Friday, 29 July 2011

Blind as a Bat

Always been a big fan of bats, brave little critters with seemingly massive odds stacked against them. Very energetic flight and a lot of hanging around on a diet of little bugs requires even the diminutive pipistrelle, weighing about 5 grammes, to consume as many as 3000 bugs a day (night). Given they have to do this in the dark/dusk with poor sight and a crude radar system to guide them to their prey, I have always assumed survival to be knife edge operation - I mean just how many bugs can there be to go around ?. Well judging by the state of my goggles, helmet, jacket and bike after a brief ride out of Diplovile the other evening - plenty. Our little friends have got it easy, I reckon. All they need to do is fly at 80 mph about 4ft off the ground with their little mouths wide open for 10 minutes and they'll be replete. MORE SURVIVAL !

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Corrective Measures

Now then - we are forever being told that a balanced diet is required to ensure good health and longevity. Far too much VERY good champagne last night in the absence of a barrel of beer, (a small oversight by my host) in an evening of quite delicious food and some of the most amazing wines I've ever come across. Obviously need to make amends today so have revitalised the system with an early morning Huevos Rancheros - very raunchy Chorizo, fat bacon, fresh plum tomatoes, 4 eggs and lashings of Tabasco, washed down with buckets of Yorkshire Gold, of course. MORE BALANCE !
POST SCRIPT (to answer your question, Ron, I consulted my host)
Bubbly:Dampierre Cuvee Des Amabassadeurs, White:Meursault-Blagny 1er Cru 2004, Red:Chateau Prieure-Lichine Margaux 2000, Sweet:Rabaud Promis Sauterne 2001, Port:Dows 1977. The first three in magnums, the Sauterne and the Port, decanted - all in extremely generous quantity. MORE LISTS !

Friday, 3 June 2011

One Small Step .........

This is the business end of a Diplo 220x55 mm solid fuel rocket motor. It consists of two home-made extruded 110x55mm solid fuel cells stuffed end to end into the pipe. The nozzle is cast ceramic. This lot (and possibly multiples of) are contained in a blast box to minimise the risk from errant motor combustion. Not immediately obvious from this picture, but the blast box is bolted to the back of one of Diplo Jnr's push-bikes - we've some work to do because this is an ex skip-find bike that has been stripped of brakes etc for stunt use. Ignition is via a home made Diplo electronic initiator powered by a 12 volt battery using a "GO" button on the handle bars. As with all solid fuel boosters, there is no "OFF" switch. Earlier static motor tests indicate we could be in for some massive thrust and impressive speeds. We have had some huge motor explosions as well but we are confident that recent technical improvements have eliminated the most dangerous problems. MORE ROCKETRY !

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Yet More Proof ........

.....if it were needed, that A: less is more, and B: the world throws up delights where cynics would have you doubt it. New crash helmet arrived in the post this morning. Ever since my vintage '60s Everoak got run over by a truck I've been without a satisfactory open-face helmet. Modern-spec gear leaves a protective layer so thick (almost 2 inches !!)that a size 59 helmet will have an o/c of around 860mm or 34 inches !!!!. Several problems here - you end up looking like some weird Disney character with an over-size bonce, goggles don't fit, fuel consumption goes haywire and you're in grave danger of being taken for more brainy than you really are by the cops when they pull you over (that's not good if you're trying to play dumb). I run a sweet pair of Bolle Chrokadesi goggles as preferred by special forces and other tough people, these simply won't sit with your average euro-spec lid. Having spotted a "slim-line" open-facer in the motosickle press I set about trying to establish where it came from. The marvelous e-bay turned up the goods, £39.99 and 10 days later a brand new lid arrived at my door. Considerably less: less weight, less than an inch thick, less protection, less drag. Even more: more comfort, more goggle friendly, more normal, more gas-mileage. This thing is perfect, it accommodates my Chrokadesi bins and appeases my vanity. Quite how useful as a spill deflector is questionable, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. MORE SENSE !

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Going Underground

Diplo Jnr's Easter holiday project was to start the well. Every garden should have one. 6' o/d and 4'6" i/d currently 6' deep. The last 4 feet are in solid rock. Sinking the brick liner is a thrill, as you pick away to under-mine the raft the steel cutting edge does its job and the whole chimney sinks gently into the ground. Nice and cool down there. MORE COMMON SENSE !

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Post Script

Speechless. MORE FAT !

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Easter Beef

As usual, very little to say about the meat. This is a chunk of the fore-rib from one of the top secret Short Horns. I'm not saying it's impossible to buy beef like this, of course you'll find something if you know where to look. The sense of well-being and satisfaction derived from the dainty slices I had last night is priceless, very few words were spoken at the table but discernible whimpers and sighs were detected.
It is very difficult to avoid having a slice too many and a brisk stroll round the block after supper has to be a good idea - more reflection time. The much heralded change in the weather was evident early evening and the sky was demonstrating its "no-sunshine-for-you-tomorrow" look. There was an atmosphere of resigned depression drifting from the gardens of Diploville as sunbeds were being folded, paddling pools emptied and the all-too-shiny gaz barbies were being driven to safety. The capacity of our particular climate to bring us such changes should be embraced and we could save ourselves a lot of bother by not cluttering up our lives with all the accoutrements to turn our gardens into holiday camps. How about - when the sun shines light a fire on the lawn to cook the steaks, lie on the grass in the sun and when it gets a bit hot nip inside to roll around in a cold bath or move under a tree for a minute. When the weather turns in a few days simply move back into the house and shut the door to the garden. MORE WEATHER !

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Size Matters. No 2

The local Shit-Bike Club is developing at a gentle, relaxed pace. The ZZR featured here is a member and only eligible because it comes from an earlier time ('91) and is cosmetically challenged. Mechanically it is far from shit and has been lovingly cared for and neglected in equal measure by its previous custodians for many years. Like most bikes it has provided joy and disappointment, excitement and frustration (again in equal measure) over its life. As can be seen it is considerably larger than the CB Special and produces somewhere in the region of ten times the power - that's development for you because it's only five and half times the displacement. Simply put - size does matter. I went to the coast last weekend, two up, in great comfort, at a reasonable pace and was just as happy to get my leg over for the return journey - I can honestly say I'd struggle to be so enthusiastic about the same trip on the CB Special. The Diplo bike collection is an orphanage by the way, the CB was almost free, Diplo Jnrs XT was free and the ZZR is adopted, it still belongs to a fellow member of the SBC but he simply doesn't have room in his garage (or his heart ?) for this '90s behemoth. MORE FOSTER CARE !

Monday, 28 March 2011

Job Done......

.........sort of ! Two major issues - "occupation" !!!! response probably more aspirational than actual. Secondly the envelope won't fit in the Diploville post box, I had to fold it in half and there was a lot of tearing going on as we negotiated some crafty GPO (sic) anti-theft rat-trap device installed in the jaws. I would like to take this opportunity to wish the statisticians the very best of luck in their attempts to make any useful sense of the whole sorry business. MORE PRIVACY !

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Paint Job Profile

The CB Special is one of the founder members of my local Shit-Bike Club, it meets all the criteria for membership, being both shit and a bike. I have mentioned in earlier posts on the CB that it has endeared itself to me in a sort of misfit, ugly duckling kind of way. Now that it is running properly and getting used regularly for local commutes and short-range expeditions it has found itself a bigger audience. It seems that wherever it is parked it draws a crowd of sympathetic observers - maybe they are merely kind-hearted souls plotting a way to put it out of its misery. I have determined that the bike's pulling power is in its patina, most appealingly demonstrated in the original '72 paintwork of the gas tank. It came to my attention caught in the sunlight the other day, emphasised by the fact that the sloppy side-stand allows the parked machine to settle almost horizontal at the kerb showing off its best side to passing pedestrians. MORE WEAR & TEAR !

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Five A Day

If you struggle to fit any fruit into your diet - run the bike on it instead. A very careful re-distillation of the Diplo Apple Ethanol has upped the purity sufficiently to get some smooth running.
The carb has been previously jetted at BSD (see earlier post) to run on commercial E85 which is 85% Ethanol mixed with 15% Gasoline to aid cold starting. Our Diplo85 is 85% home made apple ethanol and for the 15% gasoline we used some AvGas to lift the octane level a bit nearer the 109RON of the E85 we're jetted for. Result ! As you can see we've fabricated a tank from a Fanta bottle and the bike can be switched between E85 and Diplo85 by swapping the fuel feed line over on the carb. MORE FRUIT !

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Money Can't Buy

Cut a few slices off a Short Horn Rump in preparation for a light Sunday lunch. Quite obviously there's very little to say about the meat - it speaks for itself really. This beef comes from a top secret source in County Diplo and its value is measured in smiles, whimpers and gasps - it can't be bought for money. The fire will be lit at midday and I shall hop on the CB Special (sun's shining) for a five minute ride to the nearest pint of Digfield Ale's "Fool's Nook". By the time I get home the fire will be in tip top condition to recieve a fleeting visit from the rump. These slabs are an inch thick so will get about 2 minutes each side. I've been alerted to a very credible report that red meat taken in excess of around 70 grammes !$%&??!!*%$!! a day is sure to do you in. I'm obviously encouraged - more for us then. MORE RED MEAT !

Friday, 25 February 2011

Play Stops Work

Obviously things have ground to a halt at Diplo HQ with the arrival of Sideburn #7. Threatening messages plastered to the front door for the last week, warning the postman to take extreme care, worked and I was roused from truss loading calcs and wind-sheer forces by a very enthusiastic thumping on the office window. Can't talk now really because, as you can imagine, I have some reading matter to deal with. MORE HOTLY ANTICIPATED DELIVERIES !

Thursday, 17 February 2011

That Second Cup

Consumption of Yorkshire Gold at Diplo HQ is inextricably linked to the amount of 'shop time spent. I have never been comfortable venturing forth on a fettling session without a steaming brew to hand. To keep the elixir in tip-top shape for a second cup, insulation is required and I'm delighted to have put the new chequered cozy into service. MORE BLACK & WHITE !

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Stress-Free Fuel Testing

Last month I was saved from taking the gas-axe to the CB special by the expertise and wisdom of Mark at BSD (see earlier post). Being a huge fan of experts, pretty much regardless of the field, it was an easy decision to ask Mark if he'd tackle the fueling work on Diplo Jnr's XT. Diplo Jnr has made a quantity of ethanol by distilling last autumn's cider production. The resultant juice is around 82% ABV and suitable for blending with aprox 15% by volume of gasoline to make his own, home-grown version of the commercial E85 available at some forecourts. (The 15% gasoline is required to aid cold starting as it has some of the more volatile fractions missing from straight alcohol). Re-jetting to get the simple, normally aspirated, sluggish 4 stroke to run on alcohol involves dispensing an estimated 30% more fuel. Much as I love trial and error (the largest department at Diplo Technologies Inc) it seemed wise to keep stress levels at bay and ask Mark at BSD to take on the challenge in the comfort of his dyno room.
Within 10 minutes our expert had the XT running sweet on some commercial E85 that we took along by upping the main jet, re-drilling the pilot jet and raising the needle a tad. We actually get a 5% power gain at this point. Next stage was to switch to Diplo Jnr's own fuel. We got the bike running but intermittent missing and spluttering was tracked down (by Mark's nose for these things) to excess water in the fuel. Conventional distillation should enable us to get a maximum of 96% pure Ethanol, beyond which unsavoury chemical processes can be applied (the use of benzine is the most common !!!!).I know we're way short of that and our target of 85% should be good enough. Back to the 'shop and we'll re-run the still to see if we can get rid of a bit more water. MORE DISTILLATION !

Monday, 7 February 2011

Size Matters

I've been looking for a vintage Bell RT for years and they don't seem to come up that often. This one's just arrived in the post this morning. Absolutely mint (don't think it's ever been used) - wonder why ? Now, I've tried a few Bells and they seem to size up small, I was under the impression they only made 2 RT shells ( one for the S sizes and one for L ) and the XL is too small. This one was advertised as XXL so I thought it was worth a punt - same shell bit less padding. It's actually sized 8 1/4 or 66 in metric-land. I guess they did make a third shell size because this one negates the need for any panniers or tank bags, you could quite safely stash enough gear for a weekend away in the helmet and still leave room for your head. I may keep it as part of a collection but if any body knows somebody with a ridiculously large head that wants one - I could be persuaded to flog it for what I paid for it. MORE BRAINS !

Thursday, 13 January 2011

End Of An Era ?

I bloody hope so. Since getting the CB Special on the road last year it has been a constant source of angst, frustration and dissatisfaction - lovely little bike it may be, but running issues have been exasperating. Earlier posts detail the attempts to solve revving out issues. As a birthday treat I took the little beast to BSD at Eye Green near Peterborough, our local dyno guru and serious bike tuner, - initial concerns over asking Mark to tackle such a project proved groundless and he accepted the challenge very politely. Next day a quick 'phone call to say the bike needed collecting ! Fixed, runs like the beauty I knew was in there somewhere - duff after-market ignition coil !@%$£!?*&@!!. MORE EXPERTS !