As always I checked the weather before I set off, it told me it would get warmer as I travelled south with very little chance of rain, I dressed accordingly.
I’d decided to go and take a look at the Ace cafe in London, good excuses for a ride out for breakfast, it was listed on the VRCC message board as a breakfast meet so was hopeful I’d meet up with a couple of other Dragon riders. I also wanted to compare that place with Squires. Again I set off just after six, today being Sunday the roads were even quieter than a few weeks ago when I went to France, so apart from the temperature being just above single figures it was going to be a nice ride south. I’d tapped the post code (zip) into the GPS before I left but then turned it off, it wasn’t charging on the bike so only powered it up when I needed it, that wouldn’t be for at least another 150 miles. (Going to have to do some serious maintenance this winter)
As I’m sure we’ve all come to expect the ride was, on the whole uneventful, you know it has been said that these ride reports are getting a little boring “because nothing happens”, well I can tell you at this time of the year when, as one season ends and another begins there’s loads happening especially when you’re riding a bike thru the dawn, watching the sunrise and the mist on the fields with the trees appearing to float on a cloud, the smell is different also, maybe it’s the lack of traffic on an early Sunday morning, so what I smell is fresh air not tainted by exhaust fumes, it’s the mist melting in the sun, it’s the ever changing sky from red to blue, it’s just a pleasure to be alive and witness these things. I looked sideways as a car passed the passenger put there thumbs up at me, they knew, I nodded back and an even bigger smiled crossed my face.
South of Birmingham and the sky looks even more promising as I look south and I can actually feel it getting warmer, I’ll stop at Northampton and remove my over jeans and fleece shirt before I get too hot. I’ll also ride thru all the service stations after that just in case there are any other Valks making their way down.
They seem to be always altering the M1, no sooner do they get one section finished and your thinking oh good no more gridlock and speed restrictions, then they start on another section, never mind we travel on, as I approach the M25 I had to make a conscious effort to keep in the right lane for some reason the Dragon kept drifting over to the left, habit I suppose, neither of us had passed that junction before and not taken it, as we did the bike misfire as if to ask why. Time to tap the GPS into life, I’d need guiding this last stretch, thou was sure I knew roughly where I was going, the north circular road couldn’t miss it, sure enough I didn’t, however the GPS said 8 miles to go, what the heck it’s Sunday morning the roads are quiet, lets see where we get. As we turned off the circular and headed into the city I knew I’d go the wrong code in the GPS but still allowed it to lead me. We hear all the time about congestion in London, it’s so bad you have to pay a congestion charge to drive with the boundary, on a sunny Sunday morning in September it wasn’t a problem in fact I’d say Manchester was more congested, maybe the congestion charge is working and keeping people off the roads, I don’t mind I was enjoying the ride, soon I reached the banks of the Thames, for today that was far enough, crossing would be a mistake I’d miss breakfast. I stopped and tapped the correct postcode into the GPS and headed for
road and the Ace café. I couldn’t have picked a better route to travel by design, sometimes the GPS can be trusted to lead you along roads, well the route back was, Pall Mall, Piccadilly, Park Lane with Hyde Park to my left, then some road works that left me zig zaggin thru Marylebone to Baker Street and up Park Road with that other park (Regents) on my right, up thru St Johns Wood past Abbey Rd. along what I guess were side roads until I joined a main route the A404 that took me back to the north circular which I joined for 200 yards before being led off and into the Ace car park. As I arrived the 59 club were just leaving on an escorted ride and the place was full to overflowing, it was just after and 209 miles. Camden
As I was taking of my helmet a fellow Valk owner Mark and his mate John came over and said hi, we’d met briefly in Llangollenthe other week so weren’t total strangers. We made our way inside past the many bikes of all makes and ages and I’m pleased to say although most bikes were there to be seen they weren’t all show bikes, these were every day usable bikes in honest condition not all polish and chrome, I hate to go to any event or venue when you can tell that the bikes your looking at have hardly turned a wheel on the open road, fortunately most of the Harleys had left on the ride.
We kicked tires and told stories for about an hour and a half, no one else from the club showed and by this time I needed to be heading north to join a group protest at Northampton services, European legislation trying to stifle our individualism again along with many other things, make us wear florescent jackets for our safety, not leather or protective clothing, oh no fluorescent bloody vests, along with anti tamper fuel systems and eventually not being able to change a bike from anything other than manufactures spec., get outta here.
So I went south to try to persuade some southerners to come north for our meet at squires, unfortunately only three of us turned up.
The Ace although having a history and making a good job of promoting itself is smaller than squires and a little more posy, can’t fault the breakfast or service, I’ll reserve final judgment until I’ve been back to squires and tried their food offering.
So I once again got astride my trusty Dragon and headed north, uneventful ride to Northampton services where there was maybe 100 plus bikes waiting to have a slow ride up the motorway and hopefully make a statement, we left the car park just after 1pm. I was surprised we didn’t have a police escort, but with all the other protests taking place at the same time I’m sure they would have been over stretched, we paraded along the 2 nearside lanes of the M1 for approximately 20 minutes, then as the other bikes left to turn around and travel south, I wound the throttle of the bike and headed north, a few miles up the road and I noticed no traffic at all on the southbound carriageway, a few miles later and I see approximately 500 bike across all three lanes making a statement, unfortunately although these things happened all over the country at 1pm Sunday very few got media coverage and those that did only got local airtime , don’t know if MAG have a press department but they took their eye off the ball on this occasion if they do, the only people that knew we were protesting were the poor motorist stuck in the jam and they wouldn’t have known why, nice turn out but missed the mark, I headed north.
Just south of Birmingham and I felt some rain, fine drizzle, the sort that wets you before you realize it’s raining, too late to put my wet gear on and I could see clear sky further north anyway so just trudged thru. Sure enough north of Brum and the rain stopped and sun came out, in the interest of making this ride more appealing I had considered dropping off the motorway and travelling up the A roads north but with the rain my spirits were dampened and I changed my mind, I’ll save that for another day.
Arrived home at 4pm, again I’d switched to reserve at 325 miles so had topped up at a service station, but 300 miles between refill is good riding, suits me sir.
Chicken dinner and a restful night’s sleep, they’re promising fine weather this week with high temps and clear skies; if I can get done I’ll be making the most of that.
Till next time.