BC10 – The One With the Weather and the Lake…

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BC10 – The One With the Weather and the Lake…

Post  Radar on Sun Jul 01 2018, 23:51

BC10 – The One With the Weather and the Lake…

The song that I just can’t from my head that sums up my feelings about one the best biking weekends I have been lucky to enjoy is that haunting, lilting Lou Reed track….Perfect Day…one line in particular resonates ‘It’s such a perfect day, I'm so glad I spent it with you’.  The whole weekend was just about, well…perfect. I kicked off with a relaxed morning off from work, bathed in sunshine as I prepped up the trusty Thundercat in readiness to harvest yet another rich crop of great memories.  By mid-afternoon we were ready for the off Mandy having concluded interviews with her extensive collection of shoes and sandals as to which pair was going to get the gig for the weekend….The ride over to Wales was really enjoyable. The Thundercat is running beautifully at the moment in a manner that totally belies its age; it will be 20 years old come August. It was just a plain and  simple joy to drift across Worcestershire, into Shropshire then into Wales. The backdrop of crystal clear blue sky, lush valleys and forests just adding to the enjoyment. A brief stop for cake….we must stop for cake…at the same place we stopped at last year punctuated our journey. I was following my trusty ‘old-school’ sat-nav (a page torn out of my map book in a punched pocket and taped to my tank) and made my last turn for the day on the B4405 towards our base for the weekend the Tyn Y Cornel hotel on the bakes of Lake Tal-y-Llyn. This is a fabulous road that twists and turns through the river valley. I tucked in behind a 1960’s Austin Healey 3000 and revelled in listening to the bellowing exhaust from its lusty six-cylinder engine, I was a little disappointed when he waved me past!

The traditional on route cake halt...Thundercats run on more than just petrol you know!

The road to a great weekend ahead...

Try getting this satnav at PC World...

I swept around a bend to be greeted by the site of the hotel and those of the group who had arrived first were already outside at bench enjoying a cooling drink. What a stunning location…Lake Tal-y-Llyn is a truly beautiful spot, its crystal clear water’s glistening in the bright sunshine, rowing boats in a neat line gently bobbing at the jetty. You could just sense this was going to be a cracking weekend. We were glad of the opportunity to get checked in, dump our kit in our room and join the team lakeside and enjoy a long, cool pint. However in a jarring upset to the mood it seems that one of the ‘Dad’s Army’ contingent had an ‘off’ on the way down. It turns out that 40-tonne articulated trucks and MT-09 Tracers don’t mix too well! Thankfully Bob, other than been a bit bruised and shaken was ok, but the Tracer wasn’t and he and the bike had to be recovered home. The balance of the platoon were marching on regardless.

Not too bad a location overall....

The fun had already started...

So beer was drunk and banter exchanged as the lake glistened in the background. The atmosphere and the expectation ramped up as the rest of the team rolled in. Team Scotland in the shape of Rosco, Ian and Gill, then Weasley on his recently acquired KTM, Steve on his Tracer that now boasts more miles on the clock than your average spaceship. The Manchester massive was represented by Steve D on his XR1000 BMW and ride out virgin but master commuter Matt on his MT-09 Tracer. Robcat had rocked up too, electing to come on his ‘sensible’ FZ8, this meaning that Chris on his Ducati would be the only person riding a pure sports bike this weekend.  Of course Nick and Ellie were already here having ridden up with ‘helicopter-hero’ Mark. Nick had elected to leave his glorious FZR1000 EXUP at home and brought his Can-am Spyder trike (aka ‘The Reliant’) along. It would be interesting to see how it compares with our more traditional mounts on the ride out. Anyway as usual the banter and beer flowed, the hotel put on a superb meal and we all went to bed happy and in eager anticipation of great days riding ahead.

Weasley completely forgot to bring his Thundercat...

Din, dins time!

Day 2: This is Wales right? Where's the rain??

I was awoken by strong sunlight streaming into the room, it was only 6am and even though we were not leaving for the ride until 9am I decided to get up, get dressed and head outside. I was so glad I did…the lake was perfectly still, like a piece of gently shimmering glass, the reflection of Cadir Idris was making it hard to determine the border between land and water. What a sight, ethereal, almost other worldly. I just sat, relaxed and tried to take it in. Moments like this are all too rare in life, and need be savoured when the do come along. Gradually the others emerged and the spell was slightly broken, or was the moment better for being shared? Now there is a deep question for biking blog…

Tal-y-Llyn...sort of speaks for itself really...

Breakfast was excellent and I nibbled gently at a lettuce leaf whilst the others demolished a ‘full Welsh’ and we were soon away for what was sure to be a great days riding. Nick ’Del Boy’ Shuker leading the way on his Reliant whist the rest of us pulled in obediently behind, looking rather like a line of chicks following their mother! We picked our way down the valley again and then turned for Machynlleth to meet up with the ‘Dad’s Army’ contingent that still numbered a healthy 8 bikes even after losing Bob yesterday.

The squadron forms up...

I hope Chris kept the receipt for the cosmetic surgery...

The traditional group shot...no 'Dad's Army' they were still practising shooting at barrage balloons out the roof of Jones van....

We caused the by now traditional chaos in the fuel station, a place fondly remembered from BC1 and the naked GSXR riders, twenty bikers all buying small amounts of fuel and occupying all the pumps as the cashier goes into a meltdown. A quick word in praise of Terry and his crew here. I think all of them are the wrong side of 65, many of them the wrong side of 70. But they still cover big mileages on big bikes and at a calm, assured pace that puts many, me included, to shame. Prove positive that being past retirement age doesn’t mean you are automatically confined to coach trips to Cromer if you fancy getting out!

No naked GSXR riders this time

From here the group made its way to the Elan Valley visitor centre. Del Boy at the front was keeping up a decent lick on his trike and any notions any of us had of a negative impact on the pace of the ride had quickly been addressed and dismissed! Top work Del Boy. We worked our way along the B4518, a delightful road that runs through some stunning valleys. I know I keep saying it, but on day like this and in weather as good as this it hard to think anywhere any of us would rather be. The pace was good, but not stupid, which suited me…for reasons I don’t really understand I have been feeling a little out of sorts on the bike this year when the pace warms up. Hey ho, on glorious sunny day in the most spectacular of surroundings…who cares? It really is just good to be out there. The visitor centre at the Elan Valley is great and the balcony offers great views while I watched Mandy consume enough cake to keep Mr.Kipling happy!

Rosco, Gill and Rob contemplating life the universe and everything at the Elan Valley Visitor Centre

Matt draws deep on his fag (!) and reflects 'this beats the shit out of commuting into Manchester

A BMW GS1200 water pump

Mandy smells cake and homes in like a Sidewinder missile...

But Ellie was just too quick for her...

Back on the bike the fun continued as we picked across some glorious roads. The pace was good and generally the group seemed to holding together well. Impressive with a trike and 20 bikes in a line behind to contend with! We had already revisited some previous BC ground and I was more than happy to retrace some routes as headed towards Aberystwyth and over Devils Bridge. What did strike me was how much better the condition of the roads, even the B roads, was than those in Worcestershire and way better than those I encountered on Weemac recently up in Scotland. Anyway we carried onto another haunt from a couple of previous runs; the Red Kite Visitor centre. There seemed to less birds in evidence than in previous years, but the setting remained spectacular and the lunch halt was welcome as the ‘Low Cake’ warning light I have hooked up for Mandy was flashing furiously by now!

The last two Thundercats at the Red Kite Centre while Mandy affectionately mutters to me...'hurry the f*ck up...I need cake!'

It was like this all day

Resisting the rising tide of the hoards of Tracers, Fazers and GS's...two brave Thundercats stand alone...

I hope this one never craps on my car...

Where's the M62 gone...Matt really seemed to enjoy his first larger rideout

Furious last minute route planning; Rob, Nick and Mark

The good old A44 was up next and I really enjoyed myself for the first 30-40 minutes after lunch as I picked up my pace a bit. The Thundercat has really felt the benefit of the work I had done to it at the tail end of 2016, the rear suspension unit and fresh fork oil in particular meant there is much less bucking and weaving going on compared to days of yore. We headed towards Carno, crossing back over our morning route. Mandy is a brilliant passenger on a bike and she really allows me to just get on with it, but her back can give her some gip and I can sense when she is starting to get uncomfortable. I felt her twitching about so I duly rolled off and just took in the rather lovely surroundings we were riding through. I even started waving folk past as she continued to feel unsettled. In the end I pulled over to see if she was ok. Turns out her footrest had flipped up over a big bump and she had a leg flapping about for most of the last ten miles. Doh, perhaps there is a case for a helmet intercom sometimes! Maybe not…Thanks to Weasley for pulling over to see if we were ok too.
I settled into the gentler pace in any case and wondered along back towards Machynlleth, Aberdovey and then another long-time BC haunt…the Ice cream factory at Twyn. It was at this point we noticed that Robcat on his FZ8 had gone AWOL. A couple of concerned phone calls later established that he had missed a marker and headed off in the wrong direction and wondered where we had all gone. He compounded his error by then roaring past the Ice Cream factory when he did show up. We gave him a guard of honour as he rolled into the car park…suddenly my speech and awards had just got much easier to write!
After I watched everybody else enjoy their allegedly delicious ice creams as I sipped a mineral water the ‘Dad’s Army’ contingent headed away after hearing Terry’s call to arms…’I’m bored!’ Thanks for joining us chaps and see you next time all being well

Ice cream, nearly as good as cake according to Mrs R

Caught with seconds...

The prodigal returns...

No comment...

Just chillin'
Back there it is a brisk blast back to the hotel to wrap up a really excellent days riding. A few people stood out for me…Nick for hustling the Reliant at a rate of knots that meant leaving two wheels at home was never an issue, to Matt on his MT-09 Tracer for riding in calm measured way all day on his first serious larger ride out, Mark on the TT600 for battling its fuelling demons so effectively. Back in the carpark of the hotel, 13 rolled out and 13 rolled in after an exceptional days riding. Wales on a sunny day like this almost seems to transform, it really is stunning and I really struggle to get over how good a day we had.

Then there were two...

The evening was spent in the traditional manner in the best of company. Initially next to the Lake for a cooling drink before the midges got the better of us. They had been laid on thoughtfully by Nick for our Scottish contingent so they wouldn’t feel homesick. The meal was superb again, and even my speech and awards didn’t upset things too much! It had been a tough one to come up with this year as the ride was incident free and the day so perfect…but I manage. A full list of winners below, but notable winners were Robcat with no less than three! Steve for being at all ten BC’s and Matt for blending into the group so seamlessly. Off course a special thanks go to Nick and Ellie for organising it all and finding such an amazing location. The evening concluded in the bar as usual, where Nick and Steve made me drink whiskey again! Rosco fell asleep (…it’s more a rule now than a tradition!) whilst the rest of us just generally enjoyed ourselves.

The Award Winners: (That I can remember...)

1. Stevecat...for attending all 10 BCs...a full house!
2. Matt...Top riding on his first group rideout
3. Stevecat...The indicator award...always hotly contested, but he was so good at leaving them this year he actually go nominated twice!

4. Robcat...Well he kind of dominated proceedings...three awards! 1. Hero...for attending all the Groups all over the country from Big Mac to Oxon Loop he is there, trying to keep up with Chris... 2. The most prized award of the lot...The Order of the Numpty....Or a coaster, for getting so comprehensively lost 3. I can't remember what that was for...
5. Greencat (Chris)....Little snowflake award...he couldn't reach Steves XR BMW so he could have a go!
6. Nick...Most Wheels award...when 2 wheels somehow just are not enough!
7. Weasley...Bad Daddy...He sold his Thundercat after 18 years and bought a KTM!

Well come the morning and it was time to sadly head home and bring to a conclusion a truly memorable weekend, but first....

Chris and his very own breakfast chair...

Rosco thought about flying home...

More wheels than Nick! This glorious 1928 Lancia brought some class to the proceedings

I can hear it again…’Its such a perfect day…’ Lou reed…you have it spot on. Here’s to BC11!

Some background...

Lake Tal-y-Llyn:


The Hotel:


Red Kites:


Elan Valley:


Lou Reed - Perfect Day...


Last edited by Radar on Mon Jul 02 2018, 22:17; edited 2 times in total

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Re: BC10 – The One With the Weather and the Lake…

Post  Rosco on Mon Jul 02 2018, 00:11

Cheers Tony.

Right riveting read.

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Re: BC10 – The One With the Weather and the Lake…

Post  robertcains on Mon Jul 02 2018, 05:55

Brilliant Tony, thank you!

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Re: BC10 – The One With the Weather and the Lake…

Post  SteveCat on Mon Jul 02 2018, 12:50

Great Tony, thanks. great

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Re: BC10 – The One With the Weather and the Lake…

Post  0ldcat on Mon Jul 02 2018, 16:33

Brilliant write up as usual Tony great

Makes me realise, I really must get my ducks inna row and get back out there to one of these.

Tel Toff

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