Friday 22 Sept 2017: Newlands Corner

I have arranged to meet Jenny Linn Cole, another lady rider who blogs, at Newlands Corner today. We are both also members of the Facebook group Motorbike Women, so as it’s such a beautiful day I also post up a general invite, and message Christine, a biking friend, just in case she has today off.

My wiggly route over:

There are about half a dozen bikes there when I arrive, but quite a few more by the time we leave.

Motorbike Women:

L to R Jenny, Christine, me

Jenny has brought her Round Britain Rumble photos and her sketchbook to show us. I love her sketches.

Paul, Christine’s brother has bravely come to join us too,

He very kindly buys us all a hot drink, whilst we sit and natter.

When a nasty big black cloud obscures the sunshine we decide that maybe that’s our cue to leave.

This rider obviously has a good sense of humour ” Not On”

Paul openly admits that he does like to try and fit a new box or bag wherever he can on his bike !

Christine getting ready for the off .

If you want to see Jenny on her bike, please take a look at her blog Round Britain Rumble as unfortunately the photo I took didn’t come out.

My Garmin Zumo took me home the curvy way, down lots of little wiggly wooded lanes.

On a day like to day, being out of work has its compensations!

#life is good

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Saturday 12 August: Ferry

One happy bunny as I’m on my to Brittany for two, maybe three weeks.

I reach the port in good time and unusually I’m sent to a lane to the left of where the cars are queued. But I’m not alone on my left are the larger people carriers.

Let the Loading Lottery begin…who will get on first?

Well certainly not me or the other bike who arrives behind me!

We are eventually motioned to board, on2ky to be sent to one of the upper floors.

Not fun to have to ride up a large metal ramp.

And even less fun when getting to the top they expect us to turn the bikes round in a car width and length space.

Now in normal circumstances this wouldn’t be too bad, but on a slippery metal floor with a fully loaded bike it is bloody difficult. I am furious. Why did they not board us earlier when there was plenty of room to manoeuvre?

We hardly had time to get off our bikes before they have loaded the cars on next to us.

Happy bunny is now hot and stressed bunny, made worse when I realise my cabin is down in tbe depths of level 2, and it gets worse when I exit the lift to be told the rooms are not ready. Grr.

Only one thing for it, I head to the Restaurant.

Phew there are tables available, but you can’t book.

So I take my table; a lovely one in the corner overlooking the whole restaurant; order my meal and a bottle of bubbles, then head off to the loos to change out of my bike gear.

Voila! From hot, sweaty, stressed biker bunny to a lady who dines in one fell swoop!

My, rather handsome, waiter does a double take when he returns to serve my bubbles, and calls me “Wonder Woman”, a compliment I’m happy to accept!

Dinner is as usual lovely. Buffet, help- yourself starter, cheese and desert and this rather delicious lamb dish for main.

After dinner I decide to give the boats entertainment a miss. Taking the remainder of my bubbles and water to my cabin.

A pleasant surprise in my cabin is that it has a tv. So I sit and watch the Athletics World Championship – cheering rather loudly when our boys win Gold for the 4 x 100m relay!

Considering I am, I think, below water level my cabin is comfortable and I manage a good night’s sleep.

Sunday 23 July Wessons & Seaford

First time out on the bike since my trip to France and subsequent back problems, so I am a little apprehensive, but all turns out ok.

The roads are still damp in places from last nights downpour, and more rain is forecast for later, but I aim to be home before the rain.

I head over to Wessons in Horam- one of my favourite shorter rides.

The big decision to be made as I ride over, is what will I order to eat?!

The thought of a Cheese and Ham toastie jumps into my head…Mmm, havent had one of those in ages so thats that sorted!

The cafe isnt as busy as I expected, and I manage to grab a seat outside at the front.

The guy who was behind me in the queue joins me on the table,and we are soon chatting. His big fat breakfast comes out before my order, Work that one out!

Two other bikers join us, Stewart and Tyrone and we continue the chat. One of the great things about a biker cafe- you get to talk to strangers who soon become friends!

Turns out they are both members of the local Top of Town facebook group too.

They are planning on going to Pyranees in September. I suggest they visit the Picos too. Check out my blog post of my trip there and you will see why I recommend it.

They ask where I’m headed and if I’d mind if they tagged on. Not a problem for me, although I explain Im only heading down to Seaford to visit Steve’s Dad, John.

Its a good ride down- My pace may have been a little slow for them, (a couple of times we are overtaken by other sportsbikes) but I’ve learnt to ride my own ride.

We say goodbye at Seaford as I head off to see John.

After a cuppa and a chat with John, who I think is looking really well (must be all those meals on wheels he’s having) it’s time to head home if I want to miss the rain.

A good blast back, stopping briefly at Chelwood Gate to buy some freesias from the nursery there.

I get home just as it starts raining…result!

Put my flowers in a vase

Crack open a beer, put TV on to watch BSB from Brands

And read the two freebie biking mags I’d picked up at Wessons.

And to finish the day off a little later I’ll be off to Beer Club down at The Old Mill to catch up with friends.

My favourite kind of a Sunday

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.

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!