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Thread: Round 5: Yuletide Ramble

  1. #17
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    In all fairness I'm unsure of how the quality of this ride report is going to pan out, but let's give it a go shall we.

    Romford to Thringstone

    The weather forecast doesn't look good, no, not at all. It appears we are destined for a cold snap.

    The bike is all OK and recovered from my recent sortie out to Czech, but as I cleaned it up I discovered one of the fork seals had gone. I needed to go and see Steve at Motoscot and exchange my gloves (he'd actually lent me his pair for my last ramble as my size were to be ordered ) and mine had since arrived, so a quick call and he'd said he'd get it sorted for me when I head in to make the glove switch. You know, we like that..

    I'd gotten very little done at home. On Wednesday evening I was in the pub with a friend who is getting a divorce and on the Thursday I nip down to train with my old football team. I end up not putting anything together or packing when I get home late after a medicinal pint of Speckled Hen to get over the shock of all that needless running around. I don't pack anything. Silly mistake, that as I want to be out early and I always try and get everything done so I can just get out and go.

    I sleep and don't feel very good in the morning. Packing is the most disorganised event ever and takes half the time again of that I'd normally expect. Bother.

    My tardiness at home means my old trumpet is left out in the cold for a night or two in the garden and shows the frost out there..



    Eventually I do get set and make to head off. Alarm set, house locked up, out to bike. Ah. Where's my bloody helmet? Back to house, unlock outside door, unlock inside door , alarm off, obtain said crash hat, alarm on, lock doors. Key in bike, go to press GPS power button. Ah. I've left my Zumo on the shelf in the garage. Open driveway gate, open garage door, set alarm off, run back to house, unlock house, reset alarm, run to garage, grab Zumo, lock garage, lock gate, in house, set alarm, lock house. Are you getting the picture?

    Finally, after what seems to be an age, we're making final approach down the driveway to my road. It's cold of course. There's a sheen on the road; Icy. I'm fortunate (or unfortunate in some respects) to live in the town centre, so it's a very short distance to the main roads and bus routes where the roads are well trodden. The first couple of roads in the zig zag to the main drag are OK, but then I link up with an old Victorian road which seems to get no sun at all in a way that Aleister Crowley would be proud of, and having cobbles poking through the surface and a terrible camber from the middle to the two gutters. The pavement is similarly hazardous, and I've had a couple of trips to the ground trying to get home before in the snow and ice (not pissed either I should add) one time seeing off a rather nice suit. I gingerly tootle down the road and whispering a quiet prayer of thanks to the biking gods I'm off.

    Normally, I'd take a very enjoyable run through Havering-atte-Bower, Stapleford, Abridge, Theydon Bois and then south of Epping to join up with the M25 and cut some of the boredom. However, this time last year there were two shunts I'd seen whilst in the car both down to ice so decide to just head down the A12 and around the magic roundabout that is London's Orbital car park.

    The traffic is moving on the motorway and it's all uneventful through to Caddington. I feel loads better for the ride in the fresh air and I'm given coffee and have a good chat while Steve quickly sorts the dodgy seal.



    I've arranged to meet Brian, aka ballistic of this parish for this little trip. Whist I'm there he sends a message: the weather forecast is dreadful. Come up in the car and we'll make off on four wheels instead. I reply that I'm already on the way, so he tells me not to worry and in the words of Leslie Crowther to 'Come on down'. I think he described that the trip will be 'character building'. eek.

    Breakfast is a huge bacon baguette courtesy of the Caddington bakery 'Nice Baps'. Things are picking up. Then a quick fill-up at the Tesco. I do like pay at pump. It's off to Leicestershire courtesy of a short and boring float up the M1. Only thing to report is the opposite carriageway is closed just short of where I dive off the motorway, with one of those large rubbish skips, (and I mean the large ones) looking to have fallen off a truck and blocked all three lanes

    I'm there fairly early, so it's just after 3pm when we decide that it is a good time to indulge in Loughborough's finest ales. We head to catch the 3.22 bus, which arrives at ten past four, so we spent fifty minutes hopping up and down in the cold and watching the construction of a co-op. Hardly vintage time spent.
    Two buses eventually arrive and we have spend over an hour on a normally twenty minute ride in to town, at a guess it would seem that the accident I mentioned has caused a horrible overspill from the motorway. We end up walking the last half a mile, we were driven batty by a crying baby, with the mother not paying a blind bit of notice to little Frogmella, probably hypnotised by Rothmans withdrawl over the period of the hour on the bus.

    First port of call is the Glorious Briton. Great little pub. Timothy Taylor Ram tam, open fire, they don't do food but you can bring it in from any of the number of places down the road. Ticks the boxes, this.

    Taking a trip to the dark side with Ram Tam.



    Next pub. I forgot the name. I liked it. Good beers. Brian navigates with the beer compass splendidly.

    Next pub. Some monkey business at the Blue Monkey pub..



    Finally we complete our tour of Loughborough by anchoring at the Glorious Briton and getting fine fish and chips from across the road. A good day

    Today the following beers were fed into the Rambletron:

    Ram Tam (Timothy Taylor)
    Gorilla (Blue Monkey)
    Black Gold (Castle Rock)
    XXXB (Batemans)
    Liefmans Kriek

    The organic computer has picked the winner to be 'Ram Tam'. Oooh I do like that, and we don't get it 'dahn sarf'.


  2. #18
    Son of Ah Knah Yee Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    PUI since 2004


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  3. #19
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    Thringstone to Seaton Delaval

    Morning brings a bit of surprise.. And a bonus. There's no frost and it is actually quite nice out there (well, at four degrees things are most definitely do-able).

    Wally flaps set to maximum..



    And then there were two bikes.. we have a convoy, rubber duck



    Off we go, taking the lanes out of the village and making nice pace. Wrapped up warm, we're taking it easy and things are all very enjoyable.
    As we work into things we head on to a single track road and there's a cracked patch of ice just where we turn. Time to be taking it very easy.

    The single track adventures are brief thankfully and we make our way up North as far as Scunthorpe without particular incident and stop at Morrisons for the café. Never eaten there before and very good, good value. It seems everyone is stocking up for the end of the world according to the Mayan calendar; we wait half an hour in the queue and then same again for lunch which is pretty good, but it's knocked time on.

    Over the Humber bridge we go, me fighting the side wind.

    We still stay away from the main drags, skirting around the moors and again have decent enough riding, but it's getting colder and darker

    Shortly after we get stuck in a town (I think it was somewhere like Malton) where there's been some flooding; there are diversions and the local plod are controlling the traffic. More time is lost and darkness arrives upon us fast.

    I have terrible, terrible night vision, always have had. The horrible truth was brought home to me a few years ago getting off of a ferry from Portsmouth and opting to take the smaller roads back to London town rather than taking the A3, which nearly resulted in wipe out and riding into the trees.
    Out of town I slow right up and Brian disappears off into the darkness. Temperature is now zero. There are icy patches in the middle of the road. Not good. Things not helped by a car behind me where the ultra-bright lights are dazzling me- who I'd prefer just pass me. Everytime I slow down he slows down, when I carry on, he comes right back up. Eventually I just stop and put the hazards on. They pull up behind, get the message and then finally go past. I was half expecting the lights to go upwards and take off over me scaring the living shite out of me a la Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Not sure if they were worried themselves and watching me as a guide, or perhaps concerned about me, or just plain feckless, whatever it was it just didn't help

    Well boy oh boy.. am I pleased to see the A19. With the temperature freezing now it becomes a race against time to hit our own Mr K's residence, the destination for today, who has forewarned us that around his locale things don't look good. We fly through the Tyne Tunnel. The last few miles are incredibly tentative and no fun at all.
    On safe arrival I'm ready for a papal style kiss of the ground, bikes are put in the garage and its now time for Close Encounters of the thawed kind

    Changed to civvies we head out to road test the nightlife of Seaton Delaval. It is a cold twenty minute yomp to the pub and there is ice all over the place.

    Tomorrow just doesn't bear thinking about at the moment. Tonight, dear friends, let us drink to forget..

    Some Hobgoblin is taken in at Ye Olde Fat Ox Inn but we swerve the crowds of the charity night, opting to cross the road and enjoy some Speckled Hen at The Milbourne Arms where there is 'live' entertainment, which starts promisingly with a good cover of Romeo & Juliet by the Lone guitarist accompanied by his Dell XPS. He loses a lot of credibility by turing the volume up, making up the words to songs, putting on bizzare accents and then is spotted by Brian tampering with the laptop during a guitar solo. Time to go.

    We stop off for a carry out supper at the Cheun Lee.. A special with Mushrooms for me. Fabulous..



    Great picture this, I think it has a certain Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon quality, no?



    Caption competition first prize goes to MScotts for "Do you not think we're a tad overdressed for a Sauna"

    I'm woken during the night by Chris's cat Tabitha who circles my pillow a couple of times, kindly treading on my head before deciding 'this is not for me' and nipping off. Otherwise a very good sleep which I would give 9/10.

    Thanks, Chris


  4. #20
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    Seaton Delaval to Ings

    I wake not wanting to look out of the window, so I go downstairs at 9am to find Chris and ballistic already ship shape and feet up watching Saturday kitchen.

    The house guests are treated to a hearty breakfast. Note to self: Must stop here more often



    Kitty is not amused at the weekend intrusion..



    Chris has declined our kind offer to come out riding. Can't at all think why...

    The weather is not good. It's hovering around zero here and looking a fair bit worse to the North. It seems our Scotland ambitions will be curtailed The forecast looks crap too so we make the obvious decision not to go. Yesterday was bordering on silly at the final throes, I think if we'd have gone for Scotland we might as well just have ordered the Ambulance and had done with it.

    But where to go? Heads are scratched, weather studied, possible routes bandied. A plan is hatched so it is time to start layering up to transform into that big armoured onion.

    Chris, knowing my passion for all things local in the ale department kindly presents me with a couple of local brews before we head off. Thanks, again!

    As per the Mr K update earlier in the thread, we make our way orf into the distance very gingerly indeed.



    Speed cameras are not in play; we can only dream of such speeds. Later, over a pint we'd imagined that if we managed to actually set one off we wouldn't get a fixed penalty notice- we'd get a certificate of achievement and a ten pound voucher from Millets.

    Back South then and through the tunnel, routing via Spennymoor. I confess that the 'moor' element of the location worried me what with the weather, but all was alright. The temperature was about three degrees and we trundled on towards Barnard Castle to join up with the A66.

    As we climbed the temperature dropped down to zero. We passed the turn off for Tan Hill where this time last year a few of us tosser folk had met up for some Christmas ales. Later we talked of how it would have been fun to do a mocked up 'hard core' photo, showing the bikes and down the hill in the background covered in snow. However the thick ice came right up to the main road, if we'd have tried to shuffle the bikes in and round I'm pretty sure we'd have hit the deck.

    In fact, the it was pretty poor over the top as it were as we headed west. The laybys were thick with ice, and at one stretch in the shadows the inside lane was closed as a gang worked to clear the ice from it.

    We continued to trundle on and were treated to the most amazing views in the clear sunshine, it was a shame there wasn't really a good opportunity to stop and snap away. The view of the snow-covered hilltops as we came over the top from the west was outstanding.. absolutely beautiful.

    We leave the A66 and head on to the A685 towards Kirby Stephen. My words were 'You know, I'm going to be distinctly uncomfortable today on any road with a higher number than 99' … but this one was alright.

    We stop for a well deserved scone and a hot drink.



    We're heading towards the South Lakes and the view is to try and take the direct route would not exactly be the smartest move, so it is over to the M6 to head a little further South, and then off towards Kendal. Our eventual choice of the A684, another perilously high number on the ice-buttock-clench-o-meter was traversed, and then thankfully on to the flat and predictable busy low road towards Windermere and our final destination of the day, the village of Ings.

    To get to the pub and lodgings itself was fun. It was only a hundred and fifty meters or so.. but there was a little humpback bridge, covered in ice.. which was managed delicately.. and then one half of the road out of the sun was covered in thick ice. I stay to the right (and wrong side) of the road as you might expect given the circumstances and am stopped by an old bloke getting out of his car, obstructing the meagre clear strip of road, who then looks at me with a distasteful gurn and mutters something or other. 'If you don't mind old chap' I say 'I'd rather ride on that' (pointing at the tarmac) 'rather than that' (pointing at the ice). He gives me an 'I-don't-know-youth-of-today-no-respect-bloody-bikers-wouldn't-have-happened-in-my-day-during-the-war-and-all-that' sort of look. The BBC published an article the other day about how middle aged people were the most miserable, with the young and elderly being the happiest. On that evidence, I most definitely beg to differ..

    Bikes are parked up by the wall. There be thick ice here..



    The Waterside inn is a great little place. It is a very nice pub with a brewery attached, with decent accommodation and hearty food. As you would expect in the heart of the lake district it's full of ramblers, walkers and other outdoor pursuit types. Probably the only pub I know where dogs take precedent over children in the pecking order (dogs allowed in the main bar, children also but must stay at the rear)

    Not long now..



    I safely store the couple of beers given to me..



    .. And we make our way down to the bar for dinner and a few ales.. Well.. It'd be rude not to

  5. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by gr8roberto View Post
    Seaton Delaval to Ings

    I wake not wanting to look out of the window, so I go downstairs at 9am to find Chris and ballistic already ship shape and feet up watching Saturday kitchen.

    The house guests are treated to a hearty breakfast. Note to self: Must stop here more often


    only one egg,sack the chief
    mummy mummy is dad dead?
    no son hes out riding that bloody bike

    whats that you say?
    I've no idea as I've been out riding my bike..

  6. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shapeshifter View Post
    only one egg,sack the chief
    I'll knack yee!##

    PUI since 2004


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  7. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shapeshifter View Post
    only one egg,sack the chief
    In all fairness I had insisted on the 'light' option

  8. #24
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    2 sausage,2 bacon,2 hash brown,2 black pud and thats the light option
    mummy mummy is dad dead?
    no son hes out riding that bloody bike

    whats that you say?
    I've no idea as I've been out riding my bike..

  9. #25
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    Ah .... the Waterside Inn

    Great micro brewery round the back .... carry on Rob

    Adventure.GS
    Tours, training or custom made earplugs ... it's all here.

    "If you want the rainbow then you have to put up with a little rain" Dolly Parton

  10. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Micky View Post
    Ah .... the Waterside Inn

    Great micro brewery round the back .... carry on Rob


  11. #27
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    Holiday on Ice

    Greetings one and all, compliments of the season to you and yours..



    We had a decent enough night last night and turned in relatively early after a stroll, or should I say slide around the block. Scary out there

    There's been a light dusting of snow overnight. These little beauties won't be turning a wheel today, I'm afraid.



    Time for a hearty breakfast to see us right..



    Better grip than a Tourance..



    We'll be taking one of these 230hp beauties today.



    We're treated to some terrific views on the hour or so trip up to Keswick, sat on the top deck, at the front..



    Great. A panoramic view of the place..



    We hit Keswick and have a good wander round, having a look in the various mountain shops and stopping in the pubs. Then its back to Ambleside for a few more ales.





    How about a nice oversized Scotch Egg?



    The past 48 hours have seen the following fed into the Rambletron:

    Windemere Lager (Watermill)
    Golden Retriever (Watermill)
    Timmermans Framboise
    Tom & Berry (Robinson's)
    Dizzy Blonde (Robinson's)
    Cumbria Way (Hartleys)
    XB (Hartleys)
    Dark Matters (Robinson's)
    Old Peculier (Theakston)
    Timmermans Peche
    Dog'th Vader (Watermill)

    And the winner is Tom & Berry.. Wow.

    Anyone got any Rennies?

  12. #28
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    Shame you didn't get out on the bikes today, but that breakfast, a trip on the top deck of a double decker, followed by all that ale certainly makes up for it

  13. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shapeshifter View Post
    2 sausage,2 bacon,2 hash brown,2 black pud and thats the light option
    couple of slices of bread will make that lot a right nice Sanger

    then move on to the main course
    Dont Bogart that joint my friend, pass it over to me

  14. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Nutty GSER View Post
    Shame you didn't get out on the bikes today, but that breakfast, a trip on the top deck of a double decker, followed by all that ale certainly makes up for it
    Quite. It was a superb little day off of the bikes. In all fairness we could have ridden, but it just wasn't all that enjoyable, so we opted for something a little bit different.

    Quote Originally Posted by chad View Post
    couple of slices of bread will make that lot a right nice Sanger

    then move on to the main course
    You must be my size mate

  15. #31
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    Ings to Southport

    Again, we're kind of inhibited by the weather, but this time its of the rain variety, which is actually quite welcome, because it just means that it isn't snow.

    Brian is down and packed early and has discovered the brewer working away in the back of the pub's premises. He's gone for some chat and free samples



    "Please take your friend away.. He is drinking everything.."

    Can't you see that.. the desperation in his eyes? I know I can

    The brewery van..



    .. With an amusing twist on the plumbers and electricians tools notice..



    Nice place, the Watermill. I'll be back.



    We're a bit stumped about where to go. Scotland remains out, as are the dales; they are similarly frozen. According to BBC weather the only part of the country that has a temperature above freezing is the West Coast, kind of leaving us limited options.

    We quickly nip in to Windermere. Brian has an appointment with a butcher to obtain a suspension adjusting quantity of black pudding.



    We settle on Southport as a destination for today. Brian has some friends there he hasn't seen for a while, plus we know a good pub there and a hotel bar that does very good ale. On the way it rains. It rains and rains and rains.

    I'm sure to have packed the essential accessories for such conditions..



    The riding is bitty and fairly boring.

    The evening provides top ale, though, and we stay at the Scarisbrick Hotel, offering a tatty but adequate twin room at the princely sum of £25 including breakfast.



    Besides, when you've been supping Old Peculier you don't tend to notice much about your surroundings.

    Following that I take a day to out to do not so much. Update some report drivel here, pay some bills there. I get a chance to catch up with some e-mail correspondence. Mr Nyejiowanaika Ogogo has contacted me with the most generous offer that I should assist him in repatriating USD 25million from the Bank of Africa. Just fancy that.


  16. #32
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    Southport to Colne

    Not much to feature. A dull, direct ride. Rain, then cold, then a touch icy.

    Note to self: Do not attempt to move bike around on icy surfaces.

    Evening is a meet up with an old pal for drinks. Starting off with a couple of glasses of the old Veuve Cliquot, then out up hill, down hill to sample the delights of Timothy Taylor's Landlord and a beer called Titanic (can't remember who brews it), which is like hitting your own personal little iceberg.

    Result: An expensive souvenir hangover.

    No pictures I'd care to share. Sorry.

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