Weekending 23 Sept 2012

Time flies at the moment with a lot of it directed to The Toy Mk2. The logistics of finding storage for it then arranging insurance which is based on the secure storage location meant things were cut quite fine on the run up to collection of The Toy Mk2.

Couldn’t fault Kingsmill Leisure on the handover who showed us where everything was and how it operated. Only thing I can’t seem to find is a jack for the fitting of the spare wheel. Printed out the Fiat Ducato manual as it doesn’t come with the van and at 260 odd pages I can see why. Talking of the handover, there is a lot to take in and a lot of it goes straight out of the window come your first trial run. The van did come with  a RollerTeam document bag full of all the manuals for the kit.

Things NOT to do with a new motorhome with an automatic gearbox are jumping on the brake thinking it is the clutch, this was before I’d even left the carpark. The trip home proved to be eventful with a Fiat 500 merging with motorway traffic at 50mph. This leaving me with nowhere to go but the middle lane.
It’s built on a van chassis and handles like a heavily laden one. I’d be lost without the rear view camera and it did prove to be a deal breaker on some of the other motorhomes I’ve been looking at.
I’ve had 2 shake down trips now to sort things out. One of the first problems was the wheel base and roundabouts, don’t cut it to short or the rear wheels will ride up on the curb.

Riding has taken a back seat at the moment but I did make it to the Tour of Britain Knowsley safari Park finish.


The point of the photo is the kid on the purple fleece guys shoulders with the Wiggo sideburns on. Good day but Cav got beat.

Made it into the Eureka cafe video. Link to come. Need to loose weight by the looks of things.

It’s been an eventful week or so, in terms of what I’m planning for the future it’s small change.

Weekending 9 Sept 2012

Monday:  First day back at work. Called in on Sunday to book a half day Holiday to take Paul to Manchester  airport at some ungodly hour.
Back early enough to hang that awkward piece of wallpaper over a wall light that meant isolating the light circuit.
Started ringing around caravan storage sites without much luck, ring such and such after 5pm or the phone rang out.  Storage sites at Bromborough and Arrow Park were full. Speke Boulevard right next to work which would have been ideal on many counts said ring Wednesday.

A call in on the way to work soon showed why. Why rent out space to a 7 metre motorhome for £299 when you can put 2 cars at £50 a week on the same space and still pick up and drop them off at the airport 2 minutes away.

Had built my hopes up on this one. Cycle into work on the last day, pick the van up and throw my bike in the back and we would be away. Hopes dashed on this one. Val phoned the “Ring after 5” Thingwall guy, left a message but he didn’t get back.
Alcohol Units Zero
Tuesday: Full day at work but a lot more of the same. Numbers ringing out, a webpage and email address that looks 15 years old. Started looking at CASSOA sites, even considering access time restrictions. Starting to get a bit concerned, I’m picking it up on Saturday and haven’t got secure parking yet.
Alcohol Units Zero
Wednesday:  Work, liked the look of  Holmstom Hall site by Oulton Park but maybe a bit far. It’s been a two pronged attack for the last 2 days now and I finally get a reply. Appointment set for 3 on Thursday.
Now to sort out the Insurance. The card I got from a stand on Saturday rang out and I got transferred to a callcentre.
From here things got a bit convoluted as I got passed from pillar to post.
One came good as I hesitated another offer came up, I’d have gone with the first one. Unlimited mileage, full European cover, breakdown cover with recovery etc.
Things are looking up.
Alcohol units Zero
Great Vuelta ride from Bertie
Thursday: Half day at work and I had to pull my finger out to get it all done before I finished.
All those calls we put out a couple of days ago deemed to call back after things were sorted.
Picked my spot at the storage, pretty it is not but it’s secure.
Headed to Graham Weigh in Deeside to have a look at some bikes. Never seen so much team kit, they have more jerseys than Chicago Dave. Talked to Walshy in the workshop, he’s not been on his bike for a while too.
Called in at M&S at Cheshire Oaks, really nice shop but the view isn’t the best.

Just wait until the stack flares.
Home, blog.
Alcohol Units Zero.
No comic in the Coop, will have to look further afield.
Friday: Looks like a ride out to the Eureka , No Eureka ride on Sunday as we’ll be out in the van for the first time. Need to get some miles in.
Headed out to the Eureka after a haircut. Rule Number one don’t get your haircut while Jeremy Kyle is on. The staff tend to get distracted by the guy who has cheated on his girl six times.
That done it was time to head out via Port Sunlight it always looks good in the sun.  Called in at the camping shop in Bromborouh and then on to Cheshire Oaks Cycles where I picked up a Bontrager Bottle cage in Placid Blue.
It’s close but not a 100% match to the Madone.
I’ve also had another lesson in the law of diminishing cycling returns.
Bontrager bottle cage 33 gramms @ £9.99 Zefal Carbon cage 28 gramms @£30 and it doesn’t hold a bottle as the bottom tang is cracked/springy.

Eureka for a BLT.  260 riders doing the Anniversary ride on Sunday.
Also on Sunday is the Etape Cymru, be a shame not to take in those closed roads if your in the area.

Had to go out for a new bracket for the Garmin nuvi as I lost  the original. Just goes to show how fast things move. It’s virtually an obsolete technology. Smartphones have it built in and Google maps is a powerful rival to Tom Tom, Garmin all for free. As Google own all their mapping data there is no need to license it from the likes of Navtec.

Dropped a kilo and still alcohol free. Pick up the new toy in the morning so it’s an early start on what has been a hectic week.

Saturday: Dropped another kilo so it’s under 100 at 99.9Kg .  Totally cutting out alcohol has been the main reason. Diet has been similar to the BHF above, with cereal and fruit first thing in the morning.  Cycling has been limited to the Friday ride. I’m expecting the exercise gains to kick in in due course.
Side effects have been very light sleep.

Off out now to pick the new toy up.

Weekending 2 September 2012

Monday:  Post Wild Wales proved to be a total washout with typical Bank Holiday weather just like the good old days. I had planned a trip to the Mathew Street Festival but it was called of at the last minute due to high winds.

Rather than stay in a trip up to Preston to look at motorhomes  took shape. It was pretty treacherous to start with but as the day wore on things started to brighten up. Saw a few motorhomes that caught the eye  with one of the criteria being a large garage at the rear to take a bike. The other being a seatbelt for every passenger.

Shouldn’t be too hard a request you may say but the motorhome industry has been turning a blind eye to this problem for years. The two grandchildren would take up 2 three point seatbelts by law and after that anybody else is free to do pretty much what they like. I had looked at a Tribute 725 that ticked a few boxes but no 5th or 6th seatbelts. It proved to be a deal breaker given what it was going to cost. A trip back down to Cheadle  proved to be a waste of time as the dealer was closed.

Tuesday: Work but only for 2 days.
Wednesday: Work last day.
Thursday:  Trip to The Light to see Bourne Legacy. Nice cinema, reasonable prices during the day, haven’t been at night. Drinks license too, it’s nearly as dear to drink coke as it is beer.
Friday: Rode out to the Eureka for a BLT and a tea when Stuart turned up from his Anglesey camping trip with his Hewitt tourer on the back of his car.
He had a bit of a bad time recently so we resolved to ride out to the Knowsley Tour of Britain finish probably taking the ferry across the Mersey.
Saturday:  Took a trip to the UK motorhome and caravan Autumn Fair at Newark showground, Notts. Didn’t quite know what to expect but spent a couple of hours climbing in and out of motorhomes.  Had the worlds worst burger, £6 for a burger and 2 teas.
By this time we had settled on our new toy:


Just as well we made an on the spot decision as families were comeing to have a look at the motorhome as I was trying to sign up for it. Learn’t later that 2 had come back only to find it sold.

Given that the drive down to the show took us up to Leeds I tried to take a more direct route home that ended up taking 2 hours longer. Going over the Cat and Fiddle the average speed cameras didn’t seem to be bothering the bikers screaming past.
Arrived home late for a new start.
Sunday: Late start with a trip out to the Eureka for a BLT. Had been wet in the morning but dried out for what proved to be a fine day.

This marks a new chapter in my life, touring Europe, regaining the form that I have lost and just plain getting my act together.


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