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February Graded ride-out 22020 -Blue Teeth and Red Lions

Staffordshire Advanced Riders recently held their regular monthly ride, being February this ride was only open to Graded Riders.

It was also a key milestone for the club, as we head into the next 10 years of the existence of Staffordshire Advanced Riders.

Firstly Yam (Yamster) Hampton was carefully coaxed into the 21st Century and experienced his first club ride without all the hiss, squelch and unusual noises coming out of is Autocom unit....... Yes, he had finally joined the Bluetooth revolution!!!!!!!

The rest of the pack are still considering if this is still such a good idea, .....especially Weedfree.......... the unusual sound of a broad Wolverhampton accent cooing soft sweet words to Irene over the Bluetooth airway is making Weedfree wonder if his next planned bike ( a 3 seater FJR ) is really such a good idea!! 

Anyway , we digress........

The second milestone, is that the club committee agreed unanimously to make the Red Lion at Sutton the permanent meeting point for our monthly club rides.

The combination of a large parking area, toilet facilities and the excellent hospitality shown to us by Mary and Mark makes the Red Lion an excellent location for the club to adopt for a start point.

So, the February ride......  The ride was lead by non other then the ex Flat Earth believer John ( Yamster) Hampton.......... 11 bikes in the pack today, all carefully corralled and tailed by ArthurBroadhurst on his "Gleaming " FJR !! 

Swiftly of the mark, we made our way over the Staffordshire border and into Shropshire, picking up the B5062 we snaked our way over to the country town of Shrewsbury. Skirting via the A5 bypass we quickly found ourselves heading off down the A458 towards the glorious Welsh tarmac.   No stop at Dinkys on this ride, as we had already had refreshing teas and coffee with Mary.  A few Riders had also taken the opportunity to sample the delicious cooked breakfasts on offer.

Heading west,  the unfamiliar sound of Yam on the Packtalk soon has us all in cheerful mood,  as we contemplated if we needed to somehow interconnect Google's voice translation app into the Bluetooth link. The familiar warble of that accent, not heard by most of us in our helmets for over a year had us chuckling as we headed out for the Welsh hills.

A smooth run down the B4393 took us over the border and on toward Welshpool, nipping "off piste" along the excellent B4392 we headed over to Llanfair Caereinion to pick up the A458. A brilliant ride along this road on a February morning with hardly any other traffic about we made good progress until we reached the Afon Clywedog river bridge, just after here we encountered a set of temporary traffic lights that had become totally at odds with it's self and lost the concept of having to show Red and green signals at either end of the restricted section of carriageway.  Yes, Red at both ends was the order of the day they seemed determined not to let any travellers pass.  

After some deliberation on the next plan of action, the deadlock was broken by the heroic driver at the front of the cue, when sensibly deciding to put on the hazard warning lights and proceed with caution.

Back up to speed,  we carried onto the filling station at Mallwyd to take on a few litres of amber nectar. We had the usual delayed restart while Mr Bowman struggled with the positions of the zips and poppers on his newly acquired heated jacket ( we will need additional time when he finally gets the heated trousers .......  he'll probably have to have a diesel generator to provide the additional KWh next time too) 😂😂

Onward we went, at a gradual pace, a horse snapping at Arthur's P4 as we went.

At Cross Foxes we took the A487 down the "Mach Loop", an awesome view availed as  11 bikes headed down the valley. Down through the Machynlleth and sweeping along the Dovey estuary to Aberdyfi.  (Aberdovey)

Avoiding the parking charge by finding a enough place along the main drag was a bonus. Yam did have a few words with the driver of a land rover defender.  We still don't know what he said to the driver.... but he hot footed out of there like rat down a drainpipe. The consequence was the space created allowed us all to park with ease.

Lunch was taken in the excellent Shelly's Fish and Chip emporium, with the usual banter over mugs of steaming tea and coffee.

Saddling up for the return leg, we headed north along the coast taking in the excellent views across the bay. Skipping along the coastal road to Friog before heading inland on the A493 and then taking the A470 back over the hills to the Brigands Inn island. 

 Retracing our route we encountered some very wet conditions, with various riders in the pack having water finding its way into parts that Gortex claimed it could protect!!

After lots of miles this downpour eased,  and again Rodney's Pillar came into view and the welcome thought of a cuppa at Dinkys came to mind.  Swinging into the lay by, we could see to was unusually unpopulated with just a few other hardy souls braving the wet weather.

After further banter, tea and tyre kicking we remounted and headed for home, as a close knit group we circumnavigated the A5 with no markers, before setting course back along the B5062 towards Newport. The ride concluded just after we'd passed Edgmond, wet gloved hands were shaken, shoulders patted and cheery goodbyes were waved as we set off in a multitude of directions until the next time . 👍


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