Peak Performance

Ever noticed how hard it is to line up with an old mate for a ride out sometimes? As we get older and responsibilities and commitments build: The simple act of heading out on your bike with a couple of likeminded mates takes on the character of a major logistical challenge! It’s like negotiating a peace treaty! Lining up diaries, checking with partners etc etc!

Gentle Spring Sunshine

But we got there in the end and a bright Saturday morning three of us headed out to sample the delights of the Peak District. I hooked up with my fellow BMW pilot Andy on his R1200GS and Graham (aka ‘Geeg’) on a Yamaha MT07 Tracer.

Geeg, checking out Ashbourne

The charming and picturesque cathedral city of Lichfield was our meet point before making our way to Ashbourne. As per usual Andy took the lead and headed off down his beloved bumpy, pothole strewn B roads. He particularly likes the ones with grass growing up the middle. What is it with GS riders? They think every trip has to be done on the local equivalent of ‘The Road of Bones’. I blame the bloody Long Way Round TV series. It was nearly twenty years ago for God’s sake!

Progress Smooths Out

This did undermine the fun in some regards but you do see places you otherwise wouldn’t when you take this approach. But after a mild rebellion, basically I threw a strop (known in my circles as a ‘blue sparkly dress moment’)  we made our way on to  more flowing A roads. The A515 into Ashbourne  felt like riding on pure silk for a little while! The simple joys of life!

Whaley Bridge up in the Derbyshire Peak District was the main target for the day  It was in this charming little town that a dramatic scene  unfolded back in 2019: Record rainfall caused the Toddbrook reservoir dam just outside the town to begin to breach. My brother was involved in the desperate (and ultimately successful) efforts to save the town from destruction. So I wanted to check it out. A perfect excuse for a ride.

It’s the law…

Of course we had to make a halt on route. Bikers need their fuel as much as their bikes do! The Tea Room Junction at Hulme was a perfect spot. I partook of my traditional light salad whilst my two companions gorged on bacon, egg and mushroom sandwiches. I am such a good boy…

More in Tune

Geeg has recently bought his MT07 Tracer and seems really at home with it. He had been running a YZF600R Thundercat for a few years. These are a great bike but he had struggled to click with it fully. The Tracer however is proving a real joy for him and it is great to see him enjoying his riding once again

Reservoir Dogs…

Whaley Bridge, in addition to the dam also boasts a small but pretty canal basin. Here a former boatyard building now hosts an excellent little exhibition/art space. At the time of our visit it had a stunning model of a Boeing Chinook helicopter of the type used in the efforts to save the dam.

Just being out there is enough

It was a very chilled day on the bikes. Sometimes a ride like that is just perfect. It was March when we visited and after a long winter, it was great to be out on two wheels and riding in good company

We wondered around some beautiful parts of the peaks, stopped off at view points just to take things in. I really enjoyed the vibe of the day

We rounded the ride by taking in that traditional haunt of the biking community Matlock Bath. To be honest it was heaving with cars as well as bikes, so the ride there was a little slow. But as the lads enjoyed their chips and as I sipped a tonic water I reflected on a great day out on the bike.

I wandered home and my R1200RS rolled back into my garage with another 200 pleasurable miles added to the odometer. There should be more days like this…

Words and Pictures: Tony Donnelly

The places:

The Tea Room:

The Bikes:

Yamaha 700 Tracer GT – The Quiet Man – Review and Road Test

BMW R1200RS: So is it STILL better than a GS?

BMW R1200GS (Water-cooled) – Was ist das Deutsche für Humble Pie?

The Helicopter: