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Friday, 15 March 2019

The importance of Pizza

I would like to thank Phil Miners for chatting up the receptionist in the Falstaff - Leamington Spa enabling us to have Domino's Pizza in the bar area - I can assure you that by 21.00 my stomach was keening at the idea that my throat had been cut at some point without its knowledge.

Food is important, it helps keep you warm, it gives you the energy so that your brain is receptive to stimuli and these are important factors to the biker whether male or female.  Arriving in Leamington Spa in the dark was a very long way from my excellent breakfast provided by Karen Partington-Ward at the Chequered Flag at 0900 that morning.

Things I learnt from riding on a super windy day included

"your overall speed will increase if your hood is not creating a parachute brake behind your head"
"choosing the boring route can often be faster" A38 via Dartmoor and A30
"You need chocolate to keep you warm" (Thats not strictly true but chocolate made me feel better)
"Waterproofs are great sails"
"Bonnevilles lean over quite well when you think that you are riding upright"

We had left the Chequered Flag full of high spirits - both Rob and Paul captured our Cornish Flags flying - and subsequently attracted some waves and attention from children who thought we were very festive. The strength of the wind did push Debbies flag to a horizontal position, which might have been why the truck at Exeter services thought she was signalling him to cross into her lane using semaphore.  Super strong coffee and multiple wee's helped to settle the aftermath.

Debbie had arranged with her friend Sue Dobson to meet up in Clevedon, Sue Dobson kindly offered to provide lunch, which was a fantastic mezze - again preparing our bodies for the elements. We were joined by Zoe Bowlt and Linda Hay for lunch and our journey to Leamington Spa. At this stage the wind had been joined by the promised precipitation - I would like to know how the met office configures its percentages - in my experience 100% means its guaranteed, so why does the Met Office forecast guarantee rain when precipitation is 40% or 30%?

The conundrum of waterproof wearing was mooted - at 10 degrees it was still relatively warm and likely to make one wet on the inside - the rain was light and might disappear - yes I was very optimistic. The six o'clock coffee stop at KFC confirmed that the rain was here to stay and that the Primani Velvet leggings worn under my jeans didn't make you feel cold or damp.  A borrowed blue roll mopped up some of the dampness and cleared a few visors - riding whilst peering through steamed up perspex despite a pinlock made roundabouts at rush hour interesting.

We continued on with the journey feeling like Joe Btfsplk (Charlie Brown character) - into the gloom.
Debbie's sat nav came into good use when the tail lights of several cars interfered with our view of the lead riders - whilst in the lay by - I took advantage of being well hydrated externally to give my goggles a spit wash to keep them clear - it worked for the next couple of hours.

You know when your day is done - you arrive at the location after riding for 12 hours and someone suggests that you might like to move your bike to a new location having just parked up.
That will be a no then.

I was able to loosen my leg muscles up courtesy of the Falstaff as they were unable to provide us with a functioning electronic key - after attempt number three they gave us a different room at the other end of the hotel. The rooms were well heated and we were able to drape items over the radiator box in preparation for the next day. A rather feeble shower followed but was dismissed by the elation that Pizza was on route.  Thank god for Phil and the Pizza

Saturday, 9 March 2019

A blustery day is great for flying kites

The Cornish Flag snapped off after its second day exposed to fair winds. The pole bit the dust and dragged light a lightning rid behind me. Luckily Phil was behind and we pulled over to detached sopping flags and wrecked pole. The blue sky and sun did pop out on occasion warming us up nicely to RV at Halfords off Hangar Lane roundabout then arrived beeping at the Ace Cafe.
Many thanks to Paula and her sat nav leading the way.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Ooh be still my beating heart or just slow down a wee bit

Today only one sleep getting the bikes set up for travel.
Debbie helped put a clamp to hold my flag. We are being very careful as the wind is rather strong today at 48mph all wrapped up now in security cables ready for the ride up tomorrow.
Dont you just love zip ties 🤣🥰

Last minute shop for some heated extras budget style i will write up a short review on them if used 😱 hopefully not.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

I Love My Bike

Doesn't this YouTube video sum it up...

WRWR - Motorcycle Maids Making Waves

In August 2018 we were involved in a discussion about women's clothing on Facebook, Hayley Bell mooted the idea of doing something about the lack of options and access to motorcycles and clothing suitable for women. Some of you might not consider this an issue if you live near a showroom or store that supplies your needs, or if you have the time to send off repeatedly for items from online shops to try on and return until you find the right fit.

Well, Hayley hit the point pretty swiftly in her WRWR Facebook group as within a month of starting it had attracted in excess of 10,000 female riders. (For further information about WRWR and its origins please follow the link at the right hand side of the blog)

Us Maids in Cornwall were majorly excited at getting involved with WRWR, envisioning a southwesterly circuit of our home county before heading overseas. Bristol is often pictured as the 'lands end' of the West of England, unless the English have a caravan attached to their car.

My attitude is generally you have to be in it to win it - so I volunteered to help with moderation on the ever increasing Facebook group, and as Debbie doesn't sleep, she was able to monitor daily WRWR Facebook activity. We enthusiastically tagged each other on any new information arising as the plans for the relay were put together by the voluntary admin team.  I have to thank Debbie's for her high levels of enthusiasm which have to be applauded - she had the hotels booked as soon as the UK routes were announced. Annual leave was booked and plans afoot to make this happen for us. By hook or by crook this was something that we would be involved in. I had a massive clear out in my loft and put it up for sale on eBay, the timely sales enabled the booking of the guardian pack and the euro tunnel tickets to be purchased.

I had this crazy idea that I would write to some local motorcycle stores and ask them if they would like to sponsor the Motorcycle Maids in any form whatsoever including the loan of any winter kit that might make our journey a little easier.  We did receive some stickers and a keyring with a lovely letter wishing us luck in our endeavours from a large Plymouth based store.

In an effort to raise the WRWR profile the admin team had appealed to all to help with some of the tasks - alongside Shana I learnt about the practical benefits of buffer and how to overload it with too many photos so it jammed. The Litas Cornwall Instagram account proved to be very useful to push some great photos and share event details across social media platforms.

I sent what felt like hundreds of emails to radio stations contact addresses - outlook read receipts confirmed that they read all about WRWR. The lack of feedback did leave me stumped. As luck would have it one of my patients in clinic mentioned his long standing career as a newspaper editor - talk about gift horse, I made copious notes based on his advice.

I forwarded one of my early emails to my workplace director's PA in case they could make use of the news story for company PR. The PR agency was swift in its response and I have to say delivered an excellent response in the Plymouth Newspapers - Plymouth Herald. WRWR was being talked about in this Oceanic City.  My personal messages across Facebook messenger resulted in an interview and Podcast with Plymouth Radio Sunday Supplement Episode 22 Women in Motorcycling- I noted a slight raise in my voice pitch after being asked by Sam how I managed 'helmet hair'.

Friday morning opened with a chirpy message from Debbie accompanied by the full size page article and shot of me in a most flattering (not) photo in the Cornish Times.

When South is in the Midlands

We are both on Motorbike Women a Facebook group that has attracted a large number of women bikers from across the globe in 2018 the admin team held its inaugural rally for women only. Originally there was a South and North which finalised in just the rally in 'South' which was near Worcester which I have to say to us maids from Cornwall was fairly North.
Debbie, Mel and I met at our favourite starting point The Chequered Flag Cafe had our bikes checked over by Rob and tucked into a light breakfast to fuel the journey.

The first few miles were fairly event free until Launceston when the road was inexplicably grid locked - this is where two wheels comes into its own as were able to weave our way through the static caravans and cars. At one point it felt like we were magnets as we were seemingly drawing vehicles to pincer close on us. Its one of those strange phenomenons whereby some drivers wish that they had chosen to ride a motorbike and would like to keep gazing at our beautiful physiques from their wing mirrors. The weaving journey kept us on our toes requiring us to pull off  the motorway at Exeter for a left hand break, and an optimistic idea that things might improve. It didn't!
We reached Gloucester services about 16.00hours and had a very late lunch before switching on Google maps to find the rally site.

The campsite was located by the river, sunshine, scenic, peaceful and a pub just what we needed for a great weekend. The temptation of the bar did encourage two of us to get the tents pitched quick smart. The first night party with live music allowed all the ladies to shake any muscle aches from the journey loose. The MW South organising team ensured that no-one was left out and no wallflowers were allowed. I was able to observe some awesome persuasion techniques put into force at 2am when the disco bar had closed and the barman was considering closing the hotel/pub bar.

Waking to warm sunshine was most pleasant, Debs returned reporting that the showers were awesome and that I should save my wet wipes for another day. Ha well she could hardly contain her mirth when I returned with blue fingers and toes having found the water went cold once the shampoo was on.

The Rally held a combination of ride outs and competitions which allowed us to take in the elegance of some ladies rides and complement those with the skill to make their own mark on their RAT.
The day continued with significant amounts of eating and a pleasant nap to sleep off the hangover that had been lurking all morning. Are you getting the picture of what a pair of party animals we are?

This trip did confirm that we were getting to grips with some good ideas for keeping warm and dry in our ever changing British weather.  All in one waterproofs were pretty effective in keeping both then wind and rain out.  The Revit brand from Lidl comes with an  elasticated waistband and lots of velcro closure taps to keep the fit snug.

T-Shirt collection addition number 2.

Moor Gravel and super sunsets

To catch up on past biking activities the posts have been a flurry of historical reflection and a slight smug feeling at keeping over 8000 photographs on my phone just in case. Ha well when it comes to iPhone blog writing theses photos do come in useful.

This s

hould be titled Motorcycle Maids on the Moor - having spent three years living on Dartmoor I had experienced the benefits and pitfalls of daily commutes skirting pony pooh whilst admiring breath taking views. Capturing the experience on a bike opens you to new sensory experiences, the warmth of the sun on your face, the essence of gorse blossom, even the scent of rain is invigorating. Riding a motorbike raises your awareness to the good things in nature as well as sunday  drivers.

There is a neat loop that runs through the back of Tavistock and into Princetown. Plenty of food options to stoke up on. We dropped back down via Dousland and Yelverton stopping to take posterity photos on the way. The roads were quiet enough to allow for a little dance of joy and a bus load of marines stopped to ask if we needed assistance, my suspicion was they had spotted the dancing form of Debbie whilst on a recce and couldn't resist finding out more.