May 31, 2004 at 11:08 pm #8828RadarModerator
The comeback kid:
Like so many of my friends “Toggs” had drifted out of biking in the mid 1980’s when the pressures of family life meant that something had to give. The fun of thrashing about on a Suzuki GT250 somehow just did not seem as important anymore. What a bike that GT was, blessed with the usual Suzuki electrical maladies of the period; every time he wanted to thrash it he had to turn the lights off! Why? Well the bulbs would all blow if he gave it too much stick! At night you could always tell when he was about to go for it as the road ahead would suddenly go all dark!! Oh the joys of youth!
Fast forward to 2004; the biking itch hasn’t been scratched for too long now and the pressure was getting too much. A chance to divert some money away from the family and house came his way and he struck upon a Kawasaki ZZR400. He was back!! On a modern(ish) bike and he didn’t even need to turn his lights off to overtake anybody!
So it was time to have some fun and on Cup final day just before kick off (tip: the roads are nice and quiet), we headed away from Kidderminster with me leading on the T Cat, Toggs on his ZZR and another mate aboard a GPz500 taking up the tail.
We headed for Bridgnorth on the A442. I have mentioned this road before, and it is a wonderful strip of tarmac that sweeps through the glorious countryside that overlooks the Severn Valley. The road has some lovely sweeping bends and a few short straight sections where you can open up the taps a bit. Be careful here though as the road is lined by trees and in some areas by shear rock! In other words have fun but leave plenty in hand. If you fall off it might mean that you have plenty of time for harp practice…
Toggsy was clearly enjoying himself sweeping the ZZR around with ever increasing confidence. We went past the bikers café on your right (about 50 or so outside today), and then at the island on the outskirts of Bridgnorth we turned right on the A458 towards Shrewsbury. This takes you onto a bridge over the River Severn and the view both ways is stunning. Worth slowing down for…nearly. This is a fast straight that opens up into two lanes as you ascend a noticeable gradient. Toggsy’s ZZR has a wicked end can fitted, and even at these speed it could still be heard as he accelerated hard away form the island. After about another mile or so there is an island and here you go left onto the B4364 towards Ludlow. The next fifteen miles or so are fantastic as this tight little B road snakes its way over the Worcestershire/Shropshire border country. This is what the posh bike magazines would call a “technical” road. Not fast, but bend after bend that first make bank left then right with only very brief and bumpy straights to ease the concentration levels a little. This is where the horsepower of bike doesn’t matter and a Supermoto would be the ideal tool as speeds rarely go above 80 mph. There a few small villages and clusters of houses on the way. Remember to throttle back for these. Toggsy’s howling pipe was attracting a little attention…
We didn’t go all the way into Ludlow but turned right onto the A4117 at the end of B road and squirted down to the first island outside Ludlow and hacked around it a couple of times, before then heading back on the A4117 towards Cleobury Mortimer. If you have time however Ludlow is pretty little Market town that boasts a decent castle (if you like that sort of thing), and well worth stopping for a look around.
At Clee Hill we pulled just on the road that runs over the summit in order to take in the simply awesome views. You don’t need to go over the Alps to be totally blown away you know! Back on the bikes to head for Cleobury, watch out for the loose sheep on this section of road, and the cattle grids that contain them.
The road down to Cleobury is good fun and drops quite steeply in places, be careful. They have just put some stone chippings down in a few places, so watch for that.
Cleobury Mortimer is another pretty village well worth a look, and the local primary school hosts an excellent classic bike show once a year.
We continued along the A4117 before joining the A456 and heading through for a couple of miles. Not such a good section this. A bit too much traffic and a few villages to slow for.
We rounded off our 50ish mile blast by stopping in Bewdley for a cuppa and an ice cream by the River Severn. The locals can be a little huffy about bikes parking there, but don’t worry.
Toggsy had really enjoyed the chance to get some wind in lungs again and I think the bike will be around for a while yet. The lad on the GPz500 was so impressed he bought the tea…
This run is about 55 miles, so allow about an hour.June 1, 2004 at 3:58 pm #19366wheelieParticipant
Nice story Radar. Been down to Bewdley a few times, some great roads out there.
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June 1, 2004 at 4:01 pm #19367wheelieParticipant
PS Found the rozzers like to pull anyone over when the footy is on because
a) They are annoyed to be on duty when the footy is on
b) They have more numbers to catch to get their day in.
SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE HERE! (LAST 2 WORLD CUPS!!)
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