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

Home Travel StoriesMontgomery? How Splendid.

Up Too Early

Ride Date 20 March 2022

By Ren Withnell

Harumph. That pump noise has started up again, disturbing me from my slumber. It's 0545. I feel myself getting peeved as each time I start to nod off again "drrrrrrr..." and I'm awake. I decide rather than lying here winding myself up I'm going to get up and go for a walk. Sleeping Beauty isn't disturbed by either the pump or my getting up and dressed. 

While I'd rather be sleeping there are some advantages with being up this early. I have the town to myself. All is calm, all is quiet in Montgomery on this fine dry chill morning. I imagine a Hollywood style post apocalyptic scenario where I'm all alone, I'm undecided regarding how scary yet liberating this scenario would be. I do get to witness the sun popping above the top of whatever hills are to the east, which is nice. 

The sun pokes over the top of a distant hill with the small town of Montgomery below
Delightful I'm sure. I'd rather still be sleeping.

I return to the hotel and stir her ladyship from her slumber. Breakfast is booked for 0830 and we need to vacate the room by 1015. If breakfast takes as long as last night's meal we wont be leaving until 1200...

Breakfast is a mix of self-service cereals, toast and the like plus an ordered cooked breakfast. Whatever the issue last night is resolved and we are promptly fed and watered in a delicious manner. We concur that while not everything is perfect at The Dragon Hotel, the food is very good.

After packing and clearing the room we load the bikes and bid farewell to Montgomery. Once again the weather is lovely with a slight nip in the air, so it is we find ourselves in the Twiglet Zone once more. With time more on our side today I think it prudent to head for the hills!

I've set the sat-nav for Bala and checked the route leads us over them "thar" hills. We travel through Welshpool in the lightest of traffic and soon we are heading into the middle of nowhere. 

We are riding through entertaining and diverse countryside. At some points it's arable and dairy farmland, then dense woodland, onto scruffy country manor, up into high steep sheepland then down into lightly populated valleys. We saunter gently through the terrain, soaking it all in and relishing the wonders. It is, frankly, quite perfect today. 

Sharon suggests she could do with a pee and I have too much blood in my teastream now. In the tiny village of Llangynog I spy a pub and pull in to the gravel car park. We could just nip around the corner as the sign suggests there's public toilets there however we agree, we'll see if the pub will furnish us with a brew.

The 2 motorcycles on the car park behind the pub, towering hills behind
I think this will do nicely.
A rocky bulbous hill dominates the backdrop of the view from the pub
Yeah, we'll sit outside I reckon.

I have a slight fear this may be a "local pub for local people" yet Sharon soon returns from within, bladder relieved and tea for two on its way out to us. The young lady serving is friendly as she brings us our beverages. We're sat outside, a slight cool breeze make it not *quite* T-shirt weather but it is good to be here in these surroundings in the sun.

From Llangynog the road becomes more mountainous and sinewy as we roll along. Being a sunny Sunday afternoon now I can tell we're getting close to Bala as the number of riders we see increases. I have a brief thought about stopping near Bala lake where the bikers hang out, nah, I have a better plan.

I lead us back to the petrol station with the cheap fuel and cafe. We brim the tanks and take on more tea in preparation of the final leg of this journey. You see after Bala Sharon and I are pretty much on home turf. Don't get me wrong, the A5 back to Llangollen and The Horseshoe Pass are delectable, I just feel this journey is almost over.

I do lead Sharon a merry dance around south Chester until I eventually manage to find Chester Honda. Even with a sat-nav I can still get lost, it's a special skill of mine. I sit on the new NT1100. Hmmmm. It's big and fat. Unlike a Pan or an RT I can't help but feel the screen and fairing aren't big enough? Maybe that's a good thing? The jury is still out on this subject. Sharon still point blank refuses to even consider the option of a lovely matt black CMX 500 Rebel.

And that's that. We've had a great weekend covering around 250 miles of beautiful countryside in glorious sunshine. We've enjoyed an agreeable walk around the gentle town of Montgomery. We've dined well. What's not to like?

OK, yes, perhaps the hotel's tardiness with our evening meal was frustrating but we all have bad days don't we? If, and I wasn't put off, but if we're lucky enough to return I might insist on a quieter room though. 

Sharon holds her phone in the splendid welsh scenery
No, she not on Facebook, she has to check every image is perfect.

Want the BAT team to review something motorcycle related? Contact ren@bikesandtravels.com

A Long Ride In The Sun In yet another twist of fate Madame Moisture and that grumpy git are enjoying themselves, again! Montgomery is chosen destination.
Up Too Early Montgomery has a lovely sunrise that Ren would rather not have seen, oh well.

Reader's Comments

Bogger said :-
Delectable, delicious, very good, perfect, Sun, what's not too like, great weekend ???????.

I'm happy, there's that word again, that you both had a goo..... well you pick an appropriate adjective, time.

Personally I think you both need to go camping, in the rain and fog, then give us a proper write, up like you used to.

Boutique Hotels, oh my Lord. You'll quaffing champers in a Jacuzzi next.

Oh how the other half live.

02/04/2022 12:59:30 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
This is all way too jolly. Can we please resume normal coverage as soon as possible please. I do not visit this emporium for joyfulness.
I sat on the NT about a fortnight ago Ed at Newcastle Honda. Er'Indoors couldn't sample the back seat due to a trapped nerve but I thought it was a little tight for a normal sized person. I suspect with bike boots and knee armour ones knees would not fit the relevant apertures. But we may have to find out.

Oh yes.....whoever this imposter may be, can we have grumpy pants back please.

02/04/2022 16:31:38 UTC
David Barwick said :-
Ren,I raised my eyes when you mentioned you now have a Sat Nav (given your previous reluctance to invest)
I would be most interested in your thoughts regarding the advantages of a dedicated device V using google maps on Android device (I already have 8" tablet that receives GPS signal, but no smart phone or roaming data wifi whilst traveling) I am guessing the main advantage with the Sat Nav (which one do you have? SportsBikeShop currently have the TomTom 550 @ £299.00) is that you can input multiple destinations to plan the exact roads you wish to take, opposed to google maps taking you the most "efficient" way (only options when planning at home on Wifi are to choose between method of transport ie; walking/cycling/car (no motorcycle) which does offer some variation.
I think of the andriod/GPS option as like having an electronic map (that you can zoom in/out) so a least you can always know where you are, even if you do get lost.
03/04/2022 10:36:52 UTC
Borsuk said :-
David. Try Calimoto, it plans using curvey routes. One country is free rest you pay for, UK is split into 4 countries. Also WAZE has a motorcycle option which seems okay to me.

I have a Garmin motorbike GPS but to be honest I wouldn't buy another as the routing is very basic. Road selection is a 3 level slider for each of bends, hills and Road types, At the extreme end it has you hurtling down every farm track and manure covered gravel splattered single lane road it can find, .In the middle settings it picks okish routes but there will still be a few farm tracks in the route. At the other setting it will tend to go for motorways with the gravely single lanes lurking.
I must get around to writing the review I promised Mr Grumpy a while ago.

03/04/2022 11:18:52 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
I use copilot on an android phone. It offers you 3 routes by default and you can zoom in and make it go through places (alternatively avoid them). It was less than £20 for Western Europe if I remember corrctly.

A main advantage for those of us like myself too tight to shell out for data on my phone is that the maps are downloaded so no data access need . There is a function to monitor traffic but that does need data.

My wife who is a technophobe used to use a garmin but is much happier with copilot.
03/04/2022 16:47:01 UTC
Borsuk said :-
I have co-pilot on my phones as well, I bought most of the planets maps for use at work to avoid data charges. It used to be much more configurable as to types of road to use and what average speeds you expected to do. I found it very useful when doing my bike license, Then they had an upgrade that took all that away as their algorithm was better so they said. This was when Trimble took them over. Stopped using it for a long time and sent them a snotogram about it. I noticed that they had reactivated the road selection criteria a few months back . I personally don’t think it is as good as it used to be but it is better than google maps or waze in my opinion.

03/04/2022 17:55:25 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
I've got MapsMe on my Android.
You download the maps and it's free. No data req'd.
Yes I am cheap.
But.......I found the phone doesn't like sitting in the sun and will turn off into safe mode.
03/04/2022 18:00:49 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
G'Day gentlefolks. Rather than me writing a long missive here I think this subject is worthy of it's own post. I shall put something together and see where that leads. Fascinating.
03/04/2022 19:55:09 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
I thought you were both hard up? Why on earth go looking at new bikes????

Speaking of which the x-max has gone to its happy new owner and I am now the proud(?) custodian of a blue Honda CB250RSA. It looks better in the photos then the steel but quite tidy and lots has been spent on it. I've fixed a rattly tappet but there is a slightly deeper issue......

The photo is in the vendor's garage with a few bits not attached. I was going for the red one just out of shot but someone beat me to it.
Posted Image
04/04/2022 16:53:51 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
It costs little to look Ian. Or does it?
It looks like you may have a taxing spring. Although it's a Honda, so no worries there then.
Good luck with your tinkering fella.
04/04/2022 17:01:45 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
but there is a slightly deeper issue...... Hmmmm. Sounds ominous.
04/04/2022 17:23:59 UTC
Bogger said :-
I was out on Sunday for a breakfast ride to Glasson Dock and one of the lads turned up on a CB250RS.

Two weekends ago A group of us stayed at Barnard Castle (the town, not actually the castle) and a mate was astride his very nice VT250. Lovely little bike. Quite quick too.

04/04/2022 20:56:06 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
"but there is a slightly deeper issue...... Hmmmm. Sounds ominous. "

It's the automatic decompressor (valve lifter). There is a little roll pin that locates this in the cam cover which I think is missing so the decompressor spindle can move in and out. Apparently these pins are a beast to remove so I'm wondering what goes on in there. But I will of course keep you informed.....
05/04/2022 10:27:34 UTC

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