THE BROMPTON GOES wILD TO THE YORK RALLY
Indefatigable cycle-tourist, Mark Jacobson, unfolded his Brompton and, despite a nasty squeak, enjoyed a ride to the York Rally 2015, then got down to work. Why not combine a trip to the Rally with a bit of a ride round some of Yorkshire's finest countryside?
From Pickering I travelled southwards into the Yorkshire Wolds at first, turning to the east from Sledmere. Don't get the idea because this is not the Yorkshire Dales or the North Yorkshire Moors that this is easy going. Less well-known than much of Yorkshire, the Wolds combine peace and beauty with some steep scarps and deep valleys.
From Sledmere, famously the base of the Wolds Waggoners, who provided much logistical support to the army during the Great War, with a downhill run with the breeze behind me, the Brompton ran easily at around 18 mph, despite the front hub problem: I found that I had been running with the front hub dry after two days of wetting rain and now the ball bearings were clearly breaking up. Still, they got me to Flamborough Head, and then southwards all the way to a camp site near Preston by Hull, where I could squeeze a little grease into the hub.
Next day I first rode southwards to Patrington before using the cycle way around Hull on the ring road to reach Beverley for camping at Manor Farm. Minster Cycles did an immediate check on my damaged front hub, now 150 miles since the problem began, and, although unable to match the worn cone, were able to fit a set of new bearings at a very reasonable charge. Once home again, I stripped a spare hub to find that the cones matched, so all is well!
Needle in a landscape
Climbing a rise next day, I could see a needle piercing the sky above the haze that hung over the sunmit: this turned out to be a very tall church spire at South Dalton, about a mile away.
I continued through the Wolds to Market Weighton for refreshments, then on to Pockington for lunch, finally going to Stamford Bridge before York. There is a cycle lane out of Stamford Bridge, on the right-hand pavement: further along is one on the left, signed for York. Do you think I could cross the very busy A166? Not a chance!
Continuing along my way I finally came to a termination of the cycle path with the lanes going from there away from York! I had to join the A166 traffic for about a mile before escaping through Dinnington. Nearer to York the cycle way was fully signed and brought me into the City via the Foss. The centre was busier than ever and I could not wait to escape into the countryside again.
At Acaster Malbis I relocated Moor End Farm for a night's camping. After negotiating a fair price for a cycle camper, I told the owner that his father had only charged me half-a-crown (2/6 or 12.5p) in 1968! We had a good chuckle over that.
Rallying to the call
To avoid spending the day in the City, next morning I went early to the Knavemire to see if any help was needed by the Rally volunteers. Having put up my tent, I then assisted in roping the final pitches. After a light lunch I then helped rake the loose grass clumps from the race track, a long job for two of us. By then many campers were arriving and being allowed on site, so I reverted to being just a camper.
The trade stands proved of interest and good support was acknowledged by the traders, most of whom will be returning in 2016. The organisers were also well pleased and now have some funding towards the next Rally. One trader who did not succeed was the mobile bar: with beer at £4 a pint, when the Knavesmire PH a short walk away charged only £2.90.
A number of talks had been arranged, also rides out and about, including the Church ride to Naburn on the Sunday morning, along with grass-track racing and various sales and auctions, much to the old plan but this time arranged by volunteers, not those commercially-minded folk of previous years. Equally there were new elements, making for a mixture of tradition and novelty, which is what, I believe, the organisers hoped for.
Guy Martin's speed tandem was amongst the exhibits at the HPV stand, whilst most seemed to have a high old time - especially Mr. Roop Singh.
Instead of the usual north-easterly and bitterly cold breeze across the unsheltered Knavesmire, there was just a very chilly westerly! Another time we will know that winter clothing is required!
PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 2016