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Tuesday, 30 May 2006

Bank Holiday Ride-Out (Read “Wash-Out”)

This September Paul and I will be doing our first biking tour. It will be our last if our Wives have anything to do with it. We are being extra adventurous by going all the way to the Lake District. Somehow I don’t think Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman would be very impressed by this trip. However, it’s a big deal for us as I’ve only been biking for 3.5 years and Paul about 2.

Every public holiday Paul and I try to go for a half day ride out. Our rides usually start at about 7am, provided I can get out of bed in time that is, and we are usually home for lunch. We usually cover somewhere between 100 & 150 miles, with a breakfast stop somewhere along the way. We tend to only make a basic plan of where we are going and just see where the mood takes us. It goes without saying that weather forecasts are also checked. Yesterdays ride was no exception and the weather seemed favourable when we checked on Sunday night.

In preparation for our September adventure Paul has invested in some new luggage and I have bought a couple of PMR radios. One of the purposes of this weekends ride out was Pauls chance to see how his new panniers fitted and what effect they would have on his bike. For ballast he’d raided the laundry basket and filled them with dirty washing. I found out later that his wife knew nothing of this. I’m not quite so organised and have yet to get my panniers. Although I do already have a large tank bag and tail pack.

Our plan yesterday was to head east, turn left at East Grinstead and then south to a mobile ‘Greasy Spoon’ in a lay-by near Uckfield that we found Easter last year. They do a mean bacon & sausage stick and nice tea. From there we would travel west on the A272 as far as time allowed and then north back home.

Come Monday morning the skies were grey and threatening, so I decided wet weather gear, as opposed to ventilated leathers, were the order of the day. Just in case you understand.

We had traveled just 9 miles east and the heavens opened, BIG TIME! At which point Paul said over the radio, “Guess who forgot his waterproofs?”. We pulled into a petrol station so he could to fit his panniers with rain covers. After a brief chat we decided that our trip was supposed to be for pleasure and the roads were getting very slippery. We decided that it wasn’t worth carrying on in such inclement weather and we hatched a new plan to take a different route home.

Back on the road again the weather suddenly improved so we carried on past our planned turning so as to try and salvage something from our trip. Unable to find a much needed hot drink, we took a chocolate break at a news agent in Reigate. While stopped there the heavens opened once more. Note to self – Don’t stop where there is no where to shelter!

We were back home by 11am, having only covered about 36 miles. Much hot tea was drunk by all concerned.

I think we will have to have a full dress rehearsal over the August Bank Holiday just to check we haven’t got too much unnecessary kit with us.


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