Sunday, 30 August 2015

Bank Holiday fun in Cumbria & Northumbria

This weekend was a planned run with one of the lads I met from Cumbria TRF, Mark who lives near Brampton. We met up at Hartside cafe after a couple of lovely bacon rolls we were off.

Mark rides a KTM 250 EXCF 2003, Lucy was on her 250 EXCF 2007, so it was the orange team with me on the DR. First lane was the rutted lane that runs alongside the road just past Hartside, this is ace, plenty of mud, water and ruts, good to wake you up first thing on a Saturday morning!

Lucy was feeling nervous and rusty as she hasn't ridden since our Spain trip so 6 weeks ago now, so she pootled down like some grandma. The ride up Tynehead got her sorted though, so she was back in the groove.

Mark had a bit of a mare on this as he hasn't figured out the correct gearing for his bike as yet, and steep rocky hill climbs are in between gears, plus his tyres are almost knackered, but he got up it and also managed to get into the bomb hole after the hut!! yeah.. we got the photo to prove it too!

After this it was all the classics of Coldberry Moor and H Lane, Blanchland Common, Slaley Forest and Juniper. Mark hadn't ridden any of these lanes so it was a great introductory day for him as well as a good ride out for Lucy & I.

The weather held off most of the day with just one rain shower as we got into Hexham, the rest of the day was warm and sunny, loads of wildlife was out too, we saw two male kestrels fighting, lots of young pheasants, buzzards, hares and rabbits, all just adding to he spendour of just being out riding on a trail bike in the UK.

The only down side to the day came as a brush with a car park attendant in Hexham, who displayed all those characteristics that council workers seem to adopt... do they go on a special training course to learn how to comport themselves with that square peg, square box mentality?

Lucy's KTM had broken the stand again whilst out, so she leaned the bike against a rail next to the Wentworth Cafe in the main Hexham carpark, to cut a long story short, comments like; and please assume a nasally voice to say the following and you'll get the idea:
Attendant: ''You can't park that there, it needs to be in the motorcycle bay''.
Me: ''It doesn't have a side stand as it's just broken so it needs to be leant against something''
Attendant '' Get your motorcycle fixed then sir, young children could touch the exhaust and get burnt''
Me: ''Is that not going to happen in a Motorcycle Bay then?''
Attendant ''I'm just doing my job sir''

You get the picture, my patience wore thin and when I suggested he had a bit of a 'jobs worth' attitude he seemed to explode, hurling shouts across the car park about me needing to change my attitude... err pot, kettle, black... ring any bells! So I guess that's my contribution to trail rider/council worker positive relations done for this month!

Hey ho, we had a nice lunch in the cafe, then filled up with fuel and headed back out, the sun was warmer now as the afternoon was upon us, we moved along at a steady pace, having a chat with several walkers and encounters with cows and their young. All the bikes were running well, until Mark's KTM decided to have a water pump issue, which kept us on out toes, looking for water refill opportunities.

We dropped into Limestone Brae, rode up over .the moors and down into Alston to finish another good day out. Even though I've ridden these lanes a load of times now, I really enjoy the variety and changes you see each time. Blanchland Common was the driest I've seen it and the majority of the Northumberland lanes were much drier than the western ones on the whole which isn't the normal!

Mark left us at Alton, so Lucy and I headed back up a couple of lanes and the tarmac road to Hartside Cafe and the van. Ace stuff!

Now it's time to clean off the bikes, get them sorted for the next tday out!

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