On 19th March fourteen bikes were involved in a pleasant run up the A5 to the Super Sausage Bikers café near Towcester. Some good food and conversation took place. Afterwards we used the lovely A413 to get to Aylesbury, via Buckingam before heading back along the A41. Most of us finished at the Bikers Tea Hut in Epping Forest. It was a great day out. Unfortunately we had a breakdown and a puncture but both people got home fairly promptly. Some of the sausages were rather LARGE! But tasty..
On 26th March the redoubtable Phil led a great and brisk ride to Harwich for lunch at the Pier Café. The cross country route was good, the weather good and the company splendid. Apart from the nine who did the complete route two others joined us for a bit of the ride. Phil is the slim one eating his second ice cream in the middle of the right hand picture below. Thank you Phil!
On 2nd April nine of the clubs finest were joined by Kevin, a guest, for a terrific run into the Fens. The B1101 and A1101 and any roads leading off can be highly recommended. A fine lunch was taken at the Ambience Café in St Neots and afternoon tea was taken at Barton Mills. We got there fairly late so finished there and headed for home down the M11. A great day in all respects.
On 9th April Graham lead a pleasant ride to the Ride it Right show at Guildford. It was a bit quiet there really. We met Mike Bonner there and then went to Motolegends shop just outside Guildford. There was some nice stuff there and a bit of money was spent. We were all very surprised when Gary did not buy another jacket. Really! Did not! But it was a close thing. Last stop was Ryka's Café at Box Hill. A nice day with friends. We split up once on the M25 back and Graham had a breakdown! His bike that is. But fortunately he did not have to wait long for recovery.
After a meet at Brentwood 12 bikes, ably led by Phil, went to West Mersea for a pleasant bit of lunch. The route involved the Burnham ‘Bends’ and a tea stop at Maldon on the seafront. A nice day but a lot of traffic about. Return was through Braintree and Dunmow with a final stop at the tea hut High Beech, for those that had not ventured homeward earlier. No one got lost! Thank you Phil and Richard for back marking.
Fourteen of the clubs finest had a great four days on a trip to the Ardennes in Belgium at the end of April. The weather was good to us and the roads were brilliant, with lots of other bikes on the roads. Even some oddballs on KTM's! We stayed at a nice hotel and enjoyed great food. The beer there is strong and the wine is good. I do feel that a few more should have followed my example and drunk a bit less! We drove at moderate speed, I believe, though some did mention they had to rush to keep up. Apart from the less well travelled drinking too much we had few problems; Oggy had problems with a chain that was out of adjustment and we had a loss of a rider within half an hour of leaving Calais which lost us about an hour before we managed to regroup for lunch at Merville. We covered about 1,000 miles in all. The trip was so good we may well go again next year. Some highlights were Steve's quiet reserve and calm,(see photo), La Roche en Ardennes, Phil for his generosity and charm and all them fabulous roads! Nice to be joined by Oggy, Andrew and Duncan, who we hope to see more of. Mick came all the way down from Leeds. Good show monsieurs et Madammes.
On 7th May 12 riders rode some fine rural roads in Essex and Suffolk and tried a new (for most of us) eatery on the A143 at Stradishall. Called Cafe 33, it was very pleasant and with good food. We continued up towards Newmarket before heading back via Saffron Walden, Thaxted and a tea stop at Finchingfield. Another good day out.
14th May; About 15 members of the club went to the MCN Peterborough bike show and most of us had a great day out. Five went by bike from Birchanger Services and enjoyed a good route back, as recommended in MCN. We met Graham at the well presented HOC Stand. I got a test ride on a Ducati, it was nice but was not one of the bigger ones I had hoped to try.
On 21st May Phil led a run going to Folkestone and then along the coast to Hastings. Visiting the Rock and Nore restaurant in Hastings, which was apparently very good.
On 29th May Phil led a ride to the Margate Meltdown. A traditional run on the bank holiday Monday. Deal was also visited. A warm welcome to John and Marina who joined us for the first time!
May 25th - 28th Dave Taylor organised and led a brilliant trip to Wales. We stayed at Severn Farm B&B which was excellent and within walking distance of pubs and restaurants in Welshpool ... which we might have just popped into! The weather was generally good and the roads were fantastic. Eleven people were involved and I (Steve) helped Dave with some leading. There was a bit of traffic at times but this gave opportunities for some nice overtaking. Well that's what I called it! Highlights were the roads x10, the company, where we stayed, Bala, Barmouth, Horseshoe pass, around Snowdon and Gary wondering whether to eat or make music on his baquette. Plus nice cafes and good grub. The A483 south of Newtown is one of the best roads ever! Ride mag provided some good routes. Again next year please!
On Sunday 4th June Phil led a group of five around the bend!, the Burnham Bends! Coffee was taken at Maldon sea front followed by lunch at the Tudor Restaurant at Point Clear near Brightlingsea. It was very good there apparently and like a tardis inside. We need a new stop! They then went to The Naze for a final break. A welcome to Jack who rode with us for the first time. Thanks Phil,
On 11th June Steve led a great ride, as one expects!, up through Newmarket and into Thetford Forest. A good lunch was had at Brown's Kitchen at Mundford. Return was via Stowmarket and Sudbury with an afternoon stop at Lavendon. The weather was great and so were the roads. The route and lunch stop were taken from Ride magazine. For once my satnav custom route got it all right!
On a very warm day on 18th June Steve led a great ride towards the outskirts of the Fens. The best road was probably the fine B660 going towards Kimbolton. Eight of us went and we had a fine lunch at Bury Lane farm shop and afternoon tea at picturesque Grafham Water. Dave Taylor led the last stretch back. A welcome to Luke, who joined us on his first ride with us.
Wednesday 21st June 7 members went to the annual Meldreth Bike Show near Royston. It was a very well attended event with plenty to see. A very warm evening made for a nice ride there and back.
On 25th June Graham led 6 branch members to the HOC Classic Show at David Silver's at Leiston. Graham won a certificate for his rather nice Honda 750. Congrats!
16th July 12 bikes went to Krazy Horse in Bury St Edmunds for a nice bit of lunch. Thay have a good café there and there is plenty to see in the way of bikes, customs and high end V Twins primarily. On way there we had coffee in Finchingfield, one of our regular haunts. Great roads and a nice bit of rain coming home.
On 23rd July Graham was joined by four others on a run to meet with the North Downs Group for a BBQ they were hosting. Nice to meet other groups!
On 30th July we had a great run to Snape Maltings for lunch, going through some great Essex and Suffolk country roads. On way we stopped in Lavenham for coffee, a nice place recommended by ride magazine, Nini's Café. Final stop at Braintree McDonalds. Worth doing again.
On 6th August Dave Taylor led 7 bikes on a fine run to the Cotswolds. Coffee was taken at Benson by the river Thames followed by lunch at the 'Inn for all Seasons' near Burford. Return via Chipping Norton, Heyford and Bicester.
On 13th August Gary led five other bikes on a fine jaunt to the Brackley show where we met other members and saw the fine Honda Club stand. The highlight was the old bikes racing round an oval circuit in the Town. The event gets better every year!
On 20th we had our branch BBQ. Steve planned and led a lovely ride into Hertfordshire with a nice teabreak stop. We then we went to Steve and Gloria's where they hosted a lovely BBQ. About 15 bikes and twenty people were involved and the weather stayed nice. Rain came just after the finish! A great day. Pictured is their dog 'Dolly' wondering when she gets her spare ribs!
Dan led a great ride to Hunstanton on 3rd September. It was quite a long day. Fine roads and a nice lunch at the Lighthouse café were a feature. The roads through the Fens and the A1065 are really good. This was Dan's first lead and we look forward to many more!
The Branch had a very pleasant trip to Ireland 10th - 15th September. We stayed in a great hotel in Monaghan and used this as a base for visits to Carlingford on the east coast, a part of Donegal and also the Giants Causeway and Joey Dunlop's bar in Antrim. Ten people went and the trip was a success despite poor weather. One of our group also had a fairly nasty accident on our last full day, but is making a good recovery. We would like to go again and hope for better weather as the Donegal area, in particular, looked very promising.
On 24th September 12 of us attended North Weald Airfield where Roland presented a cheque to the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance. Mainly through his efforts £1,000 had been collected from selling wristbands at events. There followed a nice run to West Mersea on a fine day. Mike the Trike can be seen blessing us all in the picture...
On 15th October Mike O'Sullivan led a ride to Stratford upon Avon, he had been promising this ride all summer and the forecast of an Indian Summer day swayed him. 10 met at South Mimms and used the M25 and A41 to Aylesbury. The Ducati dealer past there was closed so they went to the boatyard café at Heyford where tea, coffee and cake were most welcome. Some went home from there while the rest carried on through Chipping Norton and Moreton on Marsh. On the A44 at Bourton on the Hill a Range Rover in front braked suddenly as a car reversed into the road ahead. There was no driver! The driver appeared unconcerned at the carnage he had almost caused. The B4632 took them into Stratford and lunch was taken at The Golden Bee, a Wetherspoons Pub. Home was via Banbury, Brackley and Buckingham. A stop on services on the A41 finished the pleasant day.
No run was planned for Sunday 22nd October, but a fortuitous change in the weather saw ten members turn up at the clubhouse for a late decided run. The weather remained good and we went to Colchester to visit the opposition at Kawasaki. They were shut! We then headed by minor roads to Sible Heddingham where we had a great lunch in a new, for us, café. A lovely run through Finchingfield and onto Dunmow followed, where we split up. Four of us had a nice coffee stop at a café in High Roding on the final run home.
Four members travelled up together to the Main HOC AGM at the National Motorcycle museum, Solihull, 29th October. Paul, Roland, Mick O' and myself. Graham was on the main desk and Mike Bonner and Mick K were met there. An interesting Meeting, but a cold ride for the last hour home!
I have been away and in November the club has had a run to the Duxford Remembrance day on 12th, followed by lunch at Bury Lane Farm shop. Also Phil has led a run to Folkestone..
On 17th December four of us braved a very cold morning and had a run up to Stradishall on the A143. We had some great food at Café 33 there. After lunch we had cold rain and so hit M11 for a direct route home. A pleasant day which challenged our ability to ride smoothly and conservatively.
Mark C led a good run on Christmas Eve. More details to follow later...
On Friday 5th January eighteen of us had a nice meal at the Volunteer and a quiz by Mike 'The Trike'. The quiz was won by Graham. A good night.
On Sunday 7th we had a fine run to Burnham on Crouch, this being our traditional first run of the year. It was cold but dry and fifteen bikes took part, including two members from Kent Branch who joined us. Afternoon tea was taken in the warmth of a tea stop on a boat at Malden. A very nice day out.
On 14th Phil led five of us on a good cross country route to Harwich where we enjoyed a nice lunch on Halfpenny Pier. We had a further stop at Walton on the way home. A great day, cold but dry..