Monday, September 7, 2009

Ride to Rutland Waters

Well John and I have finally fixed up our PMR radios.

This eliminates hand signals etc and having to stop to discuss our progress and next moves on our ride outs. We had both carried out home tests - wifey sat in an upstairs bedroom and John and I suited and helmeted at our bikes. Both tests were 100% successful, now for a test on the road.

So after much chunnering (chunnering is essential between two old farts) we arranged a meet at Rutland Waters, specifically Oakham. The plan was to meet, test the radios, a ride round the waters, lunch then we would go our seperate ways and do a bit of rellie visiting. John in Stamford and me in Kegworth.

The weather forecast, BBC, was for heavy rain. Checking the hourly forecast the rain was due at 19:00 hours. Setting off at 08:30, in fair but cloudy weather, it was nice riding conditions, dry, not too cold, really comfortabe. Up into Derbyshire, through Leek and Ashbourne through beautiful countryside spoiled by a proliferation of useless 'safety cameras'. Back to modern byepass ridng along the A50 with Audi drivers trying to prove their supremacy over Beemer drivers, who appear to be a threatened species, have you noticed how deserted the outside lanes are?

Passing through the quaint old village of Kegworth I remembered the crafty 30 mph 'safety camera' at the edge of the village I made progress and joined the A6006 which would lead me direct to Oakham. Passed through some picturesque villages, beautiful houses but obviously you had to be a big bonus banker to be able to afford them. Eventually reached Melton Mowbray, the self-styled food capital of England. Don't reckon much to their pies but I like Stilton. (Best pork pies are baked by a family called Tittertons in Stockport). I did notice the direction sign for 'Pork Pie Shoppe' riding round their unique one way system.

Well, on and onwards to Oakham. I thought I would enter over a railway crossing but obviously some planner decided otherwise and I was forced to ride round the usual lot of roundabouts (wonder what the collective name for roundabouts is?)

My satnav indicated I was under three miles from our rendezvous, time to call John on the PMR radio. Pressed the PTT button and I was greeted with an howling in my headphones.What the hell? I hadn't tested the radio, with engine running, at home. I heard a crackly John. I spotted a petrol station and pulled in, needle was a bit low. Lo and behold John was parked up in a corner.

"Been here long?" I asked, "Not long." replied John. I filled up and went to pay for my fuel. The counter jockey said to me, "That your mate, outside? He's been waiting over an hour." Well that's John for you. Never late, first to breakfast, first on the road. Me, I'm the exact opposite.

Well back on the road together we pootled around the Waters, occasionally trying out the radios but there was obviously something wrong with mine. John had his fitted professionally, mine was a home brew. Then things went from bad to worse, the stem on my satnav snapped and it ended in my lap, fortunately it didn't hit the road.

Time for lunch. We stopped at the "White Something or other". What a splendid menu board they displayed. I had my usual soup and sandwich and John had soup and a roll. The soup of the day was broccoli and stilton - watery, cold, and I didn't notice any flavour of stilton? The bread of the sandwich was thick sliced and none too fresh. Neither of us were impressed.

After lunch we parted, John to Stamford and me to Kegworth. John had a bit of a buffeting on the way home and appreciated the hot cup of tea waiting for him. Me, I met up with some rain, fifteen miles from home, arriving like a drowned rat. No tea for me but a steaming pint pot of Bovril to thaw out my insides. My kit's still drying off a day later.

Looking back, a thoroughly pleasant days ride. (200 miles roundtrip, 69 mpg), just a bad day for gadgets but they can be sorted.