After the last outing it transpired that I’d likely fractured a rib. I’ve therefore given riding a break for a couple of weekends to give it time to recover.
Yesterday saw six of us head off in the Kielder direction. We had hoped we might see some of the rally there so we had an early start but that didn’t work out. We covered a number of trails which I’d seen before but they didn’t seem as bad in the drier conditions. We also went over one ford “properly” going through the insanely deep bit rather than crawling under bridges and bardbed wire. I was quite pleased with some problematic bits I managed to handle ok. We saw a horse in the distance at one point and all pulled over and stopped, engines off. The rider couldn’t control it and the horse passed sideways with two dogs running loose. What would happen when she met a less respectful road user I don’t know but the horse clearly shouldn’t have been anywhere near a road. This left us having an early lunch in Bellingham and then off in the direction of Simonburn.
Unfortunately upon leaving Bellingham the rider in front stopped to turn right and I didn’t see his hand signal or him slowing until it was too late. At lunch he’d been explaining he couldn’t bend his right elbow beyond ninety degrees which probably contributed to the incident. Rather than skittle him and likely others I went to try and avoid him knowing I’d come off. I’m not entirely sure what I did but I only gave him a glancing blow and he stayed upright (just) whilst I went for a bit of a slide, worryingly with the bike following me. Damage to me was several holes/rips in trousers/jacket/gloves although despite the number of holes, I had only one graze to my left knee. My right forearm is bruised from the primary impact, shoulder/arm strained and my right hip brusied too. It could have been a lot worse. The bike didn’t do too badly either, I scraped what was a nice shiny looking expansion pipe, eroded chunks off the long suffering lever protectors, smashed the homemade clock assembly open and mangled the right footpeg. The speedo also later fell off due to a bolt coming loose. Both I and and the bike were ok to carry on though.
The afternoon of riding saw me making a lot of silly mistakes and I know I can do better. I didn’t come off much more as such, just ended up in various precarious positions often stalling the bike. The route saw us return to several places I’ve been before in drier conditions but the boggy bits were still waterlogged.
The feature of the day had to be the return to Simonburn. In a previous post I described the clutch exploding attempting this. Today I’m pleased to report the Honda made it up and over it. I did find a couple of horrible bogs to get stuck in on the way up but that wasn’t surprising. I also need to work on my ditch crossing technique. They did try an interesting climb up a steep bit of hill next to some kilns. My first attempt didn’t have enough speed and I ended up turning round and going back after making it halfway up. I could have taken the easy route up at this point but decided to give it another go.I made it within inches of the top before veering off along the side of the hill. I tried to recover it but ended up with the bike slipping down the slope and in the end it took three of us to drag it over back over the top the lip. I have a better idea of how to handle such things for next time I guess.
The day ended with the Chollerford steps where I managed to cross rut on an easy bit but I made it up the steps themselves fine. I was feeling a bit battered yesterday and this morning, I can certainly feel it. I have a loft to board out and ton of other DIY to do today but it will keep me moving I guess!