NEC Trip

nec1smallRight to Ride’s Trevor Baird goes to the NEC

This time last week I had just returned chilled from a ride across to the Motorcycle Live show at the NEC Birmingham –

I took a ferry, travelled on motorways, walked for miles around the show, met up with a few people, took photographs and spent some money!

So here’s a bit of a tale of three days away from Northern Ireland complied from some comments on Right To Ride’s Facebook page!

However first I needed a new set of waterproofs after a couple of unsuccessful attempts in and around Belfast and Antrim, it was thanks to Hein Gericke Belfast  for having proper “man” sizes!

All was ready for an Overseas/Overland trip, not as fancy as traveling to Tibet but more of an – off the ferry – head to the M6 – Take a right – Follow your nose – take a left to the NEC.

As I rolled the bike out of the garage in the morning, to give it the once over before heading to the overnight  – Belfast to Liverpool ferry – I was left feeling a bit deflated and a bit lucky.

The front tyre was flat the air had gone missing – bugger. However when unscrewing the alloy valve cap, the rubber o-ring was jammed down inside the valve and had deflated the tyre.

The tyre was pumped up and checked and a cheap and cheerful plastic valve caps were fitted front and rear.

Now that was lucky!

An uncomfortable night was spent on the ferry because I had to sleep on a narrow seat in the ships café. The reason for this was that when booking the ferry you have to request a cabin, at a cost, when previously the cabin was included in the cost of the ferry crossing. Whether this now works out dearer or not I don’t know but I remember when the cost of the ferry also included meals, now you have to pay for them separately.

After a bit of a “discussion” with Right To Ride’s booking Secretary, that’s Elaine, Research, cleverness and general “do stuff” person, a cabin was booked online for the return trip.

Aching Creaks

tyrevalve1smallWith a few aching creaks it was a bitter cold but uneventful ride from the ferry at 6.30am to a meeting of the Motorcycle Crime Reduction Group  at MCIA (Motorcycle Industry Headquarters) outside Coventry.  I had to sing my play list of unmemorable songs inside the helmet to keep warm.

Then it was to the NEC for the Motorcycle Live Show, where I caught up with a few people – visited the MAG UK (Motorcycle Action Group) stand, amongst others – had a bit of a meeting with some people – walked around – bumped into a few more people – stared at some people – missed a few people – “he was here a minute ago”!

I was able to have a very interesting meeting and conversation with the new folk at MAG UK – – Lembit Opik and Leon Mannings and I am looking forward to building a working relationship between Lembit and Leon.

Then it was back to the bike to find the hotel – a near disaster followed as I forgot to take the lock and chain off – I was able to unjam the chain from the front wheel and brake calipers …

After a convoluted ride around the road complex of the NEC to the hotel it was just like the old days – sitting in a hotel room – must remember to pull the curtains back next time when I open the window – curtain track now successfully reinstalled.

Anyway day two and it was back to Motorcycle Live with camera in hand and huff and puff while people got in the way. I’m sure I heard one person mutter under their breath wish that bloke would get out of the way ‘cos I can’t see the bike properly.

So while getting in the way of people I was able to source and purchased much needed motorcycle related accoutrements (aka stuff).

AKA Stuff

nec2smallFirst off was a Balaclava from the KNOX Cold Killers Core Collection

I had recently bought a new Arai Tour Enduro helmet from Module Road & Race and while the most comfortable helmet I have ever worn, I usually wear a Buff and for winter wear one that is combined with a Gore® Windstopper® fleece fabric.

However tucking this up under the helmet there was either a folded ear or material pressed in against the side of my head.

The KNOX balaclava was ideal allowing the helmet to slip down over my head, no folded up ears and combined with a lighter Buff kept all draughts out on the ride home. However these actions caused a reaction and while the helmet visor fitted with a pin lock system did not mist up, with the lack of circulating air my glasses were “steaming” up. These cleared above about 45mph but for lower speeds and stopping at junctions etc, I had to pull my glasses away and pitch them on the end of nose to keep clear vision. I have since purchased some visor “Anti-Fog” treatment from Muc-Off to solve the misting up.

Back to wandering around the show from stand to stand and I spotted after several browsing moments for similar products, Kevlar trousers from “John Doe” –

After a short demonstration from the girl on the stand on their water resistant qualities, water poured and run off the material I decided to go through the rigmarole of trying a pair on, boots unlaced, trousers removed standing in your sock soles and underpants, luckily there was a changing room!

Searching through the stock of these German made trousers, they do jackets and hoodies as well, a proper man’s size was tried on and purchased.

After that effort it was just a last meander around the show with a look at Stahlkoffer – and their panniers and top boxes. The GS has aluminium panniers but a “plastic” top box and Stahlkoffer do a large top box that will hold two helmets or lots of stuff packed in that I would never need, how many wind up torches can one rider pack?

However I walked away with a nice leaflet and my credit card safety tucked away.

I got speaking to Tracey who is riding solo, no back up truck and no other riders to Romania in August 2014 a total round trip of 4,800 miles, going through 16 countries.

The purpose is to raise funds for charity – Tracey’s Romanian Road Challenge Wales to Romania Solo for Charity

Apparently I wasn’t the first to ask – Why Romania? And the reply was, why not, as she always wanted to visit the Black Sea, here’s wishing Tracey all the success on her trip!

The NEC visit ended and I was out into the cold, on the bike straight up the M6, then a left to Liverpool and the docks at Birkenhead, a comfortable cabin on the way back.

I arrived home to a more tepid 7 degrees temperature and with a short 20 mile ride home I was there in time for a percolated coffee laced with honey – no wishy washy tea at that time of the morning!

Trevor Baird – Right To Ride

Pictures From Motorcycle Live

View photos on Smug Mug

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