Riding around Derbyshire

Friday 20th August day 2

I slept as I usually do when camping. Asleep by 9 when it is just getting dark and awake for some hours in the night. The combo of my new inflatable pillow made by Trekology, my folded sheepskin and my Thermarest sleeping pad blown up properly was probably the most comfortable I’ve been. To avoid the many DoE participants I was dressed and showered by 7.30 and enjoyed coffee made with my GSI drip using a filter paper to avoid a tricky washing up challenge. It was a little weak but good. I need to work on getting it better.

I obviously had not built up trust in the bike as when it refused to start this morning i.e. nothing at all happened when I pressed the starter – I imagined, in panic, myself calling for a breakdown service wondering if they would find the way here.  But I had just left it in gear and it spluttered into life though after three goes. It’s clearly not a start on the button machine – even when not in gear. I got a couple of recommendations from men here who ride bikes but I started off without a ride plan and enjoyed the mostly lovely lanes. Even the bigger roads were more enjoyable than what I’m used to. Searching for Snake Pass (one of the recommendations) was a little futile as it was packed with heavy vehicles with great jams. So I turned off. I had lunch of tea and a sausage sandwich in a lay-by watched by a field of cows. I would never do that but I was hungry and life on the bike seems to lead me into down market culinary choices.

The bike is easier to manoeuvre on the stoney ground here at the campsite but not effortless – but then what is? It is good to ride, responsive, but dives on braking to a quick stop. The usual thoughts today: am I enjoying this? It’s a different headspace to the rest of the year so yes. I had another shower and a shave. Feeling slightly less grubby feels good. I fell asleep when I got back from this ride. 

My weather app shows rain tomorrow and all night and most of Sunday so it will be the toughest part of the trip morale wise. I shouldn’t bottle out for a motel… unless something really good appears out of the mist. 

I think I missed the best parts of Snake pass

Cambridge to North Lees Derbyshire

There’s nothing like a safe arrival and a welcome shot of a spirit to give some optimism. The events of today started (while I was still in bed at home) with the welcome arrival of my insurance refund reminding me that all will be well and all manner of thing will be well. A train trip up to Cambridge and a Baron Bigod sandwich in the garage there before packing up into my bright yellow roll bag.

I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with negative feelings and wondering whether they would engulf me as years go by. On the open road though they tended to evaporate. I am getting more familiar with and confident about this bike. It is happy on the big roads. I noticed that I could steer it just by shifting the weight of my thighs. It rained. I pulled into a lay-by and climbed into my Klim waterproof gear. Very much easier than my previous overall. Result. Everything is working well. The GPS got me to Waitrose Sheffield where by trudging through the isles in my noisy rain gear, I stocked up for dinner and breakfast – though forgot noodles. After that, the short ride up to this campsite in the lovely moors just took off. The road was amazing and the bike was so easy and confidence inspiring with sheep all over the road. And on this site it is so easy to move around and park on slopey gravel. There is a huge difference between the Beamer and this. The are on opposite sides of a barrier.

My tent is up and crowded with my stuff. My riding gear especially and other necessaries takes up half of the floor space – and, without metal panniers, I don’t have anything to sit on any more. This is possible but alternating between kneeling and crouching and getting up with stiff toes is not fantastic and does not make for relaxation – so maybe some thinking needs to happen here for future trips in a tent. The weather is cloudy and cool but fine. We also have a few dozen (actually many dozens of) youths doing a Duke of Edinburgh event.

Tomorrow I will have my first chance to really try the KT in some lovely roads. Here’s the track as far as Sheffield. I’m not sure what happened to the last bit. Video highlights to come…

A second staycation on the bike (2021)

There’s something about these trips at home that fail to ignite the flame of real excitement – the excitement of boarding the overnight ferry, of rolling off riding on another side of the road, of not saying much because you can’t speak the language, and usually, sunnier weather. But we are where we are and for this trip I have a new motorcycle, after a couple of years of wanting something less likely to land me in it when stuck or on an incline.

But its been hard to give full attention to preparing for the trip. I booked three campsites back in April – one in Derbyshire, one in Yorkshire, and the final in Cumbria ( I think) not far from Hadrian’s Wall. But over the last week I’ve been struggling with moving all my websites from the imminently closing Webfaction to another hosting company (I’ve never had to encounter A records before) as well as getting more and more frustrated with my insurer Carole Nash who have taken payment for a policy I cancelled – on my old bike – despite assurances that they would not. So these have been distractions. Also, with my bike now stored away from home, packing has been complicated. I have been scrabbling to kit out the bike for travel. I’ve installed a new GPS and recently have a new (small) tank bag from Mosko Moto but have to stuff my luggage into a rolltop bag strapped to the rear rack. I don’t even have a map holder for the tank bag (its on order along with a large rackless luggage kit) so have decided not to take any paper maps for the first time.

My sheepskin lives again
Even more minimal packing
Even fewer clothes

New stuff to try out – apart from the bike – drip feed coffee filter I saw on tshansen’s channel about camping with his KTM 790 Adv…

…and the less exciting proper footprint/groundsheet for my new-last-year tent. But last year the groundsheet I had was too big, my Thermarest roll was too long, and there was one too few tent pegs. This year these should go smoothly. I also have an adapter to try to recharge some of my electronics via a shaving point adapter…

What could possibly go wrong?

Yikes, I’ve moved host

In quite a traumatic change, Webfaction, my trusty web hosting company that I’ve used for the last 11 years are closing and told me that they weren’t able to migrate my 9 websites and 2 WordPress blogs so I am having to do this myself. I’ve moved to London based Tsohost. Yesterday. Everyone praises their support – which is just as well because I don’t remember setting up hosting being this difficult in 2010. They have been extremely helpful but so far I have just reestablished this blog but despite backing up or rather exporting ‘everything’ and importing, I’ve lost all of my images. I will see if I can retrieve them. Of course the old site is now off line.