I’d forgotten how silly the DRZ can handle when you’re wearing knobblies on a wet road, those Michelins screaming and skipping in turn and wait, that feels really odd. Oh arse – the front’s flatter than a flat thing and I’m only 3 miles into my day. Best turn around then, time to skin those knuckles.
The plan? There was no plan, not really. Just a guilty feeling that I’ve got possibly the best dual sport adventure bike in the world, and it’s not been out of the garage since it went to the MOT last year. What little 2-wheeled time I’ve had has been spent on the GS, leaving my poor little DRZ-400S with only it’s Optimate for company. Time for some love, and time for a puncture, 5 minutes from home, and damn it Janet if I didn’t turn it around in less than an hour with only minimal swearing.
Take two then was simple; grab some routes and head for the Surrey Hills, area of outstanding natural beauty, with cloudy skies and muddy lanes hopefully keeping the bobble-hat brigade indoors. For those that don’t know, not all of Britain’s public roads are paved, but the number of non-tarmac rights of way are shrinking rapidly thanks to the misconception that anything without streetlights and buses is a footpath, and the efforts of a minority of hooligans who are more than happy to throw fuel on the fire. Lobby groups do exist, most notably the Trail Riders Fellowship, and it’s largely thanks to their efforts that the handful of green lanes which do remain are clearly marked so that everybody using them knows what they can expect to encounter. But some feel that it’s too late, and that folks who want to responsibly enjoy their motor vehicles in muddy puddles have only few places to do so, making those places seem busy and threadbare.
Anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox. It’s been a grand day (no further punctures) and all of the walkers and horse riders I met on the trail were smashing. The only downside was that several of the lanes I last rode years ago have now sprouted iffy-looking No Entry signs and gates. Far be it from me to suggest that a bigoted few are putting up their own street furniture, but I’ll be speaking with the local Rights of Way Officer just in case. God I feel old.