I have friends who ride and friends who don’t.
Someone once wrote that a car moves the body, but only a motorbike can move the soul.
Clearly that person was an officiando of two-wheeled transport and those of us who have been blessed with the motorcycling bug know exactly what they were getting at!
It’s often difficult to convey to a non-rider just what it is that us two-wheelers get from our machines.
Many folk say it’s all about speed and certainly that rings true for some riders; I’m not going to deny that travelling at 100 and silly mph is one big adrenaline rush!
To others it’s about the fluid motion of the machine through bends and twisty sections of road when you ride it well, whilst to some it’s the “wind in your face” thing. Just ask any dog why they stick their head out of a car window?
I fall into the total package school, for me it’s a bit of everything and with the addition thrill of winning the daily battle against the idiots out there on the road who seem hell-bent on trying to kill you! Oh and of course there’s the noise….!
I must also add that to me riding is such an immersive activity that I really can forget everything else in the world whilst I am out on two wheels. It really does move my soul!
Last Wednesday I was in need of a bit of soul lifting. I was up early, three spaniels generally make sure of that at Dookes H.Q. normally it’s a good sing-song as the sun comes up, but with such things come great benefits. This was a classic early Autumn morning, crisp sunlight breaking through early mists that still hugged the landscape and hedges.
The urge to ride suddenly became very pressing, I didn’t just want to ride; I needed to ride!
Dogs and breakfast sorted, I got into my riding gear and wandered out to “The Man Cave,” which also passes for my workshop. What a lovely conundrum now faced me, which of my two faithful Harley’s should I take out?
No contest this morning, it had to be Harls, my beloved Centenary Softail. I needed that rawness she possesses, her crisp handling, open to the elements riding position and most of all that staccato exhaust growl!
I made a pact with myself to keep off the major roads, the day was about riding for pleasure not for working hard, at least that was what I thought….!
We set off East, skirting Launceston and dropped into the valley of the River Tamar, passing into Devon as we crossed the old bridge at Greystone. I decided that the high tors of Dartmoor would be our first target, on such a beautiful morning the scenery there should be spectacular.
Trundling through the ancient Stannary Town of Tavistock we turned right and began our climb towards the high moor.
Wisps of cloud hugged the hillside ahead and the air took on a distinct chill, it looked like things were going to get interesting. We climbed some more and sure enough were soon enveloped by thick wet Dartmoor cloud. So much for the stunning views, I spent the next twenty miles trundling along trying to spot white sheep in dense white fog whilst wiping the enveloping water droplets off my visor every few seconds! So dear blogonaughts my apologies for the lack of wonderful scenery photos, here some in the fog instead.
One of the biggest problems with riding in fog or mist is the way that the water droplets deposit themselves on helmet visors, it’s a bit like trying to look through wet tissue paper! In rain you never have the same problem as the water droplets are bigger and flow off the visor with the slipstream, but riding sensibly slower in fog there’s less slipstream as well.
We swung through the small and pretty village of Moretonhamstead before briefly pausing at Okehampton where delightfully we passed back into warm sunshine!
Heading North West now, my heart was lifted by both the warm sun and the contented roar from Harls’ exhaust as we ate up the miles considerably faster than over Dartmoor!
Our route was following the old railway through the delightfully named village of Halwill Junction and on towards Holsworthy. This was the line over which part of the romantically named “Atlantic Coast Express” once trundled behind gleaming steam locomotives near the end of its 300 mile journey from London.Now there’s an idea for a future ride…
With delightfully quiet roads, it was clear that most of the summer tourists have slipped home with the return of children to school. It’s one of the downsides of living in such a beautiful region, we can hardly move for visitors invading during the peak holiday season of July and August, but like the swallows they fly away at the end of summer and we get the place back to ourselves again!
I stuck to the plan and by the time we returned to Dookes H.Q. after 140 wonderful miles and not one major route had been touched by our tyre rubber.
Life had been refocused and all was good in the world!
“I have seen rings of smoke through the trees and the voices of those who standing looking”
Catch you soon.