Tuesday 24 May 2016 To Caro

Last night, with a little help from my neighbour John I reverse my bike into my little green shed for an easy exit in the morning.

My new Held bag is packed and attached to the bike sent with Rok straps. I’m really hoping this might be THE bag! Over the years I have spent a small fortune on bike luggage and it’s never been quiet right. This bag could do with an outside pocket but other than that I think it’s pretty good: waterproof, roll-top along the length, handles and shoulder straps, good ring fittings and at 30l the right size…in the past I’ve had a tendency go for larger bags, but not needed now I have top box for waterproofs.

I wake up about 4 times in the night, my brain is obviously worried I’m going to sleep through the 5.45am alarm… But I don’t and I leave bang on time at 6.30am.

Those of you who know me will know what an achievement that is!

It’s a lovely ride down. Traffic gets heavy around Chichester, but not a problem on a bike.

I get to check in a 8.04. which is perfect timing as within 5 minutes I am waved straight on board- there’s none of that waiting around in a second queue like you get in the St Malo overnight crossing 

I’m the first on board, I hope that doesn’t mean I’ll be the last off!

What it does mean is that I have my choice of seats :0) so nab one at the front,giving me leg room and a view, but even more importantly it’s next to a plug,  so no need to worry about my phone charge…sorted!

The boat leaves Portsmouth at 9am, it’s a 3 hour crossing to Cherbourg, so with the hour time difference we will arrive at 1pm.

I tuck into the ham and cheese rolls, that I’d prepared earlier,  with just the small thought in the back of my head that I am turning into my Mum! I’m not even going to try and justify them, OK well maybe a little, I’d hate for you to get the wrong impression – the food on this ship consists of overpriced pain au chocolat and expensive sandwiches in flavours I just don’t like…so there!  But don’t worry, I plan to make up for it in overindulging in french lunches over the next two weeks!

The crossing is over in a relatively quick time. 

When I head downstairs this beautiful car is parked next to my bike. 

As I thought the ride to Caro was fairly boring- motorway all the way to Avalanches, including a long stretch with only one lane and a 70km speed limit.

From Dinad onward I picked up the normal route I’d take when I’m coming from St Malo.

My petrol light comes on, but the clock says I have 50 miles left in the tank so decide to push onto Ploermel – it’s the first 200 miles on one tank I’ve ever ridden!

I get to the house just before 5pm, and after scurrying around: opening shutters, getting garden furniture out and unpacking my bags and head back out on the bike back up to Ploermel to get the groceries. 

I’m determined not to go as mad as I usually do with food shopping when I first get here and I do manage to restrain myself.

Back at the house and my Tiger is happy to be in the French garage.

We are lucky enough that our neighbour mows our lawn for us. Its not a small job! And I don’t know how he does it, but it always seems to have been cut when I arrive. Can’t wait to crash out on the loungers!

Fresh Prawns for tea…Yummy!

A little later and I get a lovely suprise text from my friend Sara who lives in Le Mans, asking if I’ve arrived and could she stay the night,  as she is heading to sell her ceramics at market tomorrow.  The answer is a big Yes!

So after a little more scurrying – I wasn’t expecting visitors and had dumped most if my stuff- those of you who have toured with me will know what this means :0), Sara arrives and wr enjoy a pleasant evening chatting and drinking wine.

Saturday 13th 2017: NW200

Today I will be attending my first Road Races,  the NW200.
 Last night I flew to Belfast to stay with a fellow lady biker Jane, who I have become friends with through a couple of Facebook Groups, Celtic Sisterhood and Motorbike Women. This trip is the first time we have met face to face.

It’s an early start , leaving the house at 7am for the 90 minute drive North, to pick up our lift and Jane’s son Adam. 

Our spot for the day is at Métropole corner.

It’s not what you know it’s who you know…and Jane knows the right people, as we are lucky enough to be able to watch from this large private garden that the race marshalls use as a base…

…where we can also see the big screen

…and have our own celebrity,  Christian Iddon, BSB rider :0)

Smiley face selfie: me, Gillian from Road Racing Ireland Magazine, Lesley – Jane’s marshalling friend ( Thank you Lesley),  Jane and her son Adam ( check out his racing photography at FB page AB Photography- you’d never think they were taken by an 11 year old!) 

The first race started on time    but then they were delayed and shortened,  Firstly due to oil on the road,  then to the rain.

I had come prepared with suncream for the sunshine ( optimistic)  and waterproofs for the rain ( expected), but still continued smiling despite the weather.

The sun did come out for a while, but only once I’d bought Adam this woolly hat!

The racing was great, especially the last race, which was a real cat and mouse affair, being won by a whisker by local rider Glenn ( with two “n” S) Irwin.

The other races were won by Michael Schutter and Alistar Seely. The latter winning 3 of the 5.

All in all it was a great day. 

So amazing to be SO close to the racing action. You could almost touch the bikes. 

Here’s just a few of the shots I took:

 

And here’s a small taste of the sights and sounds…

Sunday 26 March: Newhaven & back

As it’s Mothers Day and I’ve been invited to lunch at Vickis, I only have time for a short blast out today to enjoy the spring sunshine, so decide to go to Newhaven and back.

What a beautiful day for a ride. There is a light breeze but it is quite warm.

The tide is high when I get to Newhaven.

I walk round to the beach to pick up a souvenir stone. 

At the end of the harbour wall some lads are doing a photoshoot.  They are a local band,  Igloo.

My souvenir stone!

What do you think of my new lid? 

I was given it by biking friends Nigel and Jane, when I mentioned I had been trying on open face helmets. 

 Nigel hadn’t got on with it, so it was sat up in their loft, almost new and they’ve generously given it to me.

It is noisier than I’m used to, but I do like being able to flip up the front.

Thank you so much xx

Time to head home, taking the back roads out of Newhaven, past Piddinghoe up to Lewes.

I take a short detour to Colmans Hatch church to put some flowers on Steve’s grave and lay one on his Mums grave too.

Then onto a lovely Mothers Day lunch at Vickis, with Dan, doing the honours with the cooking.

As the sun is out I finally get a chance to get do my Pink Stiletto photoshoot! 

On the left is a cover photo for BMW magazine in USA. This caused a furore amongst many lady riders – many of them who ride Bmws. Why show a blonde in high heels and leopard skin trousers when there are so many real lady riders out there, which I do agree with but…

 on the other hand.. 

one of my lady biking friends posted on Facebook that  saying that although she would never look anything like it, that the photo was what she felt like riding a bike. 

I challenged her and said all she needed was bright lippy, leopardskin leggings and high heels and thus The Pink Stiletto challenge was born; a private Fb page set up and a deadline of Easter to try and recreate the photo as best you could- a bit of fun for some of my lady biker friends all over the World.

Can you spot the difference?ūüėČ

It was nice to sit on my beautiful Nuclear Red Speed Triple again, but don’t worry Vicki, I’m not going to ask for it back…yet!

And to finish off the day, what better than the first MotoGP of the season from Quatar. A slightly delayed start, but a great race.

All in all a pretty good Mothers’ Day

Saturday 11 March Chichester 

I’m looking for a new lid and just found out that¬†Helmet City¬†has a shop and clearance centre in Chichester, so decide to kill two birds with one stone and head down there today for my ride out.

It is quite dull as I get my bike out but then the sun comes out and if The Sun Has Got His Hat On then you definitely need to go out and play! ( link is for any of my American friends reading this who have no idea about this classic tune!)

A nice ride down to  the outskirts of Chichester-City of roundabouts!

Helmet City is just off the second roundabout!

The shop is a bit of a Tardis- looks tiny on the outside but holds loads of stock.

I get chatting to this couple who have just bought this tiger 800 from Destination Triumph and are trying to fit a top box,

I’ve come down to try out the Schubert Pro C3 Women as online it is shown at a great price (which unfortunately is only for the XS).

This ” ladies” helmet catches my eye with its funky lining.

The Schuberth is too expensive, but the salesmen recommends the Shark Evo-One-still quite a lot of money at £380, but it fits nicely and with its flip front that stays locked when open, it might be the one for me. They dont stock the white one here so I have some time to think it over, before I need to order it into their Tatsfield shop.

Meanwhile I head across the car park to the clearance centre. This is definately worth a visit if you are not bothered about having the latest gear.

The only item i really need other than a new lid is a pair of summer gloves. so I’m pleased to see they have a whole load of them at ¬£25- only trouble is they are not necessarily in pairs-so its into jumble sale mode to search through 3 tiers of gloves.

I start chatting to another lady biker who is doing the same-we quickly check that we are not both searching for the same ‘other’ glove! Luckily we aren’t.

We get talking about Kevlar leggings as I’m wearing my GoGos and it turns out Linda ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ( Hello Linda if you are reading this) is also a member of the Facebook group¬†Motorbike women.

I eventually find the matching glove to the ones I like and a purchase is made.

I then ride up back to Arundel, for some more retail therapy in one of my favourite clothes shops Fanny Adams.

The town is really busy, but I manage to just sneak in on the end of a parking space!

The Victoria Institute has seen better days…with one of the castles’s towers in the background.

After my shopping I pop into enjoy a cuppa and crumpet with my friends’ Jane and Gareth who live in Arundel.

They are currently dog sitting Rufus, who likes a crumpet too, or would if he had a chance!

Isn’t he a handsome boy?

I get home just as it is turning dark- that was an enjoyable day’s riding.

A couple of hours later and I’m meeting up with some old biking friends for a curry in Lingfield.

I’m really looking forward to end of May when i will be biking with them again over in France.

Saturday 4 March

As is often the case I start my ride today not really knowing where I’m going to ride to/

I head out on the A262 to Tunbridge Wells and continue on this road all the way to Tenterden.

I stop on the way to take a photo of the penny farthing at Sissinghurst. This was originally erected for the Tour de France which travelled through the village on 8th July 2007.

Just before Tenterden I turn right onto the Appledore Road ( an old favourite).

After Appledore I follow the road left which winds its way to Brenzett, where I stop to take the photo below.

A little bit of research when I get home on the sign , and I find out that Brenzett, has a small ¬†Aeornautical museum, which I may try and find next time I’m down this way at the weekend . ¬†It was also the site of a RAF ¬†Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) airfield during the ¬†Second world War ,at one time operating North American Mustangs IIIs.¬†

a fast blast along the straight A259, before turning right past Lydd airpost, ¬†through Lydd itself, coming out on to the joyful Jury’s Gap- a whole series of nice fast curves, and at this time of year no tourist traffic to get in the way. ;o)

I decide to stop an take a walk on the beach at Camber. The tide is high, so no sand today just pebbles.

Here’s me, Helmet Hair with a touch of Seaside Wind!

A short stroll to beachocomb but ¬†not much to see, only some seaweed …

and a cute smiley stone

Off again, through Rye, then along the A259 to Hastings, where I stop off to buy some cockles and anchovies for tea tonight.

Then onwards to Sovereign Harbour for a cup of tea and a natter at my friends’ Jo and Simons flat.

The weather report for today had been showers but I have been really lucky until five minutes from home when it does start to rain.

My route for the day.

Home! and I’m ready to enjoy my cockles with a glass of bubbles!

Sunday 19 February First ride of 2017

At last , a reasonably warm and dry Sunday means I can finally go for a ride, on my nice shiny clean Tiger.

Do you like my new sticker

” The Grandma” in Rossi colours, bought yesterday from the bike show ( thanks Christine)

 

But where to go ? ¬†as I have to be home by lunchtime for my Grandson’s birthday party.

I decide to head down to Newhaven, a  favourite  route.

Then round the curves to Seaford before heading North through Alfriston.

The level crossing at Berwick is down, with a couple of cars and a motorbike waiting ahead.

The bike is  a sporty one ridden by a youngster who does not acknowledge me behind him .

He overtakes the two vehicles in front, and is very lucky not to get squidged by a car coming round a blind corner.

Less haste more speed ,as I catch him up quickly. So tempting to overtake him, but I resist!

At the main road, I decide I have enough time for a visit to Wessons.

As I expected on the first really nice Sunday so far this year it is packed.

The queue is very long. I think the young lad serving is a newbie.

I was contemplating having brunch here, but with this many people my guess is it will take a while, so opt for a cuppa and a piece of bread pudding.

I sit outside at the front, and soon get chatting to the two blokes sitting opposite me, one of whom  owns this rather beautiful Moto Guzzi.

I get back home about 12.30 feeling so much better for getting some Ride Therapy.

MCN Excel Show¬†18 Feb 2016

It’s been a while since I’ve been to a Motorbike Show, so when I met up recently ¬†with some other lady riders from the Facebook group Motorbike Women who were going I cheekily asked if I could join them…and they said Yes!

We met up at London Bridge Station, then after a quick tube to Greenwhich we took a “flight ” on the Emirate’s cable car.

Top tip : Normal single flight is £10 per person, but show your ticket to an Excel exhibition and you can get a return flight for £5! Bargain!

Meet my new friends!

Its a pleasant ride and not at all scarey, even if you don’t like heights.

And you get to see the Anthony Gormley statue from a unique angle!

time for a posed group photo before we head into the arena.

Here’s a few photos of the bikes and stuff that caught my eye.

Studded snow tyres on a Triumph Tiger.

Although lots of shopping stalls ,nothing really caught my eye, so my purse remained closed!

The one bike I wanted to sit on , the new Street Triple was mobbed, and I couldn’t be bothered to wait!

Managed to catch the last heats of Slide, which was taking place in the middle of the arena- must be one of the smallest bike tracks ever!

We timed our journey back across the Thames perfectly, catching the beautiful orange and pink sunset hues.

The day was finished off with beer and  meat skewers sitting outside ( Yep in February!!) at Borough Market.

I’m looking forward to meeting up with everyone next time on the bikes!