Yes, I'm late - again. But there are only so many hours in the day... Right, no more excuses - here goes the report:
When I went to the last bunkhouse meeting in December, it took me 7.5 hrs to trailer my DRZ from Oxford to Helwith Bridge, although I already started at 14.00 hrs. So this time I would save half a day's holiday and leave straight after work at 18.00 hrs, not bothering with the trail bike and shooting up north on my GS - after all:
"Both Craig's and Dazzer's ride will be mostly on the back roads around the Dales with a few very easy trails and all are ok for big bikes with a pillion. Anyone not wanting to do the off road bit can miss these out and re-join the group at the other end of the trail and then carry on in the group."
Well, don't know if I have mentioned it before but I'm a bit night-blind and thus not the fastest after dark. Also, despite three layers of Merino several hot-chocolate-stops were required, then throw in the fact that it is more likely to rain in Yorkshire than not, add a reasonably amount of fog when approaching The Lakes and soon it was almost midnight. The road to Hardraw was closed and as the waypoint for the Green Dragon wasn't really accurate, my GPS led me somewhere up onto the moors. That can't be right - but who to call at so late an hour?
Retracing my steps I arrived at Hardraw at long last, couldn't immediately identify the pub and was already through and out of the village again. U-turn and then I saw Dazzer waving from the bridge - finally, phew! I think my summary of the journey was not exactly lady-like.
Danielle kindly showed me where to park bike and rider, and in the bar I was welcomed by the tireless landlady Yvonne - and a still impressive number of more or less sober fellow riders who invited me to a well deserved pint of J2O. Cheers.
The next morning dawned as you expect it in this part of the country; it hadn't stopped raining during the whole night and we were quite happy to have a looong breakfast and take our time to get ready for the ride-out.
Derek did his bit to procrastinate the take-off...
Did you empty these all by yourself, Terry?
Danielle and Alex raring to go
By the time we set off the sun had come out and after a second roadside repair session we were hitting the first trail
... and the third involuntary stop - out came the jump leads
... to resuscitate another Yamaha: Martin's Ténéré
Those sparkplugs don't seem to like the weather up north...
The rest of the group was waiting... patiently, I think...
They will be with us in a minute, I'm sure - ok, I'll go and have a look...
Somewhere at the end of this beautiful traditional stone wall...
Here they come!
If you look closely in the last and the next photo, you can spot the tow-rope from Gadget's DRZ to the Ténéré
A busy day for Dazzer: ride-leading, bike-fixing, flock-together-keeping...
From this point on the lane got a bit too rocky and muddy for my liking - after all I was on road tyres, without extra protection, my trail riding tool kit, etc, etc, and simply lacking the right mindset. Fortunately, a knight in shining armour wasn't far and Chris kindly offered me to swap bikes.
After a short liaison bit on tarmac we arrived at the next lane and I started to doubt the writing on the tin: "a few very easy trails and all are ok for big bikes with a pillion"
. My backside!
Why are there so many little trail bikes falling over on this easy
trail then, huh?
Dazzer quickly volunteered Chris again to ride the big pig up and I happily followed on his DRZ. Phew...
The occasional dismount of some unlucky riders provided ample opportunity to admire the gorgeous countryside - here appreciated by Paul and Dave
This stretch doesn't look too bad but apparently there's a nasty bend at the end of it - there where the Paparazzi
Ok, Chris, if you wouldn't mind... Thank you very much, you get my "Hero of the Day" vote!
Feeling much more comfortable...
Don't they make a pretty pair? Our ride leaders Craig and Dazzer
Fern at the top of the lane - no problem on a DRZ, is it?
Not entirely accurate the signposting in Yorkshire - here rebutted by Dave
Then Dazzer - no, it's only his bike, ridden by Craig
Laura on Craig's steed
So the next combination must be - yep, Dazzer on Laura's Transalp
And for the record - this little gem of a lane is called:
Wow, the only-30-pictures-by-post limit seems to have disappeared from this site (great news!
) but bedtime is approaching and I will stop for tonight.
- Would Dazzer have any more "easy trails" in store for us?
- Where would we have lunch this time?
- Would there be a cashpoint?
- Would I manage to keep the big pig upright for a change?
- Would we all make it home unscathed?
Don't miss the next episode...