I did the long ride with Adam last month, the one via richmond across the dales to Kendall then Penrith and over the top to Hexham and although it was cool, we were at least dry. All told from our place here in the hills and back I clocked just shy of 250 miles and it would make an ideal chapter run, although there have to be more stops than those Adam and I did, which accounts for my sore arse at the end of the day. Given fine weather the run affords some great panorama's and with careful planning would make an ideal all day ride, plus with the narrow and winding roads that take up the majority of the run, the speed would be well down and with overtaking and/or being stuck behind the locals and their horse boxes, the pack would be split throughout the ride so there would have to be stops so that tail enders could catch up.
I have penned a few rides that take up this part of the country as well as southern Scotland but as is my want they are somewhat verbose and take the form of pamphlets and would really benefit from being printed on paper (remember that stuff? we old 'uns used to write on it) so if anyone wants one let me know and I'll get one sorted for yer.
The summer seems to bring out the worst in car driver mentality and one or two stand out for me as they had the possibility of causing me and other innocents serious hurt. The first happened in front of the chapter as we pulled out of the waiting lane at the big roundabout at Silverlink heading for the Earl of Zetland. The lights for us went to green and I pulled out, not giving it too much as the next set were still red, when a car driven by a woman of not that many moons, shot across her lights that were red, missed my front wheel by not much and then only because I always look at the traffic to my right whether I have priority or not and managed to put the brakes on in time, and so hard the back wheel skipped. She shot up the filter lane for the 1056 and then pulled over and sat there looking back at the carnage caused by two lanes of heavy traffic now stalled half way across the junction. She must have been doing 60 at least and at that speed survival for a biker is low to say the least.
Second one was coming off the roundabout heading north at Seaton burn to join the A1 and was in the correct lane and indicating when a car appeared on my inside determined to go right round. Again the bikers 6th sense kicked in and I felt rather than saw her and managed to brake in time but my crash bar clipped her drivers door and knocked me off balance which meant I was now stalled and out of the saddle on one of the busiest round a bouts in the area. She didn't stop.
Next one was last sunday after a great day out to Edinburgh for the shop open day and we were in sight of the village when this tw*t tried his best to kill us all. He had been sat behind Dawn and I for ages along clear straight roads so we assumed he wasn't in a hurry, and had kept his distance until we approached a blind hill with a bend and guess what? now he decides is a good time to overtake. I thought he was going to cut D up and go for the gap between us but he went for the whole overtake. I started to brake as I could see the car coming round the blind bend toward us and there was no way this was going to end without casualties. As he cut me up in his desperation to miss the other car I threw my arm up in the futile attempt to protect what I knew was going to be a high speed impact and threw the bike at the kerb; the other car went for the opposite ditch in a great cloud of dust and brake lights and somehow, somehow everyome missed each other and the guilty one shot off at great speed. I have never been shaken before but could not stop the shakes and it took a couple of hours to escape the feeling that I should have died right there.
Why do they do it? how can they consider their lives to be so cheap that they are willing to throw it all away just because they could not wait 5 seconds to check if the road is clear? Every day out on the bike I see situations that beggar belief and its not just cars but involves bikes too and our sporting brothers leave me staggered at some manoeuvres like the young girl last month who went for an overtake of 4 or 5 cars and our 4 bikes even though a bright yellow fuel tanker was chugging up the single lane toward us and we could all see what should have happened had it not been for the cars in front (and the tanker braking and swerving) having to brake very hard and pull over to let this idiot through, and all because she had been split up from her buddy? Its not just the speeding motorist that cause problems is it? its the blue rinse brigade out for their sunday afternoon drive and doing 40 mph with a 20 car crocodile snaking behind them, all cursing because there is no chance of overtaking. Sometimes when I am toodling along at 60 or 70 and there is a queue behind me I have felt guilty, it doesn't last long but such is the desire for people to be somewhere quickly, I have found myself fighting the urge to give the throttle some grip and nudge the speed up, but where does that stop and who cares when its me that gets nabbed by the rozzers for speeding? Anyway thats me off the soapbox for a while so I'll leave you alone. Be safe now.