The Baker Run, what a fancy name for getting a group of people together to go ride trails in late December.
The Baker Run is organised by Steve Burbidge of Burbidge’s Bakery in Andover. As a member of the local Trail Riders Fellowship (TRF) Steve is a keen trail rider as well as an amazing baker.
The event starts at the Burbidge’s Bakery with the participants paying their entry which all goes to a number of different charities. After collecting their complimentary tea, coffee and bacon sandwich (Never seen anyone else cook bacon in a bread oven) the riders split into groups ranging from gentle and scenic to expert with a run leader in charge of each group.
This year I opted to lead a group as I have done the event for a number of years and decided it would be great to lead for once. In my head I aimed to take a gentle and scenic groups that normally stay on the gravel places that they would not go with any other leader.
At this point it is probably best to introduce the bike me and my friend Joe Harrod were riding. Just like a pair of climbing shoes or different types of Kayak, different motorbikes are designed for different thing and some are just down right old.
Mine would be best described as old, built in the 1980’s this Honda XL125 was designed to cruise down to beach and transport teenagers around town, not thrash around byways better suited to a full on enduro race bike.
Joe’s bike wasn’t much better, a more modern 2007 Honda CG125 it would have been a great simple choice of bike had it not been designed to ride only on tarmac roads and not recently carried him 19,000 miles to Mongolia and back, it was a dog.
Despite this an intrepid band of riders joined our group, not deterred by the L plates or youthful looks we displayed.
Rolling off down the road in a convoy on 6 riders we were keen to get off the tarmac, despite being navigationally challenged a few times we made it to the plain, now the real fun would begin.
Here I started to get a feel for the groups technical abilities, starting on gravel tracks I could see Joe flying past a number of the other riders who were on much more capable machines, this surface, likened to riding on marbles was a staple of his Mongolian adventure so he was happy to nip along on this at pace. Other members where less happy with this surface so periodic stops allowed the group to stay in contact with each other.