Scotland’s North Coast 500 (NC500) – In 2 Days (Day 3/4)

Scotland's North Coast 500 : NC500 : Ride Report

Disclaimer : Having completed the Wild Atlantic Way in under a week I thought a reasonable time period to complete the North Coast 500 would be two days. However you will notice that this ride report actually covers four days – so what’s that about? Well it’s simply about travel. One day to get to the start and one day takes me home. So really it’s a four day trip to Scotland, during which I completed the NC500 in two.

Download the NC500 GPS File Here : http://www.tbni.blog/downloads/North-Coast-500.gpx

Day 3 : 31/07/2016 : Scourie – Inverness : Day 3 of the trip and therefore Day 2 of the NC500 route. This section takes us from Scourie back to Inverness, finishing off the West Coast then taking in the North and East Coasts back to Inverness. The route for the day looks very roughly like :

Scotland’s North Coast 500 : Day 2 Route : NC500

Read moreScotland’s North Coast 500 (NC500) – In 2 Days (Day 3/4)

Scotland’s North Coast 500 (NC500) – In 2 Days (Day 2/4)

Scotland's North Coast 500 : NC500 : Ride Report

Disclaimer : Having completed the Wild Atlantic Way in under a week I thought a reasonable time period to complete the North Coast 500 would be two days. However you will notice that this ride report actually covers four days – so what’s that about? Well it’s simply about travel. One day to get to the start and one day takes me home. So really it’s a four day trip to Scotland, during which I completed the NC500 in two.

Download the NC500 GPS File Here : http://www.tbni.blog/downloads/North-Coast-500.gpx

Day 2 : 30/07/2016 : Inverness – Scourie : Day 2 of the trip is actually Day 1 of the NC500 route and after the glorious day we had travelling over to Scotland I was so very hopeful for more of the same for the start of the actual NC500. However it was not to be. As any resident, or visitor, with experience of the United Kingdom, Ireland, British Isles, outlying islands will be all to aware – the weather is changeable – and it had changed. What was blue skies, fluffy white clouds and sunshine had been replaced by grey – and to make things that little bit worse all that grey was now wet – wet and grey.

We started off with the easy choice for breakfast – a nearby Morrison’s Supermarket for a fry. The grub was decent, but the tea was horrible. I blame the UHT milk, for goodness sake – surely a supermarket should be able to stretch to proper fresh milk for the tea? It took ages for the food as well which meant we weren’t getting on the road until just after 10:00 am. This late start would bite us later, so if you are planning on following a similar timescale get moving earlier. This is a pretty long day.

Read moreScotland’s North Coast 500 (NC500) – In 2 Days (Day 2/4)

Scotland’s North Coast 500 (NC500) – In 2 Days (Day 1/4)

North Coast 500 : Scotland : NC500

Disclaimer : Having completed the Wild Atlantic Way in under a week I thought a reasonable time period to complete the North Coast 500 would be two days. However you will notice that this ride report actually covers four days – so what’s that about? Well it’s simply about travel. One day to get to the start and one day takes me home. So really it’s a four day trip to Scotland, during which I completed the NC500 in two.

Download the NC500 GPS File Here : http://www.tbni.blog/downloads/North-Coast-500.gpx

Day 1 : 29/07/2016 : Two of us set off on this journey, myself on my 2014 BMW F800GS Adventure, my mate on his Kawasaki ZX10R. Yep an adventure bike and a sports bike are heading to the Highlands.

The day starts of at Belfast heading to Cairnryan on the 07:30 am ferry. At 07:30 am the most important thing is breakfast and at £10.00 for a fry I am expecting a great breakfast. Nope – not great at all. It tasted alright but the portions were beyond miserable. The beans consisted of 3 lonely individuals drowning in a sea of watered down tomato sauce. One good point is that if you buy a cup of tea / coffee your refills are free. Maybe the £10 fries subsidise the hot drinks bill?

Here are a few tips for this ferry :

1. Get a McD’s breakfast on the way to the boat.

2. Sit in the bar – not the restaurant. FIFA on an xBox was in the bar.

3. Find someone a bit secluded on the boat – the bodies (by the time you move off) will be strewn about everywhere, the noises are like when zombies fall asleep with a sinsus infection. People really need to try sleeping the night before their journey!

On a plus note through the weather was glorious! My fingers were crossed it stays this way!

NC500 : Belfast - Cairnryan Ferry
NC500 : Belfast – Cairnryan Ferry

Read moreScotland’s North Coast 500 (NC500) – In 2 Days (Day 1/4)

Alpine Hearing Protection : MotoSafe : Review

I think pretty much every motorcyclist now accepts that hearing protection is an essential piece of kit.

For years it was a very neglected part of motorcycle safety, however now we are well aware of the dangers of prolonged exposure to loud noises. In fact some reports state that a mere 30 minutes of exposure to motorcycle engine noise is dangerous enough to potentially cause long term damage to a person’s ears.

Being honest though I came a little late to the hearing protection idea.

However since starting using hearing protection I have been using or rather trying out a lot of different options, from disposables to a pretty expensive custom fitted set of ear plugs and struggled to find my ideal set. I found the disposables pretty good – however they tended to work their way out of my ear over a pretty short period of time. Comfort wise I found them spot on, but there isn’t much point in wearing something that doesn’t stay in your ear.

Then take the custom made ear plugs. I got these in work so didn’t personally fork out for them – thankfully. I have no doubt they offer top class protection however they are so uncomfortable that they actually verge on painful – and that pain comes quickly, maybe after an hour or two my ears and head are thumping.

Then I have tried numerous reusable options -which all have a similar look to this reviewed product :

Read moreAlpine Hearing Protection : MotoSafe : Review

Isle of Man Southern 100 2017 Results : Thursday 13th July 2017

Southern 100 Logo
Southern 100 Logo

Full results from the 2017 Isle of Man Southern 100 Races – Thursday 13th July 2017 Session.  The results are formatted in the following manner :

Race No | Rider | Motorcycle | Laps Completed | Total Time | Average Speed for Race | Fastest Lap | Average Speed of Fastest Lap

For the results from Tusday 11th July 2107 Click Here

For the results from Wednesday 12th July 2017 Click Here

Souther 100 Champion Dean Harrison
Southern 100 Champion Dean Harrison

Read moreIsle of Man Southern 100 2017 Results : Thursday 13th July 2017

2017 Isle of Man Practice Session Gallery – 30/5/2017

Guy Martin looking focused on the 2017 Honda Fireblade - Practice Session 30th May 2017 - Isle of Man TT Races
Guy Martin looking focused on the 2017 Honda Fireblade – Practice Session 30th May 2017 – Isle of Man TT Races

The weather has dominated the news at the 2017 Isle of Man TT Races so far.  Why?  Because it has been awful.  We should have had practice on Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday so far.  However due to a combination of rain, fog and rain and fog we have only had a one complete session which was Tuesday’s (30/05/2017).

The weather on Tuesday was glorious and to be honest bar a bit of a wash out on Sunday all day, the weather for some reason really has it in for the races at the minute as it has a tendancy to close in towards the late afternoon and evening.  Wednesday for examole was a glorious morning, come the late afternoon it started to close in and only one lap of the session was completed before the organsisers called the session off.

The weather on Wednesday 31st May 2017 morning - a glorious day!
The weather on Wednesday 31st May 2017 morning – a glorious day!
The weather on Wednesday 31st May 2017 evening - no wonder the session needed to be cancelled!
The weather on Wednesday 31st May 2017 evening – no wonder the session needed to be cancelled!

Here is a terrifying statistic…

  • We are now 1,539 practice @iom_tt laps behind last year (2016) or over 58,000 miles of a difference – almost 2.5 trips around the Earth!

And here are some 2016 v 2017 figures to show how far behind we currently are :

Qualifying Laps :

  • Total : (2016) 1641 / (2017) – 528
  • Difference -1113 laps on 2016
  • Superbike : (2016) 556 / (2017) – 196
  • Supersports : (2016) 549 / (2017) – 183
  • Superstocks : (2016) 89 / (2017) – 28
  • Lightweights : (2016) 167 / (2017) – 48
  • Sidecars : (2016) 270 / (2017) – 73

The good news is the weather looks for tomorrow and the schedule has been revised to get a lot of action in over the coming weekend.

Check out the Revised Schedule Here for 3rd – 6th June 2017.

Photos for this session were taken from the area of Ballaugh Bridge and the Gooseneck on the Mountain Road Section.

As with all of my photos please feel free to like, share and even use them.  If you do use them however please credit me with the photograph – Don’t steal it.  I don’t want to start watermarking my photos so if you do use it please – do the right thing.

Also all photos are available in full resolution, so if you would like any of the photographs in their full uneditted glory please just let me know – especially if you are one of the riders!

Contact Me Here.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter over the coming fortnight for plenty of updates and rider tagged photographs from the 2017 Isle of Man TT Festival. – Twitter @TomBoyNI

Read more2017 Isle of Man Practice Session Gallery – 30/5/2017

2017 North West 200 Thursday 11th May 2017 Race Session Gallery

Thursday Night Action at the 2017 NW200 Event
Thursday Nights Racing at the 2017 NW200 saw some amazing racing – really putting the event back on the Road Racing Map after a couple of tragic and difficult years.

Apologies for it being a bit late, but sometimes you just get busy.

The poor weather at the 2017 Isle of Man TT Race Meeting has given me the opportunity to get caught up on a few things I had let slip.  You’ll be glad to hear the next gallery will be from the Isle of Man!

So if you are over at the 2017 Isle of Man TT Races you are right about now probably wishing for the rain to stop!  Don’t worry it is going to – tomorrow is to be a lovely day.

However in the meantime to satisfy your needs for some motorbikes here is my gallery from the 2017 NW200 Thursday Race Session… (You’ll see it was soaked in glorious sunshine!)

Photos for this session were taken from the area of the Juniper Hill Chicane – maining looking down the Coast Road.

As with all of my photos please feel free to like, share and even use them.  If you do use them however please credit me with the photograph – Don’t steal it.  I don’t want to start watermarking my photos so if you do use it please – do the right thing.

Also all photos are available in full resolution, so if you would like any of the photographs in their full uneditted glory please just let me know – especially if you are one of the riders!

Contact Me Here.

For the Full Race Results (Saturday) Click Here.

For the Detailed Race Results and Race Breakdowns Click Here.

Thursday Night Racing at the 2017 NW200 Event
Look closer – it’s OK, you are not seeing double!

Read more2017 North West 200 Thursday 11th May 2017 Race Session Gallery

2017 North West 200 Tuesday 9th May 2017 Practice Session Gallery

Bruce Anstey at the 2017 NW200 on his then Sponsorless Padgetts HondaBruce Anstey at the 2017 NW200 on his then Sponsorless Padgetts Honda
Bruce Anstey at the 2017 NW200 on his then Sponsorless Padgetts Honda

Apologies for it being a bit late, but sometimes you just get busy.

So if you are over at the 2017 Isle of Man TT Races you are right about now probably wishing for the rain to stop!  Don’t worry it is going to – tomorrow is to be a lovely day.

However in the meantime to satisfy your needs for some motorbikes here is my gallery from the 2017 NW200 Tuesday Practice Session… (You’ll see it was soaked in glorious sunshine!)

Photos for this session were taken from the Metropole Grandstand and then the more traditional Metropole Hill.

As with all of my photos please feel free to like, share and even use them.  If you do use them however please credit me with the photograph – Don’t steal it.  I don’t want to start watermarking my photos so if you do use it please – do the right thing.

Also all photos are available in full resolution, so if you would like any of the photographs in their full uneditted glory please just let me know – especially if you are one of the riders!

Contact Me Here.

For the Full Race Results (Saturday) Click Here.

For the Detailed Race Results and Race Breakdowns Click Here.

Read more2017 North West 200 Tuesday 9th May 2017 Practice Session Gallery

The Northern Ireland Game of Thrones Tour

The Dark Hedges, Ballymoney, Northern Ireland

With biking season now rapidily approaching you may be thinking to yourself, ‘Where shall I go?  What shall I do?’

The Northern Ireland Tourist board have an entire section of their website dedicated to GoT locations (and since I did their original tour they have updated it further):

https://www.discovernorthernireland.com/gameofthrones/

Northern Ireland - Game of Thrones Filming Locations
Northern Ireland – Game of Thrones Filming Locations

Personally I haven’t seen a single episode of Game of Thrones, crazy eh?  But forgetting that each of these locations are simply stunning!  The show has picked them for very obvious reasons and when you you see them for yourself you will understand why!  Simply set the location into your satnav, and press the Winding Roads Button (if you are lucky enough to have one) and enjoy the ride, because you will absolutely enjoy the fnal destination!

Here is just a little taster for each location to wet your appitite, the rest I will leave up to you :

Read moreThe Northern Ireland Game of Thrones Tour

Isle of Man TT 2016 : Day 4

So this is it for this trip, the final day.  The boat is about 7pm so unfortunately that means no viewing of the practice session tonight.  That’s one of the bad points on coming over for Practice Week from Northern Ireland – the sailings aren’t perfect, but I suppose there is no way round it unless the Steam Packet put on an 11:00pm sailing – Hint Hint…

On getting packed up the hotel kindly offered to look after my gear and panniers so I could go and enjoy the mountain again – just another reason why I absolutely will go back to this hotel without any qualm.

img_3938
The Rosslyn Hotel – Isle of Man

After a meet up with the guys in Douglas, some breakkie and a quick walk around the town and a catching of the sights it was time to head out back out towards the track.

The Legendary Isle of Man Horse Drawn Tram
The Legendary Isle of Man Horse Drawn Tram

It was on this walk around the town that I called into the RoadSkin pop up store and purchased myself a nice Roodskin motorcycle hoodie (which I have been wearing regularly ever since) and a pair of jeans (which I have yet to pull on) – the pop up store saving me well over £100 on these two items alone, oh and I picked up a couple of neck warmers too.

(Long Term Review to follow on the RoadsSkin Gear)

Read moreIsle of Man TT 2016 : Day 4