Camchain and tensioner seen up close in a cutaway bike engine

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Down To Akeley

Ride Date 6 May 2022

By Ren Withnell

Our friend Andy suggested to me - considering the distance and the fact we have all day, why don't Sharon and I ride across country rather than use the motorway? I suggested to him the chances of Sharon being up and dressed and ready before 1200 were unlikely, we'll need to use the motorways otherwise we'll not be there until midnight. Suffice to say we are loaded up and on the road by around 1220. The weather is typically English with grey skies, presently dry but the threat of rain, cool air and a solid breeze. 

I lead Her Ladyship across The Mersey Gateway, through the delights of Runcorn and onto the motorways. My mood today is mixed. I have tyre concerns after recent events even though all tyres are in excellent condition. I always have and likely always will worry about breakdowns. I'm also thankful not to be in work. I'm excited to be out here on the road once again with many days ahead. I'm curious what we will find. 

Sharon smiles in the sun next to the heavily laden motorcycles while on the road
There may be sunshine and smiles, let's hope so.

Motorways are effective and efficient, I actually don't mind them however they leave me with little to describe. Errr... We stop at Hilton Park and grab a Greggs? No? Errr... There's a lot of traffic around Birmingham although we flow along well enough? No? I'll move on.

What is interesting is once we depart the M40 at junction 11 Banbury the scenery becomes quite pleasant indeed. I recall a recent visit to Oxford which also surprised me in a positive light. It would appear Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and maybe a few other counties hereabouts are worthy of more inspection. 

This is Middle England, rolling arable and dairy countryside, hedgerows and trees, village greens, the local pub and the occasional thatched roof. This is Miss Marple and Midsomer Murders, Pride and Prejudice, tally-ho and a stiff upper lip. It's not challenging or dramatic like The Highlands, it won't take your breath away, it just leaves you feeling calm with a peculiar desire for lashings of ginger beer.

Big trees, a small lake in the distance, a lush green meadow and gentle sunshine
It's "that" kind of England around here. 

If you do see Miss Marple by the way, GET OUTTA THERE! Wherever she goes there's a murder so someone's going to be terminated sooner or later. Mathematically the odds of a sweet old lady being in the vicinity of so many murders is imperceptible. As such here's my thinking. Miss Marple is in fact a serial killer and cunningly manages to blame someone else every time. She's a psychopath!

The site is out in the sticks. There's already a good number here yet there's plenty of space and we pitch tent next to Andy. We do know a few other folks here but not well, acquaintances rather than friends. Not to worry, strangers are just friends you've not met yet. Did I just say that out loud? I did didn't I. Cheeeeeeesy, I feel queasy now. 

There's a difference on this camping trip, something is new. Chairs.

Chairs? Yes, chairs. For eons I have strongly resisted camping chairs. You've all seen my bike loaded up, it's hardly like I need to bring more poop with me is it not? A chair in my opinion is unnecessary. There's always a top box to sit on, a tent to lie in or a tree to prop up against. The thing is, particularly in my dotage, I still find I want a chair with a back to it. 

Well I have caved in, admitted defeat, thrown in the towel and given up. I, I mean we, have spent the princely sum of about £15 each on small, light camping chair thingies. I sit to drink my tea. Sit. Sit, properly, reclined, relaxed, off the floor, comfortably sit. It doesn't take long to realise this is going to transform camping entirely. Why the hell did I not do this 25 years ago? What a stupid boy.

2 of the lightweight aluminium poles and stretch over seat for camping
Luxury! I have succumbed to comfort.

The evening goes as expected. It's great to catch up with Andy even though he's a "saavenaa" (southerner). He's not driven by his ego and doesn't need to tell you how great his GS1250 is, it's just chatting about life and work and forthcoming trips. We mingle with the rest too. There's all the regular characters - the joker, the soft spoken couple who've just returned from riding around The Mediterranean, the "my bike is always broken" one, the political activist and the happy to help sort. If you've been in any group you'll know the script.

Bedtime comes and it's cold. I know sleep won't be coming rapidly tonight, of course Sharon grumbles and gripes about "it's blummin FREEZING!" before nodding off within moments. I'll be fine. Oh jeez, I need a pee already. 


Sponsor a page - contact ren@bikesandtravels.com 

Prologue - It's Not Up North Happenstance and circumstance is the driving force behind this trip's direction. Ren explains it all.
Down To Akeley It's the first day of the southern adventure and already Ren is reclining in sumptuous luxury. So, err... what's changed?
A Look Around F1 Country Ren offers an all too lengthy explanation of his uncouth approach to museums before taking in some quintessentially English countryside.
Stones and More Comfort It's time to depart the rally and head even further daaan saaaf. There's plenty of time for tea and to explore some ancient standing stones. What will the next 3 nights' accommodation be like?
Stonehenge On The Cheap, Salisbury On The Hoof It's time to take in Britain's most famous monolithic structure - Stonehenge. Salisbury is also going to endure a good dose of looking at as well.
A Walk In Dinton There's a simple and lazy day ahead of The Dynamic Muppets today with not much planned. This eventually leads Ren to his new career as a Surrealist Artist Extraordinaire. Soon he will be famous and rich?
Off To The New Forest It's time to move on once again and head even further daaan saaaf. The New Forest might be quite lovely but given the foul weather Sharon and Ren won't be finding out today - in fact they are struggling to see the road ahead.

Reader's Comments

Upt'North ¹ said :-
I read.....
"a tent to lie in or a tree to poop up against".
Time for a coffee.
Upt'North.
24/05/2022 11:19:27 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
I think your reading may be closer to the mark than what Ren wrote.....

Comfort is one of the main reasons we abandoned camping decades ago and went for the soft caravan option.
24/05/2022 12:22:08 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I will not be held responsible for your mind being in the gutter. Pfffft.

Ian - you know I'm not a natural camper. I too would relish the notion of a proper bed and a real chair all set in the comfort of my own tin box. Given that my journeys are already being curtailed by the price of petrol (and all else) I simply cannot see myself shelling out for a car-caravan or motorhome setup that will return as little as 20-30 mpg.
24/05/2022 16:30:29 UTC
Bill said :-
Ren I've not been on the site for a while (trying to sell my cbf250 as the pain outweighs the pleasure) and when I log in I find you have been almost on my doorstep Akely is 20 mins from home.
29/05/2022 23:20:31 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Well Bill - Sharon and I think your area is quite lovely! Whereabouts are you from Akely (without giving away too much information)? If I had space I'd have that CBF250 off you, I miss that bike.
30/05/2022 09:04:30 UTC
Bill said :-
We live in a village called Aynho, the bike is on Facebook am I allowed to post for sale details on here?
Posted Image
30/05/2022 10:07:33 UTC
Glyn said :-
It's a lovely clean example and probably too clean for Ren. If he bought it off you then you would have to view pictures of it deposited on these pages far into the future showing its demise on the asthetic front. He would look after the oily bits though.
A buying / selling page might be useful to me but also may be getting away from the intended aims of the site I fear.
30/05/2022 12:25:20 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
You mean there's an aim....
30/05/2022 12:33:41 UTC
Bill said :-
Maybe just a cheeky link then incase anyone is interested
https://adventurebikerider.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=52067...
30/05/2022 13:10:35 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Judging by the size of Aynho if I were in the village centre and you started that bike I'd be able to hear you Bill! It looks lovely, both the bike and the village.

Glyn you're quite right. I'd be receiving emails from a traumatised Bill explaining that I NEED to clean this bit and I MUST not fit my speshul hand guards. I mean for goodness sake there's not even a rusty covering to the exhaust. Regarding buying and selling - I believe there could be some legal ramifications there but far more importantly there just are not enough visitors to this site to warrant anyone actually listing here.

I don't mind your link Bill, that's fine. I'm sure though that you'll hardly find the phone ringing off the hook or your inbox jamming up with willing buyers because you placed a link here. This site is small due to the lack of naked ladies, how-to-wheelie guides, MotoGP reports and GSXRCBRRYZFRZZRR1000 knee scraping track day reviews of the latest machinery. Of course I'd like all these things but Sharon refuses to strip off for you lot, I can't wheelie, I'm not bovvered about MotoGP and I can barely manage my 125 around a car park so there's no hope of me being invited to press events. Oh well.
30/05/2022 19:37:37 UTC
Bill said :-
My bike has gone to a new home
06/06/2022 10:49:33 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Is this a good day Bill as you have space in the shed and money in your hand, or a sad day as you sure gunna miss the old CBF?
06/06/2022 17:11:26 UTC
Bill said :-
Good day as it went to a good guy and I don't have deal with anymore of the idiots who come out to play as soon as you put something up for sale.The space in the shed has already been filled, as the hip friendly scooter has been promoted to indoors instead of outdoors under a cover. Although I will miss bike trips it's been a gradual process over years of going from Europe trips on big bikes to local on smaller bike as advancing years make it less of a pleasure.Not hung up my riding boots yet and it's a lovely area,as you recently found, with lots of back lanes that can be great fun even on a 125 twist and go and for little outlay on fuel and ved.
Posted Image
07/06/2022 09:08:16 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
There's nowt wrong with rev-n-ripping around the countryside on a scoot Bill, sounds quite idyllic actually. Cheap and cheerful days out and all for less than a meal in the pub.
07/06/2022 12:48:16 UTC

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