bike (when he came out of hospital after a front-tyre blowout!) using a JAP engine, and gave the bike its enduring nickname 'Old Bill'.
'Old Bill' was damaged during WW2 when a cast-iron bath fell on it through the ceiling above (even its accidents had character!) and was eventually bought by the founder of the British Vintage Motorcycle Club 'Titch' Allen.  He set about restoring it to its 1923 specs' even equipping ‘Old Bill’ with a sidecar so he could enter the occasional sprint with his wife Sue as passenger.  'Old Bill' has had a quiet few years since then resting in the Nottingham Industrial Museum, but is now emerging like an old celebrity, back into the world to meet his public. The expected value of this icon of motorcycle history is £250,000 - £270,000 so if you want to add it to your collection or just view a beautiful piece of pre-war craftsmanship and skill go to Stafford this weekend and have a look!

Out of Africa


Charley Boorman of Long Way Round/Long Way Down and Race to Dakar fame has a new project called 'Ride Africa with Charley Boorman'. Charley has developed a love for travelling and exploring the world on a motorbike and is now teaming up with the off road touring company Moto Aventures to lead a group of motorcyclists on an adventure through Africa. The trip will happen in August and September and takes a fascinating route starting at Cape town and travelling through East Africa, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and finally ending at Victoria Falls - evocatively nicknamed 'Smoke that Thunders'.

The trip will cover 5,000 miles in 16 days through spectacular landscapes over gravel roads on a good day, and impassable tracks on others, so there will be time to stop when the going is too hard and explore and talk to people. The East African section has better roads so may suit riders who favour roads rather than tracks. The bikes being used are BMW's supplied by an African company call Motorrad South Africa and there will be support vehicles taking the luggage so that not much will have to be carried on the bikes as they travel.

The journey will take in a lot of terrain which is totally new to most riders including deserts, canyons, nature reserves and those huge expanses of Africa under a vast sky. The potential for adventure is there as, although Charley is experienced in this kind of road trip, there is always ample opportunity for the unexpected when covering so many miles in unfamiliar territory so problem solving skills will be an advantage!

For more info see:

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Possible Tolls on UK Roads

Tolled you so

The government have recently announced plans for a possible sell off of the main, most well used roads in the UK to private companies. There are fears that if this goes ahead then road users will be asked to pay tolls to use the roads. If this does happen then yet again it will be an advantage to be a biker! If you are on a bike you can get down the road quicker and wiggle through that traffic, doing more miles per gallon than your stationary car-bound fellow road users. Tolls, if there are any will be lower for motorcycles than for cars and in a lot of cases it is even free for bikes where cars have to pay – for example the Dartford crossing and the Tamar Bridge are already free thanks to campaigners! In some capital cities bikes are allowed to use bus lanes as well which makes life easier but make sure you know which ones – check carefully!
So if this legislation does go through spare a thought for the poor old car driver as you pass them in a traffic jam and head for the open road knowing that you are probably only paying half what they are to use the same road!

Green Giant

Electric dreams

A new attempt to beat the the Alternative Energy Racing Record for the UK for the quickest quarter mile from a standing start is being made by Phil Edwards – boss of Weald Electric Vehicle Technology (EVT). Phil Edwards first got interested in electric vehicles and built one a few years ago to challenge the UK's leading motor sport universities and has so far proved that his bike is a green giant.

Bullet Points

‘Made like a gun, goes like a bullet’ Happy Birthday Royal Enfield Bullet!

The Royal Enfield Bullet, distinguished elder statesman of motorcycles, is 80 years old in June this year! It’s having a birthday party in the summer over the weekend of the 23rd-24th of June at the Watsonian-Squire works in Blockley, Gloucestershire. If you go along you can see what the modern fuel-injected Royal Enfield Bullet is like and take one out for a test ride!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Indian found after 30 years in dentist's waiting room

A long in the tooth Indian motorcycle has come out to see the light of day. The bike dates from 1903 and was hanging on a dentist's wall for 30 years.Its all original except for a few nuts and bolts as its never been restored and only needs a few tweaks to get it back on the road! This bike pre dates the Harley and is going for auction on Saturday 21st April at Frederick County Fairground. So if you want a bit of bike history go and snap it up - it will be something for a collector to get their teeth into.