I arrived at the Redbeck cafe on Doncaster Road to find Martin already there and tucking into his breakfast and it wasn't too long before everyone else turned up and did the same. I was a little worried initially that no one would show after the last ride out to the Wensleydale Creamery which I mucked up a bit at the start by going the wrong way and wasting an hour negotiating Bradford ! Ed: I heard it was 2 ;-)
However I needn't have worried as there were 14 of us on 12 bikes which was a brilliant turnout especially as it was partly a different crowd to last time. If all those that came on the last rideout came on this one we would have had well over 20 riders ! If we carry on like this we will soon require police escorts LOL.
As soon as everyone was breakfasted we assembled for a customary team photo and pep talk as I outlined the first part of the route and handed out our guidelines for group riding to anyone who wanted a copy. This information can also be found Here and is essential reading for your own information and for the good of everyone else in the group.
We then mounted up and we were off. Malc took up position at the rear until we passed through the top end of Ossett where we collected Chas who took up his now customary position at the rear of the column. Onward through Dewsbury, Cleckheaton and Liversedge we picked up the road for Halifax and Keighley. Down to the traffic lights at Denholme I turned left where previously I had turned right. On passing through Keighley I pulled over in a layby at the side of the dual carriageway in order for us to regroup and ascertain all was well.
Unfortunately for Bill it wasn't as he had electrical problems and had to leave us at the next roundabout as the rest of us carried on towards Silsden and Addingham. We passed by Bolton Abbey and rode for a while at the side of the river Wharfe, the scenery was getting better by the mile and the traffic getting less and less as we climbed up into the hills before stopping at Stump Cross caverns to stretch the legs and perform other necessary bodily functions. On dropping down to Pateley Bridge we hung a left and rode by the side of the river Nidd before climbing up again over the mountain as the road snaked from one hairpin to another before dropping down again to the most picturesque Gouthwaite Reservoir.
We were truly out in the wilds now and were easily outnumbered by flocks of sheep who viewed our passing with mild disinterest. On the way down to Leighton Reservoir it dawned on me I only had 5 bikes following so I pulled over in a layby to see if there was a problem. Unfortunately there was as we learned from Andy and Jill who turned up after 10 minutes to tell us Terry had a puncture about 5 miles back. Unfortunately as we were at the bottom of a valley surrounded by hills none of us had a phone signal so Martin volunteered to ride back with his puncture repair kit he had secreted about his bike. Caz insisted on going with him not for the company but she wanted to re-ride the road we had just travelled on and back again as she obviously found it to her liking.
The rest of us decided there was no point hanging around so off we went again for a few miles until just outside a little village called Healey we needed to take a left turn. Malc sportingly agreed to wait here for the rest of our group to catch up to direct them where we had gone. As is the camaraderie with bikers many stopped to ask if Malc needed assistance as he lay sprawled on the floor, fortunately of course he didn't but thanked them for their concern and bid them farewell.
We passed by Jervaux Abbey and joined the main road into Leyburn and onto Manor Cafe where we enjoyed some light refreshment and discussed the day's events.
After an hour or so the rest of our merry band turned up having made a temporary repair to Terry's tyre, this goes to show a tremendous advantage in riding in a group of mates all willing to help each other in times of need and crisis, all credit to everyone for their consideration and patience.
Also whilst I'm in the mood for handing out praise I must applaud everyone for exemplary utilisation of the '2nd man system' which worked a treat and meant we didn't lose anyone so big pat on the back to everyone for that it certainly makes my job at the front a whole lot easier.
After Chas had relived us of our hard earned raffle money assisted by Sharon we decided to make our own way home as some needed to be back quickly and others could afford a more leisurely pace. Apparently Kane's rectifier blew up on the way back which didn't really come as a surprise to me as he was wringing his bikes neck trying to force it to go up those hills - I don't think a 125cc trail bike is meant for that, well, not two-up anyway. So despite some setbacks with bike malfunctions I think I can safely say this was a most enjoyable rideout with glorious weather and fantastic scenery on some awesome roads, I look forward to seeing even more of you on the next one.