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Combining Motorbike Touring with Training

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tiger

Watch out – Tiger loose in Oxfordshire!

And north Wiltshire too. Ok, so it’s a Triumph Tiger! Had you worried though.

After visiting my Dad in hospital, I decided on a long way home from Swindon and thought a trip to Uffington White Horse was called for.

Tiger by the Uffington White Horse
Tiger by the Uffington White Horse

The route went up through Wanborough, straight to Hinton Parva, Bishopstone, Idstone, Ashbury, finally turning back down to Woolstone following signs for Shrivenham and then Highworth. From Highworth its back to the A419 and turning right down the hill all the way home!

From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uffington_White_Horse

“The Uffington White Horse is a highly stylised prehistoric hill figure, 110 m (360 ft) long, formed from deep trenches filled with crushed white chalk. The figure is situated on the upper slopes of White Horse Hill in the English civil parish of Uffington (in the county of Oxfordshire, historically Berkshire), some 8 km (5 mi) south of the town of Faringdon and a similar distance west of the town of Wantage; or 2.5 km (1.6 mi) south of Uffington.”

It is from the Bronze Age and around 3,000 years old!  There is an iron age fort up there too. Worth a walk round, especially on a day like today. The views are amazing! You can see all the way to Wales!

We stopped  en-route to take a snap by Westmill Wind Farm and Solar Park. Five windmills all told, no noise to be heard so not sure what the fuss is all about – ok they don’t enhance the scenery I agree, but……

Westmill Wind Farm & Solar Park
Westmill Wind Farm & Solar Park

Nice warm-ish day of around 10degs, but gusty at times. Sun was out so I felt great!

This ride is a nice little ride, some of the roads are quite narrow and have grit down the middle. They are really ancient tracks with tarmac so be warned! There was mud in places from the local farmyards which made for a slippery patch every now and then. But, I think I’m lucky to live so close by to some wonderful scenery. We take it all for granted don’t we!

The route we took:

Happy days!  Just thinking about some of the place names, such as Idstone – I now need to know where that name came from!

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Sally rode pillion on the Tiger!

Wow! Ok, she had little choice to be honest as our car is being repaired this week – all week! Ouch, that’s going to be expensive.

Anyway, seems she really enjoyed it! Fresh air coming in was the best. It was dark and a bit wet out, but….Got me thinking about the next bike; sticking with Triumph (of course!)

Next bike perhaps?
Next bike perhaps?

 

Riding with pillion reminded me of how much extra care I need to take. Extra time to brake; even more care when accelerating – don’t want to jolt her around; looking further ahead to make the ride as smooth as possible. And the pre-ride pep talk – lean with the rider, don’t lean the opposite way as this makes it really hard to control; hold onto the grab rails or me; tap me once to turn left, twice for right, and many times to stop!

But, she enjoyed it, and so did I!

Riding in the dark was good too. The Tiger’s lights work really well compared to other bikes I have seen. The road was a bit damp and there was some mud about, but with traction control this proved no issue at all.

Can’t wait now for lighter evenings and dry days to get out again, perhaps for a whole day!

 

 

Riding in the rain – and the dark!

Something I do enjoy doing I must admit, is riding in the rain, but riding home last night after my evening class was rather less “enjoyable”.

Coming back to Cricklade from Wroughton via Purton, the roads were poorly lit if at all. Muddy, leaves and rain, but having “Rain” mode on the Tiger meant the bike coped and was brilliant. Made me look like I knew how to ride 🙂 As well as having traction control and what could be the best lights on a motorbike, the ride home was not too bad.

Did I enjoy it? Hmmmm……..! Yes, probably! I still got off with a big grin on my face, but a knackered back from Tae Kwon Do!!!

Route below:

Back from family holiday, planning next ride(s)

Back from a two-week break in Xelendi on Gozo (next to Malta) where we, Sally, Richard, Jonathan and I, spent a lot of time in the sea, pool and generally enjoying ourselves.  Great food (remember the spare ribs and burgers!), and some very friendly people. We had good days out in kayaks, a car and half a day on a rented speed boat. The speed boat was great as we got round the whole island in three hours with time spare for snorkelling in some quiet coves.

 

This was family time spent with just the four of us. The boys are now 16 and 14 so we need to make the most of times like this as Richard may want to go away with his mates in the next couple of years – at the worst case only two more family holidays such as this left! Crikey!

It is also important to recognise they are growing up and need their space and independence too. On the plus side, it will mean eating out becomes a lot cheaper 🙂

I would thoroughly recommend Gozo to anyone wanting a warm up and especially our  Xelendi Accommodation.

Now we’re back I have time to spend (in between working and family life of course) riding the Tiger! Already been thinking of a few day-trip rides; maybe to Swanage for a chip run, and possibly a weekender to Wales.

If all of life’s problems were as complicated and stressful as this, what a great world it would be!

Right, back to the day job!

There’s a Tiger coming to tea!

Its a Triumph Tiger XRx!

Treated myself to a new motorbike to replace the ageing KES.

Bit of a sad day as KES has been loyal, reliable-ish, and great fun. I even passed my Advanced Riding Test with RoSPA on KES. However, the time has come for KES to go into semi-retirement and enjoy the coming days, months and years remembering past glories, rides and fun! Remember the Alps!!! We will always have that.

Not sure what I’m going to do with KES though. Keep and get back to showroom condition – nice project I can do with my sons. Will teach them a few things about engine repair in general.

Or sell? That thought I hate I must admit and will struggle to bring myself to do. Space is the issue though. We have a single garage rammed full of everything other than what it was designed for (assuming we all drive ultra-small cars and are slim enough to get out the door when it is only open about 10 inches (250mm/25cm for the young’uns)).

What a dilemma! Who said life was going to be easy? Lets see how I feel next week when the new bike arrives.

 

Tiger XRx
Tiger XRx

 

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