Monday, 2 May 2016

Another Coast to Coast Weekend...

A few months ago I was asked to help out on a route plan for a Coast to Coast route, John Ross sent me across his file and I had a look at it... One thing led to another and this bank holiday weekend I went along with the guys to ride the route I'd been involved in developing. So roughly 450 miles in 2 days was the plan!! Oh and get back home again by Monday afternoon...

Day 1: The team as it assembled turned out to be about 16 strong at 7.00am, on a selection of bikes from 250 KTM's to 800 GS's. With this in mind the groups were pretty easy to segregate, mainly based upon engine size!


The first group all headed down to the beach for the official set off, collecting a stone of the approximate weight to their engine capacity... deep sand on the beach, cobbles on the ascent made for an interesting start!!


Once we'd all got to the top, (me making a right hash of it), it was onto the next bit, a quick blast around a local motocross track, which the farmer who had given us permission to go down to his bit if beach had said we could use, before heading up onto our first official green lane for the day.

The views were lovely, with the shower clouds out over the sea and the south west coastline of Cumbria laid out below us... The only downside was having to look at Sellafield Nuclear Power Station and the wind turbines spreading up the coast...

Can we start putting these man made creations in cities please where we have already damaged the landscape beyond repair??





Anyway, rant over... it was off into the heart of the Lakes next for some of the varied lanes there. this was the part of the route I put together and in hindsight, although there were loads of good lanes, it was a little too long so impacted on the end of the day making us late and missing out a few of the Dales lanes...




The guys all were pretty capable riders, with a fair few having a miltary background too, so the banter was constant, the riding organised and even with the distances involved were just accepted. The fast lads were all from Lincolnshire, they clearly knew how to ride and were off into the distance pretty soon. The bigger bikes were slower, mainly due to types of tyres, which slipped on the now wet grass and mud and the sheer weight of the bikes, but they still moved on at a pace.

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At one point one of the lads, asked me to look at his bike as it wouldn't pull on the up hills, I looked at his front sprocket and saw it had no teeth left on it, so he needed to get to a bike shop to get it sorted, John Wren Motorcycles here comes a customer!



Lunch was hot soup at the Old Dungeon Ghyll in Langdale, before finishing off the Lakes section with an ascent of Breasthigh Pass.

Some of the lads baulked at the rather high river crossing at the start and so made a detour round to Tebay, but for the rest of us it was up, up up. Except for me that is, as I lost traction part way up and had to turn round, go back down and try again!!




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Once the Pass was crossed, we all needed a rest at the bottom! Then it was off towards the Dales to try to get the Cam High Road in before the sun went down...





The last lane of the day turned out to be a proper rocky little beggar, I bounced down it, got a holly bush in the nose and dropped my bike twice!! Corker...


We rolled into Reeth, our halfway point and stop for the night, around 8.30pm, so 13 1/2 hrs of virtually none stop riding... Beer, pizza and log fire followed, everybody tired but happy...


Day 2: This was another early start with bacon & egg butties at John's place, then off up into the hills behind Reeth, lots of great long flowing lanes took us east but by lunch time a few of the lads were fading on the old energy levels...




Felix droped his old Tenere 600 in some mud and cracked the top cowl, broke an indicatior and the brake lever... he replaced the lever but left the rest for now.


Some of the loops were missed out to make up time and as John had broken his gear lever on his bike yesterday, he had stayed back in Reeth to try to get it fixed, but ended up getting his little trials bike out to finish the route! A beta Evo 250 doing 60mph on the tarmac sections... poor little thing!


We met up with John at Thirsk Tesco's, then after fuel for both bodies and bikes heading into the North York Moors area. Skirting around the North York Moors Cycle Race saw us playing on plenty of the little lanes and river crossings before climbing up onto Rudland Rigg for a quick blast along the top.


We finished the day after this, some of the lads eager to get in and have a shower before 7pm, but for four of us, it was more like 8.30pm when we rolled into Robin Hoods Bay as John's little Beta decided it had had enough abuse and needed to be towed in!





Food was finished in RHB by the time I'd pitched my tent and I managed to lose the guys I'd been riding with all day, so ended up at the Wainwright pub right next to the beach where I got a late sandwich and a beer before crashing for the night, a body that was feeling slightly battered!!


My return trip Monday morning was an adventure too, I first called round to the hotel to see if I could catch the guys and say my goodbyes, but again missed them, so set off back west taking in a few lanes in the Moors, County Durham and Cumbria on the way back... lots of mud, a few boucy moments on Tynehead and a good play on the Coach Road saw me back in Keswick in time to have lunch with Lucy... bonus...







Now it's get some new tyre, a chain and sprocket set, change the oil and generally clean the bike ready for the next adventure!!

Bikes have yet again brought me into contact with some great people, I've ridden lots of new lanes and tried out a few of my project ideas for the 400, all in all a very cool weekend!!

A big thankyou to John Ross for the invite, to the lads for all the fun and to Fi & Polly for l,ooking after us boys over the whole weekend, a memorable trip, one to be repeated at some point in the future...