At last: riding in the countryside in the warm sunshine on a day off work. March 15th was 6000 mile service day. I’d delayed it from the unseasonal November date. It seems much more appropriate to start the riding year with new oil and the other tweaks that a service provides. But the day was a day of two parts.
Up at 6 and on the bike by ten to seven, the GPS took me over Blackfriars bridge, up through Highbury and Archway and Barnet on the A1000, the old Great North Road, nearly all the way to Lind Motorrad in Welwyn Garden City. There seems no escape from London traffic and much of it was at a crawl until after Barnet. Its 28 miles from home to the dealer and the average speed was just under 16mph. Added to that the mist fell with poor visibility making full concentration necessary.
Since I was last there, SBW Motorrad has been taken over by the owner of Lind BMW in Norwich but the staff are the same and the showroom is more or less the same (where did that comfortable sofa go?) Waiting for the couple of hours that a service takes sees a motley crew of customers pass through, picking up bits, delivering bikes, looking at the shiny new ones, chewing the motorcycling cud. Some are reassuringly old, or well-spoken. Nowadays your bike gets washed for free after a service which is always welcome. Getting back on at 10am, the day was transformed and the sun was shining. The temperature had risen from 6 degrees earlier to 17. Partly for reasons of nostalgia I decided to ride up to Cambridge and enjoy the day off and the beginning of Spring. It was such a relief to be riding properly again. The A10 from Hertford to Cambridge would probably not make it into any collection of biking roads but it is always enjoyable with its empty dual carriage ways followed by some swooping A road that is rarely crowded – at least when I ride it. And straight after a service always feels like a good time to see if the bike goes any faster.
After a low-brow lunch in Costa, I made a return by means of the M11, occasionally busy but with nice open stretches, 60 miles back home but with inevitable delays on Mile End Road where a bus had broken down, then over London Bridge and home. There must be an easier route for those last few miles.