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Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Tip-top-topperty-tip Royal Enfield TOP TO TIP ride

I got home from work quite late on that Friday, having been to a meeting in Glasgow.  Mrs BC said there was a phone message for me.  I checked it and couldn't quite understand what Gordon May was saying - so I called him back and it all went from there......would I ride a brand new 500cc RE Continental GT on one of the Scottish legs somewhere on the route south from John O Groats?(**see footnote).  Well, shucks, let me think - yes, of course I would!  Then came the not so good bit, I had to get to Fort William for around midnight on Saturday, in order to ride a night time leg to Carlisle.  Not wishing to have to return to Fort Bill to collect a vehicle at the end of the ride, MFM gave me a lift across and we arrived by 23.00hrs with the aim of catching a couple of hours sleep in the car.  Well, he did, but I didn't.  Too excited.  Way tooooo excited, nervous, excited, nervous etc etc etc, not to mention too cold and cramped and uncomfortable scrunched up in the passenger seat.  At 01.00hrs we went to the BP garage to meet the Royal Enfield Team, where I was furnished, if that's the right word in this instance, with an RE leather jacket, gloves and helmet, which was jolly decent of them.  The other riders for this leg started to turn up, and we all waited for the crew from JOG to arrive.  It was cold for the time of year, middle of May, and rain wasn't far away.



Edward Turner Bear checking his hair

Filling up at Fort William

The first lot of riders started to arrive at about 02.00hrs, with RE's own rider, Sachin screeching into the forecourt first, followed a bit later by Dougie and the others.  By the time the bikes were re-fueled and we'd all signed various insurance forms and been given a 30 second lesson in using the pre-programmed sat nat, it was gone 02.30hrs.  Little ol' GBC was last away, closely following the rider in front who's name I'm ashamed to say I can't recall - I think it was Adam, and so I shall call him that for ease of writing.  The riders in front of him blatted away into the night, leaving us stuck behind a lonesome car as we meandered out of Fort William on the A82 to Onich, before turning inland to Glencoe.  What a feeling.  Riding a motorbike, in the dark, in the very, very early hours of the morning, alone.  Well, nearly alone.  If you don't count the guy ahead of me, and the photographers/film crew, private ambulance, back up van and couple of cars behind me. But still, it was a fabulous feeling.  The mountains either side, sternly and gloomily stretching up into nothing-ness.  The echo of the bike, changing with the throttle adjustment, blipping for down-shifts and being mindful of not thrashing it too much as apart from the couple of hundred miles from JOG to Fort Bill, these bikes were fresh out of the crate, yet to be run in.  Ever watchful for sheep or other nocturnal beasties we made steady progress - the sheep were slightly more predictable than the film crew, who would come flying by to get ahead and then slow down to quite a boring speed, enticing us to overtake only for it all to happen again.  Still, that's what it's like trying to get good footage.


It was now raining quite steadily.  The roads were a bit on the greasy side, it was pitch black, but it was fun.  Soon we were passing Loch Lomand but to be honest, it could have been anywhere on this earth, the night was so dark, and all I could see was the headlights in my mirrors and Adam's tail light up ahead.  On the outskirts of Glasgow, things went a little bit wrong.  Our sat navs were programmed to take us to a pre-determined fuel stop, but Adam missed the turning.  I followed him, thinking perhaps he had instructions that I wasn't aware of - after all, they'd told us not to split up.  We pulled into a layby to discuss what to do (having lost the trail of back up that was following us) and realised we couldn't turn and go back - we were on one of those urban dual carriageway contraptions with no U turns and central barriers - and so the only option was to carry on to wherever we saw another garage.  Well, we didn't!  We stopped a bit further along, with the backup now having caught up, and they told us to carry on to the next garage.  Adam and I then got split up at some roadworks, so I carried on following the sat nav.  Through the Clyde tunnel I led the ambulance and film crew, once, twice, no, thrice!  Well, why not!


The rain was absolutely hammering down by now, and GBC was getting slightly tired, tetchy, cold and very wet - thank goodness for the heated grips.  There was no sign of Adam, so I stuck my head down and ploughed along the M74 to Bothwell services, where I was relieved to see the white back up van pulling in behind me, followed by Flugga Man who had some dry socks for me!  The RE guys filled my GT up from the van, and said the last they'd heard was that poor old Adam was heading north - each of the bikes was being tracked from HQ so there was no chance of getting too lost.  He soon appeared though, and a 10 min break from the rain was enjoyed by both of us before we wearily slung legs over saddles and set off.  The instruction was now to stick on the motorway and get to Carlisle ASAP as we were a little behind schedule.

About to fill up at Bothwell services















We rolled up to the Golden Fleece services at Carlise at 07.23hrs.  My word, what a night!  What a ride!  What an experience and an adventure!  Adam and I happily handed over our bikes to the two waiting riders, I think Gordon May got my one, and they re-fueled and set off to try and make up the time.  We were then taxied to a nearby hotel where we were given Royal Enfield tee shirts, and then we slept and we slept and we slept.  Some time later, Flugga Man commenced the taxi service back to Cubbie Towers and I seem to think I probably slept a little more on the way north.


At the Golden Fleece
Could have done with a golden fleece to keep me warm!

And so that was it, or so I thought.  MFM and I got home at around 21.30hrs on Sunday night.  Then....on Monday morning I found out that an invite had been issued for us to attend the opening of the new Royal Enfield shop in London..........to be continued.........


** this ride was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 250cc Continental GT which was ridden on a Top to Tip route in 1964, complete with a lap or two of Silverstone where John Cooper broke the lap record and established the GT as the fasted British 250.



The Cub Mag goes to Stafford (again).....

At one time, I'd never been to the great and glorious Stafford Motorcycle Show, and every time I tried to get there, something always went wrong.  Somehow I've now managed to attend twice a year with the Cub Mag in one form or another.  April 2014 was quite a trip, starting with having to stop off in Aberdeen at a parcel depot to collect the freshly printed Cub Mags - issue 9.  This was the first time I had outsourced printing and I might have left it a day or two too late to have them delivered to Cubbie Towers.  The parcel place was shrouded in thick fog and it took us a while to find it, but luckily Edward Turner Bear was on the case.  He sniffed them out.  

Find 200 Cub Mags in there somewhere!
Good ol' Eddy Bear, he found 'em.

The next weather upset was torrential rain and more fog with the traffic at a standstill in various places on the motorway south.  
The View.  More than once.
We set out our stall next to Greystones, with magazines, mugs and tee shirts on display, ready to meet and greet subscribers old and new.

All set up and ready to roll!

The Robster and Uncle Stu left in charge of the stand while GBC & MFM nip off to have a look at some of the more unusual machines at the show.....
.....like this one....
And some neat racers!
I wouldn't even bother to restore it, just ride it.
Yeah yeah yeah!
And YEAH again!
Ok, no.
Tempting.......
Nope, maybe not.
But this, well, yes, I can probably fund the purchase of this for a future project!
Oh, and I'd love something like this one day...

Large Lunch 2014

Errr, thanks for the nudge Larry, here come's a catch up on 2014......

The Large Lunch was the first bike event of 2014 for us.  It's an idea that came from the CBG Big Breakfast, and I thought we should have something similar up in NE Scotland.  So the Grampian Classic MCC has organised the Large Lunch for the last 5 or so years I think.  It used to be at the Sheiling Tor in Fyvie, but after they closed and sold up we had to think of something else, which isn't as easy as you think because of the nature of the Large Lunch - we don't know how many people need to be fed and we don't know how much space is needed for bike parking.  We settled on the Dean's of Huntly visitor centre, which has a nice restaurant and quite a good bit of parking.  This year Cubbie was my steed, with Muckle Flugga Man on the XJ650.  The weather was nippy but sunny, and there was a good turnout from the Grumpy Club members with a smattering of non-members turning up to say hello - for future reference, the LL is open to ALL bikes and bikers; we'd like to meet you.  Cubbie enjoyed the run over to Huntly, only 40 mins or, but it was good to be back in the saddle, and the only annoying bit on the way there was a car that went frustratingly slowly in the bendy bits and a smidge too fast for Cubbie on the straights, grrrr!







There were some weird and wonderful bikes present, some of which we've not seen on Club runs before.  After the customary tyre kicking and chit chat in the car park (with some people expressing surprise that Cubbie was there, for real, and was running purrrrfectly!) we all managed to get seated inside for a bite to eat.  Then Slick had the great idea of a wee run to the coast for ice cream, and so half a dozen of us set off to Portsoy where we just got served in the ice cream shop before they closed.





A short run back to Cubbie Towers, and all in all, a good day out.


Saturday, 18 January 2014

A Little Catch Up....

So, where were we?  How about a run down of the year 2013......

Worked on Cub Mag.
Went to Burton for what would turn out to be my last committee meeting as VMCC Area Rep.
Built the stable for Horse.
Gallop planning.
Went quad biking with MFM, decided I prefer carting.
Worked on Gallop bikes.
Worked on Cub Mag.
Went to the Haggis Jumble at Lanark, didn't buy anything, no Cub bits left....
Gallop planning.
Worked on Gallop bikes.
Worked on Cub Mag.
Had the usual Cub Mag table at Stafford in April.
Took the Scottish Cub Fest stand to the Lanark bike show - won 2nd Best Club Stand, thanks to Scott
Scott Scotty Scott Scott for his help and to Stu for coming up from Ingerland to help on the stand.
Worked on Gallop bikes.
Gallop planning.
Got Skorpy and the Tbird MOT'd for the year ahead.
Worked on Gallop bikes.
Worked on Cub Mag.
Rode in the Cairn O Mount (usually do breakdown or helping out in some capacity).
Went on Grumpy Club annual camping trip to Skye.  Took Skorpy as I hadn't hardly touched the poor bike for nigh on a year....Handles a bit different to a Cub....
Went on a mini tour of the west coast of Scotland on the way home from the camping trip, via Poolewe.
Worked on Gallop bikes.
Worked on Cub Mag.
Gallop planning.
Worked on Gallop bikes.
Club trip to local brewery.
Worked on Gallop bikes.
Went to Eriskay pony show with Mrs BC, down in Auchterarder.
Oooooh went to the theatre for me birfday!
Worked on Gallop bikes.
Gallop planning.
Went to old school friends wedding party - not the wedding, cos hey, they ran off and did that bit without telling anyone, but the party was pretty jibby jabby fabby - jugglers, magicians, musicians, big big bonfire, home made food, stayed in a Mongolian yurt.
Worked on Cub Mag.
Gallop planning.
Went to Glamis, annual pilgrimage.  No Cub bits left after Scott Scott Scotty Scott had been round.
Worked on Gallop bikes.
Went to New Deer show with Mrs BC, the sheep and MFM.  Did some showing and got some rosettes. Got sun burn too.
Worked on Cub Mag.
Gallop planning.
Banchory show - did some more showing and got some more rosettes.  Sun was pretty warm but no sun
burn this time.
Worked on Gallop bikes.
Gallop planning.
Missed going down to the S&T in order to build Gallop bikes.
Turriff show - guess what, did some showing and got some rosettes!
Missed going down to the National in order to build Gallop bikes.
Old Faithful, aka Canon printer died :-(
Worked on Gallop bikes.
Ordered big fancy top of the range all singing and sometimes dancing professional printer to replace Old Faithful.
Missed the Grumpy club BBQ in order to build Gallop bikes.
Gallop planning.
New printer had first 'problem', promised replacement.
Managed to get to Grampian MC Convention to help on Grumpy club stand for a few hours, then had to scoot in order to build Gallop bikes.
No replacement printer.  Second fault appeared.
Still no replacement, managing to print but not happy with shoddy new printer.  Third fault appeared.
Welsh addition to the Southdown family arrived at Cubbie Towers - we're talking sheep here, by the way.
Gallop planning.
Recruited emergency help with the Gallop bike electrics - a fortnight to go.....
Worked on Gallop bikes. Worked on Gallop bikes. Worked on Gallop bikes. Worked on Gallop bikes. Worked on Gallop bikes. Worked on Gallop bikes. Worked on Gallop bikes. Worked on Gallop bikes. Worked on Gallop bikes. Worked on Gallop bikes. Worked on Gallop bikes. Worked on Gallop bikes.
Took Gallop bikes to Scott Scott Scotty Scott Scott's as Phase 1 of Us and Them Getting There...
Few days later, MFM and I travelled to Scott's by train - Phase 2.
Next day, Scott, Scott's Dad, MFM and I set off to Roche - Phase 3.
Gaffers Gallop x 5 days.
Everyone else went south / home, MFM and I went north to Orkney on Terry the Terrier and Yorkie the plunger Cub.
Followed by Shetland.  Went to the very end of the UK road network.
Followed by arriving back home.  Tired.  Oily.  Another adventure ticked off.
Worked on Cub Mag.
Few days later, took the Gallop bikes to Stafford and had a stand with the rest of the riders.  Well received.
Still no new printer.
Started on fire place in front room - first step, putting the slate slabs down.
Worked on Cub Mag.
Tiled fire place....over several weekends....
Mrs BC went away over Xmas, left me to Girl the Fort - had to cook a turkey.  Wot!
Worked on Cub Mag.
No replacement printer yet.
Fitted wood burning stove.
Worked on Cub Mag.
Sent new printer back.  Had enough of that game!
Jings, that's about it folks.




Friday, 25 October 2013

The Gallop is over...

....long live the Gallop!

I'm sure it will live long in peoples memories, hopefully for all the right reasons.  The Cub Mag will be publishing a Gaffers Gallop Special in the next couple of weeks, and then there will be a report in Old Bike Mart, and probably further coverage in other bike/club mags, so keep your eyes peeled.

There have been numerous pictures and comments posted on the Facebook page "The Gaffers Gallop 2013" so go and have a browse while you wait for Gorgeous Biker Chick to get time to jot down a little summary on this here blog.

Meantime, THANK YOU SO MUCH to all supporters, followers, riders of the 150cc Terriers and their big cousin Cubs, those who turned out to see us (and probably missed us - sorry!), and official sponsors, the Gallop was so much more fun WITH YOU than without you.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Gaffers Gallop UPDATED route with overnight stops....

Little bit of an update on the route and overnight stops for the Gaffers Gallop 2013, plus news of a Gaffers Gallop Northern Isles Excursion - read on....

OFFICIAL route for Gaffers Gallop 2013 – compiled by GBC and Muckle Flugga Man (August 2013).

If anyone has any local knowledge of the roads and areas that we'll be using, please get in touch as we may need your help with getting through or around towns and cities, and if you spot that we've listed a place or a road that didn't exist in 1953, drop us a line to gbc AT thecubmag.com. If you should fancy tagging along for all or some of the way, again, just drop us a line to let us know when and where you plan to meet us.  If you're on FACEBOOK find us at www.facebook.com/groups/gaffersgallop and keep an eye on the bike building progress....or not....!


DAY 1 Sun 6th Oct – morning leg

ROCHE 11:40 > following as much of the old A30 as possible to Redruth > Penzance > LANDS END (lunch @ Land’s End Hotel)

Afternoon leg
Return to Roche on same route > A389 > Bodmin > A30 > Launceston > A388 > (unclassified) Lifton > Bridestowe > Meldon >B3260 > Oakhampton > Ramsley > A382 > Cheriton Bishop > Tedburn St Mary > Five Mile Hill > Tedburn Road into EXETER
Overnight stop Exeter M5 Travelodge. Photoshoot @ Imperial Hotel approx ETA 18:35
Turners mileage = 180

DAY 2 Mon 7th Oct – morning leg
EXETER > B3183 > Jack-in-the-Green > A30 > Honiton > A303 > South Petherton > A303 > Podimore > A37 (Fosse Way) > Shepton Mallet > Oakhill > A367 (Fosse Way) > Bath > A4 Chippenham > A350 > A429 > MALMESBURY (lunch @ Old Bell Hotel)

Afternoon leg
MALMESBURY > A429 > Cirencester >A429 > Stowe-on-the-Wold > A429 > Ettington > A429 >LEAMINGTON SPA
Overnight stop Regent Hotel Travelodge, Leamington Spa. Photoshoot @ Regent Hotel, approx. ETA 16:05
Turners mileage = 163

DAY 3 Tues 8th Oct – morning leg
Leamington Spa 08:00 > the following TBC Meriden > Triumph @ Hinckley > A47 > round Leicester > A46 > Six Hills > Bingham > A6097 > White Post > A614 > Ollerton > A614 > A1 > Blyth > A614 > Bawtry > A638 > Doncaster > A1 > Ferrybridge > old A1 > Wetherby > A168 > BOROUGHBRIDGE (lunch)

Afternoon leg
Boroughbridge > A168 >J49 A1(M) for 12 miles > J50 > A6055 > A1 > Catterick > Scotch Corner > A66 > Bowes > Brough > Appleby-in-Westmoreland (tea stop) > Penrith > A6 > High Hesket > CARLISLE
Overnight stop Carlisle Central Travelodge. Photoshoot @ Crown & Mitre Hotel, approx. ETA 18:00
Turners mileage = 246

DAY 4 Wed 9th Oct – morning leg
Carlisle 08:00 > old road along M6 > Gretna > B7076 > Ecclefechan > Lockerbie > Beattock > A702 > Crawford > A702 > A73 > Lanarak > A73 > Airdrie > A73 > Cumbernauld > A8011 > B816 > Castlecary >A803 > Longcroft > A872 > Denny > A872 > Stirling > Causewayhead Rd (A9) > B8033 > Dunblane > B8033 > A9 > Gleneagles > PERTH (lunch @ Salutation Hotel

Afternoon leg
Perth > A9 (old road where poss) > Dunkeld > Pitlochry > Dalwhinnie (tea stop) > Kingussie > INVERNESS
Overnight stop Inverness Fairways Travelodge. Photoshoot @ Caledonian Hotel, approx. ETA 18:30
Turners mileage = 263

DAY 5 Thur 10th Oct
Inverness 07:00 > A862 > Beauly > Dingwall > A9 > Alness > B9176 > A836 > Bonar Bridge > A949 > A9 > Golspie > Helmsdale > Berriedale Braes > A9 > A99 > Wick > A99 > John O’ Groats > WICK
Photoshoot @ JOG approx. 12pm, photoshoot @ Wick approx. ETA 12:50
Turners mileage = 158

Day 5 continued - 
Ferry from Scrabster (19:00) to Stromness (20:30)
Ferry from Kirkwall (23:45) to Lerwick (07:00 Friday 11th Oct)

Day 6 Fri 11th Oct
Ride north from Lerwick to Skaw, on the isle of Unst, and follow the tarmac until it runs out!  This is the official northerly end of the UK road network, thus completing the true “End to End”!  Join us….if you dare…….

 Thank you to our kind supporters –

Mitas Tyres, RS Bike Paints, ACME Stainless, Ken Shemwell (brake linings), MacSigns, Sheepskinseats.net, Andy @ Classic & Performance Oils, Classic British Motorcycles, Scott’s Dad, Barry the Frame Doctor, Greystone Enterprises, Jean-Marie Guivarc’h (artist), Old Bell Hotel (Malmesbury), Stu (Official Photographer), Scott (painter of GBC’s Terrier), Salutation Hotel (Perth), Saftek clutch relining service, Speedhut Speedos, Meriden Off Road, Improving Classic Motorcycles, Old Bike Mart & The Cub Mag.


If you'd like to come and meet us somewhere along the way, please do, and if you fancy turning up at one of our evening stops to buy us a moral boosting glass of water, even better!  





Thursday, 1 August 2013

Gaffers Gallop 2013 - The Route!

Well, here it is.  This is the latest route plan for the journey compiled after many hours switching between Google Maps for the present day road numbers and the 1950s AA Members Annual Handbook and of course, the Cub Bible for the details of where Turner and his crew actually went.  If anyone has any local knowledge of the roads and areas that we'll be using, please get in touch as we may need your help with getting through or around towns and cities, and if you spot that we've listed a place or a road that didn't exist in 1953, drop us a line to gbc AT thecubmag.com.  If you should fancy tagging along for all or some of the way, again, just drop us a line to let us know when and where you plan to meet us.

DAY 1 Sun 6th Oct – morning leg
ROCHE 11:40 > following as much of the old A30 as possible to Redruth > Penzance > LANDS END (lunch @ Land’s End Hotel)

Afternoon leg
Return to Roche on same route > A389 > Bodmin > A30 > Launceston > A388 > (unclassified) Lifton > Bridestowe > Meldon >B3260 > Oakhampton > Ramsley > A382 > Cheriton Bishop > Tedburn St Mary > Five Mile Hill > Tedburn Road into EXETER
Overnight stop TBC. Photoshoot @ Imperial Hotel approx ETA 18:35
Turners mileage = 180

DAY 2 Mon 7th Oct – morning leg
EXETER > B3183 > Jack-in-the-Green > A30 > Honiton > A303 > South Petherton > A303 > Podimore > A37 (Fosse Way) > Shepton Mallet > Oakhill > A367 (Fosse Way) > Bath > A4 Chippenham > A350 > A429 > MALMESBURY (lunch @ Old Bell Hotel)

Afternoon leg
MALMESBURY > A429 > Cirencester >A429 > Stowe-on-the-Wold > A429 > Ettington > A429 >LEAMINGTON SPA
Overnight stop TBC. Photoshoot @ Regent Hotel, approx. ETA 16:05
Turners mileage = 163

DAY 3 Tues 8th Oct – morning leg
Leamington Spa 08:00 > the following TBC Meriden > Triumph @ Hinkley > A47 > round Leicester > A46 > Six Hills > Bingham > A6097 > White Post > A614 > Ollerton > A614 > A1 > Blyth > A614 > Bawtry > A638 > Doncaster > A1 > Ferrybridge > old A1 > Wetherby > A168 > BOROUGHBRIDGE (lunch)

Afternoon leg
Boroughbridge > A168 >J49 A1(M) for 12 miles > J50 > A6055 > A1 > Catterick > Scotch Corner > A66 > Bowes > Brough > Appleby-in-Westmoreland (tea stop) > Penrith > A6 > High Hesket > CARLISLE
Overnight stop TBC. Photoshoot @ Crown & Mitre Hotel, approx. ETA 18:00
Turners mileage = 246

DAY 4 Wed 9th Oct – morning leg
Carlisle 08:00 > old road along M6 > Gretna > B7076 > Ecclefechan > Lockerbie > Beattock > A702 > Crawford > A702 > A73 > Lanarak > A73 > Airdrie > A73 > Cumbernauld > A8011 > B816 > Castlecary >A803 > Longcroft > A872 > Denny > A872 > Stirling > Causewayhead Rd (A9) > B8033 > Dunblane > B8033 > A9 > Gleneagles > PERTH (lunch @ Salutation Hotel

Afternoon leg
Perth > A9 (old road where poss) > Dunkeld > Pitlochry > Dalwhinnie (tea stop) > Kingussie > INVERNESS
Overnight stop TBC. Photoshoot @ Caledonian Hotel, approx. ETA 18:30
Turners mileage = 263

DAY 5 Thur 10th Oct
Inverness 07:00 > A862 > Beauly > Dingwall > A9 > Alness > B9176 > A836 > Bonar Bridge > A949 > A9 > Golspie > Helmsdale > Berriedale Braes > A9 > A99 > Wick > A99 > John O’ Groats > WICK
Photoshoot @ JOG approx. 12pm, photoshoot @ Wick approx. ETA 12:50

Turners mileage = 158

Day 6 Fri 11th Oct
Cubbie Towers - SLEEPING!

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