Stratford upon Avon
Sunday 15 February
By: Simon Charters
About 100 miles of dry, mild winter riding.
I never expected such a strong turn out! I’d checked the route and arranged for Barry to sweep, but this early on the year I had assumed that we’d be able to manage with just one group. I was very wrong, and only the enthusiastic impromptu support of Jim saved the day. A very basic outline of the plan allowed him to get the second group to each of the planned destinations, even if bits of the route they took had to be made up on the fly. Without his efforts we would have had a seriously embarrassed ride our coordinator, and a much less successful day.
My group got away first, heading out of Gloucester on the A38 to Tewkesbury and on to Evesham via Eckington and the back roads to Elmley Castle (sorry, Budge!). The first leg stretch and brew up was kindly hosted at my place with Mrs ‘Brasilnut’ C and her Brazilian sister in law driving the kettles. Refuelled and tanks drained as required, we set of in two waves for Stratford.
A short run around the A46 Evesham bypass took us to the Bretforton road and a picturesque alternative to my daily drag to work, via Mickleton and past Long Marston. We pulled in at the Greenway park just outside Stratford to regroup as one unit to ride in to King Edward VI school’s yard, which has kindly been offered to us as a town centre parking space big enough for us all.
We agreed to meet up at 2pm to continue our ride, and various lunches were taken in Stratford.
A few riders had to make there own way back (something about a rugby match?) The reduced group size and an unexpected road closure on my planned route out of town convinced us that we’d be best off operating as one group for the last phase of our day.
Heading out of Stratford on the Evesham road, we turned off to Wixford and wound our way past Ragley Hall to pick up the A422 towards Worcester, turning off to reach Pershore via Pinvin. Finally as we headed out of Defford we reached some National Speed limit roads which weren’t ruined by a combination of traffic and double white line and the bikes were able to open up a little!
We crossed the A38 and made our way on through Upton Upon Severn and on to British Camp. Spirits were high and we agreed to stop for a brew at the kiosk before splitting up to head off on our various routes home, having covered a total of about 100 miles. People were generous in their feedback, but I think the route was about right for this early stage of the year. We’d been lucky with the mild dry weather, and of course hero Jim had saved the day by stepping up to lead a group.
It was fantastic to welcome Tom and David on their first group ride with us. Talking to them it seems we didn’t manage to put them off, and we can look forwards to riding with them again soon.
Simon Multistrada 1200s (lead)
Budge Honda VFR1200
Woody Yamaha Diversion 900
David Bonneville t100
Barry Triumph America
Jammer and Tigger GSA1200 (sweep)
Jim Multistrada 1200s (lead)
Mark & Lucy GSA1200
Rob kawasaki ER6f
Graham R Triumph Tiger Sport
Ray & Sue GS700
Baz GS1200 (sweep)
The White Horses of Pewsey
Sunday 16 November
By: Eric Bush
Weather – Overcast 11 degrees
The riders assembled at Walls Club for a 10.00 start. The group consisted of 5 committee members and 1 observer. The brief included a mention of the seasonal hazards. Namely damp roads covered with mud and leaves. After a radio check we headed to Barnwood Road.
Our route from Gloucester took us through the high Cotswolds to Cirencester. We passed through the villages of Upton St Leonards, Cranham, Whiteway, Edgeworth, Sapperton and Daglingworth.
At Sapperton, on the banks of the Stroud and Cotswold canal, there is a public house called the Daneway. On New Year’s Day the Veteran Motorcycle Club have a meet.
From Ciren we headed east to Lechlade. Our route took a southerly direction towards Swindon.
At Highworth we turned left and headed onto the Lambourn Downs in the direction of Marlborough.
The ride from Gloucester to Marlborough was 68 miles and took 2 hours.
The refreshment stop was at the Waitrose cafe at Marlborough. There is a large car park at back of the High Street which is free on Sundays.
Pete W left us after Marlborough heading for Chippenham and home.
Once fortified we continued south to the Vale of Pewsey to view the White horses in the chalk hills. Coincidently, we passed two horse riders, one of which was riding a white horse.
In the Vale there is a pub called the King’s Head which is in the village of All Cannings. Every year a rock concert is staged at the pub for a charity gig named Cancer. Gill and I attend the gig this year and the headline group was the Boomtown Rats. http://www.concertatthekings.co.uk/
Leaving the wide green space of the Vale we turned north for home.
Nick T left us at Ashton Keynes and the remaining members headed for a final refreshment stop at the Cotswold Water Park.
We took the rather fine road from Cirencester to Stroud. I peeled off a Chalford and the remaining riders headed for Gloucester.
Total miles 124.
Eric B BMW R1200RT Lead
Lawrence M BMW R1200RT
Les S BMW R1200RT
Nick T Honda Varadero Sweep
Tim R Triumph Tiger Explorer 1210
Pete Wood Triumph Tiger
West Bay mini tour
Friday the 31st of October saw 17 SAM members gathered at the Dog at Over (Toby Carvery) for an all you can eat breakfast. (£3.99 Bargain)! After everyone had stuffed themselves with a full English we had a quick briefing and out to the car park to saddle up.
We turned left out of the car park and on towards Cirencester following some good roads to our surprise destination of The Sammy Miller Motorcyle museum at New Milton. ( What happened to the coffee stop Jammer??) Lunch and a look around the museum and then on to West Bay, arriving around 4.30pm. The caravans were very spacious and there was shop, restaurant, club, bar and swimming pool on site. After sorting ourselves out, a walk around the town and harbour finished with dinner in the Bridport Arms where much jolly merriment was had along with the obligatory banter.
The next day Jammer lead the ride out with Tiggs on pillion followed by:
Lawrence & Annette Sweeper
Chris & Sue
Heading east, off we rode taking in some stunning scenery along the coastal road to Portland Bill where we stopped and enjoyed the sunshine and refreshments.We then headed to Cerne Abbas where the girls had to be held back from rushing up the hillside for a closer look at the Cerne Abbas Giant. Couldn’t be doing with that, the legend of fertility might be true and I don’t want Tigger having any kittens!!! Then into the village for coffee and snacks at the local public establishment, after which we had a good run back to West Bay along a very windy A35. Someone once told me when riding in high wind that the faster you go the easier it is, so I gave it my best shot and got the GSA to stretch its legs a bit!! Arriving back at base at around 4ish. That evening we again had dinner at the Bridport Arms where they looked after us very well.A couple of pints of 200 then it was off to the night life at the campsite club for a few more “sherberts” and a bit of rock and roll dancing and SAM guys and girls then headed for bed.
Sunday saw the departure of Alistair and Rebecca as well as Tim since work commitments forced an early return for them. The rest of us took a more leisurely approach to the day. Dave, Derek and Steve went out on the bikes for there own ride out while others took the opportunity to chill. Myself, Tigger, Chris, Sue, Paul and Jackie took to walking the cliff tops with their stunning views across the bay. It was hard going in the gale force winds that seemed to plague the weekend. This was followed by cream teas and the biggest piece of carrot cake I have ever seen – congratulations Paul on downing that one!! Sunday evening saw us at the Bridport Arms yet again for more good food and fun. This time we were joined by the boys and girls of the Solent club. Again the pub was brilliant even getting the chef to come in on his day off to cook for us. Everyone enjoyed the food and the banter was exceptional. Chris and myself were performing well, after which we headed for the club for some live dancing girls and singing accompanied by more liquid refreshments.
The next morning saw the obligatory full English breakfast in the restaurant on site – this was one of the many pleasures of this site as no one had prepare or clear away breakfast over the whole of the weekend. Having filled our bellies and bikes we then headed towards Dorchester and then Salisbury. After about an hour and a half riding in the worst weather for a very long time we stopped at a roadside burger stand for a much needed coffee and pee stop. Most of us stood dripping from every possible orifice but Lawrence unperturbed by it all tucked in to a large burger – boy he sure has an appetite! (He hadn’t had a Full English Breakfast Jammer – A) Warminster and Bath, taking the old toll bridge road at Bath at the grand cost of 50p per bike. The toll man smiled with delight when I said there are ten of us, probably doubled his weeks wages. From there up towards the M4 and on to the Tetbury road where we stopped at the burger stand for coffee and yes you guessed it Lawrence had another burger! After saying our goodbyes to a grand weekend we all went our separate ways for Les with Fi pillion, Tigger, Lawrence and myself the ride back to Gloucester was fab dropping Chris and Sue enroute to Wotten. Thanks to all of you for supporting my first organised trip away for SAM- what a fantastic weekend .
I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as Tigger and myself
Jammer & Tiggs
Les & Fi Stewart
Chris & Sue Nash
Lawrence & Annette Morgan
Alistair Christie & Rebecca Orchard
Derek James (the other one)
Wednesday 22 October
By: Barry Tatum
Last of the Summer Wine
Distance of approximately 150 miles
This ride out only came about because Pete Wood (Woody) asked me if I would consider leading this run as he was away. So I put my mind to it and thought a ride into Wales has to be a good option, heading West in the morning and East on the homeward run with no sun in your eyes.
The day came and at 9.30 on the Wednesday morning I waited to see who was going to turn up, then one by one the riders rolled in.
A full briefing was given and we set off at 10.00 heading along the A48 past Chepstow where Ray joined the group. We continued along the A48 for another 12 miles and onto the M4 at junction 24 to junction 33 to bypass Newport and Cardiff and took our first coffee stop at Thunder Road Motorcycles ( CF1 1UA ) in Bridgend. Great Café upstairs too. This is where two more ( pre-arranged ) Sammers would be joining us, Jackie and a past patriot of the Sam club Patsy Glover. Unfortunately Jackie couldn’t continue with us on the ride out due to the horrendous weather the day before which made it too dangerous for her to travel to Bridgend on the bike. I gave her one of many raspberry buns I had brought ( made by my other half ) to console her and off we went.
Second leg with Patsy on board was to wind our way North and once we had gone past the 30 and 40mph restrictions we were able to enjoy some beautiful roads and countryside. We continued over the Heads of the Valleys road past Hirwaun onto the A4059 and just looking at the countryside makes you think just how lucky we are to view this. Looking in my mirrors at this stage I could see a long string of headlights behind me knowing that everyone was enjoying this as much as me
Now it was time for our lunch stop in Brecon at the Rich Way Café ( LD3 7EH ) of course the sat-nav didn’t pick up the best route through the town and the very narrow roads we were led down through the town was blocked by a lorry so some of the group tried to get around it another way. Then the lorry moved off and as you may have guessed the result was a temporary loss of a couple of riders. This was only short lived as soon joined up again at the Rich Way Café. The café does some nice food but the lavatories are over 50 yards down the road in the Brecon Theatre! A bit odd but it works.
Now it’s time for Patsy to leave us ( with a raspberry bun of course ), it was good to see her and have a catch up on things. Back in the saddle again for the third leg and off North East through Hay on Wye then back down on B roads to Ross on Wye Stopping by the river. The B4348 is a cracker or a road and the only issue were areas where mud has been dragged out of the fields and deposited on the roads by the tractors so we took it steady. Then about 5 mile from Ross we had to take an unscheduled stop where I had to get off my bike quickly …I had got cramp in my leg!
It is now about 4pm and Steve said he would go home from here, so we said our goodbyes and thanks ( raspberry bun time again ). Kevin also said he would peel off down the road at the Ross roundabout. With the cramp now gone the remainder of us headed to the final destination where we chatted and bantered ( as we do ) and enjoyed the last of the raspberry buns before going our separate ways.
We all agreed that it was a really good day out backed up by some good weather.
I wish to thank everyone of you guys for making this, for me, a brilliant day.
See you all soon, but I can’t promise any more raspberry buns!!!
Barry Tatum ( Ride leader )
Mike Pictor ( Sweeper )
Caen Hill Locks
Sunday 19 October
By: Mike Pictor
A very pleasant autumnal morning brought together our group of ‘SAMMERS’.
Following the SAM briefing which included the expected road conditions we left as per schedule.
We travelled through Slad and Stroud, then across Rodborough and Minchinhampton Commons before descending “The Ladder” into Nailsworth. So far so good and with the group staying reasonably close together, the use of the drop off system was negligible.
Out of Nailsworth on the Avening road we encountered some wet leafy areas as we expected, so speeds were in line with the variable conditions. Tetbury came and went as we picked up the pace on the now dry winding roads. We crossed the M4, through some pretty Wiltshire villages and countryside onto Devises and the Caen Hill locks.
This flight of 16 locks may be the most impressive anywhere in the United Kingdom’s waterways. They were engineer John Rennie’s solution to climbing the very steep hills in Devises and became the last part of the 87 mile route of the Kennet and Avon canal to be completed.
The Café was busy and having ordered our food and drink we sat outside under the Gazebo, taking shelter from the sun’s rays. It’s funny how things turn out (those that ordered first were served first) and those that ordered second were growing weaker and weaker as the bacon baps were cooked by the suns rays as the gas became weaker and weaker. Food arrived before anyone died from hunger though (note, the slow service is not normal as I have sampled very good food promptly served on 3-4 occasions).
The return trip passed through Caine (home of the two day motorcycle festival each July). We passed RAF Lyneham, Royal Wootton Bassett, Ashton Keynes and the water parks at Cirencester. Here we stopped to say goodbye to Chris, Sue, Eric and Pete before the ride continued to Severn Springs for the starburst finish.
Several Members of SAM used PMR Radios to communicate and I would like to thank those for relaying messages up and down the group on this ride out.
Mike Pictor ( Ride Leader ) RT1200
Barry Tatum ( Sweeper ) Triumph America
Eric Bush RT1200
Chris & Sue Nash GSA
Paul Beard CBR 100RR
Robert Holdsworth Triumph Explorer
Pete Harworth RT1200RT
Derek James CBF1000F
Lyme Regis ride out
21 September 2014
An early start from WSC’ car park at 9am through Painswick, Stroud , Landsdown, Bath, A39 to Glastonbury the breakfast stop. Where Morgan was able to get in his second breakfast of the day, after which it was on to Street, Crewkerne and the B3165 to Lyme. The Cob pub was rather busy so fish and chips were obtained and taken to the pebble beach mmm…. they were lovely. Tabbs, Tim and Jammer went swimming in the sea whilst the rest watched from the beach (pussies!)
After getting back on the bikes there were some good roads back through to Chew Magna’s Visitor centre for our last cuppa before the goodbyes and making our own way home – a round trip of approximately 252 miles in glorious sunshine.
Thanks to all those that turned out to support
Jammer and Tiggs
Peak District Mini Tour
By: Pete Wood
Last of the Summer Wine Pilgrimage to Holmefirth & The Peak District
Day 1. Monday 15th Sept 2014.
Most of us started at Tesco’s Gloucester Café with full petrol tanks, full stomachs and empty bladders. The thirteen bikes and fourteen people were split into two teams. ‘Team Woody’ and the ‘The Gold Commander’, progressive group.
We finished the day with fifteen ‘bikes and sixteen people! It’s funny how things work out…
After deciding to not ride Motorways on day 1, Team Woody arrived an hour later than planned for lunch at Shenton and met the Carvery rush, as much as OAPs can rush. The Gold Commander’s team, who set off after us, arrived first – 15mins too early, before lunch was being served at all. Most of our machines were eager for the ride, some needed a just a little coaxing….
The riding and the roads became much more interesting after lunch although, perhaps a learning point is to top up petrol tanks in this rugged rural area earlier rather than later. There were some smashing Pubs on route that some harder to resist than others….
A builder’s Landrover pulling a trailer of building materials and cement chose the same picturesque, sharp, uphill right hand bend just thirty seconds after I had leapt of my motorcycle with the intention to take a series of cornering action shots. Result – 7 bags of cement, of which 6 were intact, dumped on the outside of a tight, sweeping, uphill right hand bend, almost exactly on the preferred exit line that Advanced Bikers might like to take….
Once I had flagged down the builder he expertly reversed Landie and trailer back to the dumping spot and started to load the bags of cement in the fairly narrow lane. I heard our seven motorcycles start their engines as a prelude to storming the hill as at the same time a lost tourist in a people carrier stopped bang opposite the Builder’s Landie and trailer to ask directions. This effectively blocked the narrow lane good and proper. As our riders came into sight with one hand I waved them to slow right down and with the other hand I did my best with the camera.
All was well and we repeated the action photo shoot a couple of miles up the road sans Landie, lost tourists or any other distraction.
The route chosen took us along a wide variety of roads, some narrower, steeper and more twisty than others. One particular section with multiple tight hairpins remains outstanding in my mind. I did thank The Universe for dry, almost perfect general road conditions that afternoon.
As we took to the hills and the moors we were only thwarted once by a complete and sudden lane closure.
An alternative route was soon worked out but this led to my Sat Nav throwing a complete hissy fit and wanting us all to try the whole sequence for a second time. The upside was that the team had an extra leg stretch on the high moors of the A57 and I successfully remembered how to count to ten without showing too much emotion (being a father of twin boys did in the past equip me in some way for this exercise).
Macclesfield turned out to be the answer and so we performed a 180 degree turn on lovely loose gravel before resuming our ride in the more or less correct direction. Result – we did in fact meet up with the Gold Commander’s team at the world famous Cat and Fiddle Inn. We did however end up approaching the Cat and Fiddle from the East rather than the West. This meant that Team Woody rode the best part of Cat and Fiddle Road (the A537) twice, once in each direction.
50 mph Average Speed Cameras have now invaded the Cat and Fiddle and what is worse they pick up the rear number plates of passing vehicles rather than the traditional front facing plates.
After a rather fragmented approach to Glossop (thank you monster white van that occluded our dropped marker rider on a right hand turn off). We did all arrive safe and sound at Glossop Travelodge that is probably the Best Travelodge in the World.
Planned Google ride distance – 156 miles taking 4 hours 17 mins. Actual miles 175 and longer in the saddle too.
Food, beer and wine were consumed while we savoured day 1 and thought generally about day 2 to follow. Also 5 tables and 17 chairs were reconfigured in JD Wetherspoon’s last night – I hope they let us back in for breakfast…
Day 2 – Tuesday 16th Sept
The route today, conspired by Google, Garmin and me, is 107 miles and 2 hours 50 mins riding time. Strangely my speedo clock just under 80 stunning High Peak miles.
The weather was quite misty above 350 metres, between 10am & 11am.
One rider did not join us until lunch time. However, he did however complete the route and see the stunning scenery.
Another member’s Triumph has the sulks this morning and won’t start after being refuelled. After a delay and new battery Barry & his Triumph are rolling & rumbling again and he met us lunch time at Holmefirth.
Meanwhile, Ray and Sue have a rear wheel puncture on the Guzzi and the RAC are ‘on their way’. Now the tyre story is a long story and it’s complicated. Best to sit Ray down, buy him a pint of Cider, and let that particular story unfold.
A great morning in the sunshine at Holmfirth – home of The Last of the Summer Wine, Some of our number visited the Last of The Summer Wine Museum, another did the bus trip and most had coffee / tea outside Sid’s Cafe. Some had their photos with Nora Batty. Then back on the road again around 12.30 for a stunning ride with some super scenery only assisted by gorgeous weather. By this time most of us had removed the lining from our jackets and some had also removed linings from their trousers.
Back on the road again heading South. Most of us (both groups) took lunch at The Ladybower Reservoir gates. Both cake and carrots (but not carrot-cake) were shared among the gathered multitude. Two went somewhere else but they can’t really tell me where, exactly !
Eric and Gordon however had become lost in Barnsley (many have over the years of course) and was last heard of heading for Glossop.
Eric just told me over the radio that he dropped his bike coming out of a pub car park. Eric is fine but an indicator bulb succumbed to the experience.
It’s the entire length of Stanage Edge, a long out crop of rock frequented by climbers. A wonderful sight as I used to climb these very rocks as a lad… The weather was never as good as it was today though.
Winnats Pass, near Castleton was a real winner! Good ice cream in Castleton Visitor Centre although the uninvited company of the ex-biker with crunched elbow and quite a severe case of Torret’s syndrome took some getting used to.
Just heard Ray and Sue are safe back at their Motor-home after a gruelling day with the RAC and a brand new back tyre. I did ask Ray if he was feeling tyred of the whole episode, however it may have been the wrong question to ask just at that time.
Ummm! JD Wetherspoon’s Tuesday steak night rocks.
Day 3 – Wednesday 17 Sept.
So, good bye Travelodge Glossop, Probably the Best Travelodge in the World, or as Arnie would say, I’ll be back’.
With 166 miles planned, starting with world famous Snake Pass we should be home by 4pm (ish). 172 on my speedo when I arrived home at 4.40pm
As we left Glossop for the last time we headed East and climbed up to the top of a slightly misty Snake Pass, my ears went ‘pop’ and my legs, in Kevlar jeans, became cold. The altitude of Snake Pass topped out at 520 meters ASL (or just over 1,700 ft. in old money), measured by my Garmin.
The long descent took us back once again to the beautiful Ladybower reservoir where most of us lunched yesterday.
We headed South for the long ride home and the two groups did not meet up again as previously planned as timing and a huge amount of road works all got in the way. Text messages were exchanged though. One chap headed off on his own (we did get to speak on the cell phones) and our sweeper +1 went astray for a few minutes only to be re-united at the junction of the A5 and the Fosse Way where we took lunch (sandwiches from M&S Glossop opposite the Travelodge).
Team Woody finished with a star burst finish at the outskirts of Tewksbury and all was well.
Runners & Riders:
Pete Wood, leader
Eric Bush, sweeper
The Gold Commander
Bob Holdsworth and Sally, leader
Steve Reeves, sweeper
Ray (part time) Wickens & Sue
Pistyll Rhaeader Waterfall Ride
Sunday 29 June
By: Mike Pictor
The day started just after 8.30 am with SAM’ers gathering at BEWSC car park for briefing, what a turn out, 16 bikes and 19 Sam’ers, the weather forecast was good and the current bun was already shining through.
After the usual pre ride talk the first group left the car park at 9am headed down the A40 to the Lea followed by some nice twisty roads on the B4224 to Hereford, the first group lead by Jammer and Baz as sweeper negotiated the centre of Hereford to continue on to the A41110 Three Elms Road onto Canon Pyon Road, a few speed restrictions to keep everyone in check but eventually coming onto the national limit and some great roads with stunning views took us up to the breakfast stop, at
The Watering Hole Café Just this side of Aymestrey, where the second group lead by Les and sweeper Loz were hot on our heels pulling into the Watering Hole just as we were dismounting our faithful machines, of course telling us what a very leisurely ride they have had, demanding to know where we had been or had someone broken down HA HA. That Les sure has a sense of humour !!
Thanks to the guy’s and girl at the Watering Hole Café for a great job of looking after us and making us very welcome, we will be stopping there again I am sure. Well Les promised to give us a head start of 20 minutes and said they would still beat us there, yeh yeh Les whatever!!
So off we set waving goodbye to group two and on through more great roads to Craven Arms, temporary traffic lights slowed things down a bit there but eventually through to the other side of town on the A49 and left onto A489 – A488 to Minsterley what fantastic twisty roads hairpin bends and truly great scenery, with one eye on the road and one on the views, group one leader (moi) Jammer noticed that there were fewer and fewer headlights behind, pulling over into a convenient lay by followed by young Morgan on his Duke 200, Morgan quickly dismounted ran over to me with those words that you just don’t want hear when leading a ride out, SOMEONES GONE THE WRONG WAY !!!!! AAAAAHHH We wont discuss who it was, as it may effect my inheritance, mums the word say no more, well guess what! Here comes Les with group two leading into our destination closely followed by my lot, well I aint gonna live that one down in a hurry Les is gonna get some mileage out of that one for a long time to come, especially as he has just told me that’s a first in the history of the club. Good job I have broad shoulders I think I am going to need em!
After lunch at the waterfall we headed for yet more cracking A and B roads back to Hereford stopping at Clun for a leg stretch, eventually finishing the ride out at The starting Gate, Holmer, Hereford.
A great day was had by all with approx mileage total of around 260 ish depending on your speedo 261 according to Sally Satnav. Thanks to everyone that turned up to support Tigger and myself. Thank you to Morgan who was never left behind once on his Duke 200, amazing little bike and a damn good young SAM member, well done Morgan inspiration to us all. Thanks to Les, Loz and Baz for leading and sweeping each group.
Jammer & Tiggs 1200GSA Lead Group 1
Patsy KTM 1190
Jackie Suzuki 650
Les Tractor Lead Group 2
Steve R Pan
Morgan KTM Duke 200
Barry R1200GS Sweeper Group 1
Derek CBF 1000
Peter H R1200RT
Mike P R1200RT
Dave R & Hollie 1250 Bandit
Chris N 1200GSA
Loz 1200GS Sweeper Group 2
Rob & Sally K1600GTL
Pete C R1200RT
Mark McG R1200GSA
Mini Tour “Up North”
By: Pete Wood
With a full complement of 12 riders, with washed and cleaned motorcycles along with my #2 haircut we were ready for the Tour and so the SAM Last of the Summer Wine Tour (up North) gathered at ASDA’s Hatherley Lane Superstore at 8am for breakfast, a full briefing and the start of our adventure.
Day 1 – Monday 2 June
A Dry morning’s ride. Eric took his socks off in a layby. Actually, Eric tells me he was changing his socks not just flashing his feet. Nice coffee stop at Newborough at a quaint Village tea room and garden.
Lunch taken at Bakewell but hadn’t reckoned with the local traffic and the huge cattle market… The afternoon’s ride was dry and good with a mixture of lanes, moors and roundabouts.
One bike has overheated everything else is fine.
We all rode around 178 miles during the day. Those who came for a ride around York City Centre in the evening’s down pour added another 22 or so miles and experienced the joy of wet cobbles. Umm – Wet Cobbles!
Day 2 – Tuesday 3 June
Scarborough was the target today, twice. We had much rain today as all of the North of England seemed to have a wash. After leaving the Travelodge the plan was to ride through York City (never easy during the day), except frustrated Paul with the hot Honda who went into York to find a dealer (a motorcycle dealer!) instead.
Rain and road works changed the plan to the B version and so we ducked out of the mother of all traffic jams and took to the eastern bypass and headed for Bridlington.
Now given it’s supposed to be summer Bridlington was deserted. We took coffee in a small cafe just to the South, overlooking miles of golden (and wet) sand and of course the North Sea.
Flamborough Head peninsular and lighthouse was Grand sight Lad! We also met up with Paul’s hot Honda, although now fixed it was as hot as it should be and no hotter. Turns out that a dodgy thermostat was the root cause of the problem.
We had a great and dry fish & chips alfresco lunch at the harbour in Scarborough with free bike bay parking too.
We took to the moors north west of Scarborough for a good thrash along lanes, fast roads and the odd track. At a petrol stop a motorcycle was dropped while not being actually ridden. The tough BMW panniers saved any real damage…
Now Scarborough south’s one way system was further complicated by a strategic road bridge closure and I did exchange an unkind word or two with the Sat Nav and Scarborough Council on behalf of me and my 11 followers (but not acolytes).
Bob and I did an extra lap of the one way system as we had enjoyed it so much (not). A shower and rest followed. Then a great Chinese at the Hong Kong restaurant.
Oh yes, all of Scarborough’s many seagulls greeted the early, very early, arrival of dawn at 03.42 am.
Day 3 – Wednesday 4 June
We are off to Lindisfarne, Holy Island today. Perhaps the rain will wash the salt from the bikes when we get back to the mainland off the tidal causeway.
A nail was safely removed from a tyre during a bike check – well spotted.
Lots of rain forecast today.
High on Danby Moor stop for leg stretch in low cloud and not much wind.
We found a smashing water splash/ford. Just enough water to make it interesting and hopefully some good photographs…
A great Buy one Get one Free breakfast £1.99 (for two) at Stokesley Garden Centre. Most excellent.
Heading for Morpeth, we all got horribly lost and regrouped in Wetherspoons. I have had drier sailing weekends!
Travelodge must have massive stocks of the world’s thinnest toilet tissue.
The visit to Lindisfarne or Holy Island went well and I did read the tide tables properly so no one got their feet wet!
A good meal out at the small family run, Cat Inn on the A1 South of Berwick.
Day 4 – Thursday 5 June
A long ride today (221 miles) back down south to Glossop on the edge of the Peak District via the Kielder Forest and the York Moors.
We started in England, popped into Scotland, dropped down to the Kielder Forest. After a coffee stop we rode on to the North York Moors – more wow factor!
Lunch at Richmond’s iconic but damp cobbled Market Square. Then through heavy traffic to the Peak District.
Another, different, stationary BMW fell over on a photo shoot. Perhaps training wheels really are the answer. BMW could charge a fortune for a set that might not actually work too well.
A long hard day ended in bright sunshine and warmth.
An H4 headlamp bulb expired on a Triumph, soon fixed.
We arrived at Glossop Travelodge just before 7pm after multiple stops. And – it was curry night at Wetherspoons. £6.49 for a red hot, almost nuclear, chicken curry AND the necessary pint of cold Guinness – Wow !
Day 5 – Friday 6 June – Running for Home
With the reminder of the red hot chicken curry still on my mind we set off once more. We had a good run through to Buxton and beyond. We stopped after 85 minutes at an advertised cafe that turned out to be in the middle of renovation. So we had a leg stretch only on this occasion. Moving south we stopped at a Burger King and made this our last stop. Most headed home on the M6/M5 to the Gloucester area. Three riders decided on the non motorway route. One of our number picked up a puncture very late in the tour and just, just made it home.
Last of the Summer Wine will ride again, soon!
Woody Triumph Tiger 800
The Bushman BMW 1200
Steve R Honda Pan European
Chris H BMW R1200
Nick T BMW 1200
Barry T Triumph America
Mike P BMW 1200
Bob H BMW K16
Roger W Honda 1000 GT
Allan M BMW 1200
Jackie L Suzuki GSXF 650
Paul B Honda Fireblade
Patsy’s Favorite Twisties
Sunday 18 May
What a glorious day greeted the 9 bikers who left WSC on Sunday 18th May. It felt like a BMW ride with all but Tim and myself on assorted BMW’S even Lawrence has gone over to the dark side with his NEW BIKE.
Our first destination was The Old Railway Tea Rooms in Tintern. We took a minor detour to avoid Monmouth bridge which was rumoured to have roadworks on it. The detour provided a couple of tasty hairpins and cut around 4 miles from the route, not that it mattered, it was a great day to be out on the bikes. Unfortunately it was also a great day for cyclists and as much as I wanted to plough straight into the half dozen who flew out of a side turning at considerable speed, the KTM‘s excellent brakes were used and I avoided carnage.
3 more SAMMERs joined us at Tintern and the bacon butties looked great. Our next destination was Ledbury via the Usk valley and Skenfrith. Once again the cyclists were in evidence when we got to Chepstow. It seemed like thousands of them were joining us, goodness knows how the junction got marked but it did. It took the edge off the road a bit as around every bend there were cyclists all over the road and car drivers on the wrong side trying to overtake them. Mercifully by the time we got to Abergavenny they had vanished.
The Skenfrith road was as much fun as ever. I overcooked one bend, just about managed to stay on my side of the road and then looked in my mirror to see **** do exactly the same. I think he was watching me not the bend! I was relieved to know that I was not alone in getting some of them wrong. I must admit that leading a ride doesn’t bring out the best in my personal riding. I seemed to spend more time looking behind me than in front and as for trying to mark a junction whilst feathering the clutch – well, I am just thankful that the group were brilliant and we lost no one, not even Derek.
Our lunch stop at Ledbury Countrywide Store was a bit slow, despite my calling them to confirm numbers. It took 25 minutes for them to cut a pork pie in half for me. However, it is nice food, lovely to sit outside and easy to park.
Our afternoon took in more bends between Ledbury and Tewkesbury and then my favourite practise bends just around the corner from home, the 7 bends at Pamington which we managed to negotiate without a car in front – so, fast! Loved it.
From there a potter through some of the lovely Cotswold villages of Gotherington and Gretton. We skirted Winchcombe which drove Lawrence’s sat nav into a nervous breakdown. Last year we lost a few here so I changed the route. Then on to Stow on the Wold via Guiting Power on a lovely road that doesn’t really exist as far as sat navs go.
Our final stop was the Cotswold Country Store where tea, coffee and some stunning cakes were had by all. Chris Nash actually decided to stay with us instead of veering off as he said he would, it must have been good then.
From the front the ride seemed fun and progressive which was how I billed it. I have a feeling there might have been one or two frustrations in the group as always but no one was moaning by the time we got to the Cotswolds.
The weather was perfect, the roads dry and fast and I think a good day was had by all which delighted me as it is probably my last event with the club. Shirley and I are moving to Llandysul in Wales in the near future. I would like to take this opportunity to say thanks to everyone in the club who made me so welcome when I joined in 2009. Thanks to those of you who helped me to become an observer and thanks to my associates from whom I learnt a lot simply by coaching you through your tests. A varied bunch!! That just about sums up bikers though doesn’t it?
Our common bond is the fun we have together on our bikes.
Patsy Glover KTM 1190 adventure
Chris Nash BMW 1200 GSA (also NEW!)
Steve Reeves Pan ST1300
Peter Harwood another BMW 1200RT
Allan Macdonald another BMW R1200 GS
Bob Holdsworth another BMW K1600 GTL
James Fisher another BMW K1600 GTL
Tim Rodway not!! Triumph Tiger Explorer
Lawrence & Annette Morgan on their BRAND NEW BMW R1200RT
Ian James Yamaha Tmax
Derek James CBF 1000
Pete Wood Triumph Tiger 800
Caen Hill Locks Devizes
Wednesday 7 May
By: Mike Pictor
Mileage: 100 approx
With eight full members and one associate I briefed the team on the planned routes, mixture of road types, conditions and approx timings. The LotSW scenic ride to Caen Hill Locks began on time at 10:00 with Mike P leading and Ray being introduced to the role of sweeping for the first time. With roadworks on Walls roundabout we turned left from Hammond Way and took a slow riding course through the traffic to Brockworth and then climbed up through Painswick with its 20mph zone and churchyard containing 99 yew trees and then on to Stroud. They say that whatever happens on tour stays on tour but as this was a rideout I feel duty bound to report on the day’s events!
Somewhere between Painswick and Stroud a nameless rider’s visor came loose and Ray (our sweeper) stopped to assess the situation and offer support and assistance to Kev (oops!). Well with the visor successfully re-attached without his help and feeling somewhat thwarted, Ray’s keen eye soon spied a broken down car with damsel in distress and a struggling tow truck driver. Ray, thinking only of making a good first impression and wearing his ‘Orange SAM Superman Jacket’ helped push the car into a safe and manageable position before remembering he had a group of motorcyclists growing cold and lonely with only a view of the silted up Stroud canal for distraction.
Now re-grouped we continued past Winston’s Ice-cream parlour and The Bear of Rodborough, across Minchinhampton Common and down the Nailsworth ‘W’ (a 2nd gear decent at best). Roadworks on the Avening road identified as a minor irritant on the recce-ride proved a trouble spot when nine bikes, two large reversing lorries and a coach became entwined as the traffic lights provided only a theoretic ‘Green for Go’ release to our imprisonment. A mix of country lanes and Tetbury town centre gave way to some nice sweeping roads and stunning scenery as we headed out over the M4 towards Chippenham and through the Wiltshire countryside towards Devizes and the Caen Hill Locks.
Bike parking in the main car park is approached through a single track tarmac strip with more sleeping policemen on duty than the entire Wiltshire constabulary. Crossing the canal we had our first glimpse of the locks. This flight of 16 locks may be the most impressive anywhere on the UK’s waterways. They were engineer John Rennie’s solution to climbing the very steep hill in Devizes and were the last part of the 87 mile route of the Kennet & Avon Canal to be completed. There are 29 locks in total that have a rise of 237 feet in 2 miles (72 m in 3.2 km) or a 1 in 44 gradient.
Coffee and a light lunch inside the café gave fresh energy to this intrepid bunch as we put the world to rights during our 90 minute pit stop and talk with the local lock keeper.
The return trip started well with a tidy snake of bikes bumping across the sleeping policemen down to the main road. Exiting right, six bikes successfully made it as a group whilst three got stuck waiting to exit behind a large lorry with its own snake of cars following behind. With no radio link and me as leader not following the drop off system, we lost Ray, Pete and Derek at the turning for Calne. We did however make drop offs at the next two junctions before running out of riders behind me to actually drop off!
Calne has a BIG bike meet each year (July 25-26 2014) and we passed the above scaffold built bike (2013 by Tony Welsby) as we made our way to Lyneham. We eventually made telephone contact with Pete but not before Bob & Barry had re-ridden different legs to look for them. With contact established and a rendezvous agreed we proceeded through Lyneham to the large Black & White public house in Royal Wootton Bassett.
Following a brief stop to enable the advance party of three to dress properly we headed off towards Ashton Keynes and the Cotswold Water Park which was now to be our revised comfort stop with tea and coffee etc. Kevin had to forego this as time was now 14:45 and he had an urgent appointment with his bed before starting night duties. Discussions indicated we all enjoyed this rideout and I would like to thank everybody for their company and support on this my first ride as leader.
Mike RT1200 (Leader)
Andy Kawasaki Versys 1000
Barry Triumph America
Bob K1600 GT
Derek Honda CBS1000
Derek Tiger Sport 1050
Kevin Honda CB1300
Pete Tiger 800
Ray Guzzi 1200 (Sweeper)
Attack of the Clones
ReTurn or the Jedi, the dark side were kept at bay (just)…
Attack of the Clones (Or should that be buy one get one half price – available from all participating tractor dealerships)?
Well it is hard to believe that it was way back in the October of 2013 that Kev first mentioned to me that he was thinking of bringing a group from the Solent Advanced Motorcyclists to our area for a long weekend. Great I thought, but it was then that the hardest part of the organisational phase happened; he sent me a list of dates and asked if any of them were convenient to us. Now as most of you already know nothing ever goes on in our area so this should be easy – NOT! Out of the six sets of dates that I was sent we could only do one and that was over the May bank holiday weekend. Alarm bells started ringing immediately as we all know what bank holiday weather can be like but as it turned out there was absolutely no need for concern as the sun graced us with its presence all weekend (so there is some truth in the saying that “the sun always shines on the righteous”).
May the Fourth (be with you…) saw Southern SAM have a leisurely ride up after meeting at 9.30am for breakfast. Once consumed they left in two groups using different routes, with Group 1 arriving at the Weir Meadow caravan park in Evesham (their accommodation for the weekend) at 4.15pm and the second group (after battling holiday traffic in Monmouth) at 5.30pm.
Saturday 5th, bright and early (well around 8.30am if truth be told, but some of us had been awake since 2) 14 bikes with 20 souls arrived at Walls Social Club in preparation for our bimble around Wales. Have to admit that some of our Solent friends were looking a little jaded, a good night had been had by many apparently (after trialling the Wetherspoons) – respect! (Must say though that as I sit here putting words on the screen I’m not 100%, will let you into a little secret, I had a date with a red head from New Zealand last night and she has given me a bit of a hangover this morning). It may not seem like it from the above list of runners and riders but over the two days I would say that the clones almost outnumbered the Jedi on individual days due to some going pillion rather than ride their own bike. What is the world coming to? (whoops almost mentioned the war). Anyway enough of that, once the briefing was out of the way and our number divided into 2 groups (thanks to Dave Butch for being my tail end Charlie and to Les and Pete for escorting the second) we set off with a 10 minute interval between the groups. The first leg took us on the A417 / A49 to Craven Arms for a coffee / light snack stop. Now all of my group understood the meaning of light snack but when Les’s group arrived, full breakfasts seem to be the order of the day. Now don’t get me wrong, most of us can put away our fair share of food but to see this was a sight to behold. On the road again, along the B4368 / A489 to Newtown where we picked up the truly wonderful A483 which took us to Crossgates for our lunch break. Yet again my group took it easy with the amount of food consumed, just sticking to the savouries washed down by a decent cuppa, but when the second group arrived, full plates containing all sorts of sustenance were despatched with gusto. Next stretch and it was back onto the A483 then A470 / A479 / A40 to the bus stop at Abergavenny. Ice cream was the order of the day here while we waited for the second group to arrive. Seemed to take ages – perhaps it was all the extra weight they were carrying! When they did finally arrive my group all stood by the side of the road to give our Pete a rousing round of applause as this must be the first time in history that he has managed to find Aber, but wait, he was tail ending so perhaps it wasn’t that much of a momentous occasion at all. (Sorry mate). After deciding that it would probably be best if we travelled as one group back to the starburst point we set off along the B4598 / A472 / B4235 and A48 to a layby just prior to the A40. Here we said our goodbyes to those who would not be able to make the meal that evening and all headed for home with Simon taking our guests back to the Weir Meadow – thanks Si.
The meal: we all met at the ‘The Olde Swanne Inn’ (a Wetherspoons establishment on the High Street in Evesham) at 7.30pm, well nearly all of us. We were supposed to be having the meal at the Northwick Hotel but they wanted prior orders and started changing the rules so the venue was changed. Unfortunately I had forgotten to tell Dave and Lorraine who patiently waited for us at the Northwick for half an hour. During this time they tried to contact most if not all of us to find out where we were but because of the noise in Wetherspoons no-one heard their phones. (BIG SORRY). Once all the furniture had been rearranged (have to keep up the tradition) and we were ALL in the same place a good meal was enjoyed and washed down by the odd tonic water or two. Well that is the first – long – day completed. Some of us not getting home till around midnight were ready for a good night’s kip but I think the party at Evesham may have gone on a little longer though.
Sunday 6th, a smaller group of us met at WSC ready for the ride to Evesham to pick up our guests. Once we arrived it was a quick word with the park manager and more mugs were procured (thanks Brian) so that each and every one of us could enjoy a ‘Marina brew’ (Tea making and more over hostess duties are not one of Marina’s stronger points, you were all honoured!! (Kev)) before setting off on the day’s ride. This took us along the A44 to Leo-minster (when will you locals learn to pronounce it proper like) and the OK Diner, a specific request by our guests, (well Kev, but the others just had to toe the line) although Les’s group had a bit of a problem shortly after leaving the camp site. This was due to the fact that when they got out onto the main road and turned left at the lights they found they had no Pete with them. Now I am not sure if this is because Les doesn’t like him or what but he seemed a little disappointed to find that a couple of miles down the road Pete was parked up waiting. How he got there in front of the group is anyone’s guess (by being either cloaked or in stealth mode I reckon).(I suspect he followed what his sat-nav said unlike Les-Ed). When we arrived at the diner it was to turn out to be quite interesting. Firstly there were not that many there (which was surprising seeing as it was a Sunday) but we did find out that they were short staffed. Interesting because as I have said it was a Sunday and a bank holiday and even on a normal Sunday the place is usually packed around lunch time (it must have been Mr Happy’s overwhelming charm that kept everyone away). Once orders had been placed we got seats outside (well you have to make the most of any good weather don’t you? and also “there wasn’t enough room inside for all of us” – even though the place was half empty at that point – no prizes for guessing who told us that). We were asked if we wouldn’t mind giving it about 10 minutes then going back inside to collect our food. Being the social crowd that we are, and realising that it was probably the only way we were going to get fed, we agreed. When the second group arrived they were told (by Mr Happy) that there would be a 30 minute wait for food (and I quote) “because a big group of bikers had turned up”. Hhhmmm. Back on the road again along the A49 / A456 / A443 and A44 to Evesham and the end point back at the Caravan park where again the ‘Marina brews’ were soon being consumed and a good hour or so was spent just chatting, with the Dark Side trying to decide which plough they were going to buy for the coming season.
Monday 7th, and our guests made their way home in one group this time rather than the two on the way up. A first stop at Kemble Airstrip for a cuppa and cake, a second stop was planned at Marlborough but the town was heaving so it was a quick divert to Pewsey, where tea was taken at Pewsey Wharf and the last stretch to home from there, to end a fantastic long weekend.
The general consensus from all seems to be that the weekend went very well and our friends have said that they would certainly do it again. Once again my thanks to all who helped over the weekend, without you things could have been very different.
On behalf of those that attended from Solent, simply thank you with extra special thanks to Budge for sorting the rideouts for us. Brilliant! To Dave for being our group’s back marker on both days, more thanks to you sir (and Lorraine on the second day). To Pete and Les (with Jen and Fi on day two) for sorting group two on both days, oh and Pete for sorting out our Sheila (no innuendo’s please).To Simon for getting us from (even if it did feel like the middle of the night for some) and back to the campsite on the Saturday, and to everyone else who turned up, on either day, for the meal, or for the brews. The weather helped make it a good weekend but the company made it a special weekend. The sun shone, bikes were ridden, drink was drunk and (a lot of) food was eaten.
The amount of effort and time put in by Severn was evident, as everything ran so smoothly. After sorting this trip, I am aware that the smooth running does not happen by accident and is a result of meticulous planning. A truly outstanding weekend ladies and gentlemen, thank you again.
Runners and riders for May 3rd to 6th were:
Budge Honda VFR1200
Dave & Lorraine Kawasaki Z1000SX
Steve Reeves Honda STX1300
Dave Revell Suzuki Bandit
Simon Charters Ducati Multistrada
Alastair Christie Triumph T100 Bonneville
Rebecca Orchard Triumph Street Triple
Tim Rodway Triumph Tiger Sport
John & Sheila Yamaha Diversion 600
Pete & Lin Ducati Mulitstrada
Trevor & Leslie Triumph Tiger 800
Kim Suzuki GSXR750
The Dark Side
Pete & Jen BMW R1200RT
Les & Fi BMW R1200RT
Lawrence, Annette & Phil BMW R1200RT – (But not at the same time, and yes you are reading this right!)
Pete Harwood BMW R1200RT
Kev & Marina BMW R1300R
Lee & Lynne BMW R1300R
Robert BMW F800GT
Easter Egg Run – Sunday 20 April
If I said to you that we only had 12 bikes in total but somewhere near 375 eggs, would you believe me? No I wouldn’t have either unless I hadn’t seen it for myself. How so many?Well we had ‘a van’ in our midst absolutely loaded to the gunnels with chocolate all thanks to Jade and Chelsey from the Royal Bank of Scotland and Spirax respectively.
Well the morning started with 6 of us leaving WSC at 8.30 to get through to Cheltenham where we took our normal route onto Lower High Street (via a no entry) sorry officer, and I mean that literally as a Police car followed us in but as soon as he found out what was happening our little transgression was forgotten. 4 more bikes and ‘the van’ joined us there and by the time we got to Selly Oak we had picked up one more and Tom & Lesley Ann met us at the hospice.
Half the eggs and an unknown amount of cash (I know that the ladies made a sizeable contribution) were taken indoors where we were met by tea, coffee, biscuits, cake, chocolate oh and of course the staff, some of whom had given up their day off to come in to see us.
Not wanting to outstay our welcome and mess up the children’s routine we left just before 12 to start the trip to Worcester where we had more goodies waiting for us. Looks of utter astonishment greeted us as we unloaded ‘the van’ and lugged yet another ton of chocolate towards the main door where the children were ready to get first pick of the best stuff and yet more cash was handed over.
Well we had been very lucky up to this point as it had been dry all day but all good things must come to an end at some point and it started to rain, not a lot but just enough to make the roads greasy for the trip home.
After goodbyes were said the usual starburst occurred with everyone doing their own thing on the way home. Once more can I say a sincere thank you to everyone who came, I hope you had a good day and hope to see you all again soon.
National Memorial Arboretum
Sunday 13 April
By: Simon Charters
Ride to the Wall
(Operation Progressive) Aim to advance jolly quickly.
Inspection: – Good except for facial and helmet hair.
10 bikes got on the gas and progressed up the 417 and some smaller roads to Stow, then on to the Touchdown Cafe arriving at 1000hrs where Alan had a recall to meet the potential outlaws. The place was already full even though I had phoned ahead with breakfast numbers. Sean and Avril arrived after us. Annette and Sarah were already there to meet us. Sarah sporting a new matching hair colour with her brother. “Tango Orange”: very nice.
Leaving Touchdown half an hour later than expected we followed the Fosse Way up to the A5. Dare I say that all bikes involved really got on with it? Les was hanging back just to save the stone chips on his new RT. Shaun and Avril were like a flash of red , so was Simon except that we did not know if we would see him again after each drop off, the bike finished the ride!!!! Pasty was hot as in riding of course and as soon as we stopped men would flock to her, to stand her bike.
Jammer’s dad Derek also has a new bike which happily kept up with the pace and drop offs. Then there’s Jammer and Fi. If he is not right up your ‘A’ in your mirrors he is in your ears on the radio, therefore drop offs were welcome sending him back to Lawrence and Phil, PEACE.
We arrived at the National Memorial to find the parking spaces we had reserved had been nicked by other bikers. Note departure time to be 15.00 to 15.15hrs. Free entry as always welcome, once inside a general chat about what to see and visit so we split up to mooch about. Imagine if you can in all this peace and reverence ‘large clouds of smoke coming from Jim McPhail’s direction. There is Jim with a chuffing great cigar strolling around like ‘General Paton’! Yeah.
Back to the bikes speeding the girls through the gift shop and all getting ready except for our tail gunner Lawrence!! Who obviously did not get Annette through the shop quick enough? 15.15 – 15.30.
Next off down to Tamworth to re-fuel especially for Jim who started off without a full load!!! So, So, So many gatso’s! Then a nice windy road down to Hatton Locks except that by then someone was getting ‘Tired’ reverting back to ‘old fart mode, not Derek’. Hatton Locks, nice outside area where Fi sent Jammer off to get her something ‘special’! Out came an enormous thing with masses of whipped cream on top. Fi obviously used to such things, got it down easily with us in awe!
Last leg back down the 429, with Patsy, Simon, Shaun and Avril dropping off around Stow. The rest having a final RV at the ‘Severn Springs’ Pub car park. Where new boy Pete the RT asked, ‘When will it, turn into a progressive ride?’ Ha! That’s what your right hand is for!!!
Last but no means least thanks to Lawrence and son of Lawrence, Phil for their help with several recce runs if only for the massive breakfast’s. Also thanks to Sue for her great drop offs and soft top especially for the briefing and when some k–b car driver pulled out to try and beat a troop of bikes.
PS. The answer to the quiz was: – On the memorial in 1979 where our mate Sgt. R. Maughen’s name was, the name of Capt. Robert Nairac GC (George Cross) whose name had been entered twice ‘the only mistake on the whole memorial’ according to one of the guides, which Sue and I found by accident. Anyway they were both murdered by the IRA.
PPS. Sadly that will be our last ride on our BMW 1150 GS. At least she has been used to her maximum potential or progressiveness! As always keep on top, over and out.
Chris & Sue Tanketytank!!!
Footnote: As the current ride out coordinator, I’d like to thank Team Nash for their enthusiasm and commitment ‘above and beyond the call of duty’ in planning and leading. I know Chris and his supporters completed a number of runs to perfect the route, making the most of some cracking roads. On your behalf, I’ve already asked him to reprise the event again next year. Don’t miss it!
Chris and Sue Nash BMW 1150 GS
Paul and Fi BMW 1200 GSA
Derek HONDA CBFO 1000
Patsy KTM Adventure
Les BMW 1200 RTW
Pete BMW 1200 RT
Lawrence and Phil Kawasaki GTR
Jim Ducati MTS1200
Simon Ducati MTS1200
Alan BMW 1200 GS
Sean and Avril Ducati ST
Annette and Sarah Nissan
Ray’s Rideout – Wednesday 9 April
By: Ray Wickens
This ride to a Somerset cider mill could not be described as exhilarating but at least the weather was fine and bright. I can now see the importance for a recci ride, so blame myself for a route with heavy traffic, but the weather was fine and bright!!
After a while we stopped at Cartgate services for T and a P which turned into lunch and as usual most of us chose the healthy option, Full English with fried bread and a cuppa. Having been ‘fed’ right up we took to the road for a short hop to Dowlish Wake, did I hear someone say ‘forgot to fit me knobblys, well it was Somerset after the floods with stones strewn over the lanes. Arriving at Perry’s cider mill and whilst milling around looking at all things alcoholic there was a voice in the background saying who’s Ray anyone called Ray!!
Turning around here was the guy I had arranged to meet, George Cohen who can only be described as a Norton Guru of the highest order. After a short chat he invited us all back to the ‘Shed’ where he lives and breathes Nortons and less well known all things mechanical. Here George showed us his machine shop, numerous projects in various stages of build, old and famous bikes, racers with girder fork flat tankers to a project using a new frame and brand new mechanicals made mostly from scratch, still being designed to fit into the frame. One day this will be a brand new Norton 500 single of his own making. George kindly fired up first a 500 twin recently built to a very old style and then a cammy 500cc, c.1937ish which he had finished rebuilding the night before our visit but had not started prior to the visit, not even knowing whether the tank would leak petrol, so we were treated to being the first to hear and see it run, actually on the road with its c.r. g/box good for 70mph in 1st gear and good for over the magic ton flat out, not bad for an 80 year old bike.
After a goodly amount of time we had to leave a very amenable George who had given us a fantastic insight to what can be built in Britain.
Then for a brisk ride home, oh dear!! Must have been an RTI at Banwell because traffic backed up for miles, thanks to Ian and Bob for finding some lanes with their SatNav and a way around it, at least the weather was fine and bright. Can you see a pattern emerging here??
Thanks to all who came today and I promise to either not take another run or do a recce first.
Ray Guzzi 1200
Patsy’s Favourites – Sunday 16 June
PATSY’S FIRST RIDE – My favourite twisties, or Breakfast in Wales, Lunch in Herefordshire and afternoon tea in the Cotswolds
Well, if I was hoping for a blazing June day it was to be disappointing – once we left Tintern it was rain all the way. It didn’t seem to dampen spirits, though, and overall the ride was progressive as it had been planned when I recce rode it with Simon a couple of weeks earlier.
The briefing seemed to go well with me checking that everyone understood the drop-off system as it was vital today as I didn’t have comms. I find it hard to concentrate with background chatter so decided, as this was my first ride, we would do it the old-fashioned way with drop-offs and catch-ups. I highlighted the 2 areas where we might get split up and guess what … well, more of that later.
A total of 9 bikes left Gloucester with Simon as ‘Tail End Charlie’ for the first time. Our first scheduled stop was at Tintern Old Railway station for breakfast and a comfort break. We picked up Woody on the way through the forest – he was the one taking photos.
Paul, Fi and Derek were already having breakfast at Tintern, and very nice it was too. The service was quick and the food excellent. We left there with 12 bikes to head for lunch at Ledbury. The ride was planned around a couple of my favourite roads the first being the A472 from Chepstow to Usk. I just love this twisty, technical road and for some of us it was the second time in two weeks as Budge had included it in his ride the previous week. It didn’t disappoint.
On through Abergavenny and then to the other road this ride was planned around, the B4521 ‘Skenfrith’ road. Another twisty technical road with mostly good surfaces. It was raining pretty consistently by now but the road surface was good with no mud or rough surfaces so once again it seemed to me, from the front that we made good progress.
Our fuel stop at Ross was one I wouldn’t use again on a ride out. Most bikes didn’t need it but it seemed the only one available when Simon and I recce’d it with him on Rachel’s sports bike, which needed fuel by then. Getting out of there with 12 bikes left the pack very well split and although I slowed right down on the dual carriageway I could only see 4 bikes behind me. I trusted that the drop-off system would show the other riders the exit to Ledbury. At my briefing I checked that everyone knew where we were going at this point as I felt there was an opportunity for us to get split up. I think I was right. The closer we got to Ledbury the more I realised that I could only ever see 4 or 5 sets of lights, not a stream of them. So we stopped in
a lay-by to let the others catch up. We do always stress the necessity of keeping a set of lights in our mirrors, if you can’t see someone for a while then it’s sensible to slow down or even stop to let them catch up. Eventually that will filter through to the bike leader who will then realise that the pack is split. I don’t think even having comms would have made a difference here as it seemed ages before the rest caught us up.
On to a lovely lunch at Countrywide Ledbury. I had called ahead to book tables as Sunday lunchtimes can be very busy. Derek was impressed by the quality of the Sunday lunch. We
picked up Eric and Gill who were already tucking in when we arrived and said goodbye to Chris who had only planned to be on the first part of the ride.
From here we headed towards Tewkesbury via Eastnor, another nice twisty ride. Woody left us somewhere along here, don’t think his passport has a visa for this far from the Forest. From Tewkesbury to Bredon then Ashchurch and the 7 bends. This road is on my doorstep and if I want a quick, bendy blast this is where I head. Unfortunately there was a car in front of me but I did a bit of slowing down and speeding up on the bends which made it more fun. On now to Winchcombe via Prescott, yet more bends.
We stopped to regroup in Winchcombe because again, as I had briefed in the morning, there were 2 nasty turns which I didn’t want marked as they are dangerous. I felt that as long as we went into Winchcombe as a tightly knit pack we would be ok. Once again, wrong. Not sure quite what happened but when I stopped to re-group the other side of Guiting Power we had to wait a while for some of the group. Apparently there was a car fire!! Now, that’s a new excuse for getting lost!! I really loved this gentle meander through some stunning Cotswold scenery to end the day. The roads are narrow, and some unclassified but the surfaces were excellent and visibility was good – if somewhat wet.
Our final stop was Cotswold Food Store Cafe on the A 424 just five minutes outside Stow. We got there spot on time, around 3.30. This was a great place Simon and I had found, much easier to park than in Stow itself and the owner was a biker. Had the weather been good then sitting outside with stunning views would have made a great end to the day. As it was, the cakes more than made up for the rain. This is a really great place to stop.
This was my first time organising a ride and, as I said at the briefing, I was very nervous. Not sure why, I was with friends and no one was going to shout at me if we did a Pete Craddock and got lost on our way to Abergavenny. It took me a while to relax and enjoy the ride and I was concerned about the drop-off system because it was apparent that we do all have variations of it in our minds. I felt comfortable though having Simon at the back as he knew the route and had a sat nav with it on. Although there seemed to be a couple of blips, in exactly the places I thought they might be, I would be happy to run the ride again. I can change where we re-fuel and there is a different way to get around Winchcombe which I would use next time to get us onto that lovely road.
Those that gave me feedback said they enjoyed the roads I chose – I certainly did. Thanks to everyone for coming along, it made a nice change for some of us to Starburst nearer home.
Patsy TDM 900 (Leader)
James BMW K1600GT
Jim Ducati Multistrada S
Les BMW R1200RT
Chris BMW R1200GS
Mike BMW R1150RT
Lawrence/Annette Kawasaki GTR1400
Rachel Suzuki GSX-R 600
Derek Honda CBF 1000
Paul/Fi Honda Varadero
Woody Triumph Tiger 800
Eric/Gill BMW R1200RT
Simon Ducati Multistrada S (Sweeper)
Budge’s Ice Cream Run – Sunday 9 June
14 bikes on a lovely day, have to admit that I was a little apprehensive on the morning as when I looked out of the window and saw the sun shining – again (god that must be nearly every day for a week) and had thought that there was going to be a lot more than that the thought struck me that I had only arranged for a second group leader and sweeper, thanks Les and Lawrence, Luckily enough that was all that was needed.
Anyway, with the briefing dealt with and a rough split of the numbers (Derek was due to meet up with Les’ group in Chepstow but was waiting in Usk for us when we arrived), the groups set off about 15 minutes apart to make our way to the Nags Head in Usk for coffee and tea cakes, the owner had been warned what the number would be and was waiting for us when we arrived. Everything was excellent and the “scenery” wasn’t bad either (ask Mr Revell).
Once refreshed the first group set off again heading towards our eventual lunch / Ice cream stop at Craig-y-llyn. Now came the panic bit, I had done the recce 3 times before and had gotten lost each time, would I get it right? Of course I did, more by luck that judgement mind you. We got split up a couple of times but that was due to the fact that most roundabouts had their own filter lanes and if I had dropped someone off then it would have been dangerous, most of the time I had the reassuring words in my ear from Pete Wood telling me that we were all together so no problem then, but when we did get separated it made life a little more difficult. I think the most frustrating part of this leg was the fact that when we got onto the A4061 we joined a group of cyclists on some sort of charity ride I think it was (we were eventually told the group numbered 4500ish) so the run up the hill was a lot slower than usual.
Burgers, Ice creams, tea and coffee all despatched it was time to make our way back down the hill, across the Brecon Beacons a comfort break and ultimately to Abergavenny. A quick fuel stop was required first though for the GSXR then off again. Here the final starburst took place with bikes heading off in two’s and three’s for home.
Hopefully most people enjoyed the day, I did so if you didn’t then it’s “not my problem”.
Budge & Janette VFR 1200F
Dave & Lorraine VFR 1200F
Bob Holdsworth BMW K1600GT
Patsy Glover TDM900
Rachel Chappel GSXR750
Pete Wood Triumph Tiger
Jim McPhail Ducati Multistrada
Derek James Honda CBF1000
Les & Fi BMW 1200RT
James Fisher BMW K1600GTL
Dave Revell Suzuki 1250 Bandit
John Ling Triumph Trophy
Lawrence & Annette Kawasaki GTR1400
Mike Pictor BMW 1150RT
Bradford on Avon – Sunday 17 February
A great ride started at 10am at BEWSC car park. After toolkits and first aid kits were checked for pliers and tweezers to enable the removal of one ear plug from Derek’s left ear (we think Barb had put in with the aid of a sling-shot), thanks to Dr Tigger Gallimore (also daughter in law) the removal operation took but a few minutes with a pair of scissors from Chris Nash’s first aid kit.
The ride then got underway, over Birdlip to Tetbury, following Tim R our leader for the first half along some great B Roads through Sherston to our first leg stretch at Biddestone, a very picturesque village completed with duck pond. Then onto Corsham to Bradford on Avon where parking tickets were purchased by most. A pleasant walk along the canal for a spot of lunch. At this point Derek was missing but luckily was found by a stranger who discovered a slightly panicked biker locked in the loo! Once free from his 4ft x 4ft prison cell he enjoyed his lunch and banter with the rest of the crew.
Back to the bikes and off on the return route with Les now leading and Tim bringing up the rear. We took to the A350 to Malmesbury and then the A429 to Cirencester, stopping at the Cotswold Water Park for coffee. Some members leaving at this point whilst others carried on via Stroud, Painswick and back to Gloucester. A great day was had by all, the weather started cold but bright, warming through the day.
Many thanks to Les and Tim for a great ride out, great roads and good company! What more could you wish for on a Sunday ride out?
Tim Bright : CBF 1000
Nick Lane : Bonneville
Tim Rodway : Fazer 1000
Steve Sharpe : CBF 1000 FA-C
Graham Read : Triumph Explorer
Les Stewart : Most Superior FJR
Chris Nash : 1150 GS
Derek James : CBF 1000
Paul James & Fi : Varadero XL1000V (aka PSP (Piss Stop Paul) & Tigger)
Winter in the Wye Valley
Sunday 6 January
By: Simon Charters
Wow! What an amazing turn out. Most people decided at the last minute that they would come, having wisely chosen to keep an eye on the forecast in the run up to the ride. It was a good job that I had decided to call in at Frankie and Benny’s in Evesham the day before to warn them that we were coming. To be honest, I had no idea how many would show up, so I helpfully told the manager that there would be anything between 6 and 16 people. I felt concerned when she then reserved a table for 16 against my name. I felt even more worried when Mr Craddock phoned the night before to cry off due to a punctured rear (tyre on the bike that is!).
Kindly, Jim had agreed to meet the Gloucester starters at the Walls club and bring them over to the breakfast meet in Evesham. This would allow me to go and let the staff know roughly how many people were en route, and was in no way a situation engineered by me to allow myself the luxury of a 9.40 departure from home. Well, I AM usually the one who has to set of ultra early to get to Hammond Way…..
I was a bit concerned that Jim would be unlikely to meet more than one or two people at the Gloucester end, so I gave him a call to warn him not to wait for Crads, and to find out how many would be arriving for breakfast. “You’ll never guess how many people I’ve got here, Si”. Yeap, 14 brave SAMMERS had assembled and were good to go. I did a quick sum. I knew there were at least four including me going straight to the breakfast. I was already bust, my optimistic estimate of 16 totally inadequate. And I’d foolishly promised Bella and Rachel that I would buy them a breakfast if they wanted to join us in the car…. I had honestly expected to be well short of the 16! Of course, they continued to arrive and as we filled the overflow table and more, I did wonder just how long it might take for us all to get fed.
As it turned out, I needn’t have worried. The small staff worked like troopers to feed and fill with coffee the massed crowd. We were out and ready for a briefing by just after 11pm.
It was quite obvious that there were far too many bikes for us to operate effectively as one group, so Dangerous Dave was thrown in at the deep end as the leader of the first group. He did a great job, and I was really grateful that he had put himself out to do the recce with me in slimy, grotty conditions a few days earlier. Thanks, mate! Also thanks to Jim who swept for the first group after safely delivering the Gloucester contingent to breakfast.
Les swept and I led the second group. We invited those who had never done a group ride before to join this group, and were grateful that several others with more experience also volunteered to join us to keep the numbers even. As it turned out, although we explained that no one should feel under pressure to ride quicker than they were comfortable on some fairly pock marked, damp, muddy roads, our pace was good and at each of the stops we were never far behind the first wave. We used a very cruel but effective measure of time to delay our departure to avoid the possibility of catching the first group; Give Nick enough time to roll a cig and to smoke half of it. Sorry, Nick!
Both groups stopped for a leg stretch after an hour at the Starbucks immediately after we met the A40. Having been so well fed and watered at Evesham it was agreed that we wouldn’t bother partaking of refreshments; we were after all just half an hour or so from Tintern Abbey, the next scheduled stop.
We reached Tintern at about quarter past one and agreed to spend an hour there. If anyone in my group was wondering quite why my speed was so erratic descending the Wye Valley, there is an explanation (excuse?). I wanted to make the most of the twisties. But then I caught a pack of Harleys, so I decided to ease off and aim to get them through the lights at the bridge half way down the valley to open up a gap. I managed this expertly… only to catch them again in short order! On arrival at Tintern, various teas, coffees and scones and soup were enjoyed (not all by the same person) before we set off to Chepstow. Several people chose to make their own way home, so by the time we were ready to depart Tintern, we realised that we could regroup into a single team.
‘Red Leader’ Charters (what else could I be on a big Ducati?) showed the way, and after a quick pause at Tesco to refuel thirsty sports bikes, we were back up the A48 towards Gloucester. The only ‘interesting’ moment was when leading the way up the A40 to Over Farm. As invited by the signs, we were heading up the bus lane on the dual carriageway. Sadly, a rather irate cyclist had chosen to use this lane also, and again, the signs indicated that this was allowable. However, I don’t think the signs intended to allow him to travel AGAINST THE FLOW OF TRAFFIC. He was most upset, waving his arms and swearing profusely as he explained that it was a bus lane. Obviously it was easy to avoid him on a motorcycle, and I am thick skinned enough to cope with a bit of verbal. As Dave rightly pointed out, it was just a good job I wasn’t driving a bus, or the outcome could have been far more unpleasant!
It really was a super start to the year. Thank you so much all of you for making the effort to come along and join us, and particular thanks to those who helped run the groups. Also, thank you to all those who offered positive feedback. Nick pointed out that it was a really pleasant route. I had chosen something short which avoided really minor roads, and when Nick suggested that it would be really lovely to ride it in the summer, I had the thought that it could perhaps be run as an evening ride in the height of summer. Let me know if you fancy that idea!
In the mean time, if you fancy popping the route into your sat nav, the files are still available to download here
Finally, Mr & Mrs Craddock, you’d better call the Butcher… This lot are all planning to do the ‘Old Spot’ run!
Ride Leaders Simon Charters (Sweeper Les Stewart), Dave Revell (Sweeper Jim McPhail)
Dave Revell Bandit 1200
Simon Charters Multistrada 1200
John Ling CBR 600
Lee Harrhy Yamaha R1
Kev Graham CB1300
Gary Park Tiger
Adrian Burden Buell
Paul Wilkinson K1300 GT
Tabitha Hawker Kawasaki W650
John Nash Honda 600
Wendy Sharpe-Nash Honda 600
Nick Lane Bonneville
Mark Terry-Lush BMW 1150GS
John Lewis Honda SP-1
Jim McPhail Fazer Thou
Chris Nash BMW 1150GS
Dave Butcher VFR1200
Les Stewart FJR
Steve Sharpe CBF1000
Sean & Averil Ducati ST4s
Evening Rideout – Thursday 16 August
By: Pete Wood
Well it kept dry and we had a good run through the N.S.L. lanes of Herefordshire until we met a big road closure just North of Hereford itself. We had to turn round and back track a few miles. All was well in the end although to get people back home a reasonable hour we had to miss out a loop around more lanes to the South Wes of Hereford.
So, all back safely although it was getting quite dark. Probably the last evening rideout of 2012. I’m planning to add this route to the ‘Oven Ready’ list so others can follow in their own time.
Woody Kawasaki ER-6F
Dave P Yamaha Super T
Wendy CBF 500
Tim R Faser Thou
Tim B Honda CBF 1000
Derek Honda CBF 1000
Return to Ironbridge – Sunday 15 July
By: Simon Charters
Ironbridge II: The Return to the Gorge
For the first time in ages it seems, we had a dry day, so spirits where high as the main crew departed the Walls club just after 9am. The first act was hampered a little by the profusion of 40 and 50 mph limits, but eventually the Nationals were reached and corresponding progress was possible. The first interval was spent at the OK Diner at Leominster on the A49, where we collected the second unit. Service was slower than Jim’s Harley, so a decision was made to just have a drink and get on our way early, heading for Ironbridge via Much Wenlock. As there were limited direction changes, the plot was revealed to the cast before we set off. This was helpful as the roads we were on were good, but a bit narrow to organise a regroup or even to drop a marker. We made it to Ironbridge at about 12 noon, and agreed that we would spend a leisurely 90 minutes exploring and taking sustenance. Rested and refreshed, we posed for some photos (and signed autographs?) before moving on. The river was spectacularly in flood, and on the ride towards Great Whitley we passed quite a few flooded roads, landslides and other hazards. Again the fast and narrow roads made stopping to regroup tricky, but eventually we paused without getting off the bikes to confirm that everyone had made it through in one piece.
Further refreshments and leg stretches taken at Bewdley, it was time for the final scenes as we headed home. The plan was to star burst from the lay-by near the M50 on the A38 at Tewkesbury, but heavy traffic in Worcester made keeping together tricky (we lost the plot?). Although we had worked well following an ‘ahead unless marked’ plan throughout the day, the system fell apart, leaving a thrilling twist to the end of the show. Who would make it to the A38? Had anyone come to grief on the Worcester ring road?
Happily, I can report that despite following some interesting routes, our heroes all reported home safe. We had a super day, and it was a real shame that we weren’t able to say goodbye properly. Never mind. I think everyone enjoyed themselves, and it was nice gettting home dry for once! Thanks to all, but especially Jim who braved a difficult day on a HD XR1200 while his Multistrada is in the workshop. And to think he could have been on the ‘A-lister’ Diavel!
Below is a word document handed out to the cast members at the briefing. Mike P managed to download the satnav route into his Garmin and I used the TomTom version; I’m seeing a SatNav / Google Maps / Tyre masterclass coming to a clubnight near you in the future….
Simon C (Leading Man) : Ducati Multistrada (Spaghetti Western)
Jim Mc (Sweeper) : Hardley Ableson (Horror Film)
Paul & Fiona : Honda Varadero (Adventure Movie)
Steve R : The Pantastic ST1300 (Return to Neverland)
Rebecca O : Tiger 1050 (British Film)
Patsy G : TDM 900 (Cult Classic)
Eric B : BMW 1200RT (hakuna matata, eh Meerkat?)
Barry & Welsh Bird : New Zealand GS (Film Noir)
Steve C : GSA (X-Rated)
Mike P : 1150 RT (German language with subtitles)
Lawrence & Annette : GTR 1400 (Sci-Fi)
Special Guest Appearances (Joining us at OK Diner)
Les & Fi : FJR 1300 (Buddy Movie)
Rachel C : XJ6 Diversion (Straight to DVD!)
Diana B : Kermit the ER-6
Forest of Dean – Thursday 5 July
By: Pete Wood
A short but pleasant evening around ‘The Forest’. One of our number retired home with a pulled muscle halfway through the ride, escorted by another rider. The photos in the slide show below show the start at The Silver Fox, a stop at Lower Lydbrook picnic site and the view from Eddy’s Lane viewing point near The Pludds, all in the Royal Forest of Dean.
Leader – Woody Royal Enfield Bullet 500
Sweeper – Ian P Tiger 800
Chris Nash – BMW 1100 GS
Mike P – BMW RT1150
Jim M – Ducati Multistrada
Simon C – Ducati Multistrada
Dave P – BMW GSR100
Kevin G – Honda CB 1300
We ACE’d it ! – Sunday 3 June
Posted on: 3 June 2012
By: Pete Wood
We ACE’d the rideout to London’s ACE CAFE on Jubilee Sunday 3rd June 2012
Five intrepid and slightly damp motorcycling members (Woody, Eric, Kevin, Steve and Roger) of Severn Advanced Motorcyclists (SAM) left BEWSC around 9am and we headed South East on the A417 to the border with Oxfordshire where we met a main road, closed for the Jubilee celebrations, at Abingdon.
We found our way around the closure and headed to the small village of Dorchester (not the county town of Dorset of course) where we stopped in the rain at the
H-Café to warm up and dry out for twenty minutes or so. The H Cafe was recently featured on BBC TV as being a stopping places on one of England’s oldest trading and travel routes.
Back on our wet machines as we headed East into the Home Counties and onto the M40. On into an even wetter London as the M40 morphed into the A40, under the M25 and joining the A406 North Circular Road we headed North for half a mile into the car park of the Ace Cafe.
Just over an hour at the ACE was spend eating, talking, looking around at the various exhibits and even shopping for a selection of ACE branded products, badges and stickers.
As the rain persisted we headed South West of London on the A4/A30 until we reached a soggy Backbushe Aerodrome Cafe. Flying Operations had been suspended because of the now dreadful weather.
After hot coffee etc. we climbed onto our machines and via the lanes we joined the M4 J11 and headed for home having all agreed to shorten the ride by not stopping at Marlborough.
All in all a good day out and in particular the two Associates handled the 200 wet miles while still managing to ‘Make Progress’
Well done lads and cheers Woody.
SAM “Twist and Shout” Tour
Carcassone – 2012
Posted on: 6 May 2012
By: Pete Wood
This was officially the biggest SAM Trip we have had in the six years that we have been travelling to France as a Group. This time we had 31 “SAMMERS”, travelling on 22 motorcycles, on the “Twist and Shout” Tour 2012.
The group formally welcomed Pete and Jane C from Solent Advanced Motorcyclists, who joined us for the whole of the trip and enjoyed it so much they went on to join the Club as full members.
Wednesday 25th April 2012
Some of the group departed from The Forge Public House, Whitminster for a slow leisurely ride down to Portsmouth whilst the majority met up at MEMBURY SERVICES on the M4.
We all met up at the local pub on the dockside and the “party” commenced.
After getting ourselves settled on the ferry for the night crossing it was time for a couple of “night caps” before bedding down for the night. It was a fairly rough crossing but nothing a couple of “Guinness sea sickness tablets” couldn’t fix.
AND SO INTO FRANCE-OH YES!!!
Thursday 26th April 2012
We were up in time and all rushed down to where our bikes were. Unfortunately one of the bikes had not been tied down correctly by one of the ships crew and had fallen over due to the rough seas. After some discussion, form filling and photographs we eventually disembarked from the ferry.
We met up in the car park near the exit in order to re-group.
Gary left first with the blue group. Now some of you will remember how in 2011 Gary had got lost and taken his group up and down the motorway. This year he didn’t disappoint, so obsessed was he in not doing this he turned off to early and ended up riding around one of the local villages. So that was it we were first at the coffee shop yet again!
After coffee we continued our journey on “D” roads travelling through as much of rural FRANCE as we could. By now the weather had turned against us with torrential rain and the roads running with water. Unfortunately after about another 50 miles one of the group had a “spill” due to a polished road surface coupled with rain. No amount of planning could have foreseen this. I thought I was coming off, as did two or three others. After the ambulance had arrived and we had said good bike to our injured friends we moved on sadden at the loss of adventure our friends would miss. (Good news as of 16/7/12- bike repaired injured rider back on bike, injured wife back to normal nagging!)
We stopped in BROU for refuelling and lunch (total 125miles) and parked in the centre under the market. We caused a bit of a stir, as the local press were on hand to establish what was going on. After we had convinced them that we weren’t Hells Angels more like “Grumpy Granddads”-photographs were taken-probably more for mug shots then anything else.
On to Chatearoux for our first nights rest. We wined and dined in the local Buffalo Grill. Quite an experience with Eric and Pete W walking in last and being served first. (Perhaps they had heard how Eric’s BMW had grilled on a previous trip”)
Friday 27th April 2012
Depart Etap 8am
Chateauroux to Le Puy-en-Velay -approx 205 miles
Quite an early start but necessary due to the mileage. We had lots of stops on route. The weather was warm and at last the road surface was dry. Yippee!
The roads were absolutely fabulous. We had found some real country tracks, which gave stunning views. The arrival into Le Puy, as you drop down the hill, the statues on the rocks are unbelievable.
We arrived at about 5pm and parked our bikes on the local “boule” court for a couple of hours; well nobody was playing on it at the time! After a while and a few French whispers bikes were moved into move conventional parking spaces. Guess what, a quick scrub up and it was down to a local “watering hole” for some light refreshment.
Saturday 28th April 2012
Le Puy en Velay to Carcassonne
Depart Etap 8am
Total distance 232 miles
The N88 is probably one of the best Route Nationale roads I have ever ridden on, fortunately there are no other routes which could have got us to Carcassonne without using motorway. Warm clothing first thing was the order of the day as due to the valley it could be rather cold. It wasn’t lovely and warm. After coffee in Mende this all changed with very high winds (and I mean severe gusts). We travelled onto the A75 and eventually stopped at the viewing point on the Milieu Bridge. We could hardly stand up and we were to travel across the highest bridge in Europe in this weather.
After lunch and a rallying of “one for all” and “you ride to your own ability…..” you know the usual ride out briefing stuff-we set off across the bridge. It was horrendous with our bikes being ridden at well over a 45-degree angle. The trail bikes had it worse travelling at a maximum 15 mph. It really was quite daunting. Still after a couple of kilometres we got off the bridge to be hit by the local “mistral” which means more high winds. So it continued. Unfortunately one of Gary’s group had an argument with a hedge and a ditch but after a few words with Gary and the team was able to carry on-you are such a bully Gary!
We arrived in the hotel at Carcassonne for our 5-night stay. After a few unfortunate problems we all eventually managed to obtain a room. No thanks to the “Carcassonne Vache”!
The majority of the group rested but a few ventured out into the old part of the city for a few drinks.
Sunday 29th April 2012
This was an official tour day off with nothing planned. Once again the majority walked around the old city and soaked up the glorious sunshine before heading back to the hotel for a mid afternoon siesta. Evening came and with plenty of local food and drink purchased from the local supermarket it was time to celebrate the Tour in typical SAMMER’s style. Lots of happiness and joy helped by a lot of local drink. Ron advised the “Carcassonne Vache” and then Ron was advised by Debs-interesting concept.
Monday 30th April 2012
Depart Etap 11am
Approx 79 miles
A gentle ride with some nice “twisties” and plenty of opportunities to stop for pictures. Coffees as and when we wanted!
Tuesday 1st May 2012
Depart Etap 9am prompt
“Spain for lunch”
This was the usual big tour ride out. The route took us over mountains where we were able to get a close up view of the numerous wind turbines in the area. Lots of single-track roads and concentration at a maximum. It was then onto our first coffee stop at the beautiful seaside resort with palm trees but first just a few “twisties” to get us into the mood. We stopped for coffee in Argeles sur Mer. This is a seaside resort you really must visit if down near Perpinian. It was then that we made our way along the coastal road towards our lunch destination in Spain (PORTBOU). The sight of the road meandering away down into the valley and back up the other side against the blue Mediterranean Sea and local villages will be something that I will remember for a long time. I am told that seeing the “SAM SNAKE” travelling along the road was a wonderful sight. After lunch we repeated our journey back along the “twisties” to our hotel. A definite “Twist and Shout “ day for all concerned.
After a very quick clean up and change it was off to a local restaurant for our “Tour Meal” and usual “kangaroo court”. What a night! Countless ”carafes“ of wine, bottle of beer and of course the free complimentary “shots”. The kangaroo court went exceptionally well and I will leave it at that. As the matra states… “what goes on tour, STAYS on TOUR”!
Wednesday 2nd May 2012
Nothing was planned. Pete W took a group up into Andora and experienced all four seasons in one day. Another group stayed local and had a nice lunch by the river. A completely chilled out day.
Thursday 3rd May 2012
Carcassonne to Perigueux
And so we started the long journey back towards home. Our hotel was in the centre of town. No real events on the day everyone tired but sad to start heading north-Budge had his usual “I don’t want to go that way” head on. The nightlife was excellent with many of the group enjoying a night in the local Irish Bar. Others had a steak meal in the “La Boucherie Restaurant”
Friday 4th May 2012
Depart Etap at 8am
Perigueux to Tours 230 miles
Rain and more rain. Not a lot more to say about the journey. We stopped at a local Hotel on route who refused to sell us coffee. Still upon arrival at the Etap in Tours Mikaela (who always helps us with any difficulties we have in France-what a girl) greeted us!
This hotel was in the centre of TOURS and gave us access to the local bars and restaurants-as if we needed that?
Saturday 5th May 2012
Depart Etap 7am
Tours to Le Havre 210 miles
Cold and damp but with a meal booked at our usual favourite restaurant in Le Havre we were up for the challenge. Now it was at this stage that my satnav started playing up. About 25 miles from Le Havre it tried to send us through ploughed fields and “C” roads. Why? Well simple really it was set to NOT use motorways or toll roads, pretty impossible to get to Le Havre without using them due to a large expanse of water.
After a wonderful three-course lunch for 15 euros it was onto the ferry. Well for most of us. One of the group couldn’t find their documents and so was not allowed onto the ferry. So in typical SAM tradition of being a caring group when informed I heard the group cry
“NOT MY PROBLEM”. Thankfully the said person had read the briefing package and photocopied their documents. These documents were then given to customs, which allowed said person to eventually board the ship. At this point you see everyone just crash out exhausted into their seats. But there was still one more party night to go! We arrived at PORTSMOUTH at approximately 9.30pm.
Those that stayed at the Maritime Club in PORTSMOUTH overnight enjoyed a buffet and a few Guinness due to our organising of a bar extension, before retiring to bed at 2am-I think!
Sunday 6th May 2012
Breakfast was served for most of us at about 9.00am.When we were all ready we took a leisurely ride home,some looking after some poorly tyres others making progress home on the correct side of the road.
Pete and Jenny C- Pan European
Dave and Lorraine -VFR 1200
Budge -VFR 1200
Tom and Lesley Anne S – ZZR1400
Eric B – R1200RT
Pete C – R1200GSA
Jane C -Suzuki Gladius
Clinton and ‘Jane’ K- Pan European
Mark and Jane L-Honda CBR1000
Ron and Debbie G -FJR
Mike B – R1200GSA
Gary S -K1300GT
Chris and Sue N -R1150GS
Dave and Viv R -R1200RT
Barry and Jacqui M – R1200GS
Paul B – Honda CBr1000
Steve C – R1200GSA
Pete W -Triumph Tiger 800
Rebecca O – Triumph Tiger 1050
Steve R- Pan European
Simon R- BMW 1100LT
Posted on: 11 March 2012
By: Eric Bush
8th – 11th March 2012, vomero holiday apartments, Torquay, Devon
24 SAMMERS arrived at our self-contained apartments in Torquay. Our hosts were John and Angie BUNCE who were there to greet us as we drove into the driveway. After a quick shower it was down to the local “Weatherspoons “ watering hole for some well deserved refreshment. It was during this period of “refreshment” that the light entertainment started with the occasional song and I’m reliably informed chair balancing act. What a start to what proved to be a fabulous weekend.
The weather was extremely kind and we were able to complete two ride outs over the long weekend and remain completely dry. Saturday was a ride through the Devon countryside, whilst completing two “cruises” (ferry crossings really) to LOOE in Cornwall for a pasty. A quick 145 miles before returning to VOMERO for the “Official Tour Meal”. I have been to a few BBQ’s in my time, but what Angie and John produced for what we paid was amazing (a kind of biblical fish and bread type story). The night doubled up as a celebration for Tom Steven’s twenty first birthday! (He does look old for his age) and the presentation of a birthday cake by the group (lovingly made by Angie).
Amazingly, the following morning everyone was up and fresh and ready to go out on the short (115 miles) ride out over Dartmoor. Lunch was taken at the picturesque village of Dartmeet (Badgers Holt) before making our journey back to Torquay.
We arrived back at VOMERO to find that our hosts had taped the England V France rugby match, so it was all up into their private apartment for a “quiet” Sunday evening watching the rugby. Food and drink left over from the night before was consumed and the next thing we know it is 12 midnight, well past Chris Nash’s bedtime. Monday morning and comments like “Where has the weekend gone?” made you realise that it was time to head back to our respective homes. It was time to say our good byes and head north into a cold, damp misty SOMERSET and GLOUCESTERSHIRE.
I think that I can speak for everyone when I say that we had an absolutely brilliant long weekend. Wonderful scenery, roads, company, food, drink and the icing on the cake was the fantastic hospitality of our hosts who went the “extra mile”. Thanks to you all.
A lucky escape….. Five minutes after leaving the accommodation to start our ride home today, I looked down to see the left hand side of the fairing on fire.
Lucky I was being followed by a retired fireman and the staff at the hotel opposite were watering their garden with a hose which they passed to us. Thanks to all who were involved in the rescue. Gill and I are both OK, just a little shaken and stirred! The full write up will appear in the May edition of the Journal