50 Anni di bicilindrici – 9 to 11 Nov 2018.

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No, I haven’t been over to Italy for the weekend. I saw these excellent shots taken by Paolo Rossi on FaceBook when he went to the show at The Novegro Exhibition Park, Milan. The title means Moto Guzzi, 50 years of the twin-cylinder.

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Paolo kindly gave me permission to post his photos here and, although I have had to reduce the resolution of some of them due to space considerations, they give some good visual points of reference for our type of bike.

V7 700 Polizia Stradale in olive green.

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V7 700 Polizia Stradale in blue.

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V7Sport “Red Frame”.

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V7 Sport “Production series”.

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V7 750 Special.

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850GT.

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850 California.

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850T.

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750S.

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750S3.

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850T3 California.

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850 Le Mans.

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850T3 Polizia, 850T5 Polizia and 850T5 Carabinieri.

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Centauro.

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Griso “Tenni”.

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Mid Wales Classic Motorcycle Show – 7 Oct 2018.

Today I headed east on The Fire Bike and into mid-Wales for this little show at Pant-yr-Dwr near Rhayader. It’s the third time I’ve been and I always enjoy myself, not only looking at the exhibits in the show but, also the varied machinery which turns up in the bike park during the day.

Before I get started on today’s trip out I should mention the MGCGB Red Kite Weekend that was held a month ago. I help organise this one and went over to Baskerville hall on The Fire Bike towing the trailer. There is an event report here.

Back to Pant-yr-Dwr. The show itself is centred on the Village Hall which accommodates the main exhibits. This year there was some overflow to the area immediately outside.

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Inside the Village Hall

There are a good number of bikes with a competition history but there are usually one or two Italian classics to report such as this neat little Garelli 50. The owner told me that he has had it virtually from new but it had lain neglected in a shed for many years until recently when he decided to restor it completely.

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This was a machine I didn’t recognise – a 1964 Laverda 200. The tag said that it was orignally a barn find restored some years ago. It was for sale.

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There were a few traders out front where this sad looking Ducati was apparently for sale.

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As was this Laverda Chott.

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The weather was kind and a visitors many. These two photos are of the bike park fairly early in the day.

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People came and went and I chatted to a good few. I liked that this Morini was clearly getting used.

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And had a chat with the owner of this Guzzi Nuovo Falcone who isn’t afraid to use it regularly. He demonstrated just how easy it was to kick start. I love these, the last of the Guzzi 500 singles.

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I left mid-afternoon and decide to ride back through the Elan and Ystwyth Valleys. I might have said before how much I love these high but accessible Welsh landscapes even if they do have a man-made element. I took the chance to take a couple of snaps stopped above Craig Goch, the top dam in The Elan Valley complex of dams. The Autumn colours are beginning to appear.

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Guzzi Festival – 10 to 12 Aug 2018.

As I indicated in my last post, as usual, I attended the MGCGB Guzzi Festival which was held near South Molton in Devon this year. I had decided that I would be brave and go on the V7Sport and hope that I was not crippled by the riding position. Although I’m still pretty flexible, the heavy throttle and weight on my wrists can cause me problems and this would be by far the furthest I’d been in one day on it.

Another reason was that The Fire Bike feels like it needs to be “gone through”. It continues to be reliable but I think it might be a bit down on power and possibly getting a little tired. The trailer also need new tires.

I bought a huge seatbag at the Llandovery Motorcycle Weekend last month in preparation for this jaunt. It was new old stock and appears to be an old version of the “Speedpack” by Bags Connection/SW Motech. It was very cheap which is always a good thing. The bag is actually in three parts. The main bit is fabric with some sort of aluminium frame in it and there are two rigid fabric side bags which fasten under it to give a pannier type arrangement. The whole lot is strapped down to the pillion seat without the need for a rack.

If you look you can see that there is a fault with the set I’ve got. There are two right hand lower bags. The left one is just fitted the wrong way round. It makes no difference as the shape viewed side on is the same.

I decided that I would be travelling light without any cooking gear or such. It turned out that I could get everything for the weekend including my new smaller, more compact tent into the bags. There is a nice secure waterproof cover which was tested over the next few days.

The weather forecast for the weekend was not good and the Friday departure day started off very wet. In fact, as the bike stood loaded up outside and I wriggled into my waterproofs, it was raining so hard that the rain was bouncing a foot and a half off the ground. As I went outside I questioned my own sanity but the rain stopped and the sun came out.

It stayed mainly dry for the 200+ mile run to the Festival. I’d gone well over half way before I was briefly rained upon. Although the sky was black and the roads often wet it was the traffic and not the weather which became a pain. The motorways were choked with traffic and I filtered through what seemed like miles of stationary or barely moving traffic. I will only filter at about 25mph so you can tell how slow things were.

I also witnessed a “Police incident” on the M5 where a group of police cars tried to stop a car. This resulted in a crash with the driver being pulled from his vehicle and then restrained on the tarmac. The already heavy traffic came to a standstill and, as the tailback grew, a number of motorcycles filtered to the front. After 15 minutes or so we were allowed past the scene with a “careful how you go” from the Police officer who waved us on our way. Faced with three totally empty lanes of motorway tarmac progress was what could be described as swift. Some of the other bikes were quite a bit swifter than me!

The campsite for the Festival was a field at the back of a rather nice commercial camping and caravan park with good facilities. After signing in I was invited by Dave P to pitch my tent near him and two other loopframe Guzzi owners.

The two very similar 850GTs belonging to Dave and Phil had been joined by Kev’s very nice 850 Eldorado.

There was another 850 there that I don’t think I had seen before.

These were the only examples of loopframe bikes at the event and there were no big-block Tonti-framed 750s other than mine. However I had to include this photo of an outfit complete with tandem on the roof rack.

The already large sidecar appeared to have been widened and possily lengthened as well.

I’m glad I took my few photos soon after arriving as the following day was wet and miserable for a lot of the time. I decided to not get involved in any ride-outs but wish I’d gone despite the weather. However, there was no reason to get bored on site during the day. The evening entertainment was provided by a Paul Weller tribute act who I thought were pretty good.

There was a break in the musical entertainmet for the obligatory raffle and awards. I was chuffed to be given the award for the best Guzzi at the event. Kev came second with his white Eldorado.

It was almost dry on the Sunday morning when I packed my tent away to come home. I went for a cooked breakfast, donned my waterproofs and headed out in the rain toward the motorway traffic once more.

As it happens the ride home wasn’t that bad. Yes it did rain for some of the time but it was nothing like the deluge that had been forcast. The traffic was easier as well. The Racing Rhino was a pleasure to ride and my wrist survived fairly well. I worked out that it managed 50mpg which I reckon is very good. There’s now a leak from the clutch pushrod seal at the back of the gearbox but, you can’t have everything.

So what happened? 17 Jun 2018.

I realise that it’s been over 6 months since I posted anything! I can’t say this has been because of anything specific. There’s just been lots of other stuff to do. I did virtually nothing in the workshop for months and rarely got out on two wheels which is just not like me. Looking back over 2017, things were busy but not on the ‘bike front. The Racing Rhino was put away over the winter with a coat of ACF50 and the Fire Bike only used occasionally during that time. The salt doesn’t seem to have done it much harm.

My personal injury claim following the accident in September 2014, when the S3 was wrecked, is still unresolved and I’ve just been given a date in January 2019 for a Court hearing. There’s still some chance it will be sorted out without needing to go to Court. At the end of May 2017, I had a further operation on my damaged wrist when all the metalwork was removed. It was done while I was awake. It didn’t hurt but I wouldn’t have minded missing the experience. Despite this the aches and pains are getting worse and the constant need to find work-arounds to get things done is becoming a drag. I forgot to say that the other side finally got around to admitting liability in May last year for the crash more than two and a half years after the event.

I never did get any further with making the tow hitch for the V7Sport. To be honest, I’m struggling with my welding at the moment. I seem to have lost my touch with both my MIG and arc welders. I still intend to complete the job but first I’ve got to get some practice in.

I’m just getting back to spending my usual time in the workshop. There have only been minor jobs to get done. The V7Sport had its MOT test in April and I see that I’ve only managed to do 650 miles since the last one.

We’ve been having a good summer so far and I’ve been getting out more and more to local bike nights and MGCGB meets. I exhibited the Fire Bike at a local show and went away last weekend on it with my mate to The Back to Basics Historic Bike Camp which was held in Essex this year.

Reading back that all seems a bit glum but I’m ok! Hopefully normal service will be resumed shortly.

MGCGB Guzzi Festival – 19 to 21 Aug 2016.

I attended a very wet first Guzzi Festival last weekend on the edge of the Forest of Dean. It was only about 110 miles each way for me but probably 170 miles of this was in the rain. Then there was a wet ride out on the Saturday. Luckily my waterproofs are good. By my reckoning about 200 brave souls were there and we had a good time.

You can’t do anything about the weather. “Once you accept you’re going to get wet, you might as well enjoy the ride” (adapted from a Samurai saying?).

It was the first time I had dragged the trailer (the tuperware trolley?) behind The Fire Bike. Pleased to say this went without incident. Once loaded it weighed 80Kg (which is less than me) so is actually about the same as carrying a pillion while not having the weight actually on the bike. The nose weight was 14kg so I didn’t even have to increase the preload on the rear shocks. It’s also only about an inch wider than the bikes fairing. I didn’t notice any real performance difference. The bike is best at the 55mph mark anyway. My fears about the brakes were also totally unfounded. I had the luxury of being able to carry what I wanted but resisted the urge to allow the camping gear to grow to fill the space available!

Happily, there was a lull in the rain so I could get set up in the dry. Both my tent and the bike are facing SW ready for the predicted gale force winds. It did get a bit rough!

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I didn’t take many photos of bikes at the event due to the weather. However there was some interesting stuff there. My favourite was this 1924/5 Guzzi Sport (500). Remember, Guzzi only began manufacture in 1921.

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Erm, “secure” parking for my V7, Seb’s Ambassador and the Guzzi Sport on the Saturday night.

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You could have “knocked me down with a feather” when I won an award again! My V7 and trailer won the Chairman’s choice award. A significant amount of alcohol had been taken by the time I had to go and claim it and I did my best to walk in a straight line.

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2nd Marches Italia bike meet – 5 Jun 2016.

Today I climbed aboard the Racing Rhino and headed over to The Powys Arms in Lydbury North, Shropshire, for the 2nd Marches Italia bike meet. I went last year on The Fire Bike and, like then, the weather was perfect.

The 85 mile run there was enjoyable with surprisingly little traffic about. My route takes me up the coast of Wales to Aberystwyth then inland to Llangurig and Newtown. Then on to Bishop’s Castle and Lydbury North.The weather forecast was for rain on the Welsh coast for my return but I managed to make it home just as the first drops fell. At times today it did feel like my main purpose in life was to kill as many flies as possible. You should see the state of my riding kit!

The meet takes place in the pub car park. You can see that the turn-out was pretty good.

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The Rhino was parked among friends.

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There were plenty of Guzzis. I took photos of some of the older ones.

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This is a Quota-engined T3 hybrid.

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Then there were the Ducatis.

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There were a couple of Laverdas. I particularly liked this one.

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Big and little Morinis.

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There was a lot of more modern stuff which was nice to see as well. I enjoyed my chats with old Guzzi friends, made a couple of new ones and was able to put a faces to those I’ve only met via the web.

Llandovery and Llyn Brianne – 8 May 2016.

I haven’t posted anything for a while as I’ve not done anymore work on the ‘bikes. I’ve been rearranging the junk in the workshop which seems to have taken forever.

I have been out and about on both bikes but thought I’d show some photos from my Sunday ride on Rhino.

I rode over to The Owls Nest cafe in Llandovery which has become a bit of a bikers’ haunt. When I arrived I parked up next to one of Rhinos’ old relatives – a Moto Guzzi Superalce from the late 40s/early 50s.

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After a bacon sandwich and a couple of coffees I left to explore the upper reaches of the Towy valley. I knew there was an interesting (to me) railway viaduct near Cynghordy about 5 miles or so outside Llandovery so decided to take a look. First I went to Cynghordy railway station to see if there was a train due. There was one coming south in about half an hour so I went on to the viaduct. What a disappointment! It was undergoing renovation and was partially covered in scaffolding. I took a couple of photos but didn’t hang around to catch one of the train passing over it.

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I rode on to Llyn Brianne which is a reservoir near the top of the valley. According to Wikipedia “The dam is the UK’s tallest, standing at a height of 300 ft (91 m), and is the world’s largest clay core dam”. No water was coming down the spillway as the weather has been relatively dry lately. However there is an electric turbine house at the bottom of the dam where the water pressure ejects the outfall as a fountain.

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I went up to the top of the dam near the bridge over the spillway and had a wander about.

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I decided to make my way home via the “mountain roads” to Tregaron. It’s hardly mountainous but the roads are mainly single track with a lot of loose gravel. I stopped at the top of the climb above Llyn Brianne.

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Here’s a view without that old ‘bike in the way!

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I stopped at The Talbot Hotel in Tregaron for a drink. There were about 50 mainly modern Harley Davidsons in the car park. Members of a French Harley group were being shown around Wales by a Welsh group. We had a short chat and I set off for home.