Rideout through Selborne to Frensham Great Pond

I recently had the pleasure of a circular rideout through North Warnborough, Alton, Selborne and ended up for a coffee at one of my favourite stops, Frensham Great Pond (tip: If you fancy a tea break there avoid the weekends and bank holidays – the car park is chargeable and they (the national trust) treat bikes the same as cars. £3 for the pleasure of parking for half an hour for a tea/coffee seems a bit steep to me).

Anyway, the weather was kind, the traffic was light and the riding was good. Map below…

Mystery Tour

The video I’ve loaded to Youtube (here) concentrates on the ride to Frensham Pond. Thanks for reading.

Rideout to Pewsey, Wiltshire

We have friends who live in Pewsey, which is a nice little town in Wiltshire, between Andover and Swindon. Its a beautiful area that up until recently I hadn’t really been able to appreciate as every time we have been to their house, its been dark. I decided to have a rideout on my bike and rode a circular route to Pewsey recently. The outbound route is below.

Pewsey

This was the planned route. The actual route varied somewhat but not significantly. The ride from Basingstoke to Andover via Whitchurch was very pleasant, most notable being the discovery of the Bombay Sapphire Distillery at Laverstoke Mill. Definitely one for another day!

From some strange reason(most likely the satnav settings) the route wasn’t QUITE as shown, but once past Andover (the most interesting bit), the route was fine, taking me across Salisbury Plain with some beautiful views, then down into Pewsey. I was right, the countryside was amazing. Rideout on Youtube can be found here .

Thanks for reading

An Early Spring Rideout to Whiteways Cafe

Now the weather is improving (slowly) here in the UK, I’ve been able to take advantage of the sunny days to get out and about and visit another of my favourite places on the motorbike, Whiteways Cafe at the top of the hill on the A29 at Bury, near Arundel. The route is below.

Whiteways

The route didnt QUITE go to plan as the main road between Haslemere and Midhurst was closed, hence the weird shape to the route. Anyway, it was still a nice rideout on a sunny Monday morning. I’m still getting to grips with the  helmet cam I am using, (Tom Tom Bandit) and havent quite worked out yet the filming capacity on a full charge, or there would have been some footage of the return too.

You an see my video here

Thanks for reading, feedback on the video would be appreciated, I’m learnign every time!

A ride out to the H Cafe

I’ve been trying to get back up to the H Café at Berinsfield near Oxford for a while. Earlier this week the sun was out, all my jobs were done, so out I went. I had decided to test my TomTom 400 Rider satnav, so had dutifully programmed in my route(which quickly went out of the window). I ended up having an unexpected detour, due to a road closure, which the satnav dealt with admirably (To view video click here) .

I would have recorded my trip back via Henley on Thames, indeed I thought I had, but thanks to a noobie mistake, the camera was off, which I didn’t realise til I got home. Oh well, lesson learnt, here’s to the next time. Thanks for reading.

Here’s the route I took…

H Cafe

Motorbiking…

One drunken new years eve a couple of years ago, I was ‘persuaded’ to learn to ride a motorbike. It was the first time in a long time that I had needed to learn a new lifeskill outside of work. How hard could it be? Humph.

The process to get a bike licence in the EU is that getting a licence is a 4 step process. Do the Compulsory Bike Training (then you can ride up to a 125cc on the roads with L plates). Passing this gives you 2 years to take your full licence. The remaining steps(each of which has to be passed before you can proceed)  are to take your Motorbike Theory Test, take an off road handling test on the bike of your choice, then a 40 minute test on the roads.

I got my full licence about a year ago and since then I have been having a lot of fun riding. I bought a Honda CB500X and have been thoroughly enjoying it. I wished I had learned to ride sooner. Last summer I took a trip over to Ireland to see a friend who lives down in Dingle, Southwest Ireland, July 2016 and had a fabulous time.

I’ve added some bits and pieces to the bike and have just started to record my outings, searching the highways and byways to find interesting places/roads. Anyway, these are the first 2 efforts.

A cross country ride through the rolling Hampshire hills Cross Country Ride South Warnborough to Hatch and Ride down to Loomies Biker Café. I’m getting to grips with the technology. It would be really helpful to gain feedback and maybe subscribers…

Thanks for Reading..

 

It’s been a while – the times they are a changing

What a start to the year. My daughter delivered us a second grandchild in early February. Since our abortive attempt to sell the house back in the summer (post-BREXIT poll), we have had a lot of work done on the house. We’ve decided to take a break for a couple of months to get our second wind, then start round 2.

The winter weather hasn’t been particularly condusive to going out for rides (I learnt my lesson last year when I came off on black ice – very painful). Now the weather is improving, I have been able to get out and test my new toys for this year, a helmet cam and mic – essential with the quality/attitude of road users here in the UK. I had a very enjoyable outing to a biker cafe in Hampshire, called Loomies – here’s a short video for anyone that’s interested – Ride down to Loomies

Nothing really to report on the Coeliac front. The availability of products (at a price) in the mainstream supermarkets continues and since legislation in the UK Parliament, eating out is a lot easier. I do wish that restaurants wouldn’t drop a 3 inch thick ring-binder in front of me for ME to check what I can eat. The more forward thinking restaurants either flag options on their menu, or even better have a completely separate menu – YAY.

Hope you’re having a good start to the year. Thanks for reading

Being a Coeliac – whats it like where you are?

Where do I start? I was diagnosed as a Coeliac late in life(2013 to be precise at the age of 57). At the time, it was a bit overwhelming for me and my family. The first time shopping was a nightmare as all the labels had to be read! I am pleased to say that since 2013, the situation with regard to the availability of Gluten Free products has improved greatly(in large part due to the efforts of Coeliac UK ) . Eating Gluten Free at home is easy now and I am pleased to say the occurrences of ‘being glutened’ are thankfully few and far between.

Eating out is where the challenge lies. The UK government DID bring out legislation to help (and it has), but the response of restuarants big and small is pretty much across the spectrum. Restauarant staff Coeliac awareness is much better. What lets many eatries down is how they deal with Coeliacs.

The more enlightened ones(Bella Italia, Pizza Express, Handmade Burger Company, to name but a few) have updated their menus to clearly indicate which options are available to Coeliacs, some have even gained certification from Coeliac UK. Others seem to consider this too much effort and their response is to drop a huge folder of information on my lap and leave it to me to decipher what I can eat, based on their use of icons etc. Not good enough. When I go out to eat, I want to be able to pick something Gluten Free without making a drama of it.Too often I take the easy option as I cant be bothered to take the time to read through all their matierial. I do have a good idea whats ‘Safe’ after 3 years (although can still be caught out).

Hotels are much the same. I stayed at one recently that looked very promising. Gluten Free cereal, bread for toast, but oh dear, ask for Gluten Free sausages  with a cooked breakfast?

I have had some very positive side effects from being Gluten Free. I feel the best I have every felt health-wise. Asthma that has plagued me since birth has gone completely.  I have started experimenting with drinking normal beer to see what happens . Nothing untoward so far. Easy steps.

So, in the UK, its getting easier all the time. If we can just crack eating out… How is it where YOU are? I’d be very interested to hear. Thanks for reading.