Rideout To Whitby with Crass. Warning: contains Goths & an unbelievable error..
by, 29-10-11 at 13:38 (771 Views)
The Ride, Bikes & Kit
It started as a wizzer for probably the last dry biking day of the season, so Crass & I met in Donnie & headed east. Donít ask me exactly what we did because the plan got modded pretty quickly due to some very greasy roads. Which wasnít a terrible problem as we were both smooth about it, but that wasnít really the point to the day. It was bloominí chilly, which was to come back & bite at the other end of the day. Also I had wrecked my old fogcity visor insert with a baby wipe mid-ride a few weeks ago & had to prise it off then & there. It was quite a revelation how clear everything was after that-I would guess itís been optically degrading for some time, so I didnít replace it. This was a very, very bad decision. Iíd stuck Effbeeís idea of a cable tie round the chinstrap to kind of pop visor open just a smidgeon, but it wasnít quite thick enough to do the job unless you were at 80 plus. So it was visor open at minimum most of the day & feck. Still-kept one alert. Should have bought an Arai rather than a Shoei.
So the twistie way to Whitby & it was. Let me tell you that a well set up Kwaker ZXR400 goes fucking well. Itís immaculate, Weeksy clean & very purdy-some lovely detail on it. The venerable CBR6 coped excellently & most of the time it kept up really just being lazy about the choice of gear. Until there was a blind corner & there the man was in his element. I got quite a lot more confidence about them during the day (thanks fella) but most of the time he was lined up, done & gone, so I then had to spank George a fair bit after exit to catch him up, very concious that any fool can go fast in a straight line! Itís all me, not George who has far more capacity than I have. Still, things gradually got much better as I stared to move my shoulders around the bike & applied myself. Really enjoyed that & even better the sun came out & warmed by backside up, which was essential. The ride across the moors was superb & I can tell you that dry stone walling is not quite dead yet as we passed a bloke in the middle of reparing a length, who was taking a break & looking at the remaining work to be done. About 6 months worth by the look of it. He didnít look very happy about it though.There were also some mad bastards doing the paragliding thing, which TBH looked excellent.
Into Whitby, left, down Love Lane, (which I noticed had a Creamery..) & out via the coast road. Bloody brilliant & the sunshined sea view of Sandsend as you round the corner made me actually shout Ďoh yes-thatís it.í Stopped for tea, went back into Whitby for fuel & did it all again to go further on to Staithes. Another Ďoh yes, now THIS one is ití shout through the misty visor. Then back to Whitby for late lunch & entertainment, Robin Hoods Bay & return via Scarborough. Details of this later in Destinations. As far as the ride back went dusk was falling, temps were dropping & Iím about to rapidly discover limitations of my kit, the bike & myself. It donít probably help that after the steepest hill back to the bikes that I was pretty sweaty-took jacket off to cool down as I slowly kitted up.
Bit of a clusterfuck of issues on the return frankly. Heat being an immediate big one. Iíve leathers with underlays of a clever T & a long sleeved but thin T, bandanna, thick waterproof HG gloves and silk liners & old hiking socks in boots. Way not enough. Upper body at the limit really, thighs & arse ditto. Hands gradually totally numb & by the end so fucked that I could barely operate the clutch. Not so bad with the CBR-damn thing will pull from 2K (it has been regeared) so you can virtualy leave in top, but each movement was really painful. Bike has heated grips. Forget about that-itís the finger tips that were the worst, so Heated gloves for me next time. Also both palms were fucked so I had to keep taking hands off & shaking them & riding a fair bit with just the heels of my hands on the bars. On top of that both my thighs cramped so I was alternately stretching my legs out. That fucking hurt a lot-everytime I put one back on the footrests it cramped again. Also a balaclava would have helped enormously as would being able to close the visor. Also the hiking socks had seen better days & were tissue thin at the toes. That was also a costly error-painful changing up that was. Finally as the light truly went, the real biggie-vision. Fucking bastard cuddly wuddly beary beary booing badly adjusted headlights & full lighthouse strength bulbs on the oncoming traffic. Plus the shittiest headlamp bulb known to Edison in the CBR. Iíd have been better off with a dark lantern. The headlight on my CB500S, which is exactly the same age as this, was ten times better & thatís standard. This on the cross country routes where (obv) there are no street lights meant that a lot of the time I using Crassís rear running light as a target, & there were sevcral times when I Ďlostí him round the bends & had to spank to reacquire, which was unfunny running virtually blind. Also if there had been something on the road Iíd never have seen it. 80 miles is nothing in the sunshine & a fucking long way in the dark & cold. By christ those moors are freezing after dark. Anyhow, we eventually got back OK-past Eggborough Power station which was very spooky in the dark http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eggborough_power_station
Sod knows what the next town was called but it was rough as fuck. Takeaway after takeaway, all peeling signs, gangs of feral looking thin kids crossing the roads in packs. One lot shouted at me & I had visions of being pushed off, so I ignored the 30 in 30 for a wee moment. We split shortly after & I had bloody roundy after roundy (with the hands) to hit the A1 & then head down & a pretty buffety ride back home. Couldnít feel my gate keys when I got there-all I could was my phone so Had to ring the GF to let me in & open the garage. A really hamfisted lurch up the driveway, very sloppy into garge & then fucked off into the house, where joy of joys the girls had lit a fire & poured me a beer! Had a lovely couple of texts making sure Iíd got back OK from Crass, during which I learn he was stiff as a board after!
So it was a superb day out & incredibly useful. The end of it doesnít read like much fun, & it wasnít. Itís the most continuosly frightened Iíve been on a bike & when the twin leg cramps arrived I seriously wondered if I was going to make it. I donít think that I might have done without Crass in front of me & thereís the learning. I could have had all the right kit, my Broís VFR800 which wafts lovely thigh warming heat out of the side rads & is of course a proper tourer, illegally powerful lights but I still wouldnít have been able to see a brick on the road in time. It could be down to needing new visor & glasses (plastic lenses on these) which I should replace, but frankly I think pitch black night riding & me are now a thing of the past-TBH I really knew this from the car. So if thatís all I lose by virtue of getting older then I can live with that! And now I know it for sure. Mind you-it wouldnít be a proper adventure without a bit of a frit would it? Indy had a few moments in search of the Ark & Bond got his undercarriage belted with a carpet beater (he did-read the book or see the original Casino Royale) so compared to that a bit of chill & WTF are we is very small beer. A very tidy, clear, precise & safe ride from Crass-a pleasure to follow & I learnt a lot.
Lessons to be learnt & Glad I Knew Thatís
- As ever, ride your own ride. Youíll all know this, but if one newbie takes anything from this let it be this one. There were a few overtakes where I wouldnít have got through if Iíd followed Crass, or it would have been too close. Never blithely follow the leader-unless you canít see a fecking thing apart from their tailight & keep the same lines.
- Assumptions. Guilty again. Caught myself out at least twice. One was assuming he was going left at a sloping T junction & making the turn. He didnít due to traffic so I had to halt a bit more suddenly than Iíd have liked. Fortunately Horseís Betty Boothroyd came to the rescue. Very early on there was a set of roadwork traffic lights which I thought he was going to nip through on the change, because I would have done, so I was on the gas, but as he said later he was sure that I wouldnít have got through behind him, so he elected to stop so we didnít get split up. Now that is forward planning. Also an excellent early spot of mud on the road & very clear signalling so I knew exactly what was about to happen.
- Always check your side stand. I left it down whilst backing out & Crass spotted it. That could have all ended badly. So, always.
- Hills, sweat & then ride. Not so clever. Better kit all round. Cold is a killer.
- Vision-the single most important thing of all.
- Investigate the headlamp on the bike & also the positioning of the footpegs & the handlebars.
- Know your limitations & donít put yourself into situations where these are exposed.
Now for some more nice bits:
Staithes I think!
view other side Staithes
an 120kg cast iron fish, which is a collecting box for the RNLI at Robin Hood's Bay.
detail of above 'Wayfoot Fish'. Note it's wet..that'd be the sea.
TO BE CONTINUED PLUS PHOTOS ADDED