Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Up to Geordie Land

"Me Oolfa will piss aal ower yer GTI" - that was Bob telling me that his rust bucket Alfa Romeo Giulleta would go faster than a Golf GTI that I could only dream of owning back then in 1977 but was talking about in the college bar. I did not mention the broken down Yamaha RD200 that I owned then.  My first exposure to Geordie as a college freshman still resonates in the annals of my University memories alongwith Newcastle Brown beer and cheap sherry from Unwins probably produced in Cyprus.
Ready for early dawn departure

I digress -

I decided to ride my newly updated for 2011 GS (more anon.) to Durham for the BMW Owners Club AGM as I had read that the lunchtime sandwiches would be free. There would be a dinner and guest speaker too. 

I followed Lori's instructions to the letter to embed this route map into the blog (Lori does my map look big in this?):

Leaving home at 7pm on a cloudless but crisp morning I scooted around to the west of Salford and Manchester and started out across the Penines on the highest motorway in England (at 1,221 feet (372 m)) - mist clinged in the valleys either side of me as transited Leeds barely an hour from leaving Knutsford   to commence the great trek north.

The famous Stott Hall Farm flanked by the carriageways of the highest motorway in England
Helpful signs guide me through Durham
Many nice BMW motorcycles  - I did not realise until later that a prize would be awarded for the best machine and I had parked my bike at the halls of residence far away from the scrutiny of the judges.
Not Charley Boorman, Cliff is marketing US made Jesse luggage - I take a fancy to the lockable mounting box on which a standard top box can sit.

The camping family on manouvres

The next day I teamed up with a charming camping couple from Wales for the scenic ride back across the stunningly scenic Yorkshire Dales.   Naturally I meet them at the camp site down by the river and we ride in the company of approximately 29,900 other bikers and 29,901 Nissan Micras across the moors turning left at Blea Common Historical monument.

The Ribblehead railway viaduct at Blea Common - the only place where we stopped and hence the only photo opportunity
Tomato ketchup and visor wash

Monday, April 18, 2011

Two Wheel Parish Last Weekend News Round Up

Spring has arrived and foraging for food on the yellow spangled Cheshire road sides under the Think Bike! signs and around the daffodils is possible.

Stella has arrived and Tubbyballs has gone to a new home in Northern Ireland.

Mrs Nikos has taken refresher training and is now claiming her seat on Stella.

Mrs Nikos sustained a blow out on the Tissington Trail and I did not have a bicycle pump - I had a haircut  after seeing photograph #4 below.


Tubbyballs draws admiring looks from the youngsters in George street on her way to the lucky new owner in Northern Ireland. 

Mrs Nikos and Instructor Rob following a successful day in Salford - I believe that he reacquainted her with riding a motorcycle after a gap of 20 years.

The junction of the High Peak and Tissington Trails  - these cycle and hiking trails use disused railway line routes.
9 miles out and Mrs Nikos buys new acquaintances Anne and Jim a cup of tea to thank them for showing me how to fix a puncture in her bicycle tyre.

Beautiful Peak District National Park and characteristic loose stone walls dating back to the neolithic age (probably).
Puncture fixed and we head towards Hadrian's Wall

Stella's first outing.
 Mrs Nikos on tip toe with Stella - here ballet training has finally come in useful again .
After a hearty weekend of cycling and motorcycling what better food to eat than dandelion leaves gathered from the roundabout island of the Northwich A556 junction - a variation of the Greek horta is born in the Nikos World kitchen: πράσινοι καπνοί diesel αρώματος σαλάτας φύλλων.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Engineered to be the Best - Flew Above the Rest

The Manchester Aviation Viewing Park provides in equal measures runway side viewing of a relatively busy international airport, a cafe with screaming kids running around causing mayhem, and a static aviation park that hosts the first British Airways Concorde airliner housed in  a purpose built hangar.

Tours must be booked - we elected to go on the nerds special 45 minute certificated tour.

This is really rather special as one is allowed to feel the joystick (yoke) and fondle the volume controls (throttles) - reheat is preselected and cuts in when they reach 100%.

Something not found on an Airbus -  nose droop control  lever (aka droop snoot knob) - required because the vortex flow generated by Concorde's delta wing at high angles of attack reduces the forward visibility at take off and landing. Concorde does not need slats and flaps like an Airbus for take off and landing - the vortex flow acts like a giant Dyson vacuum cleaner and sucks  the 180 tonnes or so of aircraft into the air..
Captain Nikos' twin brother bites his lip as the tour guide John has his third nervous breakdown trying to answer impossible questions from a devout Concorde expert.
Manchester airport from the Concorde flight deck  - droop snoot down - obviously.
Hello good evening and welcome - David Frost once sat here commuting to New York from London  Interior redesign by Habitat  - small windows to peep through. Centre arm rests fold away and swivel by 180 degrees and depict speedbird motif (a BOAC thing) . Seatbelts have been stolen by a Liverpudlian visiting school party.
The paraffin dart - 202ft long when cold but due to supersonic compressive heating expanded by 1ft in supersonic cruise where it flew faster than a rifle bullet.
Previously never seen before top secret image from the Nikos World wind tunnel of an Airfix 1:144 model shows the pre Dyson vortex flow established as high angles of attack

Underneath the double delta wing - notice the camber that at high angle of attack allows the clean and stable formation of that  vortex flow that I keep banging on about

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Nikos' Sunday Strolls No. 59 - Circumnavigation of Chester

Why not start the walking tour of the City of Chester with an exploration of 19C plumbing and sanitation (more anon.).

Here is a line of terraced houses, probably over 100 years old each with a privy* at the end of the garden fronting on to the back passage.

*An outhouse, a small structure (holding a single person, and freestanding) for defecation and urination

If you want to find out about Chester read this without my warped views----------->CLICK HERE .

All I know is this is a good place to take Mrs Nikos on stroll around as the Roman city walls still mostly remain and avoid us having to mix with the riff raff shoppers  and  the city could have been as important as Liverpool has become except that malicious Welsh people threw their rubbish into the River Dee thus silting it up and making it unavigable from the sea to Chester docks.  There are also  Hein Gericke and Maplin shops usefully located near Cheshire's main  Triumph dealer (that 800 XC triple fits me like a dream incidentally) that we pass on our way from Knutsford.

Some Roman stuff
Some Victorian stuff

Some contempory stuff inserted into some Norman stuff

The Cathedral boasts wonderous and informative stained glass windows offering delightful prospects
The view over Northgate locks thought by some** to be the design from which many of the locks of the Panama canal were modelled.
 **Some old drunk who accosted Mrs Nikos

Having passed Chester Race Course, we have now made a minor deviation from the walls to cross the River Dee on the old bridge and stroll through the Groves.

The weir - behind us is the sea - during some phases of the moon the weir is covered for 2 minutes at high tide.

Weir, walls and walkers
Finally, we cross over Enoch Gerrard esq's 1852 suspension bridge to leave the Groves and return to the affluent Queen's Park area

Friday, April 1, 2011

Moriskentänzerin Shock Horror

No April Fool spoof this but Border Morris from the English-Welsh border: a simpler, looser, more vigorous style, normally danced with blackened faces.

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