The outside of a motorbike engine seen up close near the exhaust

Home Travel StoriesLincolnshire Again Aug 2014

Dawdle Around Mablethorpe

By Ren Withnell

I've slept OK, not too bad for me, not too bad at all. I reckon I got to sleep at midnight and apart from a rather annoying pee break sometime in the darkest part of the night I've slept pretty well. It's 0630 before I'm up. 2 friends, MB and NH are also up and about. MB's never been camping before, he complains that it's cold, uncomfortable, he can hear snoring all night long and is there a Premier Inn nearby? I tell him he's a big softie and he needs to man up.

Everyone else is getting up. SL staggers out of the tent and proceeds to cook Heinz's Breakfast In A Can. I'm starving and I've nothing to eat, I'm ready to cut one of the gf's legs off and have that with some rice. The gf gets up, dressed and is ready to ride very quickly which is a sure fire sign that she's hungry too. Everyone else is off to watch qualifying at Cadwell Park, the gf, SL and I are going to have a ride around, first priority though is a cafe.

the gf smiles from her sleeping bag in the tent at the campsite the morning...something's wrong here.
SL stands outside his tent eating his canned breakfast from his billy can
SL eating his breakfast. Git.

Mablethorpe is definitely a seaside town. A small seaside town with arcades, bucket and spade shops and chippies. It caters for lazy holiday makers and day trip to the beach families so at 0830 it's still all locked up tight. I do note there's a few car parks being opened by sleepy attendants, a sure sign the weather is expected to be good, the town is going to get busy and it'll be chaos by lunchtime. I think I prefer it like this, in the peaceful early morning. We glimpse the big, broad, long and sandy beach, impressive.

Just out of town I stumble upon a large red building with a cafe sign. Damn! It's locked, oh, hang on the sign says it opens at 0900. Mind you, it's Sunday, I don't know if that will apply. There's only 5 minutes to wait, it's worth a shot. We park up behind the bluffs and take a very short walk up the coastal defences. Yeah, this is a proper beach. The air is still cool and the sea breeze is stiff yet the clear skies, the sea gently lapping the distant sands and the endless horizon make this a good place to be. I can't explain, I don't know what it is, but I do like to be beside the seaside, beside the sea.

the long broad sandy beach at trusthorpe. Blue skies and completely empty
Maybe I should be on a boat...not a bike?
the gf and SL in sunglasses posing in the sun at Sue's Cafe, trusthorpe
Jake and Elwood, or my cool travelling companions?

Back down at "Sue's Cafe" there are signs of life and the door is open. I was expecting a small cafe with 5 or 6 tables and a dinky kitchen with room for one, presumably "Sue". Inside the small door opens into a fair sized function room with a large kitchen and counter, blimey! Already a couple of pensioners sip coffee and a fat family bicker on another table. These are hardly high class surroundings, a sure sign of a good, cheap breakfast. The menu suggests the small English with one of everything rather than two is £2, a fair price. When I come to pay I'm only charged £1.50 each, excellent! Even the small breakfast is enough to satisfy the our hunger, SL works out his can of breakfast probably cost the same as ours, he should have waited.

sues cafe, a large red non-descript building with a shop and cafe signs everywhere
Sue's Cafe, you'll do for me!

Feeling much better and well fed we step outside into the sun again. This is perfect riding weather, warm and dry but not too hot or sticky or stifling. I know how I feel today and I know what sort of a ride this is going to be. I'm chilled out which means we're going to be cruising. Some might call this riding slowly and being boring, some might call it a waste of a good riding day. I call it the best way to properly look around a place on the perfect motorcycle for the job, a 125. What SL's Street Triple 675 will make of crawling along behind 2 laid back 125 riders is another thing. I wonder if it will overheat or explode with pent up performance?

Out of the small town we're in flat coastal countryside. Hardy grasses cling to the remnants of dunes on the shore side while inland agriculture struggles to grow well as this is too close to the sea. It's like many other coastal areas around the UK which ought to bore me but it doesn't. As we follow an empty lane by the coast I try to understand my obsession with the seaside. Is it because I'm reminded of my childhood holidays? Was I a swashbuckling pirate in a previous life? Should I have gone to sea as a salty sea dog rather than being a computer nerd? I don't know, I love the smell of the coast and the endless horizon as a I look across the water. 

Concentrate Ren, we're doing 20mph and that car behind us probably wants to get past now.

I don't want to follow the coast too far otherwise we'll end up at Skegness and we were there a couple of months ago so that's silly. I turn inland. When we're back on the main roads we have to up the pace otherwise we're a hazard to the flow of traffic. I look to turn off into a quiet lane as soon as possible, no matter where it goes. I duck into a turning and relax again, this is a single track lane. 

the gf just visible among tall ripe maize plants in the rows of a field
If you look hard enough you MIGHT just spot the gf in amongst all the maize plants.

This is proper farmland. Huge maize plants grow in long long lines, tall walls of round bales await storage and great plumes of dust rise from massive combine harvesters as they process vast golden fields of wheat. I find it all quite moving and impressive. This is space, the space I talked so much about in Scotland but a different kind of space. We are not hemmed in with houses and concrete industry here and yet this is not wild nature. This is industry on a massive scale, nature has been arranged into neat rows suitable for machines. 

I like it, and I don't. I'm impressed with what mankind can do then I realise even these green and golden fields are in fact outdoor factories. We like to think of the countryside as idyllic and peaceful like Constable's Hay Wain yet there's little room left for fluffy bunnies, foxes, badgers and casual ramblers to sit peacefully chewing on a piece of straw. There is a kind of space here though and the flat land lets you see it all. No matter the pros and cons of modern farming it a simple pleasure to meander down these empty lanes. SL's big silly Trumpet hasn't blown up or died of boredom either, that's good.

sl splashes through a small shallow ford on his street triple
A FORD! SL cools his Striple by giving it a bath.

I've no idea where I'm going. I'm just riding aimlessly which is the best kind of riding. We stop from time to time to admire or rest. We dawdle down the back roads then on the main roads we have to up the pace. The main roads are an issue though, they're getting very busy. I suppose on this fine day some are off to the motorcycle races, others are off to the coast and the rest are off shopping. We're the lucky ones, we've got all day to do nothing.

By mid afternoon we've still barely done 50 miles. It's time for another drink and we really ought to head back to the campsite. This countryside stuff is lovely and all that but, well, it's getting a bit samey now. SL's sat nav is given instructions to point us back to the campsite and SL is given instructions to stop if he finds somewhere for a drink and a rest. The Street Triple manages to behave itself and SL ups the speed but only from cycling pace to an easy mosey between the hedgerows. 

He pulls into a countryside pub and we park. The gf settles outside as SL and I go in to get a drink. Inside the locals ask if we're here for the BSB races and are we lost? No, we explain and they like the idea we've come to see their area and appreciate our positive remarks on it's beauty. I mention "It's very flat". Well, you'd think I'd just dropped my pants and parked a steaming turd on the carpet. The landlord and the locals all protest this is hill country, this is the edge of the Wolds. I really ought to try cycling up such-and-such a lane, that town is over so many feet above sea level and farmer Giles rolled his tractor on the terribly steep angles. I back down, I'm dying to ask if any of these straw chomping locals have ever been to the bloody highlands though. 

SL pulls a silly sulking face
Is SL sulking because we've been going so slowly all day?

Outside we drink our pop and laugh at the local notion of a hill. Yes, yes OK here there's undulations in the land, wherever we are right now is not perfectly flat. I'd love to pop the landlord onto the back of the bike and take him across Rannoch Moor, The Cairngorms, the Applecross road and then to Fort William and show him Ben Nevis. Then he'll know what a real hill can look like. We giggle. Damn, I want to ride back to Scotland right now, damn.

There's only another few miles and another gentle slope back to the campsite. Upon our return SL starts to pack. He and his wife have plans to go camping later in the week and he has things to sort out before then. It's teatime as he departs. He's got 675 ccs and over 100 bhp to swiftly take him back to the gritty north west, it won't take him long. I can almost hear his bike jump for joy as he opens the taps after crawling behind the gf and myself all day.

tents in a field, you can just make out the outline of 2 lancaster bombers in the blue sky
Look closely, you can see TWO Lancaster bombers passing over.

The rest of the evening goes pretty much like the last one. The gf and I dine on something I rustle up on the stove while the rest of the crew eat in the pub. The gf and I spend an hour inside the pub to drink some pop and warm up, it's getting cold outside. Attempts are made to get the brazier going but for the most part we do no more than embarrass ourselves. Then there's the usual teasing, messing around, drinking and general nonsense. 

As we wriggle into the sleeping bags we agree it's a lovely part of the country and while it doesn't have the awesome beauty of The Alps or the stunning roads of Scotland it does feel much less hemmed in than our city dwellings. And I love the whole seaside thing, what is it with me and the coast right now?

Getting There The ride out to Louth and beyond turns out to be a better day than expected.
Dawdle Around Mablethorpe It's a lazy, slow and relaxing day in and around Mablethorpe. Don't call it flat though...
Home In The Rain Ren manages to turn a trip home from Lincolnshire into a battle with towns, cars, roundabouts and traffic lights. It could be worse...

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Home Travel StoriesLincolnshire Again Aug 2014
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