I can’t really remember the last time I went for a ride just for the sake of it. It certainly hasn’t been in the past 12 months. It's a terrible confession to make, I know, so having realised this, and also realising the weather is starting to get much colder, I figured I’d hop on the Bobber and do something a little different.
For a while now I’ve wanted to visit a dark sky park in the UK, and get a much better view of the stars than you get in the city. I originally planned to ride to one in the Peak District after work one evening. It wasn't a great idea, especially at this time of year. I actually found one just 20 minutes ride from my house in the Huntingdonshire fens. Perfect. I can go out on the Bobber, see some stars, have fun on the bike and be back home at a decent time for some food. Perfect.
So with a destination, and my camera, I waited for it to get dark one evening after work, and set off into the flat fens south of Peterborough. This is exactly what the Bobber was built for, short, enjoyable rides, where the problems I’ve experienced using it as an everyday form of transport can’t rear their ugly heads.
I opted to stay off the dual carriageway Google suggested and instead took the Bobber through the centre of Peterborough. There’s something about riding the Bobber through the city at night that just feels undeniably cool. Even if that city is Peterborough, and the journey is interrupted by roadworks.
The landscape around Peterborough isn’t the best, it’s flat, which means there are a lot of straight roads. Unfortunately that meant the ride to my destination of New Decoy Great Fen was a pretty dull affair. What corners there are are generally 90 degrees, though, which always provided a good opportunity to knock the Bobber down a few cogs and really give it some on the exit, the addictive sound of the parallel-twin booming off into the night. Lovely.
Unfortunately in my haste to get out of the door I forgot to even look at the sky. Which was filled with clouds. Bugger. No star gazing tonight then. Still, I was out, so I took the opportunity to have a crack at some night photography.
But on the way back, after my failed stargazing/successful cloud gazing mission I realised this was what I’d been missing with the Bobber. I’ve spent all year using the Bobber as a tool for getting me to my destination, which left no time to enjoy the bike and just relax. Riding back home, through the dark and lonely fens, I felt finally able to appreciate the Bobber for what it is. A beautiful, capable cruiser. And it’s only taken me the better part of 7000 miles to figure that out!
In stark contrast to the relaxing ride through the fens, the Bobber has had a busy time lately, taking me to London and back twice in one week, as well as the usual trips to work and the girlfriend’s house. That turned out to be a 500 mile week, which resulted in me having to fill the Bobber up every day at least once. Normally that would bother me, but with the weather starting to get cold it was nice to break most journeys up and put the gloves on the engine for a few minutes.
I’m going to keep an eye on the weather every night - I’m determined to see some stars with the Bobber.
Dark Sky parks in the UK
It turns out there are quite a few dark sky sites dotted around the UK. Not surprisingly there are plenty in Scotland and Wales, but there much rare in England. Taking a week off next summer and visiting a few of them at once sounds like a good trip, don’t you think? Head to Dark Sky Discovery to find your nearest one.
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