Being a glutton for punishment I decided that a return trip to the Taffy Drwg (no longer Dakar for copyright reasons, French folk kept mistaking it for their desert race despite the lack of sand and professionalism).
After last year’s event my elderly DR was a bit the worse for wear but seeing as I had a full year to sort it out it will come as no surprise that the engine only ran for the first time on Wednesday ready for its MOT on Thursday and riding up to Wales gently on Friday.
Managed to condense my packing to a well honed operation, collected Dan and his hired CRFL Rally and picked up the B-roads all the way to Wales with only a brief stint of M4 to get across the Severn.
Unusually we were first to arrive and set up camp on the higher ground after finding the middle of the campsite a little soft for a side stand.
Overnight was bloody freezing but the day of the Taffy dawned bright and dry but still bloody cold and I was up early for my Taffy breakfast roll, cracking. First stop was the Skillz and Trials sections to test our bike handling before heading out over the Roman Road where there was still snow on the high ground.
After hitting a few trails we made our way to the Enduro section for my only tragi-comic crash of the weekend when I managed to select neutral on a tight hairpin and the mighty DR flicked me into the brambles and had a lie down.
Back on the road we headed to Llandovery for a spot of lunch by the castle. Feeling the effects of the long ride up on Friday I decided to head back for an early shower while the water was still hot and ran into a confused group who I gave my marked up maps and directed to the Enduro section.
On the way back I stopped by the Usk Reservoir for the traditional brochure photo and a very pleasant relax in the sun watching the Red Kites fishing.
After a very pleasant Taffy hog roast dinner and a drink in the pub we retired for another bloody cold night under canvas, although I did get more sleep this time.
Sunday dawned cold and bright and we packed up and headed down the Trans Euro Trail route taking in some glorious views of Wales and riding across the Rhondda golf course. I have to say every Welsh person we met on the way were exceptionally friendly from the farmer who said we could go where we wanted to the man who came out of his house especially to open the gate so we did not have to get off the bikes.
Overall a great day’s ride down to our overnight B&B in Monmouth which was right on the river and exceptionally good value. The owners are into their bikes so everything we needed was provided and we enjoyed a good curry and full English breakfast in the morning before setting off back into England.
After some gentle lanes and fire roads we got into some of the more rocky lanes around Gloucester before heading down to the Daneway for a drink and pressing on south.
Just south of Avebury we came across Mr Jimmy Kawasaki who is the linesman for this part of the TET and Miss Chelsea Bee and her stunning Rickman Metisse (cover bike for Classic Bikes this month I believe) having a photo shoot amongst the bluebells. You do meet the nicest people on the TET.
After a long chat they headed off while my bike failed to start due to a missing battery connector. We headed down through Wootton Rivers and on to Tidworth where we met two young chaps riding the TET from Belgium on their Africa Twin and Transalp. Great lads keeping old bikes going and getting out there, wish I had their spirit when I was their age.
All in all, still the best way I have found to spend a Bank Holiday weekend.
Just reminds me I need to ride more.
Dramas, anectodes, and fairytales. Cock-and-bull stories, too.
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