Northumberland – A great place to ride a Motorbike

We have just finished our 4 day motorcycle tour of Northumberland and what a great part of the UK this is to visit…… not to mention it has fantastic motorcycling roads!!  :-D

We had 15 on the tour with us, a mix of riders and pillions and including us we had 11 motorbikes.  A wide variety of bikes were on the tour with us as you can see from this photo Bikes ready to Ride!!which was thankfully taken in near perfect weather conditions over the middle two days of the tour.  We had four Kawasaki’s, 3 BMW’s, 2 Honda’s, a Triumph and a Moto Guzzi – and each and everyone of them were more than suited to the plethora of roads and routes we did over the 4 days of the tour.

The weather on the ride north on the Friday was not the best, in so far as it was very blustery which makes for a tiring day of riding.  However, as with all our tours we factor in plenty of rest stops during the day which resulted in us all arriving at our hotel, which was to be our base for the next 3 nights, in fine fettle and ready for a welcoming beer and wine from the well stocked bar!!  🙂

Our lunch stop on the Friday was The Manor Cafe at Bellerby – a great welcome for any motorcyclist passing that way and well worth checking out.  We managed to catch Kath on the day just before she was heading over to the Isle of Man to watch the TT racing for the next couple of weeks.

Our Saturday ride out took in the Kielder Forest roads – awesome…… for those who know it, think B500 in Germany 🙂  Not as many miles in distance to ride but just a brilliant “smile making” road.  We stopped at Carter Bar on the A68 on the border of Scotland and England and had hoped to see a Piper there, but sadly he was either on his lunch or having a day off!!  Either way we didn’t mind too much as the views from the top are stunning and you have yet another fab road to ride to and from it……  Carter Bar 25th MayWe did manage to temporarily stamp our logo on the England sign as shown here and had quite a lot of fun trying to retrieve it after the photo was taken!  We’re going to run a caption competition on our facebook page in the next couple of days against the photo of Janet and Mark trying to climb up the rock – motorbike gear is probably not the best style of clothing for “mini mountaineering”…!!!!!

Our Sunday ride out took in a visit to Lindisfarne, (The Holy Island), and again we were blessed with fantastic weather for the day.  We were governed by the tides to get onto the Island which is such a peaceful location (well it would be if it weren’t for the tourists!!!)  Riding across the causeway can be interesting as one side of the road was completely covered in wet sand, but only for a 200m stretch at the most.  From here we then rode inland taking in some forest roads (well tarmac’d) and stunning views over the Scottish Borders coast line near Dunbar.

After lunch we took in yet more flowing roads through the Scottish Borders crossing back into Northumberland at Cornhill on Tweed where we had a very warm welcome at the Village Shop cafe from Lynda Lynda on the ZZR who had stayed open a little later than she normally would on a Sunday for us.  Chris enjoyed his cup of coffee so much he let Lynda have her photo taken on his ZZR!  If you happen to like riding the A697 road from Coldstream call in at this cafe and you will not be disappointed.

Sadly, as with any motorcycle tour, you have to head for home.The roads in this part of the UK are not only fantastic, they are quiet and flow over amazing landscapes and scenery.  Everywhere we went we had a very warm welcome and we will most certainly go back to Northumberland – thanks for having us 🙂

Touring Northumberland on Two Wheels

So a May Bank holiday is fastly approaching and we’re very much looking forward to our motorcycle tour of Northumberland.  We’re away for four days on this particular tour and have a great group of 17 riders and pillions joining us.  Our first meet up will be at a services just of the M6 in Cheshire and then second is at Devil’s Bridge, Kirkby Lonsdale – a regular meeting place for motorcyclists.

We’ve prep’d the bikes, packed the panniers and in typical tradition for the UK weather over a bank holiday we may also need to pack windsails!!!  It’s currently blowing a howling gale in our neck of the woods and there’s a promise of high winds to come on the North East coast…..!!

Will this put us off?  Of course not, the weather will be what it will be and motorbike gear these days is great for sun, rain or hail 🙂   In fact we recently picked up some great GoreTex gear made by Held from GetGeared at Leeds which we can highly recommend – not only is the styling great but the price too and if you are around the Leeds area this weekend why not call in and see Roger and the team to find out about it – say “hi” to them for us.

We’ll be posting photos of our tour over the weekend on our facebook page and you can also see them on our website gallery – hopefully the weather forecasters will be proven wrong and we’ll have blue skies to accompany great scenery and fab motorcycling roads – we’ll let you know how we get on 🙂


Our visit to the BMF Motorcycle Show Peterborough

The BMF show at Peterborough has been going for many years and yet this was our first visit.  We had been asked to be on the AbaSport stand with Chris Hawley and his mate John.  We took one of our touring bikesGeraint & Chris along to be on the stand so that it could not only display info for DragonMotoTours but also some of the Bagster motorbike touring gear which we have had fitted to the bike over the years – all supplied by Chris and Tracy from AbaSport.  This kit includes tank cover, tank back, sculpted seat and airhawk – all great items which add to the enjoyment of motorcycle touring.

We had to be in the showground before 8.30am on the Saturday morning before the public arrived by which time Chris and John had the stand all set up as you can see from the photo above.  Before we knew it people were coming into the area we had the stand in and the day flew by.

As with any motorcycle event you get life’s characters and this gentleman was no exception!!  The Knight...He’d clearly camped on site and our questions was…..  had he “been up all knight???!!!

Bad pun we know 🙂

We did ask him what bike he’d managed to ride in on but think that might have been difficult for him, mind you he could have come in on one of the stunt bikes which were on display or even ridden as part of the “wacky races” which were going on, on the BMF speedway track  Wacky races– there were dirt bikes and scooters all ripping the track up, some of the riders were dressed as The Incredible Hulk, others as cavemen – classic racing that’s for sure.

Not to be outdone, the MotoGP racing put in an appearance as the BMF had set up a large screen TV for all to watch and a huge cheer went up from the gathered crowd when Cal Crutchlow came in 2nd to Pedrosa – a fantastic motorcycle race (even better than the one in the photo!!!!).

During the 2 days we were on the stand we got to meet so many great people – motorcyclists from allsorts of backgrounds who rode so many different bikes and Chris was able to help out so many of them with tank covers and bags and touring seats of all descriptions.  We had several people sit on our VFR to try out the airhawk seat – in our view this is particularly good if you are on a motorcycle tour which requires either a couple of hundred miles in a day or possibly some motorway riding – nothing worse for a motorcyclist than a “numb bum”….! :-D

Whilst alot of comments were made to us over the course of the 2 days that there were fewer people at the show this year both on the trade stand side and the people visiting, we had nothing to compare to as this was our first visit and we thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was good to meet everyone and take in all the sights and sounds that a motorcycle event such as this has to offer.  We are already looking forward to the next one…..

Mid Wales Motorcycle Tour 10th-12th May 2013

Our first motorcycle tour of 2013 is now complete and despite some mixed weather – what we like to refer to as “liquid sunshine” in Wales 🙂   a great time was had by all.  This is some of our group on the last day of the tour when we had a photo overlooking a rather misty Clwyedog Reservoir!  Group photo Clwyedog

A good tour needs 3 key ingredients in our view:-

  1. Great people
  2. Fantastic motorcycling roads and scenery
  3. Good weather

As the song by Meatloaf goes – “two out of three ain’t bad”….!

When we all met up at Lynn’s Raven Cafe, some had travelled through rain but then the blue sky started to appear and we had a dry afternoon for the rest of the run.  Our route took us across and over the Shropshire Hills and down to our first stop of the afternoon near Ludlow.  Bit chaotic on the roads for the last few miles as the A49 had been closed due to an accident and all traffic was diverted on to one particular stretch of road which presented us motorcyclists with a few challenges – not least the lorry which clipped all the trees and eventually brought down a branch which landed between Geraint and Alan!

From lunch we started heading over to Mid Wales, our route was over some of the rolling hillsides on the approach to that part of the world, with the odd hairpin thrown in for good measure!  They are great motorcycling roads to use with very little traffic which is always a bonus for anyone on two wheels – the only thing to watch out for were the sheep and some of the new lambs but they seemed pretty non-plussed with over a dozen motorbikes riding passed…

Saturday was a full ride out day which took us down to Tintern Abbey, through the Brecon Beacon National Park and back to our base in Llandrindod Wells.  We woke with blue skies beckoning in the distance and that became the theme for most of the day – the wet weather gear had to be donned by the group before we set off as we had some drizzle for the first few miles but then we were on the wide flowing roads through to Crickhowell and Abergavenny and had dry, windy conditions for that stretch.  Our coffee stop at Tintern proved to be “perfect timing” for Stewart who had noticed that the back tyre was not riding as well as it should for the last 3 or 4 miles and he had managed to pick up a rather large piece of metal – Stuart's reason for his puncture!pictured here which was most definitely not repairable :-(

A breakdown truck had to be duly called and a new back tyre was sourced from Newport, South Wales.  Luckily he had some great motorcycling roads through the Brecons to help him “scrub it in”!!!

Now one down, we carried on over to Crickhowell for our lunch stop at the Bridgend Inn – great welcome from Elaine and the team there, and thank you for making us so welcome.  We had ridden the majority of the way there in good weather and then 7 miles out a deluge hit us!!!  the welcome in the pub was great though and we dried off in no time ready for the Brecons.

Fortunately the sun god was out for us as we rode the A40 and A470 – two spectacular motorcycling roads, not just because of the spectacular views but the open flowing bends you have and good grippy surface.  A470 Brecon BeaconsThe views from the top were stunning and are all part of the ingredients needed to make any motorbike tour work well.    Our return route then took us on the Heads of the Valleys road and passed Cray Reservoir upto the West End cafe at Llandovery – a great stop for any motorcyclist wanting a good brew :-)

We had a leisurely start for our final day of the tour, and a cracking ride to and through the Elan Valley.  This remote location has an excellent road through it which, whilst narrow in places, twists and turns through spectacular scenery.  We had good weather for the first half hour of our ride through the Valley but then the promised rain came in and by the time we had got to the cafe at Devils Bridge the heavens opened and unfortunately we had rain for the rest of our ride to and beyond lunch.  However, the roads more than made up for that and as anyone who has ridden the A44 towards Llanidloes will tell you it is a spectacular road to ride no matter what the weather.

We had a fantastic group of people with us for this tour and we would like to thank them all for joining us – we’ve only scratched the surface of this part of the world as far as motorcycle touring is concerned and we will most definitely be back…….. :-)

Mid Wales Motorcycle Tour – 10th May 2013

In a couple of hours we will be riding over to Whitchurch in Shropshire to meet up with our tour members who are joining us for a motorcycle tour through Mid Wales this weekend.  We are meeting up at Lynn’s Raven Cafe for a cuppa before we head through Shropshire and across the border into Wales.

The weather is not looking to be as good as we would like, but with any element of motorcycling, whether it be a ride to work, a ride out with friends or a tour, we know that it goes with the territory!  As long as we have the right gear we’ll still be able to enjoy the roads and scenery that Mid Wales has to offer.

We ran this weekend tour in April 2012 and you can see from the photos posted on our facebook page that a good time was had by all.  We have mixed the routes for this May 2013 tour covering some of the roads we did in 2012 but have added in several different routes to show everyone how versatile this part of the UK is as far as motorcycle touring goes.  As we said in our web write up about the tour, you have the option to travel all points of the compass on fab roads and if we are to believe the weather forecast (??!!) we can adapt our routes to head away from any impending rain!

Bikes are currently being prep’d and panniers are packed bring on the tour…..  🙂

Clywedog Dam

 Elan Valley

Motorcycle Touring in the French Jura Mountains

Early May 2013, UK is basking in sunshine over a bank holiday weekend (for a change!!), so what do we do?  Come over to France for a few days to ride open roads!  Luckily we too have had blue skies, (well in truth we did get wet on the way through the southern reaches of the champagne region on Friday afternoon), but apart from that the weather has just got better and better the further south we have ridden 🙂

Today we have enjoyed some of our favourite motorcycling roads in France through the Jura Mountains region – flowing roads, smooth tarmac, next to no traffic and blue skies…… Riding through the Jura The bends allow you to glide along the road whilst taking in stunning scenery – this section of road flows around the mountains with wonderful vistas at every turn!

Due to the time of year there are plenty of wonderful waterfalls to view as you ride alongside fast flowing rivers.  The lakes in the region today were stunning especially with the sun shining on them and the mountains came into their own.  One of those days when you just had to be on your motorbike…….

However, in this region they are pretty keen on two wheels with no engine as well (???!!), and we found this one on our travels They make pushbikes big in France!! – maybe they want to regain the yellow jersey from Bradley Wiggins??  !!

This evening we are staying on the shores of Lac de l’Abbaye in a very tranquil setting and very much looking forward to riding more of the wonderful motorbiking roads in the Jura Mountains tomorrow.

We are really looking forward to bringing our tour group here in July and you can find more details on our Tours page.  Bon route……