Imagine driving down the motorway in the car with the windscreen wipers on full tilt, barely coping with what’s being hurled at them, the warning light on the dash highlighting the possibility of snow and ice. As the heater blows warm air up your trouser leg and the stereo serenades you with your favourite sounds, a motorcycle goes past you in the fast lane and you immediately think ‘you poor bastard’!
Well, that poor bastard happened to be me the other weekend, heading up to Cheshire on my Crossrunner. I had spent the best part of the night before planning a route to take in the countryside between Stamford in Lincolnshire and Warrington in Cheshire. But the following morning I was rudely awoken by the sound of rain beating against the window and my cunning plan was beginning to dissolve in the sheer volume of water. Two hours later the weather had only slightly improved. Sod it, I thought, I’d go the quickest route and save the scenic ride for another day.
The first part of the journey was relatively pleasant as I was still warm and dry; I headed through the countryside to Melton Mowbray (famous for its pork pies, and I like pies!). For a bit of fun I attached my TomTom Bandit camera to the side of the Crossrunner and set it to take a time-lapse film of my journey. Watching the time-lapse when I got home turned out to be the only fun I had from the journey. After two-and-three-quarter miserable hours and two stops to clean my visor I reached my destination — cold, wet and thoroughly dejected by the whole experience. I can only describe the view out of my crash helmet as trying to look through a 1930s old-school glass toilet window that distorts everything.
Even though I may have been miserable filtering through mile upon mile of stationary M6 traffic (unlucky car drivers), the Crossrunner was as happy as Larry. For the whole ride, the Crossrunner behaved impeccably without making any untoward movements, even when pushed on a bit in such adverse conditions.
My trip was taken so that I could catch up with some family members I’d not seen for a while. The following afternoon I was ready to set off home. I was pleased to see that the sun was shining this time, at least for the start of the journey. Once clear of the towns and cities I put my planned route into action, albeit in reverse. In the past I would take in the Cat and Fiddle for a bit of excitement, but these days it’s lost its magnetic pull as it’s always so busy. Today I wanted to find some new routes to enjoy. Somewhere new keeps you on your toes as you don’t know what’s around the next corner. The moment I hit the stunning countryside of the Peak District National Park the heavens opened once again. The views made up for the abysmal weather, which soon relented. I had planned to make a stop in the rural town of Bakewell for a well-earned break and pick up a tart from the home of tarts.
One Bakewell tart for my wife, a Bakewell slice (I’m not keen on the puddings) and a tasty-looking steak and kidney pie for my tea and I was ready for the last leg of my journey. I wound my way across country on bone dry roads to join the A1 back to Stamford. As I pulled off the A1 the Crossrunner’s fuel light came on — perfect timing. Indoors, oven on, pie and chips, what better combination? And I am very pleased to report that looks were not deceiving, in fact it was possibly the best steak and kidney pie I have ever had! Oh, and my wife loved her Valentine’s Bakewell tart. Maybe it was worth the effort after all!