Sunday, 6 June 2010

Route 1. Leg 3

Hey it's me again, Albert the Oldsidevalver blogger with a further rendition....pull up your chair, make yourself comfortable and I will continue to recount the tale of derring - do that our motley band of travellers experienced on the 'Oldsidevalver Mystery Tour'
Morning coffee'd at The Buck Inn we re-tracing our steps once again through Hubberholme, past the still closed for business George Inn (blow large rasberry) and following the river Wharfe upwards into the hills.
Now if only Albert and Basil had know this fact -
The old inn, The George, is opposite the Church. This is notable for the lit candle that sits on the bar to indicate the pub is open and serving. The tradition dates from distinctive auctions for agricultural land or grazing that were held in The George. The last bid to be received before the candle extinguished was the winner
Well we didn't so hey ho ! We're not good at noticing candles.
Anyway, we're now climbing steeply out of the valley through the delightfully named villages of Yockenthwaite, Deepdale, Beckermonds and Oughtershaw.
Riding/Driving over Fleet Moss on route to our destination
Fact - Fleet Moss - One of the U.K.s heighest roads at 1932ft above sea level.

above - The gorgeous decent from the summit

above - then along the Beggarmans road towards Gayle and eventually Hawes

After the peacefulness of the minor roads the market town of Hawes is bustling, made famous by Wallace and Grommit for being the home of Wensleydale cheese. (Nothing better than a goodly wedge balanced on top of a crispy Jacobs accompanied by a Billy Bunter Picklington.......oooohh imagine ! Think I've died and gone to heaven) Plenty of pubs on the main street, all selling BLACK SHEEP ! I fear there's another refreshment interlude...and maybe a spot of din-dins approaching.
The waft of Fish 'n' Chips from the little hut at the top of the main street was no match today against a 'Sheep' so into the Fountain Hotel for a pint of Mashams finest and a hot bagette. The girls had Beef with lashings of onion gravy, the boys all chose the Chicken Salsa....(because we can)

A hearty meal to prepare us for the final leg......

to be continued..............

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Day 1 - Route 1 - Legs 1 & 2 - Friday 15th May 2010

Albert here reporting on Oldsidevalver festivities.

Saturday 15th May. Weather - Overcast and average temperature.
9.30 a.m. Orders to report to the control centre. (read Beer Shed)
Chosen transportation to be fuelled and ready for action.
Lets do it...........

The route was known to myself and Basil K. (due to the fact we planned it) All other Oldsidevalvers would be on a mystery tour, the only clue being should they wish to join us they would experience some of the finest scenery Yorkshire had to offer and would also be travelling at altitude. Step forward Krazy Koen, Fifi La Downdraught and The Baroness von Battenburg. Hardy souls or fools ? only time would tell.

First scenery stop - Beamsley Beacon.

Oldsidevalver fact - “During the Bronze Age, some 4,500 years ago, a large stone mound was built there, probably to mark the burial place of a local chieftain and to act as a territorial boundary marker,” The name Beamsley Beacon, recorded in 1667, suggests it was used as part of a signalling system using fire. In 1804, during the Napoleonic wars, the beacon was refurbished and a guardhouse was constructed to shelter the beacon keeper.

Onwards..forever forward.......and the promise of coffee further on route had our mystery tourers once more under power, with a short stop for an unofficial photoshoot at Bolton Abbey.

Oldsidevalver fact - Bolton Abbey was founded in 1151 by the Augustinian order, on the banks of the River Wharfe. In the early 14th century Scottish raiders caused the temporary abandonment of the site and serious structural damage to the priory. Building work was still going on at the abbey when the Dissolution of the Monasteries resulted in the termination of the priory in 1539. The east end remains in ruins. A tower, begun in 1520, was left half-standing, and its base was later given a bell-turret and converted into an entrance porch. Most of the remaining church is in the Gothic style of architecture, but more work was done in the Victorian era, including windows by August Pugin.

Back in the saddle, once again select forward gear, release clutch and lets crunch those last few miles.....through Kilnsey, Kettlewell and Starbotton before the well earned coffee stop. Not quite as planned because the official stop was the George Inn at Hubberholme......which was shut !
So, back track 2 miles to the Buck Inn at Buckden....which was open ....hurray.....and the landlord only required money in exchange for cool is that ! So heres his official picture of that fine establishment for all Oldsidevalvers to see.

To be continued.................

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Alberts Festival Diary - Jotting 1

Albert here.....just ! Vision returning to normal.....memory recovering megabyte by megabyte.......after a very sucessful but hectic 'Oldsidevalver festival'
What happened dude ? I'm not sure ! I can only recount my side of the story, fellow attendees will have to fill in the rest.
Thursday 13th May - Introduce overseas guest of honour Koen (World famous Oilyracer blogger) to the hub of activities. Yes, the central point from where all challenges and contestants would emulate......THE BEER SHED.
A structure of immense value and architectual delightfuness, how lucky were we that we had the equal of any Norman Foster designed building in the corner of your Uncle Alberts garden.
Not only that - it was stocked up and ready for opening time.
(Ring bell - Flagons ready - let the show begin)

Tuesday, 11 May 2010


All packed !!

Last minute standardisation

Belgium calling on status!
I'm packing and the bike is in top shape (read: it works) ... hope she stays that way.

Just have to keep in mind to keep her on the left site of the road ....keep her left.....keep her left.....keep her left.....left...left....left

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Gleaming !

Greetings 'Oldsidevalvers' - Albert here.

My mission is complete, I have polished and polished and polished again the old Honda and now present to you the results of my labours. I can even see my face in the chrome ! Empty tins of brasso, tubes of Solvol, bottles of car wax, cans of Mr Sheen and heaps of bedding torn into rags lay in my wake. I'm ready as I'll ever be for the Oldsidevalvers festival tours.

What else was I tasked with ? Oh yes, the very very important task of providing a never ending supply of liquid refreshment. Tick it off my list ! It's done too.

The UK now awaits.....No! not for the results of all this hung parliment election important....

Balen we are ready to receive your entrant.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Still good underneath...

Albert here..........Imagine the scene.....Saturday morning......sun shining......birds singing.......hey up ! whats that familiar whirring noise.....a travelling machine is approaching....
As I rush down the drive to investigate I am greeted by a fast approaching gleeming projectile. Yes indeed.. a riproaring Pembleton that has been polished to an inch of its life by proud owner Basil K. Splutterpipe looms larger from a southerly direction blinding all who gaze at its curvacious body.
"Greetings Alb, I'm delivering a much needed beer crate for bottle stacking purposes in the Sidevalve Bar" (now there's a story - for another time maybe)
As we chat I can see Basil K. looking with some distaste at my chosen mount for the festival. (mmmmm ! my old Honda could indeed do with a bit of a clean up)
So thats how I've spent the last couple of days.....elbow deep in engine degreaser, deafened by the hum of an overworked powerwasher and finger sore with ali polishing.
I won't be the 'Black' sheep of the family.....I won't let you down....I will shine too...

Before -

During -

Sunday, 25 April 2010

A 'Sidevalver' gobstopper !

Albert here - It is with great pleasure that I can advise all 'Oldsidevalvers' that the Festival Picklingtons have been released from the pickling vats and are ready !
Can you just taste the succulent juices ? feel the spicy malt vinegar running down your chin as the flavours tickle your tastebuds ? experience the crunch of a yorkshire onion that fights back ? Picklington in one hand - B.B.Q sausage in another...!
Well I can ! Bring um on !

Thursday, 8 April 2010

'Classic Vehicle Challenge'

Albert here - Greetings Oldsidevalvers.
The Old Sidevalve Committee have been in lengthly discussions deciding the itinerary for the festival. After many meetings in various Indian Restaurants and Real Ale Pubs around Yorkshire a decision has been made. It has been decided that the Sunday will be a Classic Vehicle Challenge where contestants will take on the hills, valleys, moorland, and wolds of Yorkshire. The route is expected to cover about 180 miles. Stops along the way for coffee/tea and cakes and lunch at our destination sampling the local fare.

This event is open to all 'Oldsidevalvers'. Please confirm intention of entry.

(Could I remind contestants that this event will take place whatever the weather. Modern vehicles will be handicapped by a yet to be decided penalty)

For all those who showed concern regarding the loss of 4 pints of best beer during fermentation can I assure you it won't happen again. Apologies again for the volume reduction.......

Monday, 22 March 2010

Could have been disastrous !

Albert Crackleport here..............with breaking news of an averted disaster..
The second brew is very slightly reduced from yesterday ! Yes a leaking tap in the fermentation barrel could have been disastrous, but no fear dear reader Uncle Albert spotted the impending doom and stopped the leak. Due to the adverse weather conditions in 'Sidevalve County' your clever and cunning Uncle had moved the brews into his small compact office where he could keep an eye on them and tend their every need. Ok whilst the Baroness doesn't know.......unfortunately she soon will now 4 pint of the best english ale has soaked into the carpet....
Will Albert live to tell the tale...............I write this with fear of discovery...........Pray for Albert tonight and he could lve to tell the tale........
Eeeeeeeekkkkkk..the Baroness approaches...must hide........


Saturday, 13 March 2010

Down in 'The Old Sidevalve'

Greetings Oldsidevalvers, Albert here reporting on the latest preperations for the festival. Its an early start for me today ( I call 7.30 a.m. on a Sunday early !) and I'm already down 'The Sidevalve' starting the first brew. I have limited capacity with only 2 heated fermenters so time is of the essence.
Tech fact - Production capacity - 80 pint max
I'm going to attempt to brew, bottle, and bottle condition 230 pint which should stock 'The Sidevalve' up nicely !
I'm sure every night of the festival will be a celebration of the days achievements, so how long will nearly 30 gallon last ? Not long !
The various brews are still on the secret list but the ingredients where sourced from a new contact of mine at Hampstead Brewing Centre. All at reasonable price which is important to Albert.>
I've various tins of malt, bags of different hops, grains and yeasts. Thanks to Chris at Hampstead I've also a recipe book to follow so here goes.........lets get started.
Oh, by the way, the rhubarb cider is safely bottled, slightly different taste to last time but that may be in account of the fact that I doubled the sugar to increase the ABV somewhat.......heeeheee

Look out for more postings soon

Monday, 8 March 2010


Belgium Calling!

With all "systems" running, coating the petrol tank was one of the final things to put some effort we did this morning.
Presuming it was a very liquid substance all preparations were firmly executed but once mixed it appeared to be rather a sort of paint.
This made all a bit more easy and we're pretty confident the Italian lady will make it to Brittain she will be mounted in a car.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

First training event.

Hi folks, Basil.K. here.

Just to let you all know that my motorcycling training for the Old Sidevalve Summer Spectacular is underway. (Note the photographic evidence above)

Yes, t'was a cold and frosty morning that my steed for the summer was hitched to the back of Alberts transporter and said steed, and budding pilot, were removed to a " training area ", well when I say training area - a fully funtioning scrambling track would more adequately describe the venue. Oh ho ! says he - If you can survive (good descriptive word) here, you'll survive anywhere-well I survived, but only just - I am sure it's going to be fun, please tell me it is.

Seriously though, a big thank you to Albert - who's taken time out from his onerous brewing responsibilities - to try and turn an old Pembleton racer into an even older two wheeled speed demon. Crikey I'll be delving into Alberts old racing notes next - and then where will we be ?

Tally ho !!

More training reports to this space. Splut !

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Whatever the weather - Gotta check the brews

Hello 'oldsidevalvers'...Albert here.

Crikey ! Woke up this morning and was greeted by another huge covering of snow.........Sod mi boiled egg 'n' dippy soldiers I had to get digging mi way down't garden to 'The Old Sidevalve Bar'. I'm mid way through fermenting a very...very....VERY....special rhubarb cider brew. What if the chill had affected my yeast ? killing it's little alcohol making cells and rendering my mashin' a useless vat of sugary juice....? NIGHTMARE !
Phew ! All was well....the internal heater had saved the day and that welcoming sound of fermentation was music to my ears...plop.......plop......plop......plop.....
Yes, dear readers I've used Great Uncle Alberts wartime recipe to create this speciality, it should be ready in time for the 'Festival' B.B.Q.
If anyone wants a copy drop me a line and I'll check your credentials before forwarding..I can't let it fall into enemy hands after Old Albert protected it through all those lean prohibition years (and also keeping it from falling into the hands of the knit and natter section of the Temperance Society of Upper Wharfedale)
So before I go let's raise a glass in memory of Great Uncle Albert....not only a master brewer but also a hardy motorcyclist who could regularly be seen riding his Panther 600cc combination across Top Withens dressed in only german jack boots and underpants ! (A sight we don't want to re-create during the we ?)

Thats all for now...Albert over and out...

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Belgium calling on status (again)

A jolly fine moment when (far from expected) she cried out "I'M ALIVE"
It took a while because we were cheapy to use petrol which had an age of about 100 years...
We designed an ultra-light curry based custom build race petrol-tank to save on weight just to be able to keep up with Rawdon's fasted.
Tried again to start her and after replacing the old petrol by some from the 3th millennium she went WROOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAM
(just to give you an idea)

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Belgium calling on progress!

So it has been a busy day,
This morning I started by looking at her vitals; got a spare battery in and turned the key....should I push the starter button? NO!!
We've turned her wheel yesterday to see if there were some problems regarding sticky valves etc ...but at this point all seems to be in good shape.
First things first. Dismantled her to get to the carburettors the jets out and went to my neighbor's shop ; he's lucky he has got a Ultrasonic cleaner ... and
so was I. It took the rest of the day to clean
Finally opened up the timing belt housing...tomorrow we'll change those.

Keep you posted

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

I've found her!!!

She was sitting somewhere far away in my shed.
Althought she has taken me to great and far distances before her patine now-a-days exists from enviromental
buildingsdust mixed with oil and tigny tigny bits of aluminum.
She has been sleeping from 2002 until ...euhhh she still is.
What do I need to do to wake her up? kiss her?.......naaaaah!!
just have to :
coat the petroltank,
change timingbelts,
clean carburetors,
fix fiber glass stuf,
new brake fluid,
change some hoses,
new spark pluggs,
new tires,

........but first a big wash up

I hope she won't give me a hard time ....but she's Italian so ....

Monday, 15 February 2010

Weekend Excitement and things.

Hello all, Basil.k. here,

Well folks we're underway and getting ready for the motorcycling festival, so as was intimated in my last blog, I'd better find me something to ride. No problem,cordially I was invited across to Crackleport Tower -where there existed the rumour of a long hidden motorcycling machine of great vintage and awesome power- well could you resist ?? As the photographic evidence below will testify, and let me tell you, it took some finding we came across the aforementioned leviathan - all 125cc of it. Wow!!. Hidden amongst assorted Jap engines / Briggs & Stratton mufflers (and there's another tale) old bakers bikes, empty bottles and assorted brewing kits, we located my steed for the summer -yes folks it's a 125cc Yamaha DT125 built just after the wheel was invented. Cool eh!......and after a spot of jungle juice, a little spark and a firm kick - life was established - can't say that the little machine looked too happy to be dragged out into a freezing cold winter morning, the bike either -hey and what about the bald patch - hell I didn't think it was that bad.
Methinks your hero is going to look pretty natty in plus fours, crash helmet and a big grin, a cruising down the highways and byeways.

Now I think I'd better to learn to ride !!! More in our next exciting episode, byee / Splut !!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

The Life and Times of Albert Crackleport. Chapter 2

Albert here - What a sorry story I left you with last time.....The poor old (classic and one day valuable) XS2 Yamaha unloved and taken for part exchange. What did I buy as a replacement ? It had better be good Albert ! Ha ! Ha ! This is where past meets present. I exchanged the Yamaha and £450 for a Honda 550. Yes indeed, Honda fours were the tool to have back in them ther' dark days of pre-Thatcherism. Maybe not that dark ....In fact it was the long hot summer of 1976 and I didn't have a care in the world.. Here's a pic of a very proud young Albert and the new machine.

The group shot was on a camping trip to Cornwall the same year with a bunch of mates. What an assortment of bikes.... A10 BSA, a couple of Triumph Bonnies, a T500 Suzi and me far left on the 550.

Past meets present ? Well, it's the very bike I shall be using during 'Festival Week'. It's been part of the 'Crackleport' stable for 34 years. Crikey that's some way back...
In fact so far back it's making me dizzy thinking about it so I'm off for a carming beer....
Catch ya all later - Alb

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Don't forget me !

Baroness here - It's not all about you guys you girls are part of the action too ! I'll be part of the catering team, mainly due to the fact that my beef 'n' ale pies and chilli-con-carnes are the best in Yorkshire. I shall also be keeping my eye on Albert, if he thinks he's having another week of doing what he wants he's mistaken. .. bye for now .

Monday, 8 February 2010

Basil.K. signing in, I hope.

Greetings fellow sidevalvers, followers - if there's anybody out there.

This is my very first blog posting so goodness knows where it'll end up. Well this is the 3rd of the old triumvirate signing in. I see Belgium's here already - hi Koen old chap ! I hope all is ok over the water.

Hello Albert, what's happening dude. Are you warming up for the challenge, which reminds me, where did I put that bottle !

Basil.K. here - the junior member of this great motorcycling festival - blimey I'd better start learning to ride (again), though I've made a start. Been wearing me crash helmet - it's great, particularly when requested to carry out tasks by er indoors - can't hear a thing - fabulous.

Well must close now, to test this blog - lost it twice already - ecky thump !! Splut !!

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Belgium signing in

-Belgium calling-

So Albert decided to organize a huge festival...can't miss that one!!
Time for "the Belgian" to get a proper bike ready to make the journey to the Blighty side of Europe.

There should be a competitive bike somewhere in my shet....just can't seem to find it....

I'll go first - The life and times of Albert Crackleport. Chapter 1

Albert here - as promised dear readers I'll give you an insight into the secret world of 'Crackleport'.........Will it be amusing ? Hum ! not sure ! I'll have to warn you all now though, it does cover quite a few decades of mechanical misdemeanors so beware !

Let's journey back in time to 1972 and here we find a young Albert at the pre-shaving age of 15 getting stuck into a bit of Scott tuning. The old girl belonged (and still does) to my Uncle who still has the Shipley built machine on his 'To Do List' of restorations.
Looking back it's got to be around this time that fate played it's hand, I had smelt the old Castrol oil and I succumed ! Forever trapped in a life filled with rusty old motorcycles..........who's complaining ? Not me............

Couple of years later and I've passed my motorcycle test. An upgrade is required ! Yes, unbeknown to me I buy a bike that is to become a classic......
I only had it 18 months then sold it ! DOH ! Well how was I to know !
Here's a picture of it...a Yamaha XS2.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

The first jotting

Albert Crackleport here - signing in to the 'oldsidevalver' just to test the blog settings. Over the next few days I will arrange for the members to intoduce themselves and I'll also give a bit more background to 'The Old Sidevalve Bar' and the proposed Classic Motorcycle Festival that will take place later this year.
In the meantime........take care dear reader.
Time for a beer....