Monthly Archives: April 2011

Cafes You Should Visit #4: Compton Abbas Airfield

It’s May (nearly) so it must be time for another airfield cafe!

This is Compton Abbas. Makes Old Sarum look positively suburban but ticks all the boxes and it has a bar!

If you’ve never riden up Zig Zag Hill, you must try it (once). It’s very over-rated and to be honest, I don’t like hairpins very much. I’m more of the “sweeping bends” type.

The local sausage baguettes are highly recommended.

Compton Abbas Airfield Cafe

I’m bringing the Bulldog RAT boys here on Sunday (1st May) – we’ll see what they make of it.

How to make a new House Name Sign

A bit of a diversion here.

For many years (14 actually) my house has sported a sign that was made for me by my late father-in-law:

This is painted onto a piece of mahogany (probably a bit of old furniture) but is now beginning to show signs of requiring a bit of a refurb.

So, need a piece of hardwaring wood (that’s oak then). This is a section of an old solid oak floorboard.

Cut to size, plane off the old varnish and it is beginning to look good.

Drill a couple of mounting holes.

Here’s the “logo”. This was originally found on a packet of Dovedale Blue cheese in Sainsburys. I can’t find anything more on it – can’t find the cheese any more either (shame – it was delicious!)

Blown up in Photoshop and printed onto two sheets of A4. Then cut out the letters to make a stencil.

This is a very important part of any creative process.


Stencil onto the oak.

Remove the paper stencil.

Paint in the letters

Beginning to look like a sign (at last)

One coat of coloured varnish.

The old and the new.

Job Done.


The old sign has been retired to the back garden – I was banned from throwing it out by my kids: “Grandad made that”

Old Bikes Never Die

… they just get used.

I could have titled this “Steve visits Steve” but Steve(2) is shy so I can only feature his bike.

This is a 1974 Honda CB500/4 that is used (almost) daily and has been maintained to do just that. You won’t find many NOS parts on this bike. Everything works (but may not be original), it is taxed and MOT’d.

And it sports a Scottoiler!

Here’s  the bike:

1974 Honda CB500-4

The modifications list reads like a 1970’s dream:

  • Laser 4-1 exhaust
  • Braided brake lines
  • Avon tyres
  • Pod filters

Here’s me (Steve) on the bike in the garden:

1974 Honda CB500/4 with Steve

Note the 2004 10th anniversary t-shirt!

Triumph Speedmaster

Further to my recent tyre posting I dropped in to Bulldog Triumph this afternoon to ask the guys to order me a set of Michelin Pilot Road 2 tyres. These come highly recommended in sports touring circles so I thought I’d give Bridgestone a miss this time and try something different.

They had them in stock so I headed off on one of the shop bikes to kill a little time…

Triumph's small-bore custom cruiser

Boy is this different!

I’ve never ridden a cruiser before and this one was quite interesting. First of all, there’s a choke! (a what?). Then there’s the footpegs; they’re located where you’d normally find the radiator. The bars are w-i-d-e and pulled back.

Overall, not uncomfortable and does inspire a certain “Easy Rider”-type riding style. The bike only had 200 miles on the clock (and only 60bhp in total) so doesn’t encourage spirited riding. No doubt that you could: after 20 miles or so I started to lean it into roundabouts and started having fun.

Here’s the pilot’s view:

The most disappointing part of the entire package is the exhaust note. Those slash-cut silencers look the business but sound dreadful. My lasting impression was that it sounded like a Superdream (remember them?). It went about as well as a Superdream too.

Overall, a bit like the Bonnie that I tried a while back. Nice to cruise around on in the sunshine, but I wouldn’t want to ride one to Scotland.

Motorcycle Tyres – Should you be able to see the canvas?

Bit of a surprise this afternoon when I was cleaning my bike (first time since Christmas). I knew that my rear tyre was down to the wear marks and had been asking around for prices on a set of Michelin Pilot Road 2s as I’ve heard good things about them. I’ve had BT020, BT021 and BT023 up to now.

Fancy a change.


Rear BT020

This is what they call "Part Worn" on eBay...

BT020 Rear

Is that canvas? Do they have canvas nowadays?

Cafes You Should Visit #3: Old Sarum Airfield

This is a great cafe (not to mention a stonking ride from Wokingham)

First impressions of the airfield are that it looks a bit like an industrial estate with a brand new housing development across the road. However, once into the little narrow roads between the old hangars, the view opens out to the vast green airfield, the cafe and a special bike park!

The cafe is really nice, drinks and hot food available 7 days per week.

The airfield offers light aircraft, helicopters, gyrocopters, micro-lights (and coffee)


Old Sarum Airfield Cafe

Here’s the Cafe. The sun came out shortly afterwards…

Old Sarum Airfield Cafe View of the Grass Runway and Parking Area

You are right next to the (aircraft) parking area.

Old Sarum Airfield Cafe Bike Park

There’s even a special bike park (Please keep off the grass…)  🙂


Here’s the view on Sunday 10th April:

Old Sarum Airfield Bike Park

A few more bikes there today...