Quite why it reminded me of the car in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, I’m not sure, but that’s exactly what my excited mind conjured up when I saw the luxury three-seater Boom Trike parked outside The Devonshire Fell hotel near Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire.
I’ll be honest; I had to be coaxed into leaving behind my cup of Yorkshire Tea and the tulip-pink chair I’d sunk into, staring out at the pretty view from the hotel’s chilled-out interior. But here was the chance to be part of that landscape without being cooped up, plus all the excitement of a motorbike ride, but with a chauffeur guide. Bring on the baggy waterproof pants, the shapeless protective jacket and, yes, the helmet over my big hair and Tiffany glasses. I felt a bit like a cross between a Womble and a zombie, which all just added to the adventure. And we hadn’t even set off yet.
Yorkshire Trike Tours is one of only three UK companies licensed to chauffeur a trike vehicle – call me a health-and-safety geek, but it was one of the details that got me out of my lazy hotel bliss. As the trike revved up, I could almost believe we were about to fly off.
The North Yorkshire valleys, better known as the Dales, are one of the most heart-stoppingly scenic parts of this country. Fields with grazing sheep are divided by walls that follow the contours of undulating land, so you’re looking out onto a pretty patchwork pattern. Within the Yorkshire Dales National Park, any houses, pubs or hotels keep the original 16th and 17th-century stone. It makes the experience from the trike feel like travelling with a racing time machine at 70-plus miles an hour.
The helmets are fitted with headphones that link up to the chauffeur so you can hear the information and ask questions. Ours, Jason Richards, is an enthusiastic guide – a passionate trike driver who is besotted with the Dales. There’s a choice of 21 tours, including the route for the first day of Le Tour, the world’s greatest cycling race, which this year kicks off in Yorkshire.
After my tour I tucked into the best ploughman’s lunch I’ve ever had, thanks to the hotel’s chef Oliver Adams – think Italy and Spain visiting a British table. That night over dinner, between cooing over every course, everyone was still talking about their trike tour. I was very glad I’d hauled myself off the sofa…