The Armchair Adventure Festival 2021

#AAF21 illuminated at the festival

I’m just back from spending the weekend at The Armchair Adventure Festival that took place at the Mount Edgcumbe Country Park in Cornwall.

Ben and I had a fun weekend meeting a lot of interesting people from all walks of life. It was the first “in person” festival the Sidecar Guys had organised as up until now it had been just an online event.

For me it’s the last festival of the year and so I was looking forward to it.

Since I’m retired I decided to take the slow scenic route down to Cornwall and spent a couple of nights camping on the way down. It’s great to travel in such a relaxed way taking in the scenery as I go, stopping whenever I want and not having to worry about time.

My first night was spent in the New Forest, a lovely part of the world that I’ve not visited for many years. It was a cold night, coldest night of the whole trip in fact but, with a hot brew made on the Trangia and my trusty 4 season sleeping bag I kept plenty warm.

I was surprised how empty the campsite was. The children had only recently gone back to school and I guess the parents back to work and so there were just a few of us oldies on the site.

The next morning I was up early, showered and on the road heading down to the south coast. Grabbing breakfast en-route the sun was beginning to show it’s face and things were warming up nicely.

I’ve not ridden along the south coast for many years, decades even, so I was looking forward to see it again however, I wasn’t ready for the level of commercialism that’s covers pretty much all of the south coast now. Large blocks of apartments everywhere, it’s more like southern Spain than south coast UK.

I dropped in at Poole in Dorset, the last time I was there was with Sara my wife, in the late 80’s when we parked our camper on the quay for the night. It was great fun chatting with others doing the same however, now you can’t get anywhere near the quay with a vehicle.

I pulled up on the bike to take a quick photo only to get moved on by two coppers who were less than friendly. The quay had nothing but super yachts moored up against it and there were loads of the finely dressed people sitting at the cafe’s on the quay, very different to how it used to be. Sad not to see any locals, just the rich and their big boats.

Views from the road – Dorset
Saint Michaels Mount Cornwall

Continuing on along the coast I made my way to Land’s End, the end of the road in the south. The weather was glorious, warm and sunny, perfect conditions for the obligatory photo at the Land’s End sign post.

22/09/21 – Feralmoto at the Land’s End Sign Post Cornwall
Panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean from Land’s End

It was only a few weeks earlier that I was up at the John O’Groats sign post in Scotland, it’s been a very long time since I’d been to both ends of the U.K. in the same year!

01/08/21 – Feralmoto at John O’Groats Scotland

Literally 2 mins from the Land’s End Sign Post there is a great little campsite situated on what was once a farm. With a hot pasty in hand from the pasty shop at the sign post I headed up to the campsite and got settled in for the night.

Sunset at the Land’s End Campsite

After a good nights sleep I was up early, showered and ready to hit the road again. The festival was just a mere 87 miles from the campsite and so there was plenty of time. Weather forecast wasn’t great and I expected to get a soaking at some point along the way.

Sure enough, the first 30 odd miles of the ride was dry and sunny but, gradually got worse until I had to pull up and get into my water proofs as the rain hammered down for the last 40 miles.

I arrived at 1pm along with a couple of other bikers, check-in wasn’t open until 3pm so we chewed the cud for a couple of hours.

Once checked in we headed over to the camping area and got the tents up. We’d been told that they’d sold 500 tickets and so there were going to be a fair few people arriving.

Camped at The Armchair Adventure Festival

A few days before the festival Ben had checked us in for a ride on the postie bikes with Nathan from Dorothy’s Speed Shop. Nathan is well known in the adventure world for riding an Australian Postie bike (Dorothy) from Oz to the UK and much further afield. He’s also written a children’s book all about Dorothy’s adventures.

It’s been a long time since I’ve ridden a bike as small as the Honda 110cc postie bikes but, it was a lot of fun. Sadly it was a very foggy day and so we didn’t get to see much of the views but, the group still had a great time!

A small group of Festival goers enjoying the postie bikes with Nathan

The second thing Ben booked us in for was a couple of hours sea kayaking. Now I’ve never been in a kayak yet alone in a kayak in the sea but, I’m up for most things!

Ben and I floating nicely on the sea in a rather red and orange kayak

It cost us £10 each for the kayak experience, the best £10 I’ve spend in a long time. We had a great time paddling along the coast. The added bonus was that there were 4 dolphins in the bay too and so we had a great time watching them swim around the kayaks as we paddled around.

I really enjoyed the kayaking experience, so much in fact that I’m now looking at getting my own so that I can paddle around the east coast where I live.

Sadly not all the food vendors turned up for the festival and so we had a choice of two for the whole weekend, Pizza or chicken and salad wrap! Thankfully the chicken wrap vendor came to our rescue and was doing breakfast too, so sausage, bacon and egg rolls were available every morning, perfect!

Thankfully there was a coffee vendor on site which helped to wash the breakfast down every day.

There were a number of talks and presentations available to watch each day many of which were very interesting. There was only one motorcycle manufacturer there, Ducati from the local dealership, a shame as there was plenty of space for more!

Ural Sidecars had a very tiny presence with a couple from the Portuguese setup there with one unit, but they wouldn’t let Ben and I ride it even though we’ve both ridden sidecars before.

In the evenings there was live music and a bar, so everyone had a great time late into the night.

The Arcmchair Adventure Festival by night

We met some interesting people at the festival, one of which was Jane Sarchet,
The HedgeComber cookery author and photographer. Lovely lass with her partner Jonny in VW camper vans. Jane has some great recipes and one pot specials for camping on her blog, well worth a look!

Then there was Dave the dog and his owner Dave, yes they’re both called Dave, in their bright red sidecar, a real pair of characters. Follow their adventure on Instagram.

Ben and Mike at the Armchair Adventure Festival 2021

Overall the weekend was a great success. Let’s hope it’s even better next year!

Ride outs, new parts and an Armchair Festival

Since the easing of the COVID19 lockdown here in the U.K. I’ve been making the most of the freedom and putting a few miles on the bike.

End of the road, Orford Suffolk

Since my last blog article I’ve put almost 1000 miles on the Tenere 700. It’s been great to get back on the bike after 4 months of lockdowns and to finally start to get to grips with it. There’s still a few things I’m not happy with but, over the next few weeks/months I’m hoping to get things sorted.

Logging in Rendlesham Forest

The biggest problem I have with the T7 is the seat height, it’s just too tall for my little legs! Having just a 29in inside leg the Rally Edition seat stretches me to the absolute limit. Only being able to get one foot down on tiptoes really isn’t good for trail riding especially if there are river crossings involved where ideally I’d like to get both feet firmly planted.

I’ve been looking into getting the seat re-profiled and made lower but, the cost of doing this is almost as much as buying an OEM low seat and rear rack unit instead of the passenger seat. So after much deliberation I’ve ordered and OEM low seat and the rack to fit in place of the passenger seat. This will hopefully lower me enough so that I have more chance of making contact with terra-firma. This will enable me to keep the original Rally Edition seat so that if I ever decide sell the bike I can put it back to original configuration. The new seat parts should arrive in the next week or so, I’ll let you know how it goes.

Horsey Wind Pump, Norfolk

I’ve also purchased a pair of Oxford Hot Hands over grip electric warmers for the bike. Having had grip warmers on many of my previous bikes I’ve realised that I really don’t like having cold hands!

I decided to go with the over grip warmers as they make the hand grips slightly bigger in diameter. This makes quite a difference on long trips especially for arthritis sufferers like me. Increasing the diameter of the grips makes it a lot easier to keep the throttle open on long trips and helps reduce hand fatigue, the warmth also helps with the pain when it gets cold.

Amazon have them at a bargain price at the moment, I got them for £38.37 reduced from £69.99, bargain!

I’ll need to get the appropriate connector to attach the hand warmers to the wiring harness, but these are easily available from Eastern Beaver.

I also need to install the second 12v socket to the bike and wire it into the 10A feed that is available from the wiring harness. The OEM fitted 12v socket is fused at 2A and won’t drive much more than my iPhone. I may even rewire it to the 2nd 10A feed on the bike so that I have two 12v sockets capable of charging many devices at the same time. I’ll put together a separate article on this when I get to it.

Sean, Ben and I have all booked places for the Armchair Festival down in Cornwall in September. This is a new adventure festival and it’ll be interesting to see how it turns out. If you’re also coming to the event be sure to give us a shout as we’ll be camping for the weekend.

Well that’s it for the moment, more soon!

Walcott Beach, Norfolk