FART Archive

Here are our Ride Reports from 2008 to 2010. Links to additional photo albums of our weekend tours can be found within the reports below or via the menu to the left.

View our 2008 Ride-out Calendar HERE

View our 2009 Ride-out Calendar HERE

View our 2010 Ride-out Calendar HERE


A FYLDE DAY OUT : Sunday 14th November 2010

Martin led our last ride of the season starting from Charnock Richard Services M6 with a good turn-out of 10 riders on 7 bikes. A potential 8th bike with Fred unfortunately missed the start but was able to join us later at lunchtime. We headed north up the M6 exiting onto the A6 and continued north to Garstang where we turned off into the country lanes and through Scorton village. The morning coffee stop at Caton coincided with the 11th hour and a respectful 2 minutes silence was observed.
Via Halton village and Lancaster we continued northward to Milnthorpe taking a scenic detour through the deer park at Dallam Tower estate. Looping around Arnside & Silverdale brought us back to the A6 at Carnforth where we headed south back through Lancaster. We arrived at the Stork Inn at Conder Green for a welcome lunch stop to find Fred awaiting the group bearing gifts - honey suppied by his own bees! After lunch we rode south and across the Wyre, then via Weeton and Wrea Green to the ride-end at Lytham. After a group photo on the Green we headed for the nearest McDonalds for a hot coffee before finally departing home.

The remainder of the group at the ride-end in Lytham

NOTE: the route has been updated to the actual roads ridden on the day.
Download Garmin SatNav route HERE

MOW COP & BEYOND : Sunday 10th October 2010

Our group of 7 bikes with 11 riders met up at the Pop2000 services on a clear autumn morning to head out on our "10-10-10" ride. Butch lead this new route taking us south into the Cheshire and Staffordshire countryside. The morning leg included a short halt at Mow Cop followed by the customary ford crossing before stopping for morning coffee at Rudyard Lake. The cafe was very busy and a long wait for our bacon sandwiches taught us all a true appreciation of the term "fast food"!
Eventually, we continued on a brisk ride along sweeping A & B roads, crossing Blithefield Causeway, and into Cannock Chase country park. Our lunch stop at the visitor centre was over-run by day-trippers and cyclists enjoying the welcome sunshine. Demand for food had outstripped supply and the "dish of the day" had been reduced to chips, beans, or chips & beans!
The afternoon leg took us west to Penkridge before heading northwards via the country lanes of the well-heeled to Eccleshall. Afternoon tea was at the Little Chef near to the M6/J16 where at last we had a choice of food and comfortable seating. Suitably refreshed we headed home taking the fast A51 northward back to Pop2000.
Despite everyone having a memorable day out and thoroughly enjoying the route, Butch annouced his next ride will be on a cold wet day to ensure we can all enjoy adequate seating and access to extensive fast food menus!

Mow Cop Castle - is it real or is it a folly?

Download Garmin SatNav route HERE PDF itinerary HERE

NORTHEAST WEEKEND TOUR : 17th - 20th September 2010

Alastair & Pat planned this years weekend tour taking us into the NorthEast for the first time. The route took us north through the Yorkshire Dales to Middleton in Teesdale, and on to Haltwhistle for our first overnight stay at the Centre of Britain Hotel. Day 2 took us around the Kilder Forrest bringing us to Alnwick for a 2 night stay. On the Sunday we explored further north including a visit to Lindisfarne on Holy Island. Barry & Olive supplied the route home on Monday including a visit to the Quayside in Newcastle followed by lunch by Durham Cathedral. Lots more information and photos are available via the links below.

A very nice bridge to Newcastle, but closed to motorcyclists!

Download Garmin SatNav Routes HERE Download Tour Itinerary HERE Tour Photo Album HERE

LLYN BRENIG NORTH WALES : Sunday 12th September 2010

This months ride-out took us back into North Wales. A good turn-out of seven bikes assembled at Pop2000 service area on the M6/M56 for the 9.15am start. Chris designed the 150 mile route to completely avoid motorways and dual carriageways. Heading south down the A49 the skies looked threatening but we were spared any heavy rainfall as we rode by Cholmondly castle and along the country lanes via Malpas, Threapwood, Bangor-on-Dee, and Overton, before stopping in St.Martins for morning coffee at Stan's superstore.
Onward to Chirk and along the Ceiriog valley turning right at Glyn Ceiriog taking us over to the A5 where we made a short stop at Corwen before continuing on to our lunch stop at Llyn Brenig. The sunny afternoon leg took us through Denbigh and over the hills via a narrow single-track past Moel Arthur. Joining the A541 we rode through Mold town centre and then across country to our afternoon tea stop in Rossett. Finally we headed to the ride-end at Helsby services via Holt, Waverton, and Mickle Trafford. Somewhere along this section we upheld our group tradition and lost Fred!

North Wales 12-09-10
Butch enjoys the view from Ty-Cerrig towards the Horse Shoe Pass

Download Garmin SatNav route HERE

SILVERDALE & ARNSIDE : Sunday 22nd August 2010

Chris led this ride-out using quite a few unusual roads, some taking us around Silverdale & Arnside. A heavy shower rinsed off the bikes as we departed Charnock Services M6 northbound at 9.30am. The weather soon improved to provide perfect riding conditions as we wound our way through the country lanes towards Forton. Unfortunately we found ourselves held up by a cycle race on our way for morning coffee at the JC Country Store. After the stop we headed to Caton and on the way to Carnforth we lost Fred. Chris then performed two unscheduled U-turns resulting in further delays before we finally met up with Martin at Arnside promenade.


We continued through Milnthorpe and dined al fresco at The Gallery tea shop in Crooklands where we contacted Fred via mobile to discover he was heading home! After lunch we rode south through Burton and Gressingham to Hornby where Martin said goodbye to us. From Wray we enjoyed the glorious B6480 through Bentham to Clapham village for an afternoon tea stop. After one final U-turn we set off over Swinshaw Top and through the Forrest of Bowland down to Sawley where we joined the A59 to take us to the ride end. With the sun still shining, the 122 mile scenic ride ended at the Esso filling station at Salmesbury junction.

Download Garmin SatNav Route HERE

WANDER INTO WALES : Sunday 1st August 2010

Dave organised this ride-out into North Wales. The group of just 4 bikes left Pop2000 at 9.30 as planned and headed down the A49 stopping at the Canalside Cafe at Tiverton for morning coffee and bacon baps. We continued via Whitchurch and Wrexham along the A525 to Denbigh. First calling at A&D Motorcycle shop for a browse and stock-check, then to the nearby village of Henllan for lunch at the Llindir Inn. Dave cleverly arranged for the days rainfall to occur whilst we enjoyed our lunch inside of one of the oldest pubs in Wales. The afternoon run took us into Abergele via some single track lanes. Then at Olive and Pats insistance, the motorcycle stock-check continued at our stop at Woods Triumph dealership! It was here we found Butch's next bike...

A new Military look for the Speed Triple - now available in matt Army green with stencilled logos - Only £8,199 !!

Download Garmin SatNav Route HERE

RAMBLE TO RICHMOND : Sunday 11th July 2010

Alan & Jean led the group on their new Ducati MultiStrada, but we managed to keep up with them as they took us into the Yorkshire countryside. The ride departed at 9.30am from Blackburn services just off junction 4 of the M65. The route took us to Richmond for lunch, with coffee stops at Bolton Abbey in the morning, and Ingleton in the afternoon. The ride ended at the Esso station on the A59 at Salmesbury.

Richmond Town

Download Garmin SatNav Route HERE

LAKE VYRNWY : Sunday 13th June 2010

Whilst some of our group were away in the Alps, Butch led our small gathering of 4 bikes into North Wales on a scenic 155 mile ride-out. Departing from Pop2000 Services on the M6/M56 at 9.30am the route took us through the Cheshire countryside and over the border into Wales at Holt. After a coffee stop at Rostyllen we began the single track adventure over Worlds End and Panorama Walk. Crossing the A539 and A5 we continued up into the hills over-looking the Vale of Llangolen before descending into the Ceiriog valley. More single track riding brought us to our lunch stop at Lake Vyrnwy.
After lunch we rode around the east shore of the lake and the weather finally turned wet as we set off over the mountain pass via Llandrillo for an afternoon coffee stop at Rhugg Farm near Corwen. Yet more single track ensured the theme of "off the beaten track" continued throughout the final leg to the end of ride to the M56.

Butch contemplates turning back.... but continues on anyway!

Butch provided a fantastic route that may well be retraced when all the group are available later in the year. Our small group certainly enjoyed themselves and, without requiring the drop-off system, were able to ride at a swift pace throughout the day.

Download Garmin SatNav route file HERE

RED ROSE RAMBLE : Sunday 23rd May 2010

On a glorious warm sunny morning fifteen FARTs on eleven bikes gathered at Charnock Richard service area to join Barry & Olive’s “Red Rose Ramble”.

Unfortunately, after some confusion on the exit to Mill Lane, Fred was seen heading north onto the M6 on the tail of another group of riders! Contact with Fred couldn’t be made until the coffee-stop at Ribchester whereupon it was discovered that by the time he’d realised his mistake he was almost back home so decided to give up on the day and put his feet up in the garden instead!

So now ten bikes made their way through Euxton and Chorley towards the A674 and Wheelton only to be caught in the traffic chaos of a “Car-boot Sale” on the approach to Millenium Way. Some imaginative filtering was the order of the day proving that two wheels are much better than four in those situations and allowed us to leave the stationary traffic behind without too much of a delay.

We continued through Wheelton on the road to Blackburn, turning off for Pleasington, then through Wilpshire to Clayton-le-Dale and onwards to Ribchester to our coffee-stop at “The Carmen Rose”. Suitably refreshed we continued up Ribblesdale Road and over Longridge Fell taking in the best of the Lancashire countryside. As we descended Jeffrey Hill the distinctive yellow helicopter of the Air-Ambulance hovered overhead and eventually came down in a field by the road to attend to an injured cyclist. A few minutes earlier and “First Bike on the Scene” training might have been called into play!

After Jeffrey Hill followed Whitewell and Dunsop Bridge whereupon we rode through the Trough of Bowland to Quernmore, turning off onto Rigg Lane and Littledale Road for a few miles of single-track to Brookhouse. Butch was especially looking forward to this part of the ride as he’d come on a bike rescued from Dunkirk circa 1940 – or at least that’s what it looked like!!

From Brookhouse we headed north up the A683 turning off to Wray village for lunch at the Inn at Wray . The outside patio area had been reserved for us, but was a tad uncomfortable sitting out in the mid-day sun with no shade. Olive had a word with them afterwards about this and they said they would take her comments on board. Whilst we were having lunch an inmate from the local nursing home strayed into the yard to talk to us. At least we thought that’s where he was from as he was still wearing his pyjamas! Or could it have been Alastair?

Guess who ?

From Wray we made our way along Mewith Lane to Slaidburn Road and enjoyed the views across Bowland to Stocks Reservoir and beyond. A brief comfort break at Slaidburn Riverside seemed to suggest that motorcyclists were the only ones with any clothes on! One rather well-endowed lady dressed only in a bikini stole the show and certainly raised more than a few admiring glances!

Back on the bikes the ride took us through Waddington and Clitheroe then over the Nick of Pendle. This was another great opportunity to enjoy the splendid view over Pendle Hill, taking care to dodge the hang-gliders in the process. At Sabden we turned towards Whalley for our tea-stop. This was at the “Marmalade Café” where we kept the locals amused with our banter. After a leisurely intake of scones and crumpets it was back on the road for the end of the ride at Salmesbury.

The ride was relatively short taking us just over 100 miles through the Red Rose County – with only a brief mile or two on the “other side” in Yorkshire – but on one of the hottest days we’ve had it was probably long enough and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

Download Garmin SatNav route file HERE and a PDF Itinerary HERE

Peak District - Sunday 11th April 2010

Chris led this ride into the Peak District which saw 9 bikes with 13 riders set out from Pop2000 services. Spring seemed to have arrived at last as we made our way via the sunny Cheshire lanes aroung Jodrell Bank towards Bosley. Picking up the famous A54 took us to our morning coffee stop at Blaze Farm, where animal petting was optional!

A brief rest at Milldale in the Peak District

The route then took us via single tracks over to Ramshaw Rocks and eventually down into the Manifold Valley via Swainsley Tunnel. A short comfort stop by the river at Milldale unfortunately saw George & Les make an unscheduled dismount. This resulted in them having to cut short their ride and Richard gallantly volunteered to accompany their homebound trip. The remaining group continued on to Crich where we stopped for lunch in Rita's Tearoom within the Tramway Village.

Crich Tramway Village

At the afternoon coffee stop at Longnor village we were joined by Alan & Rachael for our homebound run. After some more single track and riding the Cat & Fiddle, a short comfort stop was taken at Teggs Nose Country Park before the final leg brought us back to Pop2000 for coffee at McDonalds. The route included alot of different types of roads and certainly seemed longer than 125 mile round trip!

Download the Garmin SatNav route file HERE and a PDF Itinerary HERE

Bridgenorth & Long Mynd - Sunday 21st March 2010

Alan & Racheal volunteered to lead our opening ride-out of the season. 7 Bikes and 11 riders met up at M6 Keele services for the 10.00am start. The route took us into the Shropshire countryside with a visit to Bridgnorth, in reality two towns; High Town and Low Town connected by the steepest inland funicular railway in Britain. After lunch in Bridgnorth, the ride headed over the stunning Long Mynd hills on the Welsh border. The weather was clear and dry affording great views from the high ground. After an afternoon coffee stop in Shrewsbury the group rode homewards on the A49 through Cheshire.

Download the Garmin SatNav Route HERE and a PDF Itinerary HERE

Butch & Alan admire the Victorian engineering of the Castle Hill Funicular Railway

Trough & Fylde Run - Sunday 8th November 2009

A nice and easy low mileage run taking in the Trough of Bowland and the Fylde Coast got our winter season under way. Despite a wet start, a good turn out of 8 bikes with 12 riders met up at Costa Coffee at Charnock Richard M6 Services. Soon after leaving, Barry & Olive joined onto the tail of our group as we passed through Chorley, swelling our numbers to 14. The route headed to Clitheroe for a coffee stop via Pleasington, Whalley, and Sabden. After refreshments our route took us through Waddington, via Newton and Dunsop Bridge and into the Trough of Bowland. The weather had by this time improved treating us to panoramic views over Morcambe bay to the Lake District. We arrived in Brookhouse village where George & Val made a surprise and welcome appearance, joining us for lunch at the Black Bull Inn.

The afternoon saw us head south through Lancaster and along the Fylde coast for a tea stop at Knott End. The final leg home provided spectacular rainbows as we headed back into the dark rain laden skies over Preston.

Garmin GPS Routes HERE ¦ PDF Itinerary HERE

RAF Museum at Cosford - Sunday 25th October 2009

Butch led an interesting "Event Ride" to the RAF Museum at Cosford in Shropshire. 5 bikes with 7 riders made the trip leaving Pop2000 at 9.30am, and riding directly to Cosford. After enjoying a light lunch in the site restaurant and spending over 3 hours at the exibition, which is spread over 4 hangers, we made our way back north. The weather gods were kind, allowing us to dodge the Autumn showers.

RAF Museum Cosford website HERE This page contains a record of our past Group Rides and Events :

SCOTLAND TOUR - 18th, 19th, 20th, & 21st September 2009

Despite the wet and windy journey home, our 4 day weekend tour to Scotland was a great success. We were based at the Loch Fyne Hotel at Inverary which provided a great base for our daily ride-outs.

Inverary on Loch Fyne

Garmin GPS Routes HERE ¦ PDF Itinerary HERE ¦ Photo Album HERE

MCN Rally - North Wales - Sunday 13th September 2009

The fine weather ensured there was a massive turn out of bikers for the MCN campaign to "Claim Back the Roads of North Wales". The scene was set early as the whole of the Pop2000 car park was filled with bikes gathering for a mass exodus to take on the Welsh Traffic Taliban!

We were very relieved to discover everyone at Pop2000 had opted for a scenic route via the A roads as our group of six bikes joined the M56 to Deeside, otherwise were likely to get spilt up in the mêlée. Our more direct route ensured we arrived at the Ponderosa just after 11.00am which allowed us ample time to have a nosy around and get away before noon - by which time we could only just get out via some serious grass-tracking! A big group of Harleys rode by with flags and chrome gleaming adding to the carnival atmosphere. The crowd was immense but good natured and not a policeman in sight!!

It was difficult to truly convey the size and number of assembled bikers in just one photo!

We then followed a "quiet" route to the Swallow Falls and stopped for lunch at the Raven Inn in Llanarmon-yn-lal. Although only 6 or 7 miles north of the Ponderosa it was well off the beaten track and provided the perfect spot for lunch outdoors, away from those “smelly bikers”. We continued on our B road and single track journey which culminated in a “challenging” lane that was more grass than tarmac! But it did have the benefit of bringing us directly to the 4pm meet at Swallow Falls without the need to ride through Betws-Y-Coed which was grid-locked - as we later found out when we set off for home! In fact it was there we saw the only policeman – on point duty directing traffic in favour of us bikers! The crowd here was enormous too and some of the confused car drivers looked like they’d be trapped for some time into the early evening.

Butch & Jessica

After some serious filtering back along the M56 we stopped for a late coffee and goodbyes at Helsby Services. Our group comprised of six bikes; Chris, Dave, Fred, Butch and Jessica, Alan & Jean, and Alan & Rachel.

Ponderosa to Swallow Falls PDF Route Map HERE and Garmin SatNav route file available HERE

A Potter through the Peak District - 28th June 2009

Eleven riders on 8 bikes met up at Birch Services on the eastbound M62 in time for our 9.30 departure. The route took us east to exit the M62 at Milnrow where we quickly climbed up into the Pennine hills via Newhey, Denshaw, and Delph. Unfortunately the low cloud and mist prevented us from enjoying any of the views as we made our way to Holmfirth via Marsden and Meltham. Our 30 minute break at Coffee ToGo in Holmfirth seemed to give the cloud time to lift for our onward journey taking us up and past the TV transmitter on Holme Moss at 524m above sea level. Then crossing the Woodhead Pass and reservoirs we continued southward to Glossop and rode through the Old Town before joining the A57 Snake Pass road.

Woodhead Pass in the Peak District
Woodhead Pass and Reservoir enroute to Glossop

At the Ladybower reservoir we turned right and then headed up a single track taking us along the base of a rocky clff face known as Stanage Edge. We rode past Higger Tor and back downhill enjoying the hazy views across the valley to Castleton. Our al fresco lunch stop was the Miners Arms in Eyam village which was by now bathed in warm sunshine. As soon as we'd dined the ladies insisted we press on...

Stanage Edge in the Peak District
Stanage Edge in the Peak District

So the afternoon leg took us through the Chatsworth Estate, and Rowley, and as far south as Grange Mill before heading west towards Hartington. At Longnor we pulled in for a short rest before continuing westwards to Ramshaw Rocks. Another little used single track took us over towards Leek and into the low lands of Cheshire. A leisurely afternoon tea stop was enjoyed at La Petit Ferme in Marton village before we finally dispersed on various homebound routes.

Garmin SatNav route file available HERE

A Dally in the Dales - 14th June 2009

Seven riders and pillions on five bikes met at The Tickled Trout on a slightly overcast morning and at 9.15 prompt Barry and Olive took the lead and headed north up the M6 to Junction 32 and the A6. The ride continued northwards on the A6, turning off at the Bay Horse and heading eastwards to Quernmore and the A683 at Caton. A brief run along the A683 to Hornby followed with the ride then taking us through Gressingham to the B6254 and onwards to Kirkby Lonsdale and the coffee stop. As we arrived we were pleasantly surprised to be met by Alan and Jean who had missed our departure from The Tickled Trout but had managed to catch up with the ride. We then adjourned to the Lunesdale Bakery where we all salivated over the amazing array of cakes and pastries, and the other equally fattening delicacies on display! Suitably refreshed the nine of us departed Kirkby Lonsdale via a very busy Devil’s Bridge towards Sedbergh.

By now the sun had begun to shine and the ride skirted Sedbergh heading eastwards on the A684 through Garsdale before turning onto the B6259 at The Moorcock Inn. We then had a pleasant run over Mallerstang Common and alongside the River Eden arriving in Kirkby Stephen at Noon for a brief “comfort break”. The route then took us out of Kirkby Stephen along the A685 to the turn-off for Kaber. We continued to Barras and turned southwards heading over the tops to Tan Hill and the “highest inn in the country”. We didn’t stop at Tan Hill on this occasion, though, and continued riding south over Stonesdale Moor joining the B6270 at Keld towards our lunch-stop at Kearton Country Hotel, Thwaite. It was pleasantly warm by the time we arrived there (1 pm) and we had lunch outside in the garden surrounded by the best of the Swaledale scenery. Judging by the comments around the table this proved to be a popular choice and one we would certainly consider again.

After lunch we went over the Buttertubs Pass to Hawes and then struck west on the B6255 to the Country Harvest tearooms at Ingleton. Again, we sat outside in the warm sunshine and enjoyed another dose of fattening fare from the pastry counter! Jean and Alastair even managed a power-nap together!!!

Butter Tubs Pass

It was then the homeward ride but, as it was such a nice afternoon, instead of retracing our steps back to the Bay Horse and the A6 south, when we got to Quernmore Chris took the lead and we headed for the Trough of Bowland. The ride continued to Dunsop Bridge, Whitewell and Ribchester – stopping for an ice-cream along the way - before joining the A59 at Clayton-le-Dale. A sprint down the A59 to the filling station at Salmesbury ended the ride at around 6pm.

A good day was had by all with 150 miles ridden through what must be some of the best countryside in the UK and with the added bonus of glorious sunshine for most of the way!

Route schedule and details HERE Garmin SatNav route file available HERE

A Ramble Around East Lancs & West Yorks - 10th May 2009

Chris led this "unusual" route around the hills and valleys of the Pennines. A good turn-out of 8 bikes with 12 riders assembled for our 9.30 departure from the Tickled Trout BP. We headed away via Mellor, Whalley, and Sabden, making our way to a coffee stop at Barley village at the foot of Pendle Hill. Alan & Rachel joined us here, swelling our number to 14. Riding through Roughlee and Blacko we continued our winding route to Earby before heading over Elslack and Carleton Moor to Skipton. Then through Low Bradley over Draughton moor, crossing the A65 and A59 to climb over Bardon moor, making our way to our lunch stop at Ilkley via Bolton Abbey and Addingham. Martin had to leave the group here and head home, so we were back to 8 bikes for the afternoon.

The "Carry On Regardless Crew" enjoying afternoon tea at Hebden Bridge

After lunch we headed over to Silsden to refuel and back into the hills of Steeton moor to Oakworth. Returning briefly to Lancashire through Trawden, and then back into Yorkshire to Hebden Bridge for an afternoon tea stop! The weather had by now turned a little damp adding to the challenge of the final steep climb out of Hebden and over the Pennines taking us back homewards overlooking Burnley from Crown Point, then down the Rossendale valley to Haslingden. The route finally ended at the Darwin serivice area on the M65 for a quick coffee stop. Most agreed that the 130 mile route of country roads and single tracks felt more like 180 ! Another Triumph then !!

A Garmin SatNav file of the route is available for download HERE

The North Wales Mystery Tour - 19th April 2009

Alan & Rachael led a previously unpublished route around North Wales. The group met up at a chilly and overcast Pop2000 service area for tjhe 9.00am start. Unfortunately Fred then discovered he had a fault with the front brakes of his FJR and had to drop out before the run began. That left 6 bikes and 9 riders setting out across Cheshire and into Wales calling at the Ponderosa cafe for morning coffee. Dave was enjoying himself so much he forgot to stop and by now the mist had cleared to reveal a cloudless blue sky - typical for the month of April! We continued southwest in the sunshine down to Bala via the B4501, then over the Milltir Cerrig pass, before stopping for lunch in Penybontfawr. The afternoon saw us head back northeast via Glyn Ceiriog and past the viaducts in Chirk, through Malpas before stopping for a break at the former old school now the Cholmondeley Arms. After making our way north through Cheshire we arrived back at the Pop2000 services having covered an approx 170 mile round trip. The conditions were certainly a contract to our last ride-out in March and we're all now preying this is the start of a great summer season.

Cheerful chums chatting at the Cholmondeley Arms at Cholmondeley in Cheshire
(try saying that after a chuple of pints !)


Happy 60th Birthday Alastair

Alastair shows off his Magical Mirror cake at our March meeting

The "Blow Away the Winter Cobwebs" Run - 8th March 2009

Martin volunteered to lead our first ride to blow away the winter cobwebs and get our 2009 season underway. It was intended to be a fairly gentle 160mile Sunday ride for lunch in Lowther Park in the Lake District. The forecast didn't look good but 8 solo riders laughed in the face of the winter weather by turning up for the 9.30 start from the Tickled Trout. By the time we'd reached our morning coffee stop in Kirkby Lonsdale we were sufficiently chilled and acclimatised for the day ahead.

We headed into Kendal and northwards over Shap fell through rain, snow, hail, and strong winds. Eventually we were forced to cancel the planned route into Lowther Park due to the slushy conditions on the lesser used road surface, so we opted to continue north and then west into Pooley Bridge for our lunch stop. Suitabley warmed-up and fed, we headed south around Ulswater through the splendid Lakeland scenery dusted in snow. Up Kirkstone pass we stopped for a reluctant and chilly photo call at the summit. Only one more short shower caught us on our way down the Lyth valley to the Truck Haven cafe for an afternoon coffee before splitting for home. Everyone agreed that despite the conditions we'd enjoyed a great challenging ride-out.

Freshly chilled on Kirkstone Pass
Eight bikes freshly chilled on the Kirkstone Pass

Stargazer Run - 16th November 2008

Only six doughty souls on three bikes assembled at Poplar 2000 Services for the 9.30 departure on the eighty-mile “Stargazer” Run. Fortunately, after overnight rain, it brightened up and we set off down the A50 in glorious sunshine that stayed with us for the rest of the day!

Even the road works on the A537 at Ollerton had cleared by the time we got there so the planned detour wasn’t necessary. We made good time to Macclesfield and turned southwards on the A523 towards Leek. After clearing the outer environs of Macclesfield the A523 proved to be an interesting road passing as it does the famous Cheshire “Cloud” and also Rudyard Water that – according to the literati in the group – the writer and poet Rudyard Kipling was named after!

After a trip to Mars the six Stargazers re-appear at Jodrell Bank Observatory

The group arrived at the Coffee Beans Café in Leek just after 10.30 and feasted on tea, coffee and Staffordshire Oatcakes. Suitably refreshed we left on the A53 Leek to Buxton Road just before 11.30. This road is absolutely stunning as it climbs and twists through the Peaks with some amazing views to be seen on the way. It’s an ideal biker’s road and was something of a revelation to us as it was the first time some of us had ridden it.

Just before Buxton we turned onto the A537 again and headed east towards the “Cat & Fiddle” but took the “low road” along the A54. Again, this is a good biking road and passes through some glorious countryside. We kept on the A54 through Congleton to Holmes Chapel where we turned northwards onto the A535 for Jodrell Bank Observatory, arriving there around 12.45. A full “Turkey Dinner” was the order of the day here before we embarked on a trip to Mars in the Observatory’s very clever 3D theatre. A walk around the grounds in the still-bright sunshine followed and then at 3.30 we made our way back to Lymm and our separate ways home.

All-in-all not a bad way to spend a winter’s day!

Download> Route.gdb


Lakes Run - 12th October 2008

Seven bikes and nine riders met up at the BP filling station on junction 31 of the M6 for our 9.30 start. Butch led this new 170 mile route north up the A6 bypassing Lancaster via the M6 and through Halton village. After our morning coffee stop at the Sublime Cafe in Kirby Lonsdale we continued north on the B6254 turning onto the Old Scotch road, past Killington, Tebay, and Orton. Low cloud threatened to spoil our views but once across the A6 at Shap the sun broke through for our ride up to Pooley Bridge for lunch. At Tree Tops cafe we tucked into never-ending spirals of Cumberland sausage!

Newland Valley
Jean was knocked-out by the view through Newlands Valley !

We followed the lakeside road along Ullswater before turning right and uphill to Dockray, then left for a single track detour before heading west on the A66. At Keswick we rode through Braithwaite bringing us to the pictureque Newlands valley road. After a brief stop to take in the view we dropped down to Buttermere, turning left for the Honister pass. Our afternoon tea stop in Grange village in the Borrowdale valley gave Alastair chance to take his power-nap before heading back to Keswick past Derwent Water. The final homeward leg took in an excursion around the west side of Thirlmere before continuing down the A595 to Bowness. A swift ride through the Lythe valley and south down the A6 brought us to the route-end at the Truck Haven services at Carnforth.

Download> Route.gdb


Welsh Weekend - 26th September 2008

Our weekend tour to the Brecon Beacons was a great success with the weather providing perfect conditions to fully enjoy the fantastic roads and scenery this area has on offer. Click the link below for more photos.

The group assembled for a two night stay at the Dragon Inn in Crickhowell on Friday evening which was our base for the tour. Following a full "Welsh" breakfast on Saturday morning we set out on our pre-planned route zig-zagging over the Brecon Beacons. The Old School at Defynnog provided refreshments at our morning coffee stop, before a hair-pin photo shoot out on the Black Mountains. After descending into the valley for lunch we dined alfresco style at the Penygawse Victorian Tearoom in Llandovery.

Early Sunday morning in the Brecon Beacons

The afternoon leg saw us head out to Lampeter and north to Tregaron via Llandewi Brefi. We then headed off on the single track roads for Llyn Brianne taking a short detour to the infamous Devils Staircase. Overhead the Red Kites demonstrated their flying skills as we negotiated our route. The ride around the lake to the dam was fantastic and we paused a couple of times to take in the stunning views. This circular route brought us back into Llandovery and the West End bikers cafe for a tea stop before heading back to our hotel via Brecon.

George & Val, and Jim & Dot travelled down to meet up with us on the Saturday and later that evening we all enjoyed dinner together in the hotel restaurant.

After an early breakfast on Sunday Chris, Butch, and Alan headed off into the mountains for a quick ride around above the morning mist. Alastair & Pat had decided to extend their tour and so the rest of us finally departed Crickhowell for the ride home via Builth Wells with a lunch stop in Montgomery, before dispersing at the Whitchurch services. All in all a memorable weekend!

The Garmin GPS route file is available for download below which includes routes for both Saturday and Sunday, and Alastair's recommended route down to Crickhowell. A PDF text file of the Saturday Route Sheet is also available below.

Download> GPS routes.gdb Open> Saturday Route & Menu.pdf Open> Photo Album

If you can't open the PDF file, there's a free Adobe Reader HERE


Sunday Ride - 7th September 2008

Chris led the group on a challenging new route around the Peak District. 11 bikes with 15 riders again defied this summers weather forecast and turned up at the Poplar 2000 service area on the M6/M56 where we set out on this 130 mile run. The first 37 mile leg took us via Knutsford, Macclesfield, and then into the Goyt valley. Unfortunatley the low cloud obscurred the views and we were lucky to just beat the 10.30 deadline at Errwood reservoir where the road into the Goyt Valley is locked-off each Sunday morning to restrict traffic flow.

The single track continued down into the Derbyshire farmland where we we're faced with a small gang of bulls refusing to allow our passage across a cattle grid! It could have turned nasty but a little gentle persuasion and engine revving seemed to work as we slowly passed by. At the next cattle grid we cornered two nervous and unpredictable sheep which all added an extra dimension to negotiating the narrow route. We arrived in Longnor at 11.15 for our morning coffee stop which gave everyone time to recover from the safari so far.

The route continued down through Hartington and Parwich which appeared to have suffered badly from the heavy rain a couple of days earlier. The road surface was littered with flood debris, but despite the obstacles we arrived for our lunch stop at Wirksworth ahead of schedule. After an extended wait the Crown Yard Kitchen provided some splendid food before we headed back north to Bakewell and Ashford via Chatsworth House.

Afternoon tea in Tideswell
A random sample of the 15 riders in our group as we arrived in Tideswell

So far the day had been a ride through sunshine and showers as we pulled into Tideswell village for an afternoon ice cream / tea stop. Following refreshments the final homeward leg via Castleton, Chapel-en-le-Frith, and Pott Shrigley, brought us to the BP station in Dean Row near Wilmslow. The group then took various routes home via junction 6 of the M56. All in all a grand day out!

Download> route.gdb


Sunday Ride - 17th August 2008

Dave took us on Brunstrom's Taliban Traffic Tour into North Wales. As we headed for Betws y Coed accompanied by helicopters and unmarked police cars the weather threatened to dampen our spirits also. The welcome coffee stemmed the chill as we pushed on south via Blaenau Ffestiniog to Barmouth for lunch. As we dined overlooking the coastline, blue skies and sunshine appeared for our afternoon ride home via Bala lake and the Horseshoe pass. Fortunately no one was caught out by the horsebox cameras and overhead patrols. (no photo available)

Download> route.gdb


Sunday Ride - 27th July 2008

George & Les took us on a gentle tour through the countryside. After morning coffee in Slaidburn we headed over the moorland to Bentham and north to Barbon village for a sunday roast lunch. More single track took us over into Dentdale and down to Ribblehead. After an afternoon stop at Clapham village we headed south over the moorland back into Lancashire and home via Chipping. (no photo available)

Download> route.gdb


Sunday Ride - 29th June 2008

Chris led the "Flintstones" tour visiting the Cow & Calf Rocks and Brimham Rocks. After a scenic ride to our morning coffee stop at Maxwells in Clitheroe, we headed over the nick of Pendle towards Nelson, then over the moors past Widdop reservoir and the Lakeside Boulders. Passing through Hebden Bridge we continued on through Bingley for our lunch stop by the Cow & Calf rocks overlooking Ilkley. Unfortunately the forecast wet weather finally arrived but failed to dampen our enthusiasm. After lunch the rain subsided to blue sky and sunshine as we rode by Fewston reservior on our way to the Brimham Rocks near Summerbridge. After a pleasant ice cream stop, Alastair discovered his bike was damaged whilst unattended in the carpark. A makeshift repair to the footrest meant it was ridable with Pat taking a pillion ride from Butch. A scenic route home through the dales passing Thruscross reservior, Bolton Abbey, and Burnsall, brought the route to an end in Gisburn.

Enjoying an ice cream at Brimham Rocks

Download> route.gdb


Sunday Sail - 22nd June 2008

Butch invited everyone along for a gentle summer sail on Lake Windermere on his ex-army M2 amphibeous vehicle. Unfortunately the weather had other plans. But high winds and heavy rain didn't deter our hardy crew from setting sail. After "cruising" up to Ambleside for lunch and in impromtu birthday celebration for Butch, the group re-boarded for the return battle with the elements.

Not surprisingly the M2 Loony Crew found they were the only vessel out on the lake !