More of the same.

I’m still in a transitional phase. Work is long hours so good money, but it’s killing everything else.

I had an upbeat day a few days ago when I decided to get back to my running and sax, but I’ve not, yet.

The only thing I’m keeping up at the moment is my painfully slow learning of the Spanish language. I’ve put all the lessons on my ‘phone so they shuffle up randomly. I was struggling over one lesson and not moving on until I’d mastered it. This way, I’ve found out by accident, is more like natural learning. I think. You are bombarded with stuff, most of which you don’t get the first time around, but by constant repetition you learn it. Which makes other bits fall in to place.

Anyway, I’ve finally finished the introductory course and I’ve just started on the language builder.

It’s not like I’m in a rush. And if Theresa the Appeaser does bollocks Europe up for us I’ll just go back to learning Russian, but with my new approach.

That’s it.

Work, a vague desire to return to saxing and running, and plodding on with my Spanish.


The only other thing is bikes. Glorious bikes!

The VFR750 (black one) didn’t sell, even at a £300 reduction. Bugger ‘em.

I’ve stuck a new back tyre on it as the tyre on it, although it still had loads of tread, kept spinning up in the wet. I did it today. The guy at the tyre place said “That’ll be why, this one is from 2005.”

A 12 year old tyre! With tons of tread! What the actual hell is wrong with people? Even running two bikes I’m not expecting to get more than two years out of a tyre.

Once I knew there was a way to find the date of tyres I googled how and checked my other tyres. I’ve only just changed the front one on the VFR800 (red one) the back one is 2014 and quite surprisingly worn. I noticed a small groove in a flat spot on the centre of the tyre. A strut that was supposed to support the hugger (mudguard close to the tyre) had snapped and was rubbing against the tyre! I took the strut out. The hugger is supported everywhere, it obviously doesn’t need it.

I’ll be using the black one as a winter hack to I’ll easily get another month or two out of the red one’s back tyre, then replace it next year. It was £143 for the black one’s tyre so I’m in no rush.

That just leaves the black one, front. It wasn’t alarmingly old (forget exact date) but I’ll be keeping an eye on it. First signs of dodgy front end and it’s getting replaced.

Seeing as I can’t sell it I’m getting the black one ready. I’ve changed the back tyre and the footrest (which had been welded, frightening off one potential buyer) and I’ve booked it in for a service at that local bike garage. It’s not the dear one, and he is letting me supply my own brake pads (which I’d already bought) for him to fit, so that will save me more.

The only other thing is my red one, the front end, I just don’t like it. It feels like it’s really stiff to lean it over to the right, but virtually falls in to the left. Hammer and Tongs said they’d do a service on my forks for £180.

I was looking through the paperwork that came with the bike and I saw the rear shock had been replaced and the front forks upgraded by Maxton Engineering. It seems they take crap front shocks, strip the guts out of them and rebuild them internally with their performance voodoo parts.

This was done in 2001, when the bike was right at the bottom of the country. I thought I’d google the company and see how far they are. For once I got a break. They are near Frodsham!

They’ve said they’ll strip the forks, replace the seals and reset them back to perfect for £145.

They are busy right now (who isn’t?) so it could take a couple of weeks. So I’ll get the black one serviced on the 20th, (he was busy right now, couldn’t fit me in before) then ride that while I take the forks of the red one for a service.  Then, say January, when surely no bike mechanic is busy, I’ll take the red one back to have the valves checked (which will cure what I suspect is a slightly leaking head gasket) then the red one is good for years.

When they stop spreading salt and the red one comes back out, either sell the black one or get the valves checked. Then that one is fully sorted.

Then as I’ve said before, it will take years before I have to have anything else done. Just ride the buggers.

I mean, if I’m keeping it I could upgrade the rear shock and remove the lowering device on the black one. But, apart from your foot grounding out during enthusiastic cornering, it’s still perfectly rideable.

And, before I go for any epic trips on the red one, possibly a seat upgrade and the slightly raised handlebars that 100,000 miles yank owner recommended.

But these are just optional extras. Once I’ve paid for the main jobs there is nothing more should *need* doing for years.

I was thinking if I go for long runs I should do it on the black one to save racking up the miles on my mint condition red one. And don’t throw the red one around too much for fear of crashing it. But that’s just a milder version of those arseholes who buy bikes as a retirement fund and never ride them. It’s a bike. It’s purpose is to be ridden. To do less robs it of meaning. It stops becoming a thing of joy and becomes a worry. You no longer own a fantastic bike, you are owned by a fantastic bike.

And that’s my homespun philosophical cliché for the day.



PS, I took the new back tyre for a spin up around Hardknott Pass and such in the Lake District today to wear it in.

Here are some snaps.



IMG_20170902_130903 (2)

IMG_20170902_130848 (2)

IMG_20170902_133730 (2)

IMG_20170902_135427 (2)