A left-turn-Thursday hurl in the country…
The sun was shining and Ed was away, so I jumped (well, threw my leg over) onto Smoggy and set forth.
I went up the west last week, so I thought I would do a different route. Left out of the Welly, left to Killin, along Loch Tay, left at Fearnan. The Sma’ Glen road was closed, so along to Ballinluig for tea and a pee.
Which way now? Aye, left. Down to Dunkeld, however, my pre-planned road was closed, so Smoggy and I headed up the Blairgowrie road. Through Luncarty, quick zip down the A9 to the Kinkell Bridge road. I managed to resist stopping at Gloagburn, the temptation was there, however I was having too much fun! I love the Kinkell road. Auchterarder, then through to Dunning, that’s another cracker. Lovely sweeping bends, and like most of the route, I pretty much had the roads to myself.
Yetts o’ Muckhart – I realised that 1) my tummy was grumbling and 2) I was having to have a wee stand on my pegs to have a stretch. Time for a break. My bum was starting to object. Amazing really, considering the padding!!
A blast from the past, I stopped at Powmill, the last time I was there, was about 3.5 decades ago with my grandparents, they faithfully took this stop on the way to North Berwick. Powmill hasn’t really changed much in all this time. Really, it hasn’t. Sensible food was out the question. Mocha and neat sugar. Nice chewy meringue!
Onwards, where now? The Knockhill road, where at one point my mind drifted and realised in that nano-second I had target fixation…. holy poop, look ahead round the bend, Fi, before you end up in a field. Close call, however, amazing what ‘positive steering’ does to get you on the right track! Thanks for that IAM! Down to the crossroads, right turn this time, along the road via Saline to Tillicoultry. I did this road a couple of times with Rory, during my training. It’s got worse. It’s like driving along a cheese grater. You have to pay attention to the road surface, big time. Between that and all the shite out of the fields that the tractors have left on the road! The normal ‘progressive’ route wasn’t possible, given the new road had lumps out of it, it was all about safety. Hey, I’m typing, I survived it!
From there, the only traffic was through the towns to Stirling. Out pops a Toyota… flat cap and white hair. He was looking right at me, wheels still turning, and yep, the safety thoughts were rattling through my head. That’s where ‘being able to stop in the distance that you can see to be clear on your side of the road’ comes into play. The old, flat-capped codger kept going until he realised that there was no way I was going to let him pull out, anti-social, I know, but hell mend him, he had to learn something. Did he? Probably not, too old to care. I gave him one of my very special ‘looks’ as I drove past, safely. 😉
Off into Stirling, via the car park at Homebase. Again, an area I was taken to during my training for my Advanced Riding. Always empty, but splattered with salt. Just to give myself a reminder that I could still do wee circles and figures of 8, contrary to telling Rory to ‘piss off’ when he suggested it last week.Need to work on full-lock circles though! Wore a wee bit off my back brake pads, and nearly burnt my hands (had my heated hand grips still on) and headed to Sainsbury for some supper to take home. That’s when I realised that I was clarty with salt, and Smoggy of course! Gag. . There was no way I could avoid washing the bike when I got home.
Back up the main road from Stirling to home, nice. Again, it’s amazing at this time of year that there’s so little traffic on the roads. A lovely, flowing run home on the familiar roads, paying attention though, because we all know that your concentration lapses as you get closer to that mug of coffee and a warm house.
All in all, a delight of a day. Quiet roads, not too many idiots, other than the ‘flat-capped’ pensioner. For 98% of the run, I was fully focused. The other 2% was part of the continual learning curve that I seem to be on. Better not forget the corner (no warning sign) where I had my other ‘moment’, and thanked the education I had got at the EDAM slow-mo day, when you are in a corner and have to brake. Not ideal, however, when your heed is somewhere else, these things happen. Oh, ya fecker, front brake, (don’t target fixate) bike moves upright, immediate positive steering got me through that little error. It’s all about learning, we all need to accept that we are never, ever that good that we are invincible. I still have lots of learning to do, and can’t wait. There are too many bikers out there that are difficult to persuade that there’s a safer way to ride. There’s always something out there that wakes us up.
I love going out on the bike, it makes me switch off, not think about work, just zoned in on the ride. With the two confessions above, I have learned something today, great to come back from a ride and not only appreciate quiet roads, only one mentionable idiot and yet still come back saying, ‘hey, I made two mentionable mistakes today, but, you know what, I learned from it’.
In the meantime, Ed’s GSA is back at the garage in Dalkeith, there’s a washer that’s gone to Mars it seems, which has resulted in a minor oil leak, typically, they don’t have one in stock! They have kept the bike and we will collect it on Saturday, damn, that means we are off out on the bikes again. In the meantime, Smoggy is all tucked up, I am hungry, my Sainsbury dinner is over due as my two slices of gluten free bread with Marmite (mmmmm) and my chewy meringue seem a life time ago. To finish off this blog, I know, I really can go on, here’s a view of the BMW delights in our garage tonight. I have to say, I still prefer Smoggy’s raging red colour.
194.6 miles of smiles. 69mpg. Rory, you have permission to take the piss.