Monday, May 28, 2012

Blast to County Durham

Yesterday we went out on the VFRs for a run into County Durham and back via Tan Hill.

We filled up at our local garage and then headed over to Clitheroe as usual. For a change we headed to Devil’s Bridge via the B6478 through Slaidburn and then through Gisburn Forest and past Stocks Reservoir. This brings us out on the A65 a couple of miles outside Ingleton. We passed through Ingleton and soon arrived at Devil’s Bridge but decided not to stop because it was so busy.

Sedbergh We joined the A683 and headed over to Sedbergh, where we stopped for a quick comfort break. We then continued on the A683 all the way to the A685 which we then followed into Kirkby Stephen. We passed through Kirkby Stephen and headed on the A685 to Brough, where we joined the B6276. We followed the B6276 passed Selset and Grassholme Reservoirs and all the way into Middleton-in-Teesdale. We stopped at Cafe 1618 again for lunch as we were very impressed with our last visit a few weeks ago.

We left Middleton-in-Teesdale on the B6277 and headed over to Barnard Castle. We didn’t stop as we had only just had lunch so continued passed on the B6277. We crossed over the A66 onto Stang Lane and headed over to Arkengarthdale. We then turned right onto the Long Causeway and Outside Middelton-in-Teesdalefollowed that all the way to Tan Hill Inn. Here we turned onto minor roads and headed South to Keld. Just before joining the B6270 at Keld you go down some very tight hairpins, which Helen really doesn’t like. As usual she managed to meet someone coming up as she was going down. We passed through Keld and then joined the road that takes you over Buttertubs Pass and down into Hawes. We passed through Hawes which was very busy and then joined the B6255 and headed over to Ribblehead Viaduct. We stopped at the viaduct for a much needed ice-cream. Just as we were about to leave Camsdad and Mickster from NUKB turned up.

Ice-Creams @Ribblehead Viaduct After a brief chat we left and headed our separate ways. We joined the B6479 and headed through Horton-in-Ribblesdale and onto Settle. We stopped in Settle briefly to fill up as we were both on one bar on our fuel gauges, we only put £10 in due to the price. We left Settle and headed back to Clitheroe via Wigglesworth and Sawley and then turned left and went over Pendle Hill and down into Sabden. We then continued on to Simonstone and then followed the A56/M66 home.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

VFR Maintenance and Tyres

I carried out some routine maintenance on the VFRs on Saturday in preparation for our upcoming tour around the Alps.

I changed the oil and filters on both VFRs, Helen’s was on 15156 and mine was on 25045 miles. I also stripped down Helen’s calipers and gave them a good clean and fitted new pads to the front as well. I also changed the brake fluid in both the front and rear circuits as it was due and also dark in colour. I also gave both bikes a thorough clean and removed as much chain muck as possible. Then I re-lubed the chain, sidestand and any other moving parts that required it. I had to fit new bolts to my peg rubbers as the original ones were missing. I’m surprised the rubbers had stayed on till now.

Michelin Pilot Road 3 Also in preparation for the trip we also had a new set of tyres fitted to both bikes. As usual we got Bike Tyre Services to do the job, as it is far less hassle to get him to come and fit them at our house. We opted this time to have the new Michelin Pilot Road 3s fitted. We have had no issues with the Road 2s but have heard the new version is excellent in the wet. They do look a bit odd with the cross cuts on the front but after initial testing appear to perform the same as the Road 2s.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pacsafe Stuffsafe 80

Packsafe Stuffsafe 80 Helen decided that we required somewhere to put our bike gear while touring around the Alps this year. So she opted to buy a Pacsafe Stuffsafe 80 litre bag to hold our jackets and back protectors while we stopped to visit things. 

The patented anti-theft StuffSafe 80 from Pacsafe combines an 80L waterproof stuff sack and a slashproof, snatchproof and tamperproof stainless steel eXomesh® Ultimate exterior. It can be locked and secured to something solid, in our case one of the bikes. It looks to be a quality product, but without trying to cut the eXomesh® we have really no way of knowing how strong it is. But visually it does look very strong and we don’t really intend  to use it anywhere particularly dodgy looking. It is obviously no good for securing small things as you can get you hands through the holes in the mesh. Packsafe Stuffsafe 80But for our bulky jackets and back protectors it is perfect. It is also very light and packs down to a very small size that can be easily carried on the seat of ones of our bikes or in a top box.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Typical late Start Dales Run

We left home at around 10:30am and headed over to Clitheroe by our usual roads, where we stopped to fill up. From Clitheroe we followed our usual route to Settle via the minor backs roads of Sawley and Wigglesworth. We passed by Settle and joined the B6479 and passed through Horton in Ribblesdale, we decided to stop at the tearoom just outside Horton in Ribblesdale for lunch.

We left the tearoom and headed for Ribblehead Viaduct, where we turned right on the stunning B6255 to Hawes. We didn’t go into Hawes and turned immediately left and decided to head over to Devil’s Bridge. We joined the A684 and headed for Sedbergh, but instead of following the A684 we turned right at the Moorcock Inn onto the B6259 towards Kirkby Stephen. I decided to this route as we enjoyed this stretch of road last week. We didn’t go all the way to Kirkby Stephen and instead joined the very minor Tommy Road at Pendragon Castle; we did this to cut across to the A683.

We turned left onto the A683 and headed South to Sedbergh. We passed through Sedbergh and continued on the A683 down to Devil’s Bridge.

After a brief stop at Devil’s Bridge for an ice cream we left and headed for home. We took the A65 heading towards Skipton and soon arrived in Ingleton. Just after Ingleton we turned right onto minor roads and headed through Gisburn Forest and past Stocks Reservoir. We then joined the B6478 and headed for Slaidburn. We continued on this road and headed over Waddington Fell and down into Clitheroe. We passed through Clitheroe and then went over Pendle Hill and through Sabden. We then followed the A56/M66 back home as usual.


Sunday, May 06, 2012

Kirkstone and Hartside Passes

As it was bank holiday weekend we decided to go out on Saturday and hope it would be quieter on the roads. We left home and headed over to Clitheroe to fill up. We then followed our usual route to Settle via the minor backs roads of Sawley and Wigglesworth. We didn’t go into Settle instead we turned left onto the A65 and headed towards Kirkby Lonsdale. We passed by Devil’s Bridge, but didn’t stop as we were running late due to an incident at Clitheroe Services. We continued on the A65 and passed over the M6 and then joined the A590 to Kendal. We then got off the A590 as it turned into the A591 and then Ulverston. We then turned right onto the A5074 and headed towards Bowness-on-Windermere. Not many people seem to know about this road and instead use the A590 and A592 to get to Bowness. This of course is good VFRs @ Kirkstone Innfor us as we usually get a fairly clear run. We soon arrived in Bowness and then joined the A592 and headed towards Kirkstone. We then went straight over at the dodgy mini-roundabout junction with A592/A 591. We passed through Troutbeck and into the national zone and then started the climb up Kirkstone Pass. We stopped at the Kirkstone Inn at the top for a brew and some cake. 

We left the Inn and headed down the other side of Kirkstone Pass. I really like this part of the Pass as it is a nice challenge to get all the lines right. We were soon down off the Pass and then following the sweeping A592 as it twisted and turned its way to Patterdale. At this point the road starts to run alongside Ullswater, which it follows for its full length. We then turn away from Ullswater and head over to the A66 and then pass by Penrith. We then join the A686 towards Alston and follow that for a while. We then pass through Melmerby and now the fun starts as we start to climb up Hartside Pass. This is a wonderful and challenging piece of asphalt with tight hairpin bends and some nice fast open corners. We would normally stop at the café at the top but since it wasn’t that long since we were at Kirkstone we decided to carry on and try Middleton-in-Teesdale for lunch.

Helens VFR @ Kirkstone Inn So we continued on the A686 and dropped down the other side of the pass and soon arrived in Alston. We turned right at Alston and headed on the B6277 towards Middleton-in-Teesdale. This is also a very nice fast piece of road and is often deserted, today was no exception to that rule. The snow poles at the sides of the road, gives you and idea of how remote and barren this place is. We soon passed by High Force and then arrived it Middleton-in-Teesdale, we stopped at Café 1618 for lunch.

After a lovely lunch at this highly recommended café we left Middleton-in-Teesdale on the B6276. This road is pretty much a mirror of the B6277 and was as barren and deserted as usual. We didn’t enjoy the road as much as usual as we passed by around seven dead lambs at the side of the road. It was clear that they hadn’t died as a result of a collision with a vehicle. So it’s possible an outbreak of something or the harsh cold April that we have had might be to blame. Anyway we soon arrived in Brough and then joined the A685 to Kirkby Stephen. We filled up in Kirkby Stephen and then instead of heading over to Sedbergh we took the B6259 through Nateby towards Hawes. Again this is a quiet road and for much of it length runs parallel to the Settle to Carlisle railway tracks. We then turned left at the Moorcock Inn onto the A684 and headed into Hawes. From Hawes we followed the B6255 to Ribblehead Viaduct and the turned left onto the B6479 and passed through Horton in Ribblesdale before arriving in Settle. We passed though Settle and then headed back home via our usual route through Wigglesworth, Sawley, and Sabden.