Running-In

With only 105 miles on the clock after the weekend trip to Angry Minge, running-in for 310 to 745 miles was going to take quite a while over the winter period.

But family staying over rectified that: when they left, they left behind their suitcase with a load of stuff in it that they needed, and a cunning plan was hatched, given a look at the weather forecast for the following day which was showing dry and bright but quite cool.

Perfect!

We tried to get the carry-on into the top case, but its wheels prevented that, so instead we filled the top case liner bag with the contents of the suitcase, wrapped up warm in our Klim jackets, Keis heated vests (and gloves for Alison)  and our ‘proper’ riding trousers.  Mine are now a bit loose but will probably still do the job, but I am contemplating buying the matching Klim Latitude trousers in the New Year as you can at least cinch the waistband up a bit (I’m currently around a 33″ waist, so I fall between two stools in terms of waist size).

Herself was also trying out her new Shoei Neotec 2 crash helmet that we bought at the NEC motorbike show last week (with a price reduction because they’ve just updated it).  It’s a flip-front style which she prefers for getting it on and off and which should also allow her to be able to take a drink on the bike once I source and fit a suitable cupholder and strayed water bottle.

Shoei Neotec 2

Shoei Neotec 2

With everything switched on we set off nice and toasty warm despite the temperature being an indicated 10-13ºC and supposedly with around 10 miles’ ‘buffer’ on our journey distance before we’d run out of petrol.  Or at least that was the plan.

It transpires that ‘making good progress’ gulps down the fuel and the dire reserve fuel warning light came on a few miles short of our destination so we popped into the next petrol station on our route to fill up.

We’d been chatting away merrily on the Cardo PACKTALK BOLD (why is the name all capitalised?) but I wasn’t receiving navigation prompts or indeed hearing music through the Cardo from the bike, despite it being paired and connected. Oh and saying “Hey Siri! Play some music” to the Cardo meant that the iPhone dropped both the Bluetooth and the WiFi connection to the RT – I have no idea why the Connected App has to connect that way for maps to be cast to the RT display when Apple CarPlay should be set up on BMW’s bikes as well as their cars – and took a while to reconnect, but at least it did all by itself.

Within two hours we were in Somerset and enjoying a cuppa before heading back.  The lights were excellent but then it was only dusk rather than fully dark when we got back.

So we’re now up to 311 miles – just within the lower limit for its first service – but I’ll probably wait until the New Year for that, when they can also look at why the emergency SOS system is now producing a warning.

As to the lack of voice prompts, the RT was paired with my iPhone 15 Pro  and with the PACKTALK, which was  then paired with the iPhone on channel 1 and the RT on channel 2.  The Cardo and my wife’s identical unit are on a mesh intercom system which works fine.  I’d previously paired her Cardo with the RT, but then she’d have to listen to the satnav and my choice of music rather than hers. so I deleted that pairing.

This morning I spent some time in the garage resetting the Cardo pairing completely. I then only set the pairing between the RT and Cardo on channel 1, ignoring the iPhone which I’d left paired with the RT.  And it seems to work: satnav voice prompts now work and I can play music from the iPhone via the RT to my Cardo.  Sadly the volume dial only brings up the middle setting but doesn’t actually adjust the volume, so I have to do that manually on the Cardo.

Here’s a gratuitous photo of the RT parked on the (vacant) neighbour’s drive – as in, there’s no neighbour yet, rather than they’re a bit vacant – while it was parked there for a delivery of a fridge/freezer to the man cave.

Parked Up

First Pillion Ride

Saturday dawned bright but cold so we decided to get some more miles on the bike.

Given it was cold, we also thought it would be useful to break out the Keis heated clothing that we bought years ago before the Austria ride (Eurothrash 2014) and couple it with the BMW’s heated seats (and heated grips for me).

So we decided to head to the South Coast, and looking at the list of “UK Bike Cafes” on Google Maps, we found the cafe in Little Preston, so we thought we’d pop by and see our friends Simon, Cheryl and Rob who live in Angmering on Sea – or “Angry Minge”, as we call it – but sadly the latter two were oop North in Stoke and Simon was working … at the Seaview Hotel.  Hmm. Lunch there then!  That was once we’d found it: BMW’s Connected App had disconnected and lots of faffing was required to get it to work again a mile or so from our destination.

The navigation also provide a helpful reading of a chequered flag with 00:02h throughout the hour and a half trip. It also decided not to show me where I was or where I was going on the mini-map again, before working properly again for no good reason.  Who knows why?

BMW, just give us Apple CarPlay like you do on your cars!

I fitted the GoPro but then as you’ll see from the footage I was unable to control it properly with the voice control hence lots of silence from me and missing out the ‘best’ footage.

The Seaview Hotel’s lunch was delicious if a bit expensive and as the temperatures started to drop, we were pleased to be fully wired up and toasty warm: I had the waistcoat plugged in to the front socket coupled with the heated grips and seat (Favourites Buttons 1 and 2) and Alison had her seat on 1 or 2, her heated waistcoat and her heated gloves.

Once home, it was time to get the drill out and mount the new numberplate that actually reads 8000 on the top line and RM on the bottom line in place of the one Bahnstormer had fitted (rightly or wrongly) showing 800 0RM.

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!

It’s Arrived!

After an anxious couple of weeks checking the weather forecasts today was the day to go and collect the RT from Bahnstormer at Alton.

We drove over to Bahnstormer in the Abarth for midday and after doing a bit of paperwork it was time to bring it home. Oh there was a bit of trying on a helmet we’d seen for Alison and paying for the top box liner bag.

It was the first outing for the Klim Latitude jacket and some new Alpinetstars gloves as well as the GoPro Hero 12 Black that I’d bought.  I should have checked that the GoPro was properly mounted before setting off, so the footage is looking down too much; lessons learned.

Once home, I had to try putting it in the man cave alongside the Kawasaki ZRX1200R that I’d move slightly towards the gear wardrobe but was pleased to see that the RT fits in really nicely.  Getting it onto the centrestand is an absolute doddle too.

Man Cave

Man Cave

Once safely parked up, the fettling could begin.

First up was fitting the tails for the Optimate charger to the battery which meant taking off a couple of panels and routing the cables under the seat.  I also fitted the Apple AirTag somewhere on the bike as well…

Then it was time to fit the Wunderlich Vario clutch lever: set to short to (hopefully) stop the empty fingers on my gloves from being trapped by the clutch lever when I engage it.  I also fitted the side stand extender plate to give the foot of the side stand a little more area and to stop it  sinking into any soft surfaces.

Then I thought I should fit the adaptor ring to the tank for my old tank bag but I do like the look of the filler cap and ring, etc. plus on full lock the bars would clash with it.  The RT also has a lockable compartment in the fairing which is big enough for the sunglasses, ear plugs, latex gloves and Ibuprofen that I usually have in the tank bag, so I decided against fitting it after all.

So it now has 24 miles on the clock and I need to run it in for a few hundred miles.  Tricky in the winter in the UK, especially as we’re still effectively living on a building site with all the mud that goes with that.

October 2023 Stats

October started off with our postponed flight out to Corralejo; needlessly postponed, as it had turned out.

Once on Fuerteventura, the road cycling resumed with just a weekend break while I went over to Gran Canaria with friends to tour the island by motorcycle.  Early in the month, my time for the regular 15km and a bit reached its lowest, so that was a good thing.

So here are October’s stats:

October 2023 Stats

October 2023 Stats

Activities: 24 Distance: 322.29 kmTime: 16:50:45 Calories: 15,723

Turning to my weight, at the end of September I was 84.3kg, and at the end of October I weighed 85.3kg, up 1kg, so what’s going on there, God only knows (but I think I’m gaining muscle especially in my thighs).

All The Gear, etc.

With the new RT on its way and with plans already made for a couple of long rides in 2024 – well, three, actually – it was time to consider what kit we’d need to update and/or put in place.

The RT is intended to be used as a workhorse, so my trips will be working trips for my photographer and nascent videography ventures, so one of the obvious choices was a new camera.  The other videos on my YouTube channel over the last few years (not counting the early ones with camcorder footage) have been shot using a Garmin VIRB Elite, but although that’s great for capturing video with all the GPS data embedded, it’s quite old now and bulky and the tech has come on in leaps and bounds.

So whilst I will still use the VIRB for pushbike stuff, for on-bike/in-car footage I’ve sourced a GoPro Hero12 Black Edition which I will be mounting – initially at least – on my Arai Quantic helmet.  The RT’s setup means that I would need to do some mods to the handlebar bracketry to mount it on the bars, but maybe that’s for a second camera in due course?

In the meantime, we also wanted some up to date protective riding gear.

I went to Gran Canaria at the start of October with some friends and was riding a Ducati Multistrada hired from the lovely people at CanaryRide and it was waaaay too hot as there was a calima and I was wearing my old Alpinestars leather jacket, which is black and padded.

Now I used to have some Triumph leathers that were water-resistant to go with some Rukka Ceres shorty gloves, but when I got killed (temporarily) by someone knocking me off my Triumph Sprint GT1050 my jacket had to be cut off and due to two of my fingers being “de-gloved” the resultant mess in my Ceres gloves was not for the faint-hearted to deal with so again they were disposed of in A&E.

So that just leaves my venerable old Rukka Gore-Tex jacket: totally waterproof, removable lining, but next to ventilation.  Similarly Mrs Me also has a nine year old Dainese textile jacket and trouser combo that is also great for cold and wet but not so good for dry and hot conditions:

I’ve been researching jackets for quite a while now and the Klim ones looked exactly what we needed, but which one to go for in their line-up? Well I don’t need to go top of the range touring with the Kodiak as I already have a duck down jacket that might do well as a mid-layer and of course both of us have heated Keis waistcoats with accessory sockets on the RT to match. So the best choice looks like the latest version of the Klim Latitude for me and the ladies’ version, the Klim Altitude, for her.  And of course I needed replacement waterproof gloves to go with my Alpinestars race gloves for guaranteed dry days, so a pair of Alpinestars SMX-1 waterproof shorty gloves have been sourced as well, all from SPORTSBIKESHOP online.

Of course as the RT is white with grey or black bits, the Klim gear and gloves are similarly coloured: “Cool Grey” for the jackets and black and white for the gloves.  I’ll let you know how we get on with them in due course.

Klim Latitude Back Alpinestars SMX-1 Drystar Gloves Klim Altitude Front Alpinestars SMX-1 Drystar Gloves Klim Altitude Back Klim Latitude Front

Tour de France 2024 – Oops!

If you’ve read this blog then you will know that I booked Eurothrash 2024 for July 2024 to suit other actual or potential family clashes; ah, the benefits of having a mahoosive family!

Today, the Tour de France organisers have announced both the dates and the route for this year’s race. Now, for a bit of context, you should know that for as long as I can recall I have watched the highlights on TV wherever I’ve been at the time and as it’s usually in July, it usually coincides with a holiday.

On Eurothrashes over the years the big climbs and famous finishes have featured in our planning and this year was going to be similar, with a visit to the Gorges du Tarn, Mont Ventoux and the Gorges du Verdon all featuring in my planning.

So anyway, here’s the route and dates:

Tour de France 2024 Route
Tour de France 2024 Route

So on the Gruissan to Nimes state – Stage 16 – we will be riding past but to the North of the route as we are heading to the Millau Bridge and Gorges du Tarn that day before making our way to our rest day at what was “the First Dates Hotel”.

On our ‘rest day’ we included an optional jaunt up to Mont Ventoux which – thankfully – would be slightly to the South of Stage 17, Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux to SuperDévoluy.  The following day will be absolutely fine as we will be heading further South to Frejus.

On the Friday we head over to Grenoble via the Gorges du Verdon and  l’Alpe d’Huez, so fortunately we will be to the West of Stage 19.

Phew!

I’m sure we’d be OK though as the RT will look pretty much identical to the Tour’s camera bikes ????

Forget the Triumph Tiger; Welcome the BMW RT

Well after waiting to see if Triumph would eventually update their Tiger 1200, they finally did, but changed to the T-plane configuration and still no active/adaptive cruise control, no luggage, etc.

So after an extended 3-day test ride a couple of years back, our living plans have changed (back to being in the UK, rather than roughly 50/50 UK/Fuerteventura) releasing us to be able to start touring Europe again post-Brexshit.

This means we can buy a new bike for touring and what better than the BMW R 1250 RT LE.

September 2023 Stats

September started out in Dubai for a week and a bit in a five star, all-inclusive resort which thankfully had a gym but was using Technogym kit and software, sadly.  Once we were home, it was back in the pain cave on the Schwinn and the Bowflex treadmill before I headed off for a day trip to Raleigh, North Carolina.  Yes, what should have been a little over week there in a hearing turned out to be arrive, work, workout, get told about potential settlement, rush to the airport, redeye back to London!

Once back in the pain cave – and I’m really not sure if the iOS/watchOS software updates had anything to do with it – FulGaz started started having issues connecting to the Schwinn which was very frustrating.  It even happened again this morning, until I physically turned off the Bowflex treadmill which seems to somehow steal focus even though it’s not connected to the Schwinn (obviously).

Oh and I have finally upgraded by old Apple Watch Series 4 to a shiny new Apple Watch Ultra 2 which I’m keen to get properly set up and  calibrated properly: that JRNY treadmill run had the treadmill showing one distance, the f?nix showing a slightly shorter distance, and the Ultra 2 showing a significantly longer distance.  I will have to compare an outdoor walk next week when we’re back in Corralejo.

Mrs RHM has also upgraded to an Apple Watch Series 9.

Here are the results which are down from August’s:

September 2023 Stats

September 2023 Stats

Activities: 36 Distance: 370.63 kmTime: 17:49:39 Calories: 16,260

Turning to my weight, at the end of August I was 84.1kg, and at the end of September I weighed 84.3kg, up 0.2kg, but then there was Dubai and Raleigh…