For this half term holiday I had the chance to undertake one last ride for the year, out to North Wales to catch up with family whilst having a blast on the bike. I took Friday off work to ride up, but didn’t set off until nearly lunch as I waited for the rain to abate. The roads remained wet for most of the afternoon and the weather was grey. I took things steady, even though there were many fun and technical bends to negotiate. The route was very similar to the one I undertook last time: London, Aylesbury, Buckingham, Brackley, Banbury, Stratford-upon-Avon, Droitwich, Kidderminister, Bridgenorth, Shrewsbury and finishing in Welshpool. Night fall hit I passed Bridgenorth, where upon I was glad I had the Fazer with decent headlight, and enjoyed the London’s novelty that is main beam.
Not a lot beats a hot August for getting out on the bike and enjoying oneself. Which is exactly what I’ve been doing this last couple of weekends, by mostly exploring Essex, which invariable entails a stop in Finchingfield. This picturesque village is quite the Mecca for bikers at weekends. With so many great country roads leading to and from it (see routes below), it’s no surprise.
Bosworth’s Tearooms Cafe still rustles up fine food, although did change ownership earlier this year which has led to some menu changes and price increases. Their ice cream kiosk is still very much welcomed on hot days when sweating like a pig in full leathers.
Continue reading “Summer Ride Outs Via Finchingfield” »
Just home from another long jaunt across the middle of England, from London to Shrewsbury, and back. Catching up with family for the weekend up in Shrewsbury, Welshpool and surrounding areas. I took a slightly different route from last time, running a little further North.
Over the weekend I rode up to Shrewsbury on the bike to see family. Heading North I took boring motorways, but on my return South I took a far more enjoyable and scenic route:
I’ve finally done it, I’ve passed my IAM Skill For Life Course, I’m now officially an ‘advanced rider’.
I started the course back in January, when I signed up with the East London Advanced Motorcyclists (ELAM) group. The course is based upon the Motorcycle roadcraft police rider’s handbook, but is presented through a slightly more digestible ‘How to be a better rider’ book (included with the course). The ELAM group begin the course in a fairly structured manner; starting with a machine control day on an airfield to practice slow manoeuvres, emergency stops and slalom. This is followed by 5 observed ride outs roughly every fortnight, each concentrating on particular areas, e.g. overtaking, bends, motorways, town riding etc. There were also 3 theory night sessions around these rides which covered the ‘system’ – an underlying principle to apply to your riding, various best practices and many legal points.
Most of the time when on a motorcycle in London you are immune to commuting delays, as you can filter past pretty much anything. However on this day, my commute was delayed by a cruise ship. Bummer.
Here we are at Tower Bridge, waiting for this large Cruise ship to undock from HMS Belfast and make it’s way down the Thames. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t quite filter past this one. Still, it was a nice day to take stock of the fact I ride past some great icons of British architecture everyday.
What iconic landmarks do you commute past on your way to/from work?
As the days grow longer and my IAM course progresses, I have been looking for decent routes to hit after work on my commute home to squeeze in some extra practice and take advantage of the lovely weather. I ride home Eastbound on the A13, so have been hunting down quiet, yet interesting roads in close proximity to the areas of Upminster, Bulphan, Tilbury, Horndon-on-the-Hill and Brentwood. This is my route:
I made a quick visit to the Ponderosa Cafe near the Horseshoe Pass, just outside Llangollen in North Wales whilst in the area for a family holiday. Unfortunately I was not on the bike, but still great roads and stunning views whatever you ride or drive.
Good turn out of bikes (not just these two old Brit bikes in the photo!) and a change encounter with a London Biker friend too. Do pop by and ride the pass if you’re nearby.
It’s Christmas! – screamed Slade. For bikers up and down the country that means Toy Runs. Not just any old excuse for a ride out, but a chance to dress up, decorate the bike and most importantly take some toys to kids stuck in hospital this Christmas. On Sunday I joined the Ace Cafe Toy Run, which visited the children’s wing of St. Mary’s in Paddington, Royal Brompton in Chelsea and the Evelina Children’s Hospital in Westminster.
I took my 8 year old daughter along with me, who was super excited and had wrapped our presents days in advance. The weather held out well, just a spot chilly in the morning and we finished off with bacon sarnies and complementary drinks back at the Ace. Here’s some snaps from the day, most taken by my daughter!