So what have we been up to during the Spring of 2016? The below is a sample of what we have done..
On March 6th I led a ride planning to go to Adams Cafe above Haverhill. Unfortunately for me I put my nice, almost new, bike in a ditch and fractured my knee quite badly. It was my fault as I allowed my attention to switch off on some corners and learnt a nasty lesson in paying attention at all times. I got great help and support from club members who were with me. On 13th March Phil led a ride to Maldon and then over the Orwell Bridge to Suffolk for a Sunday roast.
On 27th March five members of the club attended the Southend Shakedown. Good weather, lots of noisy bikes and a good Honda stand, together with food of course, made the day enjoyable.
On 10th April Phil led of his famous ‘mystery’ tours which turned out to be to Bewl Water, a man made lake and reservoir. Phil had helped make this in 1971 (and the water is still in it!). Hastings was then visited for lunch followed by a finish at the Tea Hut in High Beech. Eight members took part.
On 17th April Grant and five other members went to the Ace Cafe on London’s North Circular Road for some grub. It is Grant who can be seen enjoying his food, no surprise there! A pleasant route home was taken.
On 1st May eight members met at the Bikers Tea Hut at High Beech and had a bite to eat. They then proceeded on a pleasant route to Finchingfield for more food, picking up Darren, a new member, on the way. The weather was good and apparently the riding was great.
On 8th May Phil arranged a meet at Brentwood services for some breakfast and then took the crew out on some country lanes. There was rather a lot of traffic. They met Mandy and went to Harwich where lunch was enjoyed at the Pier Cafe. Walton for ice cream was the next destination. This time there was little traffic and nice roads leading to the seaside.
On 29th May Phil met Graham, Mandy and Richard and went down to Kent. A visit was made to Kent motorcycles for some good food and a peruse at the goodies on offer. A black CBX 110 caught Phil’s roving eye.... Folkestone hartbour was visited for a seafood lunch and further riding followed before a return to Essex...
So if you love your riding and your food, NLHOC is a good place to be!
On 3rd-5th June a commendably large contingent of the club left for a jaunt to the Isle of Wight. This was the third year in a row that we had gone. We left in various groups and, as usual, some of us found ourselves having to press on a bit to make our booked ferry time. Here some of can be seen relaxing, the ferry was late!
A pleasant little ride took us to Rookley Park where we all went to our various chalets. We had used Rookley before and it was nice to be back. We all later reconvened in the bar area where minibuses took us out for a great meal at The Dairyman’s Daughter Pub.
The next day was warm and sunny and we visited Ventnor, Blackgang where we went to a bikers tea hut and Freshwater Cove. Some time spent at The Needles finished the days riding.
That evening we again used minibuses to take us out to the Fighting Cock Pub for more food and drink.
The next day we all split up and recrossed the Solent at various times. Some of us did a minitour behind Dave Rivett and visited some good viewpoints, finishing at Cowes Harbour, before the last of us headed for home
A great trip involving 16 bikes and 23 members. Thanks to Dave and Grant for the work they put in. It was nice to have Ken, Brenda and Mick Kalsey from other branches join us.
On 12th June,on a wet but warm summer's day eight members took a spin up to visit Krazy Horse in Bury St Edmunds. There is some good stuff to see there and a café where we had lunch. Afterwards we went to Finchingfield for an afternoon tea/coffee before heading for home. We all had a good chat and enjoyed the day, despite the fact that the satnav route did not turn out to be that good, not unless you liked green lanes and farm tracks, not ideal when wet. Still, we got to see some cruisers and custom renovations. A good day out.
On 19th June 9 members met at the Brentwood services A12 junction 28 M25 , Me , Graham , Grant , Kevin and Sarahe , John , Dave luigi , Dave plumb , tall Richard , I was a little late my apologies to all . We proceeded over the Dartford bridge to Kent , travelled down the A2 then turned off before the M2 down toward Hoo , went through the Medway tunnel to Gillingham through the Medway towns and all the traffic lights through to Faversham and Sittingbourne then back out onto the A2 at the end of the M2 and went on to Herne bay to a bikers meet on the sea front . There we had lunch and refreshments and went on to Reculver towers which is the remains of a Roman church . We then went through some country lanes to Canterbury and rode around the Cathedral then back onto the A2 M2 stopped at the services for a refreshment and fuel for me , we then said our good buys and all went for Essex and home . I thoroughly enjoyed the day and especially the people who joined me a big thank you to you all . I took on board the comment about my drop off system or more the lack of it and will work harder to please next time , I've a good ride out planned next and it will be north with a great lunch on the way . Many thanks Phil Sheward
On 3rd July four members visited The Ace Café where the Honda Day was taking place. Other members were met there, including Graham who was on the Owner's Club stand. Lazy hours were spent talking, people watching and looking at bikes. 'I used to have one of those!' was said more than once. Naturally we had some food as well. Congratulations to Roland and Mike O'Sullivan who had been there before us after completing the ACU National Rally. A nice relaxed day out...
On Saturday 16th July Steve J, Mark and myself visited the National Bikesafe Show at Rockingham. It was a lovely day out and there was lots to see and do. We met Mike Bonner and Graham, who was on the HOC Stand, while there. I did the Bikesafe ride with Police Instructions and also did the trackday experience. It was great fun. If only my leathers had not shrunk in the cupboard!
On 30th July a group of riders met at Birchanger Services on the M11 and went to Barton Mills for a bit of brekky. Next stop was the Open day at Lings where various Honda's and Triumph's were road tested. The new Africa Twin made a good impression and I took a spin on a VFR1200 which I thought was very nice indeed. We indulged in the available BBQ before joining a ride out to the interesting David Silver museum, featuring many fine old Hondas. Nice weather and a good day all round.
On 7th August seven riders went to the Cutters Arms in Ely for a nice bit of food by the riverside. Two other members met us there. We then went for a lovely ride around the Fens, using mainly the B1101 and A1101. After afternoon tea at Barton Mills we accidentally hit some lovely roads taking us South through Barrow before a last stop at Braintree. A nice day out. No Satnavs were used in the making of this route! A good turnout with nice weather, company and roads.
On 14th August a strong contingent of the Branch's finest had a nice run through some countryside in Essex, Herts and Beds. Tea and scones were taken near Baldock. A lovely day was wrapped up by a generous BBQ at Steve Jones' abode in Waltham Abbey. Thanks to Steve, Mark, Gloria and Sue for the ride and grub. Weather stayed nice as well.
North London Trip to Scotland..
A proficient and dedicated team of 14 bikers bravely elected to join the Branch on week long trip to Scotland. The planned route was based on the Scottish 500 tourist route but with one main base in Strathpeffer, near Inverness, to avoid the problems in booking too many places for such a well sized group. Some of us went home even more well sized! Good food and a wee dram were the main causes!
We met up as a complete group on day 2 in Carlisle and used the A7 and B709 before heading on the motorway past Glasgow. An interesting tea stop was made en route at the Buddhist Centre in Eskdalemuir where some quite reflection was enjoyed with a cup of tea. After Dumbarton we felt we were properly on the trip and enjoyed the road past Loch Lomond and then onto some lovely mountain roads to Portsonachan Hotel . A nice place, but with some pesky midges about.
The next day was relatively short and after a stop at the Green Welly Shop at Tyndrum we used the A82 through the magnificient Glencoe Valley, then past Fort William and to a stop at Spean Bridge where a bit of dinner was taken. We had a stop at the Commando Memorial nearby before passing over the top of Loch Ness and onto the Highland Hotel in Strathpeffer.
We were now on the route proper and decided to do the North West corner first. Marvellous roads and weather were now a feature all the time in Scotland, until we headed back on the Friday. The roads and scenery were stunning, with very little traffic. We headed up to Durness via Ullapool and onto Tongue for lunch at Weavers Cafe. We used the superb A836 to get back to our Hotel, going via Lairg and Bonar Bridge. (For some reason one of our group thought that name was funny!)
The next day we used the same route North up via Tongue and then went across to John O’Groats. Lovely day which was longer than I thought it would be. We arrived back at our Hotel tired but content at about 6pm
The last day proper was probably the very best as we went South West to do the Pass of the Cattle towards Applecross. The roads and views were unsurpassed. We stopped at a nice cafe just before the pass to go over it fresh. It was like being in the Alps! Okay, not quite as high. The coast road North from Applecross was superb and we had a nice lunch at Nanny’s cafe in Shieldag. Not sure who’s nanny it was though. At Kinlochlewe we turned left for a loop on the superb A832, before getting back on the A835.
On the Friday we split up to make our own way home, with our own stops arranged and some of us experienced our first heavy rain of the trip on the dismal A9 south of Inverness.
It was a very successful trip and I am sure the Branch will be doing something just as good next summer.
On 18th September Phil led a ride, a mystery trip into Kent. Six members met at Brentwood Services and then went to Kent Honda at Canterbury. Mandy, Richard, Lance, Luigi (Dave) and Paul joined the adventure. They had a browse around the Honda offerings and a coffee, apart from Paul Lewis who had a full blown breakfast nearly as big as his bike. They then carried on to Dover and drove past the port and sea front then onto Folkestone via Capel Le Fern. They had a lovely sea food lunch at a bustling venue there with music everywhere before heading to Rye harbour on the A249 through Hythe, Dimchurch and Camber Sands. After a licky ice cream they went to Hastings and then picked up the A21 homebound. Stopped for a coffee, apart from Paul and Dave, who headed straight home. It was a great day with good weather and between 200-250 miles was covered with no one getting lost! A very enjoyable day indeed.
On 25th Phil led yet another ride! He was joined by Richard and Grant, meeting at the A12 Brentwood Services. They went to the ‘Burnham Bends’ through the lanes and had breakfast at Burnham on Crouch. They then went to Battlesbridge bike and car show and had a great day. Local, brilliant and recommended for next year.
On 2nd October six bikes met near Chelmsford and went to the Copdock Bike Show near Ipswich. It was a bit dull driving up the A12, but the weather was fine and there was a lot to do and see at the show. Very many bikes were there. Afterwards Phil led a nice ride to Walton on Naze where afternoon tea was taken on the sea cliffs beneath the Naze Tower before we headed home. Lovely weather for October!
On 9th October Steve, that’s me!, led a great rideout into Herts and Cambs. Fourteen machines and a motley crew of riders took part! The weather was fine and a lovely route took us to Bury Lane Farm shop for a nice bit of lunch. Afterwards we did a circular route, hitting some of the great roads in the Fens, before partaking in afternoon tea at Grafham Water. It was a great day. Dave Taylor took us on a nice route back to the A10 from which we all split off at various points to get home. Almost 200 miles was covered. Great company.
On 23rd October Graham suggested and led a ride up to the Super Sausage biker’s cafe on the A5 near Milton Keynes. The weather was fair and five of us were on a fairly sedate ride there when Graham came off at lowish speed on a bend. He was relatively unscathed and his bike was rideable so he bravely carried on regardless! We stopped on way at a nice Garden Centre tea room off the A507. There we found out that Dave P had meant to be with us but had put diesel in his motorbike! What next, I hear you say.. Anyway, on we carried and had a pleasant ride to lunch where we met Dave who had managed to get home and change bikes. Not easily put off us Honda club members! The food was good and afterwards we rode home by a fairly direct route down the A5. Not an auspicious day. Hey Ho!
On 6th November Phil met Richard and myself (Steve) at Brentwood Services. It was a nice fresh day and we had a pleasant ride to Mersea Island where we had a nice bit of lunch by the seafront. I had to head home after lunch, but the other two hardier lads carried on, in the face of deteriorating weather, going to Walton for afternoon tea. Thanks Phil!
13th November was remembrance day and six riders met up at Birchanger Services for the annual trip to Duxford aerodrome. After paying our respects, a coffee and a nice chat with friends, a pleasant ride took us to Bury Lane Farm shop near Roydon for a nice bit of lunch. The food is good there! Afterwards a ride along the A505 and A507 saw us heading back down Souf and back home. A good day.
Sunday 27th was fresh but dry and bright and eight bikes and riders went for a very pleasant ride to Wally's Shed near Sudbury. After a nice lunch and chat we rode through Claire, Cavendish and Steeple Bumstead to Finchingfield where four of us stayed and had afternoon tea and cake. Very nice. Mark C bought along a friend Oggy, who rode with us for the first time and hopefully will become a club member.
On 4th December Steve, Richard and Dave L had a nice run out to Southend for fish and chips. Return route was on minor roads above the A127. Nice and fresh! Return route will be good in summer..
December 11th turned out to be unexpectedly sunny and pleasant so four of us joined Phil on one of his 'mystery rides'. From Brentwood services we headed east and skirted Burnham before a nice cuppa on the seafront at Maldon, chatting and absorbing the sun. Lunch was taken at West Mersea before we all headed for home after a very pleasant day.
Phil led another ride on 18th... Three of us went to Folkestone via Kent Motorcycles and Dover. Tasted some very nice seafood in the harbour area before a run on some nice coastal and country roads. Headed for home after a final cuppa at Maidstone. Did about 200 miles, a bit chilly!
On Friday 6th January 17 attended Romford Dogs for a good night of eating, drinking and gambling. It was good fun, though no one came away in profit this time.
Sunday 8th January was our traditional run to Burnham on Crouch. We were joined by Kent Branch and 16 bikes took part, a great number for the time of year, though it was a mild day. A roundabout route took us from Brentwood Services to Burnham for a good lunch, followed by a run to the seafront at Maldon for afternoon tea. A good day out and we look forward to meeting up with Kent branch later in the year.
Thursday 19th we had a very successful quiz night at the Royal Oak, ably organised and compered by the dashing Steve Jones. Brains provided by winners Paul, Phil and Roland, good effort from winners of wooden spoon Sarahe and Kevin! Thanks Steve!
Sunday 22nd January was rather cold but sunny and bright. So four of us met at Brentwood Services and had a nice run to Southend for fish and chips. Roland, Mandy, Mike O' and myself, Steve. It was a pleasant day out.
On 19th February Phil led six other riders on a trip towards Ipswich and then through Rendlesham Forest. The ride went on to Orford Harbour for coffee before returning through the forest.
On 26th February Steve led 7 members through a lovely winding countryside route to Krazy Horse at Bury St Edmunds for lunch. Nice food and plenty to see there and we were met by Paul who joined us. Afterwards we continued to Finchingfield for tea and cakes and more chat before heading home. Nice weather and a good day out.