On 2nd May a crack team of North London Riders departed Birchanger Services on the M11 and took a lovely route up to the renown Walkers cafe at Barton Mills. We went via Newport, Saffron Walden, Haverhill and finishing down the A1101. Walkers is a very popular Bikers Meet with good food and a nice atmosphere. The excitement may have been too much for the Rider toppling over in the foreground! Afterwards we headed towards Diss but turned off going South on the B1113 and B1115 for a coffee stop in the centre of Sudbury. The Ride finished via Finchingfield and Dunmow. Another great day out.

North London visit the Mutts
It was a fine day on 9th May and a crack team met up at Hatfield for a Ride led by the indomitable Dave Taylor. I didn't know where the heck we were but was previously advised that the route was St Albans, Hemel, Leighton Buzzard, Aylesbury Duck, Thame swan (made up the swan!), Watlington, Chinoor and Ivinghoe...
It was a very good route and we had a final stop at a petrol station for coffee and debrief. A superb day encapsulating much that is good about life. The Mutts in question were actually motorcycles! Really! At Thomas Motors Milton Common where we had lunch at the very friendly Blu Belles cafe.. In the photo we are looking for inspiration, apart from Keith who has passed wind...

 

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North London enjoy Corners
Sunday 23rd May came up with a reasonable weather forecast and six of Norf London's finest met at McDees with Corners on their mind. They were not to be disappointed and enjoyed a fine brunch at the Corner cafe in Sible Hedingham, a favourite venue of our svelte team. The route was on some nice country roads with more Corners aplenty. It encompassed Takeley, Elsenham, Thaxted, Finchingfield. After brunch we visited 'Rev It' in Walton on Naze going via Halstead and Colchester. Our route home was Colchester, Tiptree, Maldon and through Chelmsford. The Corner theme was enhanced when one of our team was stopped by Police in Finchingfield and given advice and a short led ride to improve his cornering technique. I shall apply discretion to protect the guilty party. (Until Thursday Club night at least)!

North London Customise
On 30th May we decided to brave the often busy roads south of the River and visit the South Coast. I led a prize Team from Brentwood across the Dartford crossing, immediately cutting across country via Meopham, Wrotham and Tenterden. Next we stopped for lunch at the Custom cafe by Bexhill. It was rather nice there in the sun, though very busy and we were forced to cut our day a bit short as it had taken us longer than expected to get there. We met Dave and Bill there, who had whizzed down ahead of the Main group. We then had a stop on the beautiful Beachy Head. This is apparently a favourite 'jumpers' spot with a vicar there to talk to. We settled on an ice cream. We then used mainly the A22 to get home and went on a lovely road through Hartfield, where Pooh Corner cafe had shut. Home was the veritable M25 on which we split up...

A warm welcome to Adrian who joined us for his first Ride, hope to see him again!

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North London visit the Valleys
One of our Branches favourite destinations is staying at Severn Farm by Welshpool and riding the beautiful roads all around. After a three year absence a strong team of us went there on the weekend 4-7th June and had a superb, rain free trip organised by Dave T and on which I shared the leading with him. Apart from the great accommodation, these are my pick of the roads..  A458, A470, A483, A44, A4120, Devils Bridge, Elan Valley, mountain route from Rhayader to Machynlleth, from Bethgelert to Capel Curig and across mountain via Blaenau and Bala. The Corn Store in Welshpool was our favourite eatery. Marvellous it all was !

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North London make a sandwich
The sandwich in question is the Suzuki (thorn) parked between the two Honda roses. Or an artists impression of a raspberry jam sandwich? Anyhow, lets not get carried away with the prologue. It was a beautiful day on Sunday 13th June and Keith kindly led a fine Ride. After a meet at McDonalds (we don't lack imagination) we took a nice route West to the Super Sausage before some lovely roads took us through to the nice cafe at Tring in the photo. No one actually had a sandwich but Cliff did have a roll. He was very excited you see. Only three of us attended but the weekend was sandwiched in between some big Branch trips so some of the older members might have needed a rest. A week in Scotland starts next week. Tally Ho!

North London visit the Highlands
Between 20-26th June four of our most charismatic and finest members partook of a Trip to Scotland.
We had mainly good weather and some stunning roads, good grub too! Our first day took us to Haltwhistle via A1 and B6227. We then made progress up the M74 before using the stunning A82 to get most of the way to our four day base at the nice Highland Hotel, Strathpeffer. Very nice and good value here but the 'Deli' just below the hotel recommended for evening grub. From our base we had fantastic days around Skye and also up to Durness via Ullapool and back via Tongue and Lairg. The final day took us on a different route to Spean Bridge and across to Nethy Bridge. Coming back we used the A9 and A7 to near Carlisle and then mirrored day 1 to get home. A great Trip with good company and fairly fortunate with the weather. I was joined by Simon, Richard and Robin..

North London and Essex tackle the Rally
On 3rd July Graham, Jim, Keith, Roland and myself completed the National Rally to Gold Standard by doing 13 checkpoints and about 310 Rally miles which took us about 12 hours. We did have some nice stops though! Graham more or less knew the route from years of experience and we covered some lovely roads in generally fine weather. Notable check points were Swafham, Wisbech, Langrith and Grantham. It was a fine and tiring day. We did miss the footy though!

 

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North London Ace it..
On 4th July three of us set out for the Ace cafe to meet other members and see our Graham on the HOC Stand. It was very nice there and we met Albert there, a new Branch member. We also met Cliff who joined the indomitable trio above on a rather pleasant Ride out that took in Amersham, Aylesbury, a coffee break at Tring and a whizz home along the A414. Contrary to the forecast weather we had more sun than rain and had a rather good day all round.

North London go Premium Class
Dave Taylor, one of our most resolute members, had kindly arranged a long weekend in the Premier Inn at Altrincham, near Manchester. Ten people on eight machines boldly signed up for the Trip and, by heck, it was a grand one! Every day a pessimistic weather forecast was wrong and we had some great, generally dry roads and superb scenery. Dave led us there and back, using the A5 and staying clear of motorways, with stops including Eddie Stobarts trucking place and a ride over the Cat and Fiddle. I led the first Ride out to North Wales, including the Ponderosa cafe, Capel Curig, Llanberis and Betty's y Cod. Dave led the second to the best of the Peak District that took in Woodhead pass, the A515 and other lovely bits. It was a great and sociable long weekend..

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North London join the Party
July 18th was a very warm day and John had kindly arranged to lead a short but pleasant Ride Out to the HOC Essex Show held at the Ship Pub. He was joined by Albert, Dave and Robin. There were others who turned up individually. Four of our Branch were helping out at the Show, two of our finest shown 'on the gate'. A day we all enjoyed. The fabulous Honda in the foreground is my pride and joy.

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North London go wild in the Wolds
A veritable crew of adventurous scamps had decided on a weekend away based in Scunthorpe, that reputed centre of the British tourist industry. The event took place right at the end of July and three nights were spent at a Premier Inn with Beefeater attached. I took us there, using routes discovered doing the National Road Rally, A1101, Wisbech, Langrith, Horncastle included. I also bought us home finishing on the B660 and Baldock twisty bits. Great routes I modestly concluded. On Saturday Richard took us around Lincolnshire where the roads were grand and we had a leisurely stop at Mablethorpe and a nice country Pub. Simon led us on Sunday into the lovely York Moors, truly wonderful roads with a stop at Helmsley. It was a fine weekend where the weather was much better than forecasted and the routes consistently good. Eight of us involved in all.

North London do some miles
On Sunday 15th the day turned out rather pleasant and Richard kindly put himself forward to lead a Ride which turned out to be about 240 miles. An interesting route out included Dunmow, Haverhill, the A143 towards Bury St Eddies, Bungay and to lunch. Brunch was at the very nice Lighthouse Diner in Lowestoft, a very popular venue. The return was via A12, A1120 to Stowmarket with a stop at McDees Braintree. Richard modestly admits the route could have been improved on but all nine involved had an enjoyable day.

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North London have a BBQ
On Sunday 22nd August, despite a little rain, we had our Branch get together BBQ. This was held at the mansion of Steve Jones, our most honourable Chairperson. He proved an excellent, cook, host and wine waiter assisted by Robin and Lewis. Thanks also to Tina for providing some nice desserts. The grounds of his house were bursting with jolly people and a great time was had. Prior to the feast I had led five of our crew on a nice Ride Out to Walkers at Barton Mills. We did about 140 miles and the route back included some very fine recommended roads - Tuddenham, Barrow and on to Clare. A very fine day all round.

North London enjoy Suffolk
On 29th August Robin took nine of us out on a rather lovely spin taking in some very nice roads. The day began at a McDonalds (they do nice coffee) and took in Matching Green, Hatfield Heath, Sible Hedingham, before a nice break at a garden centre the other side of Sudbury. Next we went across country towards the Douglas Bader cafe near Martlesham. Just before we got there Steve J had a puncture which was temporarily fixed rather quickly. A nice lunch was consumed before a return via Clare and Cavendish and another nice stop. Thank you Robin!

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North London visit Brownies
On 12th September Richard and Steve combined to lead a very pleasant Ride into Suffolk that took in some fine roads and a lunch at Brown's in Mundford. There were also morning and afternoon tea stops and a pleasant and well attended day was enjoyed by all. Almost 200 miles was completed.

North London find themselves
On 19th September Graham led a Ride to the popular Copdock Show near Ipswich. The show was enjoyed with stops each way providing a nice chance for a chat and to share the excitement of the coming weekend in Bude. There was some very heavy rain on the way home but the rest of the day had been warm and pleasant. A great day out for the Team.

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North London mix with the Best
Our Branch attended the Big HOC weekend near Bude over the weekend 24-27th September. We got together a right bunch of rabble rousers, 16 in all, to join in the celebrations of our 60th anniversary. The Event was very well organised and we thank those involved for this. It was great to mix with other Branches. The Ride Out and two evenings were very much enjoyed and our Branch was proud to start the dancing on Saturday and set the high standard on the dance floor. (I think?) We thought the accommodation was good and had a great time. Some of us stayed on for a few extra days, though the weather started to deteriorate, but had pleasant visits to Bude and Boscastle. On the Sunday some of us had done our own Ride Out and went as far as St Just, going along some lovely coastal roads near ancient tin mines. A great weekend.

North London stay topped up!
On Sunday 3rd October there was no official Ride due to the fuel crisis but three of our boldest and best, Jim and Richard, led by Dave P, decided on quite a long Ride Out which turned out very pleasant. Dave knows some great roads which were indulged to the full and stops were made at the fine Ambiance cafe at St Neots and Iron Horse at Market Deeping, both are popular bikers destinations. The weather remained good and petrol was available once well north of the 'smoke'. Three good riders able to enjoy great roads to the full. The two lesser makes apparently kept up with the Variableadero okay too!

North London in the Pink ...Again!
On 10th October the weather forecast was pretty good down sowf and our honourable, quiet natured Chairperson, Steve J, kindly organised a Ride to one of our favourite eateries, the Lilley Arms near Luton. A veritable horde of eager riders, nine bikes, met at McDees and we set of eagerly in the wrong direction to make a decent length ride of it. The roads were indeed splendid but it rained most of the morning and two of our group decided not to go the full distance, which was a shame as it brightened up almost as soon as they left us! We managed to take almost three hours to get to the Pub, a Herculean effort, where we had lots of great food and chat. Afterwards we went home fairly directly which took less than an hour. A warm welcome to Luvneet who joined us for his first Ride with the Club and we look forward to seeing him again.

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North London 'Meet me.....'
'on the Corner when the lights are going low and I'll be there......'. Etc
Yes Indeed! 17th October and nine of us met at our old stomping ground, the Kings Oak Cafe, with a lovely Ride planned. I rang our proposed lunch stop but they couldn't fit us in, so we decided on the good old Corner cafe for a food stop. It never lets us down! Then it started to drizzle and we met a road closure shortly after our start. 'It's going to be one of those days'. Thought I. We used some damp and slippery minor roads to start with and got to lunch safely relying on our bottomless depth of sublime riding skills. While chewing the cud (ok bacon etc) I mentally reconfigured the rest of the day. So we took a great country route to Walkers at Barton Mills for our next stop and the roads were drying up nicely. We lost a few bikes on the way but they managed to rejoin us for a coffee. The day was looking up now and I took us on a terrific bendy route home through Barrow, Clare, Finchingfield and Dunmow. The day turned out good after all! Very nice to see Luvneet with us for his second ride. A day of wonder..

North London go West
On 24th October we had a fairly propitious weather forecast down sowf and our current winner of the Branch Winston Sim Shield, the honourable David Taylor had elected to lead a Ride. We met at Tescos outside Hatfield, a biking Mecca in itself, and took a lovely route west to a cafe at Benson on the Thames. It was very busy and we had a nice chat and refreshments. There was loads of cyclists there and some of us saw two youths riding off recklessly on pedal cycles which they were actually stealing! Bastards! Further pleasant riding took us to the Railway Tavern for Sunday lunch, followed by a ride home via Hemel Hempstead. A great day out..

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North London mile munch and lunch
On 7th November the weather was pretty good and Dave P took a select group of riders on a lovely run up to Suffolk, though bits of Nelson's county were also passed through. From Birchanger Services we went through Thaxted and cut across to the A143 for a nice coffee break at the Cafe 33 Stradishall. Lots of bikers here. The five of us then had a lengthy ride including Thetford and Diss before munching on a lovely lunch at Stephanie's Country Kitchen not far from Beccles. A very nice place we will visit again, in Wrentham to be precise. It was getting late and we headed home fairly directly, cutting across via Sudbury. A great day with about 220 miles done, home near 6pm and getting a bit chilly by then. Four of the five machines were Honda's too. Hey Ho! Thanks Team..

North London find Autumn Ambient
It was a grey, but not cold, autumn day on Sunday 14th. A run was decided on to include lunch at the fine Ambience cafe at Riverside, St Neots. The food and atmosphere here is always very pleasant and is recommended. We left McDees and went via Harlow, the Hadhams, Barley and Royston. Good roads. After food and conversation we used Godmanchester to link up to Ramsey and round the B660 to Grafham water where we had a final coffee stop on the east side of the Water. We used the A1 and A10 to get home directly, though linking the two via the Baldock bends which were compromised by a bit of rain. It was a fine day enjoyed by eight of us. Any Branch near the B660 should have a blast down it, its one of my favourites.

 

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