It’s been a while since my last Ride Report on here. That’s not because I haven’t been reporting, more that we havn’t done a great deal of riding. I have used the bike as transport on a couple of occasions and I did a quick trip over to Robin Hood Harley-Davidson to complete some paperwork for my insurance. However, until today, it has been months since Sue and I went out for a ride.
With our Christmas celebrations taking place on Christmas Eve and the disco season taking a break, we were able to have some time for ourslves today.
After a relaxing morning, we decided to go out after an early lunch. So well before 1pm we were on the road, heading northwqrds out of Nottingham around the Hucknall by-pass and on towards Annesley and to the M1 northbound.
Even as the ride started, the lack of traffic on the roads made riding an unusual pleasure.
We left the M1 and headed into Chesterfield before climbing up into the hills towards Baslow and across towards Buxton. The weather was overcast, but it stayed dry all day, although the temperature dropped as we headed northwards and as we climbed ever higher into the Peak Distict.
The ride into Buxton was, again, on almost deserted roads and after a little over over an hour aboard the Heritage Softail, we arrived in the Derbyshire spa town of Buxton.
I had been there for a conference just over a month ago at the Palace Hotel and I stopped the bike just opposite Buxton railway station to point out the hotel to Sue who came up with the insired idea of stopping there to ask if we could have a coffee. I was resigned to the fact that there would be nowhere open on Christmas day and that our refreshment stop would be back at home.
We rode up to the hotel, parked and went inside where we were welcomed and directed to the lounge bar area where we thoroughly enjoyed two lattes and two Christmas puddings.
Suitable refreshed and warmed through, we set out again to follow the A515 to Ashbourne and then the A52 to Derby. Although I know these roads well, it was a real pleasure to be the only vehicle in sight for most of the way, although we did come up behind a short queue of cars for the last few miles into Derby.
Normally, I would have taken the ring road around Derby , but today, I deided to ride through the middle. After a brief pause in a bus layby, Sue agreed that we should continue southwards to Swadlincote, where I start my new job on 5th January.
The ride out through Alvaston, Shelton Lock and Chellaston soon took us nto South Derbyshire district, which will be my “patch” in another week or so. Once across the A50, Swarkestone Bridge was soon negotiated and the road towards Swadlincote forked to the right off the Melbourne road.
It dodn’t take much longer to reach Swad (as the town is apparently known by its locals) and I took the now familiar route around the centre to South Derbyshire CVS on Grove Road. Of course, the building was closed and the twon centre itself deserted, but I was able to show Sue where I will be based.
After a few minutes there, we remounted the bike and set off back up the hill to where Sue had spotted what could have been the only petrol station that was open for very many miles. By now we had done well over 95 miles and as the Heritage has a tank range of around 120, it would have been touch and go whether we would have made it home. As we arrived at the petrol station there was a row of cones across the entrance and a man was busy padlocking the pumps – it was clear that they were closing.
I rode round the cones and approached the man who generously unlocked the pump again so that I could fill up the bike (and it was only 85 point something pence a lite as well!). He admired the bike and we chatted briefly while the tank filled and we thanked him again for delaying the end of his own working day for us.
It’s amazing how a motorbike can be such a great conversation opener. While we were in the Palace Hotel in Buxton, I started chatting to one of the staff who also rode a bike. We seem to have these kinds of conversation wherever we go.
By the time we left the filling station, it was getting late and the sun was very low in the sky as we rode around Ashby-de-Zouch, onto the A42 and headed back towards Nottingham. As night fell, so did the temperature and we were both quite cold by the time we had run up the M1 back to Nottingham and arrived back at home.
We had covered 130 miles and been out for over four hours of great riding.
It was good to be out on a day when most other people don’t go far and when all the people who drive for a living are off the road. We have ridden on Christmas Day before and I lok forward to doing so again in the future. However, before that, I hope to get more rides and more reports on the blog during next summer.
The first job for tomorrow morning, though, is cleaning the bike.