Black Beauty

Sunday, June 2, 2013


This is a threefer post. I'll combine yesterday's the day before, but yesterday's and today's activities into this post, covering May 31 thru June 2nd. Each day was great. We've now watched some TT practice, some TT races, toured a castle, gone to the northernmost point on the Isle, and some other stuff.

I'll describe the track first. It is a 37 mile track, beginning and ending in Douglas, the country's largest city. It runs through city streets, avenues, and county roads (our equivalent to each). So, there are the usual things along the way. Potholes, sewer manhole covers, and patched bumpy surfaces along the way. There are painted lane lines and buildings coming right out to the road.
Practice in Downtown Douglas
There are telephone poles, fire hydrants and other things within a fer feel of the road. And very little padding or safety features to protect the riders.

Speed. They go crazy fast! I mean insane fast. Almost 200mph in places. The fast bikes AVERAGE over 130 mph over the 37 mile course. I used to think the superbike racers were fast. Now, they seem like rookies compared to these guys. When you consider the insane speeds, the road conditions and the hazards along the way, these guys are probably the best motorcycle racers in the world. If you're ever flipping through the TV channels and happen to come upon the Isle of Man races, take 5 minutes to watch a little. You'll be amazed. Or do a search on YouTube.

The machines. The majority of the racers and races are motorcycles. However, they also have sidecar racing, where there is a driver and a passenger (aka monkey). The monkey's job is to serve as ballast to make the best weight distribution as he throws his body from side to side.
Sidecar and Monkey
Imagine hanging your butt out, only inches from the road surface and curbs and buildings at speeds up to 150mph. They average 113mph each lap.. Those monkeys have no sense or fear. Crazy insane.

It's late and the morn I'll be here before I know it. So, rather than delay another day, I'm going to publish this tonight (unfinished) and either append to this one later or add to the next post.

Sorry, but there's just not enough time to do it all...

We went to Peele Castle. It's located on a very small island connected to the Isle by a causeway. It's now in ruins, but is still impressive looming high above the ocean. We did a self-guided tour using handheld playback devices that told us about things inside the castle walls. Parts of the complex go back to the eighth century. Most of the work was done in the 15th and 16th century,
Peele Castle
with some done in between and after. There were no "complete" buildings, but there were quite a number of different structures partially standing. To me, it's hard to see how a fortress like this could be breached by invaders, but I'm sure it happened. It was neat to see it.

We also went to the northern most point on the Isle, a community named Bride. There's a lighthouse about a mile north of there.

Me at Top of Isle at Beach
We didn't go all the way to the lighthouse because the road said no entry. But it was a pretty place. We did walk out to the beach in one place. I put my hand in the water just as I always do. Not as cold as I expected. Leaving there, we traveled south and stopped in Laxey, where there is the largest water wheel in the world. It was huge.

Then we tried to find a place to eat dinner. We stopped in 4 different places to get some dinner. The first one served no beer. The other 3 served no food! Plenty of beer, but no food. It was getting late, so we went back to the hotel and ate in the bar. We later found that many English eat only 2 meals on Sundays, and the taverns serve no food after 6pm. Wish we had known of that custom.

Since the races are over for us, I'll judge them as very good racing. However, because of the length of the course, and the nature of the races, there's a ton of dead time between races and between the racers. In most viewing areas, you actually see a given racer for maybe 3 seconds, and then they are gone. We viewed them at one spot where they were visible for probably a mile. That's about 20 seconds! But in reality, it's about the experience more than the racing.

There's probably more to tell, but I'll stop for now. 


  1. Glad you are having a great time! Enjoying your blog. Keep writing.
    Stay safe and enjoy the remainder of your adventure!