Llyn Brenig Visitor Centre

Not specifically a Biker’s Cafe but situated in the midst of some of Wales’ finest roads and with loads of indoor, outdoor and parking space.

This is a 20th Century reservoir built by the Liverpool Corporation and more recently adapted to host watersports, walking and MTBs. There are miles of trails (both upland and lowland) and it is only 50 yards from the B4501 – one of my favourite roads.

The perfect place to stop for a coffee if you are exploring the B roads.

Here’s the view from the outdoor seating area. It looks like the tide is out (just those thirsty Liverpudlians I guess…)

Llyn Brenig Cafe 3 Aug-14 (Custom)

Inside looking towards the lake:

Llyn Brenig Cafe 2 Aug-14 (Custom)

Inside looking towards the counter:

Llyn Brenig Cafe 1 Aug-14 (Custom)

It can be found at LL21 9TT

More details: www.llyn-brenig.co.uk


The Riverside Inn Aymestrey

Not a biker’s cafe but a real pub with real beer, real food and a real welcome!

Riverside Inn Aymestrey

This was our lunch stop on a recent trip to North Wales. I picked it for location (half way) and because of the recommendations and reviews on the web.

Arriving at just before 2pm, we were just in time for food. The landlord invited us to use the dog-friendly corner and we were joined by Arnold our Springer Spaniel (better than being locked in the car…)

The cricket was on the radio as well.

We had steak sandwiches which came on a slate and were very juicy. The melted cheese is sourced locally from the Monkland Cheese Dairy, which is just up the road (and the subject of one of my “Cafes to visit” articles)


Aymestrey, HR6 9ST

On the A4110 near Leominster on the River Lugg.

More pics:

Riverside Inn 2 Aug-14 (Custom) Riverside Inn Aug-14 (Custom)

New Boots

[Tyres, that is…]

My Tiger 800 came with 4500 miles and OEM Pirelli Skorpion tyres. They look OK from a dual purpose, jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none perspective, but at 8,400 miles they are squared-off and knackered. Riding over any sort of road irregularity reminds me of 1970’s bikes…

So, deep breath and ask the price of Michelin’s brand new Pilot Road 4 Trail tyres.

Here are the dead Skorpions (that would make a good name for a rock band?):

Pirelli Skorpions (dead)

And here are the breathtakingly beautiful Michelins:

Michelin Pilot Road 4 Trail 110/80 Front

Michelin Pilot Road 4 Trail 150/70 Rear

Triumph Tiger 800 Roadie

After two years with the Tiger 1050 I decided to try something a bit smaller and lighter for the summer.

Triumph Tiger 800 First DayHere she is as I got her home (OK, I have removed the enormous AMC topbox…)

62-reg with a personal plate. The previous owner bought a Fazer 1000 so didn’t want the “T800” plate. 4,500 miles only and still 6 months of warranty left.

Here she is with the obligatory Givi:

Triumph Tiger 800 with GiviFitting was not difficult – just drilled a couple of extra holes in the AMC rack and bolted the Givi E250 adapter on top. The box sits a lot lower than on the 1050, in fact the whole bike is lower, lighter, revvy-er (is that a word?).

It’s a very different bike to ride, more like a big Street Triple than a small Tiger. The bike will not pull away on tickover (as I discovered in the petrol station) and 85mph in top gear is 6k revs (6k revs on the 1050 is closer to 100mph).

The gear indicator is brilliant. The time display is a little small in the top left corner and the trip meter doesn’t automatically switch to “miles to empty” when the fuel light comes on. Buffeting is pretty bad so I’ve lowered the seat which makes it better at 80 but worse at 40. I might have to experiment with a few screens…

LED spotlights are great but I don’t use them much. Tyres are Pirelli Scorpions (OEM) which are OK but the rear is squared off.

Here’s a picture of the AMC box:

Triumph Tiger 800 with AMC topbox

Here’s the obligatory exhaust – you didn’t really think I’d stick with the standard can for long did you?

Tiger 800 Arrow Exhaust

Look – no baffles…

Tiger 800 Arrow Exhaust

Tiger 800 Arrow Exhaust

After a month, I’ve just about come to terms with the bar risers and decided to keep them!

Tiger 800 Bar Risers

Triumph Daytona 1000 (Now sold)

This is one of Hinckley’s press bikes from 1990. It uses four-cylinder 998cc version of the short-stroke 750 Daytona/Trident engine.

Daytona 1000_1 1024x683This bike was shipped to the Isle of Man for the TT Races in 1990 by MCN where Chris Dabbs and Keith Heuwen attempted to convince the punters that this was Triumph’s answer to the CBR1000F etc.

There’s a video from Duke (www.dukevideo.com) documenting the whole episode. They say: “Top tester Chris Dabbs puts the 1000cc sports superbike through its paces in every way possible and makes some comparisons with the Yamaha FZR1000. Ex-GP rider Keith Huewen joins Dabbs on some ‘A’ and ‘B’ roads in the UK before flat out timed runs at Bruntingthorpe testing ground where the Daytona does 156 mph with our camera on-board! Then it’s off to the Isle of Man where the handling of the new superbike is fully explored. There’s even footage of an – unplanned – crash test (not Dabbs’ or even the bike’s fault we might add!!) Comprehensive, informative and fun. Don’t miss it!”

Daytona 1000 Video[There’s a DVD and a download as well]

Dabbs did indeed crash the bike by riding it into a straw bale – the dent is still evident in the silencer!

I’ve ridden this bike and it’s not bad for an early 90’s “superbike” and probably would have done well against the CBR of the time. Unfortunately for Triumph, the FireBlade appeared soon after and shifted the goal posts (slightly…)

It is top heavy with a long stretch to the bars but comfy as long as you are tall enough (I am). The pilot’s eye view is a bit strange as Triumph appear to have bolted an extra cylinder on the right hand side of the bike. When you look down, the engine protrudes from beneath the tank about 1″ more on the right than the left!

Daytonas 1000 + 900 1024x683I like Daytonas. Here’s the pair.

Update March 2014

The bike has an MOT and is now for sale at Bridge Moto in Reading:

Bridge Moto Ad Mar-14

Update April 2014

Gone from their website so I assume sold…

1979 Honda CB900FZ (now sold)

This is a great photo – taken by John Noble for a feature in Classic Bike magazine in November 2009. Put it up large on your screen and you can almost feel the tarmac zipping past a few inches below your POV*

Honda CB900FZ

The feature put up late 70’s superbikes in a group test; Honda CB900FZ, Suzuki GS1000S (Ice Cream Van), Kawasaki Z1000 and Yamaha XS1100 (who will ever forget that “Bike” test that headlined “Nothing exceeds like excess” (Geddit?)


Jim Moore’s verdict?

“Admittedly, the Honda’s nowhere near as evocative as the Kawasaki, but as a usable classic superbike it’s the best bike here”.

Thanks Jim 🙂

The bike is still in my garage, although I’ve not ridden it for a few years now…   Maybe I’ll dig it out this spring after re-reading the group test.



* Point Of View

CB900FZ Right Front (Custom) CB900FZ Left Side (Custom)

The bike has a new battery, fork seals, fork oil, brake fluid, engine oil and a shiny new MOT.

Now gone to a new home with a Honda collector and enthusiast.

Motorcycle Parking Bays in Wokingham (Updated 17/02/14)

In Wokingham we are quite well off for free motorcycle parking bays. I use them all the time as an alternative to “illegal” parking…

This morning there was a blue badge holder parked in the motorcycle-only bay. OK, the disabled bay next door was in use, but can you imagine the furore if it was the other way around?

I took this picture just in case I returned to find my bike on the floor! [note that I parked close enough to make a point but not so close as to constitute an obstruction (your Honour…)]

Are blue badge holders allowed to park anywhere they like?


Here’s my other favourite – it’s next to the Library and in the entrance to the pay-and-display car park.

A while back, the council installed the metal pillars to stop delivery trucks (for the pub next door) from using the space. Now we seem to have gained a large green wheelie bin (let’s call the “Dumpsters” as some councils seem to want residential users to share these and we can’t just keep calling them “big green wheelie bins” – can we?)  I don’t know who’s this is but would hazard a guess that it is the pub next door…

As I’ve only ever seen two bikes parked here it is not an issue at the moment, but should I ever find that I can’t fit in, a copy of this photo will be winging it’s way to the council’s complaints desk.

Update 15-Sept-2011

I’ve decided to report the bent bollard noted in one of the comments as it is actually quite tricky to fit a large bike in the space.

While I was there this morning, a guy dumped a load of stuff in the dumpster and then walked back to the Taj Mahal Indian restaurant 50 yards up the road. Why is his bin in our parking space? Doesn’t he have a rear yard like everyone else?

I’m going to ask the council and will report back.

Update 26-Oct-2011

Had an email back from the Car Parks Manager saying that their contractors had been instructed to either repair or replace the bollard.

They also advised that the dumpster was not supposed to be there and that they’d contact the owners.

More updates as this story unfolds…

Update 18-Nov-2011

Three bikes in the parking bay today. With the bent post and the dumpster there was only just enough room…

Motorcycle Parking Bay in Wokingham

Time to nag Wokingham Borough Council to see what’s going on.


Update 11-Jan-2012

The bent bollard was “repaired” (read “removed”) just before Christmas:

The offending bent bollard has been removedOn Christmas Eve, I saw my first car parked in the space – to be honest, it was someone collecting their merry teenagers from the pub, it was dark and raining and she hadn’t done a particularly good job of parking the people carrier. No picture I’m afraid as I was there for exactly the same reason and didn’t hang around to take any pictures.

Next time I find a car there I will!

No progress on the wheelie bin yet.

Update 22-May-12

The bin is still there and today was obstructing half of the available space.

I have emailed WBC to ask for a progress update…

Motorcycle Parking Bay in Wokingham

Update 30-Aug-12

The bin is still there and today is joined by a pallet and a rather natty padlock. If this has been placed there by the “owner”, how do the binmen empty it? Maybe it is the first step towards getting it moved? Whatever happens, I’m planning on a birthday party soon – maybe I should make a cake and present it to Wokingham Borough Council car parks department?

Green bin in bike parking space

Update 10-Nov-12

Well that did the trick.

My thanks to Kevin Brewer, Marketing Manager at Grundon who wielded far more power that Wokingham Borough Council…

Green wheelie bin finally gone

Parking at Waitrose Wokingham (Updated 07-August-12)

I’ve been wandering around Wokingham with my iPhone and have snapped this picture of the motorcycle parking bay at the Waitrose Supermarket (entrance in Rectory Road).

Motorcycle Parking at Waitrose WokinghamI’m not sure if there are any restrictions – there don’t seem to be any for cars any more!


Parking at Wokingham Station (Updated 30-August-12)

I’ve been wandering around Wokingham with my iPhone and have snapped this picture of the motorcycle parking bays at the station.

This is taken from the footbridge – sorry if it looks a bit weird! The corrugated stuff is the roof of the bicycle shed.

Parking at Woodley Precinct (Updated 30-August-12)

Some would say that Woodley is not in Wokingham. It’s in the borough so counts for me! I was there for a blood donation session at the Oakwood Centre. To get to the motorcycle bays, you have to go right to the end by the library.

Motorcycle Parking at Woodley Precinct

Parking at Wokingham’s nice new station (Updated 17-February-14)

Opened (unofficially) in October 2013 and nearly finished now, I’ve been waiting to see if any motorcycle parking bays will appear to replace those lost during the redevelopment.

So far, this is it…

Wokingham Station Motorcycle Parking 2014Not quite what I expected. No doubt the bike parked in this photo will be “moved on” as the gate on the left is some sort of emergency exit.

Watch this space.