It was the posts from friends on F.B I’d seen about the great weather on Sunday and how wonderful it was to be out and about on the bikes! I had to work but reading about their day in the sunshine steered me towards a rideout on the following days off on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Both days fell under steel grey cloud and were not inviting at all, infact it rained a bit too and developed into a really crap couple of days and turned into a couple of non starters damn it! I wasn’t too fed up though because Paul Hudson promised a sunny weekend to come. I did get the 650 out and had a little blast around but the misty wet stuff made it a couple of really short blowouts. “Roll on Saturday” I smiled to myself. We bikers start to get somewhat depressed and dispondant about this time of year, it’s been known to last until the blues skies arrive in the following April!
All the signs of a good Saturday!
Sure enough Saturday looked great, Julie arranged for Kath to see to all the osses, Julie had done the rounds in the field at 07.30hrs with the barrow so all was sorted before we set off. We layered up fueled up and hit the road. Blasting along the M180 for a quick spurt then turning onto the M18, joining the M62 at the fast left hander one can easliy go around this without easing off the throttle. I was smiling all the way round the curve at about 70mph before winding back the throttle a tad more (understatement) as we hit the westerly M62 It was around ten in the morning and the traffic was very light. The pale blue sky was a welcome sight and the distant haze stayed distant, Oh what a nice day we were going to have! A fast blast up to Ripon on the A1 was on the cards, Tally Ho! We would be there within the hour at this rate.
I first felt it on the high right hander as we left the ’62 to join the A1 northbound, we were curving round Ferrybridge power station. As we crossed the lane we did a little hipsway shimmi as tyres crossed the white dividing line, “Oops it’s a bit slippy there” I thought, the tyre pressures were fine I topped them up just a few days ago so thought no more of it. Twenty minutes later I felt a slight tremour as thought the tarmac was a tad rumpled here and there. My attention was drawn to the slight vibrations in the seat of my pants now, after Wetherby the wing morrors began to vibrate a bit. Something was wrong now I decided, we could smell a whiff of stale air, Julie caught the whiff of burnt rubber to me this means a probable puncture maybe…..hopefully not!
I have absolute faith in the sealing compound in the tyres, I have used Ultra-seal for years, time and time it has done its job 100% When a tyre is punctured the compound rushes into the hole and seals it, in the process sometimes ones loses a few pounds of pressure so a garage is needed to re-inflate the tyre to its correct pressure. I wasn’t perturbed because I thought that’s what had probably happened. On one occasion when it was time to change the tyre (usually once a year) two small nails were found to be imbedded in the tyre and it still ran perfectly.
A sorry sight on a wonderful sunny day.
I pulled off at the Boroughbridge turning and into the superstore garage for a top up of air, we couldn’t get air into the tyre, the air nozzle was working OK so that pointed at a problem with the valve, that was more serious! The tyre was getting worse, a car driver told me of a tyre and M.O.T place just half a mile up the road so we rode gently up to it while we had air in the tyre.
The father and son team came to my aid and after proving it was the valve we took the rear wheel out using a car jack to make it easier. The valve had collapsed so a new one was fitted and the tyre pumped back up to sounds of a pop pop popping noise. Not good to hear that, in fact the side wall of the was all bubbled and uneven, Oh no! The tyre was U/S. They tried to get another for me from the two nearest garages unfortunatly nothing suitable could be found so that was that, it was Saturday morning and in spite of their help and enthusiasm the only option now was recovery.
A wry smile and a ride out with a difference!
We contacted the recovery people then my mate Barry at Colin Appleyards Goldwing centre over in Keithley. They would surely have a tyre in the shop and would be able to get me mobile hopefully in no time. After all they are the biggest Honda Goldwing centre in the north. The phone call confirmed this and so a plan came together.
We began to put the wheel back on knowing the recovery guy would be here within the hour, it was a bit of a struggle as the tyre was inflated and we used a jack rather than remove the rear section. Julie suggested they let it down again and put it in flat, thus giving a couple more inches to bugger about. I let the two do it their way as they were mechanics and knew what they were doing and were happy to do it their way. I do recall a few years ago doing exactly what Julie suggested when changing a rear tyre on a Kawasaki Voyager 1200cc cruiser and it worked for me, though back then I was doing myself on a back road in Devon After a bit of pushing pulling and a bit of swearing they did try letting the tyre down again,. Dad whispered to me “This is what your lass meant innit mate”? “Aye it is” I replied. I made a joke of it and we all smiled. Female 1 Male 0…again!
The recovery truck duly arrived, I thanked the guys very much for trying, dad was after all a biker too, he rides a Kawasaki in the summer and his lad was just happy to be playing with a Honda Goldwing! Mr recoveryman and me got the bike winched up onto the flatbed and duly lashed down. Thirty minutes later we were all in the cab and making our way to Keighley.
Appys opened the doors to let me in when we eventually arrived, we unloaded Mistress Mable and signed her back over to me, I thanked the recovery man for his job well done and disapeared inside Appy’s workshop. Geoff and Chris were there to throw in some ribaled comments and generally give me “stick.” Barry true to his word had a wheel and tyre ready to fit, it was in before 10 minute had passed so thanks a a bunch to Barry. we retired upstairs to the showroom for coffee and chewed the cud for the next two hours. It went so quick, eventually the rest of the staff were lining up to lock up and go home. Hint taken sorry guys! Thankfully we didn’t have any of the golden stuff to drink. We don’t see much of each other in the lean months of autumn or winter so this was a extra special day for all of us. We rode home in the lowering of the sun…I mean cloud!! getting home for about 19.00hrs, calling first for a delicious chinese takeaway.
Glum as I was about the way the day panned out, though seeing Barry was good. Sunday showed itself to be another grey shroud day but I had the bit between my teeth, Julie had gotten wet during her early morning run round the field phoopa scooping (collecting horse shyte..its called field management these days but is mega important) She decided not to come along today. I still felt cheated and was determined to go inspite of the shyte weather. I bid her farewell and disapeared into the morning gloom, I got fuel and head towards the M180 passing an active ambulance a mile up the road in Hatfield. I saw a smashed bike propped up by a lamp post. I muttered “you can fuck off, I dont believe in you” fate is at the back of my thoughts today believe me!
The A180, A18 and the A1 took me at speed up to Knarsborough with no drama today…excuse me a minute I have to change the music. I have inadvertantly put some shyte garage shed house bolloix music on the player! Awfull! I must have bought that CD when I was pissed or depressed! I have tied it to POOKA’s scratching post and now have Crowded House..Blues Traveller..Rolling Stones…and Del Amitri..with a nice little side dish of Southern Comfort on the rocks. Tranquillity is restored in Sharpy study.
Ok so the A1 was nice and peaceful and the rear tyre was behaving the cloud unfortunatly hung as a steely grey stain hanging low over my speeding head! I departed the A1 at Knaresborough, it was now just after 10.30 the town was getting ready for the remembereance service, I passed through he town, nodding to a well dressed policeman on point duty proudly wearing amongst others his blue green South Atlantic medal (Falklands medal) He waved me through the halted traffic.
The Killinghall memorial service.
I rode on to the village of Killinghall, stopping here to join the villagers and the detachment of Blues and Royals at the memorial to remember fallen warriors and to offer gratitude to them. I also remember today the dozen or so survivors of recent conflicts whom I now work with..a Joe, a Royal Marine gunner…Ian, a Guards regiment sniper..Paul, and others of the Parachute Regiment all these guys served in the Falklands, Yugoslavia and that damn desert and the recently served young men like David a young Royal Signaller and recipiant of my food parcel who served his time in the far away deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan, long lost schoolboy friends, who suffered in Northern Ireland as young eighteen year old soldiers, their lives will never be normal again.
Mum and Dad in Blackpool after their war.
I remembered my mum too who worked in the public houses around here then in a truck factory in Horbury in West Yorkshire before moving onto the munitions factories in WWII up there at Thorpe Arch making 40mm cannon shells, she and other were ill for the rest of their lives from the contamination of the yellow cordite. I remember once she told me some story of seven days of twelve hour shifts and of the many women getting blown up in factory accidents whilst doing their duty on the home front. Mum was quite a private person and didn’t say too much about those days. She is in heaven now and resting peacefully but STILL unrecognized and still without a medal! Dad meanwhile was sent down the coal mines doing essential war work, he is still with us and shortly to reach his 90th birthday. So you can imagine how compelling it was for me to stop on my rideout and cost me nothing but thirty minutes of my time. To be humbled is not a bad thing now and again and to be reminded that the silly old farts around us are actually yesterdays heroes!
I got going after the service along the road towards Bolton Abbey from Harrogate, the cloud was really low and I could see nothing much at all. Bolton Abbey still had lots of visitors even on this poor miserable day, I went through the area quite slowly as folk meandered around on my left and right. I went up through Appletreewick and onto Kettlewell, not much traffic did I encounter whick suited me as I stopped here and there to take a couple of photos and to just stop, turn off the engine and listen to the peace and quiet, when its really murky and misty all the outlying sounds are smothered and you are left with a lot of nothingness. How peaceful and serene it was! I pushed on carefully and in no hurry at all to my next waypoint.
I passed on up through Starbotton and Buckden, I stopped to get a photo of the waterfall, parking up I walked back down to the metal bar gate, I slithered over it only to get snagged on a bit of broken weld, AAAHHFOOKBOLLOXS! I was hung up on the bleeding gate by my fooking trousers! I pulled myself free ripping a hole on my million pound waterproof winter trousers. This photo cost me a hole in my trousers!
I took the photo and blasphemed all the way back to the bike. The higher I rode up the hillside the more the visability withered away. The grey stuff enveloped me as I rode up over and down into Aysgarth. Some Sunday folk where bimbling around with cameras and just emjoying being out and about.
Wooly jumpers on the move near Kettlewell
I was now heading into Leyburn, I arrived to see the Union Jack hanging limp in the square, a bit of a breeze would have been good right now but it wasn’t to be. I rode through the village onto the A6108, pulling over at the newish biker cafe there.Its coming along nicely, they have taken the bumps out of the farm road and the food is brill, get yersen up there! www.manor-cafe.co.uk I was surprised to find half a dozen sports bikes there but not surprised to see the bikers were all in their 50’s It appears that he “Yoof” of today just don’t have the same adventure spirit like what we mature bikers have innit? The lady of the cafe cooked me a nice dinner and told me of her cold day out yesterday with her mate up Sutton Bank and the frost they encountered on her way back, I told her my sorry tale of the flat tyre. Her mate rolled into the cafe as we stood talking, she looked frozen to the bone bless! Roll on spring we mused.
I decided it was time to head for home now, it was 14.30 hours and the weather was just getting murkier! I couldn’t see the hills I just had to imagine them! Reluctantly I felt my way to the A1 at Catterick. I rode past the training areas for the army, I was a bit perturbed by the triangle warning signs. TANKS??? On a Sunday, Oh my God I hope not, not in this weather, it will all end in tears!
I really hope not!
filling up with fuel I found the southbound ramp onto the A1, the mizzle seemd to leave me as I sped south for an hour towards Ferrybridge turning left eastwards on the M62.
Blue clouds? I could see bloody blue clouds as I neared my transit run brom the M62 onto the M18, I left the motorway at Thorne and entered a cloudless world! The mist was gone and the sun was out, very weak it shone I admit but at leastit was out. How very dare it come out at the end of my day! I arived home smiling all the same. Julie flicked the kettle on, Pooka ignore me..well it wasn’t time for her to eat yet was it? I got the hose pipe out and gave the bike a right good going over then lathered the engine and chrome in WD 40 and wheeled her into the garage until the next rest day when I would complete the job.
Washing Mistress Mable at the end of the day
Did I enjoy my day you may be asking? I should say so! Even though Julie bailed out and I saw f**ck all of the Yorkshire Dales It was enough to know I had finally got there after two false starts on Tuesday and Wednesday and a DNF (did not finish) on Saturday. The council had not covered the roads in rock salt so the bike was free of salt..result!
PS………Remember that you can see the picture LARGE if you left double click on them!