Riding the Peak District

I love to explore new roads and I did feel I had not actually seen much of the area of the WIMA rally, very much due to the weather and the busy schedule. Therefore, I was absolutely thrilled to be able to take Ron up on his invitation of a guided ride in the Peak District. Ron is a friend I met through Horizons Unlimited and I’ve had this standing invitation from when we first met at the HU in Baskerville Hall back in 2016.

As Ron lives near the Peak District and frequently leads rides there for a couple of motorcycle groups, I knew I was in for a treat. It was like it was my birthday, he’d planned everything from beginning to end, with lunchstop and photo opportunities. And yes, he had brought his dslr to be able to take these photos for me. As we headed out, he casually said we’d do a little ford crossing in a bit, don’t worry, just do what I do. I’ve never crossed a ford before so it was an exciting start to the day. We rode all kinds of roads from large popular “turn the throttle” types to teeny weeny little roads with more grass and gravel than actual tarmac. At one point we did some proper exploring trying out a new road that Ron might implement in his standard route. This day was one of the absolute highlights of my stay in England.

Ron -The tour leader!

El Otoñal – the autumn meet, with Mujeres en Moto

Last weekend, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to join the Mujeres en Moto’s autumn meet again. The Otoñal, as it is called, was held in a tiny little village called Anento, in the vicinity of Zaragoza.

I arrived very late on the Friday, just barely made it for dinner at 10pm and pretty much was ready to fall into bed after that. With a full week’s teaching in my back, I pretty much fall into bed every Friday evening, so add 4+ hours on the bike to that and go figure, I was dead. Fortunately, this year I did not wake up with fever Saturday morning, but could fully enjoy the event from then on. And I was even told my Spanish has become better, but really it hasn’t – I just think I’m better all round without fever.

Saturday offered excellent weather and Eva, la jefa, i.e. the president of Mujeres en Moto, had prepared a ride for us with scheduled stops for coffee and photos. Unfortunately, we had an accident early on, a rider slipped on the farm dirt on the tarmac and skidded into the ditch, fortunately though without any real damage to either bike or person. As the accident happened, the nearest riders stopped, parked and rushed to help and, with joint women power and impressive efficiency, the bike was back on the road. The following day it was my turn to receive this favour, but more about that later.

The area around Anento was perfect for riding. I love the tiny farm roads and little villages which seem lost in time, it was an amazing ride out – my only complaint was that I had dressed too warm;y so my warm mid-layer had to go at the coffee stop. I’m so thankful for the flexible Knox layering system, it makes changing weather conditions so easy to handle – and it is such a lovely problem, feeling too warm in the end of October, isn’t it?! We had our coffee stop in a village with 30 inhabitants, we must have helped the turnover of that pub considerably with the purchase of our drinks. The lovely little bar-lady kept herself busy making coffee after coffee and serving peanuts and cold drinks while we posed for photos in the plaza and enjoyed the music from Teresa’s mighty trike. There were about 70 of us, so quite a sight for the locals.

Onward we rode to another tiny village, where, with permission from the police, we parked outside the wall and gate and posed for photos. After this, we were homebound for lunch at the Albergue in Anento, followed by a tour of the town and its surroundings. The countryside around Anento is quite astonishing with the gorge, the water features, cliff formations and castle on the top. With witch hats being obligatory for the tour, the 70 of us trailing along in our pointy hats certainly looked impressive!

The Saturday ended with a Halloween masquerade dinner and while I know that heaps of adults love to do this, sadly I’m not one of them. Just like last year, I just didn’t bother. I know it annoys some but I see such things as part of my work and just can’t be arsed on my free time. I was a green face witch at our Halloween event at work, much to the children’s (and parents’) delight – and no, there are no photos from this event 🙂 I do, however have plenty of photos and videos from the Otoñal. Share and enjoy!

Just like last year, the disco was such a strange cultural experience for me. Eva played song after song and it was evident that everyone knew literally every word of the lyrics and these are songs that I’ve never heard before. I do listen to Spanish music and there are several artists I really like, but nothing has ever prepared me for the Mujeres en Moto disco experience. This is a bit of Spanish culture I cannot tap into, just enjoy it through the eyes of a foreigner 🙂 And I do enjoy it!

Sunday morning I returned home taking a mix of lovely little farm roads and larger roads. It was a beautiful day, I made several stops, for lunch, for coffee, I even had a siesta on a bench beside the road. Excellent end to a busy weekend. However, before signing off I want to extend my warmest thanks to the ladies who rushed to help me when, much to my own surprise, I fell over on my bike at the parking lot in Anento. The bike was erected before I had even understood what had happened, erhm – lock still attached to the brake disk. There is a first time for everything and I’m so happy I didn’t fall and damage anything or anyone, or even myself. Live and learn!

The kit, taking care of it

I’ve done a fair bit of tidying this weekend, the flat, the bike, my gear. We are temporarily settled again and have therefore retrieved some of our boxes, yay! Unfortunately, some of our stuff had gone mouldy, boo! I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised as we were constantly fighting mould in our last winter-let. As some of these things are motorbike gear and other stuff with waterproof membranes, I want to clean them with special washing detergent and re-impregnate them afterwards. It all makes sense doesn’t it, it is expensive stuff so you’ll wanna take care of it. I have been to every sports shop and motorbike shop in the nearby town and further afield. I usually get Nikwax, but anything similar could do, however, there is nothing to purchase. The guy in the bike shop actually laughed at me when I said that people must want to wash their gear at some point. I actually had to go back to the same bike shop to ask for chain cleaner a few days later, same lack of success – I suspect they believe that I’m making these products up as they are explaining to me that they have never heard of these things. A rather nice guy in a mountain gear shop explained to me that Spanish people don’t take care of their kit. He actually had some re-impregnation spray, but he said that no one buys it. He’d had it since the shop opened. In the end I gave up and placed an internet order to cover all my foreseeable cleaning needs. So while I’m waiting for that stuff to arrive, I took on some general cleaning.

Firstly, I cleaned my helmet. I absolutely love this helmet, it is comfortable and it is red. It is also rather noisy, so I always ride with earplugs. But the annoying thing is that the visor is clunky. I had a similar model of Shoei before this one and the visor did not have these stages to hold it open on different levels, which is what I think makes closing and opening clunky, so much that it shakes my head. Today, I found a small silicone bottle belonging to the helmet when unpacking a box and I thought that putting some silicone on the fastenings of the visor would work wonders, but I’m so disappointed that it didn’t. The helmet cost half an arm and a leg to buy so this sucks. But it does look good though, doesn’t it 😀 and it goes really well with my Spanish bike, aka Red Fox.

After the helmet, I got working on my boots – they are the same Altbergs as I have been wearing for the last 3 or 4 years. Well, since after my motorcycle vagabonding period when we were homeless and trying to figure out a plan for living after Brexit. I actually visited the boot factory up in Richmond, Northern England, which you can read all about here. The boots are super cozy, and they accommodate my wide calves as well. They have literally been all over and they are well broken in but I still love them, and I will even wear them with a dress on occasions. Well, honestly only at motorbike events, but hey, they look good I think, and now they are prepped for the next event. Below, in addition to a boot close-up, are screen shots from the WIMA World website, me and my boots doing some official thank you’s and awards. Photographer Tracy J Wheldon

Lastly, I took on cleaning my trousers. I got some new kit in Andorra after the official hand over of the WRWR baton. Everyone had kept on telling me that these trousers were doomed, being light grey. I like grey and have been wearing grey trousers for the last 5 years or so, but a shade darker grey I must admit. I was super pleased with the comfort of the trousers, really light and airy, not attracting much heat from the sun and comfortable on and off the bike. However, they did get rather dirty, especially inside by the boot and all along the inner leg. I did wash them once in Sweden in early July, but then I seemed to forget and coming back to Spain I’ve been so busy, working full-time plus taking evening classes, I kind of only thought about how dirty they were when I sat down in class 😀 Now I finally got scrubbing. I use Galltvål, an organic soap made of ox bile, works like a treat on difficult stains such as oil and insects. I wish that I had taken a photo before washing, but you have to believe me, the hem was absolutely black before I started scrubbing, now there is only a slight discolouration. After the scrub with magical soap, I washed them in a gentle 30°C with washing detergent and voilà!

So, at least part of my gear is clean and tidy, hopefully I will not need my mouldy winter riding trousers for next weekend’s event with Mujeres en Moto, maybe I can manage with the now clean summer trousers.