I will always reply to comments and always re-reply to re-replies.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

WILTSHIRE RIDE


















Well - Vita always has such great bike pix on her blog - so that's my excuse! Here is my old friend the BMW - we have been together for nearly 25 years and have got to know each other very well. A few days ago we rode down into my favourite hunting grounds.

A "day of days " (thank you John Betjeman) in crisp Autumn air, swinging across Salisbury Plain in golden sunshine. Dive down through tunnels of trees just beginning to take on their autumn colours. Open the throttle to surge up hills, beat of engine changes to a harsher song, feathering off as we crest the rise and the rolling downlands spread beneath us. Switchback - up, down, up down. Buzzards lazily circling in the downland thermals. Drop gears and lean into corners, grass verges coming up to meet us. Brake for little downland villages and pobble through on light throttle. Stop off at country bakers' to buy pie and cake, carefully stowed in pannier for later delectation at the target spot.

Lovely bend swinging through the Vale of Pewsey , then we rustle in to the ancient town of Devizes, through it and up onto the top of Roundway Hill. Here is lunch stop and where the photo was taken. Far reaching views back over the Vale of Pewsey - clean wind blowing - settle into cosy spot and dig out contents of pannier. Pie, cake and hot coffee: bright, clean sky: panoramic views: thoughts of the reverse enjoyment of 170 miles going home. Could life be better at such a moment? This is why I have ridden motorcycles for 50 years!

This ride also had a particular attraction for me. 50 years ago to the day it was here, at Devizes I joined the army and down in the valley below the hill are the relics of the army camp where I did my training (now a vast business park, but I can still make out some of the drill square amongst the buildings). 50 years - gone! For about 3 months then I was the youngest squaddie in the British Army (17 and a bit). That gives my age away - but days like this, with the bike, keep me young.

(Thank you HHnB for explaining linking to me - it works, as you see)

11 comments:

herhimnbryn said...

a. This post is so YOU! I was back on the pillion, leaning ( just enough) into the corners. hearing the gears and throttle and taking in the scenery. Cake and pie and the taste of coffee from a thermos also came back to me.

Your words conjur up motorcycle riding perfectly.

The links are great too, adding more background interest.

More please.

Knowleypowley said...

Avus

A wonderous post with a lovely photo. I didn't realise you had the BMW so long, seems like yesterday when you rought it.

More photos of your travels please

Pete

Avus said...

HHnB - I remember our run up to Norfolk for the day - grub in a seafront cafe at Hunstanton - no motorways around then either (thank God - I hate riding bikes on them - boring!)

k-p If you look carefully at the enlarged photo, look up from the left hand bar mirror and you will see a church spire - you attended a funeral there.

Knowleypowley said...

Avus

Blimey, that was for dear old Colonel Prosser, one of my army colleagues.

herhimnbryn said...

I remember feeling my knees 'unclick' when I got off the bike!:)

valonia said...

Wow! What a beautiful day you had! I love the photo.

Just a little further north and you would have been in my neck of the woods.

Vita said...

Whee! Sounds like fun with the switchbacks and tree tunnels. Good looking good old bike, too. HH just got a new headlight for his HD, and threw the old one in the trash bin. Excuse? For posting a pic of your bike? This is the second one, isn't it? Oh, my. A young man just joining the army. Time marches on and other young men are joining now. I enjoyed your links, and will have to come back and spend more time with them when I have it, if I get it.

Avus said...

HHnB - yes - the clicking knees! I remember going to and fro to army camp in freezing fog and snow on the bike ( a little BSA Bantam), getting off it at the end and the ice cracked off me and my knees cracked as I unbent them! (no thermal riding suits then - just an extra pair of pajama trousers under the thin PVC top suit.
I have a little trouble with mine nowadays (mostly walking downhill) I wonder why!

Valonia - Have you ever taken "The Green Man" up the 16 locks at Caen Hill, Devizes?

Vita - HH should have put the old headlight on eBay - bet it would have sold. Yes second pic of the bike, but he had to share the last one with my grand-daughter and got a bit jealous, so this one was all for him! Your penultimate sentence reminded me of the song "Where have all the Flowers Gone?"

Vita said...

Well, if you hadn't given away your age in Your penultimate sentence, you'd have just given it away with that song flash-back. HH told me the trash-bin headlight wasn't really a m/c headlight.

Nea said...

When I was 11 I had not seen my Dad in about six years, and so when he came riding up on his BMW, I didn't even know who it was. My Mom said that my Dad had been riding bikes for as long as she had known him, she said the first one he owned was an Indian. Through the years the bikes changed from Harley's, to Honda's back to Harleys, and then the BMW. When I was 13 he gave me my first motorcycle, a little 80 yamaha, you know the ones that sound like a chain saw...haha I got a 250cc a few years later and rode for years.... To this day I still have my motorcycle license, just in case I should want to buy another bike......

I love the feeling of laying in to the corners and feeling the winds blowing into my face......those looks like some great bike riding roads......

Avus said...

Nea:
My wife had an 80cc Yammie at one time. Glad to know you are of the "clan". Once you have enjoyed motorcycles that joy stays with you. Maybe you will have another one day - make dreams come true!

Yes those roads I travelled are great on two wheels - twisty, switchback and lovely scenery.