Utterly awful Hotel in Toledo Spain. THE HOTEL MARTIN, Toledo.

do not under any circumstances, ever, even if it means sleeping in your car, ever book a room at the hole that is The HOTEL MARTIN, Toledo, Spain.

What a bunch of snotty, unhelpful, profiteering scum. Their ‘manager’ doesn’t know how close he came to me running him over as I slid out of the car park just now.

They patently don’t like motorcyclists or English people.  Their ‘policy’ on cancellation is variable depending on how snotty the receptionist is….as is the size and cost of their ‘ample’ secure car park.

The Joy of cancelling this with Booking.com and Visa will now commence from the comfort of our very nice, pleasant room 5 minutes away.

Thankfully, what has been a great, pleasant, friendly experience in Spain has been maintained by the Hotel staff at the Abad.


Greetings from Mojacar!

The sun is out, the beach is empty and the Havana Club is Schweet.  Riding down so far has been exceptional.  From landing in Bilbao and a little dual carriageway and toll, the riding has been exceptional in many places.  Routes and roads, I’ll update later along with photos.

Leaving in the morning for Granada.  Pics and all that to follow shortly.  The bar and dinner are calling.

Southern Spain Winter 2011

Today’s post is brought to you by: itchy feet want to get out on the bike.com.  So itchy was I, I’ve finished the routing for our trip south to Mercia coming up soon.

Not too many years ago, I’d have been straining to jump in the car about now heading out to the alps.  Iz really isn’t a skier and the guys I regularly skied with are off in North Africa this winter…so a bit ‘buddyless’ on that front.  Never mind.  A bit of a ride out to Southern Spain will shake off them urges for snow.

Whist not perhaps the most exciting of routes, it’s as low altitude as I think we can achieve whilst not just becoming a motorway hack.  I think day one from Bilbao to Teruel will be a bit of a bind but from experience the views are nice, however our hotel booking at the Parador that night should make up for it.

Day two will be a little more interesting with some low level passes, and a final hour along the gravel into our end destination.

Firstly though we will have to get from the north down to Portsmouth….current weather looks set to improve slightly.  At least the wind is set to drop and temps to stay up around 7-8 degrees.

I’m looking forward to a couple of nights on the Ferry on the way out.  It will be nice to just chill out with a book and a bottle of wine, again all a bit weather depending though!

More to come on the write up once we are moving and can get t’internet access.

New Fuel Tank Arrives

A rather large box arrived at the house this morning from Adventure Spec.  It contained the Safari 12-litre add-on tank for the G450x.   This tank supplements the under seat primary tank fitted to the bike as standard.

The stock tank is only 8 litres, giving less than 80 miles with a conservative throttle.  The new tank when fitted will give me a circa 200 mile range, enough for my needs.

There are alternate options for fitting large capacity tanks to the G450x.  Essentially either wrapping around the stock tank as an add-on or replacing it entirely.  Both add weight to the already known weak area of the rear subframe on the bike.  Never really designed to take loads other than an enduro rider, the subframe was built to be light, not strong! There is an option to junk the whole rear end in favour of a beefier integrated subframe/tank with higher capacity, but the costs would spiral!  I will also need to carry some kit with me on extended trails, which will be saddle bag mounted to the subframe, so keeping the additional fuel weight away from this area will assist.

Using this front tank has some drawbacks.  Fuel heating (it’s mounted directly in the airflow from the radiator) isn’t ideal and can in some cases create vapour lock, however, as this tank is feeding the primary tank, not direct to fuel pump, I don’t think it will be an issue.

Shifting weight high and forward isn’t ideal in critical or high stress racing conditions.  Either way, the bike is still whippet light, so I will cope.

The contents of the kit covers everything require to fit the tank.  Only thing I will add is a dry break connection in the line to allow me to quickly remove the unit for engine work, without disturbing fuel line connections elsewhere.

I’ll be fitting this in the New year and will post up pics and a report on how it goes.  I’ll be doing the valve clearances, replacing the battery and rewiring the power source for the GPS at the same time, so it’ll be a weekends worth of messing.  I hope it warms up a bit!

BBC News – Timeline: The unfolding eurozone crisis

This was never intended to be a political Blog, but the events in train right now, I want to record for myself.

BBC News- The night Europe changed.

BBC News – Timeline: The unfolding eurozone crisis.

Put into a timeline it makes for really interesting reading.  The stalling, inacivity and latest reactions overnight seem all too little too late.  I doubt any of this is over but worse it shows a total lack of contingency planning from its inception by Euro zone members.

The steps being taken to prop up the Euro were inevitable.  The loss of independent Euro member states right to manage their own budgets was signed away the day they joined.  How could it ultimately be anything different?

‘Cameron’s veto’ (in typical BBC style, no mention of the other members who stepped away) in light of where the Euro lies now and for some time to come is the right one.  We should have confidence in our ability to manage our own affairs.

Let’s see how long the basic premise of the EU as a free trade zone remains alive.

Sailing, a beginners guide. By David Seidman

I bought this book in the first instance to give Iz an introduction to what I’m up to and ground her in some basics for an intro weekend we did with HSOY back in September.

Having lent her my old copy of the RYA’s Competent Crew course book, she was a bit disillusioned and really none the wiser.  She’d never sailed or been on a wind powered vessel of any sort and the terminology with no point of reference was hard to swallow.

Bought on the back of a decent review on Amazon, I didn’t really know what to expect.  What a great guide, on a lot of levels.  The language is simple and effective.  The illustrations are excellent and in themselves speak a thousand words.  As a guide from stepping onto the pontoon, through to hull and rig designs its approach is simple and clear, yet thorough.

I’ve started using it myself as a stepping off point into more in depth reading on specific subjects and it sits in my reference pile as a touch point.

What comes across regardless of the subject discussed is the authors true interest and passion for sailing.

I recommend anyone wanting to read around sailing to have a look at this book.