North London tour to Berwick
Richard, Steve J, Gary, Martin, Daniel and myself (another Steve) had a great time at the HOC weekend at Berwick and very much enjoyed the Ride on the Saturday. We made the Event a bit of a Tour and on the Thursday, 15th September, quickly dashed up to Scotch Corner on the A1 where a bite to eat at the burger stall was enjoyed. We then had a fabulous ride through the Pennines to Alston on the B6277 before our first night at Twice Brewed Inn by Hadrian’s Wall. A very nice place, if expensive. We had plenty of time the next day and visited the fine Bamburgh Castle via Jedburgh and Kelso before descending on our Haven. On the Sunday we were joined by Tim and Mike from Essex Branch and had a nice ride in Northumberland and into Scotland before a visit to the Holy Island, they were great company. At Haven we met many friends and these included Graham, Jim and Michaela who come from our part of the woods. Our route home took us to Skipton via some brilliant roads through Northumberland and the Pennines again before a run through the Yorkshire Dales. Probably our best day of consistent great roads. After Skipton it was mainly the A1 home again. Good weather and a great time was had by us and we thank the Organisers for all the work they put in, Colin, Marc, Phil, Jennie, Sarah, Jude and others who I might have missed. Thanks!
North London go big on sausages
On 25th September a run was decided and I thought it was about time we headed West for a change, rather than more north bounds. We left our usual McDees and six bikes and seven persons went very much across country to Broxbourne and Hatfield before going over the top of Luton and on to the A5. It was still a bit of a run before we got to the busy and popular Super Sausage cafe near Towcester. Great portions here and good value left us all feeling a little podgier! We had a look at the other bikes and chatted a bit with others before heading on through Towcester and then hitting the A413 to take us homewards. This lovely road went through Buckingham and to Aylesbury and we then stopped at a favourite cafe in Tring. Some of us had cake! For goodness sake! Have they no restraint! Home was then Hemel Hempstead and the A414. A great day out before the Autumn descends upon us, dry it was with lovely roads.
North London go to Lilley
On 9th October Steve J, our venerable Chairperson, a quiet person of restraint and natural authority, decided to lead a Ride. The venue was decided as the Lilley Arms in the village of Lilley, near Luton. Four other riders joined him and they took a pleasant route through Hertford and some fine country roads to get there. The weather was lovely and I, Steve, travelling back in my car from a walking break was able to join them for lunch. After nice food, a drink and desserts for the weaker willed, the bikers then continued towards Shefford then skirted Biggleswade towards Baldock on the A505. Then the A507 took them on to a previously unvisited cafe at Mill end for tea and cakes. A good day was had by all.
North London visit Cider Country
Our esteemed branch had been slowly thinking about a trip to finish off the summer and this duly occurred midweek 11 -14th October. Seven of our most intrepid set off for Somerset on the Tuesday and leaving the M25 early via Westerham used the A282 to get to Loomies for lunch. Very busy here and we then went via Winchester, Salisbury and Frome to our home for the next 3 nights at the Premier Inn on the edge of Weston Super Mare. Keith led our first ride out inland which was very pleasant, though we were disappointed that Cheddar Cheese Gorge was closed. We had lunch at a railway station and it was very good! I think the next day was the finest with a ride across the A39 and incorporating (including) Minehead, Porlock, Ilfracombe, inland near Exmoor and a nice stop at a tea shop in Exford. Extremely good roads much enjoyed. The ride home was the only one spoilt by weather and it drizzled all day. The Premier Inn was good and one night we spent at a nice curry house in Weston that included a walk to see the Oil Rig tourist thingy. Some liked it. I thought it a bit ugly and it was lit the colour of a can of Tango. All in all a great end to a good summer, though plenty of Sunday rides to come. Attended by Dave P, Richard, Keith, Gary B, Mark, Simon and me… young Steve…?
North London have a Pedigree Ride
On 30th October the weather forecast was a bit dodgy but some of us were keen for a run out, particularly since the previous Sunday had been very poor. I therefore led three of us from Birchanger Services on great but wet roads to Walkers at Barton Mills. Our route was Thaxted, Haverhill, Kentford and Tuddenham. It was dry there and the food was good and we met Graham there who joined us on the route homeward bound. While there it stopped raining though the roads never fully dried out. No mongrel makes joined us on the ride and perhaps for the first time in ages we all proudly took Hondas. Good to see (I do have a Triumph also Ahhemm! ). Our return route took us through Barrow, Clare and Finchingfield before a final stop at the nice Parishes in Thaxted. A very nice day on choice roads.
North London suffer rising damp
On 13th November the weather looked promising with no rain forecast and no rain having fallen the day before. So though it started very damp and misty I led a steadfast team of 7 machines and 8 persons on a nice little ride. I vaguely had promised that the sun was due to shine and the roads dry out. We took a beautiful route through Epping Green, Roydon, the Hadhams, the Pelhams before lunch at the nice Bury Lane farm shop just north of Royston. The eerie mist and sparkling dampness was with us all the way, but the roads were generally good and the ride pleasant. Finally, after lunch the roads started to dry out and we returned home via the Mordens, Baldock, Buntingford and a final stop at Hatfield Heath where we said goodbye, the cafe not being open. A nice day, leaving dirty bikes but refreshed minds.
North London chill out
On 4th December it was a rather cold day, but the roads were generally dry, so a short ride was organised. Four of us, John, Richard, Paul and myself took the lovely roads up to Dunmow and then to Sible Heddingham for lunch at the nice Corner cafe. It's great value and always quite busy here. Some of us being a little cold we decided on a reasonably direct route home without a stop. We took some of the finest local roads through Finchingfield, Thaxted, Dunmow, Takeley and Hatfield Heath before splitting up at Harlow. It was a lovely day with good company.
North London celebrate the baby Jesus.
On Saturday 10th December we met up for a great Christmas meal at the Moorhen Pub near Harlow. It was a great occasion with good food and very sociable. About 24 attended. Thank you to Richard for organising. Sorry that you are not all in the pictures as there would have been too many pictures to send. We all look forward to the plans we have for the coming year. Merry Christmas!
North London Venture Out
After quite a few weeks of wet Sundays our lot finally decided to take a chance and have a ride out. So on 8th January, as tradition dictates the lunch stop was going to be Burnham on Crouch. We had rather good weather getting there, though the roads were damp. Our route from Epping area was Chelmsford, Danbury, Latchington, Bradwell. The roads there are really good. We had a nice lunch and chat at the Cabin Dairy which is under new management and is friendly and has restored the bike parking alongside it. The route home was spoilt by the expected rainfall but all in all it was a great day....
North London go to Krazy
On 15th January Keith kindly led our bunch on a ride the went to Krazy Horse in Bury St Edmunds, a rather interesting custom bike dealer with a nice cafe. Seven of us enjoyed the route that took in Ongar, Finchingfield, Haverhill and then to the lunch stop. At lunch we met Stuart, a Member who lived nearby and Alan turned up just as we were leaving. Four of us went home via Sudbury and Finchingfield and a few of us enjoyed tea and Christmas cake with Dave and Maria at their home near Dunmow. It was a cold but dry day with lovely roads and a very pleasant occasion.
North London 'seek ye treasure'.
Sunday 29th January finally brought round a cold but dry day suitable for a motorcycle ride and a medium length outing was decided on. I led six of us from our usual McDonalds start and we went to West Mersea via Maldon. A lovely ride and our lunch stop was the Blackwater Pearl cafe on the waterfront. Many treasures were to be found here. Mine was an English breakfast. Robin had to go straight home but the rest of our merry band went for a quick afternoon tea stop at Paradise cafe in Dunmow. It was nice here and seemed worthy of a full meal stop. Our route was via Tiptree and Coggeshall. A good day and we all enjoyed being on the bikes again.
North London Ride has the Hiccups.
On 5th February the redoubtable Richard stepped forward with a ride to the fine Ambience cafe at St Neots. Very encouragingly nine turned up at McDonalds including Martin, recently returned from Australia. Also Alan joined us for the first time. The day was cold but bright and a lovely route took us through Braughing, Hay Street and Barkley. Unfortunately along here somewhere we received info that John had had a serious puncture! For some reason he attracts punctures like horse poo attracts flies. Three of our number stayed with him while I led the remaining five to the cafe via Royston and Gamlingay. (Pronounced ‘Gaily Gamboling’). After great food we backtracked thinking the others might be still waiting assistance. They had gone and we went to Mayfields for a cup of tea where we met Steve and Richard. But …. On the way there some buffoon backed his van, literally!, into Keith causing minor but expensive damage. To end the day Martin had a continually leaking cup at Mayfields! Poor chap.
Anyhow, it was a great day otherwise and I feel guilty for having a great lunch and Ride….. Thank you All!
North London visit the seaside .. twice!
On 12th February Richard again stepped up to lead a Ride that left our usual McDonalds at 1030. Destination Southend (Pronounced Sowfend). There were nine bikes and ten persons involved and the fine route there took in the A414, Ingatestone, Hanningfield reservoir, Rawreth and then the Southend seafront. Good traditional seaside food was savoured at the fine 'Ye Olde Fishshop'. The next stop was Malden and the route took in Shoeburyness, Battlesbridge and Rettendon. Here Keith treated the team to afternoon tea.
Much to our surprise John didn't have a puncture and no vans provided the team with an enexpected hazard! It was nice to see Steve Fox with us again. Worth noting is that the main seafront car park in Southend is free for bikes. Thanks Richard!
North London feeling summery
On 19th February eight bikes met at McDonalds for my promise of a great ride on great roads and that is exactly what we got. The weather was very mild and felt summery and we went to the fine cafe 33 near Stradishall via Takeley, Thaxted and Haverhill. We then stayed on the A143 towards Bury St Eddies which we skirted and joined the A1101 towards Mildenhall. At Barton Mills we turned back on ourselves and went to Tarka's cafe near Stoke by Clare via Barrow and Wickhambrook. Some more choice roads took us through Dunmow and Ongar where we generally started to split up for home. A very good day with fine company and fine riding..
North London Freshen Up
Sunday 26th February was a fairly chilly but dry day and we were gaily anticipating a good lead from Robin to a Pub for lunch. He duly led us on a lovely route to the Crown in Wormington via Sawbridgeworth, Bishops Stortford, Takeley, Halstead and Wakes Colne. The six of us had great food there, the steak and kidney pudding was first class! We also had a nice chat and someone (who I shan't name) even managed a fine pudding. A Pub worth another visit. I then lead us on further good roads through Tiptree, Maldon and towards Sowf Woodham Ferrers. I was intending for a last stop at Hanningfield reservoir but a small navigation error (some said a major cock up!) meant we had to stop at Battlesbridge Antique Centre for afternoon tea. It was a fight indeed to get up the four flights of stairs to find the cafe had inexplicably closed! It did seem a nice place though and being surrounded by other antiques was quite comforting. We did find a place for tea within walking distance and then went home. We were cold but happy, still rather full too...
North London frozen four fast track to Swaffham
On 5th March on a rather cold but dry day four of us met at Birchanger Services for a Ride led by Dave Plumb. Apart from myself we were joined by Martin and Richard and from the mix I anticipated a fast and flowing ride. That is certainly what we got! A great route of fast and flowing roads took us to Swaffham via Saffron Walnut, Linton, Newmarket, Mildenhall and Brandon. It took us just over two hours and I was cold by the time we got there. Dave treated us to a fine brunch in the Market cafe and we warmed up near a log fire. Our return route took us to via Bury St Eddies and Finchingfield to Parishes at Thaxted where Martin treated us to afternoon tea. For three of us the last leg of the journey took us through Dunmow and on to Ongar. A fine day indeed with great riding and good roads. I think my new Bridgestone 023 tyres are well bedded in on the Crossrunner now! We did over 200 miles and the temperature hit a high of 6 degrees....
North London Four Sally Forth
On 12th March Dave P led a good local ride attended by Dave L, Richard and Steve F.
Some of our finest roads and good weather took them to the Corner Cafe at Sible Heddingham, one of our favoured haunts. As usual the food was good there. The route took in Sheering, Takeley, Saffron Walnut, Haverhill and Clare. The return took in Bulmer Tye, Sudbury, Tiptree and then Braintree and Dunmow. Dave L led the final stretch home on the great road from Dunmow. I only wish I had been free to go. Thanks Dave!
North London dozen bimble to Bury
19th March was a nice day and twelve of our mob were involved in a very nice ride to Krazy Horse at Bury St Eddies. The food is nice here and so are the bikes, if mainly from an artistic point of view. Our route took in Chelmsford and Sudbury with a cross country stretch across to lunch going through Hartest. We met Stuart on the way and Jim joined us at lunch. After lunch two riders went more directly home while the rest of us went to Finchingfield for a final stop via Mildenhall, Fordham, Newmarket and Haverhill. After a nice stop at Finchingfield we headed home. The roads after lunch were particularly good and it was a very fine day all round. Some of us became rounder after afternoon cake….
North London Spring into Action.
On 2nd April a crooked bakers dozen (that's eleven..?) were involved in a pleasant Ride that involved lunch at the fine Ambience cafe at St Neots. It was good to see two new riders with us, Chris and Roni. Our route went through Harlow and took in the Hadhams, Hare Street, Royston and Gamlingay. We had a nice chat and food and met Mick O’ at the cafe. Good steak pie there! We then left for what was meant to be a loop taking in the magnificent B660, but the silly leader took the wrong road out of Ramsey and missed the route. The blithering nincompoop! We still had a nice ride though and ended up at Tapps tearoom mid afternoon before the fine Baldock bends and home down the A10. It was a fine day and we can do it again to hit the route right. Ummmm.. I was the leader. .
North London Super Seven sizzle Suffolk
Easter Sunday, April 9th, was the warmest Sunday of the year so far and it was decided to risk an outdoor lunch at Walkers roadside cafe at Barton Mills. Seven of us set off from Birchanger Services and the very fine route took us through Thaxted, Haverhill, Newmarket and Fordham. Walkers was very busy and it was a pleasure to eat in the sun and have a good chat. While there we met Mick and Alan. Stuart left early and the remaining original six took a fine route to Finchingfield for afternoon tea, going via Barrow and Clare. We had a very nice stop at Finchingfield at what is now Winners Tearooms and then went homeward bound via Dunmow and Ongar. The roads were great and the ride was fast paced. A great day indeed..
North London go West.
16th April promised nice weather and though it didn't get sunny the roads were generally dry and good, give or take potholes. Dave T kindly led us into the unknown (to some of us) wilds in Oxford and Herts on a good route starting from Hatfield and taking in Hemel, Ivinghoe, Wendover (pronounced bendover), Watlington and then lunch at the Railway Pub near Culham. Food was good here but not all of us got a meal as some had arrived late having kindly kept Cliff company who had had an issue with his bike. A mechanical issue required breakdown services. Anyway, we were reunited and more or less backtracked the fine route before splitting up near Hemel. It was a fine day with a great attendance, which may have been 17, though I can only remember 16. Thank you Dave!
North London in the Pink again.
23rd April was a poor weather forecast yet six of us turned up for a run led by our Chairperson of high repute Steve Jones. He took us on a nice run to the Lilley Arms near Luton via Broxbourne, Essendon and Codicote. The food here is very good and we all had some pleasant conversation. We had had a bit of rain getting there but while having lunch the weather cleared completely and the road started to dry out. After lunch we took a bit of a clockwise loop that took us onto the A1198 at Longstowe and we then used the A505 Royston to Baldock. Next was the lovely Baldock bends with a coffee stop halfway at Rushden. There is a nice garden centre there with cafe. Next it was home after a day of good roads and good company.
North London invade Normandy
For four nights from 27th April our Branch went on a great trip to Normandy well organised by Richard. We had a bit of awful weather but it was generally fine and we used some great roads with a minimal amount of motorways. Eight of us were on six bikes and Keith and Mary, due to recovering from an operation, went by car. The first day we crossed the Tunnel on time and took an over leisurely route down South. This had to be amended as we were not getting far and we found some good straighter roads with a stop at Abbeville for lunch. In the afternoon it poured down but we arrived intact at our very nice hotel in Pont l'Eveque, the Eden Park. Great food, friendly staff and can be recommended. The next day we went to Caen and visited Pegasus Bridge. Saturday we went to Ouisterham and visited the memorial and museum to 4 Commando, we also went to where the American Rangers had scaled some high cliffs, Pont du Hoc.. I think. On Sunday we crossed the lovely Pont Du Normandie bridge and went to Etretat, Fecamp and Honfleur. Extremely busy in all these places due to the French holiday. The last day was a nice ride home which went well. Thanks to Richard for organising and sharing the leading with Dave and Steve. Thanks to Mary for her linguistic skills. A great trip.
North London five find the B660
On 7th May I decided to right my error of a few weeks or so ago and actually get on the lovely B660 for this ride. It was a fine day and the five of us hit some lovely roads before an early lunch at St Neots. Instead of the usual Ambiance cafe we stopped in the main square and partook of a nice brunch at the Market Square cafe. We then did a lovely loop taking in the 1040 and 660 with a stop at Graham Water after Kimbolton. I then secretly changed my plan for the last bit and took a great route (selected by my Garmin) through to Baldock before doing the Baldock bends and home via the A10. A fine day indeed and the five of us will all be together for our Scottish trip in June, with two others. I can't wait!
North London seven in Suffolk
On 14th May Richard led a nice ride to Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast where we had some very nice fish and chips and a short stroll along the seafront. The weather was nice, if not as warm as expected and the route was good, though needing some adjustments here and there. Early on we hit a large stretch of freshly gravelled road, an unnecessary 40mph roadworks limit for no roadworks and our route totally blocked by an accident, but non of these stopped us having a great day. Our route there took in Ongar, Dunmow, Hadleigh, Ipswich and Rettendon Forest. We came home via Sudbury, where we had a nice stop, then Braintree and Chelmsford (this route to avoid the gravel section). Thank you Richard. !