ian's damabuster

Ian M

Well-Known Member
It started in the usual way, traffic around Manchester, filtering for mile after mile sat nav telling me I wasn’t going to get to worlds end until 9.00pm.
Then on to the M62, to Brighouse where I rinsed and repeated all the way to Ferrybridge with an even more pessimistic arrival time. Eventually, worlds end, arriving at the time I was going to get there originally (6.00 pm with no traffic), to be met by a Waddle of penguins and party guests – some people clearly got dressed in the dark.

Sign in, meal and off to bed – to be unable to go to sleep. Temptation to look at the clock resisted but the time was known thanks to chucking out time.
I did sleep but to be woken by the mass arrival of ditch pumps so it must have been 1.00 am.

Here we go, clobber on, final check, instructions given “no one leaves till 2.00” someone didn’t get the memo as at 1.45 the mass exodus started and like startled birds, we all took off.

First way point, all ok gpx file on sat nav appears to work but it’s not hard to know where you’re going. Scampton cleared and off.

I do not do group riding, I just like to be on my own and I cannot do measured riding, I just need to get there as fast as I can so the objective was met and I did. I appear to have won the Lincolnshire Camera Partnership’s lucky dip. Unfortunately, it won’t be £50,000, a base model car and a holiday with my face on ITVs Lorraine but hey ho. I am awaiting my prize notification.

So onto the tunnel, duly achieved with an hour and twenty minutes to wait. I park up to really feel the odd one out, still it is a beautiful Japanese flower amongst a mass of German briars.

To the train to meet the first issue, top box key is missing from the ignition key ring. Ohh shit, gloves, balaclava, ear plugs all in there, obtain instruments to break into said box, only to find the key had slipped off but was in my pocket.

Train arrives, door jammed, so we wait and then off.

First error.
The plan was to go to the Auchan and fill up (as I have always done), but I had more fuel than I had calculated so decided to abandon that and set off to the first euro way point. I pull into services in Belgium along the way to be met with an electronic tower in a poor state of repair and basic instructions on how to use. So, go into kiosk to be told I have to tell them how much petrol I want and they let me have it and I must pay for it first. After a short, but frank discussion, I decide to have 10 euro in the hope that gets me to the first way point and the adjacent garage. It doesn’t but a stop at a more modern services lets me fill up. Never fill with fuel in Belgium.

First euro way point out of the way and the second issue arises.

Slip road is closed and there is no one about to follow.

Second error.

I never like relying on sat nav, but in a country I don’t know I have to. Logic tells me to go to the next junction and then get back on the road, but sat nav knows better and it’s really convincing. It knows so much better than me and with the promise of the fastest route I’m seduced. I have a wonderful trip to Arnhem and Nijmegen (not). I never realised just how big those Viking River cruise boats are.

Eventually, I get on an Autobahn and its rude not to, so I do, so much so I need to fill up again and again. It’s just a liberating feeling knowing you can actually max out, except the flapping textiles and top box disagree. Pity the speedo is so optimistic.

Onward and onward with miles just seemingly never going down. The fact I have not seen anyone or passed anyone starts to be alarming. I just seem to keep going but I never get anywhere.

So after several hours and miles and playing with mercs and beemers I chicken out pull in and manually insert the coordinates to the first dam to find the gpx file I’d loaded was fine.

First dam. Clearly a tourist hot spot. For all their faults the Germans are more relaxed. There’s a group of kids just chilling playing with motorbikes larking around and no one bothers, yet in this beacon of democracy, former leader of the free world, they would be issued with a court injunction and a Section 59.

Second dam is roughly back the way I came, odd looks from a group of brits riding ditch pumps when I take the photo. Third dam is quite a feat of engineering when you considered the era in which it’s built.

And then the trip back through perhaps Western Europe’s worst country – Belgium and the slog to Calais. They don’t appear to mind been overtaken not just by a bike with a GB number plate.

To Calais, I dutifully follow the sat nav, through the back streets, to a gate. The instructions say ring the bell and the gate opens.

Mmmm ok, looks right, ring the bell, nothing, ring the bell again it opens, expecting to be one of the last back as I have done a tour of Holland, there’s nothing, no one, no bikes, no people milling about, nothing, not a ditch pump in sight, just a few cars.

I park up; go through a door, to be met by a gym, a lift and an empty reception.

Icing on the cake I’m in the wrong place. And then, as if by magic, the shop keeper appears and tells me there are two people waiting for me and I’m in the wrong area.

First back.

The rest, I have not done that for at least thirty years, I’ve no idea what the mouth wash was but I was sober enough not to have a kebab. It’s the same mechanically reclaimed meat in any country.

Next morning, off to the Auchan with a list of goodies and then home.


RBLR1000 Finisher
IBA Member
I park up to really feel the odd one out, still it is a beautiful Japanese flower amongst a mass of German briars.

Couln't agree more ;)


IBA Member
I wish, I’d been sober enough not, to have had a kebab as well but... I wasn’t and I did :oops:.....let’s just say...it wasn’t as nice the second time I saw it....

Ditch Pump........