A grand day out

It started off with such promise. Specialized wanted us to join them for the day at Whinlatter and we could then ride as many of the new 2010 mountain bikes as we wanted. It’s hard running a bike shop at times but, hey, someone has to do it!

The problem was: who would drive, me or Ian (Squires – not Richardson)? We argued about it. My car is old and smelly – so is his! Then Mike (Watson) offered his car, an Audi – modern, fast, comfortable! And he would drive too. Would Specialized let him come riding too? Yes, he could. (I can be very persuasive when I want.)

It was an early start. The sun shone. The car, well it went well for oh, 20 miles or so. Then the management overdrive decided to play up. We limped into Leeming Bar services. It was only 9.30am. We had breakfast while we waited for the RAC man. He would be with us within 90 minutes. No problem: still plenty of time.

After 90 minutes the RAC man decided we needed the Audi man. It would be another 90 minutes for him too! It was cutting it fine. We sunbathed. We shopped in the Ye Old Yorkshire Gift Shoppe. The Audi man arrived. He quickly worked out that though it was Mike’s car, Ian was the man to talk technical to. Mike and I left them to it. We went for lunch. We were beginning to get very strange looks from the Leeming Bar staff!

Finally, though, success! It was over three hours since we arrived but just before one o’clock we finally left Leeming Bar. Up to now the weather had been almost too hot. Clear blue skies, simply one of those oh so few blissful summer days. It soon changed. The nearer to the Lakes we got, the worse it became. By the time we reached Whinlatter it was raining so hard you couldn’t see much at all.

It didn’t mater though as it was such thick fog there was nothing to see. And it was cold. Whinlatter is great to ride – except when it rains. It gets slippy!

The Specialized team were very, very wet, but we cheered them up with tales of our breakdown. How they laughed! Still, we didn’t care. Within minutes of arriving we were on the trails. Despite the bad start, we had made it and got to ride some amazing bikes. The breakdown was all but forgotten.

By 5.30 we were dry and back in the car. Ian was hungry. Should we stop for food? Mike and I confessed we’d had lunch, but we could eat more. We started looking out for somewhere to eat when the Audi management overdrive system decided to slow us down to almost stopping point. We limped into Brough.

In Brough there were two places to eat: one was closed down and boarded up and another that was open but looked worse. Still, we decided to eat while we waited 90 minutes for the RAC man to then tell us that we needed the Audi man! And of course by then he would have gone home…

We entered the pub. It felt a bit like An American Werewolf in London. The pub fell silent as we walked in. Oh god!

We needed a drink. I was about to order soda and lime when I spotted absinthe. It had been one of those days. I’d never had absinthe. I deserved it! Then I spotted Skittles vodka. This was an amazing pub. We tried them both. We also ate a simply wonderful home cooked meal, three courses for £6.99. We loved the place. We decided we must stay there sometime – it was the best pub in the world, ever! Okay, we got ever so slightly drunk.

Then the tow truck arrived. (The Audi man had gone home!) The day was getting more and more surreal: the tow truck was a great big American jeep. We staggered out to see him load the Audi onto the trailer. The driver eyed us three, grinning madly as only drunk people can, and politely told us to get lost – maybe we could go and have another drink while he got to work? We were only too happy to oblige.

Finally, at midnight, we were home! The day hadn’t gone to plan but I think we were all in agreement that it had been a grand day out.



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