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Old 11-04-2010, 09:39 AM   #1
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Two noobs, two wheels, two weeks.

This ride was around the south of England in August ’10, we were out for two weeks. I know I’m in the Day Trippin’ but I don’t think I’m ready to play with the big boys just yet. We slept in beds most nights and as a rule our evening meal was brought to us with a smile. We were not roughing it or surviving by our wits in the Mongolian wilderness (not yet....) Instead we survived on cunning use of my Mastercard , Paula’s Visa and the Internet.

This is my first ride report, it’s late, I’m sorry.

We usually go on a driving holiday in the summer holidays, we’ve driven to Italy and hired Motorhomes in both hemispheres. This year we thought we’d stay local and combine the holiday with visiting family. Paula’s are in Nottingham and my sister lives on the south coast.

A few years back we planned to pop our bike touring cherry with a tour of the north on my since departed VFR, however we somehow ended up in New Zealand... This year having bought my dream bike I thought it was about time to put it to good use.

Oooooo! Shiny!

A plan was drafted to spend two nights with Paula’s folks, a night in Cambridge and Oxford then two nights with my Sister. On the way home we had a rough plan to travel through the South East and along the Pembrokeshire coast before heading North, stopping at my Aunts in Chester on the way. That would be five free nights! not bad.

We’d done a few practice runs before taking on two weeks including a couple of nights away, but I was still concerned about handling the extra weight. A few weeks previous I’d had a close call in a petrol station after Paula climbed on while I wasn’t paying attention . We didn’t go down but I made some strange noises and my leg hurt for a few days. We needed a system! One was soon formulated, every time Paula got off the bike she would slap me on both shoulders twice, I’d assume the position (both feet down, good grip on the bars and squeeze the bike between my legs) then nod. Getting back on she’d slap one shoulder and wait for the nod. It never failed.

we'll take the one on the right..

I intended to be super strict and limit what we could take. I needn’t have worried, Paula has survived a month in Peru living out of a holdall and part of my work is taking kids into the Mountains while carrying everything on my back. We can pack small and light. All our kit went in the panniers without too many problems. We even had a present for my sister and room for more.

The ride through the Peak District to Mansfield was uneventful but I did learn that Paula wasn’t to happy with me filtering through stopped traffic just yet, we’ll get there. We both regularly visit the Peak District as we are both involved in taking groups of young people walking and camping. Today was the best opportunity to visit Lyme Park, an old house and gardens. It’s somewhere we’ve regularly passed in minibuses and thought ’what’s that like?’ The sun was out so I stripped the liners out of my pants after walking around sweating. Paula however draws on her Italian heritage and somehow manages to walk around in all her black gear looking as cool as a cucumber. That girl isn’t right.

Lyme Park
Did I mention she was tiny? Oh yes, and she likes to travel surfing the tank.....

We spent a few days with her folks, good food aplenty, and even made some plans for the trip! Paula’s Brother was planning to spend a week near caravanning near Newquay and we could crash in the awning. Another two free nights!

With full bellies we said ‘Arrivederci’ and set off towards Cambridge.

More to come.....

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Old 11-04-2010, 01:02 PM   #2
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We had it in our minds to buzz round the city centre, get our bearings, then find a small B&B on the outskirts. It was in our minds for about a minute.

Over the intercom-
Paula : That looks like a decent hotel.
Matt: Whats the parking like, I dont want to leave it on the road this close to the city centre.
Paula: Turn round here and have a look.
(Matt turns the bike round)
Matt: Carpark seems ok, it even goes round the back. Oh look, theres a spot outside the rear entrance.
Paula: Park up and well see if they have a room.

At that point the plan of stopping in cheap B&Bs went out the window.

We took the opportunity to have a wander. It was another hot day and the city was packed with tourists and students.

The following day, having done one university town we headed to another, Oxford. On the way the weather turned and it started pouring rain. We had hoped to sit it out over dinner but this rain was patient and cunning. Stopping long enough to convince us to set off before resuming the downpour. By the time we arrived in the centre wed had enough, Id stupidly left my pant liners out and water had made its way into my undercrackers some 40 minutes ago.

After some damp laps of the centre we found a small guest house. Not quite as fancy as the last night but we were glad to get into some warm dry gear.

Id like to complement the BMW system Panniers and my Givi top box who have never let any water in despite some shocking weather. Even so Im still untrusting of kit and so Ill always keep things in small drybags, old habits die hard.

It might have been the weather but I wasnt as impressed with Oxford compared to Cambridge. Some of the University buildings look the part but it doesnt feel the same.

Id been given a satnav for my birthday and with a little fleabay magic it was now doing a sterling job mounted to my handlebars pointing out the route. It was that or I was going to make a map/rucsac so Paula could read it off my back and direct as needed. The satnav was perhaps neater, if less interesting for people who may walk behind me.

On the way to my sisters I put it to good use, instructing it to avoid all Motorways and take us via the Uffington White horse, a piece of pre historic chalk graffiti. Some nice small roads around there, having spent most of our time on A roads it was a welcome change to slow down and start seeing the countryside.

Two nights at my sisters followed with more good grub and a trip to see the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth. Interestingly there is a glass lift on the outside which stopped working shortly after opening and they have left derelict. We opted out of queuing for the one remaining lift.

While my sister and brother in law were at work we entertained Bob. Good boy Bob.

Having chanced accommodation twice and come up with a 1:1 ratio of good hotels versus naff hotels we changed tactics. We figured we could find some better bargains and more interesting places using a late booking website. Therefore after some playing with google maps to find their locations we had the next three days and nights sorted.

Wild horses in Beaulieu

Always prepared, you can't eat sammiches with a helmet on.

I play with the satnav.


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Old 11-04-2010, 01:27 PM   #3
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So it was that we set off through the new forest, stopping to see the stunning rock formations and Horseshoe bay at Lulworth Cove.

We spent the night at Frog Hall, Toller Porcorum in Dorset. It was one of our cheapest nights and our favourite.

We dodged rainclouds on the way out to the chip shop a few miles away. Best cod & chips ever.

If you get chance and you are in the area stop here, if nothing else just for the breakfast which you order the night before and Rosemary cooks and delivers in the morning. Faced with a tick sheet I have to admit I nearly ticked the lot, settling instead for cereal, toast, jam, honey, eggs, sausages, mushrooms, handmade bread (still warm), orange juice and tea. I was a happy man.

It’s worth mentioning that the satnav let me down the next day leading me through a farm yard and up a steep landrover track. Instead of turning round in true ADV fashion I said ‘bugger it, let’s give it a go.’ The GS pulled up there with no fuss and little scrabbling. To be fair to the satnav when I looked at it since on a map that route saved us a few miles.

Have we ridden to the French Riviera! (sorry Paula I mean the Italian Riviera, far superior!) No, but it felt like it. The temperature rose suddenly, the sun came out and there were countless massive houses looking out over the sea. Welcome to St Austell!

We aimed to spend a night here then look round the Eden Project and move on a hop and a skip to Penzance. I mentioned I got hot wandering around didn’t I? Well we managed to chose the hottest day of the year to walk round a bloody great greenhouse..... Thank god they cater for bikers and cyclists. Lockers were nearby so I stripped to shorts and big silly hat. Water bottle in hand we went on a trip round the globe. The Domes are something else, inside you could really be in the jungle.

Paula managed to unwittingly smuggle one of the inhabitants of the dome out in her handbag. The little love then managed to transfer to her riding jacket before alerting her to its presence on the roads out of the Project. Thus she was initiated into the club of ‘insect in your riding gear whilst on the move’. He was a sizable ant (somewhat more sizeable when she’d finished with him) and had managed to get a good couple of bites on her arm.

We popped down to Lizard point on the way to Penzance where we had our last booked night before Newquay. The following day we did Lands End before making our way up the fabulous narrow roads along the coast to Holywell Bay, south of Newquay.

Lands end! I told you I had a big silly hat.

Hmmm, a Tardis... Aren't they meant to be small on the outside and big inside?

We set up our tent pod in the awning with skilful use of string and bungee cords.

My bike sits in its proper place, with the kids bikes.

This was the last of the sun for a few days.

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Old 11-04-2010, 02:19 PM   #4
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After a couple of nights on an inflatable mattress we headed off to Bath. Not that we needed a bath, the place Bath, you see?

Because we had stooged around Cornwall longer than originally planned and the forecast looked poor we decided that we may have to leave the Pembrokeshire coast for another day. No point seeing it in the pouring rain, certainly not when you have to rush round it. Well be back.

Im always in favour of parking next to the most expensive car in the carpark overnight. I think this DB9 might have been the one. It was raining. It had been raining for some time, I was wet. I forgot about the rain after eating the finest Sirloin steak that night, one of the most expensive places we stopped but we did get it at a 50% rate thanks to some last minute booking.

The next day we headed into Haverfordwest to get some engine oil (never been an oil burner before and it turned out not to be as bad as I thought. I just hadnt been able to get a proper reading, Boxer owners will know the ritual for checking the oil...) While in the bike shop I decided to splash out on some new waterproof gloves, Mine had lasted many years but were now at the end of their life. The guys in there were very helpful suggesting a scenic route up round Aberystwyth to Tal Y Llyn where we planned to spend the night.

It might have been scenic but we couldnt tell... Looking back I realise I havent taught Paula the ADV salute yet.

The weather improved overnight and we were able to head to another of our stomping grounds, Snowdonia.

Snowdon is hiding its head in the mist behind me.

The last day from my Aunts in Chester was another hot one. Not helped by posing for lots of photos in all our gear.

So, that was our first Bike Trip. Best thing is Paula is not totally against the Idea of doing another one! Now I've gained a Lands End sticker on my wind shield I think it needs to be balanced with a John O'Groats sticker on the other side.....

Thanks for reading.

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Old 11-04-2010, 02:34 PM   #5
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Looks like a great 'maiden voyage'. I did a similar trip in August and got about the same mixture of weather.

Thanks for posting.
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Old 11-04-2010, 06:26 PM   #6
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A great read and trip.. thanks for the pics too
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Old 11-04-2010, 08:31 PM   #7
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Super cool report!! You did a fine job!!! Insects in riding gear---NOT good... Free sleeping---good. Thanks for sharing your two up adventure.
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Old 11-05-2010, 09:00 AM   #8
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Love the pics, any more of the beautiful English countryside?
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Old 11-10-2010, 09:34 AM   #9
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Thanks for the responses! Glad people enjoyed reading about our little adventure, I know it was nothing compared to some on this site.

A few photos off the cutting room floor for E-Man.

River Cam in Cambridge.

View North from Dragon hill near the Uffington White Horse.

Lulworth Cove

Sea Cliffs, Carlyon Bay near St Austell

All that pollen at the Eden Project, makes for some really big Bees.....

The weather isn't always fine! A result of two really wet days, drying my Intercom connectors with the B&B hair dryer.

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Old 11-10-2010, 08:40 PM   #10
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Really beautiful stuff. A tad jealous.
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:15 AM   #11
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Nice ride report . I love seeing the English countryside , all of the old homes and gardens . I really liked the canal picture . Chances of me ever getting there myself are slim to none . Thanks for the report !
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:27 AM   #12
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I love your day trip report! Bikelugger, no need to apologize on your report. This adventure is as good as any other, passing time on the bike, with a beautiful partner, traveling and experiencing the fun and beauty of where you live. Speaking for myself, I am very eager to visit the UK again....and see the sites on a motorcycle.
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Old 11-12-2010, 04:51 AM   #13
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Great RR and Pic's.
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Old 11-12-2010, 06:42 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by BikeLugger
The guys in there were very helpful suggesting a scenic route up round Aberystwyth to Tal Y Llyn where we planned to spend the night.
I really like your writing style. Suppose maybe it's just the goofy way y'all talk over there.

But this line caught my attention, because I've been to Aberystwyth. It was a hurried trip, and very wet and rainy like some of your pictures (I was in a rental car), but I remember because it took so long for me to be able to pronounce and remember this Welch name.

I'm the Tent Space Guy Sign up to host fellow travelers here.

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Old 11-12-2010, 06:57 AM   #15
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Way cool, thanks!
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