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Saturday 21st April 2018
There were 9 of us out for fish and chips in South Molton on Saturday, at The Welcome Fryer, along with my wife, and daughter who was visiting for the weekend.
Good to see new member James from South Molton on his lovely R100GSPD.
After filling our bellies 3 of us went for a ride around Exmoor; Simondsbath, Lynmouth and then Woody Bay Station for a coffee where the narrow gauge steam railway was in full operation chugging and puffing it's way up the track.
Thanks for your company. I'll see some of you at the weekend for Doone Exmoor camping.
Ride safely, Jim
Wednesday 18th April
On Wednesday 18th. April seven of us turned up at Lee Mill in the cafe where I had a very good twelve item breakfast for £6-50 as this was my main
meal for the day, it was decided that we would do another two of the challenge point's, Paignton Pier and Burgh Island, and as Chris knew the area he took the lead and I brought up the rear, Chris led us down a couple of interesting road's, on getting to Paignton Pier picture's were duly
On leaving Jim took the lead as we headed for Burgh Island it was a pleasant ride on a nice day on some nice road's a lot of which I have never
been on before, when we arrived at the car park which was pay and display, we took pictures again looking across to the Island and then went and
parked down by the cafe which is only takeaway with outside seating, so we went and had cup's of tea and ice creams.
After we had our refreshments it was time to head for home, when we reached the main road we all went our separate way's. It was a very good day out with good company, I would like to thank Chris and Jim for doing the leading and also thank all of those that came and hope you enjoyed yourselves see you soon Phil.
The photo is of my bike with Burgh Island in the distance.
Sunday 18th March 2018
The little beast from the East did its best to stop the Bowgie Inn Meet on Sunday 18th but seven of us, all traveled by car, managed to beat the snow, to be truthful the snow didn’t hit Cornwall until after lunch, we had nice meal then headed home just in time to watch six inches of snow settle, we will try if there is room, to do another Bowgie meet later in the summer.
Saturday 10th March 2018
We had our first visit to the Aviator coffee bar at Dunkeswell Airfield on Saturday 10th of March, this had been postponed a week due to the snow, we had no snow but it rained an awful lot in the morning.
I had had a very eventful lead to this ride as when I did a pre ride check on the Friday I found a roofing tack in the front wheel, then attempting to repair the puncture with my newly acquired Dynaplug repair kit, I found a second hole, they all failed to repair, then down to the local bike shop, who condemned the tyre. Then an early start Saturday morning for a 100 mile round trip to have a tyre fitted, installed back in the bike and on my to Dunkeswell.
On arrival I found 9 members, it was very busy with lots of teenagers crowding the coffee bar, they were all waiting for the fog to lift so they could do a parachute jump, rather them than me. After a bite to eat 5 of us set off to do the Colyford Photo Challenge.
The Aviator Coffee Bar seems a good meeting point it’s a long way for the Cornish members so I would welcome some feedback on the Aviator meet to see if it is worth adding say bi monthly meet there, the bad weather leading up to the meet must have put a few off from going.
See you soon, Don
Wednesday 21st February 2018
See you all soon,
Tuesday 13th February 2018
When I arrived at the Engine House at 10-55 it was wet and cold, so I went straight in only to find it very busy and most of the empty table's
reserved, but managed to get a table for four.Not long after Ian Penrose arrived and we managed to bring over another table for two and with the
weather being so bad thought that would about do us, as it turned out it was just enough as we ended up with a total of eight so two had to sit on the end which was ok as they only had a drink.
Two of us were silly enough to come by bike but the rest had more sense and came by car, we spent a couple of very pleasant hour's before we went our separate ways.
My ride home was more pleasant than the ride up, and I went via Jamaica Inn to bag my first point of this year's Southwest Challenge.
Hope to see you all again soon.
MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY of the SOUTH WEST SECTION
Tuesday 9th January 2018
Our regular Tusday meet at the Engine House Callington had a good attendance,this time we had a total of twenty people braving the changeable
weather .We had Jed turn up and only joined the day before, and he was one of the nine that arrived by bike, we also had Roy arrive and he is a
perspective new member if he can find a BMW to suit him.Hhe is looking for an early eighties 650 boxer if anyone has one for sale, otherwise not much
to report except that the food and company was as good as usual. I did get a bit damp on the way home but it is January after all, hope to see you all
Sunday 4th January 2018
On Sunday the Fourth January a total of sixteen members came to Jamaica Inn for our lunch meet, most came by car but a few hardy soul's came on two
wheel's. It was mainly dry but cold and quite cloudy at time's.
Most people had lunch but a couple just had a snack as they were eating in the evening, nearly all of the talk was about holiday's being arranged and
organised for this year, and the different rallies that people are going to try and attend.
Farthest traveled was Keith all the way from Taunton, and he is off to Spain and Austria and other place's in Europe in June and will be gone for
a couple of month's, so will miss a couple of the rallies this year.
So after a couple of very pleasant hour's we all headed for home, so I hope to
see you all again soon ,
Last years ride was successful so we tried again. This time with a plan to ride some B roads to the textile mill at Uffculme in Devon. The machinery is driven by overhead shafting all powered by one of the largest steam engines in the UK. There was a planned “in steam” day and an on site cafe so the location seemed to fit the bill.A few days before the due date and a `phone call from Pete Leach (a long serving club member) and a very kind offer to call in to his house for tea and buns – how could we refuse?
On the day we gathered at the Hog and Hedge at Whiddon Down for the first round of teas. Phil, David, Pete, Alison and myself. A flying visit by Helen, back riding and heading back to Exeter to help a mate out – great to see you.After deciding that no one wanted to visit the mill (£12 entry) we set off for Exeter via the old A30. A stop at St Davids station where we were joined by Chris. A quick call to Pete to tell him how many for lunch and off to Tiverton up the Exe valley.
The river was in flood after all the recent rain and had broken banks in a few places.We met up with Pete and followed to his house. Sue had laid on tea, coffee and a choice of soups with bread rolls. All followed by cake and more tea all enjoyed in the cosy extension warmed by a roaring log fire – splendid.Pete then led the way toward Exeter on the old A38 and left us at Pinhoe. Chris peeled off at the services and we headed back to Whiddon Down after a quick detour due to my poor navigation! Another cuppa before going our separate ways.The weather was fairly kind with only a few heavy showers and I was so enjoying myself I forgot to take any photographs. Thanks to all and in particular Pete and Sue for their hospitality.
Tuesday 12th December 2017
Tuesday 12th. December. Thirteen member's came to the Engine House for our
regular second Tuesday of the month brunch meet, some came from as far away
as Taunton in the East to Perranporth in the West. Dave from Perranporth
even came on his newly purchased R1200RT, having swapped in his R1200GS
ADVENTURE. Five people arrived on four bike's and the rest came by car, not
a bad turnout seeing as it was quite cold and some people from further to
the East even had icy road's to start the trip.
It was nice to see Robin and his new lady Linda come to see us again after
rejoining the club last September, hope to see a bit more of them this year
at our rallies, after plenty to eat and drink we all started heading for
home from about twelve forty five on, after trying to put the world to
Hope to see you all soon ,
The Fishermans Cot Bickleigh Saturday 2nd December 2017
We went to The Fisherman's Cot at Bickleigh near Tiverton again this year for our Christmas dinner. They did us a lovely 3course meal for a very reasonable price, served nicely, and managed to sit the 27 of us all together in one area.
There were loads of prizes at the raffle, lots of which were brought by members attending the dinner, so thank you everybody, we raised £89 for our Air Ambulance Charity with first prize of the cost of your dinner going to Dave Charlton.
Quite a few of us stayed the night, some in rooms in the hotel and others in their camper vans in the hotel car park and so we met up again for breakfast before going our own ways again. I hope you all had a pleasant Christmas and I wish you all a safe, happy and healthy 2018. Thanks for coming. Jim.
Tuesday 14th November 2017
On Tuesday 14th. November Debbie and myself went to our section brunch meet at the Engine House at Callington in the car, as we were staying at Tavistock in our motorhome. This brunch meet still seems to be popular as thirteen people turned up in total including Dave one of our new members, most came by bike as it was quite a nice day. We all had a good chat some of which was discussing next year's Diary of Event's which is nearly all sorted with just a few spare slots for ride outs and meets. Now on another subject and not for the first time someone left without paying for a cup of tea, in fact I think it is about the sixth time, so in future can you please make sure you pay your bill before you leave, that's it for now hope to see you all soon
Saturday 4th November 2017
The Wharf meet
We thought we would try a Saturday lunch meet, and after some discussion the Wharf on the Banks of the Bude Canal on the 4th of November was chosen as a try out. The Wharf has several option for tea and cake, but we picked out the the Lock Gate tea rooms. On arrival we met with Jim, John, Debbie, Phil, Pete and Dave our latest new member, after some concern as to where others may have parked up, a search team was sent out just to check, and they found Charles, Mark, and later Chris. We soon found a large table in the Lock Gates Tea room, where we could sit together and enjoyed good company and a bite to eat, it’s a very pretty setting nicely laid with free parking for bikes, with eleven in total so a good turn out, worth doing again, we are also searching for similar types of venue.
On Thursday 26th Oct. a total of 13 people turned up at the Fisherman's Cot. it was quite a nice day for a ride so I went up on the bike, a total of 168 miles Rod and Chris came further all the way from Hayle, most came by bike and I think 4 came by car. We nearly all had lunch and a drink, some even had two courses, I left a bit earlier than normal as I wanted to call in and see someone at Copplestone on the way home which I did, and David joined our club the same evening, I was asked to contact David by Jenny his sister that lives in New Zealand as has just moved to Copplestone. After a cup of tea and natter with David I had a good ride home, that's it for now hope to see you all soon.
Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd October 2017 North Tawton RFC
Hippo Rally 2017
I think you’re all mad! Who, in their right minds would come to a bike rally in the lashing rain and gale force winds? Well actually 53 Club members did!
Storm Brian tried his best but failed to dampen our spirits. Beer had gone up 50p this year to £2.50 a pint but Donna behind the bar gave us tickets whereby if we bought 10 pints, we got a free one. All that did was give us a target and plenty of free pints were claimed.
The rideout was modified to a safer route than the one planned but we got to Dingles Fairground Heritage Park and had a good laugh on the rides and lunch too. The final ride back was a bit hairy and there were plenty of wet underpants afterwards. No, the rain, not that!
Saturday night went down well with Bideford Town Band doing their stuff again and persuading some old bloke to get up and sing. The Andy Baines Long Distance Award went to Barry Warner from Bury with 264 miles. In that weather you deserved a medal Barry, not just a cheap Tankard. Kirsty"s Kitchen fed us all to her usual high standards and nobody went hungry.
Thanks go to all the SW Section members who helped in all sorts of ways from bringing extra food to running around like blue bottomed bluebottles looking after everybody, and for donating lots of lovely raffle prizes which raised £206 for our Charity Fund.
So, yes, I think we nailed it again this year. Thanks for coming . See you again next year. Same time, same place.
Ride safely, Jim.
Hippo booked for Friday 19th October to Sunday 21st 2018
Tuesday 12th September 2017
On Tuesday the 12th. September I went to the Engine House for our monthly brunch meet arriving at 10-55 and was the first to arrive, with the next arriving at 11-15 and from then on it was a trickle untill a we had a total of 9, we had a drink on arrival and most people had a breakfast of one size or another, but some just had a drink and a cake. We had 4 come by car and the rest by bike, after a good chat it was time to head for home again and I got caught in a small shower on the way home, otherwise a good ride hope to see you all soon.
Sunday 10th September 2017 at Harford Bridge
Thursday 7th September to Sunday 10th 2017
Well on this our 6th Dartmoor Rally the wet weather really let us down, but that does not alter the fact that we were let down even more by the member's that did not make the effort to come along.On that note we will still be doing the Rally again next year, but unless we have a better turnout next year it will be the last. All though the turnout was poor I think the one's that came enjoyed themselves.
We had Dave from Scotland in the Shepherds Hut, Dave and Lavinia in one of the Pods, two /three /four van's for various nights and two tent's, and in the evening's we took over the on site television room, which had plenty of seat's for all of us and a large table.
On the Thursday evening 4 of us went into Tavistock in Debbies car for a meal at Wetherspoons, and the rest did their own thing. On Friday everyone that was already on site also did what they wanted.In the evening several of us enjoyed food from the on site catering van. All though it was a small number, 6 bike's and 7 people went on the ride out. We had only gone a couple of miles before the heaven's opened so Dave who was leading the ride out for me stopped under some trees for a while, but the rain never stopped so we set off again and it wasn't long before the sun came out, so we carried on to the Old Railway Station café at Okehampton where Debbie and her Mum met us for a drink and in some cases a bite to eat.
After we had all finished we continued on the ride out to Holsworthy and then on to Great Torrington for our lunch stop at the pannier market café. After lunch it was on to Winkleigh where two of us went one way and the other's went another as Daves sat nav decided that some green road's were needed ( grass down the middle), so on to North Tawton and Whiddon Down by which time we had caught up with the rest again, then on to Mortonhampsted for afternoon tea and cakes.
We were supposed to meet Debbie and her mum at the café, but they ended up in a different one to us but we did see them before we left. Then it was back across Dartmoor to the site, some of us via Yelverton and Morrisons at Tavistock for fuel and beer. Saturday evening four of us went in to Tavistock for fish and chips. Sunday morning some packed up and went home while the others stayed for the bike show and hog roast BBQ (see Dons report).
I would like to thank all of those that made the effort to come even with the poor forecast that was not as bad as we thought it was going to be, and especially to Dave for leading the ride out. Hope to see you all again next year plus a few more.
Friday 25th August to Monday 28th 2017
Helen Beer reports.....
Friday 25th August, 0715, 10 degrees and off to the East Anglian Section's National Rally..... excitement levels were high as I headed up the M5 to meet with friends at Cheltenham.... my instructions were to go past Cotswolds BMW (how mean was that!) and head to Morrisons. After that all I had to do was keep up - simples. Hugs and coffee and we were off.
Stow on the Wold, Chipping Norton, Banbury, Deddington, Croughton and coffee in Buckingham sat in the sun. Milton Keynes with the lovely roundabouts, Bedford, past Cambridge, Newmarket for Ice Creams, Stowmarket and 10 hours after leaving home landed with a warm welcome from the Meet and Greet team. There was definitely an autumn bite showing - although the daytime temperatures were good the trees were showing signs of change and there was lots of harvesting.
A relaxed evening meeting up with old friends and making new ones. The official rides were full by the time we got to the notice board but we hatched a cunning plan and set off on Saturday to Sutton Hoo (National Trust Burial Ground). Aldeburgh and Sizewell (no the fish did not have 3 eyes and the sea was not glowing). Our leader soon found grassy lanes and quiet wiggly roads - perfect.Bob (brackets) Bensley did a grand job with the auction and the vision of the hunky 6' 8" chap trying on the medium leathers will make me smile for a while. The raffle tickets were in short supply but somehow I ended up with some and won a heated vest which was donated to a mate that didn't have one - winter is approaching!
Elvis entertained us and members were soon jiving away. All good fun. Sunday there was much on site to see and do but my wheels were calling and off we went to a Craft Centre near Henstead, then Beccles, Haddiscoe, Belton, Burgh Castle and Gorleston-on-Sea, Bungay, Fressingfield and Dennington - not many miles but mainly empty twisty roads. The evenings entertainment was the Quiz - way beyond me with an offering of only a few answers but the hall was crowded and the air very competitive.
My request for an early start was not met with huge enthusiasm but they played and we were gone by 0730 - punishment being brekkie at a Burger King en route! But we had a wonderful quiet ride across Suffolk and our first traffic was at Stow (I won't mention how 4 became 3+1 before gathering together again for coffee at Buckingham) . Farewell hugs at Cheltenham and the M5 was quietish so home in 9 hours. Many thanx to Sally, Brian and Graham for your company and being 'route masters' and to all those who worked so hard both before and during the weekend to make it a brilliant time for so many.
Thursday 17th August to Sunday 20th 2017
Event report for Lavender Rally 2017:
Over the years The Lavender Rally has earned it's nickname as The Hurricane Rally because of the camp sites' exposed position on The Hartland Peninsula in North Devon. So I nearly died laughing when the weather forecast on the Thursday before said there was a hurricane on it's way across the Atlantic. Hurricane Gert (or at least it's remains) were due to hit us on Friday and Saturday. Well sure enough - the Club event shelter got wrecked, and also another tent. It got a bit windy!
Loads of people turned up though. 31 of us! Must be a record for current events (except the Hippo - watch this space). What a great bunch of friends you are, thanks for keeping your senses of humour and laughing your way through. Good to see Robin back after his enforced absence, and Chris Rogers rallying again. Social Sec. Don booked for 1 night but stayed for 2. Debbie popped in with Mum but couldn't stay. I won't tell how many beers Phil had!
Loads of bikes joined me on the rideout on Saturday when we ended up doing 120 miles on Cornish and Devonian lanes to include an ice cream in lovely Crackington Haven, coffee and cake at The Oasis Bistro, Bude; and finally tea and stickies at Quince Honey Farm, South Molton before returning to site.
My youngest Grandson Sam joined us for the first time on his 125 and I must thank all riders for making him welcome and being tolerant of his somewhat underpowered bike. You did very well Sam. Good luck with your test. The BMW Club's future rests in the hands of you and your mates.
Some energetic types walked to Hartland Quay for lunch but as we were all stuffed from Michelle's and Eric's belly busting breakfasts not many lunches were required. Eric moved the cattle out of one of the barns for us and we lit the barbeque on Friday and Saturday nights for more food and beer. The shelter was very welcome, thanks Eric. I can't remember who won the quiz, but who cares, we all had a great time.
Thank you to all who helped in every way. You know who you are. I'll only name one person and that's my long suffering wife, Hilda. She's an angel most of the time, and at other times I wish she was! All you need is a field and some mates.
Thanks for coming. Jim
Tuesday 8th August 2017
Engine House Tuesday 8th.August, on another day of sunshine and showers a total of ten people made the trip to Callington for our brunch meet, it was mainly the usual faces that turn up at this event, they came from as far as Hayle in the west and Taunton in the east, eight came by bike and two by car, it was good to see Robin out and about again, and hopefully he will be joining the club again soon. That's it for now hope to see you all again soon Phil.
Thursday 3rd August 2017
Perhaps my “narrow, rough and dirty roads” put people off so only 3 of us enjoyed a very windy, sometimes wet but always interesting day.
Phil joined at Sourton and after a tea we enjoyed very muddy lanes to the log cabin. Ron arrived and after more tea and a breakfast we rode across an extremely windy moor to Woody Bay station. More tea and a downpour so on with the waterproofs – that worked, the weather then dried and we overheated in all the gear. Through the spectacular Valley of the Rocks and down the Porlock toll road with a stop for a photo. Back across the moor via narrow lanes to the tea room at Withypool.
After a vote we rode cross country to Winkleigh for a final tea and split up for home.
Thanks both for a very enjoyable day.
Wednesday 19th July 2017
A Wednesday rideout on the 19 th , incorporating 5 and 12 points of the SW Challenge, we met together at Whiddon Down Services, 4 in the Hog and Hedge Café and 3 by the petrol, but we teamed up and set off heading towards North Tawton, then left, traveling to Crediton, then taking the A3072 a popular biking road towards Tiverton, this road is often mentioned in the biking press as one of classic biking roads, all good so far all country roads, and strangely enough we even managed to stay together through multiple roundabouts of Tiverton, carrying on then to Dulverton where we met up with 8 th member Dave F S, the ones who hadn't already visited the site took their photos. Now getting very close to lunch time and after much discussion and a recommendation from Tim Pattemore we headed cross country to Torrington where after a short walk from the car park to the Pannier Market, there a nice little café with good prices and quality grub, a good find Tim. After lunch we then headed North for about 15 minutes and visited the Lovacott Chapel, number 12 of the Challenge, photos taken and back to Torrington where we started to lose riders as they decided which was the best routes home, Chris, Ron and Dave set off eastward and the rest southerly to Hatherleigh where we lost Giles, Tim and Alison, which just Phil and I travel on across to Holsworthy then down to Launceston, where Phil took the A30 and I took the A395, thanks to Phil for doing a great job of tail man and keeping the ride together, an enjoyable days ride, on cracking good roads, good company and nice food stops, what more do you want.
Sunday 16th July 2017
OK I must admit that I do like the ride up the Wye Valley past Tintern Abbey through the Forest of Dean and to Symonds Yat, even the M5 and M48 over the old Severn bridge is OK too.
This is probably the sixth time I have done this ride and the third time with the club, which is probably why only three of us took part it what was a 280 mile round trip for me.
But three was just fine as it meant I didn't have to run the drop off system and we had a bloody good day out.
First coffee at Taunton Dean, then a lunch or brunch at The White Monk cafe in Tintern, more coffee at The Rock in the log cabin cafe and finally tea and cake at the Old Station Cafe back in Tintern. We only had one shower between Staunton and Wyesham but all had cleared by the time we rode into Redbrook.
Thanks for coming
Fish and Chips at Coddy Shack near Looe on the 5 th proved a successful new venue, not one to visit in the holiday season as it would be too busy, Pete F gained the furthest travelled. The fish and chips lived up to the reputation, and will use again next year.
Thanks for coming Don.
Saturday 1st July 2017
Saturday ride out on the 1st To ride a large chunk of the A39 from Bridgewater to Newquay, Sue and I had an overnight in the town as this would be a long day, so starting fresh seemed a good idea, the starting point was the Morisson's Supermarket in town, so far the only person who showed interest was Dave Fox Spencer and he wanted to meet at Willington, so at 10.00 we set off to meet Dave. On stopping at Willington, I check my phone to find Dave T and Ian were waiting in Morrinsons, after giving instructions as to where to find us the 4 set off to ride the A39.
I asked Dave F S if he would lead off as he knew the area better, to find a coffee stop, off we went, headed for Minehead then to Lynton taking on the infamous Porlock Hill, on again still no coffee then I remember Dave is a long distance traveller, now heading towards Barnstaple we stop at the Old Station House at Blackmoor Gate for lunch. In the meantime Dave T's rear indicator had decided to part company with the rest of the bike and he felt he needed get to Ocean to obtain a new one so parted company after lunch.
The remaining group now headed towards Bude where had our stop at the tea rooms on the canal side, a popular biking haunt, where we did come across the bikers that rushed past us on the route, as time was taking control, now we went our separate ways and we had different routes homeward, so we didn't finish it to Newquay, may be another time. Thanks to everyone who did come along for an enjoyable ride.
Newton Abbot racecourse
Helen Beer reports
I was really privileged today to attend Newton Abbot and see the White Helmets Display and enjoy the company of so many classic bike enthusiasts. It was a really special day out .__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________-
Saturday 24th June 2017
Thursday 15th to Sunday 18th June 2017
For this year's Slimbridge Rally we decided to move the date to June, as in August the site was just getting far to busy for our needs and it turned out to be a good decision as the weather was glorious, if anything too hot to do very much. Debbie and myself arrived on the Thursday as did a few of the others. On the Friday morning three of us, Dave Charlton, Debbie and myself went for a ride to Minchinhampton for a brunch breakfast and a walk on the common, then on to the viewing point at the top of the Air Balloon Hill before returning to the site via Gloucester as the M5 was closed Southbound, as I heard later that a lorry had lost it's load.
There was twenty seven people that came, seven in camper vans of one size or another and all the rest came by bike and even two outfits loaded with all of the home comforts you could want. On the Saturday ten people on six bikes and one trike set off on the ride out, but for the first time ever we lost Jim in the first half hour as he thought we had not left the site yet, and all the time we had been sat outside the site entrance waiting for him. After waiting for ten minutes we decided to carry on. Our first stop was just outside of Monmouth at a National Trust place called The Kymin which is at the top of a hill with a great view of Monmouth and the surrounding area. After a few photos it was on to Raglan with a fuel stop,that was after we fought our way through the traffic in Monmouth. Once we had passed through Raglan we carried on untill we came to the B4598 and found our lunch stop a bikers cafe called the Steel Horse Cafe.We all had some lunch inside as it was cooler than outside.
After lunch we made our way back to Chepstow on some very nice roads, and then over the old Severn Bridge and picked up the A38 back to the site. Most of us stayed on site in the evening enjoying the lovely weather and having a well earned drink, and a few went to the pub first. On Sunday morning most of us headed for home, all but two couples that decided to stay a extra night. It was a very good weekend, and we would like to thank everyone that came and made it so enjoyable and Dave for acting as sweeper on the rideout. Hope to see you all again soon.
Thanks to you all. Debbie and Phil.
Tues 13th June 2017
On my first trip to the Engine House for three months, it was a very nice sunny day and a total of 18 made the trip, a few of who I had not seen for a long time, one sidecar one car and the rest on bike's. We all sat inside although it would have been very nice to sit outside, I think most people had something to eat and drink and a good natter, my only problem is someone left without paying for two coffees and as I was the last one to pay on that table it cost me £4-00 extra, and this is not the first time this has happened so whoever the one or two people are you now owe me, it is partly the Engine Houses fault as they will not take your money when they order but they don't care as long as someone pays, and when you have been sat chatting for a hour or two it is easy to forget that you haven't paid rant over. That's all for now hope to see you all soon regards Phil.
Section member Helen Beer writes....
I have to confess to being a little nervous as I rocked up in the layby at 0630..... I'd agreed to go away with 19 folk I hardly knew. Some would look at this as total madness but if we are all motorcyclists then it would be fine..... I repeatedly told myself. I started to wonder if I was lurking in the wrong layby but I was just early and the others gradually arrived and we set off to Fleet Services. I soon settled down - this lot were great - courteous riding with each other and to other road users. By my first holiday coffee I was very happy with my new riding gang. Maidstone services to gather some more and on to the tunnel.
Hot sunshine as we rode across France into Belgium. Antwerp was our first overnight stop and I would be delighted if I never went there again..... the traffic was awful - huge lorries mainly but with good fortune and a touch of magic we managed to filter and gather safely at the Ibis Hotel in the centre of town. Tony, our leader, is a very experienced guide and was like a Mother Hen with his chics..... checking we were all together and pulling over where safe. Dinner outside enjoying the warm summer evening with plenty of noisy banter. The following morning there was time to see the Cathedral while a new tyre was sourced for one of the group. This gang were mainly very experienced travellers and quietly adjusted their agenda and sorted any problems. No dramas.
Escaping Antwerp, where the traffic chaos was worse than yesterday, we headed to Rotterdam. Another Ibis by a canal for cold drinks in the sun before dinner on the deck of the V11 - a boat built in Dartmouth in 1951. One lady on the floor - she maintained she missed the seat but possibly the result of too many G & T's...... no damage and time for photographic evidence before assisting. An after dinner stroll then back to the hotel to watch the barmaid massaging the single men and bets were placed to see who would get lucky...
Saturday started at a leisurely pace - time to explore the local markets. The displays of fresh fruits and flowers were stunning - I was just tasting the Dragon Fruit when Carol informed me it looked like frog spawn - lovely! As we sat outside having coffee the local security police stopped by to warn us to keep all valuables out of sight (Brits abroad stand out a mile!). Obviously there was an unsocial element around. Fine Dining included various salad pots eaten on the pavement in the sun followed by a nostalgic trip to C & A. We then had to have a tour of the CUbe Houses - the sign said you had to be special to live there and that was so true. A strange sensation - plenty of head ducking but a feeling of spaciousness due to plenty of natural light and minimalist design. Some of the lads visited the Keringhuis Lock and enjoyed this magnificent feat of engineering. An evening at the Italian where we raised the noise levels and then back for Jazz Night in the hotel.
Sunday and off to Delft by train. Stroll through the city and Delft Pottery Tour which was fab and then we were collected by a Canal Boat (how do the lads do it?) for a Tour before lunch in the main square listening to a Beatles Tribute Band. The evening saw the group split as it was hard to find somewhere for 20 - walking deep into the centre smelling heavy of something you just don't get in Budleigh!
Early start on Monday for Amsterdam - all on the train were trying to tick the box of seeing windmills - locals assisting us! A walk round the city was very educational ..... canals, old houses and the red light district where girls were selling themselves. We ventured into a Museum of Prostitution where the story unfolded of how this line of business became legalised giving the girls protection along with paying their taxes. Some visited the Heineken Factory. Another canal trip in the sunshine and then back to the hotel for dinner and presentations to our tour leader and birthday cake for one of the lads.
Someone stole the sunshine on Tues so various plans were made and I linked up with two of the lads for a mystery ride...... think it was a mystery to the leader too but all very relaxed and I fell into normal holiday mode - my plan is to keep up - simples! We headed for the Dams via Rozenburg where we were the first tourists in a local cafe..... they made us very welcome although their English was limited and our Dutch non existent. They had never put a bacon sarnie through their till and they served buttered toast with side salad. We stopped to admire a windmill and then had a ferry crossing to some lovely scenery and very challenging winds. My little bike with her big metal panniers acting as sails ended up on the wrong side of the road but I managed to get her back before the oncoming traffic became an issue. The car behind was considerate and gave me plenty of room - guess I was providing good entertainment.. We stopped to admire a plane - known as the Widow Maker due to its small wings..... one of the lads thought it was going to be a museum but it turned out to be a scrap yard.... they know how to treat a girl! There was payback in mickey taking when he went to pay for his fuel and hadn't taken the pump number - he told the girl it was the red bike..... no wonder she looked confused - they were all red. I was glad to get back into the city (don't say that often) where the buildings provided respite from the winds and over celebratory drinks for arriving safely back I was told I was officially one of the lads in this gang now - I took it as a compliment! Our last dinner altogether as 3 lads were off on an adventure to Iceland. We dined on a floating hotel and the laughter just got louder and louder..... at one point a lad asked for Tena for Men - the tears were almost rolling down his legs. It was all to do with sharing a cheeseboard and you really had to be there to appreciate it. The music was good accompanied by drunken swaying.
Wednesday and we waved off the lads and 3 girls were heading home by train - one was poorly and the other two escorted her safely back ... again quiet efficiency - no drama just practical tlc. The remaining bikes split into two groups and after a wild, wet and windy start our gang moved swiftly on for lunch at Jabbeke and were in Dunkirk by mid afternoon for a stroll around and all gathered for dinner in a lovely restaurant.
Thursday and two groups headed for the tunnel - each getting on earlier trains and all landing safe and sound. Many thanx for a fantastic week - your company was brilliant - a kind, caring crowd who all got on well together, mucked in and certainly made the most of the break. Looking forward to next year!
The weather was warm and sunny, a lovely evening as lots of people arrived to enjoy their fish and chips and have a natter in the evening sunshine. Yeah, I can tell fibs aswell, just like the Politicians. The weather was more like November, cold wet and windy. Pete Frost and Keith Davis were mad enough to arrive on their bike, Grandma and Grandad went in the car. We eat our fish and chips sitting in the bus shelter out of the wind etc, watched by 2 or 3 very damp seagulls. Gave Keith the £10 for furthest travelled and we all headed home to get warm. Will find somewhere warmer for next time. How about the south of France?
Chris Rogers writes:
What a rideout you missed! I nearly did as well. Despite darkening skies at home I grabbed just my summer jacket and on the way to the rendezvous at Phil and Debbie's in St Austell got soaked to the skin. So persistent was the rain I contemplated ducking out, but the thought of bagging four Peninsula Challenge points and the promise of a bacon bap thankfully kept me going.
On arrival the rain had stopped but I was the only one who turned up. That didn't faze Phil, so at 10.30 it was two identical, turn-of-the-millennium, silver R1150RS bikes that set out for St Mawes Castle. Phil has encyclopaedic knowledge of Cornwall and I soon realised he had selected the biking roads the tourists ignore when they take the straight line to the beach. Past Penzance into the far wild West of Cornwall and the cliffs where only America beckons. Ballowall Barrow could easily be missed but Phil had been before so it was easily bagged. On to Cape Cornwall and heading northwards past Geevor Tine Mine, now a musem but where in 1986, when it was still working, I went a mile underground filming a documentary on tin mining and realised what hard manual work looked like.
The Hell's Mouth cafe offered tea, sandwiches and cake for lunch, sitting in sunshine watching clouds depart the blue sky. Walk to the cliff edge and feel the apprehension, looking at the sheer drop, and if you Google " Massive Cornwall rockfall captured on video", see why you should be fearful. On to Thor Motorcycles near Bodmin, the third point and worth a return visit on a weekday, when they're open.
Finally a trail north to the mythical North coast and a welcome cuppa at The Arthurian Centre, all four points visited and recorded. I arrive home having done 275 miles door-to-door, mainly in unexpected blue sky and sunshine. It was a special day, discovering Cornwall's hidden roads and with the flavour of an individual guided tour. Many thanks Phil, and before I forget, to Debbie too, because the bacon bap was magnificent!
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