This Blog has been a long time in the writing. There are a few reasons for this as will probably become apparent! Wednesday 6th April and I'm feeling a bit out of sorts, have turned down four shifts of overtime and am generally pissed off with life. Go to the doctors and decide to try and stop smoking! The doctor prescribes Champix tablets for the Smoking and arranges for me to go for a bloodtest the next week. Thursday 7th April get pestered by work again to work overtime, tell them I cant be arsed. I really must be ill! Spend the afternoon in the company of my big sister drinking coffee and catching up. Friday 8th April go for leisurely breakfast and try not to think about cigarettes, knowing that when Mayhem gets home in the early afternoon we are going out onthe bikes. I go down to his house early and decide to wash the bike as the previous weekend run around Keilder has left her in a sorry state. Lazy wash though, down to the local jetwash with a bottle of Muc-off and some alloy wheel cleaner. Job done and bike looking much better I jump on and head back to Mayhems house. No sign of his work van so I decide to go on ahead and have him meet up with me at Keswick (20 miles away) . I head off to Cockermouth and decide I might as well take the scenic route Around the back side of Bassenthwaite Lake. Quick stop for a ciggie in Cockermouth and then offI go. A stretch of road I know very well, road surfaces fairly good considering the harsh winter, Warm and sunny and dry on a motorcycle with good music in my ears. What more can a man ask for? Riding along the B5291 towards Castle Inn Hotel without a care in the world enjoying everything that my senses can detect ,I bank into the last corner on this road. Brain screams "CAR" and then thinks "this is gonna hurt". A severe blow followed by a sensation of flying and then I am lieing on my side with a smell of antifreeze and hot oil in my nostrils. Brain is now saying "ohmygodyouwererightthishurtssomuch". A good Samaritan who had some first aid training and a lot of common sense Kept me talking and still until the Ambulance, police and firecrew turned up and more importantly, stopped anyone from touching me or trying to take my helmet off. The emergency services cut all my clothes off, which at the time I cared not one bit about! I got to fly in the Great North Air Ambulance too. The car was driven by a young chinese student, It was a hire car. She must have forgotten which side of the road to be on because she was trying out my side. I sustained quite a few injuries and even though we are five months down the road, my right arm is still very stiff and painful. However My Darling Blackbird is dead, deceased pushing up daisies etc etc. Cue my incredible older brother , William. He Insists on providing me with a replacement steed! A lovely 1985 Honda VF1000FII Bol d'Or. I went to his house a couple of weeks ago and rode it to Mayhems garage where it now resides. My first ride on abike in five months and it was Fooking Brilliant! I cannot thank William and Mayhem enough for their support through this time, they are the salt of the earth! I have since been out for a bimble through the wonderful lake district a couple of times and I can say that I am BACK ! Slower than a nun on a C90, but I'm back! Unfortunately my doctor discovered some reasons why I had been feeling out of sorts. I had been suffering from Hypothyroidism, Low hormone levels and osteoporosis all of which are now being treated. The one big positive to come out of all this is that the ciggie I smoked in Cockermouth at 3.05pm 8th April 2011 was the last one i have ever had! I now look forward to riding what is left of this season and getting back to somewhere near the mediocre skill level I once possessed! Come on guys , lets get out there! Pooley Bridge.
What actually prompted me to get down to writing this missive tonight was a letter I received from the Cumbria Constabulary this morning. It was from the Traffic Management Officer and basically said that the young lady who very nearly killed me would not be charged or prosecuted as it was very likely she would not stay in the country long enough to prosecute or be Retrained. Nice to know that British justice is so considerate. Wonder if that would have been the case if they could have proved I was speeding? Not that I'm bitter or anything! The VF is an Ideal bike for me to get back to biking on. It is a really comfortable riding position and the engine has bags of torque and the engine braking is excellent. I have ridden almost 300 miles on her now and am getting used to her little foibles. All in all I am just so happy to be back on two wheels and getting on with life!
So first a quote from me, " I love motorcycles and I'm gonna be 100% dedicated to sharing it with anyone who cares to read this blog"... yea sorry couple of things got in the way cue the arrival of Dexter... Dexter Blaine Hooton
Born 14th June (4 weeks early) weighing 4lb 12oz
This little fella came as such a surprise; when the Wife was rushed into hospital for an emergency section. I'm going to use him as the reason for not updating my outings ;) which I must add I have had even though I have mountains more responsibilities! (Nod to Jane-Anne) All is well now with Dexter and after just a couple of weeks in special care (still has ginger hair) he is home safe with Mam, Dad and big bro Wilson who insists on calling him the "Ginger Ninja".
I have a few trips to portray as follows: Croft BSB, A very VERY wet trip up to Hartside Cafe and in the words of Mr Bungle a "blap" out with the Pathfinder on his Repsol Fireblade! I'm going to let Bosnia Blog the first... speak soon
Mayhem at Tower Knowe Visitor Centre. Sunday 3rd April. At work on a morning shift and feeling like I'm deprived of fresh air. Talked my shift leader into letting me finish at 12 instead of 2. Yipee!!!! Home and changed into leathers, the weather looks great and Mayhem is free to come out and play. I owe him a good ride out for all the times I've been out without him! After putting our heads together we decide to head up to Carlisle and take it From there. Thirty four miles later we pull into Carlisle McDonalds with grins as wide as our helmets. That quick blast has got us in the mood for some serious riding so after a coffee, a couple of ciggies and a tank of unleaded its off to the A7 and I decide to give Mayhem a bit of a change of scenery. We turn off the A7 at Cannonbie and get on the B6357 to Newcastleton. All the while the sun is shining down on us and the road surface isn't too bad either. After blowing out the cobwebs on the trip to Carlisle we are both ready for a good thrash and we "make progress" along this winding and challenging road. After Newcastleton the road forks and it is the right fork that we take heading for the A6088. Mayhem has never been on this section of the road before but I can tell he is enjoying it by the way he is chucking the Bird about and never dropping more than 30 meters behind! A right turn at the junction with the A6088 and a blat along to Carter Bar on the A68 where we have a disappointment as there is no burger van in the lay-bye! Oh well , there is a first time for everything. Kielder Water After a quick ciggie I decide to head along the A68 as this section of the road is fantastic; Sweeping bends, tight bends and large elevation changes make it worth the trip! Left turning on to the A696 brings us along to Otterburn where we manage to find a latte and a great Bacon sarnie in the towns main convenience store. Ciggies, coffee and food dipatched I decide to try and get round the backside of Kielder Water where I have never been before. Taking the B6320 which crosses the A68 we wend our merry way along some tremendous roads. At last, on my third attempt, I am finally getting to go around Kielder Water! It is worth the wait, being a thoroughly entertaining road with great scenery and surface. The Tower Knowe Visitor center Beckons and we stop for yet another coffee, ciggies and crack with other bikers who have stopped here. I seems very popular with the biking fraternity and it is right beside the Osprey Ferry terminal. There are well cared for public toilets here as well. As we sit and smoke and shoot the shit, a bit of a breeze springs up. It is still sunny and bright as we saddle up and carry on along this lovely road but looking at the sky reveals a massive black cloud and we are heading right for it! Before I know it ,it is lashing down. I start to feel the rain stinging my fingers through my gloves and realise that the shiny road surface isnt actually shiny but WHITE. Its only hoying down hailstones the size of ball bearings! A car in front of me suddenly decides he needs to slow to crawling pace so I pull over to pass , open the throttle oh so slightly and find myself riding a very heavy speedway bike! That's enough of that, I think and carry on very gingerly until the hailstones give way to normal rain. Mayhem has fallen a bit behind so I pull over thinking that as he has a heavy tinted visor on he may be having visibility issues. Sure enough , he pulls in next to me and changes his visor sharpish. Two minutes later we are back in brilliant sunshine and dry roads. Talk about four seasons in one day! Normal service resumed we head back towards the B6357 and find ourselves back at Newcastleton having completed the loop around Kielder. Will definitely be doing that trip again,hopefully sans hailstones. Newcastleton to Cannonbie is completed at a good pace and once back on the A7 it is time to think about tanking up. A quick stop in Longtown for fuel lightens my pocket by £26, This hobby is getting bloody expensive! Nearly £50 on fuel. Never mind ,it was totally worth it. Mayhem has really enjoyed it too and we are happy to add this run to our list of Sunday afternoon runs. Longtown back to Workington and put the bike away dirty, I can wash it later inthe week when I'm on my days off. A great time was had by all....
First of all I would like to say that I am delighted that the blog appears to be widely read and feel a bit remiss about not blogging from the end of last year. So I am about to remedy that. Anyone reading this is encouraged to have a comment and give us guys some encouragment! The end of February saw me get myself motivated to get the Blackbird ready for the coming season and decided to do a full service , change the front wheel bearings, change the brake fluid and fit new pads. A scotoiler was also added, had been meaning to do that for 2 years! My mate Mayhem decided to take the plunge and buy a set of stainless downpipes for his 'Bird. We managed that with only one snapped stud which had to be drilled and tapped. A visit to the testing station produced an immaculate M.O.T. Certificate and a quick online application supplied 12 months tax. Over christmas I worked plenty of overtime and decided to treat myself to some new gear as well. Online I found a set of leather pants that matched my Targa jacket and a nice pair of TCX Waterproof boots to replace my comfortable but shabby Oxtars. A pair of winter gloves in blue completed the purchases. Thats it then ,all ready! I decided to get away for a few days and some old schoolmates organised a mini reunion in my old hometown of Castle Douglas(Scotland) Via Facebook for the 18th of March. Things were looking good for a trip around the Scottish Borders and on Wednesday the 16th I packed up and started my trip with a gentle trip of 80 miles or so from Workington to Dalbeattie to work out the kinks and arrived at my parents house fresh and invigorated . I spent a lovelly evening and night with Mum and Dad and then the next morning I got up early and set off to enjoy the A711 back to Dumfries and turned onto the A709 for Lockerbie. I found a nice little B road, the 7068, that took me over to Langholm on the good old A7. Coffee ,bacon butty and fags at the Whitsheil Cafe and then on to Hawick. I was in no rush as I had all day to meander around the countryside having booked a room in the Famous Star hotel in Moffat for that night. Pulling into the fuel station at the Morrisons Supermarket there I pulled of my helmet and took out my earphones and promptly lost a rubber earbud. After filling up, I went into the store thinking that I would buy a cheap set of headphones for the rubber buds. Wrong! The only in ear type were Dalmation spotted JVC's that cost nearly £20! Still , I do love my music . I tried them in and found them excellent so left them in! I may have said before but I love the A7. It is fairly fast and flowing and as the weather was dry and bright ,if cold, I enjoyed it to the full all the way to the Edinburgh ring road. I was enjoying myself so much I got onto the A701 and blasted along to Penicuik where i decided to stop for a coffee and fags. I then carried on down the 701/703 to Peebles and on down to Moffat and my hotel. I had a lovely meal and spent the evening in the bar with the locals watching football (Rangers went out of the Europa league) and drinking rum and coke. Surprisingly, I was up early the next morning in bright sunshine . During the night there had been a heavy frost and the bike was covered. I moved it into the sunshine and went for a leasurely breakfast which was beautiful and then settled my bill. I was slightly dubious about the roads so I decided to wash the bike off and fuel up in Moffat to give the sun time to work its magic. I then set off on what was to be a fantastic day of riding. Down the A701 to Dumfries, along the A75 to Castle Douglas and onto the fantastic A713 to Ayr.Dry roads, sunshine, good music and the fantastic Blackbird had me grinning from ear to ear. A nice lunch in the Morrisons at Ayr then I was ready for a road I had never been on before, the amazing A77. I set off not knowing what to expect and had a total blast down this wonderfull twisting, undulating , scenic coastal road. Stranraer appeared all too soon and it was on to the A75 to take me along to Newton Stewart where I stopped for fuel, coffee and fags. From there to Castle Douglas on the A75 is fairly uninspiring so the A712 to New Galloway and then the A713 back to Castle Douglas seemed a better option. Clatteringshaws Resevoir from the A712 It has to be said that the rough winter and frequent use by logging wagons had left these lovely scenic and interesting roads a little worse for wear with lots of gravel and potholes in inconvenient places. That dropped the pace a little but it was still a hoot. After booking into the Imperial Hotel and showering I had a great meal and then it was time for the reunion. I will not go into detail except to say it went on late and the barstaff were ready to drop when everyone eventually left! Up at 7.30 after a 3am finsh and lots to drink sounds like a recipe for disaster but I was fine. Delicious full Scottish breakfast, bike packed and ready I had a wander down the main street to see how much it had changed in the last 26 years. Not much! Once the time became reasonable I popped in to visit my neice who lives close by and then went over to Dalbeattie to my Mum and Dads again. My brother came over from Dumfries and we had a ride out together and went to his house for dinner. After spending some time looking at his Project VF1000R I had to head for home as I had a backshift to do the next day. On getting back to Mayhem's to garage the 'Bird he came out to berate me for leaving him at home again! Have to make it up to him and take him out on some new(ISH) roads........................ Four good days spent in my favourite persuit and all too soon, back to work.