Monday, 6 April 2015

Coast to Coast - Trail ride over Easter

With a bit of planning on Garmin's Basecamp & plenty of recce trips to various areas along the way, I've managed to piece together a trip that goes from Maryport beach on the West Coast to Robin Hoods Bay on the East Coast... Once I'd got it mapped, I asked a bunch of people if they were interested in riding it with me, 4 agreed, so Lucy, Geoff, Andy, Mark & I set off on Good Friday morning. The bikes were three KTM's & 2 DR's...

All lined up & ready to go...
The route included the Lakes, the Dales & the North York Moors National Parks & a stop in Settle at the Royal Oak Inn, which was £35 pppn B+B & we added in an extra night at Thirsk, staying at a lovely little B+B place that had some chalets which slept 3 to a room for £35 pppn with a great full english breakfast.

Gear for the trip was very minimal as we didn't have to camp, so just a change of clothes, some repair kits for each bike & a spare fuel bottle as none of us had a long range tank fitted except Andy's two stroke.

Day 1: We set off at 8am & rode down to Maryport in true Cumbrian drizzle, that fine mist that soaks into everything, it was windy too so not much pleasure to be found at all!!

We took the obligatory group start photo, although I doubt you can tell where the sea was in that grey!!

Maryport in the drizzle...
We followed a straight forward route through the Lakes taking in several of the smaller lanes before heading upto Mosser Fell, High Bank, Latrigg & of course the Coach Road, then a load of smaller lanes to get over to Shap, including a new one for Lucy & I.

Look no hands....




Latrigg heading to our first cafe of the day in Keswick, then off to the Coach Road...


ooops...





A bit of tree clearing ensued before we could progress... note to self, pack a folding saw!!

Where's me saw then??





From Shap, we took tarmac across to Orton, then some lanes heading down to Hawes, the weather brightened up a bit, then came back with a vengeance, more rain & wind...

Coffee Bean Lane!!




As we got into Hawes, we stopped for fuel. Food  was eaten at a great little cafe, run by a young couple, it was pretty full with bikers as a classic bike club had stopped just before us, so we stood out in the rain to eat our hot paninni's before venturing up onto the wild moorland of the Northern Dales.

Great cafe in Hawes



Once we left Hawes, some bike problems started to show up, Lucy's split link pooped off her chain, she was very lucky to stop before it did any damage to her, however later on it turned out it had smacked into her clutch casing & turned the hose around causing the fluid to leak out. We had just got to the Roman Road & was about to start this bit when all this happened, so as it was 5.30 pm by this time we opted for a road ride to Settle to get it sorted if we could.

Anybody got a split link?/
Once at the Royal Oak, we decided to settle in once we'd sorted fuel & some clutch fluid, so a hot bath, some beer & a great dinner followed before an early night as we were all knackered!



Day 2: In the morning we stripped off the clutch protector, it had been well gouged by the chain, but the main casing hadn't cracked so we tightened up the hose connection & bled the clutch out, this seemed to do the trick, so we were off again! Discussions around the table the night before had settled on the idea that we would back track to the Roman Road on tarmac & set off from there, but as none of us could be bothered to work the route out again & Geoff knew how to get to Hawes, we went back there instead!!


Andy fancied a walk with his bike...

Ooops







Faw Head & upto the Roman Road... what a beauty in the sunshine...









Whernside, complete with walkers, cyclists & runners... all saying hi & enjoying a day in the hills together





Once we'd got started, the lanes just seemed to keep coming, the Dales has some fantastic riding, there are long lanes, some good technical bits & always fab scenery, especially as today was so sunny!!

At one point, my bike got really loud, I'd fitted a different exhaust to it before we started the trip & the link pipe was about an inch short, but with some jiggling & rather definite tightening of the bolts it was acceptable, until now that is... I was getting a headache riding it!! So a quick stop found it had vibrated out one of the all important bolts, of which Mark carries a ready supply... a quick fix & we were back on the road.

Thirsk seemed to arrive too quickly, after the mammoth day yesterday, we were in Thirsk by 4pm. Andy had to say goodbye as wife duties were calling, so we all said our farewells then got into our digs for the night, before a trip to the pub. Of course the beer was ace, it is Thirsk after all, the food was OK, so well fed we skipped off to bed to get ready for the final day of riding on Sunday.

Bye Andy...
Day 3: Packed up & ready to go with a big belly from the great breakfast, we set off at a very civilised 9am. Our first lane of the day was about 30 mins away, with a blast up through some woodland & a slippy muddy descent over some rock steps to wake us up, especially as two 4x4's appeared on this very narrow trail... that was fun!!




Rudland Rigg was up next, this has gotta be one of the longest lanes in the UK?? It's not technical at all, except for maybe the rocky descent when you ride it south to north as we did... great lane!!






Danby Moor brought into Lealholm, where Geoff has some good friends who run a cracking little sweet shop that serves the best pasties & quiche too, so we sat on the grass in the sun drinking tea & eating, aaah bliss.. that is all of us except Mark, whose DR was playing up again...


We had attempted & failed on a climb up Battersby, Mark's bike wouldn't start as it had a loose wire on the starter/solenoid?? So we turned around, much to the amusement of a local guy out walking...  Both he & us were disgusted that some lazy buggers had left their rubbish all over the place at the first rock step, clearly had a puncture & threw their rubbish away when finished... arseholes...



At Lealholm, we had to do a quick run to Whitby to get fuel, then return, so a river ford followed up to get everyone back into the groove...


Almost!!



Now we were on the home stretch into Robin Hood Bay, Mark's bike was playing up a lot & needed oil now as it burns oil all the time, (a fact Mark denies all the time! ;-)). This was the one bit I hadn't personally checked out, the route info was given to me by a couple of guys I know & as such I had reserves about how they would go, the first one was ace, the second one ended at a gate across a railway, it was locked which was a real shame as the lane itself was excellent, we just had to return the way we'd come though.. hey ho..





With this to go by, we decided to just blast to RHB now as the day was ticking by & we wanted a cuppa,... we also needed to take the final group pics & sort out how we were gonna get home...


The ride back was crap, due to time restraints, we blatted across the A66 as opposed to the planned lazy ride back across some lanes on Monday, which for Lucy & I was a chore, a 250cc & a 350cc on a 60mph +  road, it was Lucy's first 12 hour day on a bike with lanes, bike troubles to deal with & then an endurance ride to finish...

To top it off the sun started to set as we approached Penrith, the sky was glowing red with a cloud inversion in the valleys, stunning... that's when my tail light decided to pack up & the temperature dropped like a stone so we arrived at my house all cold, damp & knackered...

Still it was a great trip & it just goes to show how many miles you can do off road in the UK!!

550 mile round trip, approx 50/50 road & trail, with over 50 individual lanes varying from a few yards to several miles long each.

At a rough guess we spent around £120 each on fuel, £70 each on 2 nights accommodation, about £50 on food, so roughly £250 a piece. All of us added things to our bikes especially for the trip, tyres, oil changes etc with Geoff spending the most with an upgraded stator, lights & battery, so maybe about £400 ish for that lot...

If I do this trip again, I would look at somewhere to stay in between Hawes & Settle or just accept a bit of a road road to Settle or an earlier finish at Hawes. The day from Settle to Thirsk would be a bit short if you did as per our original plan & its a long way to Robin Hoods Bay, so you'd just be rushing. 3 days was about the right length of time for the route I planned, 4 would have made the return journey much more pleasant.

Bike Problems: 
Andy's KTM 200EXC two stroke - Andy had fitted a long range tank which had trapped the throttle cable so he couldn't shut it off, sorted just as we were leaving my house.
Lucy's KTM 250 EXC-F - one was an ongoing problem since she bought the bike, slight oil leak, the other was weird with the split link popping off & the chain coming apart... lucky too... After investigation, it turns out the chain had been rubbing on something, the link to the split pin wore down & eventually popped off, the replacement is already showing the same wear, so immediate job to sort that one out so it doesn't happen again!!
Mark's DR 650 - was it's usual, running fine until he bragged about it, then it turned back into it's usual state...
My DR 350 SEW ran OK with no major problems but the exhaust bracket & the tail light.
Geoff's KTM 450 EXC-F - ran fine, no worries

Accommodation: 
Settle: The Royal Oak Inn. Old style rooms, room 1 has a heated cupboard & a large radiator so you can dry your bike kit out. Food & beer was superb.

Thirsk: Linden Tree: Holiday cottages & B+B, nice & friendly, great breakfast 01845 523765 email: ptearall@byinternet.com

Right what's next on the list for a route???


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