Well ! I thought this wasn’t going to happen because of snow and high winds. That all changed within a day or two and we awoke to no frost and no salt as the previous weeks rain had given the roads a wash. A few damp roads due to wash off and a few puddles to cope with, not cold either. Twenty one riders turned up but twenty three people if you count two passengers.
Disappointingly Steve Back was absent as all eyes would have been upon him to see if he could complete a ride. We had to wait a little while to find out who was going to replace him. I was pleased to see the Greeves Twin and BSA C12 of Julian and Stuart Strauss respectively. Unfortunately the Greeves seemed to be reluctant to start. A great way to warm up before a cool ride is to have a bike that won’t start but then it did. Both the Strauss’s went missing before the coffee stop, I believe it was the C12 that went home for an early bath. Another casualty along the way was Dave Smith’s Moto Guzzi 1000. The ignition switch went automatic and switched the bike off when it thought fit, causing some involuntary stops. Dave had got a cure for this, a bit of key wriggling, jobs a good’n but it didn’t stop him going home early. There weren’t any digs about Italian electrics ?
Into West View Cafe for our coffee stop, they did well to receive us en masse. I felt sorry for the old couple by the door who no doubt were there for a quiet coffee and cake. Now surrounded by Septuagenarian motorcyclist. On chatting to them they were ok and wanted to know where we were from and where we were going. Mentioning that we always throw a money in a hat for charity on our rides makes us look like angels ??? Mark and Karen on their side valve Norton and BSA left us here to visit Battlesbridge Bike museum. ( Mark famously put his Norton in the ditch last year)
The day before the ride I dug out my old Velocette which hadn’t been started since September last year, it started first kick. What’s the chances of that ? The morning of the ride it wouldn’t start at all until I’d drained the sump. There after started when it was convinced I was exhausted. I was glad to see Paul Weston’s Velo was giving him the same grief. After much kicking I could see he was ready to beat it with a stick. With only one kick left in him the cheers went up when it started. He never appeared at the lunch , rumour has it he went off to buy a Honda.
With more winding miles along quiet roads we arrived at The Mill Hotel, Langford. By then we were down to 12 as some had returned home for family duties. A very good lunch was had and I’d recommend it to anyone to give it a try. As usual, thanks to Paul and Pauline for their efforts and to Jim Legg for back marking.
It wouldn’t be right to mention those who got their bikes ‘ flat out ‘ along the straight mile by Hanningfield reservoir. The oldest bikes were 1940’s and two youngsters, Yamaha and a Kawasaki.
I’d add here a welcome to Les who’d left it for years before he came riding with us. He said he thoroughly enjoyed the comradery and light heartedness of it all. Hopefully he will abandoned his Kawasaki for his Ariel Square Four next time ?
Gary from the Ipswich section rode down from Campsey Ash in Suffolk to join us. Setting out from home early in the morning on his 1947 BSA 500 he had a cold journey down the A12 and was the first one at Writtle. He then completed the ride and rode home again. He probably covered 200 miles that day. He didn’t think it was worth bringing the car and trailer.