After a bit of prevarication I decided to make the most of the van and head down to the 2nd UK Fatbike Gathering. One of the major attractions for me is that it was taking place in the English Lake District, and area I'm forever promising myself to visit and cycle in. The other was a chance to catch up with and meet some folk I've chatted with online.
The first surprise of the trip was due to my sheer laziness. Rather than looking through maps, I'd simply programmed the destination into my Garmin Dakota GPS and I was idly following the prompts when I noticed I'd turned into Ferry Road. No - I don't mean the one in Edinburgh, this was the ferry across Windermere, something I didn't realise even existed. I had a brief "moment" when I realised I might get charged as a minibus but a convincing reassurance saw me across for the car rate. As surprises go, this was rather pleasant and it really made me feel I was somewhere a bit special.
Arriving at the site on Friday evening, I found the festivities already under way and the chat turned easily to each others bikes and gear, to firewood and to the planned ride for the morning where semi-drunken bravado added a few extra miles on to the route to enable us to ride to/from the site.
We were, magically, all ready to ride the next day as planned and it was a fair convoy of fat-tyred bikes that wove its way along the road to Hawkshead and then on to the Fells. Unusually for me, I had no route loaded in the GPS, no idea of where we were headed and I relaxed and let Andy guide us up hill. down hill, along adjoining roads, pushing where necessary and enjoying some cracking stony descents along the way. All in all, it was grand riding. The weather was great, the company more so. Any walkers we meet were mostly agog at the fleet of bikes and everybody seemed to be in a fine mood.
By the end of the day, we'd covered almost 51km, given a test-ride to a solo girl rider who was intrigued by the lake-riding, "suffered" a late lunch and enjoyed an ice cream along the way. A grand day out altogether, even if legs were getting a little weary at the end.
Our plans for a pub meal, listening to whatever the live music was going to be were dashed when we found out the the pub was already full, but a fantastic offer from Mike to collect pizzas for us went some way to make up for that, even if we couldn't quite get the camp fire to generate the same amount of heat we'd enjoyed the night before.
|Guaranteed to draw attention....|
Sunday morning was a little less relaxed. The saying "time and tide wait for no man" has a very literal meaning in Fatbike land and we had to be off sharpish to make the most of the beach at Walney island. This proved to be pretty chilly, but it was a very relaxed bunch of fatbikers who played around on the beach, comparing tyre prints and experiencing the roack-crawling capabilities of the 5" Moonlander tyres. We made it back to the cars just as the rain started and enjoyed each others company over Sunday lunch before all drifting off to make our individual ways home.
All in all, a great time and my thanks to everyone who was there, especially Andy and Mike for being such great hosts.