More Riding – Santa Pod

A little late, but following my ride out to the Bike Night at Jacks Hill Cafe, the next morning (a Saturday) I had some tickets for a VIP day at Santa Pod raceway which I’d won in a works raffle in aid of Macmillan charity. It was quite fitting as a family friend, Arthur had introduced us all to drag racing at Santa Pod when I was just a lad, and we’d gone along with him and my dad for many years, sadly Arthur had died from cancer a couple of years ago and Macmallan had looked after him in his final weeks to make his life more bearable, so a trip to the Pod courtesy of a raffle in aid of the charity which had improved his final days is a fitting rememberance I felt.. I’d asked my brother if he’d like to be my guest, and we’d agreed that if the weather looked good he’d come to mine and we’d ride the bikes to Santa Pod, which is what actually happened. The Slug (ZZR 1100) duly arrived with my brother sat aboard at 8 a.m. and we got out the Z750 and got ready to go. Not immediately though as the ZZR had some battery problems which meant I needed to push it for a bump start. It started easily enough, but then I had to kick the twin, which usually starts second kick, but obviously I had used up all my energy on the other Kawasaki as it wouldn’t go until the 5th or 6th kick. But then we were off.

A nice gentle wind up to the A509 and a steady within speed limits ride saw us eating up the miles towards our destination. At some point we usually turn right through a small village called Bozeat, but I’d seen signs further up during my working hours which I thought may cut out some of the farmyard muddy roads. It actualy didn’t it was just a long way further up to end up on just as smaller roads with just as muddy tracks from tractors, with the added bonus of not quite knowing where we were or which way to go until we saw the next sign for the Pod. Soon though we ended up on the final road into the raceway and outside of the queueing cars as we made our way past the traffic into the grounds.

VIP tickets remember so we looked for a marshall who guided us to another marshall who told us to park in the VIP parking area, so that’s a field to us regular Joes then, no good for side stands on Kawasakis. So we ignored that advice and went on in until we found some other bikes parked on hard tarmac and followed suit. Daz and I had a wander round and watched some racing through the fence before we decided to see what VIP passes could offer, and hunted down the hospitality area. Here they allowed us to stow our helmets and jackets and to have our free bacon rolls, I like being a VIP and could get used to free bacon rolls, if anyone wants to offer more VIP treatment, I’m here waiting.

Our tickets also came with grandstand seating so we made our way there, a lot of seats were reserved but empty so I could spread myself out a little and enjoy some racing, until one of the cars broke putting oil down and stopping the racing for a goodly length of time. But we did manage to watch some great racing as the day wore on, with top fuel, and top alcohol cars fighting for the championships at this the so called European Finals. I still get blown away by the doorslamming pro modifieds though, running 6 second quarter miles in cars with working doors, amazeballs.

Santa Pod September 2014

Santa Pod

See more of the videos on my Youtube channel accessed from the above videos.

We had decided to leave early as Dazza needed to get back to his family, and we wanted to beat the traffic out. Back at the Hospitality tent we picked up our jackets, helmets and goody bags (yep we got goodies) and went back to the bikes. Under my seat the goody bag fitted nicely, but the slugs shell had a little more trouble handling the bag but Dazza used brute force and got the stuff in there. After checking the petrol situation, again the ZZR needed a push to get going and I kicked my Z750 twin to life (kickstarters rule) and off we went. This time we went the old way via Bozeat and cut off a good stretch of riding. At the M1 junction off the A509 at Newport Pagnell Dazza headed off to the motorway while I continued on my way Westward towards home, I don’t know why but the jorney from the point Dazza left suddenly seemed much quicker. Home again, turned the Kawasaki round and pulled it back into the drive until next time.

Tarantula Troubles At Friday Bike Night

1st Friday of the month is Bike Night at Jack’s Hill Cafe in Towcester, and I have been threatening to get there for months. Well tonight was the night, finally I got the Kawasaki out, started second kick and on my way up the A5 to Towcester.

It was just after Pottetspury when I checked the rear view mirror to see what was behind, and instead saw a tarantula hanging off the right hand mirror. Not actually a big fan of spiders, but also realising death would be more likely by dropping the throttle to swat it off the mirror, I tried to ignore it till I stopped at some traffic lights. This was one arachnid who didn’t want to be ignored though, as it kept walking around the mirror, in an obvious attempt to get noticed, despite a 60mph wind from our speed. Finally I found some lights in Towcester on red and swatted, the spider dodged and hid, came back round and I got a second go, just as the light went green. Spidey dropped, I dropped the clutch and left him in Towcester.

I arrived safely at Jack’s Hill cafe to a very full car park and got directed round the back. Had a good look around at some stunning bikes, met up with some new people and had a pleasant evening, here are some pictures..



As darkness descended on Towcester and the moon rose, I reasoned it was time to go, as the fireflies in the front lights would get tired If I tried to work them too hard. Luckily the Z750 started first kick, and I got going towards home. The ride was pleasant if a little slower than the rode there as I was trying to pick out the road, using oncoming lights and the shadowy trees as a guide to assist in following the small patch of slightly less dark road the lights were providing. We did get home safely in the end, but it makes me wonder how there are any motorcyclists from the pre halogen lighting era who are still around.

Some More Stuff That Happened

I had some time off work so I decided to replace the bearings in the alloy wheels I have for the big twin. Having retrieved the wheels from the garage which is being used as a toy cupboard, clothes repository and general storage unit by my family, I set the front wheel on wooden blocks and hunted for a drift to knock out the bearings. Half an hour later I had the drift, hammer and had removed the first bearing and spacer. I removed the circlip from the other side and tapped that bearing out, it was going well.

All I had to do was locate the new bearings, which my wife had decided looked untidy in the small box I had put on top of the cupboard, and had moved them. Cue an hour of searching, cursing and more cursing, until the bearings were found. Having then spent a further half hour looking for a socket to drive the bearings in squarely, and getting it all back together, I admitted defeat and left the rear wheel for another day.

In other news, my brother called me to arrange to meet him and my dad somewhere between our respective abodes. It was decided we would meet at Buddies USA in Hockliffe near Dunstable. I described to Dazza where it was and we decided one of us should tell our dad. So this morning I pulled out the Kawasaki Z750 and started her up, second kick, get in.

I stopped en route for fuel and checked the tyre pressures, the front was a little low at 13 psi, ooops. Then it was a pleasant trip for me down the A5 to Hockliffe Buddies. I arrived and parked, and as I got off the bike I watched my dad on his BSA lead my brother on his ZZR1100 aka the slug straight past the restaurant. Then I waited till they came back. Apparently nobody had phoned dad to tell him where we were meeting.

We expected an expensive breakfast in Buddies, but were pleasantly surprised by their build your own which was quite reasonably priced for each item. The food when it arrived was also very palatable, lovely jubbly.

Outside we noticed that my dads BSA was parked on a small puddle of oil, it seems he is quite unlucky as his bike seems to always end up parked over an oil puddle :-p. The odd couple decided to ride back home with me to extend Dazzas freedom for a little longer.

Back at my house we chatted for a while before they left, and unfortunately my dad had parked over another patch of oil, weird how that keeps happening.

So all in all another nice ride out which has convinced me to keep the Kawasaki twin a bit longer.

Riding and repairing!

When my brother invited me to his house, he said I should go on the bike. I kept an eye on the weather on the run up to today, but the forecaster seemed to be making it up as he went along. After I had been to work today my dad arrived and assured me the rain wouldn’t get me. So I pulled the Kawasaki out and got prepared. The bike started first kick, which was a good omen surely?

We set off and after less than 5 miles I felt sommething banging on my leg, which then shot out behind me. Then I realised my left side panel had come off and I assumed it was being used as a speed bump by some other motorists. Stopping and walking back, I was wrong, it was intact apart from the Kawasaki badge. Put it in the rucksack my dad had with him and on we went.

We got 4 miles from our destination when the heavens opened. It took seconds before I was soaked to the skin, not good. It was about this time the brake light started sticking on, due to the rear brake stop winding itself out. By the time we arrived at my brothers I was dripping like niagra falls. Not a happy bunny.

After a pleasant afternoon with my brother and his family we took the Twin to his garage to do the required repairs. I ask my brother if he has a 6mm nut and some cable ties or string. The reply didn’t fill me with hope as he tells me he might have something somewhere. He found a nut in his vast tool box, nestled between the two screwdrivers and bike spanner he calls a toolkit. Luckily it was a 6mm so the brake could be sorted permanently.

The side panel just needed a cable tie, string, wire or anything. Anything proved to be some “fragile” packing tape twisted up to make a kind of string, this was used to tie the panel in place. Kawasaki may want to buy the rights though as the panel was still there when I got home.

The ride home started with a few spots of rain, but soon brightened to a beautiful sunny afternoon and a lovely ride through Chesham, Berkhamstead, Tring , and the edges of the downs, although I suffered a numb bum and legs on the way. At the end of the ride I hit the A5 dual carriageway and opened up the Z750 for a blast at the speed limits (obviously wouldn’t exceed them).

When I pulled up at home the gate was opened and as soon as I parked the bike and walked in I was pointed to a kebab on the side waiting for me. So all in all a happy ending to the day.

First Short Ride Out

I know what you’re thinking, a ride out already but it’s only July. I know but I am a martyr to this bike. Anyway, I pulled the Kawasaki wrought lump of Iron  out from the back of my house, up the slope to the road, and pushed my hernia back in place.  Two kicks and she was running sweet even though it had been a few months again.

I set off to the local petrol station and only managed to force in a gallon before the tank was full again. I then headed for the A5 and the Super Sausage cafe to meet with some people from the MKBC (Milton Keynes Bike Club a Facebook group for Milton Keynes Bikers). At the roundabout across to the A5 I was nearly squished by two old ladies out for their Sunday morning tea and scones at the garden centre, the driver paniced at being in the wrong lane saw the gap between two cars and started to pull into it. I was actually filling that gap but as she didn’t look left I had to do something to prevent my allergy to being squished by old biddies in cars from acting up. A flick of the throttle had two effects, firstly I was rushed forward out of the way of the potential killers, and they were warned of my being their next victim by the bark from the exhausts :-)

Death denied, I carried on to the appointed meeting place, and then had a look around. The following pics show some of the bikes which were there..

A bike at the Super Sausage today

A bike at the Super Sausage today

Another bike at the Super Sausage today

Another bike at the Super Sausage today

Another bike at the Super Sausage today

Another bike at the Super Sausage today

Some bikes at the Super Sausage today

Some bikes at the Super Sausage today

Some bikes at the Super Sausage today

Some bikes at the Super Sausage today

I sat for a while, then saw a beard I recognised from the Facebook group arriving on a face which sat atop somebody on a Honda. Steve from MKBC and a couple of others had arrived. As I got up to go introduce myself another guy who had been sat behind me on the same bench walked ahead and introduced himself too, yep two members of the FB group sat on the same bench talking on Facebook and didn’t know we were almost met already. But we all got introduced, and had a sit down and a chat and then it was time for me to go again.

I walked to the twin, moved it from between the parked bikes, and set up for the start, watched by two people intrigued by the archaic kick start. You know what happens now, every time you start a bike it starts second kick unless someone’s watching, so true to form, one kick, two kicks, three kicks, four kicks. A little choke, five kicks, six kicks, choke off and loads of throttle to clear the over rich fuel smell. kicks is the charm, or 8. Sweating and quietly cursing on the ninth kick we had life. A quick getaway from the shame, onto the A5 and home again.

Met some great new friends, saw the Red Arrows make a love heart in the sky over the Silverstone circuit where the F1 GP was about to start (knicked this picture below from another MKBC member Thanks Sue Brown)

The Red Arrows Heart over Silverstone viewed from the Super Sausage

The Red Arrows Heart over Silverstone viewed from the Super Sausage (thanks Sue Brown for the pic)

It was good to get out on the bike, and meet some new friends in person, more soon (ish)

Some stuff done to the Z750

A long while between updates, laziness, apathy, and loads of other reasons but mainly apathy. In the recent past though the bike did get taken for an MOT at Churchills in Potterspury and it passed straight off, so that was a bonus this year. I also traded some parts etc. for the second Z750 I had here, it was a shame to see it slowly rotting away and now it has gone back to its former keeper oop norf and I have some shiny parts and nice wheels to fit.

On the subject of wheels, as it’s a bank holiday in the UK I decided it was time for the wheels to get a little preparation towards being fitted, as you can see from the picture below the rear wheel needs a good clean (the front is no better).

uncleaned alloy wheel for my Z750 twin

So I set about it with the degreaser, and some wet wipe things we had laying around. The results were worth it I think

Z750 twin rear alloy wheel cleaned

And the front wheel

Z750 twin front wheel all cleaned

Next I am going to change the wheel bearings in both wheels and fit a new front tyre and my barely used rear tyre will be swapped onto the new(er) rim.

To Do List

As the old Z750 twin has been stood for a while, and the weather is getting warmer it’s time to think about what needs to be done before I retax it for this summers riding. There’s the obvious stuff like oil level and brake fluid checks and probably charging the battery before anything else can be done, but once those are out of the way I have a list of to dos which are not essential but I want to do.

Firstly the twin needs a tidy up, so I want to remove all the panels and tank etc. and paint the frame in a nice gloss black again. I’m also in negotiation for some new (old new) parts like a rear mudguard and alloy wheels. That will entail removing the wheels again and swapping the nice new rear tyre to the new wheels and also buying a new front Bridgestone (don’t trust the new Avon I have in the garage after last years fiasco with Avon’s shitty tyres) to be fitted. I also want to put new bearings in the wheels as they are swapped.

The Kawasaki also deserves a bit of TLC by fitting the new indicators I bought which are sitting unused in a box, and the new mirrors I have for it. Hopefully this weekend will see some brighter weather and some of it will get done. Or more likely not judging from my past good intentions.

Wolverton Museum Of Transport Show 2013

Another year of the Wolverton show, the museum has had a fantastic revamp and the show was as good as ever. It’s only about 2 or 3 miles from home so there isn’t much to say about the journeys there and back, instead I’ll just give you some pictures to enjoy of the bikes and cars there today.

Hope you enjoy browsing the pictures in the album, a comment would be appreciated ;-)

Thursday Ride Out Finally

Finally I made it out on the Kawasaki Twin for a Thursday night ride out, but only just. When Graham phoned me I was waiting for dinner to be served, and really didn’t feel in the mood for dragging the bike out, but he was quite persuasive so after dinner I pulled out the beastly Z750 and readied myself for the ride.

It started easily enough so that was nice. Even better was when I went to put £10 worth of go juice in the tank and it would only accept £6, nice and easy on the wallet. An uneventful but very enjoyable ride along the A508 found me parked alone in the Stoke Bruerne venue for our meets, but it wasn’t long before the unmistakable sound of an old 2 stroke filled the air and I sat waiting to see whose it was. Surprisingly it was another of our work colleagues, Bryan on his Suzuki GT750 (Kettle), a beautiful looking restoration he recently finished. Bryan was unsure of the destination of choice and had been commuting between the two pubs in Stoke Bruerne thinking he’d got it all wrong somehow until he saw me waiting there.

A few minutes later Graham walked around the corner to tell us they no longer parked in the car park but used the service road beside the canal so they could sit out and watch the bikes. Around the corner we went and there was Graham and Petes bikes parked neatly, and Bryan and I joined them. After a short chat two more bikes pulled in, a lovely RD350 and a BSA Bantam with an Ariel Arrow engine and loads of mods done to it. The two guys stood and chatted with us about bikes for the duration until they left.

We waited a while for Graham’s son Martin and his lady friend to arrive, chatted and laughed a little until it was time to ride back to mine for coffees. As usual Pete and Graham on their modern machinery let me lead the way with my 70’s version of a dying candle headlight to light the road ahead. Still we kept a good pace (at least I did, who cares if they did, they wanted me to lead they got what they deserved). A little chilly in the evening, and my visor was misted for the first mile or so too which adds to the excitement of a night time ride anyway. Coffee, chat and a packet of custard creams and it was time for Grahams posse to saddle up and me to go to bed, after another good evening with good company.

I did take some pictures but it was getting dark so my phone camera didn’t play ball, too dark without flash and horrible glare with it. Here’s what I could salvage anyway..

Bryan’s GT750 Kettle…

Bryans Suzuki GT750 Kettle

RD350

Sadly the pictures of the custom Bantam are all terrible and unsalvageable (by me anyway) but you can see it behind the Yamaha RD in the picture above.

Finally something to say….

It’s been a long time coming (ooh err missus) but here’s the low down on what has been happening with the Z750 twin about which this blog kind of revolves. Firstly we had lots of rain, and I had lots of work so there was no time to ride and not get wet, as we have already documented I am a fair weather rider only. Finally it was a dry day, and for once the mrs actually wanted to go on the bike (only because her car was playing up and we had errands to do) so I uncovered it to discover the newly fitted rear tyre was flat. I pumped it up with a foot pump (manual labour is also something I am averse to so this was no mean feat). I pushed the bike up the hill and out onto the road, at which point my daughter says “what’s that hissing noise dad?”. *!"@*$ is probably the cleanest way to post up my reply as the actual letters would call into question my lack of vocabulary.

So the bike sat for a couple of weeks until I could summon the energy and enthusiasm to remove the wheel again (3rd time’s a charm they say) and take it for a puncture repair, 5 miles being the amount covered by the new tyre between fitting and removal for puncture repair. £15 and half an hour later I had a new inner tube as the old one had allegedly pinched in the rim tape or something. Once again I fitted the wheel and parked the Kawasaki twin back in its position, where it sat until today, Sunday 4th August.

I made arrangements to go see a work mate, as it looked like dry weather (the last 5 weeks of hot sun I didn’t have the heart to ride the bike) and rode over to Northampton. I was a bit dubious about going to see Craig as I didn’t feel good about leaving a bike with no steering lock, alarms and big padlocks out in any neighbourhood that hadn’t already run him out of it, but I went anyway. Halfway there and the pitter patter of raindrops on the visor and a wet patch on my jeans (not an inside job before you start) told me it was raining :-( I carried on regardless and got to chez Craig safely if a little dampened. There I was made welcome and asked not to drip on the carpet (kidding, his family were surprisingly nice considering they have to deal with him). So after a chat and a warm up I got back on the bike to go home.

On the way back the rain had stopped and I was drying nicely so I decided to pop into Bradwell Abbey at Milton Keynes to visit the Barrel Bikers MCC bike and trike show. A free entry show with loads of bikes and a warm friendly welcome at the gate was what I found there.

Some pictures are in order I think

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As you can see from the selection of pictures above the Barrel Bikers MCC put on a good show and all types of bikes are there side by side, with a great atmosphere and some fantastic bikes to see. Even those in the car park were worth looking at.

And so it was off home again, and lay the Kawasaki up for a bit again. Thanks to Craig, and Barrel Bikers MCC for a good day, and no thanks to mother nature for the rain grrr…