Thursday, 25 December 2014

2014, where did that go.

well the end of another year gets closer. 
Christmas Day 2014' and it seems like a few months since it was the start of 2014 and all those promises of new horizons, new get fit campaigns and the like.
We are all guilty of making new year resolutions that never get any further than the end of the first week in January, and. I an no exception.
My motorcycling days were limited though I did use my BMW to get to work and back for a few months. Long haul rides reduced to a couple of trips to London (300 round trips) one for business and the other to meet my day old great niece whilst on the way to the Isle of Mann TT races.
I needed to fly from Gatwick, and the Hamers were close by, so a stop over was on the cards.

A weekend at Haggs Bank Bunkhouse made up for not going too far. Higgs is a bikers stop off and location for a number of event during the year.
Another great day in the lakes started with rain, but got warmer and brighter as the day went on.
If you are travelling in the North Yorks moors or East lakes area, Haggs Bank offers cheap rooms and a great host and hostess with biking in the blood.
Danny can also offer some fresh wild game and even road kill for the brave.

Work has bee scarce this year so grand adventures on a back burner, but as I sit here early on Christams morning, I hope that you all have a great holiday, get the presents you wanted, and world peace etc prevails.

happy New year to you all, and with luck and good fortune, 2015 will be more than a life less ordinary.


NB. The Chunky Tread Motorcycle Adventure Club, will have a stand at the Manchester Bike Show at event city in March. Why not call in and say hello.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Summer .... that's all folks

The Biker Guide is a Facebook, Web and magazine for Bikers (The clue is in the name). Run by a friend Sharon Rollinson-Slaughter (facebook/TheBikerGuide) gives lots of information of places to ride, friendly B&B Hotels and campsites. The Mag can be found in some of the more popular Biker cafes, ad the sign above can be seen on the wall of places that will welcome you and your bike.
With an extensive 'Whats On' list, you will never have an excuse to stay home.

Earlier in the year  I launched the CTMAC. Having found out that 'Clubs' get a free stand at the Manchester Bike Show. Knowing a few 'travellers' who have tales to tell I launched the Facebook virtual club and in less than a year we have 180+ members and a few regular notifications from the likes of Sam Manicom, Biker FM, Tricky Wallaby etc. 
Having approached the big one at the NEC (Motorcycle Live), we will not be there this year.

I will once again approach the Manchester Show in Feb: (Trafford Centre not GMEX), and get some real adventure riders and their machines there.

Monday, 25 August 2014

I find myself writing a bit more 'book'. But these pros are always a spur of the moment when nothing is on TV worth watching. Today is a Bank Holiday when us Brits plan weekends away, BBQ's family get together's and events.
The usual weather of high winds and rain arrived for another dull Monday. Despite a respite yesterday when I visited a small town centre bike show. The sun was trying hard to beat the cooling wind, so I got my BM out and rode the 12 miles to Stockport.

Based in a car park in Stockport, the Roughleys Bike Show is a Trike, bike and rat bike show for the clubs who partake in those embroidery rich denim jackets over leather. The theme of tattoos on all parts of the body including the face and metal studded gems sticking out on show from ears, noses, eye brows, cheeks, lips, and probably many of the same unseen.
With a good mix of bikes and riders, the uneasy feel of so many biker gang types wandering around a very small site was enhanced with various young rock bands playing on a 40ft trailer. Their sound system and cheap instruments not helping the noise that this Thrash Metal version of music makes, the organisers seem to believe that music-less shouting is what the customers want, who am I to argue.

I stayed a few hours meeting a couple of friends from my riding days out and about, including Sharon from The Biker Guide (see below).

For biker friendly places to stay, events and general information. A great website and helpful A5 booklet.

Well it will soon be September and it seems our summer may be over sooner than normal. It was a short one again and with no holiday this year (excluding the TT races which was hard work). lack of a good income this year has not helped and plans are afoot to get sorted otherwise another BIG trip may never happen.

Where. when, if...... lets see what 2015 brings.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

July 7 months of being unsure.

It was November 2013 that FARR atv (my last employer) decided to close its doors and 'let us all go'.

Since then I have been trying to get business from my hobby job as the only Decopierre stone effect applicator in the UK.

Today I am pretty sure that I have t give up this 'business' as it is not netting enough to live on, never mind make a planned future.
At 56 year old, the days are getting shorter, and looking at 10 year before retirement sound a lot, but it is creeping up far to quick.

The motorcycle sector is my passion, but for some reason this area of the UK has a lack of employment options within the industry.

7 months of not knowing where the next work is coming from, is enough to drive anyone crazy, so what do I do ?

So I am looking for a new direction, a new opportunity to use the compendium of knowledge and experience some where else.

Stay tuned.....

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Two Countries divided by a common language ....... what about one country divided by a very 'common' accent.

Buzzin, Sick, Hanging, Sound, Cock just some of the words used in Manchester UK that don't quite mean what the dictionary dictates.

Well me scrans gettin cold, and me mum won't be chuffed if ah leaves it fut cat.

later cock

Monday, 23 June 2014

Horizons Unlimited HUBB UK 2014

With thanks to CCM Motorcycles in Bolton (just up the road), launched their new 450 cc adventure bike this year. The CCM is aimed at the 'new' diversion into Adventure riding on smaller machines. The theory is that the big adventure bikes have a limited popularity lifespan, as those who wish to go off into the wilds need something smaller. lighter and cheaper to run. Not a goo choice if you are as big as me, but a great machine. CCM have pre-orders for 100 units, and production is under way.

Why do I chat CCM when this post is about the HUBB.

Hosted by Sam Manicom, seasoned world rider and writer of at least 4 books on riding RTW, along with Iain Harper and a very large group of helpers. The HUBB is the UK's version of the Horizons Unlimited meeting for world adventure travellers. The mix of cyclists, 4x4'ers, bikers and even hikers meets and camp and have a great time. The event at Donnington in Leicestershire was helped along by great sunny and dry weather.
CCM held a Facebook competition to give away tickets for the event, and with my current Good Luck gene I entered and won therefore.... Mrs R2M and I went along and had a ball.
Arriving late Friday we pitched the tent, and within minutes met old friends and a few Facebook and twitter mates I had only met 'virtually'.
The event includes films, talks, classes and demonstrations of such things as '
Road Kill cook-out' where you can see how to use pigeon, crayfish, badgers, squirrals and all sorts of 'meat' bearing animals to keep you going whilst out in the wilds.
Foraging for green stuff  for your 5 a day suppliments..
Changing tyres with two sticks and a boy scout !!!
The slow race and skills course.

With a camp fire, live music, food and plenty of drink the days were long and friendly meetings, the whole event was a great break with a gang of like minded people.
Thanks Sam and Iain plus the team.

Here are a few pictures, and I am now off to see what competitions are around to win. I fancy a 2 week break in the Maldives 

The wise ones camped under the trees.

Well travelled bikes by the 100's

Ian Coates is now on Twitter @IanCoatesHonda 

Friday PM, and all ready busy of 3 fields

Any bike, any style, anywhere !

Horizons Unlimited is a great website for any one thinking of travelling to ANY country in the world.
You can get advise, contacts, routes, places to stay and help if you find yourself in a strange country.
Link: HUBB

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Tea at the TT.

Can you imagine getting an invite to four days at the Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy). The Mecca of Motorcycles, the Theatre of Thunder, the race of champions.

Well it happened to me this week.

Honda are running a promotion called #myjourney on twitter and through Ian Coates, and Honda Europe I started my VIP visit on Friday 30th.

Twitter #myjourney is a mapping site that anyone with a Honda vehicle can add pictures and routes to. With my twitter account @road2manchester and setting one up for Ian @IanCoatesHonda, (please follow), the stage was set.
Riding my GS down to Leatherhead (140 miles) on Thursday afternoon, I arrived at my nephews home to meet his son Hughie (4) and Elisa and Wayne's new baby Florence, who was just one day old.

After a traumatic night that ended with the baby and Mum back in hospital, I set off for Gatwick airport at 5.30am and got a plane to the Island.
From the collection point we boarded a coach and was immediately taken on a tour of the circuit with the one and only John McGuiness (Winner a dozen times).

The IOM_TT has been running ever since motorcycles have been racing, and the circuit takes about an hour to circumnavigate villages, towns and mountain roads when you are in a 50ft coach. On a race bike the time is cut to around 17 minutes with average speeds on 140 MPH and top speeds in some sections nearer 200 mph...... on a bike.
The streets through the villages echo of the 'blat' of high powered engines, and back fires, and over the hills the scream of high RPM race engines is second to none.
John gave us a bump by bump commentary pointing out every kerb, ever apex and things to avoid and hit on each corner.
Mr Johns McGuiness. Legend.

Once around the circuit and back to the start line, we dropped John off and time for a selfie, then off for the first of many excellent meals offered by our hosts at Honda.

The team of around 50 Honda staff from around the world enjoyed a visit to the Bungalow up on the mountain road. Watching the practise session, the hills were alive with the scream on 12,000 rpm motors as they pass by. The tales from John fresh in my mind. Lost friends and scary moments from years of learning this course.
The road itself is not a smooth race track, carefully manicured to allow rapid progress in safe conditions.
Pot holes and trenches filled , grids and kerbs in awkward spots, lumps and bumps from abuse by all the other traffic, weather and road works. Even the luxury of a modern air-suspension coach often felt like a fairground ride, so hitting these undulations at 200 MPH must go down as the most dangerous motorsport out there.
An evening Meal at the top of the mountain, we took over the cafe for a few hours and with a tram ride back to meet our coach, we went back to the Sefton Hotel in Douglas for a well earned rest.

Saturday morning and I managed to miss the coach as the original schedual had been brought forward an hour. I managed to get to the Honda Grandstand via a bus ride and a 2 mile hike on a very hot day. 
The Honda stand was a scaffold platform just inches away from the road where bikes and side-car outfits raced past at around 130 MPH just 2 feet from the visitors.
There was a slight incident just by us, resulting in a rider being air lifted away in the medical helicopter.
The race is dangerous and whilst we were there two riders lost their lives during races. These guys were seasoned riders, and despite the danger, they carry on seeking glory, new lap records and with average speeds for the 23 mile route being over 130mph, it is not a surprise to those watching or taking part, that crashes happen. |The route is made as safe as it can be, without taking away the challenge or thrill, but the men taking part, know the risk. These men (and women) are at the mercy of fate, mechanical prowess, ability and sheer luck. Like gladiators they go out not knowing how today will finish, but with practise and their gods riding pillion, most go on to their own bit of glory. 
That glory could be simply to get round, to finish a three lap race learning the circuit a bit more so that next time they can reduce a few seconds of their personal record. Some have the pressure of being up their in the top five or six regulars who get sponsored , have history and expectations of the crowds and the grit to break into the hall of fame and win.

I hold any rider willing to try the TT, on any bike in the highest esteem. These guys are slightly mad, very brave and extremely skilled to a line that I will never hope to cross. 
As for the man that is a passenger on a side car racer....... you are just completely bonkers.... Obviously your nervous system is removed at birth and replaced with steel. Its not hard enough hanging on to a bike when you have a seat. Chucking yourself across a tea tray and hanging on for dear life, whilst the driver is allowed a cocoon slightly safer protection is one job I will not be applying for.

Honda continued to entertain with more food and beer, we had a go on quad bikes and moto-x bikes on Sunday, and finished our pampering with a visit to the pits and start line, with a viewing point to beat all, on top of the control tower. 

John McGuiness won another trophy, Ian Coates met some senior Honda execs, who want to help him get on the road again. I got lots of aches and pains to add to my trip home and great memories.

Just a side note:

A young man who has a strange love affair with Honda C90 bikes (Ed March) had an adventure ride from Malaysia to the UK in 2011. His video of the same name is out now and well worth the money.
His little C90 is the most unlikely steed for a 14500 mile road trip, but with a small budget comes a small bike but a big adventure. Click the blue bit for his website or try youtube Ed March
Ed will be off again soon as he embarks on a Alaska to Argentina trip. On a C90 of course,

Ed March ready for action

Ian entertains Honda staff 

Nathan from ABR magazine with Ian Coates

Ian Coates tries out a Honda 250 to see if it would be good to go to Magadan on.

Feeling the heat on Saturday.
The Bungalow watching practise.

View from the top of the control tower

Big thanks to Honda for a great weekend.

Sunday, 25 May 2014
            @IOMTT  #myjourney

Honda Europe sent an email asking for contact with Ian Coates to offer two VIP places in a weekend at the Isle of Man TT.
The TT is on every bikers Bucket List , and I for one have had a thought of how to add this event to my own must do' list for many years.
I went to the IOM as a school kid, I think I had to be 8 or maybe 10 years old. My sisters had been, and the £10 for a week on the island was saved each week in 50p segments.

I remember the Laxey Wheel, the electric train, and that's about all.

On Friday 30th I will join a gang of other #myjourney twitter posters, on a jet from Gatwick for 4 days of TT based stuff.
Ian has made his own way this week as he likes to be seen by the  classic bike racers who start this unique event this week.

To get one free adventure back in 2011, is good, but to get another invite to do the biking thing, is fantastic.

I will report back during the week and let you know whats happening out there.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

May already, and the year is getting warmer.
We have had some long wet days, but got away on the bike last weekend for a days riding around the Yorkshire area.
Ending up in Howarth, which is the town made famous by the Bronte Sisters Wuthering Heights etc we found a 1940's weekend in progress.

Lots of people of all ages, dressed in war time clothes, uniforms and character fancy dress. A sunny and warm day made better by a ride through the countryside with Shaz. (Back on the bike for the first time in ages).

I have been offered a place as a VIP guest at the Isle of Man TT races by Honda Europe. This is a great honour and a part of their #myjourney promotion.

If you own a Honda car, bike, anything, you can add Twitter hash tags to your journey and it will get displayed on their site. I got the invite via Ian Coates, who was included and set up his own twitter page @iancoateshonda

More details if I ever get there!!!!

My Twitter acct is  @road2manchester (of course).

The Yanks are back in Haworth..... West Yorkshire.

Friday, 18 April 2014

My latest 'business opp' 
1.2 gallon (5ltrs) petrol carrier for just £38 including UK postage, a bit better than £70-80 for the smaller Rotapax version. . 

Sold 14 in 10 days, so will be importing  more within a few weeks.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

The Manchester Bike Show, was a great success with 6 bikes in total gracing the first ever CtMAC stand.

Ian Coates had his usual fan base calling over and with Iain P, Paul H and Paul S showing at a big event for the first time.
The bikes : Honda Africa Twin x 2 . Ian and Paul's bike showing the before and after, as Paul's is in such good condition it looks like it has never been ridden. Ian's has done 400,000 km and  looks like it has,

The unique BMW R100GS and side car brought along by Iain P, has also been around the world as Debbie and Iain (better known as Side-car Vagabonds) circumnavigated the globe a few years ago.
Paul H is writing his second book after his 2013 trip to the Artic Circle whilst Paul S continues to do his thing off-road.
The other two bikes were given to fill the stand.

CCM the Bolton based bike manufacturer loaned us a brand new 450 Adventure their new in-road into the road and long distance genre market.

The last one was a Harley Race bike..... yes Harley and Race in the same sentence !!!!.
This was brought by Ian Coates as a favour to his mate that lent him his van.

 R100GS BMW with side car Iain P

 The gang. Me, Paul H, Paul S, Iain P, Ian C

Ian P with his unique combination.

Ian Coates with girls again

Paul S and his immaculate Africa Twin

The blackboards were used to show the public why these guys were there, They worked.

Paull H fully loaded.

The overall result was a great. Many visitors said it was a nice change to see a stand with interesting bikes and the riders that did the big trips. The Chunky Tread concept will be used again and give other the chance to show off and talk travel.

Takoda Camping is a small family run campsite that lies east of the UK's Lake District. Rune by Paul and Maria Holroyd (See Paul H above),.
Kirkby Stephen the town hasn't changed much in a hundred years, and being with walking distance of gthe camp is handy for food, pubs, shops and petrol.
Having visited and stayed at Takoda (which is a North American Indian word for 'all welcome'), I noticed the sign by the road was easy to miss. A few riders who attend the 'Back to the boil' adventure bike rally there, said they had to turn around as they missed it too.

So I made this last week

Poystyrene block 4ft x 4ft x 2 ft  with Stonecoat finish.
Orders taken.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

The launch of the CHUNKY TREAD MOTORCYCLE ADVENTURE CLUB, became a bit of a busy time on Facebook/ChunkyTreadMAC  where over 300 'Likes' and friend requests followed the start.
The first job, in to set up a stand at this weekends Manchester Bike Show 22-23rd March at Event City in Trafford.

We have put together a few well travelled riders ad their machines including

Sidecar-Vagabonds, Debbie and Ian will bring their BMW R100 side car out fit. This combo, took them around the world and has over 115,000kms on the clock.

Debbie and Ian.
Sidecar-Vagabonds, Debbie and Ian will bring their
 BMW R100 side car out fit. This combo, took them around
 the world and has over 115,000kms on the clock.

Paul Holroyd 
Two Wheels to the Sahara.
Paul owns TAKODA Campsite in Kirkby Stephen.
Rode all over Europe and Morroco and this year tried 
to ride to the Artic Circle, only turned back by bad weather.

Ian Coates

Read plenty about Ian here and on Google. 14 years
on the road, covered just about everywhere. 250,000km
on the clock of his Trusty Honda Africa Twin,

Paul Stanley Pictures to follow.
Adventure Bike Warehouse
Pete Johnson
One other TBC.

On the road twice this year so far, but not really the best weather so nothing to report. 
The CTMAC will be seen around this year. If we get more news I will of course add it.

Still selling a few BMW cigar lighter cables on ebay.

£8.99 incld UK postage. Export postage at cost.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Few questions about where my trip is logged here

see May 2011- June 2011.


NEWS......  the Manchester Bike Show will be held at Event City (Trafford Centre) 22-23 march and we will be there with

CHUNKY TREAD ADVENTURE MOTORCYCLE CLUB ( has been created to allow a stand at the show for fellow travellers.

Paul Holroyd of 2 wheels to

Sidecar vagabonds combo set up

Ian Coates

and three other.

Total miles for the bikes is around 300,000 over many many years.

See you there or on the road.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Happy New Year 2014.
Its almost February, and the year starts with rain rain rain. (Oh no weather again),

The 'season' to be jolly (Christmas), was cool and enjoyable. Family, friends, food and despite a strain on my waistline, the start of 2014 was as an unemployed man (again).

FARR ATV Ltd closed due to the current economy and my position of General Manager was finished at the start of December.
Despite trying hard to turn around the fortunes of the company, I was brought in a bit late and the Chinese owners decided to call it a day as they have bigger fish to fry.

I had the opportunity to go for a ride from home to South Wales and back (360 miles), to see a potential stone rendering job.
The A49 runs from Warrington to Ross-on-Wye and I nipped down the M56 motorway for a couple of junctions (J10) turning onto the 49.
A cool day despite the blue skies and low winter sun, it became obvious that the southerly direction I was travelling on would ensure that the sun was in my eyes for the next 3 or four hours.

The route through Whitchurch heading for Shrewsbury offers some excellent vistas as the wide and often busy route passes stately homes, crosses rivers and takes in some of Cheshire's best bends and long straights. Shrewsbury within an hour and a half,  , Ludlow, Leominster , Hereford the scenery gets better, the roads smoother and more biker friendly. There are a few interuptions going through these towns as those road users going about their daily routine carry on regardless.
Despite the share of trucks and tractors, its a week day so its not too busy and overtaking the slower travellers is taken without fuss. The R1200GSa has a high seat so looking over and around cars is simple and despite the sun in my eyes, the internal dark visor on my helmet allows me to flick through the options of glare supression and darker spots under the trees or in the shadow of buildings.

After a couple of stops and starts for fuel and a coffee, I arrive in Ross on Wye and detour to the house I was visiting.

By 2.45 pm I was starting the bike once more to return 150 miles north again. This time by highway/motorway.
The M5 runs from the south coast (Exeter) to Birmingham then links up with the M6 that will drop me back onto A roads within 8 miles of my front door.
It will be dark with the next 2 hours so I want to get on the motorway and be a good few miles north and try and get through the usual traffic mayhem of the 'rush hour'.
I think the term 'Rush Hour' that was given to the hours before 9 am and the other side of a working day at 5 pm, was true many years ago. The roads across our small and crowded country should be given a new title.
The 'Slow Hour', as there is very little rushing on the countries roads any time between 7 am and 10 pm, most days.
Today is getting to that stage.
The motorway allows me the option of the odd, short, 80-100 mph blasts to get away from the busy bits where a 40 ton truck doing 55 mph tries to overtake another one going 54 mph.
This mad overtaking hobby, takes 4-5 miles to finalise as the overtaker can go no faster due to his engine being restricted, the overtaken will not slow down, as he is on a mission and why should he slow down to help get the rest of the road users on their way?

Its getting cold out there, and it wasn't until a few days later that I realised I had taken the thermal liners out of my trousers. As the sun tries hard to stay just above the horizon and give a golden glow to the darkening sky, I add the spot lights to my front illumination. The theory is that if they see me coming, they may refrain from pulling out before I pass.
I added a hi-viz vest to my outfit today as I was aware that it would be dark by time I get home.
The M5 is fast and fluid for many miles, but as expected the junction known as the RAC Building, (Where the M5 and M6 meet), also starts the first on many 50 mph roadwork sections.
It was 1958 when the M6 opened, and since then there has been roadworks somewhere on its length, every year. ever since. With the combination of narrow lanes and slow traffic it is impossible to filter down the middle, so I slot in between cars, and wait my turn at 50.

Soon my junction is ahead, and as I crawl the last few miles through town, I am cold and tired. The clutch lever seem heavier to operate, putting my feet down is harder each stop. Car driver seem less happy to let me drop into small spaces as I hop from spot to spot.
Turning into my drive is a relief, though the chore of getting all this riding gear off and putting my bike to bed is still to come.

Total miles today 360. Did I get the job..... no.