It’s been tough at Adventure Ride for the past couple of weeks. The disappointment of missing the Land’s End was compounded by the loss of two bikes in a break- in at the workshop. One was a lovely MK 2 Pampera [one of the red ones] which had done very few miles and was in superb condition, if you see it on eBay let me know! As anybody who has been the victim of such an incident will know, the actual theft is just the start of the problem. It’s the ensuing hassle of running around repairing the damage , buying additional security and cleaning up the mess which adds to the pain. And don’t get me started on the police. Apparently it’s not West Midlands police policy to attend and investigate such matters. This riled me enough to do a bit of research and find out what exactly is the police priority for this region. After all, if their time is too valuable to investigate burglaries, they must have some pretty important stuff to attend to. The following, believe it or not, is the current stated priority for policing in our area posted up by the West Midlands police on their own website.. You couldn’t make this stuff up.
Dog fouling at several sites around Craven Arms town
To distribute Dog fouling information leaflets. To contact Shropshire Council Street Scene Officers. Leaflets have been distributed and a number of dog owners spoken to. This is a priority, however, that still needs some work by the police and partner agencies. We therefore intend to extend this priority in order to do more work around the issue There is also an “ All things Canine” event at the Discovery Centre on the 21st September which we will be attending in order to further educate and target this problem.
Anyway, enough of the rant, let’s get back on a positive tack. This week I spent a lot of time in the workshop preparing the bikes for a four man booking . As is always the case with anything mechanical, the bikes threw a few last minute curved balls which I hadn’t picked up when carrying out the usual road test and shake down after each bike has been out on hire. These included two sets of weeping fork seals which, on the Pampera’s Marzochi Magnums seem to fail just for the hell of it. Easy enough to fix of course but a bit tedious if it’s 10pm the night before a big ride out, especially if you’ve just spent an entire day overhauling the rear suspension linkages on the other two bikes.
All of this coupled with the fall-out from the theft was starting to make me wonder what I’ve got myself into with this trail riding lark.
Fortunately four guys turned up yesterday who reminded me exactly why I started the business. I’ve been very privileged during the past 12 months to meet some great people who have turned up for bookings. On the whole, motorcyclists and especially trail riders tend to be low-maintenance, relaxed folk who are good to spend time with. When Danny, Chris , Simon and Dave turned up laughing and smiling clutching cartons of Costa coffee I got the feeling we would be in for a good day out. I was a bit alarmed when Dave started unpacking some serious body armour. This looked a bit hard-core to me. In fact, Dave’s armour was simply a wise precaution for a man who likes to get on the throttle early and on the brakes late and uses the local topography as an auxiliary source of retardation.
The weather wasn’t great but that didn’t seem to matter. We all got wet and muddy, covered lots of miles and had a cracking day out. It’s always a pleasure to be with experienced riders with the right attitude. I nearly won the plonker of the day award when I sagely warned the group about the perils of fording an innocent looking stream we were about to cross which can be deceptively slippy. I led the way to show how it should be done , promptly lost the front wheel and narrowly escaped creating the perfect Kodak moment.
We also had an interesting diversion when some sheep, despite our best efforts to approach them quietly and slowly, panicked and barged open a gate escaping along Offa’s Dyke. It took a bit of guile to round them up but we did it and got them all safely back where they belong. Danny and I did the round up, skillfully herding the sheep with our bikes. Two closet cowpokes rising to the unpredictable challenges of livestock management. It was just like a scene from Brokeback Mountain…
At around 5pm we found ourselves at the end of the ride on top of the Long Mynd. We were tired , wet and with the option of a quick five mile ride back to base or potentially adding another few lanes and an extra hour to the ride. At this stage of the day I’m usually ready for home myself but I must confess the day had been so pleasurable I was hoping the guys would ask to continue the ride . They didn’t let me down and voted to do some more trails. It’s times like this when I remember why I started the business. On the right day with the right people there’s nothing better. Here’s a few pics.
This is Dave . Behind that friendly grin lies a man encased in body armour desperately looking for somewhere to deploy it.
Synchronised river crossing
You can wait ages for a blue Pampera and then four come along at once
Take the long way home…