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Peter Genet

Gentleman Biker of Cricklade

Month

August 2016

August Bank Holiday ride

What a great day for a late afternoon ride! The Tiger has just had its first service after 500miles, which means I can now open it up and go beyond 5,000rpm. Not that I really need to, but it’s nice to know I can be a bit less conservative about how the power is used!

First chance to really exercise the Tiger, and back out with my old mate Richard, we followed an old favourite route. Leaving Cricklade, up the B4040 to Malmesbury, turning right then left towards Tetbury.

Stopping for a coffee and tea, we then went in the Cirencester direction, turning left at the top of the hill on the Stroud road.  Somewhere, we turned right along narrow winding roads heading to Winstone.

Then, back home along the A419 where I had another chance to use cruise control.

Very enjoyable ride. Nice to know what the Tiger can do especially with a couple of overtakes.

 

Rac route planner:

http://www.rac.co.uk/route-planner/l/pebx

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Skillshare!

Heading down to the Divine Cafe, on the A4 just outside Calne next Saturday 3rd September to meet up with some of the chaps from Wiltshire RoADAR. Its their regular monthly SkillShare event.

From the Wiltshire RoADAR website:

SkillShare is a free event organized by the Wiltshire RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders group. It offers the opportunity for drivers and riders to come along and get a free driving or riding assessment from a RoSPA approved tutor and to have a chat about cars, bikes, driving/riding and find out more about RoSPA advanced driving/riding training over a coffee in one of the best cafes in Wiltshire.

What Do I Get Out Of It?

  • For motorcyclists, an assessed ride, where a tutor will ride with you and provide some hints and tips on where you might think about improving your safety whilst making better progress. Depending upon attendance, rides will normally operate on a ratio of one tutor per rider although occasionally we may need to adjust the ratio to a maximum of one tutor to three riders.
  • For drivers, an assessed drive, where a tutor will accompany you in your own vehicle and provide some feedback on how you might improve your driving. The tutor will tailor the session to meet your individual needs.
  • A full debrief following the drive/ride covering all aspects of your driving/riding and based on the principles of the Police driver’s or motorcycle rider’s handbook, Roadcraft.
  • A written debrief you can take away as a reminder of what was discussed.
  • The chance to find out more about the training RoSPA offers, the local RoSPA groups and to meet some of our tutors and find out just how friendly and non-judgmental we are and to see first hand that we don’t all own a certain make of car or bike!
  • A fun morning out driving/riding some of our favourite roads in Wiltshire.

Who Should Come Along?

Absolutely anyone who is interested in developing their driving or riding or finding out how they can take control of their own safety on the road whilst maintaining the fun of driving/riding.

Where Is It?

SkillShare is held at the Divine Cafe in Cherhill. There is plenty of parking and the location offers access to some great roads. Not only that but the coffee and cakes are “probably the best in Wiltshire”. It truly is Divine.

When Is It?

SkillShare takes place on the first Saturday of the month during the summer seasons. View ourcalendar for the next date.

We ask that attendees arrive at 10AM so that we can start the drives/rides at 10:15. We aim to have all the de-briefs completed by 12:30.

I Want To Come Along

Drivers/riders can turn up on the day and we will do our best to accommodate you, but we prefer that you reserve a place by sending us an email by clicking here or by following the link above to the SkillShare pages.

How to improve your riding

You’ve got the full license and no longer need to show “L” plates. Does that make you a good rider? Do you think you can ride well; or do you ride like a jerk? Only a jerk thinks he can’t improve.

We all think we ride (and drive) well. None of us like being told we make mistakes – after all, when we make a mistake most of the time no-one gets hurt. It’s nearly always someone else’s fault anyway! To some men, to be told you need to improve your riding or driving is like saying you have a small willy! Fighting talk!!!

As a rider its small consolation lying on a cold marble slab in the mortuary knowing that it “wasn’t your fault”.

Doesn’t matter whose fault it is – you’re dead; you no longer exist; you are an ex-biker like it or not! The other person has insurance – no harm done there; slap on the wrists; a few points on a licence; maybe a suspended sentence. You are maggot food, they aren’t!

How do we improve our riding and increase our chances of coming home in one piece and not being carried by a grieving relative in a small urn?  Accept that no matter how good you are, you can always improve.

You need to appreciate that as a rider you are more vulnerable when hit by another vehicle. Understand too that if you do come off it is going to hurt. Maybe an advanced riding course is for you; at the very least, you will get advice and tips on how to maintain speed, safely and hopefully avoid being the ornament on the front of a tractor!

Like anything in life there are no guarantees that you won’t get hit or come off your bike after taking the Advanced Riding course. But, it will improve your overall chances of survival!

What is Advanced Riding – it’s a system of riding that constantly uses the information around you to help you make decisions on the route you are planning to take. It looks at road conditions, traffic, road positioning, your machine and you! Advanced Riding is all about making good progress, safely. It’s not necessarily about slowing you down. Advanced Riding enables you to objectively look at your riding and focuses on where you could improve.

You do need to have that discipline to objectively critique your riding performance otherwise you won’t improve. I’m not trying to say that non-Advanced riders are jerks, just that none of us are perfect and we can always improve in one way or another.

A personal tutor will be assigned to you when you start your Advanced Riding journey. He/she will assess your riding and prepare a plan to help you improve. This is done over a few weeks/months depending on your progress – you do need to listen to the advice given as advice is given with the best of intent. Between tutor sessions you are expected to practice what you have been advised typically over 200 miles. Tutor sessions typically last around a couple of hours each time and you may ride anywhere between 30 and 60 miles; it does depend on you and your tutor. At the end of each session, your tutor will assess the various areas of riding with a score between 1 and 5 (5 being the highest). You probably won’t get all 5’s so don’t expect too.

Before I go any further, Advanced training is practically free. You just contribute £10 towards your tutor’s costs eg fuel. There is no financial gain for your tutor having you come back for more training sessions.

When you join the RoADAR group you will receive a copy of the “Roadcraft” book which is the book the Police use. This has all the information needed to pass your Advanced Riding/Driving test if indeed you take the test. Click on the link at the bottom of this page for the Wiltshire RoADAR website for more information.

What have I gotten out of it? Improved riding skills, increased satisfaction and a desire to get out on my bike more often than is good for me! Even in the wet!!

 

 

 

 

Some of my favourite rides from Cricklade.

Back from holiday has gotten me thinking about some of my favourite rides. Bike riders tend to think of roads the same way that skiers think about pistes.

These are meant to be short hops out for lunchtime or evening spins. Often they tend to take longer as we stop for coffee en-route. Depending on how I feel at the time, I will shorten or lengthen the ride. Today, for example, I did the Bibury longer route just for the fun of it (once the Tiger is run in, I will look at doing longer runs over whole days eg Chip run to Swanage).

I have not included any route maps below, but I tend to use RAC route Planner, avoiding Motorways and Toll roads as much as possible – so, to follow a route, just enter the main headings and see where it takes you!

Happy exploring!

  1. Bibury burble – nice ride this one which can be made shorter or longer as you fancy. Both routes go via Fairford, Quenington, Coln St Aldwyn and onto Bibury.
    1. The shorter route follows the road through Bibury, over the river Coln, through Charlton and back to the A419 at the Cirencester junction. A great ride of around an hour or so.
    2. The longer route can go for as long as you like really! Rather than following the road back over the bridge, turn right at the Swan Hotel and follow this road. There are plenty of turnings off here, both left and right that can be taken for an interesting evening’s ride. By following the road straight, you come to the Fosse Way, where turning left brings you back to the A419 Cirencester junction and the short hop back to Cricklade.
  2. Avebury – a favourite ride of mine this one (as they all are to be honest!). To add a bit of interest, take the Malmesbury road, B4040, out of Cricklade, to the Leigh crossroads – this is the first junction on the road with traffic lights. Turn left and keep going to the end of the road. Turn left, again, towards Royal Wootton Bassett. There is a choice to be made at the roundabout; either turn right into Bassett, or go straight over to Wroughton.
    1. Turning right into Bassett is good as the journey can go via Calne if you wanted. So, assuming we do go via Calne, we then have to follow signs for the A4 towards Marlborough. Passing the Divine Café on the right (good cuppa tea and cake here), we turn left at the next major roundabout towards Avebury. A choice can be made at this roundabout, either turn left to Avebury, of keep going straight to Marlborough – depends on your mood and how you are off for time!
      1. Turning left takes you through Avebury (mind out for hippies celebrating the Summer and Winter Solstace’s). Watch for Police as you enter the 30mph stretch – they are often there so be warned, its your licence! Through Avebury, and out the other side towards Wroughton. Couple of options again; turn left to Broad Hinton will bring you back into Bassett; or go into Wroughton. If you go into Wroughton, turn left at the first set of lights which is Wharf Road – careful along here as it is an accident blackspot! This brings you out at the M4 junction 16 where you can follow signs back to Cricklade, or come home via Purton.
      2. Going to Marlborough is good too as there are plenty of opportunities for coffee stops there. And once full of coffee, there are more ways home than I can even begin to write about – one of my favourites is to head to Hungerford and come back via the back roads – turning left just before you get to Hungerford.
  3. Tetbury and beyond – this is a nice fine ride as it takes in all sorts of roads. The A419 to Cirencester being the first major road. Turn left at the Tesco roundabout and then right-ish at the next one. Then left at the next roundabout and up the hill. At the next roundabout, the road for Tetury is straight on, or you can go right to Stroud.
    1. Tetbury – straight over brings you onto some great roads with long flowing bends and fast straights. In Tetbury, there are places to stop for coffee/tea so take the opportunity and do so, somewhere near the market square is good. Typically, two routes from here;
    2. Malmesbury – this is a pleasant ride back to Malmesbury. If you can, stop in the main square and have a coffee in the museum. Then, follow the B4040 back to Cricklade. The B4040 is one of my favourite roads with its collection of straights, ‘S’ bends and little villages. The ride is only 11 miles from Malmesbury, short but enjoyable.
    3. Bath/Bristol – follow signs for the M4 takes you to the Westonbirt Arboretum. This again is a favourite ride of mine with its variety of roads and riding challenges. At the M4 junction there are numerous choices, one of which is to come back home on the M4, or continue south and find routes home via Chippenham or even further!
    4. Stroud – this is a nice road winding over the tops of Minchampton common. From here, there are plenty of ways one can get lost which is the aim of this really. Pleasant riding, though can be tricky in the wet with some of the steep hills that can be found in this area. Need to explore more of this as my knowledge is quite limited.
  4. Aldbourne – head to the M4 along the A419 and take the second left at the Common Head roundabout. Up through Liddington and over the hill, you will be greeted with views of the downs and the M4! Great fast ride through to Aldbourne. Passing through, takes you to a junction where you choose what to do. Left to Hungerford or right up to anywhere!
    1. Turning right takes you back to Marlborough along a great wide road. Then, choices, choices, choices!
    2. Turning left into Hungerford again brings a multitude of choices.
  5. Fosse way – great road this. The best thing is to follow your nose at one of the signs eg Lower Slaughter and see where you end up! You will be pleasantly surprised. There are many towns and villages off the Fosse Way – Bourton on the Water, Eastleach, Stow on the Wold to name but a few. Each has its own special delights to explore. At the end of the Fosse Way is Warwick which is renowned the world over for its castle; probably the most photogenic castle in the world. Watch out for speeding cars and hidden dips on this road.

There are many other rides, to Cheltenham along the old road via Cirencester; Bath; Pangbourne; Ross-on-Wye to name a few. More time is needed exploring to the West and into the Forest of Dean and Wales.

Hmmmm… the only issue is time!

Right, back to the housework before Sally gets home!

 

 

 

 

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!

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