BigMac 2013... The Write Up

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BigMac 2013... The Write Up

Post  MrNutt on Tue Aug 20 2013, 22:17

This was my first ever Big Mac, I’d booked it well in advance and was very much looking forward to it, months in advance. Then I lost my job and the prospect of me going dropped considerably, but I managed to get back on the work wagon and all was good. Big Mac was going to happen!

Thursday 1st August, I set of at 10am on my first leg of a 2-leg journey to get to Oban, this years BM base for the weekend. I had 200 miles of boring as motorway to get me to Fleetwood, Lancashire. My over night halt with my aunt and uncle who kindly offered to feed me and put me up.

7:45am Friday 2nd August back on the road again enroute to devils bridge Kirkby Lonsdale to meet, Martin, Chris, Terry and Bob. Martin was already there when I arrived shortly followed by Terry on his new shiny red steed and Chris on a familiar looking FJR. Bob was running late so twas the perfect excuse for a brew and bacon roll!

With Bob arrived and bacon scoffed, Chris lead the way out of Devils Bridge north towards our next stop in Biggar. We were mainly going cross country but after a quick fuel stop decided to have a quick 60 mile motorway blast to push us on a bit more, nowt to do with the bacon rolls and tea mind…

We rolled into Biggar and to the newtown fish and chip shop. Uk’s best fish and chips in 2007 apparently…. Strange system in there though. Small fish and chips = 1 fish and some chips, regular fish and chips = 2x fish and a few more chips and large = 3x fish and even more chips.. These were full size fish! Bob struggled with his regular portion not realising he got 2 fish till he got em!
With us now fuelled we headed off towards Shotts were Ross is based for the final push on to Oban.
We met up with Stevecat, Paul & Karina at Ross’s, they had both gone up the day before and stayed overnight. We had a brew and some Bombay mix (Many thanks to Ross and his lovely wife (sorry I have forgotten her name!) for letting us traipse into their house!)
Stevecat showed us travellers some of his feature length epic of the recent Alps trip some of the boys had been on.
Wooster then rolled up and joined us for our ride up the east side of the Queen Elizabeth forest park (I think that’s where we went…).

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We stopped for fuel not far from Crainlarich, were we met up with chicken Tim, John, Atholl and his lad Byron.
We made the last push onto Oban, Wooster departed at Crainlarich, I said I’d Tail end after he had departed.

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Though not everyone heard…especially Terry, I get to Tyndrum, home of the famous green welly and I get to a junction with no one marking….. There’s a sign for Fort William and one for Oban, I didn’t think that Ross would go all the way to Fort William to come all the way back down so went off following the signs for Oban down the A85. Had a cracking ride by myself! I finally rolled into Oban with some bemused markers at a roundabout and Terry explaining that there was certainly no one else coming!

Now all back together we rolled into the Oban Youth Hostel, our base for the trip. We all parked up and made our way inside.
Davie, John and Fi and Billy had already arrived and had sorted all the rooms out, well Fi had and was dishing out room cards and marching orders! Some of the peeps were in shared public dorms and others had their own biker’s only rooms.

The rooms were light airy and clean with ours having a great view to!

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And some odd signs in the bathrooms!

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This was the first time for me meeting a few of the guys and girls from well north of the boarder! Was great to put real names to site names and faces to the names to.

Once the rooms had been divided up into snorers corner and non-snorers, it was all-downstairs for some beers and a wee dram too, many thanks to Billy for providing!

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Ross departed with helpers In tow to get our weekends supplies from Tesco’s, sadly they wouldn’t deliver to the hostel, they returned triumphant with armfuls of eats and drinkies.
Ovens on, pizzas in, more beers flowing, banter and chat. A typical Friday evening on a rideout weekend, cant beat it!

The night wore on, having had a mega trek to get to Oban I was pretty wiped out to called it a night earlier than I Normally would. Stevecat, Atholl, Rosco and myself were in a room, this wasn’t a bikers only room but a public one.
A few of us had dozed off till 1am came round and some peeps came in and turned all the lights on, not sure if they realsied it was a shard dorm or not! Anyway they were quick and soon peace was restored.
Until about 5 am when the same chap wanted to plug his phone into charge and proceeded to wander round the whole room in the dark trying every chuffing socket and seemingly smashing the plug into the socket to no avail, that was until he found the socket next to stevecats bed and spent a good few mins hammering this plug into the wall before sloping off again.

WE WERE NOT AMUSED!!

Any who, it was Saturday, the first rideout day. Sadly the weather didn’t look very clever and could conspire against us. But we cracked on with a cracking breakfast with all the trimmings! Eggs, beans, sausage, bacon, haggis, spud pancakes. And large amounts of teas and coffees.
Bellies filled, riding gear on, rain sadly not avoided! But the rain doesn’t faze us being British; we relish it (or something like that).

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So with Rosco leading in his tallow jacket and now sporting a yellow Mohawk on his lid we rode round the corner for a quick group photo before we headed off. John, Fi and Billy had their own shorter route planned so they waved us off and we rolled out of Oban.
Now the rain was coming down but it didn’t stop us. (Sorry if I get the routes/roads wrong in here. Please correct me if I do).
After a fuel up we headed south on the A816 then onto the A83, stopping at Inveraray and then heading onto Dunoon.
Unfortunately the rain got heavier and for me at least I lost a lot of confidence in my riding, the roads were very tight and twisty and in the dry would be cracking, but I just couldn’t keep the same pace as the guys and girls in front. So big thanks to Davie for tail ending and being very patient with me. No one egged me to go faster or push it but to keep going as I was, hopefully I didn’t slow anyone up too much. That’s one of the best things about riding with this group off the forum is everyone’s patient and understanding and this allows for a great ride out!. The rain then eased somewhat and the roads opened up a bit more so I was able to push on a little more. Not that anyone was totaling flying as the roads were more rivers than roads.
We pulled into Inveraray for a tea and coffee stop, the rain that had eased started again, but it did provide an interesting back drop over Loch Fyne.

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nothing like a vital spark.....

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what a difference a few minutes make!

Warmed by tea and chocolate and finally some sunshine! We headed out in the direction of Dunoon carrying on on the A83 then I think taking the more scenic A815 to the ferry at Dunoon. The weather did now start to get better thankfully, no more rain, still a bit over cast but we did get some rays of sunshine, which was very welcomed!
As we rolled onto the ferry at Dunoon the sun shone properly for the first time all day and we all enjoy the crossing to Gourock.

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We rolled off the ferry having all dried out a bit and headed for our lunch stop at a local Morrison’s. With us and the bikes now refulled we headed off towards and around the edge of Glasgow.
We had a bit of dual carriage way and motorway to cover so a quick blast along these led us to the A82, this was a cracker of a road, and with the sun shining and the roads being mainly dry the pace hotted up a bit and I some how managed to find myself following the bright yellow Mohawk up the side of Loch Lomond.
Twas great fun trying to keep on the tail of Rosco as we overtook our way up the road. I think everyone enjoyed this stint quite abit! Ross was blasting along as he does and overtook a line of traffic, in this line was a bright orange transit van, happily going along until Ross went past it seemed! He obviously didn’t like being overtaken by a biker on a B&Q thundercat! I was behind the van at this point I must add. He went after Ross making some seriously bad and dodgy overtakes, multiple double white line overtakes and overtaking past junctions on the hatch marked sections, finally he gets past the traffic and is still caining it along. I decided to hang back and take my time. Eventually I caught up with the van some 10 mins later, I started to smell oil and checked my bike, temp was fine no warning lights on, but the smell got stronger. I was rather confused until I heard a bang and was riding through a rather large with smoke cloud, buddy boy in the tranny had been a fanny and blown his engine up. I started wetting myself as he started to slow as yet more white smoke then getting progressively black was pouring out his exhaust until he rolled to a stop in a layby some way along the road, all rather amusing not just to me but all of us it seemed! Sadly no one caught the incident on film but I think stevecat managed to get a still from his camera of the van rolling into the layby!
We stopped in Tyndrum at the Green Welly for a quick break, before pushing on back to Oban on the A85, a corking road. We ended up riding this 3 days in a row and it was different each time!

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Back at the digs the beers were cracked open as we sat and basked in some more sunshine, sitting outside the front of the Hostel overlooking the sound of kerrea, taking of the days riding and watching the boats come in and out of the port in Oban.

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Saturday evening was a Mexican affair with a chicken fajita and cheesy tortilla chips affair, washed down with lots of tasty cider beer and red wone and all topped off with a rather tasty banoffie pie courtesy of John and Fi. I think everyone enjoyed the feast that was laid on that evening. Rosco tried to get his Dice game going but only a few people sold their souls, the rest of us went off into Oban for a few drinks at a recommended pub called markie daans. It was only a stones throw from the hostel and was a buzzing vibrant place. The beers and whisky was flowing and we were joined by a few others. Ross managed to charm his way into a booth with the rest of us in tow. The lovely couple obviously didn’t know what they were letting themselves in for! Yes darling just a nice drink in the local, yes just the two of us…..
They were great and chatty and were seemingly more than happy for us to invade.
There was much banter, beer and whisky and some rather strange music choices from Billy on the jukebox!
Then there was the hilarity of what was found in the gents loo’s! ross was so intrigued he took his camera,. On the wall of said gents was a vending machine for adults only! It provided much hilarity for the rest of the evening and also led to some poor bloke coming into the loos to find 3 of us trying to take pictures of this vending machine! Thankfully he found the funny side and none of us ended up in the national press!
We wandered back to the digs for a few more drinks and then in dribs and drabs headed to bed.

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Ross kept needing the loo for some reason.....

Sunday morning and a few people were headed off today. Mevesy , Atholl and Byron were departing today. Martin leaving just after breakfast. And Atholl and Byron leaving part way into the morning.
Halfway through the day we get a text from martin, who went back down home via Loch Lomond and there in pride of place was the orange transit from yesterday sitting dead in the layby!

Today we would be riding north from oban and then looping back round. We headed out towards Fort William, after a quick detour to McCaigs tower. Then going north from Oban on the A828, the views of Loch Linnhe were stunning and the closer we got to Fort William the bigger the mountains and the scenery got.


We stopped just outside Fort William, this is where Atholl and Byron left us fro home. As we rode through Fort William I was hoping to catch a glimpse of Ben Nevis but I wasn’t sure quite where it was, until Chris Eddie pointed at the big horrid looking clouds and said its in there!
We carried on this time bearing west along the A830 then onto the A861 that took us around the northern most parts of Loch Linnhe. This section of road to the lunch stop was a total belter really quiet and some crack twist and turns with a good handful of undulations in there to, it was made even better by being dry and sunny. Great choice from Ross and Dave for this section!
We had our lunch stop at Corran at a lovely pub right on the shore opposite the roll on roll off ferry.
This is where ross earned his numpty point for the trip, we have stopped not to far from the lunch holt and ross who was tail ending blasts past everyone to get up from to take pictures of everyone, I thinking he was marking a junction slowed down not realizing until I got a gee up wave from him, my action shot probably wasn’t very action filled!
Anywho Ross, Davie and myself are last into the lunch stop car park. Ross and myself go to park our bikes next to the others, a mini thundercat line up. Ross spins round and starts reversing checking behind him, he stops to check again and keeps going back until he reverses straignt in to poor stevecats bike nearly knocking him over the wall! What a numpty!
Thankfully there was no damage done just a bit of a dent in the pride.
There is some video evidence of this so that’ll be on shortly!

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After a nice lunch we gear up to get onto the ferry and roll across the road waiting at one side separate to the cars so they can get onto the ferry, sadly the little hitler on the ferry was a bit of a knob and told us to go and queue up for no real reason!
Finally on the ferry we hop across from Corran back to the A82 and head down for our run around Kinlochleven. Also know as the Scotburgring, it wasn’t a let down! Was a great blast and would love to go back and ride it some more sometime. We then stopped for fuel in the Village of Glencoe before riding through the Glen itself. I’ve read and seen pictures of Glencoe before, but none of those do this place justice in my view. Yes there were millions of tourists, everywhere , getting in the way. But I liked slowing a bit to look at the size of the place, mountains towering above you on each side as you ride through the middle of the Glen. Sadly the weather turned again having had such a good day we were getting rained on again, for me it added to the view somewhat. We then rode back down towards Tyndrum on the A82 then taking the A85 again back to Oban. Just as we got on the road home the heavens properly opened and many dived into laybys to get waterproofs on and change gloves.
Then of course within a few miles the rain stopped the sun came out and there were a few boil in the bag bikers riding into Oban for the last time this weekend.

Again with some nice weather we sat out on the hostel front over looking the sea and boats with a few beers, before all heading down to markie dans for a pint, we had some lovely warm sunshine now which was lovely to bask in with a refreshing pint in hand. From here we headed off out for our curry, fi had found and booked the place so big thanks to here. The beers were ordered and soon being consumed with the banter and chat of the day and the weekend. Having been fed rather well we headed back to the digs for some more bannoffie pie and some more drinks.

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The final breakfast, just as good as the first 2! And having cleared and packed up the remaining food and beer was divvied out with various ways off attaching stuff to backs of bikes.
We all split into our various groups for riding home. With people coming from all over we had peeps going north into the highlands, south to the boarders, Yorkshire, Lancashire , Cheltenham and for the one with the ass of feathers and or steel! (stevecat) was heading back to south London, from Oban in one hit. I tagged along with Ross, Terry, Chris and Bob. We rode the more scenic route. Of course today the weather was lovely! The route we took covered some of Saturdays route, but this time in the dry and it was great fun. Inveraray was completely different in the sunshine, we could see all across the lich this time! We had a bit of a mix up trying to get the ferry at Dunoon and temporarily lost bob and terry, but thankfully found them and were on the ferry going towards Inverkip.
From here we rode down the coast on the A78 and into Kilmarnock, here we fuelled and Bob, Terry Chris and I split from Ross who went east to get back home, the rest of us got on the A75 and headed towards Dumfires. We were going to carryon going cross country but we decided to get on the motorway at Carlisle. The A75 was a great road (great choice Chris!) was just a shame there was lots of traffic, terry and chris were well ahead of bob and myself when we go to the motorway so sadly we didn’t get to say bye to them but it had already been a long day and peeps just wanted to get home. And of course as soon as we crossed the boarder the heavens opened and it pissed it down like it was going out of fashion!
I rode down the M6 with bob as he lives not too far from my aunt and uncles house where I was stopping over again rather than doing the journey home in one hit. I still had my vented gloves on so pulled over onto the hard shoulder to change my gloves to my waterproof ones, as I was doing this a bloke on an old ariel 4 square paddled up next to me, asking me if I was there to help in him in a thick kiwi accent.
I asked what the problem was and he said he wasn’t sure the bike stopped and now it wouldn’t start, I ran through the things I could think of, but he wasn’t sure. So I said can he get the bike recovered, he said he was with a group of people but they hadn’t noticed he had stopped, so suggested he phone them or get recovered as he was stuck between penrith and Kendal and there wasn’t much there at all. I was truly gutted I couldn’t properly help him as it was pissing it down, but I had to move on.
So 30 miles later bob and me pull into a services to get a quick splash of fuel for our final run in. we get chatting to a bloke on a BMW R80, we were sayinf we’d been to Scotland for a weekend trip and he said he’d been up there too….with the ariel riders club. I said did you have a kiwi guy riding with them by chance… he said yeah, bloke with glasses, I said yeah. Chap said how did you meet him, told him of my meeting on the southbound M6 hardshoulder. Got told how this group had gone from york through the dales and onto Edinburgh, where this kiwi guy managed to crash the bike he was on twice (this was a borrowed bike btw) he really hurt his right foot and could barely walk on it. The group offered to have the bike recovered and he could ride pillion or go in a side car. He refused and carried on riding then finding out he couldn’t change gear (the brake and gears are swapped sides on old British bikes) so the group fashioned a hand change from the pedal to the tank so he could change up through the gears. While trying to master this he crashed again but refused to stop and then held everyone up for the following 4/5 days. And in the process had pissed nearly everyone off so when this thing happened it was kind of the final straw it seemed, the chap hadn’t checked how the bike properly worked or checked the fluid levels or anything.
So I now didn’t feel as bad leaving him at the side of the M6… if you going to go on a big bike trip you need to be a bit prepared at least!

So now back on the road again bob and me pressed on, and finally the rain stopped, we got off the motorway. As we were going along on the A6 I noticed that the bike was weaving a bit and not feeling as planted and that when braking the front juddered a bit. I thought it was the pads and the damp roads, and the fact I was tired but as we pressed on the bike just wouldn’t turn round corners, was a bit of a fight and I was rather confused, I thought it probably was the tyre pressures being down on what they should be. Anyway we carry on and 5 miles from my stop over I was sitting at some lights and I hear a honk of a horn and a guy on a bike rode up beside me shouting you’ve got a really bad flat, flip! Not what I needed. Though thankfully I was opposite a petrol station so I rolled in to see a totally flat tyre…bugger! Managed to get the tyre re inflated, should have had 42psi in it, it had 2psi in it!
I made it to my aunt and uncles carefully and as soon as I got off the bike and into their yard I could hear the air hissing out and found the tack/small nail shaped hole in the rear.
Thankfully there was a Yamaha dealer 2 minutes down the road from their house so the following day popped round to inquire about tyres, hoping they would be able to sort me out. Now thankfully they had some good deals on the Michelin tyres I wanted so I opted to replace front and back as the rear I had on was near the end of its life and given how good a deal it was I thought sod it. But sadly the tyres wouldn’t be at the workshop till the following day, I had to be back fro work on that day.. So after a call to my boss I was all ok to miss my shift and get sorted.
So after a night of fish and chips and some beers the bike was dropped round for its new boots to be fitted, I was hoping to be on the go early to mid afternoon for the final 200 miles home, get a phone call at 2pm saying the tyres were fitted but that the front wheel bearings were shot…. Double bugger!!!

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Thankfully they had the parts and everything was all good by 3:45pm I got the bike back to my aunt and uncles and packed up then waited till gone 6 in the hope id miss most of the rush hour M6 traffic at Manchester and Birmingham. The weather was lovely the temp was just right so I set off content with everything…25 minutes later I was parked in a car park swearing and ready to beat the bike to a pulp. The bleedin speedo had stopped working! I tried to find out what was wrong but couldn’t work it out, I couldn’t go back to my aunt and uncles as I had to get to work the following day! The rev counter worked fine as did everything else and I knew I could work out my speed by the gear I was in and the revs I was at and could also gauge it off the lorries who wouldn’t be going anything more than 60. So off I went, it was a lovely ride back managed the 200miles in just over 3 hours with one stop and rolled into the garage at home quite tired but also pleased to be home! The weekend had been a great adventure with great roads, beer and people.

So home a few days later than expected, with a new set of tyres and front wheel bearings and exactly 1501 miles I had done my first BigMac run.

Whens the next one!

Big thanks to Dave, Ross and Davie for the route planning, digs finding tail ending and leading and to the cooks and washers.


Last edited by MrNutt on Tue Aug 20 2013, 23:36; edited 1 time in total
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Re: BigMac 2013... The Write Up

Post  Rosco on Tue Aug 20 2013, 23:36

Great write up Dave.  Just about how I remember it too.

Looking forward to the video ...... Crying or Very sad 

You need to wait a whole year till the next one I'm afraid.
Will try and get the ball rolling early in 2014 for Big Mac 2014.
It will be around the time of the Commonwealth games in Glasgow.  Maybe if you put your camera on and sit pillion backwards on my bike we could lead the marathon.

Since we've plenty of time we could look in to an 'alternative' activity to complement the rideout.
We've done go-karting before .... maybe a off-road Segway experience??
Any other suggestions?
Rumour has it we're heading Aberdeenshire direction.

Cheers
Ross
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Re: BigMac 2013... The Write Up

Post  MrNutt on Tue Aug 20 2013, 23:39

no with a few more photos ross.

Look forward to seeing some of your pics!

footage sharing is currently going on and will be a while yet before the you've been framed video is up..

looking forward to WM2014 already!

we could offer our services! though those other activities do sound rather good Thumb 
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Re: BigMac 2013... The Write Up

Post  furball on Wed Aug 21 2013, 14:27

Thank's for the write up Dave and glad you enjoyed you're first trip to the west coast of Scotland....

Haste ye back....

Cheers Davie


Last edited by furball on Thu Aug 22 2013, 13:16; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : .speeeeling)
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Re: BigMac 2013... The Write Up

Post  Wild-Kat-Wolf on Wed Aug 21 2013, 17:12

Fabulous write-up Dave.... it brought all the memories flooding back, and we both started laughing out loud at some of the stuff when we read it rofl 

Like you say, looking forward already to the next one.... will have to have a think about what alternative activities might be available.... but perhaps as we 'may' be heading to Aberdeenshire we'll not be needing the 'blow up' sheep this time.... after all the fields are full of them up there affraid 

Glad you eventually got home safe, and with shiny new bits....what more could a boy ask Thumb 

Fi  girl_witch 
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Re: BigMac 2013... The Write Up

Post  ellie on Wed Aug 21 2013, 18:34

Well done Dave, you & Tony should form a write-up double act! Thumb
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Re: BigMac 2013... The Write Up

Post  SteveCat on Wed Aug 21 2013, 19:31

Great write up Dave. I'm sure if I had gone down the bank you wouldn't have caught it on cam. Wink 
My videos are all copied and will be snail mailed tomorrow, good luck sorting it all out.
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Re: BigMac 2013... The Write Up

Post  MevsyD on Thu Aug 22 2013, 09:48

Fantastic write up Dave, you must take notes or have some sort of photographic memory! I was asked the other day how the trip was and where we got to.... All I could answer was 'Brilliant, and around the west coast of Scotland'!! Top marks for that. Also Steve, do you have the videos on a cd rom? If so for a small conribution could you burn me a copy too?
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Re: BigMac 2013... The Write Up

Post  SteveCat on Thu Aug 22 2013, 10:06

I haven't edited any of the video's Martin. I'm sending Dave my near 90GB worth of videos and pictures, he will sift through and put something together.
I've only had a quick glance at some of them, found the Transit- you might have seen the snapshot I took from the video of the van rolling into the lay bay.

I might have a go at compiling something sometime in the future, for now I can't face the sight of the video editor!!    Billy Whizz
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Re: BigMac 2013... The Write Up

Post  MevsyD on Thu Aug 22 2013, 10:09

Lol! Fair play.. After the Alps one I fully understand that... Missed that snapshot, mind you I only found this write up this morning....
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Re: BigMac 2013... The Write Up

Post  SteveCat on Thu Aug 22 2013, 10:51

It's in my photo album on Flickr, [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] (in case you missed the link)

The pic of Ford's unofficial F1 test vehicle.

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The date on the video is 1 year out confused_2
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Re: BigMac 2013... The Write Up

Post  Wooster on Thu Aug 22 2013, 11:32

You should send them a card.

"To the Orange Transit that was ragged to death by a driver who thought he could keep with motorcycles,
Rust in Peace!"


green smile 
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Re: BigMac 2013... The Write Up

Post  MevsyD on Thu Aug 22 2013, 18:26

Hilarious! I wonder if it is still there!
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Re: BigMac 2013... The Write Up

Post  SteveCat on Thu Aug 22 2013, 19:14

It wasn't when I rode past on Monday.
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Re: BigMac 2013... The Write Up

Post  Wooster on Thu Aug 22 2013, 19:25

Maybe change the card to "Congratulations on your new engine!" ? Laughing 
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Re: BigMac 2013... The Write Up

Post  MevsyD on Thu Aug 22 2013, 20:41

It was there the next day when I rode home.....!
 
 
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Re: BigMac 2013... The Write Up

Post  Wooster on Thu Aug 22 2013, 21:29

I haven't been able to find them online today.
Hopefully it's a one man band (private plate?) and one less fanny on the roads for a bit. :/ (you probably also stopped a granny getting ripped off for a dodgy roof or driveway clean) Very Happy 

Funnily enough, going in the opposite direction on that road (in busy tourist traffic) , I had a bloke in a gold Range Rover take the hump at me filtering by at the Arden Roundabout (last roundabout 8(?) miles back from that pic), tried to barge me into oncoming traffic when he caught up, and then started undertaking cars on the grass verge to catch up with me again.

I reckon I'm not far off 1,000,000 miles on the roads and that incident still stands out as the worst behaviour I've ever seen..and it wasn't even like I was almost killed, i'd have been unaware of what he was up to behind me if I hadn't started to wonder why everyone else coming on were acting a bit cagey and keeping as far left as they could.

It's well above "Frustrated dad overtaking lorry on a blind bend on the A9, with horrified wife and kids to the side and rear, looking death in the face" (Like something out of a 70's Public Information film), which would be my number 2, tired French Lorry Driver @ 3AM in a blizzard @ number 3 etc..
I barely noticed the extra wheels behind the truck in time and managed to pull into a layby under heavy braking.
But that was just a stupid mistake.
Plus, I hope the stupid bastard learned a lesson from it. ...take your time, don't kill your family for the sake of saving a couple of minutes.
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