Alternative riding strategy

saphena

IBAUK Webmaster
Staff member
Premier Member
IBA Member
#1
Invited to join a rideout with some local riders I was looking forward to the planned swoop through Hampshire and Sussex in the sunshine. The starting time of 10am suggested a more laid-back approach to a day's riding than I'm used to. We IBA riders normally start rides before daybreak and after many, many miles of boring and pointless motorway we stop somewhere, often back where we started, and call it a day.

Well today was very different, not just for delaying the start until the middle of the day, and we set off towards the wild open countryside, no motorways, around us. Three youngsters - Panigale, Fireblade, GSXR and me bringing up the rear on my old man's dirty V-Strom. Soon we were moving at a somewhat faster pace than I normally adopt but fortunately it turns out that I actually can ride a motorbike and I quickly realised that speed limits are regarded as mere suggestions. Indeed, I later discovered that Sussex police "performance awards" are considered to be badges of honour among the real riding community.

So yeah, turns out even Iron Butt riders can do fast twisties when following proper bikes, head down, throttle open, just do it! Anyway, having just got the cobwebs off my handlebars and warmed my tyres, 25 miles, we pulled into ye olde biker cafe complete with a carpark full of assorted motorbikes (wierdly, not a single GS) and picnic tables laden with assorted bikers. This is surely the life! Who can resist the fit young leather-clad eye-candy, the cappuccino, the bacon bap, the sunshine.

Blending in seamlessly with the youngsters I learned probably all there is to know about the different kinds of cans that can be fitted to a Honda Fireblade, where to get reduced size number plates, the fact that a "tail tidy" whatever that is costs £120 when fitted to a Ducati Panigale as well as the relative merits of HJC and Arai helmets (the latter is better apparently). After almost three hours, when the others started ordering refills and more food, I realised that we had done all the riding we were going to do and "normal" riders spend quite a lot of their time cleaning their bikes, modding their bikes, or talking about bikes, rather than swooping about in the sunshine. Also, it being a reasonably warm day meant that some of the fit young things were having to peel off tight-fitting leather racing suits and, as well as me being a very happily married (to the hottest woman for miles around) man (she was looking over my shoulder), I'm pretty old now and have to take blood pressure meds even without external stimulation.

I made my excuses and found a rather longer, twistier though calmer, ride home, alone. We're all different and there's a time and a place for everything but that particular example of "twisty riding with mates" didn't press too many buttons for me. I've long understood that the long-distance stuff I routinely do is regarded as hard work, boring and dangerous but almost all of my experience of biking other than that leads to the conclusion that actually riding a bike is the real minority sport. Today's 20 minutes in the saddle followed by 150 minutes in the cafe was perhaps one of the more extreme cases but didn't seem too removed from my earlier experiences. It was fun sitting in the sun talking bollocks and admiring the views but I'd really prefer to be out riding my bike.
 

GarminDave

Ex-Arkwright
Premier Member
#2
Nice one Bob. I had a perfect day yesterday, 05:30 start, bit of Motorway, then Woodhead Pass, Peak District twisties, an audience with Hele (The Worlds Toughest Bear), an R2E with 20 like-minded folk and a return ride taking in the Thirsk/Northallerton/Darlington TT course. 370 miles of Nirvana. I think 400 minutes of riding with 60 minutes of socialising sounds about right.
 
#9
you can still spend a day in the saddle without using motorways or just short stretches of them anyway. most of the motorways around me do a good impression of a carpark. just a little pre planning sorts it
 

kwthom

Rider
Premier Member
IBA Member
#10
<...>We're all different and there's a time and a place for everything but that particular example of "twisty riding with mates" didn't press too many buttons for me.<...>
I reserve this type of riding for one particular weekend with a handful of 'old dudes', nearly all of them are on Goldwings, as I am.
Of course, it happens 500 miles from home, so we make it worth our time! :cool: It's not just 20 or 40 miles of it - it's 250 to 300 miles each day!
I've long understood that the long-distance stuff I routinely do is regarded as hard work, boring and dangerous but almost all of my experience of biking other than that leads to the conclusion that actually riding a bike is the real minority sport. Today's 20 minutes in the saddle followed by 150 minutes in the cafe was perhaps one of the more extreme cases but didn't seem too removed from my earlier experiences. It was fun sitting in the sun talking bollocks and admiring the views but I'd really prefer to be out riding my bike.
I'd heartily agree with that assessment!

For those of us that have no issues with nine hours and 500 miles to go have lunch, then ride nine hours home, the majority of our riding colleagues think we're the crazy ones! :rolleyes:

Nope, not at all. Dedicated "long distance endurance motorcyclist"? Certainly!
 

Megabuck

IBAUK Verifier
IBA Member
#11
It's just a case of finding the right group to ride with - assuming you actually want to ride in a group, of course! A few years back I did a ride out with my cousin and some of his friends. We went from Hinckley to the Ponderosa cafe - a couple of hours in each direction. A worthwhile ride.

Regards,
Martin