Few thank you's firstly to Mike or Mick or John (sieve memory...) on the R800GS that kindly lead the beginner group on what was reported to be an excellent ride. Secondly to Gav for taking the tent and stove oop north for me.
The day started eary on Friday morning getting up at 5:30 to walk the dog and pack the bike leaving home I was met by a completly solid A3 and at times forgot the panniers were wider than the bike.... It took about an hour to get to Kings Cross, into work and managed to escape by 1pm, more like hasty exit before anyone noticed.. Headed out of London and took a little detour to The KTM Centre in Hemal, having pinched a tube changing over to Super Explorers I wanted a spare and desperately needed some new waterproof gloves. Nice bunch in there and worth a visit, leaving with said new tube and pair of Klim Gore-tex gloves and trust up like a turkey headed out to the M1 and to Rugby to pick up 'Simply Exploring'. The motorway was solid in places so we pretty glad to be on the bike and pootled up at a decent pace to be in Rugby 330 ish. Quick natter, smoke and a coffee we set off, something was wrong... What's wrong... Bloody glasses, forgot to put them on headed back and found them on the pavement.
Off we went again at a good pace and rode up to the Pub arriving a couple of hours later, was pretty glad of the new gloves by this point. Arriving we went straight into the pub seeing a big smile from Bonnie bird et al lots of greeting and waffling the first pint was sunk, Gav was still miles away with an ETA of 715, which meant 8 so another pint slipped down. Gav dutifully arrived at 745 and we pitched the tent in the dark rain and managed to pick a complete quagmire for a spot. Only one thing for it.. Back to the pub for a fun night of drinking and talking rubbish about everything.
Up early on Saturday morning and into the pub for a pretty good full English, suitably fed and watered kitted up and and out the front to meet up and get groups. We were fortunate that a local biker on a very lovely R800GS offered to lead which saved me trying to follow the Satnav. First few lanes were great and the views spectacular, we headed out on the road turned a corner and noticed no SimplyExploring... I know he left the lane so at least we were not talking trapped biker.
Going back up the road he was standing by a very dead bike which had blown the fuse, tools out it was time to try and find the problem both thinking that it was a chaffed wire causing a short. At this point a local old boy came out offering just about everyhting that we could imagine from tools to wire place to store it etc etc, top old boy that was telling me all about the bikes he has owned to 1940 odd! And then all the cars as well... Eventually we decided that we were not going to fix it there and said old boy gave us a rope and I towed it back to the pub managing to turn 4 miles into 10 and some interesting moments especially turning a corner to up hill with the best part of 290 odd kilos of ADV990 and rider.
Getting back to the pub there was another ADV there looking like it wasn't going anywhere, turned out this was a broken fuel valve which was bypassed and they were off again. We started work on the 990 trying to find what caused the problem and there was nothing obvious... At this point there were 3 options we took the get a pint and strip the bike further, Simply cunningly isolated the problem to the fuel supply by working out what part was causing the fuse to blow. So tank off time, stripped down I kindly said just pull that... Big Mistake
the KTM pump is a bit different to others, quick mission to rescue the fuel there was no tuning back and the pump was removed. There was a lot of sand in there and unfortunately no way to see if the pump was working as its a sealed unit. We slung it across the battery and it span into life... Weird! So nothing else to do, reassemble the pump, get it back in the tank and see what happens! (Note to ADV riders take a new O-ring with you). All back together key in, fuse stayed and fourth turn off she went! We summised that something must have jammed the pump causing and overload and blowing the fuse, the action of removing it just dislodged it enough. Field mechanics at its best! also known as that was lucky eh!
By this time it was too late to start some trails so went for a ride about to buxton and met a kiddie on a 125, we asked about a good cafe and got Follow me im going to a biker cafe! SWEET!!
We were back in the pub again by 430 and continued to have a few beers and a meal as people started to get back and the tales of great times ensued. It was a bit gutting to not have ridden more trails but always get a kick out of mechanics and problem solving and at the end of the day no one went home on a big yellow van.
Sunday was time to pack up and make a move after going for a great breakfast, thanks guys good Cafe. Getting home by 3 and managing to break up the journey by going M1 - A43 - M40 - A404 - M4 - M25 - M3, Kingston and Home.
Great weekend and nice to meet up with some really great people, look forward to getting back up there for another go.
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