Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride 2024 – Guildford Surrey Hills

Well despite the dodgy weather forecast in the lead-up to the event, Sunday dawned bright and a bit crisp so we dressed up in our dapper finery and jumped on Blue Rex to ride into Guildford.

We weren’t sure who’d be there but as it turned out Charley Boorman was there on his Bike Shed-branded Triumph Thruxton RS which looked just great in that burnt orange.

Alison was doing videographer duties up back and we’ve got a couple of hours’ footage on one of the GoPros …and here’s a teaser:

I suppose being Surrey might explain the three Vincents/HRDs there plus a number of other lovely machines including a couple of army-specced bikes and a similar RAF liveried one (with two equally vintage riders that I saw).

We stopped at Loseley House to regroup and then continued the ride, ending up at the Hog’s Back Brewery where we stopped for Aperol Spritzes and a pulled-pork bap:

Yours Truly

Yours Truly

Alison

Alison enjoying the sun

After a relatively brief stop, we headed home.  Once parked up, didn’t Blue Rex look great?

Blue Rex after DGR2024

Blue Rex after DGR2024

Getting Ready for DGR 2024

We’re doing the 2024 Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride again this year and again we’re joining the Guildford – Surrey Hills ride which last year had over 550 bikes attending.

If you want to donate, you can here:

https://gfolk.me/RichardMorris

Distinguished Gentleman's Ride 2024

Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride 2024: Please Sponsor Me!

A friend mentioned some YouTube clips he’d watched and we’re on a few:

At 58 seconds in.

At around 6 minutes in.

And more here at 4 minutes in:

So today it’s a few final checks and a refuel before tomorrow’s ride. I have done some damage to one of my glutes and hamstring, so sitting is painful. What could go wrong? ????

Bye-Bye Gilles Rearsets

Well it had to happen eventually!

Way back in the mists of time, I used to organise and instruct on trackdays for the Motorcycle Folly.

Initially, I just had the ZRX, so I’d use that but to make it less unsuitable, I fitted a set of Gilles rearsets to push my feet backwards and upwards (with a consequential increase in the extent to which my knees would have to bend):

Blue Rex side-on

Blue Rex side-on

Note also that in that photo there are no grabrails or pillion pegs fitted.  That was fine when I was doing almost 100% solo riding, but since remarrying someone who loves being on the bikes with me, I’ve refitted the pegs and grabrail.  That always led to some clash of feet, no matter how much we tried to be careful.

Fast-forward to buying the BMW R 1250 RT LE and getting off that and on to the ZRX and it’s a case of “have my footpads fallen off?”  So couple those two issues with the degree of necrosis in my knee and with a heavy heart, the Gilles rearsets were removed last weekend and the standard footpads refitted.

End of an era.

Sorry Triumph, But BMW Got the Gig

Well a couple of years later, Triumph were really slow updating the Tiger 1200 and when it finally did, it had the new T-plane engine which loses the distinctive triple sound.

This, plus the luggage issue, meant that we looked at other bikes and ended up having a test ride on a BMW R 1250 RT as my first ride back after the finger amputations and once I could walk again.

We also changed our living arrangements post-Brexit as we couldn’t go touring in the rest of Europe while we were using up our Schengen 90 days out of every 180 days on a rolling basis time to live in Corralejo, Fuerteventura.  We gave up our place there at the end of October 2023 having done a deal by phone and email with Bahnstormer Motorrad in Alton on a brand new 2023 BMW R 1250 RT LE which I picked up on 7 November 2023 having registered it on 30 September!

Goodbye Lotus; it was fun while it lasted

While Elon Musk continues to try to kill Twitter – sorry, it’s X now, isn’t it – Lotus’ execs and marketing gurus saw it and clearly said “hey Elon! Hold my beer!”

Yes, they have foolishly tossed aside their faithful fans and customers in favour of the feckless “influencers”, you know, the vacuous nonentities that do nothing and expect to be paid for it with a misplaced sense of entitlement that only so-called social media brings.

It started with a horrendous post by Lotus Cars on Instagram, of course:

“The Stars aligned last night for our new Lotus London Mayfair launch! ?

#ForTheDrivers #LotusLondon “

Of course, hardly anyone over 30 years old with an actual life knew who any of these “Stars” actually were, but hey! Lotus clearly don’t want our sort of money anymore.  After all, according to an email I received today, it’s a new era:

“Lotus is in a new era.

“We are on a transformative journey from an iconic British sports car company to a global luxury lifestyle brand. As part of this journey, we are excited to announce that our first major European flagship store on London’s Piccadilly is now open.”

[Emphasis added]

No longer a sports car company, it’s now intended to be a lifestyle brand.

So long then, Lotus, it’s been … emotional.

And as for that noise you can hear? That’s Colin Chapman spinning in his grave with enough revolutions to power the Hethel factory.

Maybe Lotus’ 200+ job cuts could start with their marketing department?

MoT 2023 and the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride

We’re approaching MoT anniversary, so I thought I’d get in there early and book the ZRX in for an MoT at a local bike shop, A Force Motorcycles in Aldershot.

I trotted up there yesterday and a thorough MoT test was carried out … with Blue Rex’s first ever failure!

The Clear Alternatives LED rear light illuminates red (and amber with the integrated turn signals) but does not shine white light down onto the numberplate, so it’s a fail. There is what appears to be a small pilot type LED which might perform that function, but the general consensus appears to be that there isn’t one. I may be able to bodge something together, but in the meantime, I rode home and then took off the rear seat cowl – revealing a missing bolt to hold the rear mudguard and under seat plastic in place, so that was replaced. I then disconnected the LED light and refitted the OEM red one (having popped to the local Jet petrol station to get a couple of 21/5W tail/stop lamps) which I keep with all the other OEM parts I’d taken off*.

I also fitted the marginally larger numberplate – I think it’s the same sized font, but just more space around it – which was the other fail item – and then this morning popped back for a free retest and pass certificate.

Mileage this year is 19,621 miles, up 159 miles from last year.

*Now we’ve moved out of London, I’m expecting to do more miles on Blue Rex, such as last weekend’s Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride in Guildford & Surrey Hills, so I’ve removed the “spools” and refitted the grab rails for Alison.  Next job is removing the rear sets and refitting the standard footrests.

Here are some photos from the DGR:

Hog's Back Brewery

Test Drive

Today Alison and I went for a test drive in the Lotus Emira at Bell & Colvill and … well, we both loved it!

A ‘spirited’ drive around Surrey showed the car handles and steers impeccably and obviously has the oomph when you want it. Glorious!