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The fun of slow

As it was the Bank Holiday weekend and I actually had a day off, I took the bike down to Lydd on Sunday for a run out to the British Supermoto championship there. Free entry was good and so was the racing, though I’d forgotten the dust problem on a dry, windy day; the best viewing point for the dirt section was downwind unfortunately. I spent three hours or so viewing from different points on the circuit and was duly impressed by the top riders skills.

On the way back to Canterbury, I took a GPS wander. Now most folks idea of Kent is a weird amalgam of the suburbs of London extending to the White Cliffs, with the odd “Darling Buds of May” village tucked away in a corner, with a motorway and a high speed rail link through the middle of it all.

It’s true there’s an awful lot of urban sprawl south east of London, and the motorway routes don’t show Kent at its best, but there’s a wide range of hidden countryside if you know where to look for it.

Some years ago, a riding buddy challenged me to find a decent day’s ride in Kent. Seven hours and some 200 miles later he had to admit that I’d succeeded – we did stray into East Sussex for a few miles, but the bulk of the route was in Kent and apart from a necessary loo stop, we avoided all the major towns.

This ride was only 30 miles long but at the gentle amble I was riding at to admire the scenery as well as deal with the narrow roads and blind bends, it took something over an hour to ride, from the marshlands of Romney Marsh, through the downlands of Crundale and finally through the woodlands of Denge.

I enjoyed that ride more than I’ve enjoyed a ride for ages. It wasn’t only that the scenery was spectacularly different on the various sections, but also that the technical nature of the narrow, twisty, bumpy and hilly roads called for a bit of effort on my part as rider, something that most roads really don’t call for.

The Hornet is pretty handy on these kind of roads, with its upright bars and relatively soft suspension, but it’s not really suited to the nice, dry and inviting green lanes I also passed and was tempted by. I keep thinking about a Transalp, one of the most underrated bikes around in my opinion. Ah well, perhaps when there is room in the garage!

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