Triumph and Tribulations – Exploring the UK, Day 10

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June 26th, 2017 – Carlisle, England to Birmingham, England: ~230 miles

Missed Day 9? June 25th, 2017 – Pathhead, Scotland to Carlisle, England: ~170 miles

Thankfully, our Triumph Explorer is still in the parking lot in the morning. This was the one morning when I was concerned about the safety of our bike, and as soon as I woke up I went downstairs just to make sure all was well. My stress turns out to be unfounded. So we get the luggage packed and we’re quickly on the road towards the famous Lake District.

Something you don’t see very much in the United States: a trailer being towed by a classic sedan.

Can my European readers identify this car?

This sign caught our attention. Unlike with the car above, I’m able to identify the bike. If you need a hint, think Italian.

It’s put up by The Shiny Side Up Partnership, a campaign designed to reduce the number of injuries suffered by motorcyclists. It’s been around since 2002 and it is primarily comprised of “professionals from Road Safety, Accident Investigation, and Police Traffic Management teams.”

Our first stop is Grasmere – William Wordsworth called it “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found.” Thankfully, he never had to worry about GPS systems taking him down the wrong route:

We stop in town to check out the famous gingerbread shop. While in line, I notice that someone has taken a bit of interest in the Triumph. I’ve compared the Explorer the R 1200 GS a few times over this story, but there’s something that the GS can never match in the UK: how much locals love seeing this bike. I hear the gamut from “I didn’t know Triumph was still making bikes” to “I’ve been saving up for one of those,” but everyone that wants to talk to me about the Explorer shares the same appreciation.

I don’t know if “locals love it” is really a reason to buy one bike over another, but I guess it can’t hurt.

Per usual with tourist traps, the employees dress up in costume.

From 1660-1854, this was the village school.

In town, an older sports-tourer catches my eye. It’s a Suzuki GSX 1100F – think GSX-R 1100 sportbike motor with a retune. The improved aerodynamics made it one of the fastest motorcycles you could buy at the time.

While it was a very competent motorcycle, this bike may actually be best remembered for power windshields that would commonly fail.

This isn’t a wonderful photo, but it’s the only one we got of a Reliant Robin.

I was looking forward to seeing one because of Top Gear’s incredible segment on the Robin. Unfortunately, they cut out some important parts when they uploaded the bit to YouTube, but this still should be enough to share the joy of this ridiculous 3-wheeler with you:

While we’re talking about cars: 1959 saw the introduction of two classics in British automotive history – the Mini Cooper and the Ford Anglia. I get to see plenty original examples of the former in the US but I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen the latter.

It’s so charming!

Crossing back across the country, we make our way through the Yorkshire Dales. Guess what? We see more sheep! But this time they are incredibly close to the road.

Seems like this is asking for trouble.

Considering Vy’s well-documented affinity for sheep, we obviously have to pull over for this.

I think this is the closest she got to her “sheep peeps” all trip.

This is more effective than speed bumps when it comes to keeping our velocity low.

By this point I’m pretty much over the sheep, but the first time I see a Highland cow I need to stop and take a look up close. He seems similarly interested in Vy and I.

You may have noticed that some of the photos (like the image of the Ford Anglia) today (or even yesterday) were slightly crooked. That’s because yesterday, Vy managed to drop my camera, shattering the LCD screen. I had tried to find a Canon repair shop nearby but my G7X Mark II is too new. Parts aren’t available for a same-day fix and we don’t have time to waste. So Vy finds a camera shop in Manchester online and we head towards the city to see what they have available. I’m visiting the National Motorcycle Museum tomorrow and I need to have a working camera for all of the bikes!

I think these signs are adorable. Twenty is Plenty!

This sign is also adorable, though at first I’m not sure what it means. Turns out Age Concern is a charitable organization specifically focused on the needs of the elderly.

We settle on an Olympus TG-4 Tough because it’s apparently rugged enough to handle all the abuse Vy will throw at it. Time will tell.

I’m excited about tomorrow, as I’ll be visiting the National Motorcycle Museum and I think you’re going to enjoy the results. But first, I’ve got to figure out how to use Vy’s new camera!

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