Social Media. You know, you follow some people, some people follow you and we all post lots of lovely things about our lives that may or may not be close to the truth. A great distraction from the real world. You like my post, I like yours and we carry on.
However, when it comes to bikes this becomes a very different story. People start conversations and actually pay attention. I have found the most genuine, helpful and wonderful people through social media in the world of motorcycling. Especially on twitter. So when a bunch of us decided to organise a trip to Scotland I never doubted it would happen.
Also because Jules, Mr Organiser, took it upon himself to book accommodation for us and coordinate with Scottish Paul about routes and what we wanted to do.
We have all met before a few times for ride outs around Wales so we knew we’d get on and we knew our riding styles are well matched for the trip to go well.
So let me introduce you to my friends and their bikes first.
Jules came from the Stafford area on his brand spanking new BMW S1000RR. He had difficulties finding any sort of luggage to attach it to the bike so he travelled with a backpack.
Deli came from Manchester area on her Triumph Street Triple and a couple of soft panniers.
Roey, also from Manchester area chose to take his Africa Twin with panniers and a top box but later regretted not taking his Fireblade instead.
Daz, again from Manchester area I’ve never met before but he turned out alright 😉and arrived on a Triumph Tiger with panniers.
Paul joined us a day later as he was already in Scotland and he rode a BMW GS loaded with every gadget and toy you can think of including panniers full of gin and tonic, wine and prosecco! It’s like he knew me or something!
And of course Bella, the beautiful Ducati Supersport S with a 30 litre tail pack and a tank bag.
It was a close call between Jules and myself as to who travelled with the least luggage. I think he won on this occasion!
We all knew the first day was going to be mostly long and boring miles on motorways to get to Dumfries where we had our first stop to break the journey up.
Jules and I met at services on M6 for a coffee and travelled together to Devil’s Bridge in Kirkby Lonsdale where we arranged to meet with the rest of the crew. We were the first to arrive so we got a drink and a snack and waited for the others. They were late! But they did have an extra rider with them that was a bit on a slow side. As we all grouped and chatted we were pleasantly surprised by the unexpected arrival of Chris who is a regular at Devil’s Bridge, another twitter biker whom I’ve met before a couple of times and rode with the year before around Wales.
After a quick chat and more cups of coffee we set off and agreed to stop at Tebay services next. For some reason I ended up leading the way which was ok until I got to a T-junction and then had to stop to consult the map! Once we have gotten on the motorway we stayed together until the services where we stopped for the refreshments and a leg stretch.
Soon after we’ve set off again Jules’ BMW was itching to go faster and suddenly disappeared into the distance. Bella didn’t like that so she followed him. They had fun for a few miles, leaving the rest of the crew behind but Jules didn’t realise I was following him. He took a random exit off the motorway and I noticed that too late so I carried on. I stopped at the first services to check I was still going in the right direction! I couldn’t see the motorway from where I was and after a few minutes of faffing I carried on thinking they’ll have gone past by then and I’ll catch up with them.
And I did! And soon after I spotted Jules sitting on the hard shoulder as he was doing the same as me – trying to find everyone! I actually thought he’d broken down (Ducati was feeling smug!) but luckily that wasn’t the case. We all stopped and consulted the route then carried on. Together.
We made another stop just outside Dumfries as we came off the motorway to regroup and find our accommodation for the night.
Jules has done an incredible job of finding a huge house on Airbnb that had enough bedrooms for us all. The owner checked us in and recommended a restaurant on the coast where we ended up riding to. It wasn’t too far away and a great ride with lovely views. The food was delicious and after we rode back to have a few beers in the local village pub.
Deli arranged to meet a couple of friends and one of them was sitting outside the pub as we arrived. She said the pub was shut and there wasn’t anywhere else to go unless we go to Dumfries. She kindly offered to drive us there. I can neither confirm nor deny whether there were six adults in an Evoque.
The pub in Dumfries was a Spoons type of establishment, pool tables, people walking in with their take aways and cheap beer! What more could you want.
Another of Deli’s friends arrived with the most adorable Springer Spaniel that I spent most of the evening fussing over. Luckily he was a kind man that offered to drive us back to our accommodation in his mini bus. Except the back seats were taken out. Again, I can neither confirm nor deny if we were sitting on the floor of the minibus.
On the return to the house I recall some toast making in the kitchen but the lack of booze ended that party quite quickly and we all went to sleep.