“It is going to be dry and +5 degrees tomorrow” Mark said as we drank tea and dried off after a spot of tree felling at his dads house on a wet Saturday lunchtime.
Julie and I climbed into bulky winter bike kit early on Sunday, the bike sat outside, ticking over nicely, coming to life again after a three-month rest under wraps in the garage. It was one of those spur of the moments on Saturday evening whilst wondering what to do the next day, Julie had aching joints from a recent murderous session with the physiotherapist and was feeling a bit fed up. “Car or bike on Sunday?” I’d asked. The result was a quick phone call to Mark and a R.V organised for lunchtime at Squires on Sunday!
10.45hrs and we were rolling out of the petrol garage and onto the A614 passing through Thorne. It was indeed +5 degrees, the sky was ever so clear a nice light blue and nota cloud in sight, the wind was blowing in my face and felt colder than +5 When glancing up at the sky cold air was forced into my eyes and they welled up. I dropped my visor and wound back the throttle as we rode quickly, I glanced down and throttled off somewhat, I didn’t want to earn points on my licence so early in the year!
I was really enjoying myself and felt really alive as I banked the big Honda Goldwing 1800 left and right over the three bridges. Snaith. Camlesforth and Selby were soon ticked off as we turned west to “Squires” at Sherburn-in-Elmet. The last few miles were eaten up at a fast pace as the last of the cobwebs were blown from within. Yes it was good to be out on the bike again!
There were about forty or more motorbikes already at “Squires” as we pulled in. We got ourselves a cuppa and warm cornish pasties settling down outside to watch bikers come and go, a dozen or so older chaps in yellow tabard on BMW’s left the cafe and I smiled as I always do when seeing gentlemen on motorbikes! Not one of the guys appeared under 50 years of age. There didn’t appear to be many “Yoofs” out today.
Mark and Jeanette turned up shortly after twelve, after more coffee and a quick “chinwag” we donned our bike kit and left the cafe. I thought we would head towards Helmsley riding the back roads up through the Howardian Hills just to the North East of York.
Jeanette practices some signs…they dont have a CB radio yet!
The A64 was light with traffic and we made progress past York. Our turn off at Flaxton was just ahead I signalled early as Mark hadn’t been on this road before. Sheriff Hutton was quiet, its castle ruins the only thing to catch my eye here today, no sigh of Labrador’s or ladies in green wellies!
The fields were full of curly topped lapwing to our right, they stood and watched us zoom by, first the 180o solo followed by the 1500 trike. The trees stood naked mostly, the hedgerows too were scant of leaf except for the occasional evergreen. There are two main lines of hills to cross on our journey to Hovingham, as we crested them we could see for miles, it was so clear today. The Vale of York looked beautiful to our left, far away to our right sat another ridgeline that held back the North Yorkshire Moors and beyond that was the North Sea.
I felt like a the happy dog free of its leash as we galloped along car less country roads, the road spiralled up through a rich looking enclave called Stonegrave then dropped down to Oswaldkirk, we took the left fork at the next junction and head towards Sutton Bank, we were going to give Helmsley a miss today.
We had a light but expensive lunch at the cafe at Sutton Bank, the tardy looking servant girl looked about as interested as a fat bloated hippo, hardly smiled, hardly spoke English, hardly had time for a hello, but did have a huge bum! I watched her dismal existence at the counter for a few minutes. Julie said to Jeanette “I hope a coach party doesn’t turn up..that’ll be fun!” We made quite fun at the imagined scenario.
Bored with the smouldering lard ass at the counter we sipped the last of the millionaires coffee and ambled out to the bikes zipping ourselves up as we went. I suggested we returned on the same road as it had been so much fun and empty, we could perhaps go a little quicker!
Off we went towards Stonegrave, we were getting a lick on when suddenly an orange Honda Goldwing 1800 blasted past us going in the opposite direction, Julie managed a wave, but as quick as a flash they were gone. “That looked familiar…looked like Geoff and Christine…Not many bloody shitty orange goldies on the road eh?” I said. I spoke to Geoff later and indeed it was them out for a spin just like us!
Today the most common bird on view seemed to be the black crow, they held the high ground and swirled in the wind hopping in and out of tall trees, further down hovered the hunter killer that was the Kestral, and beautiful brown and bluish hawk, they are either stood on posts looking out for lunch of hovering above, sometimes if you’re in luck you will see them nose down and hit the ground with force then take off again with a poor hapless rodent between its claws. The most uncommon sight today was a microlight, “I bet he’s fookin cold than us Julie!” I laughed into the headset. The machine suddenly turned dropped in height and flew over us, Julie waved, the frozen pilot waived back, I looked in the mirror and saw Jeanette on the trike waiving too.
All too soon the A64 came into view as we came back through the last village. It was filling up with cars now and all heading west back to the cities and towns of “urban land” so a quick twist of the throttle at a suitable gap was needed to join the main carriageway. We joined the conveyor belt of cars to the faster part of the A64 around York when once again we twisted open the throttles and pulled away from the glut of cars, that one roundabout always causes problems!
I indicated left at the Tadcaster turn off and took that direction back to “Squires” passing through the town, it was Sunday it wasn’t busy, I hadn’t been through the town in years, these days traffic is pushed onto the bypass. The big John Smith’s brewery still overshadows Tadcaster. The high street looks very different from most high streets I’ve seen with its plethora of odd-looking bay windows at the top of most of the buildings, and are all overlooked by the brewery and its tall ornate chimney.
We approached Sherburn village and scared the life out of a git in a white car, a mecedes I think. We were down to 30 MPH, the speed required, the traffic lights were just ahead and on red. This git was pulling out in front of me, he had his hood loosely over his head so when he was looking right most of what he saw was the inside of his hood! When he did see us I was upon him, the shock as he spotted us was so funny and he nearly jumped out of his skin! We both laughed at him (which didn’t help) He started “chelping” at us through closed window but all we could do was laugh. We turned right at the traffic lights I heard him blasting his horn at Mark and Jeanette. Five minutes later at the cafe we laughingly recounted the episode.
Rocky Sharp…A cold but happy biker!
A funny end to a great day out on the bike was now in the bag! We chatted a while over drinks and looked forward to warmer days and lighter nights on our bikes. We decided to head for home and beat the darkness, the temperature would drop like a stone as soon as the sun melted away.
PS …..Some of todays photos are from the Public Domain..Wikepedia