January 24, 2009 GMT
May 2008 - First adventure on a rebuilt BSA

Until such a time as I get the time to do a big trip again, a quick entry on this little beasty. It's a '38 B21 which I spent a year re-commisioning from a ton of pieces. I've been clocking up a few miles, and one weekend in May 08 set off on the longest trip yet, down to London to visit my brother, visiting the old stomping ground of High Beach, and go to the Vincent Black Shadow day at the Ace Cafe.


'Buster' as young Victoria has dubbed 'him' behaved in a very plucky manner, and although it was reassuring to be accompanied by my old mate Wynn on his custom Dr650, there was no need for him to tow me to the knackers yard. 90 miles of devious back road routes to the 'big smoke' were done without much drama at all, except for the rather poor front brake, and a 'quantity' of oil consumed in leaks from the top end.


However when we got to my brothers after a pleasant afternoon at High Beach, I investgated the dimming of the lights. It turned out the commutator of the dynamo had exploded, jamming it up and also burning out the friction drive. So I had to dismantle it and remove the drive gear. I also found one of the rear light filaments had blown.


Sunday was day off for Buster as we went to the Ace on other machines. The battery benefitted from a charge.


Monday I loaded up and just as I took it off the stand to hit the road the rear stand spring broke. This is why we love bungees.


Outside a lovely church, Furneaux Pelham, Essex
IMG_1290a.JPG

The ride back (once I'd stopped worrying about broken genny, oil consumption, broken stand and bad brakes) was again a pleasure, through lovely old villages, and amazingly in good weather. Here's a nice shot. The inscription on the church tower says, 'Time flies' and ' mind your business' which I took as a cue to look the bike over yet again before continuing.


Near Bedford I was weary, so stopped in the pretty Warden Woods for a breather
IMG_1292a.JPG

Eventually I got home, 90 back road miles and a couple of town centres in 3 hours, not too bad. Also something like 180 miles round trip and a few battle scars, not all on the bike, Rigid frames are for young men I'm afraid. But I guess it goes to show that these old bikes will take you anywhere so long as you're not in a hurry. Fuel consumption around the 75 mpg mark too! Oil consumption not far behind.

Posted by Rob Hodder at 12:19 AM GMT
January 25, 2009 GMT
September 2008 Northampton-Suffolk-Northampton on a Pre-war BSA

As promised, a few shots from the expedition to Suffolk to see my folks.
Apologies that this is not exactly RTW, but maybe doing a long ride in one country is an adventure if the bike is old enough?


This was on one of the last weekends in September when we finally got some clear weather.


I set off early on a saturday morning, a bit tired after a weeks work topped of by a Friday nite gig.


I had to zig zag around a lot so as to avoid main roads, as the tug was still running in and anyway is only really good for cruising up to about 50mph. This added a fair few miles and made it a good four hour journey.


I remember getting to one point somewhere after Offord Cluny where the road was bumpy in a particularly annoying jiggly way. No fun on a rigid frame. I pulled over into a layby, had a pee (all that jiggling) sat down an thought, cripes still another 80 miles to go. At that point I wasn't even sure if the bike was going to make it, or me.


Anyway after a while the road surface improved and things started to look up. Basically I did many miles at a relentless 45 mph, a good half throttle blare barrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!


I stopped for Fuel near Soham. The indian cashier says "What is your bike?" "a BSA"
"Is it, what type?" - "B21"
IS it, what year?" - "'38"
Is it, you are coming from? "Northampton"
Is it, you are going to? "Suffolk"
Isssss it? "Yeah".


So many questions, but it seems he is genuinely curious, anyway a few miles after that I hit the Suffolk border and cheer mightily to myself. Going down the road from Mildenhall to Bury St Edmunds a couple of power rangers zip into my space between two cars, give a low pointy acknowledgement and are instantly disappearing on the horizon, it was like being buzzed by hummingbirds.


Here she is in Suffolk , not far from the destination.
IMG_2056b.JPG


Then before you know it I'm at my sisters hamlet, just as I approach her house I spy an old stroker, a James or something bumbling smokily down the road. I find it necessary to buzz him by blaring past at a good 45mph, thus overshooting her house, and then have to loop round to get back to hers. Such childish behaviour.

Later at the pub;
IMG_2055a.JPG
Anyway a couple of days later it was time to trundle back home. Amazing how much easier the trip was knowing it'd been done once before..


Trudging back across cambridgeshire fens;
IMG_2058a.JPG


Patience required plappa-thrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrum;
IMG_2060a.JPG


Nearing the end of Cambridgeshire and nearly into Bedfordshire
IMG_2062a.JPG


Near the end of the return trip I am held up in a spot of traffic in Rushden, funnily enough outside a tattoo parlour. Of course just as the traffic clears the bike stalls, and some mean looking tattoo'd bikers laugh and cheer as I kick her back into life.


So a bit of an adventure, just under 300 miles and a testament to a 70 year old bike. Top end rebuild now nicely run in and as far as I know still on the original bottom end.


The tortuous route gladdened my heart by reminding me that there's still a fair bit of unspoilt countryside left in old albion, and that the best way to enjoy it is slowly on an old british or dare I say english bike.

Posted by Rob Hodder at 11:36 PM GMT
 
 

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events

 

HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.



Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!


Renedian Adventures


Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!