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Darcy's Days And Squires Café Day 1

By Ren Withnell

I...or rather we have been invited to join a friend and bike club member on a ride out to support "Darcy's Days". Darcy is a young lady who has a terminal illness and her family and friends are raising funds to ensure her treatment and remaining life is as good as it can possibly be. You can keep up with what's going on at www.facebook.com/darcys.days. I'll be perfectly blunt I'm not a very charitable person but I do like a rideout and as the ride was to start at Squire's Café I wondered if we could make a weekend of it.

I've been to Squires Café twice, once when it was just a small and dangerously oversubscribed café in Sherburn in Elmet, and once when it all moved to it's current location. I'd heard that there was now camping there and as the gf and I were seriously missing being in the tent it made sense to see what's what. I had a look on their website (www.squires-cafe.co.uk/) and when I noticed that camping was free* then there was no other option.

The weather is changeable and the forecast is grim this Saturday morning. There's rain in them there hills but having survived the deluge that was France we're not concerned about a little light English rain any more. I also know that Yorkshire is just that little bit drier than Manchester and Lancashire. The prevailing wind from the south east brings the rain from the Atlantic which drops on the hills here in Lancashire and by the time it reaches Yorkshire it's lost most of its load. The Manchester cotton mills required the water for power and to keep the cotton dust levels down. Well at least that's what I'm hoping.

We've got all day and not far to go so it's a slow start. The load on the bike is minimal as we're only away for one night which is a great relief. Still, looking at the bike you'd think we were off on the world tour. We leave my place at an all too civilised 1200 and take the back roads up to the M65 and Colne. The most direct route is to go through Leeds but we're making an important detour to Knaresborough. This takes us over the A682 to Gisburn then the A59 through Harrogate. The rain is light and intermittent and by the time we roll into Knaresborough we've had a comfortable ride.

The important reason for being in Knaresborough? Yum-yums. In case you don't know Yum-yums are similar to doughnuts but twisted out rather than round. The bakery in Knaresborough, Thomas the Baker (address here) sells the tastiest and most mouth wateringly gorgeous yum-yums we've ever eaten. Knaresborough is also a nice place. The small town square at the bakers is pretty, there's somewhere to stick the bike, toilets nearby and if you get the time you must hire a rowboat and play on the river.

Today however it's not quite going our way. I send the gf to purchase our sweet delights and she returns empty handed. It seems they've just sold the last ones and as the day is getting on there's no more coming. DAMN! 80 miles for nothing! Instead we have a sausage roll and something sweet and it is lovely, it's just not Yum-yums though. We sit on the steps of an old cross and drop pastry flakes in our laps.

thomas the bakers in knesborough, the outside of the bakers shop
No yum-yums...sad face. Oh well, we'll be back I'm sure.

We have a short rain shower in Knaresborough but the rest of our ride is satisfyingly dry. Squires Café is where I left it last time and we roll into the car park to join maybe 20 or 30 other bikes and bikers. It's an odd place Squires, it's not a regular bar or café that the bikers frequent it's purely and totally dedicated to and caters for the biker. Even the car park is marked out for bikes. Inside theirs a classic Kwak 900 in a glass case and a TV plays a loop of motorcycle related and Squires Café adverts.

I enquire about camping and we're pointed around the back. You can kind of tell that "campsite" is not the main business but don't let that put you off. There's an excellent system of grass and gravel bays and the gravel is firmly compacted making a good surface for the bike. The grass is indeed grass and not weeds like some campsites and the tent pegs go into the soil without too much force. We're very soon pitched up and settled in and this time we've brought the BIG double airbed so we should be super comfy. I've forgotten how long it takes to blow up, even with the electric pump.

The tent and the motorcycle on the campsite at squires cafe showing the grass and gravel
Patch of grass, patch of gravel. It works perfectly! The camping at Squires Cafe.

It must be a most charitable weekend this weekend at Squires Café. This morning about 200 riders amd the odd insane pillion left Squires to complete 1000 miles, hopefully in under 24 hours in aid of the Poppy Appeal. This is the RBLR 1000 (www.rblr1000.co.uk) and some of the organisers are hanging around. They're expecting the first and most determined riders to start getting back around 2200. The RBLR volunteers are  milling around and killing time as they wait for the weary mile monsters to return.

the rblr 1000 rider's tents ready for their return
These tents belong to the participants of the RBLR 1000. After 24 hours non stop riding I imagine they'll be ready for a rest.

The gf and I spend the evening having a drink of pop from the bar, chatting to a few bikers and campers and checking out the facilities on site. A Jordy caravan couple tell us of their biking adventures and how much they love Squires Cafe. By 2200 the bar staff are looking like they want to go home soon and there's only a couple of bikers left in the bar. We've had a good day today and my big comfy airbed is calling me. It's cool, possibly cold outside but it's not raining, yet. It's in the air though, I can feel it. I hope tomorrow's OK.

*Note, the camping is free in 2013 for bikers, the website points out there will be a small charge for motorcyclists as of 2014

Darcy's Days And Squires Café Day 1 The gf and I spend the night camping at Squires Cafe. I didn't know what to expect bu thankfully it all turned out rather well!
Darcys Days And Squires Cafe Part 2 After a night of on/off rain we hope Darcy's Day remains dry. We also meet the most wired biker who's just covered 1,000 miles in 24 hours.

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