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 : Ride Report

Scotland's North Coast 500 : NC500 : Ride Report

Scotland’s North Coast 500 : NC500 : Ride Report :

Scotland's North Coast 500 : NC500 : Ride Report
Scotland’s North Coast 500 : NC500 : Ride Report

In the Summer of 2016 I took on another European coastal route :  Scotland’s NC500 :

UPDATED DOWNLOAD LOCATION : Get the GPX File for the Scottish North Coast 500 Route right here :

https://tbni.blog/2016/09/27/scotlands-north-coast-500-gpx-route-file-nc500-gpx/

Scotland's NC500 Coastal Route
Scotland’s NC500 Coastal Route

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.

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

http://tbni.blog/2017/11/29/scotlands-north-coast-500-in-2-days/

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

http://tbni.blog/2017/12/07/scotlands-north-coast-500-nc500-in-2-days-day-2-4/

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

http://tbni.blog/2017/12/08/scotlands-north-coast-500-nc500-in-2-days-day-3-4/

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

http://tbni.blog/2017/12/08/scotlands-north-coast-500-nc500-in-2-days-day-4-4/

For more information on this route have a look here :

https://www.northcoast500.com

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

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 4 : 01/08/2016 : Inverness – Cairnryan : Day 4 of the trip and yesterday saw the completion of the North Coast 500 (NC500). This final day is simply the dash home from Inverness to Cairnryan Port. It is almost 5 hours down the motorway towards Glasgow then to Cairnryan. No scenic route, no epic country roads like on Day 1 – with the timing of the ferry it really was just a dash to the port.

Scotland's North Coast 500 : NC500 : The Route Back
Scotland’s North Coast 500 : NC500 : The Route Back

Only one thing needed sorted and that was my brakes. So I knew thanks to my internet buddies where I needed to go and who could help me, I was faced with one further dilemma, it was a bank holiday Monday so businesses were opening a little later than usual or simply not at all.

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

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)

2017 Motorcycle Live Review – MCL in a Day – from Northern Ireland

Motorcycle Live is probably the UK’s biggest Motorcycle Show and follows closely on the heels of the big European shows – as such it is normally the first opportunity that we in the UK get to look at all the goodies the manufacturers are planning on bring out in 2018.

That makes it a pretty exciting show for UK bike fans.

Coming from Northern Ireland though it is quite a trek to get to, and it means a really early start to get the most out of the day.

I have been going over for a good few years and I had pretty much perfected the routine of getting up early getting to Belfast for a 7.30 am flight – getting into Birmingham, getting fed and getting into the event for the doors opening at 10.00 am. The flights would have cost about £70 for the return fare – Motorcycle Live and a Programme is about £30 so all in it was about £100 for the day.

This year though I went a little different. I was able to pick up flights for £19.98 for the return with Ryanair – then the £30 for the show and programme meaning the full day was costing a mere £50 ish. The only trade off was the start time and travelling.

The flight was at 6.55 am so I had to get up at 3.00 am and head to Dublin Airport. That got me in at about 7.40 am. So 2 hours 20 minutes before the show starts. Then it was time for my best kept secret. Off the plane and up the stairs in the Airport for a Frankie and Benny’s breakfast. Every year everyone hurries off the plane and rushes to the adjoining NEC – I however go upstairs, sit down and enjoy a tasty breakfast of bacon and scrambled eggs (the eggs by the way are outstanding). That was my plan this year as well although it now seems that this well kept secret has been rumbled – half the damn plane went! However the most important thing remains – the eggs were outstanding!

With breakfast eaten and thoroughly enjoyed it was still only 08.30 am. An hour and a half until the doors open, so bring a book, magazine, iPad or whatever to pass the time, or if like me you like a little flutter you could always check out the casino at the Genting Arena, about 5 minutes of a walk will take you to it from the NEC – so hop on the fun little monorail and zip over to the NEC and pass the time.

Before we even consider going any further here is the most important tip for the day :

Bring your Driving Licence.

I forgot mine!

Read more2017 Motorcycle Live Review – MCL in a Day – from Northern Ireland

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