Pepé must be thinking it is his birthday. Out twice on a few decent length runs in the same month. Amazing.
The last day of April was the end of the football/soccer season for the League One teams. Oldham were away at AFC Wimbledon. I did add this to my general blog.
According to Google maps the journey would be about 80 miles, mostly on the motorways but with a little bit at each end on ordinary road. I set off about 0930 for a 1200 kick off.
The area where the ground is isn't totally unknown to me but the final bit was definitely in need of TomTom's assistance.
I stopped to fill the tank at Tesco in Ashford. The French petrol from the Vimy run might have seen me get there and it may have been a few pence cheaper in South London but I wanted to be in and out after the game.
The M20 and M26 were pretty peaceful. Cruising at an indicated 75mph and TomTom showing satellite speed at 70 was good enough for me. The M25 was its usual PITA. It was recently widened to get rid of the hard shoulder (emergency lane) as part of the "smart motorway" project. If you are suffering a breakdown, car not driver, they have hacked "refuges" into the side of the road. You just have to hope you can reach one" If not they have installed overhead gantries where they have red lights to show the lanes are closed, and also hide the speed cameras!
As usual hardly anyone ventures into the left or "slow" lane. The centre two lanes being far more popular and the outside lane (of four!) has the usual high speed drivers. Usually under-taking is frowned on but with cars travelling at below the speed limit in random lanes. you drive/rides where there is some clear road ahead.
Once off the M25 I was on ordinary road. A road that seemed to have more speed cameras per mile than I have ever seem before. Eventually arriving at the Kingsmeadow Stadium at about 1115. The last few miles in heavy traffic.
I saw the car-park full signs and rode up anyway and the guys let me through and then I had to find a space to park. By email in the week before they had said part by the cycles racks outside the leisure centre. What leisure centre! I ended up locking the bike on a small piece of grass verge. Not a good start to my first (and last!) visit here.
I had a chat with a guy alongside in a car. A home supporter about the game and he directed me to the "away" entrance on the far side of the stadium. The stadium is small. Sold out there were 4800 packed into it. They still have standing, something that needs sorting before they can move up the pyramid. My ticket was standing. I got a burger and coffee and found a place under cover. The weather had been pretty good so far.
The game went okay, ending 0-0 and then after the players came over and posed for pictures it was back to the bike. Pepé always attracts comments even if not quite a crowd. I togged up and wended my way through the crowd. TomTom decided that although I had come the "fastest" route, the "fastest" route back home was totally different. Always a slave to the satnav I decided to see where it would take me. I called Claire on the Scala and talked hands-free for a bit. No dramas apart from the M25 when one guy didn't want to let me join. I simply opened the throttle and he was history.
The run back pretty unexceptional. Cruising at the same 75mph indicated. The only note was seeing the "miles to empty" go up once cruising speed was reached,
The TomTom Urban Rider does keep stats for the journey and showed that the day had been achieved at an average speed of 52mph and that I had actually covered 158 miles.
Another good trip out and I can't wait to get out again. Sometimes life gets in the way though.