Archive for June, 2010

19th European HOG Rally – and I am going

Posted in Harley-Davidson, HOG with tags , , , , on June 28, 2010 by bleiglass

The official website says: “The Swiss Harley Day gain in importance.” – YES, I am coming.

After the great experiences and fun I had riding out with my Chapter, the Hogsback Chapter UK, I decided to join their trip down to Switzerland and Italy, to the 19th European HOG Rally & Swiss Harley Days.

Not sure what to expect, but positively excited, I may be putting a bit more preparations into this short trip then the experienced Harley dude, as I am moving into unknown territory, a event that I would have given a wide berth in the past.

The ride down is (as I am told) usually done in individually organized groups, sometimes over several days, and we all meet at the pre-booked hotel. But for this first more distant trip with the Chapter I will not join with other riders on the drive down, as I plan a private stopover in Luxembourg, were my sister is living.

I hope to make it to Lugano in 2 stages, first to Luxembourg (~360 miles) and then to Lugano (~420 miles). Having done such distances on 2 consecutive days more then once in my previous life on a Goldwing, I wonder how I will feel after this trip on a Harley-Davidson Road King Classic… it will surely be different… I hope mainly positively different.

If anybody wants to join and group on parts of the way, lets get in contact.

2 weeks to go, and my Road King is still not repaired from its accident at 109 miles.

Remember the date, I will post more on the preparations and the actual trip, and maybe we manage to meet…

– book Eurotunnel – check (out: 14.6. – return: 20.6.)
– book repair at HD – check (if all parts arrived after waiting 8 weeks… )

to be continued…

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Gary France – his USA Tour on a Road King Classic

Posted in Harley-Davidson with tags , , , on June 27, 2010 by bleiglass

Today, I want to strongly recommend a blog of a fellow rider from London, Gary France, who is making a USA Tour on his Harley Davidson.


Few days ago, on the 23rd June 2010, Gary started a 4 month, 15,000 mile tour of the USA on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, a Road King Classic, specially painted by Tony Evans with Hollywood Film Stars.


His very informative blog, a real journal, gives details of where he has been and what he saw in words and pictures. You have to read it, before it is published as a book.

check the color of Gary’s clogs… 🙂

On his website you will learn that Gary lives just north of London in the UK. He has two Harley-Davidson motorcycles and is very fortunate to have been able to retire early, put away his business suits and then do some of the things he wanted to do for years. I did not yet have the chance to meet him, but hope that our Road Kings cross path one day near London.

He is putting a lot of work in his blog, as you will be able to follow on his blog’s map the progress he is making.

I hope that you enjoy reading it as much as I do. Bookmark it!!

Gary, have a safe ride…

Road King goes to: Petworth House

Posted in Harley-Davidson, HOG with tags , , , , on June 26, 2010 by bleiglass

What a start to Father Day, edition 2010: still tired from last nights amazing ride through London’s Midnight madness, 30 Hogsback Chapter bikes showed up just a few hours later at GHD for a early 10:45 start to the annual ride to Petworth House, by special invitation of the National Trust, for a lazy afternoon of music, sunshine, a public display of our prides and joy.

Here are some pictures of a great day out:

The drive itself was quite short, some 40 miles down the A283, through Godalming, Chiddinfold and Northchapel, and I was reminded again what great sceneries Surrey has to offer. Since I own a Harley and joined rides of the Hogsback chapter just some 2 month ago, I am each time amazed at how many smiles with bystanders of all ages our noisy procession is generating. The most memorable image on this day however came for me during a gentle left turn shortly after Witley, where suddenly 2 cultures converged. On the left side of the road, a impeccable green with cricket players, all dressed in their shiny white uniform, playing their slow game which I fear will remain a mystery to me, and on the narrow street next to the pitch our organised line of 30 Harley’s with black leather dressed drivers and passengers roaring along. White vs Black, grass vs tarmac, Chrome vs Green, quiet vs loud, swiftly vs cozy, in this one scene so many contrasts of 2 sports, 2 attitudes and 2 cultures were so beautifully visualised, that I now must check how to best install a permanent camera on my Road King Classic to capture such special unscripted moments.

A imposing house in the background behind some enormous trees reminded us not to forget the mandatory educational side of this trip, a visit of Petworth House itself, for which all Harley-Davidson riders and their pillions received free entry tickets. This late 17th-century mansion is set in a beautiful 283-hectare deer park, landscaped by ‘Capability’ Brown and immortalised in many of Turner’s paintings.

I can confirm that the house contains one of the National Trust’s finest collection of pictures, with numerous works by Turner, Van Dyck, Reynolds and Blake, as well as ancient and Neo-classical sculpture, fine furniture and carvings by Grinling Gibbons.

Do not miss the interesting servants’ quarters, containing fascinating kitchens frozen in time, including a copper “batterie de cuisine” of more than 1,000 pieces. Most amusing was a historic photo of the servants of Petworth House, they look so grumpy, as if ready for playing in a Oliver Twist movie.

With the sun finally winning the battle in the sky, and all participants and visitors enjoying the live music while eating a burger and having a couple of drinks, some riders like me had to leave much too early.

Harley-Davidson invades Petworth House

Posted in Harley-Davidson, HOG with tags , , , , on June 25, 2010 by bleiglass

Can you spot the difference on these 2 pictures?

what a great day out on Father’s Day, more pictures to follow soon…

London Midnight Madness

Posted in Harley-Davidson, HOG with tags , , , , , , on June 23, 2010 by bleiglass

Saturday, 19th June 2010. It was time again for Hogsback Chapter’s annual invasion of the streets of London – with a impressive armada of 40 bikes rumbling up Kings Road, saying hello at Buckingham Palace, invading Covent Garden and then into the City, stopping in front of the stairs at St. Paul’s Cathedral. What a great fun that was…

Meeting was at Rykas, 6:30 pm

via Putney

well protected by the backmarkers

first stop at Buckingham Palace – yes, thats me on the Road King Classic

next stop at Covent Garden

and the – it started getting dark – at St Pauls Cathedral

final destination: Belvedere Road – next to the London Eye, for a fine dinner

More pictures of this ride can be seen in
the Hogsback Chapter picture gallery

Helpful GPS-coordinates in Decimal Minutes:

Buckingham Palace: N51 30.121   W0 8.407

Covent Garden: N51 30.689   W0 7.370

St. Paul’s Cathedral: N51 30.824   W0 5.995

Belvedere Road: N51 30.159   W0 7.066

GPS navigation – understanding the different formats

Posted in Harley-Davidson with tags , , , , , on June 19, 2010 by bleiglass

If you travel using GPS on your bike, it is helpful if you have some understanding of navigational coordinates. Sure, in most modern GPS navigator like the Garmin ZUMO 660 you just need to enter a postcode and off you go, but drive in a foreign country, or plan a longer route at home on your PC, and navigational coordinates are suddenly very attractive to define the position of a location.

There are alternative formats to express the coordinates of a location.

The traditional nautical navigation is using degrees, minutes and seconds, and in this format, the Guildford Harley-Davidson dealership is located at 51º 12′ 18.8″ North and 0º 35′ 07.8″ West. You’ll sometimes see this format abbreviated as Dº M’ S”, I will call it “Degree Minutes Seconds”, as it is the longest format. The problem with such long formats is that its allows many places for errors and misunderstanding during communication.

Part of the coordinates can also be expressed as decimals. Here for example, the seconds are added as decimals to the minutes, and we could say that Guildford Harley-Davidson is located at 51º 12.314’N and 0º 35.131’W, or written without the special characters º and ‘, one could write:  N51 12.314 and W0 35.131.

This notation is referred to as decimal minutes, which can be abbreviated as Dº M.M’, I call it “Decimal minutes”, as it integrates the seconds information into the minutes of the coordinate.

To simplify this convention even further, we can – to shorten the coordinate to a single number – use a format that is abbreviated as D.Dº, and also called “Decimal degrees”. Here the seconds and minutes are expressed as decimal of the degree, and give the location of the dealership in just one number, as 51.20523ºN and 0.58551ºW.

Sometimes these Decimal degree coordinates are given without cardinal directions (N, S, E, and W), relying solely on positive and negative numbers instead. Using this format, anything south of the equator or west of the prime meridian is negative. So our Guildford Harley-Davidson dealership coordinates can be expressed as 51.20523 and -0.58551.

All formats have their advantages and disadvantages, some are traditionally correct but long, other are easy to use in spreadsheets but are not as intuitive. The very short decimal degree is often used as geotag pictures  in photo cameras.

I learned my navigation decades ago to sail the oceans on a sailing yacht, and am quite familiar with the nautical “Degree Minutes Seconds” format. But it is quite a long format, and in these modern times – and on this blog – I will use as helpful compromise the “Decimal minutes” notation, with cardinal directions, although I doubt my Road King will ever venture south of the equator.

The “Decimal minutes” notation uses less numbers and only 1 space, but the minutes are still recognizable and just the seconds are broken down into decimals. I like to know that I live 22 minutes (and a bit) north of the 51 degree north. The “Decimal degrees” notation is for me a step to far away from tradition and the roots of navigation, and it does not sound very exciting that I live at 52.20511.

So, for this blog, and other posts,  the HD bling shop in Guildford is at N51 12.314 and W0 35.131, and using Google this string will return a accurate result on a map and satellite picture:

The good news is that you should never have to manually convert from one format to the other, your GPS and most software programs (like Google) will do it for you.

But be careful to enter the correct format, with all spaces. So please remember:

  • N51 12.314 and W0 35.131 is the Decimal minutes format, my preference and
  • N51.20523 and W0.58551 is the same address expressed in Decimal degrees

Again: be careful, if you omit some space or move the decimal point, thus entering Decimal minutes data in a Decimal degrees format, like N51.12314 and W0.35131, you end up 15 miles away, still in Surrey, but now near Ockley, and trust me, there is no Harley Davidson dealership there.

Here again in summary the different formats of location for the Guildford Harley-Davidson dealership.

If you pay attention to the spaces and decimal points to recognize the format, you and your GPS will always find your destination.

Have a safe drive

Shepperton Village Fair, Part 3: the raft race

Posted in Harley-Davidson with tags , , , , , on June 16, 2010 by bleiglass

Saturday, 12th June, the Hogsback Chapter called its members for a event in Shepperton, to the annual Village Fair 2010.

We were participating in 3 events, our Harley Davidson’s would lead the procession through the village High Street (Part 1), then our polished bikes would go on display in the main arena (Part 2) for the public to inspect, and some children to sit on them under close supervision.

Finally, the Hogsback’s entered for the first year a self build raft in the Great Nauticalia Raft Race (Part 3).

What a fun day, Hogsback made Fastest Race with their “Harley-Davidson on Water”.

Here they come, the raft of Hogsback Chapter

Harley-Davidson latest model

well done

more Deep Purple then KISS: smoke on the water

Dear announcer, thank you for a really entertaining commentary!