Long term update: British icons
I don’t own an anorak, have never used binoculars and haven’t collected tail numbers. These facts aside, I seem to have been caught up in the excitement surrounding XH558, the last flying Vulcan bomber (www.vulcantothesky.org). When I got the chance to visit the Vulcan in her current home, Hangar 3 at the ex-RAF Finningley base now known as Robin Hood Airport, I jumped at the chance.
Parked up next to the gigantic plane my little Striple was dwarfed. The crew were in the final throes of preparations for the Farewell Tour, a weekend of flights around the UK. Having been up close and personal with the plane I wanted to see her fly on one of her final missions, so on this lovely bright, dry autumn Sunday I wrapped up and headed out. It felt like one of those afternoon rides when summer is almost over and there are only a few more nice weekends before winter sets in. It was definitely an opportunity to have a bit of fun.
I’d recently changed tyres to the Conti Road Attack 2 Evos (£250) and the bike’s been transformed. They’re much less sports focused and really suit my style of riding. My route was to take me away from the flat fens and through the rolling Leicestershire countryside. I found the bike a real joy and so much easier to ride, I was beaming for most of the journey.
I was heading for Bruntingthorpe, a place I’ve visited many times as it’s where we do our speed testing, it’s also where the Vulcan was restored. I was greeted by an unfamiliar site as there were hundreds of cars parking up and I was grateful to be on the bike, nipping through the traffic to get close to the runway.
Having seen the plane at such close quarters earlier in the week the chance to experience a low fly past as she tipped her wings to salute the massive crowd made the cold rideout worthwhile. What an incredible sight.