Monday, 22 July 2013

Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008 - (Part 2)


Part 1 is here... Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008 (Part 1)

Part 3 is here... Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008 (Part 3)

Part 4 is here... Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008 (Part 4)

The Trip Home is here... Africa Twin, The Trip Home




Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008
This is about 50 clicks into a 200km piste. I haven's seen any sign of life since I left the last village and I didn't see anyone for the rest of the day. It was a strange feeling to be so isolated...





Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008
The white stuff is a layer of hard salt under the sand - presumably a dry lake bed.



Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008
Africa Twin in it's element.



Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008
I guess this is a dry riverbed. The going is a bit rough but the AT just soaks it up.



Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008
No one as far as the eye can see...



Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008
Tanking in Tata. It took me a while to find this place. I kept driving past it looking for something with a forecourt, a canopy and a big plastic sign... Note the petrol stored in 5L plastic olive oil bottles in through the open door. The fuel is being poured through a funnel made from another plastic bottle and is being filtered through a nylon stocking!



Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008
The following day, back on the highway again for a bit. I was glad of the rest really - I'd aggravated an old back injury the previous day and was still in pain. On my map this was shown as a piste and I was simultaneously disappointed and relieved to find it was a sealed road!

Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008
Christmas Eve, Foum Zguid. Doesn't look like much but I found a nice auberge, got a very fine meal of chicken & chips and olives and made a few phone calls. There was a nice buzz about the town and quite a few deserty tourists.



Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008
Christmas morning 2008 - Leaving Foum Zguid feeling refreshed, and happy to be heading out into the desert again.



Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008
Happiness is a well prepared bike, a nearly full tank and a day filled with potential.



Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008
This is what happens when you forget to deflate your tyres after a tarmac section.



Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008
The weather is mild rather than hot, the piste is well marked and the going is fairly easy. This was a blissful way to spend Christmas Day.



Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008
Easy going, but it got sandy as I approached the village in the distance.



Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008


 

More to follow....

Part 1 is here... Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008 (Part 1)

Part 3 is here... Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008 (Part 3)

Part 4 is here... Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008 (Part 4)

The Trip Home is here... Africa Twin, The Trip Home




#AfricaTwin #RD04 #Mercenary #MercenaryGarage

The Courier (1988)

This is a largely forgotten movie shot in Dublin in the late eighties.


The Courier (1988)


The reason it's largely forgotten is because it's just not very good. The plot is okay, but the acting lets it down badly. Gabriel Byrne and Patrick Bergin overact while the two leads, Padragh O'Lionsagh and Cait O'Riordan  (of The Pogues) don't really act at all.

I remember seeing bits of it being shot when I was a teenager and so from a purely nostalgic viewpoint I'm slightly biased toward it.

It's not all bad. There are two factors that redeem it somewhat. Firstly, it's a snapshot of pre-Celtic-Tiger Dublin in all it's gritty beauty and it's worth watching for this alone. And secondly, the soundtrack is pretty good.

Also, it acknowledges that, for a long time Motorcycle Couriers were a necessary and despised part of the fabric of Dublin City. And it manages to capture some of truth of that lifestyle - like checking in on the radio in the morning from bed, claiming to be on Harcourt Street...

The trailer is here...



And the full movie is on YouTube - Enjoy...





#TheCourier #Dublin1988 #DublinCouriers #Mercenary #MercenaryGarage

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Rat CX

The final iteration of the Rat CX.

The final iteration of the Rat CX.



It had a rebuild around 1998 when it got a thorough service and got chopped. It was converted to a single seater and the rear sub-frame was cut off and replaced with a steel trailer mudguard. It was fitted with Renthal aluminium handlebars with the cross-brace removed. All the bodywork was removed and it was fitted with twin headlights from a VFR. It looked stumpy and brutal.

This picture was taken be my Dad in July 2000 and that's my niece driving it.

The following year the alternator went again. By that time the bike had done another epic European tour and some more couriering and everything was comprehensively worn out (I covered maybe a quarter of a million miles on it in 9 years) and the bike was finally retired.

For years I held onto the idea that I would resto-mod it and I gradually accumulated parts with this in mind. However, in 2010 I realised that I had too many projects and not enough money so I sold it, and all my CX parts to another CX enthusiast from Wicklow.

846 BZL, I salute you....



To read an earlier article about this bike, go here... www.mercenary.ie/2013/07/Courier CX


#HondaCX #CX500 #RatBike #DublinCouriers #Mercenary #MercenaryGarage

Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008 (Part 1)

Part 2 is here... Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008 (Part 2)
Part 3 is here... Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008 (Part 3)
Part 4 is here... Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008 (Part 4)

The Trip Home is here... Africa Twin, The Trip Home



Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008
South of England, waiting for the ferry to Spain. The temperature rises dramatically the further south you go. This is a few days before Christmas - Note the guy in the background wearing a tee-shirt.



Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008
Tanking up north of Madrid. I'd just passed through a really snowy bit. My heated hand-grips and electric jacket kept me pretty snug, but my toes were painfully cold!




Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008
Lost and low on fuel in the south of Spain due to conflict between my map, my AA directions and what was actually there! This delayed me by about an hour.



Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008
Waiting for the ferry to Tangier. It was pleasantly warm (at least to me).



Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008
Having more or less successfully gone through what passes for immigration in Tangier, this shot was taken a little further south down the coast. 



Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008
The morning of day 2 in Morocco. I slept in a nice campsite in Essouira. It was a sub-zero night. I still don't understand this because the previous night in Malaga had been in the high teens.



Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008
Still heading down the coast, a little north of Agadir. This is a fantastic road with beautiful scenery and very little traffic.



Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008
These guys were pretty friendly. They had stopped to help the driver of the capsized camion, when I came upon the scene. I saw several overturned trucks over the course of this trip so I guess it's a common occurrence.



Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008
Leaving the highway to find somewhere secluded to camp.



Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008
First night camping in the desert. It was pleasantly warm here in contrast to the frost in Essouira.



Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008
Next morning, starting the first off-road section.



Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008
Lost again and while not exactly low on fuel, I've expended a lot of fuel to get here and I don't have as much in reserve as I'd like. I took the wrong piste into a valley that headed in the wrong direction - I should have been in the next valley over (seen in the background here). I drove up one side of the valley in an attempt to get back on track to discover that the far side of the mountain was an escarpment and there was no way down. I was surprised that an Africa Twin could climb terrain like this - there was no track, just steep loose rock. In the end, I had to back-track, eating further into my fuel reserves.




Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008
I met these guy on the way back. The gave me directions and we shared some cookies.







More to follow...

Part 2 is here... Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008 (Part 2)
Part 3 is here... Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008 (Part 3)
Part 4 is here... Sahara Trip, Christmas 2008 (Part 4)

The Trip Home is here... Africa Twin, The Trip Home



 #AfricaTwin #RD04 #Mercenary #MercenaryGarage