It was with some trepidation that once the Remembrance Day Parade had finished on TV that I went to the garage and tried to start Pepé.
Of course I had to press the "go" button and was relieved to hear the "whirr. click" from last week. I then got the power unit out and attached the leads.
A few seconds. Press again. Start. Phew.
I left it running whilst I finished togging up. Boy was it cold out of the wintery sun. My phone showing 6°C. The wind chill on the motorway at 70mph... I Googled it and it came out at -2.3°C.
I need Santa to bring me some winter gloves. My usual ones were not that good today. I'll be more specific for him. Not too bulky but waterproof and warm. If anyone knows of a brand/model that fits this bill that won't cost an arm or leg, then tell me.
So back to Sunday. I set off about 1145. This is my fifth Ring of Red. In fact I have been going since the first one.
The traffic was light to the M20. I decided that I'd go straight up and not bother with the A2 detour. A fuel stop at Dartford and then across river to Thurrock.
There was heavy traffic as I approached the Services. They are off the motorway by a huge shopping centre. With Christmas only 43 days away you can't keep the mugs from spending their cash. Worst still, there's an IKEA to attract the dumbos to buy flat packed Swedish chipboard furniture.
Once in the services the organisation was excellent. An area of the car park setioned off and the management fully cooperating to make the day a success.
People complained about it being chaotic but simply put, that is bollocks. A small number of volunteers and marshals have to do the organising of hundreds of attendees into a column and then on to the roads.
The traffic was held up by other volunteers with cars, to let us get out of the service area and onto the M25. Such a shame that Essex Police can't provide a car or two to assist or even a few bike cops?
Once on the M25 the first obstacle is the Queen Elizabeth Bridge. Traffic was crawling at 30mph and we had trouble reaching the 50-55mph speed and four bike lengths apart ideal.
I planned to go to the next services but as I was so damned cold I decided to go past and then turn around at the next junction.
Fellow Meldrew, Ian Jenkinson, was a mile or so ahead of me on his 1200GS. I was going to stop off for a coffee with him and his riding buddies on the way back on the other side of the M25. In the end I shot past.
By Maidstone I was thinking about a comfort break but carried on past that service area as well. The urge went off in the cold.
Apart from my fingertips I wasn't feeling too cold. I was wearing a jumper I bought a few weeks ago in ASDA. That it has reindeer on it.... Anyway it was warming. Plus my ancient boots had back up courtesy of EDZ bikers socks. My legs in thickish kevlar lined cargo pants seemed okay.
I eventually arrived home about 3pm. Once in the house I felt even colder than on the road.
|Me and Pepe|