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2020 Cancelled.... Or is it?



 Covid -19 has put a stop to almost everything we like to do, not just for us at Everyday Superbikes but for the World.
 Any trips abroad or nights away we had planned for 2020 are not going to happen, we are hoping for 2021 to be able to travel abroad and put another tick in the countries ridden in list, but as for this year we are just having days out instead. Here are some of them so far.

Clun

 Towards the Middle of May the restrictions were lifted, though still on furlough Col and I decided to have a ride out to Clun Castle, it was closed as we had expected but the carpark was open, even thought he toilets were locked up which made things a little despirate.  Myself and Col are at the age where toilet stops are needed more frequently especially in my case. We stopped on the carpark and found a nice seated area where we could be 2 metres apart incase anyone reported us, as this was something that was going on, opened our lunch boxes and had some cheese and pickled sandwiches, (the homemade sandwich of choice for us bikers).
 We used the A489 out of Craven Arms, it never fails to impress, It was good to be back on the bikes.
 The weather was good as infact the whole of May was.
  One good thing about the world in lock down was fresher air, there were no planes and only a few vehicles on the road, if this had an effect on the weather I dont know, but as we were on furlough the nice weather was welcome, and let people like me get some nice outdoor jobs done and bike wise it was looking good form the cleaning it had had over the last 4 weeks.

Malvern

 A few days later Col suggested a trip down to Malvern. Its only around 60 minutes from where we live. Its not usually a destination we would go to as to get there its not along the most exciting roads compared with our usual ones, but we hadnt ridden there for years.

 Cafe's still weren't open so we decided to make use of the bum bag we use when away on our european adventures again and carry our flasks.
 The B4232 (Jubilee Drive) seemed to be the impressive road of this ride, having a few good twists and turns as it followed the contours of the hill. 
 As social distancing was still at 2 metres we found a carpark with 2 benches close to each other so we could have a chat. Col said he would be back to work in 2 weeks, but I was going back to working from home the following day.
We headed back through Bromyard and Tenbury, the roads were quieter than usual but the traffic was definately busier than the few days earlier as restrictions were slowly being lifted.

When I got home I discovered a leaking fork seal, so booked that in for a repair for later in the week as the local bike shop had managed to stay open through it all.

Evesham and Stourport


 I had been called back off furlough but had 3 days holiday to use up so took them the week after going back to work, Col was still on Furlough but was due to go back the start of the following week.

 I suggested we could try a route we hadn't done before, this took us to Evesham's Hampton Ferry, I place I spent alot of time at when I was a kid, and where I met my first girlfriend.
 We parked up by the river, sat the 2 metres apart and watched a family of Swans on the water and the world go by for a while before headed to Broadway, Bidford on Avon and then to Stourport Common.

  There were a couple of good roads worth a mention, the A44 up fish hill by Broadway, and then the A422, neither would make it onto our best road section, but the curves on the A44 going up were quite fun.

Up on top of Broadway by the tower the carparks were full, people were flocking to places of interest where some social distancing was being practiced but not by everyone, Bidford the carparks were closed to all vehicles which is why we headed back to Stourport where you were just warned to social distance. So we ate cheese and pickle sandwiches..well Col did as I had forgot to take mine out of the fridge so ended up with a bag of crisps and a cake.

Bike felt good now with fork seal fixed.

 Mitchell's Fold Stone Circle

 In June Wales was still in lockdown, so we couldnt go there as we would usually tend to try and do as its not that far to the border from where we are. We decided to use the A488 a favourite road of ours that goes up through Hope Valley which is near Shrewsbury. Once you have gone over the top of the hill at Hope you see a sign for a stone circle, this is in England however you need to cross the border for a few hundred metres. Then follow the path back into England to the carpark. This was a beautiful spot with great views in all directions. Again everywhere to get a drink from was closed so we sat there for a good half an hour, with flask in hand and breathing that lovely fresh air.

 From here we headed back towards Ludlow and home.  For me this was my favourite ride fpr as long time. 

 Long Mynd, Bur Way


   We set out with plans of watching the gliders taking off from the glider station up on the top of the Long Mynd. The run of good weather had took a turn for the worst over night and the winds had picked up to what the phone app said was a light breeze, no mention of any rain. We  made the trip and as we got closer to Church Stretton we found that the hills had heavy clouds around them which let go of its payload just as we arrived.
 We rode up the Bur Way and found a parking spot, it was blooming cold and wet, the winds were definately not light, you could feel it slowing the bike as it hit us head on. 
 We didn't stay long as the wind bought the drizzle and it was starting to soak through our leathers, just down the road is the Lazy Trout cafe, which according to Facebook was open. It was like being hundreds of miles away, the sun was out with the light winds the phone app had promised, yet was only 10 minutes away from that wet and windy hilltop. We parked up, social disatnced and enjoyed our first cafe mug of coffee for months, things were getting better!

  Kynnersley Arms

  This wasnt really a destination as such. We had rode past this place in the past and as I share the name thought it only fitting that I had a photo of my bike parked outside.
 It wasn't open yet, pubs were still in lockdown but I would like to come again when it is open. Apparently my ancestors lived in the Hall at Leighton and the pub was named after them.




Bala and Barmouth


  July we had discussed that it was looking like trips to the coast were not going to happen and were saddened that we wouldn't get to see the sea this year. 
 The news announced that Wales was back open for business, thank goodness, so we headed off to Bala using the B4391 a favourite road of ours, stopped at the lake for a coffee, then followed the road for another 45 minutes on an nothing special road down to Barmouth and to see the sea.






 At Barmouth we found the shops on the sea front were open so stopped for an iced cream and watched the sea for a while, the skys were threatening rain so headed back over Dinas on the A470 and then to Welshpool on the A458 two great roads apart from for the roadworks.
My bike needed a new rear tyre and on the last MOT the guy told me the chain would need replacing soon, As I had a week off I got both jobs done the day before we went for this ride. I was impressed how much quieter the new gold coloured chain appears to be yet it was a DID the same as the previous one, no one mention stiff links!  It had been an expensive week. 


  We have done rides to other areas but nothing new that I havent wrote about before.

We have a few more plans to visit new roads in the UK this year, depending on the covid situation ofcourse.

Oh Crap!!!




 Well Col and I have made it out on 1 ride this year which was the day before the country went into lockdown as Covid-19 was here.  We had been advised by the Government to stay indoors but thought as the Sun was out and was the perfect day for a ride, plus I wanted to test the bike after changing the brake pads and adding some K&N filters and giving it a service.

 Not sure if the self isolationg rules applied to being out on a motobike or not we checked with a couple of motoring websites who said it was still acceptable as you would be more than 2 Mtrs apart and not to head to anywhere that could be crowded.

 All the cafe's and shops had been told to close so decided by phone we would meet up in the street and head of towards Cleobury Mortimer and take our own drinks with us.We headed off on a reasonably quite road but after a while came across many people out and about in cars obviously not following the governments guidelines.  Four lads in a Mini, 3 caravaners off to escape the madness of the empty shelved supermarkets and people out for the day to enjoy a day by the river.

 The carpark as usual was empty so we stopped and drank a coffee from my Army supplies flask (Web-Tex  5*  EDSBK recommended)

  Now Col is my best friend and we see quite alot of each other but we were practicing social distancing sat over 2 mtrs apart and got talking about bike related things such as road trips and how this is all affecting what we do with the Motorbikes.

 The main thing we thought of that is a worthy point about riding under the current restrictions is if you were to have an incident RTA related, the ambulance would come and collect you if you survived only to take you to the hospital which has the Covid virus then putting you at extra risk, also the staff could be better used treating the poor people with the virus than having to deal with a motorcyclist who went for a sneaky ride out which went wrong.

  Next we got talking about road trips for this year.  We had planned a trip to Ireland as we have not been there and they have so many road race circuits we can look at..and Guiness.
 We dont know if that is completely off the table, we have a back up plan of a ride to Devon in the south of England. But its all on hold due to Covid.
 The whole ride was more cautious than usual partly as its the 1st ride of the year, but with the disease the world is changing even if its only temporary, but now on the Governments advice we are Staying home.

 The Biking race calender is postponed/cancelled including the TT so theres no new stuff to watch.
The Ride for life event is postponed/cancelled and as the year goes by I dare say more events will be cancelled aswell.

 So what can you do to get your biking fix..?   Well it depends some suppliers of bits are open, some aren't, if they are open you could get new trick bits and fit those, like heated handle grips, a great investment.
For me its do the little jobs such as remove things and clean and polish the bits you dont get to see very often... well until my cleaning supplies run out.
 Its times like this I load up the videos from the go pro camera and reminiss.  Good Luck Everyone.


Stay safe especially if your out on a motorbike wherever you are in the world.
 

2019 Road Trip

2019 Pyrenees, Spain and Andorra.






This trip was actually arranged as our 2018 road trip but as Col had had his Incident only 5 weeks before our trip date it had to be cancelled. It was so close to the departure date we couldn't get the ferry or channel tunnel refunded so were given credit notes, this left us with only 1 option, to do the exact same trip.
 We decided some years ago that superbikes are not great for touring on, they cause knee, wrist and neck ache after a couple of hours so you have to keep stopping, making long trips even longer.

  So with that in mind we went to Europcar a few months earlier to book a van. As they couldn't promise what sort of van we would get when booking we ended up with a van that had previously spent time with a builder by the look of the dust under the seat, not exactly what we expected to use for a holiday, especially to Spain with temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s and worst of all it had no aircon...!
We took it anyway and it did drive very nicely, didn't let us down at all, and Naz from the branch was most helpful.


 

We planned to travel by van to Portsmouth, cross on the Ferry to Bilbao which involved 2 nights onboard, it was like a mini cruise and if you fancy going to that area it is a well recommended relaxing journey, and not having any driving to do the following day gave us chance to get in a few beers.





 The alarm sounded Tuesday morning at 5:30am telling us to get up and be ready for a 6:45 departure. We disembarked and soon were on route to the Castellanu hotel in Escalo, this was around 6 hours away.  The Spanish and French  motorways got us to the mountains in a few hours but then the journey got slow. So many little villages but beautiful scenery. Eventually we stopped for a rest in a pull in halfway up the steepest climb to the 2072 mtr road height of Bonaigua. Another half an hour saw the Hotel Castellanu, which looked nice but builders were busy making a new swimming pool from 8am till 7pm and there was no AIRCON!

 The hotel is owned by a biker and he gave us 2 routes to try, earlier research had also led me to the same routes but having a local tell us to use those same roads was most reassuring.
 We unpacked our luggage leaving the bikes on the van and were now getting hungry so went to the restaurant for dinner, it was closed. Col meanwhile scouted the internet to find somewhere suitable for a meal,  so back in the van and we headed off back towards the mountain to Espot and found a brilliant little place called "The Burgerplatz" and quote " Mother of mine they have the best burgers ever I have tasted" whoever wrote that review was 100% right we went back the next 2 nights... and the road leading up to it was another stunner!


2019's Everyday Supervan.... well it would have been if it had aircon.

 Ride 1.

The following day we started the reason for all this travel, to ride some awesome Spanish roads in the Pyrenees. The route took us North on the C-28 back over the mountain we had climbed in the van the day before and towards a town called Vielha.
 A left onto the N-230 took us up another mountain and through a long cooling tunnel which was most welcoming as the bike engines were now running at about 109C and the fans on at a constant. The road crosses out of Catalonia and into Aragon, the bends were sweeping and fast compared to the C-28. We stopped to take a photo and re hydrate then continued along to El Pont de Suert.
 A left turn onto the N-260 headed towards Sort takes you along one of the areas best biking roads and through a village called Perves, the roads here were fast long corners mixed with tight twists with the odd 50kmh speed limit thrown in along it.

After getting to Sort where a chemists digital sign was showing a huge temperature of 38C we took the C-13 back towards the hotel, this road was near perfect, the bends seemed to stay on a constant radius as it followed the river back through the valley.
  The ride was great, just hot. The roads were twisty and the sections where they climbed up and down the hills just seemed to last for ages. From Sort back to the hotel the C-13 was similar to our Welsh favourite the A483 but on steroids!
 The river runs along side the road often swapping for one side to the other, a perfect place to hoilday if you are into canoeing or cycles/motorcycles.



Ride 2.

Thursday we somewhat lazily put on our leathers, gloves and helmets as it was already too hot. We planned on going to Andorra again a route recommended by the hotel owner.
 This time we headed South towards Sort and rejoined the N-260 going East.
What a road!...what a road! You could easily just spend the day riding back and forward along this 45km section. Imagine every great corner you have enjoyed, stringing them together and riding them, this road is that one.  I think over the 2 days riding this part of the N-260 had to be my road of the trip, but they were all good.
 We arrived in Andorra, it was too bloody hot. The heat from our engines funnelled up through the fairing in the slow moving traffic, the traffic was heavy and the area not a biking paradise, however it boasts some great bargains as its a tax haven. We didnt stay long enough to check out the shops, we wanted more of the N-260 and the cooler mountain air so headed back the way we had came.
 After a fair bit of  throwing the bike to the left and right and on and off the throttle and brake we were ready for a break, Col was in front and spotted the only layby with some shade, well just 1 tree  but who cared we needed to re-hydrate.
 As we pulled up behind 2 other motorbikes we noticed the yellow UK number plates and heard the welcoming English voices of Gregg and Simon so chatted about most things bike and area for about half an hour as we all cooled in the shade of that 1 little oak tree. Simon suggested it would be a good place to open a roadside burger van, we agreed even if just for the great view.
The view from the oak tree, the road snakes up the mountain opposite

The only shady place

We headed back to the hotel and passed the chemist with the temperature displayed as 44C, and there we were in full leathers, gloves and a helmet!
 As it was our last chance to ride the bikes, we filled up with fuel which turned out to be a mistake, then  had a ride up the  twisty hill to Espot and another drink of refreshing fruit drink, back down to the hotel I thought "I like it here". We parked up and got back into our shorts before reloading the bikes in the van, they were covered in builders dust which was now over me, i went to the edge of the river to wash it off and slipped in.  My trainers dried very quickly, good job as they were all I had. Later we got back in the van to go to Burgerplatz again but the van smelt very strong of petrol we decided it must be the heat was causing it and went on our way.
 The following morning the smell was just as bad but as there was no sign of any leaks what could we do other than open all the windows and crack on with the journey North.

 The next stage of our trip was heading home, but we wanted a place to stop off and break up the 16 hour journey. So we went to Le Mans.
  I have always wanted to go there as I enjoy watching the 24 heurs du Mans also known as Circuit de la Sarthe and all things to do with LMP and prototype racing.
 9 Hours later we made it to the Le Mans Museum as we wanted to look at the race cars. Again I enjoyed this, but the heat caused me some problems, lack of drinks had given me heat exhaustion, so re hydrated slowly in their canteen which didn't have aircon!
 We had booked in to stop at the Brit Hotel and as we walked through the door we were greeted by cool air...AT LAST!!
 After a quick unpack and shower the bar was calling so went and sat in what I call heaven, surrounded by pictures of cars, in furniture made of old oil barrels surrounded by like minded people, with a refreshing beer or 2.
The last Day, we left the cool hotel and sat in an already warm van then did 2 laps of the bits of the Le Mans circuit we could drive on, I have always wanted to drive along the  Mulsanne Straight and along the public road area of this track, and now I partially have even if its not in the vehicle of choice.... a Ford GT40 .. no I mean a Ford Transit van.
 The place does have the feeling of a racetrack having the gravel traps and painted areas at the side of the public road.  Wish we had had a full day here to explore the circuit a bit more.


 The journey home from here was a rush we had a 4 hour 10 minute journey to get to Calais and make our booking time, the sat nav said it was going to take 4hrs and 11 minutes we needed good traffic flow, we arrived at Calais with 10 minutes to spare unfortunately so had 200 other vehicles and they were all trying to get into 3 entry gates which made us late.
  France has some great Motorways, Britain could learn a thing or 2 from them, after getting a few miles from the Channel tunnel the 15 miles of cones on the UK's M20 started and as usual there was no sign of anything going on. 

 A great time and glad I got to spend it with Col, but the sticky heat when travelling in a vehicle without aircon in the hottest continental summer for years and being woken by builders every morning before 8am again in a hotel without aircon dampened our spirits,
but you cant fault those roads!

2019 Cols New Ride



 Meet the newest bike in Everyday Superbikes.

 Col has made an almost full recovery from the incident where he lost the Black Fireblade in June 2018. Only a problem with his shoulder remains which doesn't seem to affect him too much and is better to be left as it is according to medical experts. The accident has left him with a metal plate in his arm, and on a recent trip to Stuttgart to the Porsche and Mercedes Museums it didn't set the alarms off the airport security.... slightly disappointing.



  We obviously haven't done much bike related things since June, apart from visit the bike shop and the Motorcycle Live event in November of 2018. This was the point Col decided the time was right to look for another bike.
  He had spotted a race rep 2006 Fireblade which looked nice, but the insurance was not that interested in insuring a race rep, so a few weeks later he looked at a standard one and bought it (pictured above).

 Its a 2006 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade with a yoshimura exhaust, which sounds great.
Currently it has odd tyres on it so that is going to be sorted out soon as that's a motorbiking no no. He has ordered a few bits and has a few plans to personalise it to his taste.

 We took it the bikes out for the 1st ride together between Christmas 2018 and New Year, It was good to be back, even if it was a bit of a cool day. He has had some Oxford heated grips added like mine so he now can enjoy warm hands too, he says this is much more civilised than holding the exhaust pipe when your stopped in a layby.

  I look forward to the New Year and hope to make some more good memories and visit some new places in our continuing search for our favourite road.



June 17th


On June 17th Col and I headed to Dom's food stop near to Leominster.

We pulled onto the A44 at Bromyard and Col was  about 1 car length infront of me, we were doing 30mph in a queue of traffic also doing the same speed. I passed a bollard in the middle of the road and then things went strange, a bike appeared along side me, I didnt see this bike as I pulled out but he may have came from the petrol station, it passed me on the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic and pulled infront between me and Col, I thought the rider had pulled a dickhead manoeuvre so was shaking my head. The rider was on a sporty cruiser style bike and had a chrome helmet which was hard to look at and 13 on the back of his leathers.

 We got to the end of the village and the road opened up to national speed limit. So i thought I will go passed him. He accelerated faster than my Fireblade could, however the rider was useless at cornering, The rider seemed to be purposely slowing me down for the next few minutes and I was half expecting another bike to appear and a theft to take place so in the 2nd following corner I saw the road was clear and passed him, I checked the mirror and the bike was gone as he had turned off.
 At Dom's I told Col about this and he confirmed he saw the bike and the headlight was very bright so couldnt see what was going on behind.

I use a Go Pro camera when I ride but for all the time this bike was infront of me the camera didnt record.... Wierd!

 Coming back from Dom's we used the A456, a road we know well and use most weekends, Col passed a car going up the hill towards Clows Top and I followed not too far behind them both.

 I came to the corner with a junction towards Rock and there was a car with the front smashed in, a bit further along was Col's bike on its side, steam pouring from it and the front forks snapped back so the  wheel was above the tank. He had gone head on into a car coming the other way.

Further along the road was Col lay in the road, at first not moving and I feared the worst.
I parked my bike and dazed walked towards him taking in the scene, not feeling anything, just saying "Oh Fuck" over and over.  I saw Col's leg move as I took my helmet off and with the ear plugs out could hear the other vehicle drivers already on mobile phones asking for Police, Ambulance and Fire Services. I shouted, "Col can you hear me?"  trying to remember basic 1st aid, to which he said "yes", he then started to try and get up, so I held him down and told him to stay still as the Ambulance was coming.
 From the village came a Nurse and from the stopped traffic came a Dr who thankfully took over the holding him still part while I kept Col talking and found his phone to call home.
 The Police were 1st to arrive who closed the road and a few minutes later the Ambulance arrived, I was relieved as soon as they were on scene.
 A second ambulance arrived and I overheard them say to the Police officer they were on their way to a motorbike fatality a mile away in the direction we had came from.

Col had been very lucky to get away with a broken Arm,Shoulder,and Foot in this incident,  no one else was injured. He cant remember how he came to be on the wrong side of the road or any of the accident, just waking up lay on the road with me and other people around him. The corner is quite sharp and uneven so both vehicles speed was lower than the speed limit for the road. The black fireblade was too badly damaged to be repaired so is now with a breaker.

 From my point of view, I didn't witness the accident as I was about 100metres behind, but seeing your best friend in this position is a horrible shock, the following day is when it hit me more, I felt a wreck.

 Col is now back at work and able to drive, but his injuries are slowing him down when walking.

 I have rode my bike once since the accident, its not the same without your wingman when his always been there for the last 20 years. Col and I still have unfinished business with motorbikes, we both still enjoy them and Col talks about getting another, but we will have to see.
I have delayed putting this post up as it could be the last... I dont know if Everyday Superbikes will continue, but if and when it does I will post it here....

Thank you to the Emergency services for everything you did.