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  1. WC, that is really helpful info and advice, but like VB, I have to say it be would great to find a way of getting a slightly longer bike on the stern. There are some fairly light 125s on the market that have 15hp, which whilst not powerful is enough to keep the bike at 70-80 despite headwinds etc, so that motorways become less stressful. But the most likely thing for me will be a 250 or 400, because If I'm taking along any baggage for a long visit with family, most 125s will struggle. The Duke is a great combination of power and relatively light weight, but if possible I want something a but more retro. My ideal choice would be the Moto Guzzi V7 or Ducati Scrambler, but at over 750cc and 190kg, I am worried that it might be too much to manhandle along a muddy towpath. On the storage question, do you think it would be feasible to commission a custom-made platform that would hold it not quite across the stern at a right angle, but slightly offset at an angle? That way it might be possible to fit a slightly longer bike on the stern. How about a complete rework of the stern? I.e remove the existing stern rails, and build out a platform from the existing stern, then fit rails on the outer edge? I dont mind splurging a few hundred quid on a good, safe and convenient solution, but if it starts getting up towards a thousand, it looks less worthwhile.
  2. Whats become clear since this thread started is that my whole mindset will change when I finally move aboard. For one thing I will no longer be working full time, but I've still assumed I will always need to own a car or van- and its becoming clear that that's not necessarily true. I will always want to have some sort of motor transport, partly because public transport is so awful- but on most occasions it is only myself that needs to move about. The number of times each month that I need to move bulky stuff about with me will be the decider. If it ends up being just twice a month, then owning a van makes no sense, and I might as well hire when needed. At the moment the availability of work post retirement, and my willingness to travel to where it is, are both not 100% clear, so I will need to keep options open. But I do take your point, and I have dismissed the notion that a car or van is going to be essential.
  3. I've heard there are certain social circles wherein being suspended above 100 litres of human waste is considered a thrilling experience, and commands a high fee. Personally I've never seen the attraction, to say the very, very least. But wait- are we talking toilets here? Do we really want to reignite the Great Internet Toilet War of 2018 again? (And is it true that if I say the word 'compost' three times and spin anticlockwise at midnight, will I really be devoured by demonic harpies?)
  4. All too accurate, Mr G. Having rented out my house and moved 200 miles to live with the very wonderful Mrs Tony1 five years ago, the rather sudden and (in my view) enforced ending of the relationship meant that finding suitable accommodation for my baggage train and the servants was extremely awkward. It necessitated a quite ruthless and rapid decluttering, after which I felt no worse off. Over the last couple of decades I've come to the belief that in general, we carry far too much physical baggage through our lives, and unless we live in very large houses (which most of us very much do not), the insidious and gradual accumulation of 'stuff' has to be periodically and ruthlessly purged, or our living spaces can become almost untenable. So a narrowboat may hold some fears for me- the limitless horror of dealing with a malfunctioning pump out tank, for example- but decluttering is definitely not going to be a problem.
  5. By a combination of circumstances involving diabolical luck, pure animal cunning and a small jack russell, I tragically find myself wife-less as of several months ago. One has of course to be realistic in these matters, and with my almost complete lack of charm or character there seems very little prospect of acquiring a replacement in the medium term future. One lives in hope of finding a fair maiden of the canals, but I appear doomed to spend my days idly drifting about the cut, with no Director of Operations to get things organised. Plus without a woman to keep me civilised, there is every chance my living standards and behaviour could deteriorate to pre-Neanderthal levels. I fear a grim future awaits...
  6. And they would have us believe that British innovation is dead... If there was a Queen's Award for Toilet-Based Innovation, you Sir would be the runaway winner, with such brilliant and audacious thinking. However, I think I will wait until the composting version is developed. Dammit, I swore I would never use the C word again...
  7. That sounds brilliant Alan, but sadly I don't have a fleet to keep me busy. One thing I've read here time and again is how much time and effort is needed to keep boats fully maintained and shipshape, so perhaps I wont be quite as much of 'gentleman of leisure' as I'm imagining... Perhaps my solution is to buy a project boat for 20k. I'll be kept so busy I won't want to do any 'work' work ?
  8. Hi Cuthound, yes you have a very good point there. I initially shied away from hiring partly for financial reasons. My twice monthly trips would mostly be for ad hoc jobs, as a way of earning some extra pocket money and to keep me at least occasionally busy (and I need to take some kit that wont fit on a bike). Each day's job would only pay about £150-200 anyway, and to lose maybe half of that for the van hire would be a right pain, and would probably make it not worth my while. If I could perhaps borrow a car from a family member that would help, but I would still have to give them something in return- not the full cost of a hire perhaps, but something. Now that I've started to seriously look at the costs associated with travelling to work, and having to run a car or van mainly for that, it's made me start to rethink my whole approach to working after retirement. At 58 I'll be too young to do nothing at all, but cc'ing alone wont keep me busy enough, and I cant spend all day crocheting jumpers or arguing on the internet about composting toilets. Or can I....?
  9. Reading this information, I keep being struck by the need to find compromises and 'least unpleasant' options for long-distance capable motorised transport. Which is no surprise really, given the space constraints on a narrowboat. My original plan was that I would keep my car, and go back to move it every few days via electric or pedal bike. Many people do that, and consider it a hassle worth doing for the benefit of having reasonably handy motor transport. I will still need car about twice per month for occasional business and family purposes after I formally retire, so in my case a bike is actually an additional expense to the car, not an alternative- but having it on board would remove the significant hassle of retracing my steps every 2/3 days to move my car (which can instead be kept at a family members house, with them able to use it as a recompense for keeping it). In fact, I'm starting to reconsider the entire basis of car ownership though. If I only use the car twice a month, why not let my breother be its official named keeper, with me as a named driver on his insurance? How the car is owned/insured is certainly one avenue to think about and to discuss with my brother, but the main thing that has occurred to me is that to make the best decision about how to handle and store a bike, the competing 'wants' should be prioritised. My order of priority is as follows: 1. Budget range between 40-50k 2. Maximum interior space/layout, with large open plan living area 3. About 15 years old or less if possible, so that the domestic systems don't need lots of immediate attention 4. Toilet- I have very specific ideas about the kind of toilet I want, which I wont go into here for fear of restarting the Great Toilet War. And somewhere further down the list comes the 'nice to have' section, that contains the onboard bike. Which means if I find a boat that I like, I'm definitely not rejecting it because the well deck wont hold a particular size of bike. There just arent enough boats around that have the sort of interior potential I want. So instead my approach will be to buy the boat, then look at what bikes are suitable for it. And on that, one option we havent mentioned so far is the possibility of a 300cc Vespa type vehicle. These do have a slightly shorter wheelbase and might just fit into an average well deck (and I'm told the parka is not mandatory, but rather advisory). The fact that several thousand young men regularly travelled 50 miles or more on these vehicles for the purposes of engaging in a mass brawl is proof they can cover reasonable distances, and my fashion advisers assure me that scooters are certainly the coolest of the options available, even if the very thought of them makes some gentlemen vomit slightly into their own mouths. But ultimately, if 'm not happy with the cost and the hassle of front deck mounting for any motorbike, I will have to consider mounting it to the stern. It would only add another two feet or so onto the boat length, and the weight of it would be reasonably low-slung to help with stability. I don't envisage the hoist being easily dismountable, because at over 100kg I could easily injure myself trying to wrestle it around the boat, and it would need to be centrally mounted so you could unload the bike from either side of the boat. The best current options seem to be a well deck mounting with one wheel held up and off the deck perhaps in some sort of frame, or an RV-type ramp welded to the stern to hold the bike transversely (and sincere apologies if 'transversely' isn't an actual legit word, as I very much fear it might not be).
  10. Thanks Alan- so transverse mounting is not really an option on a normal cruiser style deck, and you can't lay it over anyway. I am starting to wonder whether a crossways framework like your RV type, but fitted to the stern, might be less problematic than trying to cram it into the cratch? Would you need extra ballast at the front of the boat, as I think someone suggested earlier? The other thing is with maybe 2 feet of ironmongery hanging off the stern, it might limit your boat length options a bit, but for me 57ft will be plenty anyway.
  11. Mounting horizontally over the gunwales is a good idea, except for low bridges. Could the bike be mounted crossways but perhaps laid on its side, or at a low angle? This is where a hoist might come in handy...
  12. There is another issue that might crop up for potential bike carriers on boats (and it certainly will for me), and that is fitting the bike on the foredeck. One of the things I don't want to compromise when buying a boat is to restrict my options to boats with tug size decks. There are going to be just too few boats around that meet my other key criteria (and budget) for me to be able to reduce the potential market by 70% because I have to have a tug. But the problem that raises is how to fit a 2 metre long middleweight bike into a smallish cratch. Clearly not all boat decks will accommodate the bike when it's standing with both wheels on the deck, so I think one end of the bike will have to lifted somehow...
  13. Thanks for those links Mark, that is really helpful and informative detail
  14. Mr Boosh, I promise you I am above temptation in this matter. The prospect of applying a spanner to any mechanical device has as much appeal as removing weeds from a fouled propellor with my teeth.
  15. Sadly Mr Boosh, I have the mechanical aptitude of an incompetent chimp. I could change the oil on a good day with a following wind, but for me to attempt anything further would be to visit doom and disaster upon the bike. I would hesitate to build a bike from lego, let alone metal.
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