Wales in Winter : Wales in a Weekend : February 2017

In February 2017 I took on the AdventureBikeRider Wales in a Weekend Route.  Starting South of Brecon and heading north I would take in the Beacons then head into Snowdownia National Park before crossing into England from North Wales and returning back to Northern Ireland on an overnight ferry.  All of this would be done in a mere three days.  If you lived close enough to the starting point this is a great route that can easily be done in 2 days – even in winter!

Day 1 : Northern Ireland to Aberdare : http://tbni.blog/2018/02/22/wales-in-winter-wales-in-a-weekend-day-1-20-02-2017/

Day 2 : Aberdare to Aberystwyth : http://tbni.blog/2018/02/26/wales-in-winter-wales-in-a-weekend-day-2-21-02-2017/

Day 3 : Aberystwyth to Betws-y-Coed (and Liverpool to Northern Ireland) : http://tbni.blog/2018/02/27/wales-in-winter-wales-in-a-weekend-day-3-22-02-2017/

Wales in a Weekend Route
Wales in a Weekend Route

Winter in Wales : Wales in a Weekend : Day 3 : 22/02/2017

If you happen to be a Twitter or Instagram User and do this route (or something similar through Wales) I have used the hashtags (Wales In Winter & Winter In Wales) #WalesInWinter and #WinterInWales – make sure to add to them!

Weather forecast for 22/02/2018
Weather forecast for 22/02/2018

Day 3 – the final day of my Wales in Winter trip and this leg takes me from Aberystwyth to Betws-y-Coed then onto the Liverpool for the return overnight ferry back to Northern Ireland.

So far it has been two days of good hardcore rain and this final day won’t be changing that format in any major way.

In fact it is due to get worse at some stage with the approach of Storm Doris bringing more and heavier rain and some gales, gusts and other variants of high winds thrown into the mix.  The biggest question is when will Doris visit?  Whilst on the road or on the boat?

In case you missed it Day 1 can be found here : http://tbni.blog/2018/02/22/wales-in-winter-wales-in-a-weekend-day-1-20-02-2017/

Day 2 can be found here : http://tbni.blog/2018/02/26/wales-in-winter-wales-in-a-weekend-day-2-21-02-2017/

The route can be found here : https://www.adventurebikerider.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=140&t=36263&hilit=wales+in+a+weekend

Should you need it the sat nav gpx file can be found here : Wales in a Weekend Sat Nav GPX Download Link

As far as accomodation goes I am absolutely sold on ‘The Glengower’ – clean and comfortable room with good food, a good bar, big TVs for the Sports Channels and a couple of pool tables, all with a sea view.  You need nothing more, but you’ll get it in the form of a delicious breakfast.

The Glengower Breakfast Menu
The Glengower Breakfast Menu

After breakfast, I make the short trip round the back of the hotel to get the bike.  Having turned on all the radiators in the room over night my gear was dry for starting.  After a 50 metre walk I was back to being as soaked as I was when I finished yesterday.  And looking at the forecast this is only the start of the rain.

Read moreWinter in Wales : Wales in a Weekend : Day 3 : 22/02/2017

Wales in Winter : Wales in a Weekend : Day 2 : 21/02/2017

If you happen to be a Twitter or Instagram User and do this Wales in a Weekend route (or something similar through Wales) I have used the hashtags (Wales In Winter & Winter In Wales) #WalesInWinter and #WinterInWales – make sure to add to them!

Weather Report Wales 21/02/2017
Weather Report Wales 21/02/2017

It’s Day 2 – although for the Wales in a Weekend Route it is actually Day 1.  Confusing eh?

If you made it to this post via some strange and startling way then the simple explanation is that Day 1 (for me) was actually a travel day from Northern Ireland to the start of this route.

In case you missed it Day 1 can be found here : http://tbni.blog/2018/02/22/wales-in-winter-wales-in-a-weekend-day-1-20-02-2017/

The route can be found here : https://www.adventurebikerider.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=140&t=36263&hilit=wales+in+a+weekend

Should you need it the sat nav gpx file can be found here : Wales in a Weekend Sat Nav GPX Download Link

As I concluded in my write up of Day 1 this first day of the actual route was set to be a wet one.

The overnighter at the Mount Pleasant Hotel was just that – pleasant.  The bed was very comfortable, the place was clean, tidy and friendly.  The shower lacked a bit of power but no doubt the rain that was forecast for arround midday should sort that right out!

However I was experiencing one slight hiccup…

Read moreWales in Winter : Wales in a Weekend : Day 2 : 21/02/2017

Wales in Winter : Wales in a Weekend : Day 1 : 20/02/2017

If you happen to be a Twitter or Instagram User and do this route (or something similar through Wales) I have used the hashtags (Wales In Winter & Winter In Wales) #WalesInWinter and #WinterInWales – make sure to add to them!

This time last year (20/02/2017) I set off on a quick trip through Wales.  I was using up the remanants of my leave from work and in an effort to feel that I wasn’t taking time off just for the sake of it, I found a quick route that I could do for very little outlay that would take in the entire length of Wales.

Starting South of Brecon and heading north I would take in the Beacons then head into Snowdownia National Park before crossing into England from North Wales and returning back to Northern Ireland on an overnight ferry.

I found the route on www.adventurebikerider.com and having never seen Wales before, but with the ease and affordability of travel to and from Northern Ireland it seemed like a sensible option.  Accomodation was also easily sorted with a bucket load of options available on sites like Booking.com – and prices ranging from very reasonable to ‘oh that must be quite fancy.’

The route can be found here : https://www.adventurebikerider.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=140&t=36263&hilit=wales+in+a+weekend

Wales in a Weekend Route
Wales in a Weekend Route

Should you need it the sat nav gpx file can be found here : Wales in a Weekend Sat Nav GPX Download Link

The route is called Wales in a Weekend – which is realistically two days long especially in the Winter – if you like a good long distance challenge you probably could snort round it in a (long) day, but spread over two it is easily managable and very enjoyable.

Remember to factor in any travel time to get to the ‘Starting Point’ just outside Aberdare.  But from Aberdare to the end of the route at Betws y Coed you should set aside 2 days to complete.

Read moreWales in Winter : Wales in a Weekend : Day 1 : 20/02/2017

NI Motorcycle Festival 2018 (MotorcycleFest) : Eikon Centre, Lisburn

The 2018 Northern Ireland Motorcycle Festival (MotorcycleFest) ran at the Eikon Centre, Lisburn from Friday 2nd February 2018 – Sunday 4th February 2018.  The event has been running at the Eikon Centre since 2016 and seems to be going from strength to strength.

So what’s it like?

Northern Ireland Motorcycle Festival 2018
Northern Ireland Motorcycle Festival 2018

Read moreNI Motorcycle Festival 2018 (MotorcycleFest) : Eikon Centre, Lisburn

UPDATE :John McGuinness to Norton!

It’s confirmed! It’s more than a rumour John McGuiness will be riding for Norton in 2018.

John McGuinness to ride a Norton In 2018!http://www.nortonmotorcycles.com/news/2018/02/07/norton-signs-john-mcguinness-for-2018-isle-of-man-tt-races/

It’s Official!  John McGuinness is off to Norton for 2018!

And that is how you deliver breaking news!

Original Article :

Rumours have been rife since late 2017 that John McGuinness could find himself on top of a lush silver Norton in 2018.  However with this weeks earlier announcement of Josh Brookes on the 2018 Norton – and that was it – it seemed that the rumour of John McGuinness as his team mate had died a death.

Until now…

Read moreUPDATE :John McGuinness to Norton!

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)

Iron Butt Association : Circuit of Ireland

According to Wikipedia : https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Butt_Association

The Iron Butt Association (IBA) is a US-based organization dedicated to endurance motorcycle riding with a claim of over 60,000 members worldwide who tout themselves as the “World’s Toughest Riders.” One of its more popular slogans is “The World Is Our Playground.”

The IBA does have membership in a traditional sense. There are monthly newsletters sent to subscribed members. There are no mandatory yearly dues, although members can voluntarily pay an annual fee to become a premiere member. Premiere members receive occasional news and information from the IBA staff, early notice of some events, additional chances to enter some events, discounted entry fees for some events, and access to special areas of the web-based discussion board.

The IBA is a loose-knit organization with only one way to earn membership: ride one of the several rides the IBA certifies.

All that sounds pretty accurate. You can check out the official IBA Websites here :

Iron Butt Association Web Page : http://www.ironbutt.com

Iron Butt Association UK Web Page : https://www.ironbutt.co.uk/w3/index.php

Iron Butt Association Ireland Web Page : http://www.ibaireland.org

It was this bit that got me : ‘with only one way to earn membership : ride one of the several rides the IBA Certifies.’

 

Read moreIron Butt Association : Circuit of Ireland

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