Sunday, 11 November 2018

Sunday 11th November - Jack Taylor ride out to Duncansby Head

Back out today at lunch for a few hours.
It had rained overnight but was sunny and not too much in the way of clouds about and just a light breeze adding to the very cold air. Though for up here it pretty much counts as lovely.
The plan was reasonably simple, finish the jobs I needed to get done around the house and then about midday Heather was taking Caleb for his horse ride so after taking Spot the dog out I would go for a ride and maybe we would meet up at our friends later on.
I decided to take the Jack Taylor out and head the opposite direction to yesterday and head out Canisbay war memorial and pay my respects before going on past John O'Groats to Duncansby Head. Stop for a coffee and cake at Groats on the way back past, get home and then if enough light and the timing was right I would take the Big Dummy and head back out.
Started out well if cold, really nice, clear, crisp day with the roads still wet, though with the temp so low and no winds they weren't going to dry today at any rate. It was a really nice relaxed ride to the memorial situated on the quiet singletrack road above Canisbay. I stopped, payed my respects for a couple of minutes, sat for a while on the grass taking in the silence in contemplation, then headed off towards JoG's.
At this stage it was cold but clear and sunny and I got to the junction where I could turn down into Groats or head up the road to Duncansby and asked myself do I want coffee and cake before or after? I wanted it before but knew I might not make it to the climb if I stopped now. It was a really nice ride up and even though I am out here regularly for pleasure and work it always looks lovely. It's a steady grind up but the views are worth it. I was convinced that I am too old to be running Dura Ace 7400 race gearing and vowed it will return with a triple front and wide range rear :)

On the way back I pulled into one of the little cafe's only to find it closed and not wanting to head down to the JoG's waterfront area I just turned for home. The clouds had started rolling in and it had dropped a few degrees so thought I would head back along the coast this time and turn back onto the inland road at Mey. Another long but steady climb up from Gills bay revealed to clouds closing from the south at a fair pace taking any heat and light from the day and so pushed on taking a couple of dirt short cuts onto the back road. By this stage the temp had dropped quite considerably and I was sure it was only about 5 degree or so.
Got home and warmed up and decided against getting back out on the Dummy as Heather was on her way home and I wanted to get the dog out before it got dark. Lucky I did as it rained not long after.
So another good weathered ride out on the Jack Taylor. Really liking this machine and it's great handling, very surefooted but very relaxed to ride. 
My plan for the Jack Taylor is to keep the finish original for as long as I can, which means lots of cleaning, waxing and keeping maybe harsh winter riding to a minimum. It's definitely a keeper along with my Merckx and Mercian. I will slowly now build it up with more fitting long term components in a more touring/randonneur type style that I prefer and seen as how it is a beautiful machine to ride now those tweaks will make it even more special. In the short term I will change the bars and stem for a set of Nitto B135 bars and a 80mm Nitto stem and change the Dura Ace levers for a set of Mafacs to go with the Racer brakes already fitted. Will most likely have this done for a old school ride in a couple of weeks time as I have the stuff sitting there and just need to get some bar tape.
Hope anyone reading this managed to either get a ride in or at least had a good weekend.


The view from home over to Hoy on the right and Dunnett Head on the left DSCN5493 DSCN5500 DSCN5502 Looking across to the island of Stroma in the foreground and Orkney across the water in the background DSCN5510 Nice place to sit and be thankful. Lest We Forget DSCN5515 DSCN5518 Across to Orkney DSCN5519 DSCN5523 Out of Gills Bay looking back along the coast towards John O'Groats DSCN5527 Top of the rise and looking south DSCN5529 Same road and same view as the second photo above. DSCN5534

Saturday, 10 November 2018

10th November 2018 - Unusual Saturday commute on the Jack Taylor

Well today I had to go into work after lunch to read a test I set up yesterday, I don't work Saturday as we aren't even open but I said I would go and sort it rather than wait until next Tuesday for a result. It was such a lovely day, sun out, cool crisp air and a stiff breeze from the south west which mad it a push to town but a slightly easier return.
I had to be there for around 2 so decided to head out on the Jack Taylor, do my usual commute with a photo stop at Dunnett on the way and then take a few small detours and photos on the way home.  I couldn't muck around too long as I had to be back for 4.30 at the latest as we had dinner booked at a café in town for 5.30 and then go to the fireworks and bonfire in town.
It was a really nice commute, I don't know whether it's because I was really just having a ride as I didn't have to be there at a specific time or because I hadn't ridden to work on the Jack Taylor, either way it didn't feel like I was going to work. I was only there about 25minutes and then I was back on the road, back through town and across the river and then back out tohome through castletown and Dunnett stopping afor a couple of photos here and there. Got home just on 4pm as it was just starting to get dark so timing was great for once.
The Jack Taylor rode brilliantly as usual but I think as I am going to leave it in it's patina rather than repaint I will limit it's winter riding and will start fitting it with the components that will stay on it and are better suited to it. Brian and I have a ride in a couple of weeks so I will swap out the bar, stem (Nitto) and brake levers (Mafac) to those I have waiting and try them on this ride.
So not a bad run to work and certainly a nice way to do the 48klm commute. 
I hope everyone else had some of the good weather this weekend as well.


DSCN5465 DSCN5466 DSCN5471 DSCN5476 DSCN5481 DSCN5484

Monday, 5 November 2018

05 November 2018 - Caleb and Big Dummy ride - Hot Chocolate and cake at JOG's

Made the most of the nice day up here in the north of Scotland. 
Caleb and I got the Big Dummy sorted and ready to go before lunch as we knew we had to make the most of the sunny weather as it hasn't been too good lately. Sun was out but as usual for this time of year there wasn't that much heat getting through as it was quite cold, which meant getting well wrapped up. 
There was also a very strong wind coming from the south west which did help with decision making on where we would head. We were just out for a ride with no particular destination in mind this morning but we had decided to head along the higher non coastal road towards John O'Groats taking in a few detours and small tracks to explore with a warming afternoon tea at Groats. 
Luckily we had the wind behind us at the start but I knew I would pay for it later on the return leg but tried to block that from my mind. 
It was a great ride out to Groats with lots of stops for photos, watching Buzzards as well as lots of the smaller birds making the most of the good weather. 
We made it out to John O'Groats eventually and warmed up with a coffee and hot chocolate for the little man along with a couple of good sized cakes. After this we were outside playing, well Caleb more than me as he loves climbing the sculptures each time we come. Great fun but the afternoon was getting on and with a few clouds coming in and an already low sun we had to make a move towards home. 
We encountered the wind of all winds head on for the first 5 or so kilometres which quickly burnt out the scone I just had but once back up onto the high road and then turned towards home it was a lot better. A sort of 3/4 head wind so not too bad.
We had a few more tracks to explore on the way with some potentially good ones to check out at a later date. 
We managed about 38klm over the afternoon which at the very relaxed pace of the Big Dummy suited us fine. Mum was home studying so we gave her a good four hours or so of peace as well. 


DSCN5414 DSCN5417 DSCN5419 DSCN5425 DSCN5429 DSCN5437 DSCN5438 DSCN5442 DSCN5443 DSCN5445 DSCN5452 DSCN5457

Sunday, 28 October 2018

28/10/2018 - Sunny Sunday coastal ride on the Long Haul Trucker

Out for a few hours this afternoon on the Long Haul Trucker, such a nice day very sunny minimal wind though definitely cold, crisp, but very cold.
Needed to set the Trucker up with it's lights etc ready for the winter, the darker days and evenings, ready for days out as well as the odd commute.
Once I had a few things sorted and a bit of maintenance finished it was nice to just get out and ride. First off I had to return some borrowed tools to a friend who helped me with some car work the other week but then it was just cruising round the coastline and up to Dunnett Head. No rush just enjoying the nice weather on a quiet Sunday. The weather was certainly turned to it's winter ways as it was only about 4 degrees celcius, though with very little wind and being wrapped up it was fine. The sun being out made it seem so much better. The Trucker as usual was a joy to ride and looking forward to doing a few more winter brevets on it.
I suppose I have had it a good many years now and have done quite a lot of miles on it as it's been the go to machine for all this time as it's just so reliable, well set up so that it fits like a glove but mainly because it rides so nicely over pretty much any type of terrain.  
Home to a bit of mock up work on the Big Dummy sidecar and trying to sort things with the standard front end, which now won't go back on until spring most likely. The SP Dynamo wheel build will fit both the Dummy and the Trucker so will get some spokes this week and get that done, ready to go. That's the plan anyway.


DSCN5370 DSCN5371 DSCN5375 DSCN5377 DSCN5383 DSCN5384 DSCN5385 DSCN5388 DSCN5389 DSCN5392 DSCN5367

Thursday, 11 October 2018

10 OCTOBER 2018 - Jack Taylor ride Easter Ross/ Cromarty with Brian

With a forecast one day of respite between the days of rain and gale force winds over most of the north of Scotland, I managed to get the day off and head south to ride the Jack Taylor round Easter Ross and the Black Isle with my friend Brian MacLeod. 
When I seen the forecast yesterday I asked the boss for a well day to go riding, I wasn't sick, I was too well to come in and needed to ride in the sun before winter closed in once more. Thankfully she understands and approved it. 
Weather was fantastic and a  familiar route that took in some hills, quiet roads and some off road track round the Cromarty shore made the hours and miles fly by all too quickly. We stopped at a lovely café in Muir of Ord and enjoyed a coffee and a huge wedge of a brie scone for lunch which obviously was needed to keep up the energy levels.  
The Super Clubman rode brilliantly as usual, handling everything in its relaxed but superb way and this is it still in it's cobbled together with spares guise. Gave me time to make up my mind regards repainting it and for the foreseeable future I am just going to keep waxing it to keep the rust at bay rather than lose Jacks original paint. I will build it up with the parts I already have and set it up properly not just in a temporary way as it is such a nice ride already that it will be so sweet set up right. 
A lovely ride in glorious weather finished with a quick coffee at Brians before the couple of hours drive home.  
Well worth it though as it was a very enjoyable day with great company. Cheers Brian 
Also the best way to break up a working week.


DSCN5319 DSCN5322 DSCN5324 DSCN5325 DSCN5330 DSCN5332 DSCN5337 DSCN5340 DSCN5342 DSCN5343 DSCN5349 DSCN5346 DSCN5353 DSCN5356 DSCN5359 DSCN5360

Sunday 11th November - Jack Taylor ride out to Duncansby Head

Back out today at lunch for a few hours. It had rained overnight but was sunny and not too much in the way of clouds about and just a light...