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rictus01 14-08-11 03:47 PM

My AR Experience (part 1)
I awake to the alarm at 3.30am, it’s warm if rather drizzly outside, first port of call is a coffee and a fag, making my flask up at the same time.

After the half hour or so to get my body working, I wash dress and take the prepared bags out to the bike, to my surprise I end up with more capacity than stuff to carry so the tankbag goes back in, all strapped on and secure ready for the off.

A bacon butty fulfils the current need for food, quick check of my blood sugars and I’m ready, now the dilemma, what to wear, textiles make more sense, being both comfortable and waterproof, they really are the sensible choice, and yet my leathers are an old friend and have served me well, always giving me a safer feel, so I opt for those and my one-piece rainsuit over the top as it’s still a light drizzle, out to the bike satnav in hand, plug in and sit on, first destination is Didcot, I ignore the directions and just use the countdown mileage bit, as it’s about a quarter to 5 on a Thursday morning London is like a video game with the traffic option turned off, so I head for Vauxhall and up passed Victoria to clear the smoke, hoping the weather will clear on the way out of the city.

On the road the little S4 comes alive, both of us know the day a head and it gives no cause for worry at all, zipping threw the empty city streets in no time, out to the A4 and then off onto the back roads of the countryside, the luggage is unnoticeable and the Storm ultra’s show no concern for the wet roads, just about as good as it gets; if it wasn’t for this dam drizzly rain, oh well can’t have everything.

I reach Dicot having had a very traffic free ride and hit the satnav for the next destination, Evesham is 48 miles according to the planned route, I know it’ll be more than that as once again I ignore the machine and head off in the direction of most interest ( read smallest/ twisty-est roads), about 10 minutes down the road I realise I’m actually getting a bit wet, not the rain getting threw, but the heat has me sweating inside my rain suit, so I take it off and decide to see how the leather deals with the very light rain.

Passing Evesham I go onto some A roads and look for a cafť, proper breakfast time is here, for both me and the bike, a decent greasy spoon is found near a petrol station and both of us are sated, the wonders of a full tank and a full fry-up are not only food for bike and body, but an armour almost for whatever you have to face next…

I’m disappointed the weather hasn’t changed, to be honest I wouldn't mind if it rained properly of just buggered of, this drizzle is annoying, but overall I’m still having fun.

Next on the list is Kington and then onto the A44 and onto Rhayader and down to the Elan valley, I take the mountain road over towards the coast coming out on the A4120 at Devils bridge, the sun even shows it’s face for a brief time, lovely road that.

Make my way into Aberystwyth and find another brew, it’s a grey day in wales, but then it’s wales, I have a bike and another tank of juice, I’m happy…

I put some progressive riding in and a lightning tour of Snowdonia to end up in Betws-y-Coed, I could have spent all day there, but time is marching on, another fill for the bike, a fag for me, and we’re off again, over to skirt Chester and I’m heading for Leek then onto Matlock, cut back up for Bakewell and a special stop.

As I was on my way to a once a year bash a degree of indulgence was allowed, to that end a stop at a special shop was require (, leaving there just about £50 lighter but with a bottle of luxury for the taste buds , again I was a happy man.

Over Sheffield way to do the length of the A57 to Glossop, Rochdale and Blackburn were passed and I ended up on the up coast road, before cutting off on the A590/A5092/A595, wiggled up to Ulpha and across the passes, Sedbergh was next with a cut down to Dent and across to the viaduct then onto the A65 to pull into the site.

Long old trip, the leathers are heavy but the whole days drizzle hasn’t made it threw them, 12 hours after waking it’s been a long hard day but a dam good one.

And yet I’m not finished, Having agreed to take some photos of the rideout I’d previously using google earth and street view, sorted out some locations and routes to get there, but not wanting to leave it to chance I head out again after pitching the tent.

Some wonderfully tricky roads take me to the locations staying within the AR route, the sun has finally come out to join me, the edges of tiredness are there, but not enough to spoil the ride, I get back to site with the miles just tripping over to 624, that’s me bushed for the day.

Geodude 14-08-11 07:00 PM

Re: My AR Experience (part 1)
Nice write up rictus :D

kellyjo 14-08-11 07:12 PM

Re: My AR Experience (part 1)
Looking forwards to part 2...

Still gutted I didnt make it :-(

rictus01 14-08-11 07:37 PM

Re: My AR Experience (part 1)
Friday (part 2)

The morning brings that bright airy feel you can only get when waking in a tent with the sun shining down on it, grateful for the flask I made up last night I have a brew and a fag, now the next problem; walking; in need of that early morning wee, I’m not going to make the long walk around the field, so I’ll have to brave the style over the wall, brace done up tight with wash kit in hand I set off on my assault course climb.

Sometime later I get back, my small meths burner providing me with a fresh brew, the consensus is a breakfast at the little chef down the road is called for, so we’re off down there.

After breakfast and Ollie had put out his signs, we get the ETA on Chris’s van and the stuff to be setup, fortunately it’s a beautiful day, the sun is shining and all’s right with the world.
The van turns up, followed closely by two lovely ladies on bikes which obviously has my full attention ;).

The unpack begins, and all those about are drafted in to help, Lou and Gemma move all the food around to the room Lou had secured for it’s storage and sticks most in the freezer, whilst the rest erect the marquee, Dave was both a good standin for a step ladder as well as a perfect modelling perch for Maria ;) , tables setup and the greeting table all ready to go (after a couple of trips across the field mind), and it’s all ready to go.

People start arriving and it’s finally decided Dave’s bike with a sign on will get people to use the right gate into the field, the slick welcome process is working well, from the glow stick bracelets to the food vouchers and taking of sheckles, people are ticked off throughout the day as more than a few familiar faces turn up and pitch there tents, an empty field soon fills with Orgers.

At about 8pm I shoot off and grab some fish & chips, it’s great walking around the field chatting with those I haven’t seen in a while, have a beer and generally chill out, not a heavy night as the rideout is tomorrow.

rictus01 15-08-11 01:32 AM

Re: My AR Experience (part 1)
Saturday (part 3)

The day starts with the same trials as the morning before (I’m really not liking that style thing by now), only this time a light drizzle accompanies the day, but counteracted by the brew and bap supplied by the site to get us going in the morning, chat is lively and folks can’t wait to get going, a fair few have opted to forgo the rideout and have various plans for the day.

I load the bike with my photographic stuff and go get my leathers from the drying room, they did well for over 600 miles on Thursday so should do today as I may have to move a bit fast and it is bulky, so I didn't take the rain suit (famous last words), change and ready to get going.

The start is the petrol station car park in Settle, but the short journey to the start encounter a down pour and I pass a few bikes drawn up in the lay-by donning various rain apparel.

I catch people arriving and filling up before the start and at the general milling about, I spot the collection of hi-viz vests and presume they are having some sort of briefing, but seem to have missed the actual rider briefing so can’t report on that, as next thing I know people are leaving so I grab shots of them as they depart.

Pete the TEC is left in the car park with one bike sitting there rider less, out comes Sophie and they are away. Now my route took me in the opposite direction and I’d worked out I’d get in front of the ride out and have 4-5 minute to setup, however this had been based on the run on Thursday in the dry, on getting out of Settle on a little back road and up the hill onto a single lane track I soon realised that was going to be more of a task than I’d expected, the dry dirt had turned to slippery mud and the animals had for some reason congregated around the road, but I couldn’t let these things slow me down as I didn’t have the margin to spare, it was a very focused ride and not the fun of a couple of days before, but finally I made the main road and shot up through Kettlewell and Cray to the first location, the drizzle continued, but I setup the tripods for the video and the camera, tested them for angle and direction and sat back to wait.

Not 3 minutes later I heard some bikes coming so started the video and lined the camera for the first shots, then I saw the bikes round the corner before ; they weren’t our ride leader and marker group, but another group, so I stopped the video, only to see the fourth bike of the group was Ollie (ride leader) on the back of them. Dam missed him, so started the video again and then took everyone else that went past until Pete the TEC came past.

I packed up and set off after the ride as I needed to use the same road as far as Thoralby (about 5 miles) and yet I didn’t even see them so they must have held a fair pace.

Following another swift (if I’m honest perhaps to swift) ride I get up to Tan Hill, into the pub for a quick coffee, but as I have no idea what time the ride is expected I’m only in there for 20 minutes, then out to the crest of the hill to setup, when I get there it’s completely fogged in and I’m not going to get a good shot, so I move back to the cattle grid, once again the video tripod and camera one are setup and both cameras are mounted, plastic bags are fixed over them both as it’s now pouring down.

The wait is nearly getting on for an hour and 40 minutes when I get a call from Lou that the ride is leaving the lunch stop, that’s about 25 minutes from me, the weather has by now filled my boots and my left glove, I’m cold and wet as it’s even got through my leathers, it would seem the kit works well on a bike, not so good when standing in the open with no shelter, anyway I get some circulation back as I get ready, once bikes are heard I start the video and catch the ride leader as he comes down the hill, photos take in the space of 4 or 5 minutes I packup and head for the last location.

Appersett bridge is reached via a challenging route down to buttertubs pass and on to Hawes, again the routine of setup is followed and I sit and wait, only to find even my zippo has filled with water and my fag packet has dissolved….grrrrrrrr.
I start the video after a couple of test shots in which I catch a lovely vintage bus coming over the bridge, the wait isn’t to long, just as well as I haven’t had a dry spell all day and now without fags and my flask empty, cold and wet; I’m getting ever so slightly miserable, then they are here and video and photos commence, after about half the bikes pass the auto focus goes nuts and won’t lock on to anything so I switch to manual but that to seems to be playing up, I just click away as I’ve no time to investigate and nothing to loose by taking what I can, once they are all passed I packup and head down the road they went down as it’s the shortest distance to camp.

The road down passed the viaduct has a couple of roadwork lights, and I catch up to the tail end (I didn’t realise at the time, but they had just had a minor off, so were taking it easy) and shot passed, getting back to the site as quickly as I could.

The knee was hurting and I was cold threw, I parked up and grabbing a towel and some dry clothes I headed off for the showers, now a little known fact is the showers have a push button that requires you to hold it in to get hot water, but my walking stick fits as if made for it, between the wall and the button, I sat there for a good 20 minutes just to get some heat back into me and stop the throbbing of my knee, in my wash bag are 4 x 100mg tramadol tablets, I downed the lot, into fresh clothes and a dried out brace (as best as I could) and out I come, my head already starting to buzz.

Everyone is milling about in the field as the BBQ is on the go, getting back to the tent I reach for the Aberlour 16 and pour a generous measure into a glass and start my evening.

People ask about the shots, but to be honest it’s hard to tell on the little screen on the back of the camera, so I hope I’ve something usable, a few beers and some more scotch I don’t care how much the knee hurts, it’s almost like it’s someone elses pain not mine. I wander over to see how the boys are doing with the cooking stuff, as that’s where most have congregated, Saeed turns and takes one look at me and states “ your sugars are low” he was probably right but by then you could have hit me with a bus and I doubt I’d have felt it, anyway he stops what he’s doing and sorts me out a burger and a chair (that’s the kind of bloke he is), so I eat up as I’m told.

I have many deep and meaningful conversations throughout the evening but can remember none of them in any detail, to say a blurred film was playing in front of my eyes; wouldn’t be that wrong, in the end I called it a day when the knee threatened to give way on standing at one point, so back to my tent, having the sense still to realise I’d suffer, I cooked up some soap and took my insulin, despite Dave’s urging I wasn’t to move again until the morning, through the haze as I passed into sleep Dave Preston’s voice remained crystal clear……..

andrewsmith 15-08-11 08:39 AM

Re: My AR Experience (part 1)

Originally Posted by rictus01 (Post 2589274)
despite Daveís urging I wasnít to move again until the morning, through the haze as I passed into sleep Dave Prestonís voice remained crystal clearÖÖ..

And at 4am Dave Preston had the whole site wide awake with a megaphone.

Cracking write up mark!

dizzyblonde 15-08-11 08:56 AM

Re: My AR Experience (part 1)

Originally Posted by andrewsmith (Post 2589329)
And at 4am Dave Preston had the whole site wide awake with a megaphone.

Cracking write up mark!

Not me:smt003:smt003:smt003

rictus01 15-08-11 09:50 AM

Re: My AR Experience (part 1)
Sunday (part 4)

The benefits of decent single malt come shining through, despite my indulgence a clear head is mine on waking, again the flask comes into play as caffeine and nicotine course threw my system and kick it into life once more, the knee is stiff, I know I’m going to have to give it some down time soon, but not just yet, I physically abuse myself with the effort to get to the shower, plastering a smile on for those passing on my way, stopping on the way back for my bap & brew, the weather at least is brighter than yesterday.

Getting back to the tent, the field is in motion, people packing stuff up, some for the early start, some taking there time, as is always the case, I realise with some regret I haven’t had time to talk and catchup with everyone I know and for some will have to wait another year, gradually the field empties as I say “good bye” to fellow Orgers departing, Matt asks me to try his bike to see what the suspension is doing and I say fine, but he’s far from ready, so I go to chat with a few others, although I’ve no rush to leave as I’m staying a further night, Pete is going to take me down to the manor cafť as it’s fairly new and not somewhere I’ve been before.

Matt is finally ready but then so is Pete, I have to forgo a ride with the lovely Rachel as time now no longer allows it, I say my good byes and we both set off for some petrol in Settle.

After filling Pete takes the lead as he knows the way, I’ve ridden with him a few times, but never directly behind, we keep a very reasonable pace, a competent sure footed rider, making good use of visibility threw the hazards we negotiate, you get the feeling he’s not going to do anything rash, it’s a big bike he has there but he moves it well.

We get to the cafť, a nice place, decent brew, unfortunately time doesn’t allow for food, but useful to know there’s a bike shop there with MOT bay the works, never know when that sort of thing could come in handy, I mentally add it to the list of places to drop in on next time I’m in this neck of the woods, couple of pictures on the little camera and we set off back, we agreed I’d take the lead on the way back as we’d do the shortest route and true to my word we did, however I was a little naughty in so much as this encompassed one of the roads I’d done on the Saturday, not the smooth sweeping tarmac of the main road, admittedly it was the other direction from my previous use and about half the speed of the day before, but still a fun pace was adopted once we hit the single track stuff, in all fairness Pete wasn’t going to keep up on a bike that big and heavy, not on those roads, but he did a good job none the less and I only waited at junction a minute or two at most, I hope he enjoyed it none the less, Pete had got a txt from Lou of a pub in Giggleswick they were all going to so that was our destination to, on getting there I didn’t know the pub name, but passed one with bikes parked around the back, so pulled over and Pete check the name, yep that’d be the one, so we swung round and parked up, they’d all eaten so I only had a brew and watch as they all set off for home, Ollie, the YC Van, Maria on her SV, looking might fine, Gemma in the car (that girl needs to turn up in leathers you know…;) ), and although obviously dog tired and full of cold ( yes she’d been medicating it away all weekend) the lovely dizzy one on her 1000cc monster, dutifully chaperoned by Pete. And then it was all quiet; just me, the efforts of the weekend all came back to me and I was shattered, now no one was around; my natural pace took over and everything slowed down, I got on the bike and visited the supermarket for some food, went back to site the only tent in a field that morning swarming with them and I slept…….

I woke up when it was dark, must have been asleep for 8 hours or more, but I needed it, cooked some food and made a brew and went back to bed, didn't stir again until the morning….

rictus01 15-08-11 04:13 PM

Re: My AR Experience (part 1)
Monday (part 5)

The morning comes, I roll over and go back to sleep several times, itís peaceful and quiet, until the point I can no longer stay there, up I get to be met with a bright sunny day, thatís a bonus, no bap of brew this morning, but the trusty flask saves the day, wash and change empty the drying room of my stuff once the door is fixed, nice gentle pace to packing stuff away, then I realise the bike battery is totally flat, only just klicking the solenoid over, buggerÖ.. on investigation I see Iíd left the upturned 12v socket uncovered and itíd filled with water, I go in searcher of the campers around the corner, a nice chap comes over with his car and jumps the bike, I leave it running as I take down the tent and stow everything in itís place.

All packed I ride around the field to the main gate, down the entrance road and say good bye to the site, Iíve been here before several time and no doubt will be again, fond memories are worth their weight in gold.

Punching in the satnav I aim for hartside, a decent 69 miles by the prescribed route, be then I donít do that, so following my nose and the countdown trip I head off in the general direction, some wonderful riding and roads are my reward for avoiding the main drag.

Iíve some concern as the electrics of the dash are occasionally flickering, but nothing I can do about that now and think a good run will charge things up nicely, by luchtime Iíve made the cafť and of course a fryup is called for, that out the way I plan the trip back thinking I might head Darligton way and do the moors.

But wait, the bike wonít start, I could hunt around and find someone to help, but to be honest itís a Monday and there arenít many about up there, so I phone my recovery and go back inside for another brew.

True to their word the NCI lot send out the bike specific ďsosĒ van in under an hour and a lovely chap called Andy, he looks at it and a simple jump and itís going, but on checking the battery was taking a lot of juice, he canít tell whether itís just deeply discharged or a charging problem, do I want recovery?, now the dilemma; Iíve done 75 miles and would have thought that enough to charge it up a fair amount, but it obviously hadnít, and should I just ride off it could stall or when I stop for petrol just not start again, now like most cover they wonít come out again for the same fault on the same vehicle within 24 hours, so what to doÖÖ.

I take a different tact as the ride in the van back to London from there wasnít that appealing, I phone Lou in Halifax and get Pete on the phone, does he have a charger ?
Yes he does and optimate ever, and a bike shop around the corner, so my options are now a ride in a van to London, simply chancing I get enough charge in the battery itíll start again when I fill up, or stop at Louís and put the battery through a complete charge/diagnostic cycle, I make my choice and Andy kindly follows me to the petrol station where I fill up and predictably has to jump start the bike, I thank him and set of Halifax way.

I donít get anymore flickering of the dash as far as I notice but then my attention is on the road for most of the time, so it may have happened, and uneventful journey gets me to Louís about 10 minutes after they have gone out, I turn the bike off and then try to restart it, nope not having any of that, Iím thinking Iíve fubaríd the battery good and proper, still itís the original one so 6 years old, worst case I buy a new one. I unpack the bike and even take the battery out, make myself comfortable, I have fags, music and a full flask I got refilled at the cafť, itís warm and sunny, Hendrix loud on the mp3 player Iím in a nice world of my own.

Lou gives me a shout to let me know they are coming back, I put in a request for some more fags, and go back to my music world, the next thing I know is a freelander aiming at my leg, fortunately Pete had decided to not run me over to wake me up, so I shift a bit and they pull in.

Dylan is of the age where everything is done at a million miles an hour and is full of energy, unlike me, anyway all the stuff is stowed inside and I take over a corner of their livingroom, cuppa is promptly in my hand and Pete has sorted out the charger, on goes the battery, Hmmmmm not looking good, but it doesnít say itís knckered, so weíll seeÖ..

Much chatting and tea later I have the delights of Louís shepherds pie in a sandwich of course, and Iíll stay the night, Iím not used to being told what to do, but some people can get away with itÖ..;), several hours later the optimate says the battery is fully charged, but we leave it on until the morning, a pleasant evening in good company is had and night draws sleepy people under itís spell.

rictus01 15-08-11 06:58 PM

Re: My AR Experience (part 1)
Tuesday (part 6)

Morning comes to the dizzy/peg household a relaxed affair, brew and fried egg butty consumed all set for the day, little Oli is a bundle of fun and lethal with his walker.

Iím moving slowly the past few days catching me up now, bikes are shifted around so Pete can get his out for work and off he goes, I stick the battery back in mine and all appears well.

I get all my bags together and load the bikeup, only to realise getting through the gate will now be tight (Pete had put it in yesterday when unloaded), still at the cost of a couple of badges on the sides I get it out with Louís help and park it around the front, a quick cuddle and a bye to Dylan and Iím off, I canít bring myself to just hit the motorway and get home in a few hours, so I head on the same route Iíd taken a fortnight before only this time it wouldnít be in the dark, off out of Halifax and towards Huddersfield, wiggling down to the Greenfield road to come out at Glossop, along the snake pass to lady bower and turn down getting to Bakewell sometime later, I revisit the ďwee dramĒ and treat myself to another bottle of Aberlour, and head off to Matlock for lunch, minus the Bakewell stop itís taken me half an hour less in daylight than it did previously in the dark, hmmm not bad. I take the A6 and A610 over to the M1, then a 110 miles of motorway (the first of the weekend) are dispatched in short order. And I branch off for local roads, strange as it may seem, tired as I am, thereís nothing like London traffic to stir the soul, I love this place, itís no better or worse than the roads of the dales or peaks, but different and far more familier to me, I get into traffic mode and adopt my style through in, finally the roads south of the water lead me to my door, despite the news my house isnít on fire or anythingÖ.:(

I park up, and with one final effort I unload the bike, itís given me no bother all day so was just deeply discharged and nothing more, so from 4.45am Thursday to 4.30pm on the Tuesday a total of 1034.1 miles, not bad, I sit down on my sofa and Beth brings me food and a brew, now I can relax the brace comes off, Iím not moving for a fair whileÖÖ.

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