Despite getting up a little late as I was suffering with what we call "dehli belly" after a curry a few nights before (it was there all the day before too!) , we managed to get to Dover and part way back in an aborted attempt to "take the air" on the White Cliffs. We did have a walk with Reggie at the Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne, plus a tea for us. A little painting needed doing before I could leave Claire pottering in the garden and set off on the bike for a short ride.
It was warm when I left and perhaps the choice of the mesh Joe Rocket jacket wasn't the right choice. Even with a polo shirt and V-neck jumper underneath once above 50mph it was freezing. Of course, as the afternoon wore on, even with the sun still shining, it got colder.
I headed west along the A259, through the neighbouring seaside resort of Dymchurch, the self-confessed "Childrens' Paradise", where there were many people enjoying the amusements and cafes. All of which were open for business. After all it was the last weekend of the kids' Easter Holiday.
Continuing west I decided once through New Romney that I'd head towards Rye. "Old" Rye sits on a cliff overlooking the sea, or where the sea used to be before it silted up and the sea itself retreated a mile or more away. A similar silting has happened along the coast here forming what we call Romney Marsh. When the Romans landed at Portus Lemanis (modern day Port Lympne) the sea lapped the foot of the cliff. Now it is about two miles away across the flat "polder like" marsh.
Anyway, I digress. The A259 from New Romney is one of the roads that suits bikers. Generally in good condition with a few curves, two railway crossings and about 10 miles to have a little fun. Sometimes riders have come a cropper on it and there have been a few fatalities. The last being last summer when a guy in a car decided to do a U-turn and was hit by a bike and a car. The rider was killed and so were two of the car's passengers.
On the way west I decided to stick to about 55-60mph (the max limit is 60) and in places generally observed the limits. I ride a bike with the largest production engine , with 149bhp in my hands but sometimes it is all about knowing it's there rather than proving it. The sun was out and I was wearing my old Caberg J1S helmet. Sometimes a flip front is the best choice on the day.
In Rye the bikers have for years squeezed between a wall and a barrier to park on the apron by the dockside. Why they don't simply open the barrier and let bikes in is no doubt one for the land's owners to answer. Maybe it stops cars parking in there too to avoid the exorbitant Rother Council parking charges. In their car-parks, even disabled drivers pay. The rule of thumb in UK is that disabled badge holders park free.
However today the barrier is lifted and the gap is filled by an ice-cream van! Entry via the gap is limited to one side and not two as per the many times I have been before. Even at this time of the afternoon, about 4pm, there are about fifty bikes parked up with comings and goings all the time. The squeeze through the gap was very tight as my bars are quite wide and I just got through. How the 1500 Wing made it I have no idea!
After a look at the bikes and in particular a BMW R1100GS with the full massive tank and rally-raid preparation (somehow the picture didn't come out - thanks Apple) I needed a warming cup of coffee. Across the road a Darcy's there were loads of bikers trussed up against the breeze and sitting in the sun. It was here that I decided to have the (pictured) toasted teacake. And lovely it was washed down with a cappuccino.
Once finished, as this was supposed to be a short run out, I went back to the bike. Some guys had taken a photo of Pepe before I got back and they asked a few questions. As I left I heard a few less than flattering comments from a couple of race-replica owners. I don't care. I have had GSXR's and adventure bikes, sometimes you want to have something different.
The ride back was almost as relaxed as the way there. Backtracking along the same route as I left Rye I was tail gated for a while by a guy in a BMW X1. If you are going to buy a butch SUV, buy a decent one not the entry level toy car. I overtook a couple of cars before the first railway crossing and he followed. Maybe he can see around blind bends, but somehow I think he was simply stupid. Before the second one I slid past another and then gradually moved clear of them all. He caught me in the 30 limit in New Romney. As I had been riding to the limit everywhere he must have been way over to catch me. Who cares. Maybe he was impressing his girlfriend. Don't impress me much (Thank Shania!)
It is amazing when you keep to all the limits how many don't. I'm not talking about the needle on 40 in the 40. I am talking about the needle on 45 to allow for the 10% speedo error in the 40 and still they surge up your ass. Maybe a bike with a bigger engine than their cars' intimidates them?
I arrived home in time for a little bit of painting around the exhaust to the new boiler before packing Reggie in the car for another, longer, walk.
A nice day to be out on the bike. Can't wait for the next weekend!