A motorcycle parked in front of a tent on a pleasant green campsite

Home Travel StoriesFarewell to England Tour 2021

Farewell to England Tour 2021 - Day 3

Ride Date 20 August 2021

By Rev. Mick!

Central Bristol is an amazing city, ride from Filton into the City and there is enough of the world there to fascinate anyone. Chasing a 67 year old motorcycle with a growling clutch on a 15 year old Cub and it all gets a bit surreal. Thank God, finally ahead is Fowler's of Bristol, a great motorcycle haven.

The day started fair and as the day wore on it got better. My good buddy Drew is the owner of a few bikes and he had agreed to search for a back roads route to my sister's in Bath. However first I was giving him back his green helmet I had borrowed only after I had been and bought a new helmet in Fowler's of Bristol. 

Drew decided that he would take his 67 year old Velocette and he lead me off on a mad cap route through the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean. For both of our bikes these lanes are just brilliant. I was also getting the full aural effect of big old 500cc single ahead of me while working to keep up. 

An old Velocette and Mick's Innova with the river severn in the background

All small winding lanes through wooded hills and river valleys. Some of these lanes are incredibly steep and narrow for public roads. You have to keep your wits very much about you, as I turn a corner there could be a car, tractor or horses. They also had some unique hazards, at one point the tarmac was covered in green mould as it got no sun in the trees. Also it could be suddenly covered in agricultural detritus or leaf mould. So much so that my brakes were very hard used as will be seen later. There was a hell of a lot of 2nd and 3rd gear work, by the time we made Chepstow I was sucking fumes.

Drew took me down to see the Severn Search and Rescue HQ as he is a volunteer member. A great organisation, sort of an inland RNLI or lowland mountain rescue. 

The Search And Rescue building under the massive River Severn Bridge

This was interesting as it is directly under the old Severn Bridge at the site of the slip way for the old Severn ferry. 

The slipway for search and rescue with the old crossing towering above

Upstream you could see Berkley nuclear power station. Even at this state of tide there were big standing waves, boils and eddies plus it can have 10m tides, often running up stream at over 7 knots. Our biggest on the Atlantic are about 4m! I've run some of the mightiest Himalayan rivers and I would not want to be in there. So fair play to Drew and the rescue lads for risking their lives for those in distress and idiots on jet skis.

We drove back in to Chepstow which is a lovely little town. Here I finally filled up following a few squeaky bum moments. After filling Drew advised me I had filled up with the more expensive (but higher octane) petrol. I said I knew this as it had come to nearly £5!.

You can, apparently, use the cycle roadway off the main carriageway while crossing the old Severn bridge on a motorcycle. We however missed the slipway to start it. So it was on with the big boy pants and join the trucks and cars, no chance of a photo. God I love Innova - it held in there, high octane? It was interesting as it is years since I crossed it on a motorcycle. I remember when I was at school, Gloucester was the last Severn crossing. I remember the old bridge being built and crossing this we had great views of the new one.

Once off the bridge we were back into rural lanes, pretty villages, lovely pubs and great Innova fun. However all to soon we were into the outskirts and then the centre of Bristol. We did cause many members of the two wheel community to be taking slightly puzzled looks. The ride in from Filton must pass every sort of ethnic restaurant, wonderful cafes, people from every ethnic background, colourful shops of many colours. I loved it. However the clutch on Drew's elderly beast was not loving it. So it was some relief we saw Templemeads Station and Fowler's of Bristol motorcycles.

As the bikes were cooling off and a Velocette clutch was getting a rest the riders did a motorcycle sweetshop visit. I bought a new flip up touring helmet £99 in the sale, as it is white I look a bit policeman. It is easier for asking the way, looking at maps, petrol stops etc. Then we wandered round looking at bikes and gear, much of which was out of my league financially and physically. Though I think a Royal Enfield 350 would be nice.

Still onward to my sister's in Bath, once we cleared the outskirts of Bristol. There may have been a bit of bus lane use, it was an A4 blast. At my sister's I drank tea and caught up with my nieces while Drew gathered himself up to his full height and kicked the Velocette into rowdy life. My nieces love all this drama and felt motorcycles, especially Drew's, were the coolest thing they had ever seen. You have got to keep the next generation coming through.


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Farewell to England Tour 2021 - Day 1 Mick's first day is a simple affair. Load up the Innova, head out and ride.
Farewell to England Tour 2021 - Day 2 Rev.Mick! sums up his arrival back into Wales.
Farewell to England Tour 2021 - Day 3 Mick is having a ride out with a friend, into the wilderness of Bristol. Can a vintage Velocette and a 125 complete the epic crossing of the Severn River?
Farewell to England Tour 2021 - Day 4 Mick receives the soaking of a lifetime before finding the wondrous beauty of Dorset. Beyond that he could tell you but he'd have to kill you.
Farewell to England Tour 2021 - Day 5 Mick finds his way around Dorset using every back road he can find. For himself and the Innova this is a perfect match made in heaven.

Reader's Comments

Bogger said :-
I'm just ever so slightly jealous.

Bogger
06/09/2021 12:51:49 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Really Bogger? I'm not, not at all. Imagine having friends who put you up for the night, take you on adventures and to random places. Gosh that'd be awful. Git int he.
06/09/2021 16:02:31 UTC
Crofty said :-
Good storytelling Rev, keep em coming
06/09/2021 17:29:55 UTC
nab301 said :-
Excellent write up, the 10M tides on the Severn are amazing.
Mick , was that you doing burn outs on the slip way!.
The Velocette 500 holds a special memory , as an under 16 year old it was the first bike I ever travelled on as a pillion , I can still remember the "special " starting procedure , the music (aka the noise ) of the fishtail exhaust and the seemingly at the time rapid acceleration . This was the 70's when the bike wasn't that old and was used as transport to college by the owner!.
Nigel

07/09/2021 09:24:32 UTC
Bros Steve said :-
Great write up Mick, really enjoyed it.
13/09/2021 15:00:47 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
There's a lot more to come Bros Steve, tune in again soon!!
14/09/2021 07:18:32 UTC

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