The Quick Quacks revisit Boroughbridge and extend their French

September 2008

Photos Adrian's photos More photos from CtC

The weekend started well enough. A bunch of us met up with the Lincolnshire Lads and meandered by interesting highways and byways towards Boroughbridge. Unfortunately somwhere not very far from Doncaster I got torpedoed by a silver Triumph. This resulted in the complete demolition of my full Akrapovic system and that was game over for the weekend. I won't bore you all with the details of my 5 hour wait to start the relay home but I will tell you it was 2am before I got to bed. So from here I will let Ian W take up the story.

Boroughbridge: the reprise .

I wasn’t supposed to be writing this. I was the organiser for this jaunt but Pete the Free was impeded and couldn’t make the run. To prepare myself I re-read Sarah’s report of our last visit to Boroughbridge, seven and a half years earlier! Appended to the report were some photos. As a group you can really say that Mother Nature has been kind to us. It’s just a shame that Old Father Time has given us such a kicking!

Anyhow, back to the plot, we gathered on the 12 th, 13 th and 14 th of September at the Crown Hotel. The hotel was it’s usual excellent self. As we had grown a bit since last time we took over most of the hotel and annexed the St Helena suite for evening meals. This gave the band plenty of space to show off their expertise. They didn’t disappoint, but I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.

After a period of relatively settled weather the week of the QQ run the weather broke. One wag suggested that this was just to ensure the roads were properly clean for us. Anyway it was slightly mistimed. The rain started at about lunchtime on Friday and didn’t stop until late into the evening. Waterproofs were tested and found wanting. Nick was found begging at the reception desk for more towels to dry out the inside of his Rukka. Not that the weather dampened the spirits of the Quacks. As they arrived everyone tended to accumulate in the room opposite the bar and renewed friendships, extracted the Michael and generally enjoyed the fellowship of the Quacks. Unfortunately we had a significant person missing. Pete the Free, chairman of this parish. In a bid to force him off his overgrown SV 650, John Bloor had unleashed his secret weapon: an unguided missile disguised as Matthew Bland’s Triumph Sprint ST. In a bid to write off Pete’s TL the Sprint had assaulted him up the exhaust (Oooh err, Mrs). This resulted in a pleated Acropovic can and a half faired ST. Note to M Bland Esq. half faired is meant to be the top half and not just the right hand half. Pete slunk off home for a night of spannering whilst everyone else partied into the night.

Another casualty of the ride up was Neil, John Swales’ friend. He arrived on an immaculate VFR750. Unfortunately the rear brake light was missing. The whole light unit! Fortunately Neil and John were able to get help from the Honda agent in Harrogate and join us at lunch for the rest of the run.

Saturday dawned as it does: grey and wet. It had actually stopped raining. Well, more or less it had stopped raining and we assembled in the car park at the normal 9.15 am with the normal full tanks and empty bladders. Most of us did: I did spot several people sneaking off to either fill their bikes or empty themselves. Now as I had been designated as organiser the next bit was down to me. Make sure that everyone is assigned to a suitable group. I failed. In fact I didn’t even try. As most of us had ridden together on several times I just assembled my trusty band of leaders (take a bow Bon, Gary, Jane, Keith, Colin) and left the Quacks to choose. It seemed to work; score one for disorganisation!

We set off through Ripon to Pateley Bridge, Grassington, Kettlewell, Buckden, Aysgarth and on to Hawes. We were into Hawes for coffee (fnar, fnar). Again disorganisation ruled as there was no specific coffee stop but in the end we all ended up at the Penny Garth Café. For some reason Huw was complaining that his bike was leaking petrol: wus! In the good old days everyone one rode about with the risk of immolating themselves at a moment’s notice and no one complained. I managed to locate the connection that his mechanic had failed to connect properly and reconnect it. See: easy to fix these Hinkley Triumphs!

I think the lure of Hawes must have distracted some of the Quacks as on the way into the coffee stop group two gathered up the group one droppings when some of the group tried an alternative route. On the way out of Hawes the clown leading group two managed to leave two of his party behind; that would be me, then.

As we left Hawes to ride down the wholly excellent B 6255 to Ingleton the weather started to lift. By the time we had reached the sun was even peeping shyly at us from behind the clouds. As we turned onto the road to Sedburgh and Kirkby Lonsdale group two managed to get themselves into a pickle. There were two results from this: a) we passed and repassed a section of the Matchless Owners Club several times as we tried to regroup and b) when we finally paused to regroup just south of Kirkby Lonsdale some of the group had to dodge behind a wall to add to the water table. It was at this moment that the Matchless Owner’s Club puttered past for the final time dispensing withering looks of disdain as they passed. Unbowed we rode into Kirkby Lonsdale for petrol and thence to the Tan Hill Inn for lunch.

After lunch we gambled down Arkengarthdale to Reeth and then Grinton before clambering over Redmire Moor to Leyburn. From there we scampered down the A 6108 to Masham for tea at the Boarder Café. Sunning ourselves in the square at Masham was very pleasant.

After that there was the final, short section down to Ripon and then Ripley before cutting back to Knaresborough and finally to Boroughbridge. The run was deliberately short to allow everyone a good change to mingle and chat. When we got back to the car park at the Crown we found Pete up to his armpits in the bowels of his bike. Despite spending most of the night cannibalising his two TL’s into one Franken-TL he hadn’t managed to get a fully functional bike. This was not good as he, and others had a rendezvous in Hull for the ferry to Zeebrugge, but that’s another tale.

Whilst fun was being had in Boroughbridge I was swapping over exhaust systems so I could rejoin the party and head over to France. I got the job done in a couple of hours and zapped off to head North. Sadly the bike had developed the nasty habit of randomly stalling. This was particularly embarassing mid-overtake. Suffice it to say that I got very good at pulling in the clutch, turning the ignition off, flicking the kill switch off and on, turning the ignition back on and restarting the bike without losing more than a few mph. I managed to nurse the bike to Boroughbridge but it was pretty clear that the French extension was out. I was glad I'd come North though as as ever the company was excellent and the band played well. I'd ride a couple of hundred miles to listen to them any day. It was at this point that JB came to my rescue and offered me the use of his Aprillia for the week. Top man that JB.

On Sunday I limped down to Boston with JB and repacked most of my gear into the Aprillia top-box, sadly I had to abandon my video equipment. JB switched over to his BMdouble-u. We were being pretty relaxed until JB came up to me at the petrol station and informed me that we only had one hour to get to the ferry, which was 70 odd miles away across country, no major roads. Hmm.. This was when I discovered that the Aprillia was handling in a most strange manner. If I didn't force it round the corners it really had no intention of staying on the road. Below 70mph it had a weave which got worse and worse the slower one went. In towns this was very difficult and not a little alarming. We decided it was due to the steering damper, but there was precious little that I could do about it at this point!

Suffice it to say, we made it. The trip from Hull to Zeebrugger overnight is really rather fun. The food is good and the accommodation adequate. Once across the water, whilst others took their time I zapped off to get down to Nigel's place near Limoges to see if any help was required with the preparations for the Quack invasion. As it was, my help was pretty much surplus to requirements, so the next morning I spent a happy hour or two dismantling the Aprillia and removing the steering damper. What a difference! Now I know why people love this bike. For sure you have to get very involved in the action with lots of movement and weight shifting, but once into the groove it handles like a dream.

In the afternoon the rest of the team showed up, including Ian and Audrey in the car. Nigel had prepared a very fine afternoon meal that got demolished in short order. There was a lot of general chilling going on associated with exploring the very interesting house and barns for more of which see here. Once all the food had been hoovered up and all nooks and crannies explored we moved on to the Chateau de la Cazine where we had accommodation in the converted barns. The rooms were not salubrious but were clean and comfortable and the walk or ride from there to the Chateau was delightful. Dinner was a fixed menu but it was cooked beautifully and excellent value. The wine list was very fine and reasonably priced. The bar service was dreadful!

The next day we split into a few groups. I led JB, Grahame, Adrian, CtC, and Jane down the D912 to Bourganeuf where we stopped for a coffee. From here down the D940 to Eymoutiers and lunch. Here it took a while to realise the cafe I had chosen was closed for redecoration, the replacement was not so good sadly... After lunch we went along the extremely windy D30 and the very narrow D39a to Mount Gargan. A short climb brings you up to an impressive viewpoint with a near 360 degree vista. Must come here again with a picnic. It became apparent I wouldn't get the team home without another coffee stop so I found a way North to the D14 and we wandered into St Leonard de Noblat. I wandered off and found the medieval town which deserves a more detailed investigation one day. After this things went downhill as we encoutered route barre after route barre and spent far too long riding on what appeared to be ball bearings. In the final analysis this did not really detract from an excellent days riding.

The next day there was a slight shift in the groups, Jane elected for a quieter ride and we were joined by the newly arrived Dave. Today I had something very special planned. Some of it was so special we had to do it twice, of course I wasn't lost. There is forever a circuit in France known as the Lap de Lapin. We went down the D912, then the D10 (twice...) to Pontarion. From here we went East along the D941 then turned Sotuh down the D3 towards Vassiviere. The slightly clever bit was nipping along the D37 to Auberpeyre. It was worth creeping along this gravel strewn track to get to today's adventure. The Rigole du Diablo. I heard several different translations of this. The literal translation is laughs the devil so I think this is Joke of the Devil. This fabulous road is 6 miles or so of flip flop bends through a wooded gorge. Marvellous, marvellous going to go back and do it again, again! I really missed my video camera here L . This should now be searchable in google maps as I added it. The photo of us in Royere de Vassiviere shows us in a state of post adrenaline depression I think! We revived ourselves with coffee and carried on towards the lac. I delegated leadership to CtC so he could sat nav his way round all the marked eating houses. All the groups managed to meet up at the only cafe in the region that appeared to be open, unfortunately at only very slightly overlapping times! Our group was enlarged by the addition of Nigel and another Dave, Nigel's family friend. Our return route was straightforward. D13 to Peyrat, D940 and D912 back to Nigel's place for refreshments before returning to our Chateau, doesn't that sound great?

Friday saw people shooting off either to continue their holiday or to find various ways home. I, along with JB, Nigel and Dave (the copper) followed Grahame to Joigny (beautiful town) where we stayed in La Rive Gauche. For a fairly unremarkable hotel the food was fabulous. On the way we had stopped in Menetreol-sous-Sancerre to eat lunch in a simple cafe by the canal to the west of the Loire. Four courses was it? Including Moules et frites. For less than 11 € if I recall correctly. On Saturday I bid farewell to everyone as I was on something of a mission. Apparently I was going out to dinner. I managed to cover the 270 miles to the tunnel in about 3 hours and was able to catch an early train, result!


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Quick Quacks Pete the Free