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Thumper Diaries

About the blog

This blog is to be a diary of our activities and the trials and tribulations of owning a Royal Enfield Bullet 500. Your comments are welcome but there is a spam filter.
I hate spam.

For spares and such, I normally go to Hitchcocks Motorcycles

For a complete log (linked index) of all the posts in this blog, go here: Diary log

It’s been a while..

Travels Posted on Thu, June 01, 2023 13:16:00

What with corona virus, my failing back and finally a move away from Copenhagen and out into the countryside, I haven’t been able to do much with Thumper. Corona kept me indoors, my back failed completely last year and I couldn’t get on the machine, let alone ride him and before I really recovered from that we decided to move house.
We have now relocated to a large island southeast of Sealland. Falster, to be precise. The countryside here is wonderful. Rolling but not exactly covered in hills, the roads are of the country variety, which means narrow and winding. The island is more or less agricultural in its entirety with a few large towns around about. The coast is not far away and we have a good stretch of forest to get through and round.
I have been out a couple of times with the bike. I needed to replace the battery (again) which was run down and dead from lack of use, but apart from that I only needed to refill with fuel and oil, which was drained for the move. The removals company insisted on it. I had to remove the old single saddle too. It was falling apart. I may have to do something about that…

I intend to get out and about as often as circumstances allow. This island is not big but it is well connected with A roads and motorway. There is a lot to see. For the moment, I am sticking to the local area to get to know my way around. I don’t mind getting lost here. One hits a coastline sooner or later and from there on, it’s navigation. For now, here’s a picture of Thumper enjoying the local forest at a place called Pomle Nakke, not far from our new residence. Unfortunately, we cannot “green lane” here. One stays on the black stuff or established tracks. Most are blocked for motorcycles and motor traffic.

First run, 2018

Travels Posted on Mon, May 28, 2018 00:15:50

The weather has been particularly nice all through spring this year. It pained me that Thumper was out of commission for so long that, when he was fixed, I had to get him out. I haven’t refuelled since I was forced to send him to the shed so I was a little worried about ethanol and stuff but, as it turned out, all was well.

I decided to take the usual cruise around the island on which I live. It’s not a long run by any means but it can be quite picturesque, varying from woodland cover on the roadside to open coastline. There is a cafe at the harbour in Dragør which I used to visit regularly. It is popular with the biking fraternity. I decided to make a point of stopping there.

There is no real green laning allowed in this land. The State has laid claim to most of the woodland and cars and bikes are not welcome. There are private woods, but without permission to be there, you are trespassing. Occasionally the road passes through woodland. That is the closest we can get. I found such a road yesterday.
It isn’t long but it is a pretty place to ride. I couldn’t resist a photo opportunity.

It’s a bit “Robert Frost”. Whom I shall now quote: “The woods are lovely, dark and deep..” Which indeed they are. Unfortunately one can’t ride through them though. So I had to stay on the black bit..

Out of the woods I headed for the coastline. Plodding around at a steady 40 MPH is a grand way to spend the morning. There is an open piece of road on the coast though, where we can exercise a bit of accelertion and sustain a higher rate of knots. I did so. It was exhiliarating…

Soon at my cafe, I parked up and settled for a coffee and a cigarette. To my chagrin I discovered that one of my two favourite cafes had suffered a fire. The building is virtually gutted but somehow, they kept the outside area running and are working from a mobile kitchen. Hats off to them.

Break over, I set off further up the coast, past the airport for a Tom Cruise moment and then further on toward the eastern coastline.
Again, a break to suck up the sea air and a chat with a fellow Brit who was attracted by the sound of Thumper’s engine. A good chat with him and a cigarette later, I pointed Thumper toward home and took a leisurely ride back to my humble abode.

Having ascertained that all is well with Thumper I am considering a longer trip to the North of Sealland to visit my old mate and my daughter.
We’ll see how that goes.

It’s great to be back on the road again.

End of Season 2016

Travels Posted on Tue, October 18, 2016 14:48:51

It’s been quite a year. The weather wasn’t brilliant by any means but we managed to get a thousand Km on the odometer and no major mishaps or breakdowns.
I fitted a crashbar, sorted my GPS out and had the dent in the tank removed. I’m looking forward to Christmas, the missus has bought a windshield for me to fit to Thumper.
I ordered a Parts list Book and a Workshop Manual. These too, are going into the Yuletide pile.

Thumper has gone into hibernation. I brimmed the fuel tank and checked the oil level. The battery will be charged periodically if necessary. Right now he is sleeping happily in the shed, under his blankets and waterproof poncho. The poncho is a bit of extra unnecessary protection really. The shed is well insulated from the elements and I can even warm it up.

So, thanks for another year of joy Thumper. Roll on Spring, where we can get out on the road again.

Sleep well.

A Trip to the Swedish Woods

Travels Posted on Tue, September 01, 2015 23:07:04

And a night in a hammock..

I’d been planning a trip out with Thumper for a long time. I’d even found where I wanted to go so it was only a question of weather. Finally I could see two days of sunshine on the horizon so I packed my rucksack and saddled up and set off to the North.
Getting to Sweden from Copenhagen is easy enough. You take the bridge. OK, there’s a tunnel involved in the trip too but that’s the easy bit. Crossing the bridge is the hard bit. Well, it is if you are travelling directly into a stiff breeze from the East and travelling uphill to reach the apex of the bridge. The wind does get going over the open sea. It was a case of hang on and grin and bear it. Thumper did well enough though, holding a steady 50 mph all the way. Once off the bridge the wind settled down and the short stretch of motorway past Malmö went without further effort. Finally I turned off the motorway and headed East to my chosen destination. Häckberga.

Surrounded by woods, it looked like the ideal place to stop. One can camp almost anywhere in Sweden. I found out very quickly that I had picked the one place that I couldn’t really camp in. It was a nature reserve. Luckily I found a placard sign that defined the limits of the reserve and I spotted an area where I could raise my tarp and set up camp. I headed off.
I met two German lads who had also used the same spot for the previous night. They were just breaking camp as I arrived and after a brief introduction they offered me coffee and cake. Gratefully recieved and very good it was too. I set up home at the edge of the woods allowing myself a view of the surrounding countryside.

Parking in the woods wasn’t easy. The ground was soft so I had to find something to support the side stand. A log sufficed but to be sure, I strapped Thumper to a tree for added support and threw a cover over him.

Having set up my shelter and hung both hammock and mosquito net up, I set up my field kitchen, which is no more than a solid fuel folding stove and made a brew.

Not wanting to turn this into a camping monologue, suffice it to say that I spent the day wandering through the woods looking for wildlife and then settled down to a late dinner and an early night.

The trip home was uneventful. The roads in southern Sweden are good, even out in the cuds and very pleasant to ride on. They turn gently and the landscape rises and falls at a gentle rate. Traffic was light and I made good time getting back to the bridge. Preparing for another battle with the elements, I steeled myself for another ride into a headwind which never really materialised. The return journey was a much more pleasant affair.

I will do this again but preferably with some company. The evening drew out for me in the woods and although I don’t mind being alone I must confess to feeling a bit lonely at times. Even if I was surrounded by hares, deer and other wildlife which I couldn’t see but could clearly hear.

On the up side, Thumper performed like a trouper and never missed a beat. A truly grand experience and, as I said, one I will be repeating at some point.

A Great Day Out

Travels Posted on Wed, April 30, 2014 21:15:38

We’ve been having some lovely weather lately but, alas and alack, today might be the last chance for a ride out for the next week or so. Deciding to take a chance on it, I brought Thumper out of the shed and set forth to visit an old mate who is a bit poorly after having been operated on for a bad ear. He’s going to be off work for the next month because he’s off balance and partially deaf, albeit temporarily. He lives about 85 kilometers away and the ride to North Zealand is fairly pleasant, even in the winter. Open roads and very little of urban disturbance make for a good day out.

Avoiding the motorway is not exactly easy from my home as the bridges off the island are either right in the centre of Copenhagen or carrying the motorway but I can reduce the amount of mileage I cover on them by turning off of the main route as early as possible and then take the ring roads round the city. Open country is not that far away.
Once you get off the ring roads, you’re out in the open on country roads. Holding a steady 80KpH where possible, I reached my pal after an hour and a half, including a ten minute stop to get off the bike and regain some circulation in my backside.

We sat and spoke for about an hour, he assured me he’ll be fine and then I left to visit my daughter, 13 km further down the road but actually in the homeward direction.
A cup of coffee and a good chat later, I started on the return journey.

Strangely, the only real traffic I encountered was on the last section of motorway close to home. Slow moving and concentrated, I made better time on the ‘A’ roads than I did on the E20 to Kastrup. The final 20 kilometers took me an age to get through.

Thumper never missed a beat all day. Solid and steady, I never had a moments concern for the bike. The more I ride him, the more relaxed about his performance I become. I find myself truly beginning to trust him.

Roll on Summer. We’ll be doing much more of this.


Travels Posted on Mon, March 31, 2014 18:19:37

The clocks went forward this past weekend, which means it’s officially summertime. The weather seems to have turned for the better too so in lovely Spring sunshine, 15°C and a light breeze from the West, I decided to take a day out at the seaside. It’s not really that far away anyway, so why not take a peek?
It was gorgeous. I met a few other bikers on my travels including an elderly gent of 78 years on a chinese chopper. As he said, “I can’t walk that far these days but I can still ride the bike.” Respect to him..

We compared machines. He was impressed with Thumper, I praised his machine. He said he’d had it for five years and has never taken a spanner to it. I told him I have owned Thumper for a year and I’ve made a few moderations. He looked and nodded his approval. “Nice bike.” he said, “I wish it was mine.”

Anyway, we had a good day out, the weather was lovely, Thumper went like the wind and sounded like thunder. This is what life should be like.

Here’s a couple of pictures of Thumper at the waters edge..

Trial Run

Travels Posted on Mon, February 10, 2014 18:49:42

The sun came out today and the temperature went up to 4° Centigrade. I decided to take the chance and road test Thumper now that I’ve done all my winter modifications.

The saddle definitely lifts me up by a few inches. I realised this when I looked into my mirrors. They were way off. The single saddle being higher means that my hips aren’t as cramped as they were with the old flat seat which actually means I’m more comfortable on the bike. The ride was better too, those extra springs under my arse make a big difference.
I have to admit, I get more pull out of Thumper with the new air filter and new carburettor jetting. He gets away like a scalded cat and the top end is more open. I didn’t press it because it’s still very cold here and the roads may be a bit icy in places but I was up to the 100 km mark in a couple of places and didn’t realise I was going so fast.

I took one of my usual routes round the western side of the island of Amager. This is flat land and the wind gets across it unhindered so one has to bear that in mind, so, easy did it. Heading first south and then west I reached the coast in about a half hour. I stopped virtually at the waters edge and decided to take a break, stretch my legs and smoke a cigarette.
A stunning view, clear air and skies and glorious early year sunshine. The quiet was broken only by the sound of geese flying overhead and the wind in the grasses that line the shore. This, I thought, is what it’s all about. Getting away for a while and living life. Next time, I’ll take the camera. In the meantime, there’s a picture below of the local power station taken from the shore where I stood.

Eager to try the bike in a more urban environment, I rode back towards home through the suburbs of Kastrup, carefully dodging the 4 wheeled motorists and the cyclists, the latter of which have no respect for the rules of the road. No problems with the bike, Thumper does as is expected and no uneasy moments.

So I’m pleased with the results. Even if I did get cold fingers..!

How We Met

Travels Posted on Sat, January 11, 2014 23:32:23

In November 2013 I reached 60 years of age and officially retired. Early. Leading up to retirement I had built up a few hobbies to enjoy in my otium but decided I would be lacking something if they didn’t get me out of the house. The idea suddenly occurred to me, that I could recapture some of the joy of my youth, motorcycling, which I gave up as marriage, kids and responsibility put too many demands on my time. Now free of the kids and the dreaded work, I thought, “Why not?” and told the missus I was getting a bike.
Surprisingly, she said ‘OK, but get something nice, not one of those Japanese things.’
The hunt, then, was on for a piece of ‘British Iron’.

I spotted Thumper on a website. A dealer some miles away had him up for sale on commission and I rang him up. Thumper, he told me, was as new. He’d only covered 1756 kilometers and the previous owner had bought him as a last fling at life. The man was dying of cancer and had always wanted to own such a bike. He bought Thumper in 2005 but soon became too ill to ride the bike further and it was placed in a garage.
There it stayed for 8 long years gathering dust. And so it was, I bought Thumper.

Getting him road-ready was relatively easy. A wash, a go round with the grease gun and the oil can, check the tyres and battery and some fuel.

Getting him registered was a bit of a trial but after the roadworthiness test and a word with a local workshop, Thumper was finally mine, street legal, registered and ready to go.

I put 1000 kilometers on the odometer before winter drove us into the shed.

I can’t wait for the Spring…