My abiding memories will be of the many individuals I met, battling with Cancer, in its many forms and yet always managing to stay cheerful and happy. Never thinking of themselves, but of others.

A special mention to the lady fighting both liver and breast cancer. My head couldn’t take it in. 

I found the experience humbling and it made me all the more determined to keep pushing for more involvement from more people. That’s why I selected to borrow and adapted the ‘I have a dream’ speech from Dr Martin Luther King.

Thank you to all those who’ve followed my journey. Without your support, it would have been more of an endurance test and unrewarding.

Thanks also to all those of you who’ve donated. You know who you are. 

My target was set at £3000. So far we’ve reached 39%. Pathetic. I’m being serious.

I mainly blame myself for this failure. I could have probably done more. 

However, I’m optimistic that I can do better. 

This is not a criticism and whatever you may think of it, I make no apology for saying it. 

The innate responsibility that men felt towards mankind has all but disappeared up the arses of those who govern us. The politicians have taken away our moral values. They’ve hijacked it. Used it. Abused it. Politicised it and buried it.

Instead, through the medium of television and tax exempt charities, they are burdening us with the guilt of donating to a plethora of Overseas Aid projects, that are overwhelming and corrupt to the core.

CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME. 

We need to clean up our own backyards, before looking elsewhere to alleviate our consciences and humanitarian responsibilities.

I’m talking about regaining a collective responsibility that we globally need to embrace, regardless of the narcissistic images we are being sold. 

Passivity is not an option and will no longer cut the mustard. 

We need to develop a level of self-governing conscience that is immune from dogma, be it religious or political. If not, indifference and apathy will consume us all.

Every time you get on your proverbial horse, could be the last time you ever see your loved ones. 

We are not born just to ride, but to die. That is the truth of life. Our fathers & mothers, brothers & sisters, friends are all mortal. It’s only a question of time. 

Life is short. 

What matters, is how we choose to live. We need to enhance, nurture and share our lives with those less fortunate?

 

18/07/2014

My friend Dave Terrans and I went for a ride out to the Dales yesterday. 

We partly followed the Tour de France trail and our route took us from Normanton through Altofts > Woodlesford > Wike > East Keswick > Harewood > Pool-in-Wharfedale > Otley > The Blubberhouses > Greenhow > Stumps Caverns > Appetreewick > Burnstall > Bolton Abbey > Ilkley > Otley and back via Bullerthope Lane. 

94 miles of amazing vistas of the English countryside and long winding roads, hills, hidden dips, bumps, bends and sometimes gravel and farm residuals in the middle of the road. It was very important to keep our concentration levels at the peak of our riding and watch out for those types of on-road hazards, but more so for idiot drivers. It also brought to my attention the deterioration of our country roads, full of potholes, badly patched up cracks and overall poor surfaces.

The worst stretch of our journey was when we joined the Ring Road out of Bullerthorpe Lane towards Harrogate. We caught the late rush and it highlighted to me the glaring difference between riding here in the UK and biking on the Continent. As soon as one crosses over the Channel and lands in France, there is a marked difference in the mentality from their car drivers. If anything, they are too considerate of bikers and sometime one feels obligated to overtake them in case they get upset, but they are more biker aware, more courteous and always pull in and make way for riders to pass them. Not in the UK! 

I would say that 80% of the British drivers we encountered were completely oblivious of our presence and one idiot in particular, in a Jag, on his mobile phone, deliberately strayed across to the centre to avoid us overtaking him. What an arse! 

We eventually did, much to his annoyance. I think there is a general resentment from car drivers in the UK that, we, bikers, do not have to suffer the bane of traffic congestion and can filter through. By the way, car drivers who also ride motorbikes make for better drivers. Fact.

Anyway, back to our trip. 

We stopped at The Craven Arms Inn, Appletreewick, for a drink. We met some lovely people and in particular, a charming, well mannered young lad, named Kit, who was out with his parents and grandparents and who kindly took the picture of Dave and I. Thank you Kit. 

By the way Kit, you might like to know that, I was once the Head Chef at The Craven Arms when Lin Nicholson was the Landlady. You’re too young of course to remember those days, but your parents might remember that fatal year when cattle were being slaughtered across the fields due to the mad cow disease epidemic.

We thoroughly enjoyed our ride, although Dave was a bit late back home.

Finally, I would highly recommend an outing to The Craven Arms for their Sunday roast. Absolutely pukka.

Cheers

 

(Photo courtesy of Kit)

The Whitby/ Scarborough Run 

220 miles of superb riding. 5 hrs 40 mins (non- stop). Leave at 07.30 hrs when the roads are clear and the air is fresh. Enjoy your ride. Don’t rush. It’s not a race.

(The Short Version)

The Whitby - Scarborough Run > (The Short Version) Altofts / Normanton M62 East / A1(M) North / B1224 / A168 Thirsk / A19 Coxwold / Byland / A170 Hemsley / A169 Whitby / B1447 Robin Hood's Bay / A171 Scarborough / A170 Pickering / A169 Malton / A64 York / Tadcaster / A162 Sherburn - in - Elmet / A1 (M) South / M62 West / Normanton.

(The Long Version)

Starting from Altofts or Normanton.

M62 North A1(M) North.

As soon as you can, get off the A1(M).

Leave the A1 at the B1224 turn off and at the roundabout (rbt) take the last exit on to Deighton Lane which becomes the A168. 

The A168 runs parallel to the A1 and provides a less hectic ride than the A1(M).

Follow the A168 into Thirsk Market Square. Stop and have a cuppa.

Coming out of Thirsk I would recommend that you don’t take the A170 left at the rbt, but go straight on, following the York Road, A19 sign, which is the recommended alternative scenic route for caravans and avoiding Sutton Bank.

However, when you leave Thirsk, you can take the main A170 and go up Sutton Bank all the way to Hemsley.

If you’ve opted for the more scenic route, about a mile or so along the A19, watch out and take the left fork, Low Lane to Coxwold and Byland.

Stop at Byland Abbey. It’s worth the view.

At The Faucanberg Arms, in Coxwold, turn left.

When you reach Wass, don’t follow the road right, but go straight up Wass Bank Road, which rejoins the A170 at the top.

Turn right towards Hemsley.

Stop in Helmsley for a break. Everybody does. Mingle with other bikers before setting off to Pickering.

Left at the Pickering rbt, A169 to Whitby.

Before you reach the Saltergate Bank, stop at the Hole of Horcum, park up and admire the view. It’s one of biggest natural craters in the UK and is awesome.

Take it steady down the Saltergate Bank. Many a biker thinks he can lean and accelerate through it. By all means lean, but the cars coming uphill the other way sometimes give the curve a wide berth and overshoot the centre line. They will not stop for you!

After the RAF Fylingdales Radar Installation on your right, which look like something out an Alien film, if you have time, visit Goathland aka Aindensfield, where the series Heartbeat was filmed. Have some fudge and walk the platform of the local train station (still in use).

Back on the A169, as you descend into Whitby, The Blue Bank is steep, so make sure you cover your brakes.

Parking outside the Whitby Tourist Information Centre is a popular stop and is within walking distance to the Quayside and over the River Esk Bridge.

The Magpie is the most popular visitor destination for Fish & Chips, but try Alexanders which I now favour for its more welcoming service and truly exceptional fish. It’s opposite and to the left of the swing bridge, corner of St Anne’s Staith and Flowergate. There is also the Royal Fisheries at the top end of Flowergate, which serves a very good Haddock and chips.

Leaving Whitby, go over the Bridge and turn right into Church Street, which follows the River Esk on your right, crosses the Spital Bridge and joins with the A171 to Scarborough.

It’s worth taking a detour, B1447, to Robin Hood’s Bay, for a locally made ice cream and the breathtaking view of the bay.

Out of Robin Hood’s Bay, rejoin the A171 towards Scarborough, by-pass it (that’s for another trip), follow the A171 and join the A170 to Pickering.

Take the A169, Malton Road to Malton and then the A64 towards York and Tadcaster.

The A162 will take you to the Squires Café in Sherburn-in-Elmet for a well earned coffee and steak pie.

You’re almost back home.

A1 South, M62 West back to Altofts or Normanton.

Well done.

THE DALES RUN 

The journey is approximately 115 Miles. It should take about 3.5 hrs, non-stop, but I recommend stopping en route to admire and enjoy the vistas ahead. Lovely on a Sunday morning.

Route Description:

(The Short Version)

Starting Altofts > Stanley Ferry, Ferry Lane > A642 Aberford Road to Stanley > Oulton > Woodlesford > Bullerthorpe Lane > Temple Newsam > A6120 Ring Road West > A61 to Harrogate > A659 to Otley > Blubberhouses > A59 > Greenhow > B6265 to Appletreewick > B6160 to Burnsall > Bolton Abbey > A59 to Harrogate > B6161 to Killinghall > A61 to Ripley > B6165 to Knaresborough > B6164 to Wetherby > B1224 to A1(M) South > A63 > B1222 to Squires Café, Sherburn-in-Elmet > A1(M) South> M62 West > M642 to Stanley > Ferry Lane back to Altofts.

(The Long Version)

Out of Altofts and left turn on to Kirkwood Road.

Over the River Calder, past the Stanley Ferry Boat to end of Ferry Lane.

Turn right on the A642 Aberford Road towards Stanley & Leeds, past the Thatched House Pub. 

Enter the dual carriageway at Moorhouse.

Go straight at the M62 roundabout. 2nd Exit

Follow signs to Rothwell.

Take the 1st exit at the next roundabout. 

At the Oulton Roundabout (Oulton Hall is on the left) take the 3rd exit, Calverly Road, past the Midland Hotel and continue on the A642 Aberford Road to Woodlesford. 

Go over the River Aire bridge.

Turn left on Bullerthorpe Lane past Temple Newsam.

At the A6120 Ring Road West, take the 1st exit 

Follow signs to Crossgates > Seacroft > York > Wetherby> Harrogate>Bradford Airport

Watch out for a speed camera at Crossgates. It works!!! (30mph)

STAY ON THE RING ROAD

You will go over several roundabouts. 

Go straight at the A64 rbt to York.

Go straight at the A58 rbt to Wetherby.

Follow directions to Harrogate and when you get through the double set of lights at Shadwell, take the 3rd exit at the A61 Moortown roundabout to Harrogate.

After the lights at Harewood House, the road sweeps downhill and left. 

At the next right bend and before the bridge, turn left on the A659 to Pool-in-Wharfedale, Arthington & Otley.

At the White Hart Pub, Pool, Turn right on the A658 at the mini roundabout and left, before the Shell Garage, on the A659 to Otley.

You may like to stop in Otley, which is a quaint historic market town. Walk around its market square and call at Middlemiss, the Butchers and sample of one their pies. 

Ask for Tony Middlemiss and mention me. He’s a biker too.

From the Market Square, Turn right on the B6451 through the staggered main traffic lights.

Stay right, otherwise you’ll end up in Ilkley! and follow the road, left bend, out of Otley on to Bridge Street which goes over the bridge, Billams Hill, straight uphill, Newall Carr Road and towards the Blubberhouses. 

There is a biker’s cafe on the right just before the mediaeval Otley bridge. 

By all means stop and have a coffee, but whatever you do, do not indulge in a full breakfast. You will regret it. 

Before you reach the end of this wonderful stretch of road to the Blubberhouses, there is a lovely tight and narrowing  “S” bend awaiting you.

Don’t do anything silly. Oncoming farm vehicles and other 4x4’s don’t care much for your safely and will come at you blind in the middle of the road.

The last 20 or so yards down Church Hill to the A59 is very tricky. Take it easy. Don’t approach it too fast. Really. Brake early, slow down. It’s downhill and very badly maintained, otherwise you’ll end up o the other side of the A59!

St Andrews Church on the right.

Turn right towards Harrogate and immediately first left, up Hardisty Hill and towards Greenhow Hill Road. It’s a long stretch of road which gives you plenty of opportunity to open up.

You will be approaching the Stone House Inn at speed. Slow down. This particular crossroads is dangerous and vehicles tend to just cross over without stopping. 

Go straight. This road ends at Duck Street Lane.

Turn left at the T junction, B6265 (Greenhow Hill) to Hebden and Grassington.

This road is not altogether smooth tarmac, so watch out for patchy and rough bumps especially riding through the bends.

Past Stumps Cross Caverns on your left. Stop if you have time and take the tour. Absolutely astounding.

Look out for the sign to Parceval Hall on the right as you approach Fancarl House (B&B)on your right. 

Turn left turn on New Road. 

This road is narrow and full of sudden dips. 

Also watch out for Farmer Giles and his tractor/trailer.

Sharp right turn on to Hazler Lane and to Appletreewick.

Stop at The Craven Arms Pub for a sandwich! or other. 

In 2003, I was their Head Chef and the food was pukka. Many things have since changed and the atmosphere and the service is second to none. 

Out of Appletreewick, past the Masons campsite.

Mind the narrow road and oncoming vehicles being driven by city folks.

Turn left on the B6160, after the Burnsall Bridge and The Lion Hotel, towards Bolton Abbey.

Go over the Bolton Bridge and Rejoin A59.

At the roundabout, take the 1st exit left, towards Harrogate.

Let rip.

You will pass by the Blubberhouses and Otley turnoff to your right, but carry on uphill, Skipton Road, towards Harrogate.

You know you’re almost at the end of this run when you see The Nelson Inn.

Next is the Old Spring Well Pub coming up.

Turn left at the roundabout, on Otley Road, B6161 to Killinghall, which joins the A61 further down opposite The Three Horseshoes.

Turn left on the A61 to Ripon, but don’t go all the way to Ripon.

Stop at the Ripley and take time to investigate the charms of this replicated French hamlet, its Castle and its grounds.

From Ripley, take the B6165, Ripley Road, to Knaresborough. 

The B6165 rejoins the A59.

At the end of the B6165, turn left (A59), then right (A59) on to the High Street.

Proceed down York Place leading on to York Road.

Watch out for the B6164 sign, right turn to Wetherby, which will take you off the A59.

The B6164 will cross over the A658 on the way and eventually becomes the Knaresborough Road to become the Wetherby Road again as it nears Wetherby.

The Wetherby Road ends at a fork (left to right) and continues on to Deighton Road. It’s still the B6164. 

It’s feels like you’re going back on yourself, but turn left at the fork and follow the B1224 sign. This will avoid you entering Wetherby and take you to the A1(M) South.

Your next stop should be at The Squires Café because you will be parched and hungry.

Exit A63 off the A1(M) to Leeds.

Turn right on to the B1222 to The Squires Café.

Enjoy a well deserved pie and peas. 

Home via the A1(M) South

M62 West

A642 to Altofts via Stanley.

Be Happy.

justgiving