EDSBK is a blog about a small group of sports bike riders, the places we go in search of our ultimate road and the motorbikes we ride..

..Welcome to Everyday Superbikes

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.

Ride4Life

 On 22nd April 2018, Col and I took part in the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity’s Bike4Life Ride Out and Festival. This was a route from Bayston Hill in Shrewsbury along the M54 motorway to Cosford near Wolverhampton.

Visit their web page here

 We had pre booked our tickets online for just £10, the weather forecast was possible rain but mostly dry, and they got it spot on.
  The bikes were gleaming as usual as we pulled onto the over flow car park near Bayston Hill shopping centre. The figure quoted by the organisers were over 5000 bike were in attendance and raised over £87,000.


Steve Parish and Carl Fogerty were to lead the convoy of bikes from Shrewsbury to Cosford which was due at 12:00. The organisers sent them on their way and slowly let all 5000 bikes leave the car park.

 Col and I were some of the first of the last 3rd of the bikes to be let off the car park which was some 20 minutes after Steve Parish and Carl Fogerty had left, infact they had probably got to Cosford when we were just leaving Shrewsbury.

  Having never took part in an event like this it was quite overwhelming to see the support it gathered. Every junction or bridge there were stood onlookers waving as we passed underneath them. It was a really nice thing to be a part of.
 The ride took a little over half an hour, the motorway was full of bikes all doing the 70mph speed limit, but 5000 bikes on 2 lanes of motorway then into 1 single lane caused a bottle neck around Cosford.
 We parked up in the field by Cosford airport and went for a walk around the stalls and stopped to watch some stunt show and listen to Steve Parish and Carl Fogerty story's of racing and promoting their books.

 It was a really good day out which raised a lot of money for a good cause, if you have never been to an event like this its well worth attending an event close to you.

Col and I on the M54  Col at front Me a bit further back (Circled)


 A good cause that at the time we didn't realise how close we came to needing....

2017 Clermont Ferrand & Millau


  Col and I couldn't decide where to go for our 2017 trip, we talked about Ireland, Scotland and 
Le-man all because we wanted a cheaper trip than the last 2 years. Eventually on a cold December night in the pub and after watching a re-run of a Top Gear episode, we came up with the Millau Viaduct and Tarn Gorge in the South of France.
 The plan was to do it over 5 days, 3 days of riding once we had got there and again this involved the van and a 13 hour drive.

The  Viaduct has been on our visit list in the past, but we have not been quite close enough to it before.  In January I looked for a hotel with secure parking, that was bike friendly and not too far from civilisation so we could enjoy the area when not on the bikes and the obvious choice was Clermont Ferrand.
 When I looked on Google maps it was about a 2 hour ride down to Millau and the viaduct, so thought that a far enough distance for a day out. The rest of the area closer to the hotel on the map had some bendy looking roads, so thought it seemed a good destination.

 July came and we collected the van. Eurocar again supplied us with a van with only 1000 miles on the clock, unfortunately for the 2nd time, it didnt have air-con which is what we asked for, or cruise control and worst it was also a transit custom, which I know far to well as being the most broken into van on the market and it can be done in about 40 seconds, so we were rather disappointed as we loaded the bikes. 


 We set out at 4:15am made our booking on Euro-tunnel and headed off deep in to France. The journey was event free only traffic we encountered was through Paris which lost us about 45 minutes.

We pulled onto our hotel carpark at 18:15 French time. We used  The Comfort Hotel next to the hospital and a petrol station, its not far off the main roads out of town, has a tram stop outside, some English speaking staff, was clean but tired looking and the car park was secured and kept the van hidden from the road so just what we wanted. 3 stars ***. The tour de France also used the same hotel the 1st night we were there.

 Day 1

  We were asleep for 10 hours so when we woke up it was after 9am, it was raining when we opened the curtains and we watched the sky as we ate our cornflakes. There was alot of blue heading our way so looked at the map and spotted a race circuit not to far away, I said lets go see whats there. It was closed and we could see nothing, apart from old volcano stacks, lots of them, I said lets wing it, we will just head up and eventually find something to look at, Col agreed as there was not much option. I lead for most of this ride, taking the N roads which looked like they were headed up hill, eventually we came across a shop, which looked good to get a drink from, but it only sold cheese.

 I took out my smart phone, looked at the maps and noticed we were close to a road called the D996.
 "This looks twisty, its gotta be good, its named after the Ducatti 996" I said, and was only 6 miles away, so we set off in that direction.
 To get there we followed the D983 which  takes you to the top edge of a volcano, we stopped for a rest and to admire the view.  The cauldron was along down to the left and full of trees.






Eventually we reached the left turn onto the D996 which in reality seemed better than it looked on the map, the corners just kept coming and the ribbon of tarmac was race track smooth, the road kept climbing taking you to heights where your higher than the low lying clouds covering our visors with a layer of drizzle, eventually we came out the top of the clouds and found the 1401 mtrs summit of col de la croix Morand and stopped for a magnum at the little gift shop.



The clouds lifted as we sat there and we could see a lake bathed in sunshine along way below us, so Col said shall we go there.
 I looked at the map and the D996 went passed the lake so we set off down the hill to Lac Chambon. We found a Lakeside hotel called Belle Vue and stopped for a drink watching the world go by for over an hour. The clouds on the mountains started to look threatening so we continued our journey back towards the hotel.
A few more miles along the road was the Chateau de Murol, an impressive looking hill fort, the clouds were gaining on us so we moved on, but the clouds had straight lines to follow, we had the twisty road and inevitably they caught us, we took to hiding under the trees until it stopped raining and headed back to the Hotel. 

D996   9 out of 10.



Day 2

 The weather app said that day2 was going to be the best weather of the 3 day, this was going to be the day to go on our longest trip of our few days away. We got up early opened the curtains to a grey clouded day, but at least it was dry.
 We set off in the local rush hour traffic which was like a Sunday morning in the UK, headed down the A75 towards  Millau, as this was the purpose of this trip, to ride over the Tallest bridge in the world, the Millau Viaduct. The previous night we watched how it was built on Youtube which put us even more in the mood for seeing it.
  The Journey there was around 2 hours, it threatened to rain numerous times, even dropping cool over the taller mountains that the route took us. The dark grey threatening sky seemed to be endless and I was fearing the worst for the photo opportunities.
  We were only about 5 or 6 miles from the bridge when it first came into sight. The grey clouds came to an end and blue patches seen here and there, and bigger patches of blue over the bridge and the gorge below. I saw the turn for the visitor centre and we went to have a closer look.
  We left the bikes on the carpark, the walked up the hill to the viewing platform which is just a bit higher than the 245m high road deck of the bridge.  The Viaduct is built over the river Tarn, and was built to re leave the traffic problems through Millau.
The Millau Viaduct is 2460m long, has 7 pillars, The tallest pillar is 343m tall which makes it taller than the Shard in England and the  Eifle Tower making it the 4th tallest structure in France, the shortest pillar is 77m, which is still a long way up!


We took the photo's and headed back to the bikes to ride over it. There was a Toll to pay, this was a little confusing as it didnt show what vehicle you were paying to take over the bridge, we went to a lane that showed a picture of a car and a bike, posted your credit card in the slot and the barrier lifted so we pulled away, not until you get home do you actually see what you paid, we both paid 8 Euro the price for a car....

We crossed the bridge and gave each other a thumbs up, as if saying "thats one more thing off our bucket list!" We took the next turn off and followed the road so we could next ride under the bridge for a few photos, refuel and dinner in an air conditioned MacDonalds in Millau as it was warming up quickly.

 After Dinner we followed the road up through the gorge to a road that had appeared on an episode of Top Gear where the 3 presenters had some fun on a zig zag of a road running up the mountain. This was the village of Les Vignes and the road the D995.  The Gorge was lovely the river runs to the right of the road which had a number of tunnels and hairpins, its very touristy and there were a lot of camp sites, so the road speed was limited.
  We took the left turn onto the D995, by now it was hot the forecast had said 29 degrees but in leathers it felt hotter. We climbed the road out of the gorge, the heat effecting Col more than usual so I stopped and waited for him in the lay by near the top, where the Top Gear presenters had filmed part of the show. The journey back from there was another 2 hours, but the cooling breeze helped make it more bareable.



Day 3

 We had no plans for day 3 just to ride around and explore similar to day 1. We set off in a different direction, after spotting on the map the D216 another twisty bit of tarmac to the south west. This road was nice and the weather was good at this point.


 At the time I didn't  realise where it was headed only to end up back in the same place as we did on day 1, which wasn't all bad as we got to ride the D996 again, but this time it was wet. Infact so wet we had to get the waterproofs out which is a mood changer and the ride is more for the hell of it than enjoyment. We called it a day in the early afternoon after another stop by Lac Chambon and went back to the hotel and planned to spend the evening in the city, which was most impressive.




 All in all I enjoyed the trip and would definately head to that area again, the weather could have been more generous to us, but we have some new roads to add to our Ultimate Roads section.


A4069 Black Mountains

June


 With the hottest day of 2017 so far forecast for a Sunday, Col and I decided on an early start and a trip down to the Black Mountains in Wales, we were looking for the Top Gear / 5th Gear favourite the  A4069.
 We left home at 6:45am and the skies were blue and it had already began to heat up, the plan was to incorporated some other of our favourite roads along the way and after a couple of hours riding we had arrived at the start of the road in the village of Llangadog.

 The A4069 for about 5 miles passes fields of sheep and sleepy villages before it gently starts to climb the hill, some road works gave us a short rest and Col shouted across to me,
"this is where its supposed to get good!"

  We both gave the throttle a sharp twist making the engine revs climb to the middle of the rev range as we followed the road. It went around a sharp right hand corner and climbed quite steeply and then there it was.......the spoiler........ a 40mph speed limit sign.
  We followed the road along while it continued to climb and twist up to a sharp left bend, and then it climbs further up passing a few parking areas and over the 493mtr peak.

The road then twists along the landscape for  a few miles and came to a village called Upper Brynamman, so we stopped and looked at Google maps on the phone.
"So... thats it?" I said looking at Col who just shrugged.

We rode back in the direction we came from, this time less focused on the road and took in the scenery which was very nice, then stopped in a pull in to take a few photos.



  We were expecting the A4069 to be a contender for our ultimate roads list but left feeling disappointed, the good bit is only 5.1 miles long and its had a 40mph speed limit added, even if you ignore the speed limit and ride it how you want to its still nothing more than an OK road with some nice scenery.
 The day we were there was hot, 27 degrees and while we were there we only saw 20 or so other vehicles so couldn't understand why it would warrant a 40mph limit.



 In our opinion if you have never been, go take a look, but the road itself is not as much fun as some of the roads we used to get there.

 BUT there is a saving grace for the bikers who do go there, we came across the Owls Nest cafe, that place is worth a visit.
  

2016 Year review




    I sit here looking out on a grey and miserable day and Spring seems along time away so thought I would have a look at the photos and videos we took of the bike rides out in 2016.
  This year its mostly been only Col, Phill and Rich on Sunday mornings.
 Jon didn't get his bike out of the garage this year, we expect him to tell us he is going to part with it as his riding interests are nil at the moment.
  Matt unfortunately had a nasty road traffic incident when out on a loaner bike while his BMW was in for a service. A car pulled out of a side road and Matt went over the front of the car and landed on his back which caused injury and shook him up enough to part with his bike. He says he may return to riding bikes in the future, but has nothing planned as yet.
 Rich is getting used to his new to him Fireblade that he bought at the end of 2015. He joined us on most Sunday mornings. (Pictured at Doms cafe in Leominster). Col and I have pinched a few ideas from his bike, adding the clear lenses to the indicators and I have Polished the foot guards. On one ride out his handle bar came loose, the bike was rideable but needed a dealer to stop the clutch from swinging down under the hand grip.
 Since then Rich as bought a set of heated grips and is pleased with
having the option of warm hands!
  Col has bought a chain and sprocket set...coughs... its still in the box after 12 months of owning it, one day it will be fitted I am sure. After an accident with the 2 bikes in the back of the van when we went on our 2016 road trip, he has also had to get the side panel repaired and painted, it looks as good as new now.
 Phill well I had to replace the indicators as I was told the aftermarket ones that came on the bike would fail the MOT because over half of the LEDs had stopped working, I found a guy selling a set of the originals with clear lenses on EBay which are now on the bike. I have a few little jobs I want to do in 2017, mostly to do with paint. The heated grips are brilliant, I too have the option of warm hands.

Our favourite road the A483 from Newtown to LLanrindod Wells is now getting changed due to a
 new by-pass around Newtown. Unfortunately some of my favourite part is now a 30mph section and some corners look like they will be getting straightened, this could be for the new wind farm and access to it is from the twisty end of the A483. I understand why the local people need this by-pass having been a truck driver in that area its just such a shame that it had to affect that road.
We paid 2 visits there this year, down on the usual amount.


    Col and I went to East France/Switzerland for the road trip. We planned to ride in the Alps and Jura Mountains where the LHC or Large Headron Collider is burried. The day we travelled there it was 37 Degrees, the 3 days we were there it rained everytime we used the bikes, sorta reminded us of Scotland, hilly and wet. But we did get to ride some great roads even if we had rode them before.
 Unfortunately the bikes took some damage in the back of the van when a strap came loose. We have learned from that and have a new strapping system for next time.

 In August Col and I went on a run over to the Bala lake and Horseshoe pass. We stumbled over a great piece of tarmac, the A525 Llysfasi - A542 Horseshoe pass.
 My camera ran out of battery part of the way up so we HAVE to go there again!
 We did a Bike Safe day with the West Midlands Police, this was broke in to 3 sections.
A ride out followed by a Police rider, who tells you he wont arrest you if your safe, but wasnt to concerned about speeds when your on the national speed limit roads. I was told I did very good and the route we went on would make a decent Sunday ride once out of Birmingham, Col on the otherhand said the route he went on was all built up apart from 1 section of motorway so was not so impressed. The next thing they showed us was bike control through a course on the carpark, both Col and I completed this without putting a foot down. The last part of the day was in the classroom, we were shown how to lower the risk of accidents when out on the bikes.
 Overall the day was very good, and we picked up some useful skills which we put into practice.

 With the start of 2017 we are planning our trips and hope to find some new roads to add to our Ultimate Roads list.