I’m sure I’ve previously written about those little moments of pure nirvana I sometimes experience when I’m on the bike. I had more than a few of those moments when I rode the Way of the Roses with Matt in April 2017.
Day 3 of our trip was, somehow, even better than the previous two days. And, hey, they weren’t too shabby!
In the eerie deserted pool room of our pub / B&B, I flipped the Troll over and finally swapped out my front brake disc. Slotting a new set of pads in, Matt and I remarked on how much meat was still left on the old pads, and the apparently relatively good condition of the disc. On closer inspection, we discovered the friction material on the pads had crazed, which was presumably what was causing the shuddering. How close I was to disaster, we’ll thankfully never know.
Our enthusiastic host (and an equally excitable dog) appeared, and soon we were destroying the biggest breakfast in the world. Truly, it was something else.
Setting off, the wet roads told of the overnight wintery downpours we’d staggered home in. The skies were looking kind, and the sun tentatively poked out, taking the chill off the morning air as we headed South-West towards York.
Quickly back onto amazing country lanes, we were back to riding side by side, listening to my gratis brake disc chirruping away, and sharing fond memories of friends and loved ones we’d lost.
We barrelled across a surprisingly bumpy toll bridge (yet another freebie), and before too long, we found ourselves entering yet another grand park which turned out to be home to Beningbrough Hall. I couldn’t resist taking a closer look.
The sun was shining down on us in these beautiful surroundings, the birds were singing, our spirits were high, and it’d been a good couple of hours since breakfast. Time for coffee and cake with the rich people.
As we sat sipping our overpriced coffees, pinkies in the air, Matt regaled me the tale of an eccentric old woman he’d scared half to death when she ran into him by the loos.
“She took one look at me, said ‘BAH!’, and then walked off!”
I suppose you had to be there, but that had us in stitches for ages.
We resumed course for York, ticking off seemingly endless picture-postcard villages. The two attractive women sat outside the pub caught my attention, but I rode on regardless. Matt was weaker than I, and stopped to talk to them. By the time I’d turned around, he’d whipped his camera out and was taking pictures of them.
“DUDE! What the hell are you doing? You can’t go around taking pictures of random girls!”
He seemed strangely unconcerned, and we pedalled away with him complaining about their lack of response to his ‘epic’ chat-up lines.
In York, we stopped for a quick bit of bike-balancing magic, some sightseeing, and a few handfuls of Matt’s Special Trailmix.
Now, the last time we’d cycled out of York, we got horribly lost, having taken a wrong turn down one of the tiny winding streets. This time was no different, and we were spat out onto a 3 lane roundabout, heading in completely the wrong direction. Probably had too many blue M&M’s.
The going had been good, the terrain having flattened out, and the temperature had risen several degress on the previous couple of days. We ate up the miles, and drank in the views as the route took a rare off-road diversion. Talk moved to our objective for the day as we did the maths on the remaining miles.
We’d left the return trip open, with plenty of work-free days still ahead of us. I think we both would’ve liked to ride back home, but the weather forecast for the following several days was solid rain, so we reluctantly planned on getting the train back from Bridlington.
Arriving in the delightful little town of Pocklington, we enjoyed a leisurely late lunch and debated next steps. Matt wanted to push on to Driffield, leaving us a handful of wet miles to Bridlington, and the train home. I was tiring however, and the ‘Col du Pocklington’ stood between us and Driffield; no matter how innocuous the map made it look.
The cafe owners told us about a local campsite that had recently opened. I bought 2 gigantic scotch eggs and a pork pie for the road, and we searched it out.
We were shown around the basic, but perfectly good, ameneties, and charged a full fiver each to pitch our tents on the field we had almost to ourselves. I sheltered my tent out of the strong winds behind an unoccupied caravan, and we deposited the bikes in what our fabulous Yorkshireman of a host described as his ‘shed’. It was actually one of the biggest barns I’ve ever seen, and was filled with everything from a mobility scooter to a 50 foot trailer covered in hay bales.
We listened with pure delight as he talked about Pocky ‘igh stree’, with its collection of pubs and restaurants.
“We’ve got TWO chinese restaurants in Pocky…”
“…and they’re BOTH rubbish.”
Forgetting the name of the indian restaurant he actually did recommend, he drew us a map with his finger on a scrap piece of plywood he found on the floor. Because, without that, we wouldn’t have been able to find the place.
We decided against taking the map with us, and found our way into several pubs where we laughed our heads off before eventually finally finding our way to the indian.
We ate too much. We drank too much. We stumbled back to the campsite in the utter darkness you only get in the countryside. We almost tripped on the map, and no doubt annoyed the miserable guy in the camper whose peace we had shattered by daring to share the field.
I slithered into my excellent sleeping bag and tried to get off to sleep.
That day was perfect.
Everything about it was perfect.
Somebody was looking after us that day.
A kiss from a rose, indeed.