Caponord meets the Amalfi coast

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Amalfi coast Italy - Villa Rina B&BThe Capo had barely started cooling down after the 24hr trip from the UK before it was given a once-over for the trip South the next day. Everything was fine with just the chain getting a clean and fresh re-lube before the Scottoiler took over once more.

The next day we stood outside the Hotel  Santa Caterina – Amalfi waiting for the guy to take us to the secure garage (with CCTV) the Capo would call home for the next day or so. The weather was warm (28C) and I was well sweaty …… mostly from the Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid GoPro image - Amalfi bus & vanshock of the coast-road ride. Tailgating (I mean inches/CM!) topped off with blind-bend overtakes and head-on riders/drivers all doing their level best to stuff us into a cliff wall or over the edge into the sea. It felt personal! I thought I knew a thing or two about Italian driving but this made Abruzzo drivers look like kindergarten newbies. Also for the first time ever, I wished I’d had a 17 tooth front sprocket instead of the 16. 1st felt too revy and 2nd bogged down – I needed a 1½ gear! And yes ….. Getting anything above 2nd was almost impossible with hair-pin bends only a few meters apart for the entire 25 Km of coast we travelled.

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Amalfi motorcycle parking feesParking in Amalfi is almost none existent by the look of it, so if you do go, make sure you have it arranged with your hotel/B&B or it could be very costly indeed – €5 Car / €2 Motorbike PER 2 HOURS. Mind you that’s chump change, coaches’ pay up to €200 per 2 hours!

We stayed at a lovely little B&B (Villa Rina – 5 guest rooms) nestled in the lemon groves overlooking the sea that was about 1/2Km and several hundered steps up the hill from the garage. Luckily the garage had a bathroom where we could get out of our bike gear and into something more befitting an uphill walk in the afternoon heat! In fact we left all our bike gear with the Capo and only had the tank-bag and one hand luggage to carry which was fine – unlike the poor ladies we saw with large suitcases and high-heels looking most uninspired by it all!

Overall a smashing break with great food in a wonderful location and we managed to dodge the rain / thunderstorms on the way back as well! The Capo is now showing 97, 744 miles and really ought to have a service next week – it’s a fair exchange for a job well done.

2016-05-10-12.52Finally ….. here’s something you don’t see everyday in a service station. They certainly know how to go out in style I’ll give them that …. and it certainly looks like it can get a hustle on. Yes, a ‘guest’ was on board as well! 😯

 

New sprocket and battery

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Ognibene 'silent' front sprocket 7164-16It was heaving with rain and the Capo’s air-temp readout on the dashboard struggled to make 3°C as I rolled off the Dover ferry at just past midnight, welcome back to wintery England! The worn front sprocket I hadn’t replaced before starting the journey was now noticeably noisier with an extra 1,350 miles on it even though I’d ramped up the Scottoiler to keep everything well lubricated in the face of such shitty weather. Overall a good run up, marred only by the small rip in the riders saddle caused by the zip on my Halvarssons trousers when throwing my leg over the bike …… I’m sure this damn bike is getting taller with age! As I left Dover, I flicked the heated grips on and hit the M20 thinking that this is about as bad as it gets – then the sleet and hail started!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Yuasa YTX14H-BS battery14 days later, as I rolled back up the ramp onto the same boat, it was all quite different – a warm, bright morning with the promise of a nice day ahead and the Capo running sweetly with a new Ognibene 7164-16 sprocket. I’d also treated it to a replacement Yuasa YTX14H-BS battery* as the old one was beginning to show warning signs – slightly lower standing voltage and low voltage while cranking. I’d arrived at Dover a bit early and didn’t realise they’d put me on an earlier sailing (fine in principle) but it was one of the boats I hate, with a long curved (wet) ramp up onto the car deck….. never nice on a heavily loaded Capo.

One of the perks of a bike is that folks just wander over for a chat, be it a fuel station in Switzerland or a bike park in Broad Street, Oxford and 99% of the time the experience is enriching …… but as I rode off that damn ferry I could have happily kicked the two wheels from under the overbearing, opinionated plonker who’d happily eaten up 5 minutes of my life telling me everything that was wrong with my bike and how wonderful his was – then he promptly rode off in the ‘trucks only’ lane!

The return leg was as trouble-free as the first, with the Capo rolling into the barn with 97,145 miles on the odometer. Only a near miss with a kamikaze gull which almost took out the windscreen being memorable – that and Swiss road works!

The replacement Ognibene sprocket certainly lives up to its ‘silent’ name. It was noticeably quieter even just spinning the back wheel while on the main-stand; let’s see how much life I get out of it compared to the usual Renthal sprocket I use (avg. 15K miles). It looks well made and the tooth profile is very similar to the Renthal, but only time will tell. Purchased in the UK from: biketorqueracing.co.uk for £27 inc VAT & P&P.

*Special thanks to Jim at Abbey Motorcycle Instructors for getting the YTX14H-BS battery at short notice – you’re a star fella!  😀 

The slow road back to normality

20150313_bigWhere to start …. ‘wow, what a week’ … doesn’t quite seem to cut it really! 🙂 I guess it’s fair to say we were in a bit of a state of shock on the Friday/Saturday following the evacuation notice/snow-storm and then of course, having no electricity, phone/Internet just put the icing on the cake. We began packing but were so distracted by inner thoughts that we seemed to have no direction or purpose – stuffing all manner of things in bags willy-nilly. Honestly, looking back now I think it was more like Shaun of the Dead meets Supermarket Sweep! The word on the grapevine was that power would be anything up to a month as so much of the infrastructure is down. In the end the region has poured in loads of industrial generators to power groups of homes – ours went online at 18:30 Wednesday evening, so that’s at least 6-8 happy families in our neck of the woods!

Today we took a drive out in the sunshine and popped in to the machine shop to see if Gabriele could knock up a part for the Capo – ready tomorrow afternoon he shouted cheerily over the generator running full tilt outside the workshop door. You can’t keep a good workshop closed for long! On the way we saw first-hand more evidence of the damage to trees, power and telecom lines, and also the speed the system gears up to get services back on line – generators being installed or chugging away merrily on a street corner, a fleet of trucks loaded with new poles heading inland, cherry pickers and workers buzzing around pylons and substations.

The word in the media seems to suggest that this was the worst the region had experienced since the 1950/60’s and that two villages 40 minutes drive south of us may have broken the world record for snowfall ….. over 100 inches (2.5m) in 18 hours, apparently that’s more snow than Boston had in Jan/Feb! Here’s a couple of links:-

http://www.meteoweb.eu (Italian)

http://www.weather.com (USA)


And finally …………..

Unfortunately these kind of events have a knock on effect ………… and that means for the forseeable future there will no longer be any Caponord/Futura dashboard repairs until life returns to some semblance of normality, sorry folks.

End of the Road?

Abruzzo landslide March 2015 - road closedWe’ve had a bit of a rough start to 2015 in the Abruzzo region, well actually that’s not true ….. it goes back to the tail end of 2013! That’s when we had the first of the terrain-changing rain and snow fall. The following months seemed to fair no better, with higher than average rainfall throughout 2014, so much so that the Olive fruit fly thrived in the humid conditions and the Olive harvest crashed into a national disaster. We all so wanted 2015 to fair better ……

…… alas that hasn’t been the case. More rain and snow has seen numerous landslides throughout the region – our own road included. Only a few kilometers away in Civitella Casanova 45 people have been evacuated and homes destroyed because of land slippage. Roads are closed all over the region and teams of specialists have been drafted in by the authorities to help deal with the situation.

But it seems life has one more kick up the arse for us ……. yesterday was sunny, almost 20c with a light breeze. Today is 2c with heavy snow and winds forecast to possibly top 100Km/Hr Abruzzo landslide March 2015and it will last 48hrs, with another 48hrs of rain following on. Of course that’s only the start of it, any extra damage will be slow and insidious over the following weeks as the already saturated land tries to absorb the extra water ….. my gut feeling is that it won’t cope, it’s already at capacity and that can only lead to more landslides.

Valentino RossiMelodramatic? Maybe. But two weeks ago we were told that the authorities were considering re-locating use. We got a reprieve because we have no kids or elderly here, nor do we require regular medical attention plus none of the damage was within a few hundred meters of our home.

I have to say, we’ve had better weeks. But then out of the blue, life has a way of throwing you a bone, a little something to bring a smile to your face. In this case a snappy supplement cover of ‘Saint Valentino’! Reading that mag over a hot brew and suddenly things don’t look so rough ………

 UPDATE

Seconds after hitting the ‘publish’ button the phone rang ….. guess what, they were serving an evacuation notice on us in the middle of a raging snowstorm. I honestly can’t think when Jan and last felt so low ….. me, I just want the Capo out of here …. and us with it.

Where the hell did July go!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid. Basking in the Bologna sunshine!Crikey time flies. It seems an age since ACIM and all the stuff that happened before and after that great weekend, so I’ll start off the week before ACIM – the great cruise control saga. On the 3rd July TNT delivered the package to customs in Ciampino (Rome) Airport – a full week before ACIM, unfortunately it was from here on I became embroiled in a constant round of emails and phone calls in an effort to get the kit cleared to complete its journey. On the Thursday 10th (day before) ACIM it looked like I might be able to collect it from the local TNT depot on the way up …. ‘call us after 9am’ I did ….. Customs still had issues, call again on Monday. So that was that, no kit fitted or available to show. Frankly I was fed up to the back teeth with the whole thing and looked forward to a stress free weekend to unwind!

ACIM 2014 San Marino 11th-13th July

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid. ACIM San Marino - Saturday ride outWhat a great weekend, new faces, names to faces and names who’s threads/posts I’ve read for years – a bit of hero worship going on here! A 560 mile round trip that shook the Capo down nicely for the big trip a few days later – with a very enjoyable spirited ride back to the hotel on Saturday evening with two Capo riders across some stunning scenery……we had a blast, thanks guys!

Other than that, I’ll let Jan fill you in with more details and pics from her website – Janet’s Edublog and end by saying a big thanks to the organisers for a fantastic weekend and we look forward to meeting up with you all again soon.

MCCruise control

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid. MCCruise goodies!!!After ACIM, with the Capo tucked up in the barn on Sunday night, I could focus back on the cruise control and my impending trip. Time was short … too short. Either the cruise control had to be cleared by customs on Monday/Tuesday or sent back to Australia – it was that simple. If the window of opportunity was missed, then frankly the cruise control was a waste of time, effort and money as I’d have to travel and hope my wrist held out. Not only that but I’d be away for the next 14 days!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid. MCCruise - ready for actionIn the end, at 10am on Tuesday, I stood at the TNT depot (Chieti Scallo) and marvelled as the sun glinted off the packing tape of a big brown box full of goodies! We whizzed home in double-time and the spannering started in earnest ……

….. by Wednesday afternoon the kit was fitted, calibrated and given its first brief test – and worked like a charm! Now I was out of time, bags were packed, Capo loaded and refuelled and at midnight I dropped onto the A14 North and the cruise was engaged for the first mile of many – and it performed faultlessly throughout.

Transcontinental run

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid - 60,000 miles and countingThe next 25hrs took me door-to-door and the Capo gained another 1,350 miles under its belt. The cruise had been engaged for well over a 1,000 of those miles (night-time motorways) and the odometer slid over to 60,000 miles on the M25/M40 slip road, a half hour short of Oxford. The next 13 days were a blur of activity with the Capo grabbing an MOT somewhere along the way ….. And before I knew it, the Capo and I were heading back to Dover again with panniers groaning with tea-bags, cheddar cheese and bacon!

The return run was a real mix of (summer?) weather, dense fog in France, rain and sleet in Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid. 2013-14 quite a busy year!Switzerland and 36C sunshine in Italy! Once again the Capo did what it does best, kept on running faultlessly mile after mile and so finally, at 1am on Monday 4th August we rolled into the barn with the odometer now at 61,860 – just 277 miles short of the magic 62,137 ………. Or 100,000Km to be precise!

As the sidestand took the weight from my aching knees and I eventually convinced my right leg to ease its way over the saddle for the last time, I saw Jan in the red glow of the tail-light all warm smile and a cold beer! Now that’s a way to be welcomed home …….. 😀

ACIM (Aprilia Caponord International Meeting) VI – 2014

Aprilia Caponord International Meeting 2014 - San MarinoAfter thrashing out our diaries for 2014, Jan and I have managed to keep the 11-13th of July free for  ACIM VI 2014 – held this year in San Marino (Italy) …… and so the registration has been duly submitted to the organisers. 😀 😀

So we’re looking forward to plenty of pics, video, laughs and good conversation over the weekend in a spectacular part of Italy. We really hope to meet up with some of you over the weekend and finally put a face to a name!