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Amalfi Coast Car service Scooter Transport travel Vintage cars

You just godda see what this man can do with a damaged car or van or whatever…….

I recently started a part time job at a local bodyshop. My mates are convinced that my lady pays him to pay me just to get me out of the house, which of course could be true but I don’t really care cos the experience is amazing.

Mr Cioffi has been plying his trade in the Ravello area for about 45 years and he is still going strong at almost 70. He is one of the few remaining craftsmen true to that name and he has repaired more cars than I have had hot dinners for sure. Now I am starting to understand something of what he does and I help out in the office, collecting and delivering cars and customers as well as visiting scrap yards to collect spares.

His work has changed dramatically over the years, he tells me. In the old days his customers used to keep their cars for many many years and so would come to him every few years for some repairs and even to have a new colour! These days instead most of us keep our cars for a much shorter time so the work is now only repairs. Also, airbags greatly complicate the job these days as a car can be written off if too many air bags have exploded, as the cost of replacement air bags is prohibitive.

I am also now his paint mixer, another really interesting job. But first lets see some photos I have taken recently…

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travel

I just bought a new car…..well not toooo old anyway…..

Here she is, let me introduce you, yes she is an Audi S4 Avant (B6, 2005). I frequently scout Flea Bay and other UK sites searching for LHD UK registered cars. Many come from Spain as the UK has some half a million expats in the south of Spain as the weather and the living is sooooo good I guess, on a UK pension in Spain everyone becomes richer. I have always loved Audi and BMW as well as VW, and this S4 recently caught my eye at a London dealer.

LHD. Tick. Wonderful engine. Tick x 3. FSH tick. Good nick for her age as well as great value for money tick. Interesting. So what else? A V8 4.2 engine in an A4 is a wonderful start as personally I am a big fan of cubes and normal aspiration. For 4 years I owned an A5 with a 3.2 V6 engine and that was fun too, but this sounds almost too good to be true. Full Audi service history with loads of stamps in the service book. Great condition for her age. Goodness.

I phoned and chatted with the seller, London based Transeuropean Carriage Company, see https://www.transeuropean.co.uk/contacts. I chatted with the owner a truly charming fellow, and I bought the car based on his word and the photos of the car on his web site. “A fool and his money” I hear you say??? Well maybe, but lets say so far so good. I firstly studied how to collect her cos I have a trailer plus my trusty van BUT the cost of motorway tolls with a trailer are prohibitive. So Ryanair over and drive back?? Sure but I need to take 3 days off work so….Transeuropean??

I asked them how much to deliver the car and guess what??? The boss drove it down the following week!! I collected her from Roma airport and yes, I am in love again!! WOT a car, amazing, 15 years old but feels and drives like a much younger car. A few more pics follow and a fuller report when I start to get to know her…..

Categories
France Hotels Motorcycle and Bicycle travel

Another trip from Amalfi to the Midlands (UK) and back, by van…

Well, the fiendish plan was to take my beloved 2015 Yamaha TMax scooter plus my sweet 2013 Honda CB500 back to sell in the UK, and to collect my brand-new TMax 530DX which was waiting for me at Alf England (www.alfengland.co.uk). Yamaha have just launched the TMax 560 so many dealers were caught with stock of the 530 and I managed to get a good deal from Martin, he wanted to sell his last one.

Unfortunately the only one left in stock was black which is NOT my chosen colour for cars or bikes, (my old one was white which I much prefer) but beggars and choosers and all, the deal was excellent so I could not resist mainly because my old one did not have ABS which I personally regard as essential for 2 wheelers. You may not notice until its toooo late.

So I set off from Roma on a Saturday morning at about 7am, destination Chamonix for my overnight stop cos I love Chamonix and the Mercure Hotel is lovely, just a few kilometres after the Mont Blanc tunnel. When I arrived at about 5pm the temperature was already sliding below zero so I decided to park the van in the hotel garage for an extra 10 Euro, to avoid having to scrape and de-ice in the morning as I was planning to leave fairly early tho’ not at dawn! Well, I pulled out of the hotel garage at about 6am at minus 8.5 degrees and the climb up to the road was all ice and snow, the van however was great on her wonderful winter tyres. I headed north and as usual in France the motorways were excellent, not too busy and totally clear of ice.

I hit Calais at about 4pm and was put on the next P and O ferry leaving in 30 minutes, I headed up to the Business Lounge for my free newspapers plus tea, coffee or champers and as usual I had two or three coffees and read several newspapers. At Dover I then headed to Cambridge and luckily the traffic was fairly light, I hit the M2/M25/M11 and was soon in Shelford for beers and rest.

So the next morning I headed north to the Midlands to see Martin and the gang….some pictures below!! By the time I returned to Amalfi the red van had covered 5150 kms and averaged almost 11km/l, not bad for an old girl. Great trip, zero oil consumed too cos the van is only running at 2300rpm at 130 kph, very relaxed.

Categories
Motorcycle and Bicycle Scooter Transport travel Yamaha and Suzuki

Some basic tips about motorbike riding, from a survivor…

I bought my first bike, a Honda 50 4 stroke, at 14 and then broke my collarbone at 15 when I managed to lose the front end and fly over the handlebars in a local field. Since then I have had a range of motorbikes and experiences including track riding as well as racing and I just wanted to pass on some basic survival tips to you, dear reader. So here we go:

  • ALWAYS stay within your comfort zone. Work on expanding that zone by taking any and all training that you can afford.
  • ALWAYS dress ready for the worst, so good helmet, gloves, bike jacket and jeans are essential. ALWAYS.
  • Assume that the other road users will do what they should not, so ride defensively and give them all a very wide berth. And they often do the wrong thing.
  • Take rider training cos we are NOT all Valentino. Track riding is great for learning, so is off road riding.
  • Look after your bike (check tyre pressures, oil levels etc) and your bike will look after you. I check tyre pressures before evey trip and then daily during my trip.

Stay safe and have fun! My current lovely bikes are shown below

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travel

Think bike? Think GLOVES!

Ok so you love motorbikes and the freedom they bring us. Ok so you love the wind in yer face and the fact that you can easily slip through stationary traffic and get away first from the traffic lights.

Me too! I have owned lots of bikes and I currently have five in my collection, I much prefer using 2 wheels than 4 whenever possible.

And I have one golden rule: NEVER ride a bike without wearing gloves.

Why? Well think about it. If you fall over walking you put your hands down to cushion the fall right? Same if you were to fall over from your bike, same if you were to fall OFF your bike. And then who do you think wins, the tarmac or your hands? I have seen the scars after bike falls even at very low speed and the hands will always bear the brunt of the damage.

So I hearby offer you this super summer glove which I found and I dont wanna be rich, I can offer you a pair of these for 20 Euro delivered in Italy, 25 rest of Europe. I recently rode 2400 kms from the UK down to Amalfi and I used these, very comfortable and not too hot. I have only one size XL (which is more or less a medium large for we Europeans) and they fit most people.

What do you think? PLEASE let me know, thanks!

Categories
Motorcycle and Bicycle Transport travel

And will I go and visit the National Motorcycle Museum AGAIN??? Er sure, I could even live there..

I have never seen such a wonderful museum, have a look here. They have more than 1000 bikes and at least 800 are on view at any time, the others are then maintained and every bike they have is a runner!

No other museum I have ever visited offers so much. The bikes range from the late 1800s to the present day and my goodness they are ALL worth seeing! Every bike they have is a runner so hence the drip trays, and they are really well described and grouped into military, race, RAC/AA, three wheelers etc and so make wonderful viewing.

DO visit and I promise it is well worth your time!! There is even a canteen upstairs offering excellent food at a great price.

Categories
Amalfi Coast France Motorcycle and Bicycle Transport travel Yamaha and Suzuki

The (fast) ride home…

Well I collected my beautiful new Yamaha MT10SP last week in the Midlands from Alf England and I then rode her home to Amalfi. You need a day to ride thro France and another to cover Italy, on a bike you MUST take yer time and allow for weather, tiredness, traffic and all of the other factors that can influence your ride.

I was very lucky with the weather, in the UK it was mainly warm and dry and I only hit a couple of wet patches going from the Midlands across to Cambridge. Then on the Friday I headed up to Nottingham to see family so I then set off from Nottingham at midday Saturday down to Dover and hopped onto the P and O ferry for Dover. I love the ferry as much as I don’t like the tunnel, I always buy an open ticket with P and O and I find their service excellent.

So in the afternoon I arrived in France and I headed into Calais to fill up the bike at the local Supermarket and I then headed south on the wonderful French motorway system. Luckily I have the new European Telepass so I do not even need to stop at the Pay Stations, great for the motorcyclist as it saves removing gloves and then searching for tickets and or cash or credit cards.

I stopped at Reims where I had booked a night at the excellent Ibis Budget at Thillois, I have stayed many times and the area has eveything you need for a good meal, beer and rest and the hotel car park is secure! I find that a gentle start to a long trip is always a good idea as you need to get to know the bike, so a long slog is never a good idea for the first day.

From Reims the next morning I rode south in increasingly warm weather and the French motorways are sooooo good you can generally cruise at whatever speed you choose. This bike has cruise control so I selected 140k/h to (hopefully) stay out of trouble and headed towards Chamonix. When I got nearer the information signs showed a waiting time of one hour for the Mont Blanc tunnel so I decided not to stop for lunch as I had planned, instead I overtook the hundreds of cars and got through the tunnel quickly, they charge an extortionate 32 Euro for the bike compared to about 45 for my van!!

So I was in Italy and so I could increase my cruising speed as the Italian police are more lenient and in general anything up to 160 seems to be ok, so I headed to a lovely hotel I know in Biella for the night as I was starting to feel quite tired. The Hotel Europa is in the city centre but very quiet and comfortable with an excellent eating house very near.

The next day was a gentle ride south down the motorway, I stopped for lunch in Orte with an old mate and then from Orte down to Amalfi where I arrived at about 4pm, tired but very very happy!! The bike returned an overall 16.5 km/litre (46mpg) which is great, the only problem is the range as she only has 16 litres of petrol so this means a stop every 180/200 kms when she runs onto reserve. WHAT an experience, total ride was about 2400km. A few pics follow:

Categories
Motorcycle and Bicycle Repairs Transport travel Yamaha and Suzuki

The Alf England experience…

Well it must be said that I have been visiting this UK motorcycle dealership for more years than I care to mention, and they have never let me down nor ripped me off. My first visit was with my Honda CB750 when I was a peniless student, I was looking to purchase a GB sticker as we were planning a trip to France. Imagine my suprise when the mechanic David came out to ask me where in France we were heading, and then he asked could he come with us, and our friendship began!

They were 100% Honda in those days, they are now 100% Yamaha but little else has changed in terms of their dedication and honesty. They have moved to new premises which allowed them to expand the business, have a look at the image gallery here. As you can see the shop looks fantastic and they are rated one of the top Yamaha dealers in the country.

You are always welcomed when you walk into the shop and the tea and coffee machine is always available, and of course offered free to everyone. They have a great range of new Yamahas to look at as well as many different makes of used bikes, plus loads of lovely Yamaha clothing and HJC helmets. Look at some of these pictures below.

Categories
Motorcycle and Bicycle Transport travel Yamaha and Suzuki

You just bought WHAT???? Oops, only a new Yamaha MT10 SP..

OK I know that I am far too old for fast motorbikes these days and I should be looking at electric scooters and heated slippers, but hey never say never. And thus I just purchased a new Yamaha MT 10 SP which is the flash version of the MT 10 with Ohlins suspension and other stuff, have a look at this stunning bike here.

To be honest, as far as I know we only live once and the R1 these days is just too extreme for me (I have owned three), so when they announced the SP version of the amazing MT 10 I called Martin and he confirmed that they had one in stock. And the rest, as they say, is er fun.

So on Tuesday I fly to the UK and rent a car, I will stay for a week or so and then head back on the bike, I can hardly wait. EasyJet here we come…..

Categories
Amalfi Coast Car rental Hotels Hotels, villas, appartments and B&B Repairs Scooter Transport travel

We have some great cars for sale here in Ravello and…we can organise storage as well as long-term “rental”…..

Here at Autocioffi (see us at www.autocioffi.it) we have a super premises which used to be a paper mill (so it is next to a small river) and we have 3 floors of covered parking space. We generally have about 20 of our own cars here and we have space for at least another 30.

Our 20 ish cars are all up for sale on our website and we also do servicing, tyre fitting, maintenance as well as bodywork repairs and painting so we are fully equipped to look after all makes of cars and vans, and we even collect and return cars in the surrounding area. We are well-known by all of the local hotels so many tourists come here too, if they need any car-type help.

We have recently devised a really cunning scheme. If you plan to visit Italy for an extended length of time (minimum for instance 6 months) and you need wheels, we can help. See our list of cars for sale, we specialise in small Fiat, VW and Renault but we generally have a variety of cars from a 2 seater up to a SUV. The retail prices are all shown. So what can we offer?? You come and see the car and try it, see what you think. Try more than one or two, no problem.

If you find a car you like, you buy it, simple no? Well sure, but here is our proposal. You tell us how long you wanna keep it, you must insure the car, and when you bring the car back to us PROVIDING OF COURSE THE CONDITION IS AS IT WAS then we buy it back, LESS an agreed rental fee. How much? Well that will depend on the value of the car you choose plus the proposed rental period. Contact us for a quote.

Check out Avis and Hertz, of course they will provide a much newer car BUT they will charge you about 1200 Euro per month (category F), and from Ravello you must go and get the car from Salerno. And we can also offer car or motorbike storage here at very reasonable rates too.

Clever idea number two: We have plenty of secure parking spaces where you can leave your car (or motorbike or scooter or whatever) on a daily weekly or even monthly basis. Parking in this area (Ravello/Amalfi) is VERY hard to find as well as expensive, so contact us for a quote!