Yesterday was my first real ‘ride out’ this year, not being limited by time, needing to be close to home or having to combine my run with errands or social aspects however pleasant. Even yesterday events outside my control robbed me of 3 hours riding. It was ok in the end. Some poor souls have lost much more in the Covid fiasco. Some have no time, no money, no Buell, no bike even, or no will to ride!
So at 5 minutes to midday l eventually pressed the starter, topped up with Shell Superunleaded and headed west. We all have our favourite route to the good times. One of ours is the Peterstow to Abergavenny road just north of Ross-on-wye, 18 miles of not very fast twisty and hilly tarmac. If you are feeling a bit rusty at the start, you will be truly in the groove by the Welsh border near Skenfrith.
At Abergavenny you turn left then left again at the old high street to arrive at the ‘Bus Stop’ a favourite pit stop for bikers. I had been told that the regular food counter was closed, but it was open yesterday albeit with a slightly reduced menu of burgers and bacon baps to go with your coffee.
There were some nice bikes there including a couple of those weird and wonderful 701 Svartpulen sporty big singles. They look and sound like an oversized 125, but scoot away quite rapidly on what looked like a mere sniff of the throttle. I expect that a few bigger sports bikes get surprised by a well ridden 701, a bit like a latter day Arter Matchless?
A tricked up tri-colour 1098 Duke rattled into the car park with one of those annoying rotating tambourine dry clutch thingies. Being obsessed with springs at the moment l spied a few likely looking shiny coils bolted into the clutch unit. I wondered if l could quickly whip out spring numbers 1 and 4 before the owner noticed or thought they had just rattled lose on the road somewhere!
There was also a very tidy original AMF Harley 250 single stroker from the 1970s. I had only ever seen one of these in pictures on the back of Cycle magazine back when, but l had always thought they were good looking. Strange how l grew to hate 2 strokes then, but now their rarity seems to add to their appeal today.
Time was getting short so l headed home again via the B4598 which runs parallel to the A40 dual cabbage way. This road also passes the ‘Steel Horse’ pub on the turning south to Usk. This pub is sadly shut at present, but is another popular biker haunt which did a good full English when open.
I took the dual for the section between Monmouth and Ross just to make up time, but switched back to the A449 to Ledbury. The little XB was really going well at this stage with that intoxicating rush of torque with matching soundtrack from 3500 onwards, but l doubt if l ever went over 5000 before rolling off or braking on those fun roads.
Even the little Malossi spring lasted the distance.
Hope more of you are also getting out to enjoy the weather!