The city of Nice seen from the surrounding hillside bathed in sunshine

Home Ren's Biking Blog

Covid And Holidays

Blog Date 1 July 2021

The first of July huh. By now in a typical year I would have been on several weekend adventures and a "big" trip sometime in late May. I'd be looking to curtail any future weekends until September as the school holidays are coming meaning that the campsites and tourist traps will be busy. Then in September I'd be thinking of another week away somewhere before winter's cold weather starts to bite.

2 motorcycles covered in camping gear on a mountain in Spain
Spain at the start of June. 
A steep mountin top in Scotland
And/or Scotland in September.

You'd have to be from the planet Zeebroop to not know why last year and this year has been quite different. On a website with the URL "bikesandtravels.com" there's not been much in the way of travels, or for that matter bikes. 

At the time of writing in spite of another spike in Covid numbers I get the sense from the TV that 2 things are changing. 1 is that, with many caveats, the vaccines are "helping". People are still dying from Covid complications but the numbers are less than the horrors we have experienced. 2 is the feeling that both businesses and the populous have had enough. We've moved away from the moral high ground of "Save The NHS" to "can't I just go to the bloody cafe/cinema/pub/festival/footy match!?"

Sharon smiling outside the cafe close to Loch Ness
Cafes? Remember them? 

I yearn to book a ferry to Spain or France. To ride on the wrong side of the road in a place filled with people what don't speak proper like what I does. To see big mountains or sweeping plains. Anywhere really, anywhere that's not these dowdy warn out walls of my house. 

Simon Calder (BBC's holiday travel chap) seems exhausted from trying to get a handle on what you can or cannot do regarding a foreign trip. You may (or may not) need to prove you're double vaccinated. You may (or may not) need to prove a negative test before leaving and/or your return. You may (or may not) be required to isolate upon arrival for 3, 5, 10 or 14 days when going out and maybe (or maybe not) upon your return. Throw in the UK's departure from the EU with its associated complications and paperwork.

I think I'll leave the notion of a foreign trip for a while, a bit like a bathroom after the morning's ablutions.

We are allowed to travel within the UK now (with added complications). Logically it seems prudent to take a break within the UK thus avoiding all (well, most) of the constantly changing regulations. Of course I am not alone in my thinking, I imagine millions of Brits have come to the same conclusion. They must have as trying to book a campsite at weekends is proving difficult - and expensive. 

An empty camping field overlooking the sea at St David's Pembrokeshire
Remember when campsites looked like this?

While there are a few "deals" out there they're soon snapped up. Otherwise prices are soaring due to demand - "one night's pitch, small tent, one person, that'll be £30 please". Simple supply and demand I'm afraid. If you find a hotel room somewhere you'd actually want to stay for under £60, bite their hand off.

Regular readers may recall Sharon and I went to Northern Ireland last year. We were supposed to be sharing a house with a group of riders but due to Covid that fell through. Luckily we managed to find a lodge to ourselves that worked out rather well. The booking for the shared house wasn't cancelled but moved forward to this year. As such we're off back to Norn Oyerland in a few months.

Hopefully. 

Northern Ireland is a fully fledged bona fide part of the UK. As such we should have no trouble going and returning, no more than going to Preston. Yeah, right. Like Wales and Scotland Northern Ireland has its own government with its own Covid rules. We'll be travelling through Scotland to get there meaning we are at the mercy of both Northern Ireland and Scotland's rules as well as any changes to England's too.

A stop sign on a closed barrier
I hope we're not going to see any of this.

Not only is there Covid in the mix but Brexit too. The question of the Irish border is phenomenally complex, riddled with history, religion, politics and tragedy. I hope to goodness these complications don't throw a spanner in our plans. For the sake of all on either side of the border I hope to goodness these complications don't lead to a return of "The Troubles".

We have ferries booked, hotels booked and time off work booked. Suffice to say I've been studying the cancellation policies of each.  

My next thought is will travel remain expensive? Take camping for example. Last year many campsites would have taken a massive hit. For most of the season no campers were allowed and when they were numbers were down greatly. And yet the owners still had to pay for the maintenance and repairs and council taxes and so on. 

I can understand the owner's desire to make the most from people who will be holidaying in the UK. But what of 2022 or 2023? If this pestilence passes and Brexit rules are solidified and understood and normal service is resumed? When the thronging masses go back to Ibiza and Tenerife will we see campsite fees return to pre-Covid levels save for inflation?

Or will £30 for a patch of grass and the use of questionable toilets and showers have become the norm and we just accept it as such. I never would have thought I'd tolerate fuel at £1.30 a litre. If people won't pay £30 a night then prices should fall, it remains to be seen if people will or will not.

A glamping pod in South Wales
For £30 I'd be wanting something more substantial than a tent.

Buddhism guides us to accept change as nothing is permanent. It's a fair and true observation, it'll just take me a while to adjust.


Send Ren your thoughts on two wheeled travel - click here.

Reader's Comments

Upt'North ¹ said :-
Ed, it's depressing innit. Not in I can't find a pair of pants depressing but proper depressing. I can't even be bothered to check the cancellation policies of ferries/hotels etc. What's the point, they'll be different next week. We shall revue our ferry to Spain after the next announcement but again, it will only change again before September. We're not getting any younger and long bike tours can be hard on the body. My own view on Covid is let's get on with it. I'm vaxed and probably stand more chance of dying from falling off a ladder than I do from Covid. It should be my choice at this stage whether I travel or not but with political shenanigans throughout the EU and UK it's difficult to see any light at the end of the tunnel. And I'm sure that light is another train coming straight at us.
On that note I'm off to clear the gutters, what could go wrong?
New Avons next Tuesday ED.
If you get away folks, enjoy, if you don't, I can recommend Whyte and Mackay. But not before going up a ladder.
Upt'North.
02/07/2021 08:34:47 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
You may well be right about being safer than up a ladder Upt' but one thing that is largely ignored is the prevalence of "long covid" especially amongst younger people. According to ONS it's getting on for a million people (probabl;y an underestimate) ie more than 1% of the population. It may well be that the vaccines are pretty ineffective against people developing this and as I know someone who's been suffering with it for over a year it is definitely something you don't want to come down with.

And Lagavulin's much nicer than W&M......
https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditio...
02/07/2021 10:26:16 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Ian don't disagree.......but........
If I fell off a ladder and didn't shuffle off this mortal coil wouldn't I also possibly have long term health issues to deal with?
It should be my choice at this stage whether I stay at home wearing a mask and refusing to answer the door to the postman or indeed sit in a park with 10,000 other people watching football, not some knobber of a politician.
Upt'North.
02/07/2021 12:00:09 UTC
Bogger said :-
I'm with you Upt. I'll take my chances.

Bogger
02/07/2021 17:18:38 UTC
ROD said :-
From the lifting of some of the covid restrictions my riding has mostly been on local lanes with my wife on our 125 Lexmotos.
After changing the fork oil and the seals on the BM last week I went out for a longer ride yesterday.
I was out for 11 hour and had a ride into Wales covering a round trip of 375 miles on 'A' & 'B' roads.
The weather forecast was for showers, but I managed to avoid these.
Posted Image
02/07/2021 21:10:17 UTC
ROD said :-

Posted Image
02/07/2021 21:11:16 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
Nice pics Rod.

And I do agree about choices but remember that our choices do affect other people. From the wails of anguish from people who can't go and lie on a beach or shout in a football stadium you'd think they were being deprived of some fundamental human right. I'm quite happy to keep my distance thank you. Mind you I was happy to do that pre-covid as well......
03/07/2021 10:28:52 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Lovely images ROD. I can find Long Mynd on the maps but whereabouts was this image taken? A pin on Google Maps would be lovely.

I'll see your Shropshire n Wales with a RichmondShire...


Posted Image
05/07/2021 08:59:40 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
That looks rather like Harthope Moor between the Tees and Wear Ren.

The Long Mynd is quite a weird place - there's an interesting narrow road that hugs the side of Cardingmill Valley with a steep drop on one side and the top can be very bleak.
05/07/2021 10:16:54 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
My mistake Ian, apologies. The image was taken upon my return from Richmondshire not actually in Richmondshire. I'll add a google maps pin to the exact location as recorded in the exif info of my phone. It's a strange old technical world this computer stuff.

Note for readers (and nefarious folks) - when images are uploaded to BAT they are resized. This is to reduce the amount of data stored on the server but coincidentally also removes the exif info. What is this exif info? My phone (and many others) stores additional data. Within the image is recorded the location from the phone's GPS where the image was taken. This is great for reminding you where (and when) you took the image - BUT - if the image was taken at home showing your shiny new motorcycle naughty people can see where you live.

Beware of uploading images taken at home or anywhere else you don't want unwelcome attention and then uploading them to public websites.
https://goo.gl/maps/c3pA3rBeiVkdLiqUA...
05/07/2021 11:11:27 UTC
Borsuk said :-
I'll see your wherever and raise you an Alpujarras. :-)
Posted Image
05/07/2021 11:46:02 UTC
ROD said :-
Long Mynd.
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@52.5372896,-2.8353727,12z
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@52.5372896,-2.8353727,12z...
05/07/2021 14:05:30 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Borsuk - you're just showing off now.

Thanks ROD. I'll add a star to my google maps and maybe go look next time I'm down there.
06/07/2021 13:06:50 UTC

Post Your Comment Posts/Links Rules

Name

Comment

Add a RELEVANT link (not required)

Upload an image (not required)

No uploaded image
Real Person Number
Please enter the above number below




Home Ren's Biking Blog

Admin -- -- Service Records Ren's Nerding Blog