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

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? 🙂

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 footpegs 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 footpegs refitted.

End of an era.

After a week or so’s seemingly incessant rain, the forecast for last weekend looked fairly good and coincided with a rideout arranged by Bahnstormer Motorrad from their Alton branch to Whiteways Cafe outside Arundel.

So we swapped over our rest days from the Sunday to the Saturday – I’m trying to get fitter and Alison’s in training for a PCA bikini class bodybuilding competition – and got up a little earlier to breakfast and head on down to Bahnstormer for a coffee and to join the other riders. In total, there were 29 of us! Take a look at Bahnstormer’s video of us leaving Alton:

Here’s my little highlights video too:

Oh and there’s a longer version with some added expletives here:

When we bypassed Goodwood because they were having a members’ meeting and our route was blocked, we ended up on a flooded road with bonus mud from the fields, so the RT got absolutely filthy.

Once home, I got the pressure washer out and cleaned it up, but noticed I could see the rear suspension from the left … because the small side cover was missing.  A couple of phone calls and a visit today and they’ve sorted me out without any fuss. I truly cannot recommend them any more strongly than I do and of course they’ll get my order for this RT’s replacement when and if.

I just must stop myself from impulse-buying an M 1000 XR by mistake in the meantime…

 

I mentioned a while back that I’d bought some new Klim riding gear for Alison and me. I’d held off from buying the matching Klim Latitude Jeans for me and Klim Altitude Jeans for Alison as we both already had waterproof trousers, but Alison’s didn’t really fit and my Alpinestars ones were waaaaay too big and the Triumph Taloc leather jeans too big (but not massively so).

Klim Latitude Pants Klim Latitude Pants Klim Altitude Pants Klim Altitude Pants

I’d been using a pair of Alpinestars J-6 boots for general riding – as seen in this photo – but as I found out after a long walk in Gran Canaria to collect a bike from CanaryRide, they caused the odd blister after a while.  Now I could use my crashed-in but waterproof Alpinestars SMX Plus boots but they’re a bit heavy for walking around off the bike, so I decided to get another pair of boots that are waterproof, will go better with the light grey trousers, and should be comfortable off the bike. So I bought myself some Alpinestars Fastback 2 Drystar boots and at the same time bought Alison some Alpinestars Women’s J-6 boots, both of which are waterproof and should be good to wear off the bike.

Alpinestars Fastback 2 Drystar Waterproof Boots Alpinestars Ladies J-6 Waterproof Boots

These were all ordered – again – from SPORTSBIKESHOP but on their ‘try before you buy’ option using their Reading store. This was because the Klim sizing can be a little strange, apparently, although I’ve not had any problems.  We set off to Reading on Bank Holiday Monday to try the gear on.

We had followed the sizing guidance and had ordered my trousers in a 34″ waist on the basis that the feedback was they were a little smaller than that. They weren’t. Even with the thankfully adjustable waist cinched up small, they looked like a schoolboy’s first set of school trousers that you’d grow into eventually.  So I tried on some 32″ Klim Badlands Pro trousers and they seemed much better, so we ordered the Latitude trousers in a 32″ waist.  They arrived today – yes, the day after ordering late on a Bank Holiday! – and are fine; I can even cinch the waist up some more if I feel the need to before walking around. It looks like all my exercise might be paying off.

Oh and that noise you can hear? That’s my wallet crying…

 

With the RT collected after its initial ‘running-in’ service and with the suspension replaced under warranty, it was time for a ride to check everything out with a bonus test of the super-trick “adaptive headlights” which apparently move from side to side when cornering (like they do on my Abarth 124 Spider).

And yes, they’re good and bright and work well:

Then my wife headed off for a family baby shower, leaving me unsupervised for a weekend, so I headed off to the Cotswolds to do some filming:

With the RT booked in for its initial service in a couple of weeks’ time, I was surprised to receive a call the other day from Bahnstormer, telling me that there were a couple of additional recall items that need to be sorted in addition to the heated seat not being very warm (they’ll check it) and the SOS system not working (it’s apparently a known issue and is being looked into by BMW).

So what’s required in addition to those bits?

Total Recall

Total Recall

Well apparently they need it in to check on the build dates for the front and rear suspension units and if – as they suspect – they’re from a particular batch they’ll need to be replaced completely under a BMW Motorrad recall.

The other recall is for some footrest circlips which appears to be a long-standing issue, so I’m surprised my RT left the Berlin factory with dodgy ones.

Another ride out on Saturday to try to get some running-in done, check some more possible shoot locations, get some footage, and visit a couple of potential clients.

So I charged up the helmets and cameras and headed off … at 2-3ÂșC! I was wearing a base layer, a long-sleeved T-shirt, a short-sleeved T-shirt, the Keis heated vest and my Klim Latitude jacket over the top. I hadn’t been able to find my base layer Long Johns (which have probably been tidied away safely somewhere…) so I made do with a pair of Capri-length Nike running tights under my Levis.

Just over 100 miles down the M3 and A303 in an hour and three quarters as the traffic was fairly light.  I’d not bothered with the GoPro after all and regretted it as I rode up past Stonehenge as the first view from the top of the hill heading West is excellent.

With it being crisp and bright, the winter views with that muted brightness were wonderful.  Just a pity I didn’t catch any shots…

A quick sandwich in Street and then back in less than two hours stopping for petrol just before the M3 to make sure the nagging fuel warning wouldn’t come on.  Despite getting up to 11ÂșC at one point, it did take a few hours once I was off the bike to properly warm up again.

So the RT is now showing 603 miles and the app says it’s just 19 miles short of its initial service mileage (1,000km).  Perfect for the trip from here to Bahnstormer at Alton.

Oh Poo!

I forgot to mention in my earlier update that whilst parked at our friends’ house, some seagulls had decided to show their appreciation and crap on the RT. Nice…

So as it needed a wash anyway, I filled a bucket – it was too cold to reenable the outside tap and get the pressure washer set up – and gave the RT a half-arsed attempt at a clean.

Still, the results weren’t tooooo shabby:

Cleaned RT

Cleaned RT

 

When I wheeled it back into the garage I was horrified to see that the lacquer on the tank had peeled on one patch … except it hadn’t: it was just a small dot of bird crap that I’d missed. Phew!

I’ve also booked the RT in for its initial service towards the end of February, so I’ll try to add some more miles to the 396 currently showing.  I’ve asked Bahnstormer to look at the non-functioning SOS system and to check the seat heating whilst it’s in.

With the promise of a dry and possibly bright Sunday morning, I got the cameras charged up and the helmet likewise and decided to go and scout some shooting locations on the South Coast.

The RT is still saying its SOS function isn’t working, so that will need to be fixed on the first service.

I’d also tried fitting R1250GS mirror mounts to be able to mount the GoPros on, but sadly the clutch side one was the wrong one due to the additional LED riding light switch requiring a boss to locate into so that didn’t fit.

Likewise the brake lever one where the boss was cross-threaded – or not aligned properly – so the SOS switch  wouldn’t tighten up properly.

Back to the drawing board!

Having updated the maps in the BMW Connected app, I set a course for the Bluebird Cafe at Ferring (noting that the updated maps still don’t have our new estate in them), plugged all our heated riding gear in, and set off.

The first thing to notice was again that the heated grips are very warm indeed; despite wearing summer gloves, my hands were toasty warm the whole way despite low temperatures of 4ÂșC.  I just wish the same could be said of the heated seat which has five settings, none of which actually feel even warm.

The second thing to notice was the speed limit display: despite everything being set to mph, the latest update to the execrable BMW Connected app released before Christmas now displays the MPH speed limits in KPH which is really useful (especially as it doesn’t alert you to any safety cameras unlike every other satnav program)…

Still, once we got to the Bluebird Cafe, we stashed our helmets and gloves in the cases and went to get a cuppa. Big mistake as the wind was bitterly cold.  So instead we decided to gatecrash our friends’ house where they had offered us warm drinks and we could chat about arranging some shoots; Simon and Rob are photographers and Cheryl a model, stylist and retoucher.

Then back home before it got dark, although the sun now being behind clouds made it feel even colder.

The RT is now a tad grimy from streams across the road following Storm Henk.