September 12, 2007 GMT
National Motorcycle Museum

Birmingham National Motorcycle Museum

12 Sep 07

Like all good bikers I had no choice but to detour on our trip to Wales to visit the National Motorcycle Museum at Solihull near Birmingham. It was our first day on the road with the bike and a chance to settle down the luggage pack and get used to the weight of the fully loaded bike.

Our first hour out of London covered 19 miles (whatever they are) and provided a fair test of our ability to keep the bike upright in heavy traffic. No lane splitting just yet!

A few hours run up to Birmingham and Kylie (our Australian accented GPS) led us unerringly to the Museum.

Our bike riding friends will understand when I claim that this is an amazing place. The collection contains many unique exhibits and complete sets of the most famous models.

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The National Motorcycle Museum is a must see for all bikers

The interesting aspect for me was the number of prototype models that might have competed with the technology of the Japanese models with proper investment and a little workforce discipline; a museum of lost opportunities.

Jo settled down with a book while I paid my money and wandered into the exhibition halls not to be seen gain for many hours!

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Mike deciding which one to take home in the sample bag. It you could select twenty it would still be a hard decision!

Posted by Mike Hannan at 01:15 PM GMT
September 13, 2007 GMT
Off to Wales

13 – 16 Sep 07

After the National MC Museum we had the economy class tour of Birmingham. Despite our best efforts riding the late night local buses, and our failure o find any real Brum-Balti food, we quite liked the place. It has a real “try-hard” feel to it and an interesting ethnic mix. Folks from Brm would understand the Gold Coast better than most other Brits.

Our trip down to Abergavenny, at the start o the Brecon Beacon National Park, was an uneventful roll through a pleasant, if cluttered English countryside. The only accommodation we could find was a spare room at the local conference centre together with a group from the Orange mobile phone company. This was a great deal with a huge comfortable room in a lovely old converted country house. Although I am sure that we provided a little amusement to the conference attendees when we rolled up and parked right outside the window of a presentation room.

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Jo finds out how the corporate training pound is spent in Wales

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Another pretty cottage in another pretty town

Interestingly, the place was booked out for a food festival over the weekend. We thought this a great joke as, like in other UK towns, we struggled to find anything worth eating.

A run over the National Park south to north then north to south was an interesting introduction to Wales with bare-arsed hills and rain over 300 m. Interesting from an Australian perspective, the park is grazed and there are little farming communities all over. Kylie was taking us via some very small back lanes with lots of blind corners and the surface slick with rain and sheep shit. Despite all this it was a great ride and got us into a flash B&B near Carmarthen in good order.

We met up with Nick that night and Sarah and her Mike and Mike’s dad John the next morning. All piled into the train for a couple of hours of British Rail entertainment down to Cardiff.

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Sarah and Nick on the train to Cardiff

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Mike and John Green at the mercy of British Rail

The stadium was great, definitely the best place we have seen to watch rugby. The atmosphere was electric but we were hoping the Welsh would sing a little more. Still it is hard to get enthusiastic about singing when your team is being taken apart.

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The best place anywhere to watch rugby!

More BR nonsense on the way back, a great dinner with the family at a very nice restaurant and we settled into our bed in the 16th century farm house content that we had a pretty good Welsh adventure.

Mike,Nick, John, Jo, Sarah and Mike at Carmarthen.JPG

A family happy snap at John Green's home at Capel Dewi, Carmarthen, Wales

Posted by Mike Hannan at 01:31 PM GMT

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