Two Doctors wot go touring (2007/05)

Active ImageOver the Easter weekend, Wendy & Lilian decided to go on their first touring adventure on their bikes to North Wales. Wendy already had a top box and sports bag, but Lilian, who is well-known amongst her colleagues for not travelling light, didn't think that a top box would be large enough and decided to add some panniers to her bike. Wendy took one look at the Bandit with panniers at Ower Services and asked 'at what speed does it take off!'.

Although it was Good Friday, there wasn't much traffic on the roads as we headed for Bath. A brief stop was made to visit a relative of Wendy's before we headed across the Severn Bridge, which is free for bikes.

As we rode up the A466 towards Monmouth, this is a fantastic road for bikes with lots of lovely twisty roads. The sun was shining and the views were spectacular so we slowed down to enjoy the countryside. Eventually we stopped for lunch at a Little Chef where Wendy had her favourite English Breakfast. As we left we discovered that there was a bike place a few hundred yards up the road.

We continued our ride to North Wales and spent the next couple of days touring around, going to Anglesey and a lovely ride along the A5 through Snowdonia National Park. Wendy took us to a very scenic spot and the route down involved a very tight hairpin bend where Wendy met a Volvo. But that was nothing compared to where my sat nav took us.

Active ImageWe arranged to meet some family members at a Garden centre. So I plugged in the village and everything was going well until the Garmin asked us to turn left, then right and we found ourselves on a very winding, steep and very narrow, country lane. Going around one of the bends we met a farmer and his dog. Upon arrival at the garden centre, Wendy declared that was a 'typical SAM Sunday route'.

Coming home on Easter Monday there was a lot more traffic and we got to seriously practise our filtering skills. We took a different route back via Evesham and Swindon and found a great pub for lunch.

Upon our return we now both needed at least one new tyre, services were required and then we were off again to Cheddar Gorge and Bristol. On our way up to the Gorge, some of the other ladies which had joined us did not appreciate the Garmin route along the 'typical SAM country lanes'. But it was excused when it found the Tesco, where we stopped for a quick break and refuelling.

Cheddar Gorge is an interesting place to visit and we managed to negotiate parking 4 bikes for a fiver. At the end of the day Wendy and Lilian headed off to Bristol. It's a beautiful ride through the gorge, and Lilian was very grateful of her advanced training when she came around a bend to meet a fast moving sports car on her side of the road overtaking on the entrance to the bend.

Garmin again did us proud and took us along an unsuitable for vehicles road which offered us splendid views of the Cheddar Reservoir. Lilian then took us on a scenic tour of Bristol as the hotel she had booked was not where she thought it was, it was now a Novotel and had moved just around the corner.

The Holiday Inn Express is opposite Temple Mead and offers motorcyclists free, secured parking that can only be accessed with a code.

In the morning, Wendy was not allowed to tell Lilian that it was raining. As we headed off to Street in Somerset, wearing all our rain gear, we both experienced some slipping in the conditions. At one point the rain was torrential, and Lilian invited the car to pass and he refused, he obviously liked following a bike!

Upon arrival at the Clarks Village we parked under the bicycle sheds for free and Wendy discovered that her so called waterproof Oxford gloves had now turned her hands deep blue. So we spent our time at the village trying all the different samples to get the dye out. In the end, Wendy rode home using some rubber gloves as liners. The sun was now out as we headed along the A303 which was full of stationery traffic. Lilian was making fantastic progress filtering and Wendy, the filtering expert, was having difficulty keeping up.

Our last stop was in Wilton where we tried out the custom pillows and consumed more ice cream, before we waved good bye to one another at Ower and headed home to clean the bikes.

So where are we off to next, well another trip to Wales and then two trips to Belgium are already on the list for this year.


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