Camchain and tensioner seen up close in a cutaway bike engine

Home Travel StoriesFriends And Family 2017

Time With Dad

By Ren Withnell

It's funny how things change from one day to the next. Some days a 20 mile ride seems to take an age and leaves me weary. Today on the other hand the miles are just rolling by and I can't explain why. The bike is no different. The weather is no different, in fact we've just stopped to put waterproofs on but luckily it's only a light shower. The roads, well they feel the same but I must admit they are flowing acceptably so far. Is it my mood? Is it the walking we did yesterday? In a world of infinite changes from day to day perhaps I'll never know.

The Dartford crossing insists that we absolutely must visit a website to pay our toll. We really really must do this before midnight tomorrow. If we don't we'll be thrown in prison, our children will be eaten by dragons and our vehicles will be crushed by wildebeests. According to the internet motorcycles don't need to pay but all these signs, these threats, encourage me to check once more when I get to my Dad's place.

Clackett Lanes Services offers relief in the form of toilets, but we don't stop for food or a drink. According to Google maps we're only 20 miles from Ryka's so we'll head there for a brew and maybe a bite to eat.

Sharon doesn't know why we come to Rykas. Tradition? It's a biker hang out? Habit? It's easy? Sharon scans the price list and we agree it's blooming expensive for a cafe, especially one where you have to sit outside whatever the weather - doesn't that make it a takeaway? Fortunately it's stopped raining now and it's quite warm. We settle on 2 teas and share a portion of chips rather than breaking the budget. I'm not poor, I'm just trying to keep it that way.

Sharon gives the camera a quizzical and dirty look outside Rykas cafe
That looks says "Why have you brought me here...again?"

We've just rattled off 165 miles and I've hardly noticed. The remaining 35 miles pass just as easily save for me getting my roundabouts muddled up and accidentally discovering there's a Triumph dealers just off the A24. Not to worry, no-one was injured and no additional money was spent.

My Dad's just moved and this is our first visit to his new abode. It's a bungalow. It's got walls and doors and windows and rooms and all the sort of things you'd expect to find in a place where human people sleep. Being an expert I can tell that it's bigger and much better decorated than the place where I sleep, but then most places are. The best part is that it has a garage, something my sleeping place is fundamentally lacking in. Our motorcycles have been well and truly spoiled this trip.

Sharon and I both check online to make doubly sure we don't need to pay for the Dartford Crossing. No. Definitely Not. Not for motorcycles. I'm sure. Fairly sure. I still can't help but think I'm going to get a snotty letter through my door sometime next week demanding payment. I even put my registration number in the website to pay and it informs me I was riding a motorcycle and there's no charge for motorcycles. I double check I entered the right reg number. I'm still not convinced.

You don't want to hear the details of our time at my Dad's place, all you'll want to know is that it's good to see him and his wife both looking well if a little frazzled after the stress of moving. They're just getting their new home the way they want it save for the odd little details. I consider myself very fortunate to have a healthy relationship with my father, we're not exactly close like some but we rub along just fine and that suits me.

The sea and the gravelly beach at Ferring on the south coast
Ferring Beach in the evening sun.

Sharon and I spend 2 nights here. We take a stroll into Ferring and down to the beach. We take a ride to Arundel and consume ice cold Magnums in the shadow of the towering castle. We hang around and do something I'm only just learning to do now I'm getting old - chilling out. 

The towering walls of Arundel Castle seen between trees and shurbsArundel Castle

We depart with a hug and a wave on this pleasant Monday morning. As we head north I ponder to myself, what will my life be like when I'm 74 years old? Will I have a house close to the sea? Will I still be riding motorcycles? It scares me to think that it's only 29 years until I'm 74. 29 years seems like a long time then I realise it's only 26 years ago since my son was born and that was just last week? Oh heck, I'd better start enjoying my life.

Do you sell motorycle kit? We'd love to review it here at Bikes And Travels. Drop Ren a line -

Prologue - Friends And Family 2017 Ren is setting the scene for the trip to that there "daaaan saaaaf" place. He's also wondering what kind of person would ask 2 itinerant motorcyclists over for a couple of nights.
Crawling To Sleaford Ren finds it odd to be riding in sunshine on a Wednesday with Sharon. Frustratingly though the traffic puts paid to any plans of motorcycling pleasure.
Dawdling To David's It's a lazy ride through Lincolnshire and Norfolk today despite the antics of other road users. Cromer turns out to be quintessentially English.
Time With David There's no motorcycling today but fear not there's a guided tour in a classic car instead. They say variety is the spice of life.
Time With Dad The miles fly by as does the chill out time at Ren's father's place.
The Cotswolds As Sharon and Ren return home they stop in The Cotswolds. It's as pretty as the promotional pictures so what's Ren got to gripe about this time?

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