Ride to Thorpeness, Aldeburgh and Orford

A long day and some promise of sunshine led me to take the bike from Cambridge out to the Suffolk coast to three places that I had visited before but separately, in order of arrival, Thorpeness, Aldeburgh and Orford. Apart from a deluge of rain early on, the day ended with sunshine to greet my arrival. Thorpeness and Aldeburgh are lovely English villages and full of tourists with a long stoney beach and a short straight beach road between them.

Orford ness has a strange topology and a stranger past. I’ve never seen the derelict buildings of the old atomic weapons testing site and by the time I usually arrive there (I see that the last time I visited was nearly 2 years ago), it is cold and I’m ready to return. I’ve also never worked out how you get across the spit. The seafront where I parked up has a small tea room, rather characterless I thought but in a lovely location.

I edited the four hours of sometimes cold riding to a 4 minute video.

Ride to World Famous Comfort Cafe

Overcast today but the last opportunity to ride for a couple of weeks, so 35 miles of nice-ish roads out through Fulbourn, Balsham and West Wratting, and back on the main road stopping at the biker’s favourite World Famous Comfort Cafe, with half a dozen bikes parked outside. Strangely the place is comforting in some inexplicable way – you can sit outside with a mug of tea and cherry cake for a total of £2.50, minding your own business.

Ride to Little Gidding

Wretched GPS never takes my routes seriously and has a strange love of the A14, so every ride seems to involve some miles on this nasty trunk road. Nevertheless, I had some nice riding to the church at Little Gidding, which inspired one of T S Eliot’s Four Quartets. The church itself was closed. Very low key down the end of a track.
I didn’t know that the Giddings are not that far away from Fotheringay, not just the name of a folk rock band but the place where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned and executed. Charles the first sought refuge at Little Gidding, so being a monarch was not easy in the 17th century.
On the way home I chose the A660 which is, I found out, a high accident rate road for motorcycles, with lots of warning signs and a police bike cop talking earnestly to two riders wearing one piece leathers. They all had their helmets off so it was obviously an in depth discussion.
I rode through Kimbolton, one of those old English market towns that clearly at one time had far more importance and wealth than they do now, though the Kimbolton School, housed in the impressive castle means that there is still some wealth there. St Neots, another of those pretty but strange towns near to nowhere (once an important staging place on the road north from London I imagine), was bustling, the warm weather obviously bringing people out, including the rider of the brand new water cooled BMW 1200gs just out.

This was the first weather this year suitable for enjoyable motorcycle riding.

New Book from Ted Simon

I’ve been reading Ted’s second (I think) book Riding Home (sometimes I think its called Riding High oddly). I see he’s got a new book coming out, Rolling Through the Iles, about a journey he’s taken in Britain, ‘back down the old routes that led to Jupiter’s Travels’ says the front cover. Hmm, nothing like milking that first book.