Learn By Doing.

I’ve made a start on my mechanic-ing.

I went and got Nathan’s dead heap.

It’s seen better days.

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I say I got his heap, that was a challenge in itself. How do you get a full motorbike into the back of a Mini?

Not easy.

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Which then fits neatly into said Mini.

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But, after breaking my back, it’s still a pile of broken bits.

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In preparation for my new found mad motorcycle skills I’ve emptied out my shed, put in new posts to support the fence and built a lean-to affair at the back of the shed. It’s not pretty but it’s below fenceline so not offending the neighbours and it’s behind the shed so not offending Wendy. I cut down and moved one of my shelving units into it to pile all the rubbish.

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It’s not going to win any prizes but it’s cleared my shed so I could do this:

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I’m well happy with that. The blue thing in the bottom left is a bike jack thing which my mam and dad got me ages ago and now promises to be be essential kit. The work bench is a repurposed Black and Decker (left by my dad when they emigrated). As is the rug, now I think about it. That got downgraded after a few years to shed lining. And they got me the shed.

I bought the tool cabinet. So there’s that.

Anyway, thanks, parents.

The bike was as dead as a very dead dodo, so I couldn’t just strip the engine down, tempted as I was, as there would have been no way of knowing if I’d rebuilt it right.

I had to put everything back together and try to get the bike running before I could take it all apart and play.

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That’s with the bike strapped onto the jack thing. I had to ratchet strap it on as there are no forks on it as they are totally smashed.

It’s been horrendous. The engine is quite light, as engines go, but it fits in the frame really awkwardly, and you have to hold it in position with one hand and a knee as you try and fit a bolt through the holes to support it. Then I went around fastening all the connectors and wires. They build them with oddly shaped connectors so they can only fasten to the corresponding odd shape so you can’t get it wrong. But when I’d rebuilt it there were two loose wires, no battery, and an odd shaped connector with no mate. I had the tank off a few times, searching for ages, I just couldn’t find it. The workshop manual is black and white pictures with no “what the hell is this bit?” section.

I gave up for the moment and decided to fix the bent side stand cut off switch I’d noticed while stripping it. Where’s the side stand?

Ah. It’s attached to the foot pegs (which were so badly bent I’d left them.) I went and got them and there was my blue connector! YAY!

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The battery arrived today so I fitted that as well. The barrel on the ignition seems smashed so I took that off and ordered a new one. Happily the electrical bits come out as a separate unit, so you just have to change the barrel, no need to solder in new wires. I had a play with the remaining unit and reckoned I could operate the on/off switch without the barrel for now, but still no electrics at all.

I found and changed the main fuse. Nothing. Realised the starter relay was missing a cable, attached that properly. Nothing. I took the smashed headlight apart and realised two connections were undone. I traced them back and it was the ignition. I reconnected them, messed with the ignition electrical unit, and … LIGHTS!

I gave the starter a few blasts and got the engine turning over, I checked and I’ve got tons of spark at the plug!

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I’m such a happy bunny! I’ve not got it started yet, but I’ve got a solid plan of attack. While it was just sat there, dead, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. Now I’ve got lights, horn, starter motor, spark at the plug etc, it’s feels like it’s just a matter of ironing out the petrol feed problem.

This is never going to be a pretty bike, or a source of income, but it might, (might) get to be roadworthy again.

I’m ordering the tools I need as I need them. They are surprisingly cheap. £12 for a compression test thing, (the very first test, according to my yank mechanic guru) £7 for a multimeter (tests all your electrics). I’ve had to watch videos on how to use a multimeter, I’ve no idea, but once I’ve got the hang of it I’ll be able to work out logically and definitively the source of any electrical problem. No more prodding wires and hoping for the best.

Yesterday I was thinking this was all a waste of time, that I was still a useless idiot, but now with a tidy shed. Today, now the electrics are working, I’m thinking this is going to work! I’m not entirely stupid, if I learn the logical steps to fault finding, I could actually become proficient!

This could tick all the boxes. I could satisfy my bike shopping addiction, for next to nothing, play with them until they are sorted, ride them for a bit, sell them on for a bit of a profit, and fund the next one.

THERE IS NO DOWNSIDE!

Right, enough positivity, it’s putting my karma out of kilter.

Later,

Buck.

New News!

I’ve stumbled across some YouTube videos about my bike. Specifically, how to check the valve clearance and, if it’s out, how to replace the shims (little spacer type things). It’s a bit of a huge job. But if you watch the videos, it’s actually a series of big jobs, that can be further broken down into tons of small jobs.

Here’s the links if you’re interested.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ri-xJBufe8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46_KWJXTJis

I could watch this stuff all day. It fascinates me seeing bikes broken down and rebuilt.

I wasn’t actually looking for anything specific when I found those videos, but my bike is… nearing it’s 16,000 mile valve clearance check. I actually thought it was on 17,000, and slightly overdue, until I started typing that sentence. I think it’s nearly 15,000 miles at the minute. I was planning on doing it next week, but I can skill up for a while yet. Which brings me to my new news:

I’ve finally decided to stop messing about with bikes and actually learn what I’m doing. I have enough confidence and experience (and optimism in the face of experience) to tackle most jobs. As long as it’s ‘monkey see, monkey do’, I’m fine. I’ll give it a go. That’s what workshop manuals and YouTube tutorials are for. I maintain the thing you pay for is the experience and knowledge to diagnose what the job is that needs doing.

Until now!

I’ve found a brilliant resource. I was searching for motorcycle mechanic training, and came across a recommendation for this guy’s site. He’s a bit “God and Guns, USA! USA!”, which is hugely irksome, but the site is pure gold. A picture glossary of the parts, (in American, bless) a page of fixes for each problem, but most importantly, a logical progression for problem solving.

It’s solid gold. For instance, engine not starting.

I would go with spark at plugs, fuel, and errrr….

He says first things first, compression test. Every time. (Turns out it £13 for the tool, lifetime guarantee, just take the spark plug out, pop this in, turn the engine over. That’s it.)

If the engine isn’t turning over, put a new battery in and connect to the charger. If still not turning over, disable any kill switches. Still not, connect the charger to the lead to the starter motor. If it turns starter motor solenoid is shot. If not put charger directly onto the starter motor, if it turns, it’s the power lead that’s shot. If it clicks but the engine doesn’t turn it’s the starter motor clutch that’s shot.

It goes on. It’s genius. I’m really excited. Unlike all my other obsessions (sax, Russian, martial arts, etc) this isn’t accepting it’s going to be a depressing trudge towards a distant goal. Every thing I learn is improving me right now.  I cycle round, obsessing, mad enthusiasm, dreary donkey work, failure to progress, quitting, wanting that end again, obsessing, mad enthusiasm…

Bike mechanic-ing could be a keeper of a hobby.  A recurrent tip, when I was searching for “how to learn to be a bike mechanic” was ‘Buy a cheap, possibly dead, bike. Buy a workshop manual. Practice.’

I’m up for it!

I had a 7’x7’ space at the back of my shed. When we moved in it was flooded and marshy. Which is why the shed is 7’ away from the end of the garden. Since then trees have grown and I’ve been throwing all my garden waste in the gap. My shed has become full, as sheds do, with a lawnmower, shelving, gardening tools, Wendy’s pushbike, etc etc. I’m reclaiming it as my motorbike garage. So I moved about 5’ high of tree stumps and branches, rose branches and such, out from the space at the back of the shed and burnt it all. Sorry, neighbours.

Then I dug out about a foot or so of what has become the best soil in the garden, to level the ground off to what it was. Now I have to rig a tarpaulin roof between the shed and the fence and clear all the stuff out of my shed, under it. I might go back to B&Q, get some wood and rig up a proper structure, actually. Anyway, that’s just a means to an end. The end of emptying my shed so I can get a bike in there and have enough room to work on both sides. I’ve bought a seven drawer tool cabinet. That will stash all but my power tools. At the moment they are scattered all over the racking.

So that’s all the excitement about the prep, now I need a cheap bike. The guy was saying get something cheap and work on it, that way you’re not scared of breaking it, it’s not your proper bike, so you don’t have to rush to get it ready for work the next day, and even if you don’t make any money selling it on, think of it as paying for your education.

I was looking on Gumtree. There was a 600cc Yamaha, 1990, recently stopped running, still in MOT, the guy wanted £300 for it. Fair enough. A complete bike (missing the fuel cap) for £300.

I rang him yesterday. It all sounded good so I arranged to go and pick it up today. After the Scottish bike nearly left me stranded hundreds of miles from home I’ve bought a ramp and some ratchet straps, so I didn’t worry about it being a dead bike, I just hired a van.

I picked it up at 09.00, back to ours for the ramp and ratchet straps, waited an hour as he wanted me to come at 13.00, then drove to Birmingham. I found the address, knocked on. No answer. I tried again. Finally a girl came to the door and said there was no bike for sale there. I went back to the van and tried calling him. No answer. I text him. No reply. Called him another 5 times. I checked the text he’s sent me yesterday. It was the right address and right postcode. I was at the right place. But he’d sent his sister out to lie to me. In the end I just had to turn around and drive home.

£60 for the van, £19 for diesel, £18 for a workshop manual, £23 for a petrol cap, 4 hours driving, the whole of my day off wasted, all because he didn’t even have the decency to send me a text saying it wasn’t for sale anymore, for whatever reason.  I got back and he still hadn’t replied, so I knew he’d just lied to me and messed me around, so I sent him an email through Gumtree. He didn’t reply but he took the advert down within minutes so I couldn’t contact him again.

I have been having anger management issues.

I text our Lisa and told her the above, and it seems Nathan still has his bike, I can have that to play with.

It’s only a single cylinder 125cc learner bike, and it’s somewhat the worse for wear, but it’s an engine, and the principles are all the same. And it’s free. And the parts for it are dirt cheap.

When he got it:

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What it looks like now

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That should polish right out.

I’m going to go and strip it down a bit and see if I can get it back in the car.

Well, I’ve got that off my chest. Hard to believe anyone would do that. Incredible.

Right, I’m going to bed. I’ve had more than enough for one day.

Later,

Buck

Getting Better.

Things are looking up. We had a day without rain, finally, yesterday so I took my bike for a spin. I was going to go to Snowdonia for some nice bike pics, but I got halfway there, stopped for directions and was a bit too ill to go  on, so turned around. The good news is, although it’s not a direct like for like comparison, on the first ride I did on the bike (fair nippy speeds down the motorway at high revs trying to find the power) I got 90 miles to the tank and was on my last bar of reserve. This time, after fitting the power commander,  I had done a day’s commute (mostly motorway) then rode into Wales, (motorway, fast A roads, then urban slow roads) and back, so a real mixed bag and probably more of a real world test, and I got 122 miles and was still on 2 bars of reserve! I did the maths, the first ride I was getting 28mpg, the second I was on 41mpg!

That will do nicely!

Also, since I’ve fitted the power commander, I’ve been tolerant of the acceleration, but not blown away. It is a *sports*/ tourer, after all. And from Mr Honda. Then I set off from the lights the other day, I hadn’t given it enough revs and nearly stalled. I slipped the clutch, built the revs and dropped the clutch. WHOA! Off like a scalded cat.

Sorry for doubting you, Mr Honda! It’s a hoot!

So that’s the bike totally sorted now. Big yay!

Here’s a snap from Blackpool.

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As I say, I’ve been ill again. This bug seems to go around in cycles. You get a sore throat, it feels like it’s swollen up and you can barely swallow, then the next day you feel weak and a bit lousy. You get through that and you think that’s got to be the last time, I must be over it now. And then a week or so later you start again.

4 days ago I got the sore throat. The next day I felt weak, but it didn’t go away. I went for a fast run the next day, thinking I was fine. I had to stop after 2½ miles, I had nothing. Later on it the weakness hit me again. And yesterday I was so bad I thought I’d caught it again. I was so weak I cut my bike ride short (in the sunshine!), got home and went to bed for a bit. I had the confused panicky thoughts, and was just pinned to the floor.

Anyway, that was yesterday. Today I woke up and I think I’m fine again. On the bright side I had asked to work yesterday, but they knocked me back. That would have been awful.

I wanted to go for a run today, but I was scared of it hitting me while I was out. I did the gardening instead. I say gardening, there’s nothing to buy in the flower section of B&Q, so it was basically weeding. That turned into graft though as I found a problem horsetail grass incursion from next door. I tried digging it out and thought I’d got it and the root things, but then I looked on the RHS website and they said the rhizomes, by which they spread, can reach 6 feet deep! Oh. Got a job on, then.

I’ve done what I can for now. Apparently I’ll need to get some ‘tree stump killer’ strength weed killer and apply over a period of years. Which is super if my neighbour is going to keep infesting my garden.  Ho hum.

I forgot to catch up with Twitter and such when I did my last blog so here it is.

I briefly followed a yank runner, but she loved herself so much that she thought she could be mean to everyone else because of it. I quickly got irritated with her and stopped following her. Her trademark thing was always posting oddly angled “I love me” selfies for every run.

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I did a before and after for one of my runs.

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I amused myself, at least.

Something that’s been making me laugh is Bookcase Credibility

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Which leads me on to politics, home

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And abroad

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But there was plenty of whimsy.

Historical whimsy:

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Motivational whimsy

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Some wit from Forest Fr1ends

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Avian whimsy

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And the rest

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2 months

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7 months

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Caught up. And I’m still feeling OK. See if I can run tomorrow.

Later,

Buck.

Bikes (revised).

I did a long and boring blog of the trials and tribulations of my recent bike experiences, but the Geneva Convention forbids me from sharing it. Much of this stuff is just note keeping for my own future reference.

So, first things first. I know what everyone’s been thinking: “How much longer is that lad going to keep that bike? He’s had it for ages.”

Fret not! The Triumph is gone!

I had a bit of an ordeal selling it, the guy who bought it had told his girlfriend he was going to spend the money from his previous bike sale on them. Then he bought my bike. Oddly, she then didn’t want to give him a lift to pick mine up. Women, eh? The guy rang me up and said he still wanted the bike, but I’d have to deliver it. Which would have been a 140 mile (country roads, no motorway) round trip. And I’d have had to arrange a lift with Luke to get back. I was going along with it, for the sake of a sale, but then Wendy got all rage-y that the guy was taking advantage of me. “When have you ever asked anyone to deliver a bike?”

It’s true. I had booked train tickets to Dundee to ride my next bike 280 miles home. This guy was making it my problem how he got his bike. I said no, I was going to relist it on eBay. He got a lift.

I was all set to go to Dundee to pick up my new bike, but the night before the guy emailed me through the sale site (Gumtree) to say he’d taken it out for a last test spin and it had broken down, he was pulling the sale. Because of the lag going through Gumtree I didn’t get the email until 4 hours later, by which time the insurance company were shut.

I rang them first thing in the morning, but the policy had activated at midnight so they charged me 43p for usage on the policy. And £63 for cancelling the policy. Out of a £180 annual policy. Legally enforced robbery.

At least I got a full refund on my train ticket, and the consolation of thinking if he hadn’t taken it for a spin I might have been 250 miles from home with a dead bike. That would have been a long push.

I knew the model I wanted, a CBR600F. Someone on Twitter mentioned they were trying to track down one they’d previously owned and were deeply regretting selling.  I looked it up on MotorCycle News (MCN) and they said they were fantastic bikes. Sports/ tourers that did everything. Brilliantly. And had a bulletproof engine. A lot like an updated version of my much loved VFR750, but with fuel injection instead of messing about with carbs. It was the carbs that finally finished me with the VFR.

I tried to buy several bikes, but got nowhere. I worked myself into a bit of a state over which way to go. The cheaper end of the market had some reasonable bikes for good money. The dearer end had some lovely bikes.

I was fretting so much I couldn’t sleep at night.

In the end I found some peace by thinking of it as the bike I wanted for me. There were two at the dearer end, one was pristine condition, low miles, completely standard. Exactly the bike for selling. (But if you ride it every day, the miles go up, the condition deteriorates, and you want to change it to non-standard to make it a better bike.) The other was about the same price, a few more miles (5,000) but had all the upgrades.

For me, to ride, that was the better bike. I got that one.

CBR600F 1

It’s got the better screen for wind protection, full stainless steel exhaust system, with a lighter silencer that is road legal and oddly not too loud, braided brake lines (the original ones swell and lose braking bite after nearly 20 years) new tyres, heated hand grips, crash bungs… It’s the full package.

I rode it home in the rain. Good, steady, reassuring posture and grip. None of the banzai wheelie-ing of the Triumph. As soon as I got it home I drilled some holes and fitted the number plate properly (The seller had had a tiny strip number plate held on with tape) and fitted the topbox.

I took it for a test ride to Barrow in Furness on my day off. The good news is it was a 180 round trip, only stopping for petrol, and my arse was fine, the fairing took the brunt of the wind blast so it was comfy, and made it a lot quieter as well.

The bad news was the acceleration was sluggish through most all of the range. Unless you were right at the top of the 14,000rpm (bike screaming) it was sedate acceleration. And it only got 90 miles to a 13 litre (3 gallon) tank. That’s not right.

I googled it, and it’s a fuelling issue. Someone else getting 25mpg had asked about it . Seems they run a bit rich anyway, if you put a sports exhaust on without remapping the engine it’s basically running flooded. The answer, they said, was a power commander. This is a little box you plug into your electrical system that overrides the fuelling commands from the bikes computer, allowing it to be set to run at optimum for your set-up. It was £364 (!) so I was really worried about it not working, but I couldn’t have kept the bike as it was, so I took the gamble. I’ve ridden it to work a few days and it’s brilliant. A different bike. I’m off tomorrow so I can test the mpg, but I’m happy with it now. Perhaps this is the exact bike I’ve been after. Perhaps.

It will go like stink, handles nicely, is predictable, will chug comfortably at any speed, and you have to work it to ride it. If you’re chugging along at 90 you have to drop two gears for hard acceleration. Not like the the FireBlade where you twisted the throttle at any speed in any gear and instantly made the jump to light speed. That was a pointless bike, 75% of it never got used. I can ride this through the winter without worrying about spoiling the prettiness of the exposed engine unlike the on the Triumph.

 

I forgot to say the front wheel on a motorbike is held on my a spindle running through the centre of the wheel which has a nut on the end. To hold that in place there are two pinch bolts at the bottom of each fork leg.

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Ignore the yellow arrow. Two blue arrows are the pinch bolts, to the right is the nut on the spindle.

I got back from testing the top end of the bike and it’s acceleration, 180 fast miles, and was working on another job when I noticed one of the pinch bolts was sticking out, loose. Not good. I checked the others. All four of them were finger tight. I could literally tighten them with my finger and thumb.

Good grief! I tightened them, checked the nut, adjusted the chain and made sure the rear wheel was properly fitted, and did an oil and oil filter change just to be on the safe side. You just never know what kind of a moron you are buying from!

 

So. It was an ordeal, and I tortured myself over it (which is not like me. I focus, obsess, buy) but I’ve got the bike, got it set up right, and I’m a happy bunny.

Now that’s gone from obsession to transport I can move on. Test the mpg tomorrow, fit some smaller indicators when the arrive from China (just for the aesthetics) and I’m done. Sorted bike for all purposes for years to come. Wendy has issues with me saying that. This is barely my third bike this year, I don’t know why she doubts me. When I tried to list my last one on Gumtree they refused to post my advert. I got in contact, and it was because I’d registered the advert as a private sale and, based on the number of bikes I’d sold, they had me down as a trader. Everyone’s a critic.

 

Now I can refocus on my other boring obsession; running.

My foot feels a whole let better lately. It’s still not perfect, but compared to how bad it got, it’s entirely acceptable. I’m going to return to sub 3 hour marathon training. Not that there’s any sign of any races being held. Ever. But just for me.

I was trying to establish my maximum heart rate (MHR) for heart rate running. The idea is that you run 80% of that time in zone 2 (MHR being zone 5). They say to run flat out for 12 minutes (or something) to get an accurate measure of your MHR.  I decided if I was going to go flat out I might as well attempt something significant so I went for 5K runs. (3.1 miles). It sounds a lot easier than, say, a half marathon, but it’s the ‘flat out’ thing that gets you. I had 3 goes.

My PB was 21.35 from last year when I was fit, just before I injured myself. In May I got a 23.59, which was dire but the best I could do. First attempt I got 21.45, second 21.02! A new PB! And I set my MHR, at a very lazy 166bpm. I’ve had a run since then but only managed 21.07. My next big goal is to try to get sub 20 minutes.

Anyway, my point is, I ran a 100 mile week, and I’ve broken last year’s 5K PB.  Twice. My fitness is back. My hoof seems to be on the mend. It’s time to focus on an actual plan rather than just do whatever daft challenge pops into my head.

That’s where I am now. Bike and running. That’s about it.

Apart from the bug. It keeps hitting us every now and then. Sore throat, weakness, chesty. It passes within a day or two but it feels like it’s never ending.

And I’ve asked work about full time hours. Again. They’ve said it’s not a problem, as soon as the other drivers we’ve got working on our side now (the ones who usually deliver rigid trucks to schools and pub and restaurants) go back to their proper job. So. Piece of string. *sigh*

Right, that’s me.

Still long and boring. Ho hum. 

I’ve caught up now, the next one will be short and boring.

Later,

Buck.

PS, forgot to say. Wendy has had her hair cut for the first time in 5 months. This is the greatest event in human history, apparently. The moon landing is but a footnote to it. I’ve gone the other way. I saw an old guy, thin on top, but still got his long hair. It was a way better look than I’m pulling off, so I’m growing mine again. Yay!

BIKES!

I know what you’re thinking: “How long is that lad going put up with that bike? He’s had it totally ages!”

Fret not. I’ve had a sudden change of heart and sold the Triumph and got a Honda CBR600F. It’s a sports/ tourer, much like the the VFR750 was, but different engine configuration (in-line 4, instead of a V4), newer styling, and fuel injection. The thing that decided me against my VFR in the end was messing around with the carbs.

Obviously the road has not been smooth, it never is. I wrote this earlier this week:

 

“I’m having a really tough time of this latest bike purchase. 

I was struggling with the Triumph, a bit overwhelmed at all the work I was going to have to do just to get an over-the-tank riding position. Then someone on Twitter mentioned they were on the hunt for a CBR600F they’d previously owned and were deeply regretting selling.

I looked it up on MotorCycle News (MCN) and they said it was a fantastic all rounder. A sports/ tourer that did everything brilliantly. Fantastic handling, sporty if you want, comfortable if you just want to cruise. And it’s a Honda. My go-to brand.

I immediately wanted one.

I had issues selling my Triumph. The guy said he’d buy it. Yay! Then said his girlfriend wouldn’t give him a lift to pick it up as he’d said he was spending the money from his previous bike sale on them, then blown it on a new bike for himself. His girlfriend was not amused.

So he rang me and said he still wanted to buy it, but I had to deliver it. I looked and it was 70 miles of country roads away. With the faffing about with the paperwork and such that would have 3 or so hours.

I was going to do it, just to get the sale, but then Wendy got all rage-y that I was being taken advantage of. "When have you ever expected anyone to deliver a bike to you?"

It was a fair point, so I was begrudging doing it. Then he sent me a snotty text "I’m going to need confirmation you’re delivery it tomorrow".

No.

I had seen a CBR600F in Scotland going cheap. I had booked train tickets to travel to Dundee then ride it 280 miles home.

And this guy was giving me grief, making it my problem, how he got the bike he’d just bought.

No and again no.

I said I was going to relist it on eBay. The next day he magically got a lift.

When he came for the bike it was just a matter of starting it up, ‘that’ll do me, here’s the cash’.

 

When I first started looking my first fancy was one in Altrincham.

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It was dearer, but only 14, 000 miles, in top condition, with all the upgrades you want. Full stainless steel exhaust system (the original ones rot), double bubble screen (better wind deflection whilst sat upright, still sporty when you lay down) and brand new tyres (£280 for a set).

But it was full price, £2,995.

Then I saw the one in Dundee going cheap at £1,800 and although it didn’t have the upgrades, and was 20,000+ miles, I thought it would do me.

As I say, I’d agreed to buy it. I bought the train tickets, got insurance, then the night before I was going to collect it I got an email saying he’d taken it for a test spin, prior to me coming up, and the electrics had died. Rectifier. Which is a known weakness. He was pulling the sale and replacing the dead rectifier. With another Honda rectifier. There’s your problem, mate. Fit the upgrade.

Anyway, because the email came via the sale site (Gumtree) it arrived 4 hours after he’d sent it. Too late too cancel my insurance. I called them as soon as they opened the next day to cancel it. Because the policy had activated at midnight they charged me 46p for usage. And £63 for alteration fees. Out of an annual insurance policy of £180.

Legally enforced robbery.

I got a full refund on my train ticket at least, and drew a lot of comfort from the thought that if he hadn’t taken it out, I could have been 250 miles from home with a dead bike. That would have been a nightmare push home.

So that one went pair shaped.

I saw another about the same price, and was willing to buy it, but someone had arranged a viewing and bought it.

I enquired about a local one but upon closer inspection it was a bit ratty. The seller never got back to me.

Another, someone bought it.

I was just after a bike I could use and enjoy. It didn’t have to be perfect, just do long as it was cheap.

I started looking at the full-on race CBR600RR, which I could get for roughly the same as the dearer CBR600Fs, but which are so much prettier.

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But MCN said they are a track based missile. For road use the F is far better.

Back to looking at Fs.

I saw an immaculate one, only 9,000 miles for £2,850 which was bog standard.

Not a mark on it. I enquired about that.

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And this is where it all gets confusing for me.

That would be an investment bike. It’s exactly the sort of bike people want to buy. Unmolested, perfect condition, low miles.

But it’s not the bike I want to ride.

If I’m thinking of spending that much, the local one has a better screen, heated handgrips, full stainless exhaust system with nicer sounding silencer, braided brake pipes (standard pipes swell and lose braking ability over nearly 20 years) better colour scheme…

The bog standard one is 2 years younger, 5,000 miles less, immaculate, £150 cheaper…

I’ve been vacillating between the two.

I’ve plumped for the local one. Got it for £2,900.

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But I’m still all over the place. I’m not enjoying this at all. I’ve put down £100 deposit on it, subject to it being sound on the road, and I’ve checked it out and heard it running, but he had a private number plate on, so I’ve got to wait 3- 5 days for the amended V5 logbook to come back with the old registration number before I can properly buy it. I’m taking it for a test ride to run it through the gears, but I reckon that’s a formality.

I’m hoping when I’ve got it I can stop making myself miserable second guessing myself.

Should I have got a cheap hack, or the perfect but bog standard and not as pretty one, or a kamikaze full bore, pretty as a picture CBR609RR?

Will I get my money back, paying top dollar for this one?

I’m absolutely ruining the joy of the anticipation of my new bike by fretting over what I could or should have done. This is totally not like me. I’m impulsive and I enjoy the thrill of tracking down my perfect bike. This is just miserable.”

 

That vacillating and fretting lasted for days. I couldn’t sleep at night. I was stressing myself ill.

I finally found some peace when I thought about it as buying the bike for me, not for selling on.

I wanted a cheap “it will do” one, because it was cheap, would still be an adequate bike, and I’d be able to get my money back if and when I sold it.

I wanted the immaculate one because it was pristine, would be just as Mr Honda intended, and in that form would be saleable. The thing is, you start actually riding a pristine bike and the miles go up, the condition deteriorates, and you want the upgrades to make it more useable.

And the CB600RR is not a practical choice. It’s a track based race bike. Not comfy, not soft on real roads, and it would look stupid with a top box.

So, my bike. It’s a bit pricey, I’ll probably lose a few hundred when I come to sell it, but it is the bike I want.

I rode it home last night, in the rain. Mr Honda has done it again. A bike that can be mad as a carrot with the application of throttle, but will commute at legal speeds without any fuss. When you’re riding a new bike home down country lanes in the rain, that is very comforting.

Today I rode it to work. Empty motorway at early o’clock, I thought I’d test the other end of the scale. 6th gear at 90, hit the throttle, sluggish acceleration. Hmmm. Dropped it to 5th, tried again. Still poor. Started worrying I’d been sold a dud. Stopped at the lights then accelerated away, the power starts kicking in quite high in the revs, about 8,000rpm (13,000 redline) so by the time I was wanting to change out of 2nd I was doing 90. Ah, that’ll be why.

I think it’s just going to take some getting used to.

The VFR750

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was like that, plod along quite happily, get it past 7,000rpm and it shot off like a scalded cat. Totally different bikes under and above 7,000rpm.

It’s a bit of an adjustment. The Triumph was a triple, and geared for wheelies, so the power and torque smashed you whenever you twisted the throttle. This one you have to work it.

This is not a bad thing.

The FireBlade

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never felt like it was working. You spent the whole of your ride slamming the throttle shut. It felt like 75% of the bike was being wasted.

On the Triumph

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the front end kept lifting unexpectedly under acceleration, it felt like you were torturing it at higher speeds, and it had a bad riding position. Also, as Wendy has just pointed out, the Triumph was a pretty bike. And naked (no fairing). But in the few months I’d had it, the paint on the front of the engine block had started to peel. If you ride a naked for any amount to time, especially through winter, it’s going to start showing wear, and lose lots of money.

This bike could be the perfect compromise. I need more time to adjust, to find the speed and power. So far though, it handles nicely and feels completely secure and planted. And I’m fairly sure there’s a whole lot of potential I’ve not yet discovered. It keeps you out of excessive wind blast, has hand warmer grips, and the engine is both protected by the plastics and hidden from view. The prettiness of the engine is not a selling point, is what I mean.

I got it home last night, fitted the rack for the top box, drilled number plate holes and fitted screws (the seller had a tiny ‘plate, held on with tape) and had the rear plastics off to check out the rectifier. I’ve bought the upgraded one already to be on the safe side.

So, that’s where I am.

I’m going to take it for a longer spin tomorrow, test the long distance comfort and try and find the performance.

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Bikes.

PS, the actor Sam Neil posted a picture of his pick up truck, some classic from his birth year, which got me looking. There’s always this ugly old thing from 1966 for me.

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That is the perfect example of an investment bike. Never to be ridden.

£8,750.

You would cry every time you got it wet.

But what a beauty.

 

PPS, I thought about doing a new post, but it’s just more bike stuff, so I’ll extend this one.

I took the bike for a test ride today to try and find the power band and adjust my riding. A quick nip up to Barrow in Furness. 90 miles each way.

The good news is it was a 180 mile round trip, I only stopped to fuel up, and my bum was fine by the end. That’s quite respectable. My knees were getting a bit uncomfortable though, oddly. Also with plastics it’s way more comfortable to hold a speed without discomfort. And, an added bonus that I should have thought about before, the noise level is hugely reduced. They say above 40mph all you are hearing is the wind noise, so having the fairing slicing a hole through the wind really makes a difference. I’ve already got mild tinnitus, which is a bit irritating, I don’t want to make it worse.

The bad news: Huston, we have a problem. It’s got tons of top end, and it will scream away when you get right to the top of the rev band, but getting there is painfully sedate. That is not how Mr Honda builds a sports/ tourer. Also, I set off with a full tank of petrol, (13 litres/ 3 gallons), and I was flashing on the last bar of my reserve tank (of 5 bars) 90 miles later. I was in the sticks in the Lake District, I thought I was going to run out and have to walk to a petrol station. On the the way back I didn’t thrash it, kept in the top gear for most of the journey home, and I was still down to 4 bars of reserve.

That is so not good. The Triumph, naked, as aerodynamic as a brick, with an engine that was screaming for mercy over the ton, got 120 miles to the tank.

I googled it and someone else had the same issue. Everyone replying was saying “No, you should get 40mpg, up to 140 miles per tank” . The answer was fuelling. It’s probably running way too rich. It could be the autochoke is staying on (nope, my revs drop), the temperature sensor not working, (nope, starts off without a reading, registers at 34C, climbs to 90s, which is normal) or an aftermarket sports exhaust without the fuel injection computer being remapped. Apparently Honda run them a bit rich anyway, with a free breathing exhaust its way too rich. If so there would be carbon deposits on the end of the silencer. I wiped my finger around, a sooty as a Tory’s child chimney sweep. Ah, that’ll be why.

I’ve ordered a power commander (a plug in device that gives the fuel injection system new instructions for optimum performance.) I was a bit miffed at having to do so (£364!) but the bike would just irritate me otherwise, and 90 mile to a tank is a joke.

I was getting upset with Porcine McPigface for knowingly selling me a dud. Then I did some tinkering. I was trying to swap the clunky, chunky old fashioned indicators for funky new ones. It was a total pain as I had to take the front fairing off just to get at them. While was working on the front of the bike I noticed one of the pinch bolts on the spindle of the front wheel was protruding. There’s a nut on the end of the spindle, you take that off, loosen the four pinch bolts and the spindle slides out so you can take the front wheel off.

Just found this image. Ignore yellow, but two pinch bolts, spindle and nut all present and correct.

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Seeing one loose, after a long and fast ride was a bit worrying. I tried the others. All four were finger tight. I could literally tighten them with my finger and thumb. I’d just thrashed it to the Lakes.  I don’t think the plod knowingly did anything. I think he was a totally incompetent moron.

I’ve tightened them. Now realising I should make sure the nut is tight as well. I put it up on centre stand, cleaned the chain, adjusted the chain tensioners and made damn sure the back wheel was bolted on.

This has made me realise two things. Never deal with the police. Take nothing for granted.

I’ve checked through the paperwork that came with the bike, he had it serviced 700 miles ago, so the air filter and plugs should be fine. Perhaps sooty with it running so rich. I’ll do an oil and oil filter change for my own peace of mind and clean the air filter and plugs when I fit the power commander. After that it’s just the cosmetics of the smaller indicators and job’s a good ‘un for many a year.

I’m still really hopeful this is going to be a great bike. Otherwise I wouldn’t have spent that heartbreaking amount on the power commander. I had a 2003 Honda VFR800Fi (fuel injection) that had an aftermarket exhaust and a power commander and that went like stink. That was a sports/tourer as well, but weighted towards ‘tourer’, the CRB600F is more sports than tourer. Hopefully the power commander will sort it out and I’ll be a happy bunny. 

Bikes, eh?

PPPS, final amendment.

My power commander arrived yesterday(Tuesday). I was going to wait until my day off (Friday) but I needed to know, so I fitted it last night. I took it for a local test ride last night and it seemed to have a load more punch when you hit the revs. I rode it in to work and back, mostly motorway miles, and OH MYYYYYYYYY!

I was really worried before I fitted it. I spent over the odds buying the bike, then had to spend another £364 to try to get it to perform like a Honda sports/tourer should. If that hadn’t fixed it,… well, I just don’t know. It would have been awful, whatever I did.

As it is, it goes like stink! You can race through the gears and the revs until you hit a good speed, then chug along quite comfortably. The thing to remember is: it’s a 600cc sports/ tourer, not a 1000cc hypersports like the FireBlade. So if you’re chugging along at 90 in 6th gear, you can’t just twist the throttle and jump straight to light speed, you have to drop it down two gears, into the higher revs, then scream away. So that’s me a happy camper.

Also yesterday I dug out the baffle for the exhaust. As I’ve been thrashing the higher revs to try to get it to work right, the exhaust has been howling a constant racket. Some people go for that. I wouldn’t mind if it was an old Brit twin or a Harley, they make a gorgeous sound, but this is 14,000rpm of tortured steel. It’s a pain filled scream. You can see the size of the exhaust opening, so a lot of noise gets out of there at revs. I dug out the baffle, expecting something that was going to fill the hole with layers of mesh or something. It was a hollow tube. Slightly thinner than a bog roll tube and a bit longer. That was it. I thought I’d give it a go anyway. It actually works! It turns the scream into a “Vvvwwwoooh” sound. Surprisingly quieter, and a much more pleasant sound. That was a shock win.

After plod trying to kill me with the loose front wheel I thought I’d better make sure the service had been done, so I ordered some oil and a filter. (The service was only 700 miles ago, so the new plugs and air filter should be fine). They arrived today. Again, I didn’t want to wait, so I was lay outside in the rain after work changing that. To be fair to Porcine McP, that was the cleanest oil I’ve ever changed. 

I’ve ordered some indicators with built in resistors (to stop the LED indicators from making the relay flash too fast) that should be a straight swap, when they arrive.

So that’s me. Happy bunny. I’ve got the acceleration to get me out of trouble, the top end should I need it, the handling and comfort, and a strong engine that will happily chug in all day.

It’s been stressful, unpleasant and expensive, but I’ve got a bike that can do it all.

Final bike thing. The guy who bought my Triumph rang me up earlier. “Have you fitted a quick reaction throttle to it?”

Never heard of one.

“Snatchy throttle, front end keeps lifting.”

Yup. That’s the bike. Suck it up, buttercup.

 

Now I can just get on with riding my bike. All  year round. Without worrying about it.

Brilliant.

Now back to my equally boring running obsession.

Too Much (but never enough.)

I’ve been doing what the physio said while at work. Cycling in on flat pedals, short runs, rubbing my foot for 10 minutes per day (to stimulate blood flow and hasten healing) putting on that funny tape, and a surprise winner, putting on a foot brace. It was suggested on a site for dealing with peronious tertius. It is, as someone said on the product review, just a glorified bandage but it’s the best bit of kit I’ve ever bought.

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It’s got an elastic loop you put over your foot, then wrap the brace under your foot and around your ankle and secure with velcro. It’s so simple but it’s genius. It is thin enough to wear inside a shoe or boot, you can position it where you like, and it supports you and restricts you from excessive movement. I’ve had quite a few runs where I’ve felt sore afterwards. I put this on and I’m good to go again in the morning. The only thing is it chafes on bare skin so I wear it over my sock. No big deal. Fantastic bit of kit.

I say I was doing as the physio said while at work. But then I booked a spur of the moment week off. Obviously this means the temperature dropped 10 degrees and it started raining. Lousy weather to do anything else, but fine for running.

Someone on Twitter recently posted a 100 mile run week. I’m very easily lead. Can you tell where this is going?

I thought, seeing as my foot was holding up so well, and I had a week off, I might as well give it a go. Which is how I know the ankle brace is such brilliant kit.

Too be honest it was too much. They say never increase your distance per run or per week by more than 10%. That was 384%. Possibly overdid it. All I’ve done is run for 2 hours or so every day then been fit to drop for the rest of the day. A couple of times my foot was so sore after the run I thought I was going to fail, then the next day, start slow, but good to go.

Tuesday was my first day off, so I did 15 miles, same Wednesday, felt rough Thursday so just did 13, Then 15. While I was out on Saturday I had a bad thought, if I was to allow myself the week, as is the challenge, it would finish with a run tomorrow (Monday) which my data recorder apps would consider a new week. I did an extra mile (16) to set myself up for today.

After doing 74 miles in 5 consecutive days, if I wanted my apps to recognise my achievement, I had to run a marathon today. I just didn’t think my legs had it in them. I said about it on Twitter and everyone was so supportive (and impressed) that I determined to give it my best shot.

I set off to keep it under 9 m/m, and though it was mentally quite tough, and I had a few niggles, I did it! Go me!

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To be honest, apart from the mental aspect, it wasn’t too bad. I thought it was going to be terrible. My last one, a few weeks ago, was, and that was on fresh legs. 4 hours 10 and it was pure misery. That was the run that ruined my foot enough that I decided enough was enough. I’m sat here today, after a really heavy week, brace on, in perfect comfort. Go, as the Americans would have it, figure.

If I can do all that and still have an operable hoof, I am really optimistic that when I return to work and resume my physio regime I will quickly heal.

To that end I’ve invested in some new tyres for my pushbike. I’ve had two front tyre punctures in two weeks, so it’s time for a new front at least. Then I discovered these.

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The ones on my bike are big, chunky, grabby ones. Tons of tread for macho riding up muddy mountains or whatever. Which is all good and well, but then there is so much traction on the road bits it’s hard work and slows you down. And to be honest, it’s a ride along gravel for 5 miles, then 3 on the road to get to work, the tread is overkill. I didn’t know a tyre like the new one existed, but as soon as I saw it I got two. The idea is the centre is mostly road tyre, ok for gravel, while the outside provides grip if you start sinking in mud. They arrived after I started my holiday so I’ve not tried them yet, but I am hoping for some new PBs on the commute.

 

Wendy and I have had birthdays. She got me a Yoda Baby birthday card (she’s mad for he. It is, as the name implies, a baby of Yoda’s species from the TV series the Mandalorian.)

To return the compliment I got her this

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There was *some* thought put into it. As I said in the card, another timeless 1961 beauty. (Triumph Bonneville, obviously.)

She also found a painting of Baby Yoda  that she liked when she was searching for my card. I ordered it for her, but fell foul of the metric system. 60 x 90cm sound quite medium-ish. Had I have stopped to think about it, it’s 3 feet!

Now I have Baby Yoda eyes following me around the room.

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My weight is remaining stubbornly in the “own gravitational field” end of ten stone, but at least my gut is shrinking down to human proportions now. Wendy has managed to lose nearly a stone, but can’t run a marathon, so swings and roundabouts.

And another thing, I’ve just tonight heard. I’ve been killing myself to try to get fast. Just before I broke myself at Chester marathon last year I was doing a 7.09 m/m pace half marathon. Some guy who a runner on Twitter knows, runs (admittedly twice a day, 100 miles a week) but apart from one speed run, does it all at 12 m/m, then did a half marathon at 5.38 m/m pace! HOW? THAT MAKES NO SENSE!

I’m going to be looking in to it. But if I’ve been killing myself on every run and making myself less fast, I’m going to be miffed. He didn’t seem to be joking or winding me up, he put screenshots of the guy’s running app up. I don’t think I have ever “run” a 12m/m. Ever.

Oh, and I got some new, cheapo glasses (scratched mine) from online.

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Which brings me to Twitter.

There was a lot of anger about Dominic Cummings breaking all the rules and laws he’d had Bozo impose on us plebs. His story was he took his wife and kid in the car for 30 miles, to a castle beauty spot, to test his eyesight to see if he was fit to drive. Then drove 260 miles to visit his grandparents. Because.

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2020 in a single picture

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Some satirical whimsy

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A clever account that inverts sexism

 

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This one pretends to be the news service of the despotic DPRK to rip America and such.

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And everyone was enraged by the racist murder of a black man and Trumps reaction.

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This being the prime example. Assault rifle bearing white supremacists storm a government building vs black people protesting police murder. (Trump was sued in the ‘70s for refusing to rent to black tenants.)

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Covid 19 whimsy in Mexico.

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UK whimsy

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And my fave new (to me) account. In this time of virtual meeting and Skype TV interviews everyone has taken to positioning themselves in front of bookcases to add gravitas to their image. This account rates them.

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Right. Bed time. I’ve earned it.

Stay safe

Buck.

54, Not Out.

Another birthday. Meh. Still, better than the alternative.

 

I’ve decided I’m going ahead, slowly, with the bike conversion. I say “conversion”, because it’s gone way beyond changing the handlebars. I’ve ordered a sheet of 5mm thick, strong aluminium (there are different strengths, who knew?) and I’ll see how I get on with making a clock bracket. If I don’t make a horrendous lash of that, then I’ll think move on to the rest of the stuff I need to do.  The aluminium was only £13 so it’s not going to break the bank to see how I get on.

 

My other new is the physio guy got back to me. He’s really good, and oddly conscientious. I say that because he’s written me out three long and involved emails and replies, but because he can’t physically see me, due to lockdown, he won’t take any money. I mean, if I was an existing client, or whatever, maybe, but I’m just some randomer pestering him to work for free. I said that to him, that I was glad to pay as it’s harsh asking him to work for free, but he’s still not taking any money. Decent chap, straight away.

He started me off with a load of tests, putting a belt or towel under my relaxed foot and lifting/ twisting without using foot muscles. Prodding under the painful area, etc to make sure it wasn’t a fracture, and it was actually the muscles or tendons causing the pain. After the test I realised it wasn’t a pain on the top of my foot so much. Now that it was really hurting I could specify where the pain was exactly.

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That lump. Excuse the malting skin look, it’s ibugel flaking off. Apparently this is your peronious tertius, which is a muscle that acts a tendon (except for 8% of people who don’t have one at all, I read. Weird if true.) It controls the lifting and rotation of the foot.

He said that the lower limbs take longer to heal as they are further from the heart and have restricted blood flow. Therefore I should do 10 minutes light rubbing a day to stimulate blood flow to the damaged area. He said that I should wait until the weekend for the initial rest, then focus on cycling or swimming, with much reduced running.

He explained that the reason why the pushbike ride hurt so much was because if you have the old, standard flat pedals, you can only press down. With the newfangled clip-in pedals, as your foot is attached to the pedal, you automatically pull up as well as pushing down. (I still think the twisting in and out of the clips made it a lot worse as well). I’ve changed my pedals to the flat ones that came with the bike, and downgraded my short run trainers to pushbike shoes. My run trainers are ‘control’ ones, made to stop you rolling your foot, so hopefully they’ll help on the bike as well. I rode to work and back on Thursday and Friday, my foot was OK. Not perfect but not worse.

Yesterday was my day off and my foot wasn’t bad at all so I had a bit of a test run. I set out as slow and steady as you like. Not bothered about the time, just out here to see how my foot feels… looked at my watch at half a mile, 9.30m/m pace. WHAT! Did 6 miles in at a sub 8 pace. I could feel it had hurt my foot a bit, but nothing much. Today I went for a very gentle run, but at 3 miles I was thinking about my twitter chum who’d just done a fast 5K (3.1 miles), so I stopped, had a breather, then legged it back. I was hoping for 7 m/m pace, but it was a thousand degrees (at least) and I just didn’t have it in me. I did it at 7.20 m/m, which was a 22.39 time. My PB is 21.40, so I’ll take it.

The main thing to take from it is my foot is still working and not hurting.

Some other things I’ve taken from Adrian, the physio guy, is applying some stuff called kinesio tape, which is like an elasticated tape that it supposed to support damaged bits, while allowing them some natural movement. And, as it’s about controlling the movement of my foot, I’ve bought some new trainers to replace my short run ones. They say the padding breaks down after about 400 miles, so you start picking up impact damage on your runs, and for me it’s doubly important as the padding is all that stops me from rolling my foot. I think I bought my last pairs in August. I’ve run 450 miles this year alone. Oops. Good job I had a month off with lurgy, I’ve run 122 miles this month.

Anyway. New trainers, flat pedals, foot rub, tape, reduced running and strength exercises. I think that’s it. So during the week I’ll just be pushbike commuting for exercise, with small runs on my days off. 

When we return to normal I’ll see Adrian for a physical consult. He seems to be a good egg and I want this sorting.

My only other news is, as lockdown is lifting quite a bit, I put my Honda up for sale again. This time it got snapped up. First person to look at it was there to buy it at asking price. When he turned up it was some really skinny guy and his mate. The mate was a biker so took it for a test run. The skinny guy got talking, he was on notice. He’s had bits of his guts out, showed me a tube sticking out of his stomach. Cancer. He didn’t know how long he’d got, but wanted to get a bike and do a big tour of European mountains. He was just starting out, had no kit, so I gave him a nearly new lid and a bike cover. A bucket list biker. He’s not even got his license yet, his test is on Friday. His mate rode it home for him.

Poor chap. He was only 4 years older than me. I hope he gets his grand tour. I can’t see that happening until lockdown lifts.

Twitter hasn’t been very fun filled or full of whimsy the last few days so I’ve nothing to report. It has been amusing me to see the people on my running account, who were chosen for running and such and not vetted for ideological purity, all coming together as one to rage against the Bozo/ Cummings catastrophe. These are a mixed bag of people but as one they are incensed by Cummings touring the country in complete contempt of the governments own guidelines, laws, and policies. And the Tory party saying it’s alright for *him* to do it, just not us plebs.

A vicar tweeting about funerals they’ve had to hold with families not allowed to attend, a husband not allowed to visit his dying wife, had to listen on the ‘phone to her dying alone.

While Cummings drives 260 miles to see his parents.

There are some very miffed people out there right now. Which is nice to see.

Something funny to end on, one from the archives from Forest Fr1ends. Whenever I think of it I laugh. I paint the whole ‘off camera’ bit of the joke in my head. Cracks me up.

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Stay safe.

Buck.

Solutions

I’ve been doing a lot of research and I have the answer to my bike problem.

I just want lower handlebars. That’s all. A 20 minute job.

OK, so far I’ve taken the fairing off and fitted a back to the clocks.

The problem is the handlebars still hit the clocks.

The solution is simple. Instead of having the clocks mounted on an arm fixed to the frame,

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make a mount and attach them to the handlebars.

You have to make this plate, complete with sunken drill holes, but it’s do-able.

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Simple.

But wait.

That leaves the old arm and plate (two pictures above) hanging in mid air looking ugly.

OK, take off the arm.

That exposes the air intake in the frame.

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OK, so you make an air intake cover.

But wait, that arm also supports the headlights.

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So you have to buy headlight support arms that attach to the fork legs and hold the headlight.

But they only work for single headlights. So you have to buy a new headlight. And possibly mess around with the wiring as the loom supports two headlights.

And because your handlebars are now lower you need to fit a shorter throttle cable off a different model of bike.

Ends up looking like this.

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Actually, looking at it, that does look rather lovely.

Hmm.

The thing is, I wasn’t going for aesthetics, I just wanted a better riding position.

It’s not quite the 20 minute job I envisioned.

I’m in two minds about it. But at least I now know the answer, should I choose to pursue it.

 

The other thing that needs fixing is me.

I’ve been nursing damaged tendons on my left foot for about 18 months. Extensor tendonitis, apparently. The tendons that run along the top of your foot and draw your toes back. You can damage them by too tightly lacing your shoes and by overuse. In that time I’ve had other injuries, and the plague, so I’ve stopped running for a whole month on one occasion, and six weeks hardly any running on another. As soon as I started again the pain was back. I had resigned myself to it. It’s just routine now, get out of the shower, slather my foot in ibugel and put on a compression bandage. It only hurts badly after a long run (15+ miles), so I was living with it.

A few days ago one of my twitter chums mentioned she should be doing a marathon in the morning (in jest) but it put the thought into my head. So Sunday morning I did the 26.2 miles.

Which was stupid anyway, as I’d been doing sprint miles the day before and my legs were battered. I was struggling by mile 7. I forced myself to complete it but it was horrendous. 4 hours 10, so, pitifully slow as well. I was trying to take positives from it; lesson learned, never marathon after hard sprint sessions, first marathon since I broke myself last autumn, good for mental toughness, only 3 days since I was too weak to run (the plague comes back in waves), etc.

My foot was hurting pretty badly afterwards, but I was expecting that.

That night I couldn’t sleep with it, I got about 3 or so broken hours. I was on the sofa trying to keep my foot propped in one position so it wouldn’t hurt. Still not unusual. But I got to thinking about in the long, boring, painful hours. I did some more reading and apparently it can sometimes take 3 to 9 months to heal. If ever there was a year to take that long out of training, this is it. I was fighting against it, as it’s taken me all this time to get back to fitness, but this is the perfect time to heal, with all the races being deferred and/or cancelled.

I made up my mind to quit and heal.

So I don’t die of morbid obesity before I can get running again I decided to start commuting to work on my pushbike. To test the water I did a ride there and back yesterday, 19 miles with hills. That was a massive, massive mistake. I thought as your feet are actually attached to the pedals by clips, and the base of the shoe is rigid, there would be no foot movement, so I would be fine. So wrong. My foot flared up like never before. Normally if I move it it hurts, so sleeping is awkward, as is movement. This was just non-stop pain. I couldn’t find any position that didn’t hurt. And movement was making me shout out.

I was lying on the sofa about 03.00 thinking about going to A&E for an X-ray, I thought I might have broke something. I finally got to sleep properly about 04.00 and when I woke up it was back to normal. Which is to say, it hurts a bit when I move, but nothing like that.

That was my wake up call though. I’m determined to heal properly now.

I had a heartfelt whinge about it on Twitter. Some of my running twitter chums have put me on to a sports physiotherapist they use and recommend highly. They say that he’s never stopped them running, always given them active rehabilitation exercises, so there’s hope for me yet. But I’m prepared for the worst. If I have to, I’ll stop. The trouble is, with lockdown, the physio isn’t seeing anyone physically. I’ve sent him an email, as he’s still doing virtual consultations.

For now I’m resting. Tomorrow I’m back at work so I’ll see how my hoof is holding up, then maybe low mileage easy runs just to keep me ticking over. See how it goes. I’m not pushing anything now.

 

Quick catch up on twitter and I’m out of here, busy doing, er, rest.

Some politics:

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A shocking condemnation:

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Morons gathered for an end of lockdown protest

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And forest fr1ends, and account that humorously juxtaposes cutesy kids dolls with adult themes was on fire:

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Some other whimsy

“Her face when she realises she’s pregnant (pic 3)”

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And there’s a thing called “dog shaming” where you put a placard around your dog’s neck saying what they’ve done wrong, take and post a picture of them.

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Right, that’s me. I’m off to dynamically do nothing.

Stay safe,

Buck.

A Pox On Triumph Handlebars!

I’ve been holding off doing this post until I’d finished the job and could report in, well, triumph. I thought today was the day. *hangs head in shame*

All I wanted to do was to put a tail tidy and a top box on the back (done) and lower handlebars on the front. A modest enough ambition. It’s been hellish. First off I got the bars and realised the fairing wouldn’t allow me turn the front wheel.

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So I decided to order a cheap, second hand fairing to butcher all the pointy bits off.

Supposedly there is only one type of fairing for my bike. Spotted one, ordered it. Wrong one. Huh?

It has two screw holes at the top, mine only has one. OK, bought another, assured it was the right one. It arrived, same as the first! What?

I did a lot of searching on the genuine Triumph website and realised I was barking up the wrong tree anyway. You can do away with plastics altogether, by simply fitting a back to the (now exposed) clocks.

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Did so. Assured it was mine. It wasn’t mine. Sort of rounded instead of the angular bits.

Sent it back and ordered again.

(Each of these attempts involved me taking the fairing off and on, by the way.)

New one arrived, right one! Huzzah!

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Plastic gone, but still got upright sitting position due to the handlebars.

So, take the bars and all the bits off, fit the new ones with all the bits, mark where the bits fit, take it all off again, drill two holes in the bars (took ages, like drilling rock!) put it back together again and Viola!

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Chuffed to bits. That’s a great riding position, right over the tank, and (apart from the necessary evil of the top box) looks smart as a carrot!

I put my tools away, grabbed my leather and lid, fired it up, moved 6 inches, went to turn the bars, smacked straight into the clocks. HOW? How is that even possible?

I spent a good 5 minutes looking at it in disbelief, then longer trying to adjust the bars. Not happening. I had to take it all off and put my original bars back on.

So that was my day.

I’ve managed to sell both the fairing I bought, and get a refund on the wrong clock back. but I’m struggling as to where to go from here. The easiest solution would be to reposition the clocks, either drop them down on to the headlights or attach them to the handlebars, but there is an electrical cable with a load of connections that limits travel. 

I’m not beaten yet, but I’m taking a fair kicking. It’s a 20 minute job. It’s taken me weeks, months, possibly, and I’m still not there.

OK, I’ve got that off my chest. Deep breaths.

Which segues me nicely into my other topic; the plague.

 

I’ve had everyone being concerned about me, even the runners on twitter were saying I should rest my lungs rather than try to rebuild my fitness.

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And it’s fair to say I struggled horribly at first. I was a bit hit and miss for the first week after returning to work, then one day I put my running shorts on and my belly flowed over them. I did a half marathon that day and have been pushing it since.

It’s not been an easy ride. I went out two week ago with the intention of running a hilly 2½ miles to a bridge over the mersey which is quite steep, then doing 5 miles of hill repeats, then run home. I got there, did a mile, and had to continue my run on the flat, I had nothing. I ended up limping home, exhausted, barely keeping it under 10m/m. That was for a 10 mile run.

I took a day off, regrouped and have been coming back stronger since. I did a 20 mile run and kept it in the 8m/m’s. Someone was talking about speed work on twitter so I went to test my mile fitness. That’s a lot harder than it sounds. You are going flat out from the off and hanging on for grim life as it all goes south. Anyway, my previous best, I think, was 6.25 for a mile. I’m still a stone overweight and not as fit as I’d like, but I had a benchmark against which to measure myself. I did 2 miles warm up then straight into a mile sprint. It was awful by the end, I was panicking because I was sucking in huge lungfuls of air but it just didn’t feel like I was breathing. I’d put too much into it to quit, so I just kept going. I didn’t pass out and I finished the mile in 6.33, so it must have been in my mind, not my body. I did a really slow mile, walking the last 10th of it, to recover, then tried again. I had a nasty wind hit me at the end, which made it harder, but I felt like I could breathe the whole time, and I did it in 6.39.

8 seconds, even 14 seconds, off the pace over a mile, when I’m 11 stone, isn’t that bad.

I’ve done long, I’ve done fast, today I went out to try and redeem myself on the hill repeats. I did the 2½ miles onto the bridge, when I got there there was a woman runner already doing hill repeats. On my hill. The cheek.

I got stuck in. It’s never fun on hills (for me) such hard work, but I kept going. I was running up one side of the bridge as she was running up the other. I noticed a few times as she was breasting the hill she was walking the last bit. But after a few miles we were still passing at the same place. I was cursing myself for being rubbish, if she was walking sections and I still couldn’t catch her. I was trying to see her route, if she was doing shorter laps (not that I’m competitive or anything) but we were always on opposite sides of the hill.

It gave me something other than my own misery to think about. She finished and was walking back to her car, as I passed close by she shouted “How do you make it look so easy?”

There you go. Perception. I was dying by inches, willing it to be over, she thought I was cruising.

I didn’t hear her so well at first so shouted back, somewhat incongruously, “I don’t. I hate hills.”

It did give me a bit of a boost to finish the 5 miles though. Then I plodded back home. And I kept it, including the 5 miles of hill repeats, under 9m/m.

It could have easily gone the other way, there is no concrete science for the after effects of Covid19, but I’m not one to be put off by the risks of trifles such as lung damage and heart failure. And, to my own satisfaction, I can see definite, quantifiable, improvements. So, I was lucky to get a mild dose, and luckier to get no serious damage.

 

To end on a lighter note, twitter has been fun, if somewhat gallows humour.

Bozo has announced class war. All the rich stay safe, the middle classes work from home, the working class have to go back to work and die. So that’s nice. The plan was always to cull the excess population with herd immunity.

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He issued a vague new slogan to see us through the slaughter.

Alert

Which twitter tried to decipher.

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President Trump went on air and announced that people should inject bleach. The the amusement of many and the horror of the medical profession.

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It’s all about life during the plague.

My twitter chum trying to do video conferencing.

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And people commented on the facile trend of clapping for care workers at 20.00hrs on Thursday. Presumably by the same people who voted for the party that cheered as they refused a pay rise for nurses, and is currently failing to get them masks and protective equipment.  

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But there was some general whimsy.

Someone tagged me in a game, name 5 things that bring you joy, then nominate 5 people to keep it going.

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My contribution

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And random whimsy.

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Lockdown boredom

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Anatomy of a horse

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And just because

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Stay safe.

Buck.

Don

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