Beta Alp 4.0

A collection of information as it arises. There's not a lot out there!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Day 2: Cambrai to Nevers

It's amazing the difference a shower and some food, and perhaps Normandy cider, makes to ones attitude. Earlier this afternoon I was counting every kilometre, now I'm thinking that I could have ridden lots more in the evening sunshine.

Yesterday morning I'd slackened the drivechain a spot and that had eased the unusually clunky gearchange, but as the day had gone on, it had worsened again. I think that was due to operator tiredness rather then malfunction.

The ride had got off to a bad start as I got lost leaving St Quentin. I'm not sure that the detailed Google Directions I've printed out are helpful as it's impossible to follow the detail and they don't give enough generalisations. Later in the afternoon I merely looked out for signs to the next town and that worked out to be simpler. 

Much of the first half of the day was rather dull with much urban riding and lots of junctions to deal with. The latter half was far better with many curves through rolling farmland hills. As is often the case, the Ibis hotel was on the edge of a semi-industrial area, itself being a good distance from Nevers. Luckily though, only a short walk form the hotel was a very popular bakery and fresh food supermarket. For €12 I got lots of food for both evening meal and tomorrow's lunch.

The best view of the day?

461km on a variety of RN and D roads

Friday, August 30, 2013

Day 1: Home to Cambrai

So back in the saddle as I make my way to the 2013 edition of the VINCE; with the now commonplace journey to Cambrai. It's been hardgoing, sore shoulders, sore ears and generally tired. To keep it simple I went to Folkestone via A57/A1/A14/M11/M25/M20. I kept to an indicated 100kph as much as possible and that appeared to be less stressful on both the Beta and myself and certainly gave better fuel economy. At that speed 200km before reserve is achieved. That means that starting with a full tank I can reach Folkestone with just one stop at the A14 services, so long as the body is willing!

I arrived in time for an earlier train but whilst waiting to embark it became clear that there was delay. Only a little after the official departure time we started to board but once everyone was locked in we were told that there would be a further delay as a train was stopped in he tunnel. Luckily it wasn't too long in the heat before we set off; midway into the journey the train slowed and swerved, perhaps using  one of the points where the tracks pass between the two main tunnels.

I'd dithered whether to use the peage to Cambrai; as it was dry and sunny I took the RN and D roads. It took 2.5 hours to cover the 145km as there are many small towns to pass through or around. The area around St Omer was familiar to me from last year's green-laning trip but then it took a few days to explore the areas I passed straight through this afternoon.

The canal basin at Cambrai

Although the D939 leads straight into Cambrai and Rue de les Docks (where I was staying; unfortunately the Beatus was fully booked) the signs led me a little astray. A turned a few corners and stopped to think "Where is the hotel?"It was directly across the road. After parking in the rear quadrangle/garden area, a quick unpack and shower I walked into town for some food. As a was to the west of the centre things were new to me and I found Chez Pino, a Pinnochio-themed pizza restaurant. They were not convinced that I really wanted a pizza sans fromage but it did arrive and was very tasty. Hopefully I'll find some other foods to eat over the next week!

537km, mostly on English motorway-class roads

Sunday, August 18, 2013

General service

One year since the last entry! The Alp has been out and about a little but not much in reality. Nonetheless it was time for its annual service. It passed the MOT without issue and then  I did the routine:

  • Oiled up a TwinAir filter and swapped it for the OE item which was cleaned later
  • Checked the valve clearances; slightly opened the right hand exhaust valve
  • Oil and filter change
  • New front and rear tyres; TKC80 as before, can't think of anything much better with Michelin 4mm Enduro tubes
  • New sprocket and chain set; Renthal front, OE rear and DID VX2 black chain
  • Brake fluid changed
Altogether it took a day and a half, I must be a slow worker.

Note the 'cupping' wear on the front tyre and how flat it is in comparison to the new item. Still plenty of knobble at the edges; must lean more!

The rear tyre also had a fair bit of rubber on it but I didn't like this cut that extended across two knobbles. It was invisible inside the carcass so it couldn't have been too bad

The new part number for a Betamotor chain ring
The chainring was very hard to source. There didn't seem to be any in the UK and only one dealer wanted to be bothered trying European suppliers. Well done Haven Trialsport! I believe there is a steel JT sprockets equivalent; I've had one on order for 2 weeks now...