Monday 10th December 2018
Another year has gone by and this week saw the return of our annual Christmas Social, which was at the Hen and Chickens in Baldock... and what a night it was.
There was no group ride because of the Christmas Social so about fifty members went straight to the pub, with three on their bikes and the rest using any means possible to get there so they could enjoy a few beers, with two donated by the Club for every member.
Once again, the music was provided by the most excellent Rock Stock and Basil, who gave us a stirring set with their catalogue of classic rock and roll numbers.
There was a superb buffet laid on by Talli and Sue who also attended to our every alcoholic need throughout the evening.
In the interval we had our usual raffle with some brilliant prizes - thanks to Dave Price and Pete Starr for sorting it out and our Chairman Tony Brown for selling the tickets.
All in all it was a superb night which just goes from strength to strength.
Don't forget your Dinner Dance tickets available from Mick Taylor.
Monday 3rd December 2018
Yet another relatively mild night this week and five riders met up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the group ride.
Our destination was the Goat at Codicote but obviously we didn’t take a direct route. Instead we did a fairly regular but very popular route to the A507 at Cumberlow Green, via Walkern.
From there, we whipped up to Junction 9 of the A1(M), where we went straight over before turning left to Willian.
Then left again to Great Wymondley and down to the A602 at Hichin. We finished off on the ever popular B656 to Codicote.
A reasonably swift ride this week with plenty of overtaking and good progress.
There were a few bikes already at the pub and the bar was full. The predictions from last week’s blog were right… the destination was popular and there was loads of hot dogs, pizza and chips.
Thanks to Graham, the Landlord, and the rest of the bar staff (particularly the grumpy one who, although accompanied by lots of moaning, will always do a mug of tea!!)
Next week is the CHRISTMAS SOCIAL at the Hen & Chickens so there won’t be a group ride… straight to the pub where members can enjoy free food, a free drink and live music.
Don’t forget, fast approaching is the annual DINNER DANCE at the Cromwell on 2nd February 2019.
Tickets have stayed at the same price of only £35 this year (you’d be hard pushed to find a similar event at better value). It’s a great night and you might end up with a trophy. Please bring along friends and family.
You can get your tickets from Mick Taylor.
Monday 26th November 2018
The Club’s annual photographic competition took place this week at the Hen & Chickens, Baldock.
But, before that got under way, as always, there was a group ride from Coreys Mill Sainsburys.
Five robust riders turned up in the November chill but riding conditions were actually pretty good. Although the temperature was only about 6°C, the roads were dry and even Alex, who was wearing a very nice pair of Keis heated gloves, didn’t turn them on (although that may be because he’d not sorted them out with a long enough lead!!!).
The roads in Stevenage were a tad greasy but were OK. Once we got on the back road to Old Knebworth, where there had been no salt to absorb moisture, it was dry with plenty of grip so we were able to get up a reasonable pace.
From there, we used another back road, behind Knebworth Park, to get to the B656 where we headed up to Hitchin at good speed.
After passing through Ickleford, we dropped down the “big dipper” at Wilburys. We would normally be going the other way so it made a change to head towards Hitchin from Letchworth and then take the back road to Willian.
We circumnavigated the Letchworth longabout and then took another back road into Baldock where we arrived at the pub about forty five minutes after we started.
It was a nice ride for the time of year and everyone seemed to enjoy it.
An array of food was out and ready to be uncovered shortly after the group arrived. So, while the queue wound its way through the pub to the food table, Cider Bob judged the entrants to the photographic completion.
Although his job includes taking photos, Cider has no specific expertise in the finer points of creating a well composed piece of art, but he knows what he likes and he can tell a good photo from a bad one.
This years array of entries was an eclectic mix of landscapes, buildings, aircraft, events and, most of all, motorcycles.
The photographs were judged on:
content - so, as it’s a motorcycle club, anything with a motorcycle in it will automatically score an extra point or two
composition - how things are positioned in the photos
colour - crisp & varied colours or well presented black & white
technical quality - particularly regarding focus
There were loads of really good entries this year but, unfortunately, while most met parts of the criteria, very few met all.
Someone had entered six superb photos of racing motorcycles. Any one of these could almost have won as they were really nice but, while Cider realises how hard it is to take a picture of a high speed bike, all were out of focus so weren’t up to the mark.
There were also some lovely photos of a Lancaster and a Mustang but, while they were popular, from an artistic point of view, the orientation of the aircraft wasn’t ideal.
Some of the other photos were also very nice but a common theme was photographers clipping the subject of the photo… which is OK if its artistic but they just looked rushed.
So, now you know the sort of things Cider was looking for, you can make your own judgements. But, the result on the night were:
Nick Eliason – Triumph in the Park
This was considered a really nice photo for many reasons – artistically, the black and white motorcycle contrasted well with the vibrant autumn colours of the trees in the background. Its technically a good photo and, best of all, it features the best bike manufacturer, Triumph! You can see the winning photo by clicking here.
Gordon Hallet – Manx GP
This wasn’t perfect as one of the two bikes wasn’t perfectly in focus, but it wasn’t far off. The motorcycle racing content scored highly and it was well composed.
Ian Harris – BMW in thePyrenees
This was, in fact, an excellent photo which, again, met all the criteria. A well positioned motorcycle with a beautiful mountain background. The only reason this didn’t win is that choice of motorcycle – why ruin this lovely scene with a BMW? Oh, and Ian used to be a professional photographer so had points deducted for that!
Thanks to all those who entered and congratulations to Nick. It’s an entertaining way to spend an evening and there was a lot of interest. Cider Bob apologises for inadvertently selecting a photo by the same winner as last year but, as mentioned, it was entirely anonymous (except for Ian’s as we all know it was his F800GS).
It was a busy night and the pub was full until about 21:30 hours when those with an early morning start began to leave while others of us were still socialising at 22:30 hours.
Next week we return to the Goat in Codicote. Its always a popular destination for our members – probably because we are made very welcome but maybe also because we get huge amounts of hot dogs, pizza and chips.
Hope to see you there.
Monday 19th November 2010
Only three hardened riders ventured out into a cold and damp night for this week’s group ride from Coreys Mill Sainsburys, which was led by Steve Vaughan.
It was a fairly short ride which ended at the Pig & Whistle, Aston for this year’s quiz night.
Last year’s winners, the young ladies who work behind the bar, were parading their title winners Tee Shirts of 2017.
Five teams entered this year’s quiz, and the 100 questions were once again supplied by the Club chairman Tony Brown.
Bottles of wine were up for grabs to the winners, runner up and last place and the results were:
1st place with 58 points “Speed Triple”
2nd place with 54 points “Dads Army”
3rd place with 40 points “ Sam Anarchy”
4th place with 39 points “The Bar Staff”
5th place with 37 points “The Knob Heads”
Thanks to the publicans, Charlie and Linda for their hospitality once more.
Next week is this year's Photographic Competition which will be at the Hen & Chickens, so dig out photos you’ve taken this year and bring them along.
Monday 12th November 2018
The riding conditions this week were, once again, just about perfect – except for the dark!
With warm winds from the sound, it felt more like September than November but it had rained a little earlier in the day, which may have put a few riders off. Never-the-less, six of us met up at Sainsburys for the group ride to the pub.
Rather than planning a route this week, the lead rider, Cider Bob, just asked for opinions on where any of the group wanted to go. With no preferences and no-one making a decision, he led the group on a “see where it takes us” ride.
With everyone except Cider Bob on a middle weight or larger bike, he chose the faster roads and kept away from the unclassified roads.
The ride started up the A602 dual carriageway which, in the dark, is a good way to get the group together when some get stuck at the lights on the big roundabout at Junction 8.
Unfortunately, a bus got in the way a bit and we ended up being slightly split up. Waiting at the layby entering Hitchin, the back markers caught up but then not everyone got out together so, for the first time, big Geoff ended up in the middle of the pack rather than being TEC (“tail end Charlie”), which made it harder for Cider Bob to see the back of the group… its hard to tell groups of bike headlights from car lights a hundred metres away, in the dark, in mirrors, whereas Geoff stands out fairly well in his and on his K1300.
Anyway, although we ended up with a few cars in between, we kept in sight of each other and by the time we got onto the open road of the B655, we were all together. Well, to some extent… even though the ride leader was only on a 250cc traily, it seams the power of some sports bikes wasn’t enough to keep up for some but its not a race and there is never any pressure on anyone to ride faster than they are comfortable or to break the speed limits.
Towards the end of the B655 we got stuck behind a very slow driver and, even though there’s a nice long open straight just before Barton Le Clay, the lead rider didn’t overtake as, entering the town, its important to keep everyone together.
From Barton, we headed up the A6 to the A507. Initial thought were to keep going and then turn right through Haynes but, thinking there might be wet leaves under the trees, we headed east on the A507 to Henlow, where we turned left to Langford and then right to the water tower at the A1.
From there, we carried on towards Edworth and then on to Ashwell via Hinxworth. Although not a main road, and at night you need to be a little bit slower as there are no edge marker lines, its still a great road.
We then took the Newnham road to Baldock where our destination was the White Lion on the high street.
There was a total of twelve bikes there and, when we entered the pub, we found the entire back bar was filled with S&DMCC members while the rest of the pub was quite quiet.
The bar staff were great and even did a cracking mug of tea. And the price for a pint of coke was far more reasonable than the £4.40 charged at last weeks pub.
The food was lovely – warm sausage fish & chicken things and sausage rolls, chips, loads of sandwiches and nibbles and the ubiquitous veg (which rarely gets eaten!!).
There are a few events coming up in the near future, including the annual Quiz at the Pig & Whistle, Aston next week and the Christmas social on the 10th December but the Committee have started to push the annual Dinner Dance at the Cromwell on 2nd February.
Tickets are still only £35 this year (sounds like a lot but you won’t get a posh night out like this anywhere else for less). It’s a great night and please think about bringing along friends and family. You can get your tickets from Mick Taylor.
See you next week for the Quiz at the & Whistle.
Monday 5th November 2018
Bonfire night kept a few members away this week but it was still fairly chokka for our meeting at the Vicars Inn, Arlesey.
Only four of us met up at the Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the group ride at 19:30. It started off a bit dank as a very light shower an hour earlier had been absorbed into the salt laid earlier in the week so the roads were a bit greasy around Stevenage.
But the temperature was very mild for November and, once off the A roads, heading over the Walkern, the roads dried rapidly and it turned into a really nice ride.
From Walkern, we headed over to the A507 at Cottered and then just stayed on it to Arlesey. But, unexpectedly, we made good progress so, as we got to the Arlesey roundabout, we were having such a good ride that we carried on. We turned left at the Airman pub and left again at Henlow Camp, taking us back to the A507 and then back to Arlesey.
A thoroughly fun ride at a good pace.
At the pub, as usual, other bikers were already there and lots of members were crammed in the bar, having come by car.
The spread of food was as good as always and there was plenty for everyone. Although one member almost needed CPR when he ordered two pints of diet Coke and was met with the response “that’s £8.80 please”.
If you'd like to learn CPR, and what to do at the scene of a crash, at no cost, book up a "Biker Down" course with Herts or Beds Fire Services.
There was nothing of particular note during the evenings socialising but, as always, there was lots of chatter in all parts of the bar.
Some started to go slightly early and one rider took a decidedly lengthy ride home to enjoy the lovely riding conditions.
Next week we will be at the White Lion in Baldock, SG7 6BJ.
Tickets are now available for the Club Dinner/Dance on Saturday 2nd February 2019 at the Cromwell Hotel. Priced at a very reasonable £35, please see Mick Taylor.
Monday 29th October 2018
The roads were dry and, although it was cold, it was almost ideal riding conditions this week so five of us met up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the group ride. The cold didn’t put off a new member turning up – welcome Ray on your Triumph Street Triple.
The ride was quite short as we needed to be at the pub by about 20:15 as it was the annual auction this week.
We headed off towards Little Wymondley before shooting up to Willian. Then we took the twisty road to Hitchin and the “big dipper” to Letchworth. Going straight on, we bimbled up to the A507 and then on to Baldock, where the auction was at the Hen & Chickens.
Loads of other members had braved the cold and gone straight to the pub and it was a challenge getting everyone parked. There was even a gorgeous MV F4, which had obviously started even though the humidity was over 2%!!
Once inside, we started to warm up rapidly, not only because the fire was roaring, but because the pub was heaving with other Club members.
It wasn’t long after arriving that the Chairman, Tony Brown, started the auction.
It was a bit slow to get going, with only 50ps and £1s being successful bids, but it wasn’t long before decent bidding started and some sensible money was paid for some decent lots.
The array of lots ranged from old books, some of which seem to come up for auction every year, to second hand bike gear, brand new bike gear and some really high quality stuff, including bottles of Glenfiddich and a Garmin Virb action Cam. There was also an incredibly kind donation of a GasSafe approved boiler service by Alan of A&D Gas services. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem clear to everyone just how much this was worth so it went for only £15. Massive thanks to Alan. If you need a decent plumber, check out his website here, where you’ll see he has excellent Check-a-Trade feedback.
By the end of the evening, although we hoped to raise more, we finished with a fairly tidy sum of exactly £200 (after a small additional donation to round it up). This will be split between the Club and our nominated charity.
Half way through the auction, we had a break for food. The spread was superb with more than enough for everyone.
There was also a “trying on” session of the new Club hi-vis vests which will be sold at significantly less than half price of only £5 to any Club member. If you’d like one, have a chat to the club Secretary, Mick Taylor.
The auction was as entertaining as ever and was rounded up around about 22:00.
A great atmosphere and many of us stayed around until almost closing time.
Next week we will be at the Vicar Inn, Arseley.
Monday 22nd October 2018
There was a distinct hint of approaching winter this week as the three riders that met up for the group ride from Coreys Mill Sainsburys could see the condensation on their breath.
None-the-less the intrepid trio went for a ride, taking them through Knebworth, to Codicote and then up to Hitchin before taking the A600 to the A507 to Stotfold where their destination was The Crown.
Another five bikes were at the pub and there was no shortage of members in the bar as its always a very popular destination.
The food was superb as always with more than enough to go round.
But it wasn’t long before members started thinning out and it was quite quiet come half past ten.
They probably had to get home early to start looking out donations for next weeks auction, which will be at the Hen & Chickens in Baldock.
As always, we ask if you have anything decent you no longer use or want if you could bring it along so everyone else can bid to make a bit of money which gets split between the Club and this year’s nominated Charity.
Examples from the past have included good condition tools and tool boxes, very good condition motorcycle clothing, books and magazines, and even some Grand Prix clothing.
… and even if you don’t donate something, bring some money for the good causes.
Come along because its always a very entertaining evening.
Monday 16th October 2018
The weather was a bit grotty this week and the ride leader, Cider Bob, expected he and perhaps big Geoff might be the only two riders waiting in the rain at Coreys Mill Sainsburys.
But, he had a pleasant surprise when he turned up at 19:20 to find three other members already there and three others turn up not long after.
Unfortunately, it was that horribly misty rain that sticks to your visor and makes seeing in the dark slightly challenging (it’s much more fun to ride in proper rain) but everyone was up for a reasonable length ride so we all headed off to Watton at Stone, where we turned left to towards Datchworth.
Although great in the summer, it got a little slow through the fairly wide country lanes as the blobs of light rain accumulated on our visors but, as it was a mild evening, lifting the visor and putting up with rain in the face was the simple solution and then the speed picked up again.
Although the first half of the ride was a bit slow due to speed limits and wet visors, it should have improved as we left Mardley Hill and got onto the B656 through Codicote to Hitchin.
Unfortunately, we got stuck behind two cars; the leader of which was really slow, doing no more than 40 in the nationals, and the one behind plainly wanted to get past but being indecisively aggressive at going about it, meant we didn’t want to risk being taken out by him when he finally committed to the overtake. So we ended up in a snail trail all the way to Hitchin, which was very frustrating.
It was then all speed limits to our destination at the Plume of Feathers in Ickleford.
But, even with the rain, there were loads of Club members already there, including several on bikes.
There was a great buzz in the pub and it wasn’t long before absolutely superb sandwiches were brought out, accompanied by lovely chips. Thanks to the staff for a great spread.
As mentioned in last week’s blog, we have been looking at getting Club Hi-Vis made up and they were available to be examined this week in a combination of the Club's green contrasted with bright orange. We initially planned to just have a few for specific events but they were so popular we are offering them to all Club members.
Have a look below and please let us know if you would like one by clicking here or contact Mick Taylor. They are being heavily subsidised by the Club as they are a safety benefit to our riders but they are also a great way to advertise the Club.
Next week we will be at the Crown in Stotfold. The group ride is being led by Pete Blackburn so join him at Coreys Mill Sainsburys at 19:30 or meet at the pub.
Monday 8th October 2018
There’s been a bit of a break from the blog for one reason and another for a couple of weeks but the Club meetings have continued throughout with lots of riders turning up for the group rides, which have been led by Pete, and really good turnouts at the pub.
All the recent riders who’ve come long to try us out have joined the Club and have returned each week and a new venue for us, The Stag at Stotfold, proved to be an excellent location for a meeting.
This week, darkness had already fallen as ten of us met at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the group ride. Unfortunately, the committee needed to be at the Hen & Chickens in Baldock by 20:00 for the committee meeting so, after a very quick “referendum” with the choices of “follow Cider Bob through the country lanes to the pub” or “someone volunteer to lead a longer ride”, during which time Steve Vaughan was volunteered as an impromptu leader, the latter was the result.
So, while Cider Bob shot off on his little 250 traily towards Weston, Steve and the rest wondered off towards Walkern for a route ending on the A507 into Baldock.
There were another eight bikes already at the pub, when the group ride arrived, with another arriving shortly afterwards after the rider and his pillion went to the wrong pub (whilst there was much micky taking on the night, we are no so unkind as to name and shame any Church Lane motorcycle shop owners here on the internet).
While most of the members could relax and enjoy the social evening, the committee were locked in the back room and only emerged after an epic, but very successful meeting.
As well the the usual business of any similar Club, the agenda included planning for the 2018 annual Dinner Dance (1st February is the date to save in your diary) the Christmas Social and other forthcoming Monday night events.
Keep an eye on the Calendar for what’s going on but the next of particular note is the Club Auction on Monday 29th October. Please have a look through your garages, sheds and anywhere else you might have something someone else might want to bid on and bring lots with you. As always the proceeds will be split between the Club funds and this years charity.
We also discussed trying to drum up interest in supporting the 2018 ACU National Road Rally, which won’t be at Bikestop anymore, and Bikestops planned first Sunday of the month ridouts being supported by the Club in April and September next year.
We are in the process of having some special Club hi vis vests embroidered but if you’d like your own, or any other logoed regalia, please have a chat to Mick Taylor.
Eventually, the committee meeting ended and we were able to dive into the huge amounts of food provided by the pub.
Yet again, a really sociable evening and a generally successful meeting.
Next week, we will be at the Plume of Feathers in Ickleford… lets hope the excellent weather holds out for a bit longer.
Monday 17th September 2018
Yet again, the weather was fine this week which helped encourage eleven riders to meet up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the group ride.
Two new potential members joined us so before we left, the ride leader explained our very simple ride rules:
The faster you are, the further back in the group you should be
Ride at your own pace – you’re not hassled to ride fast
If you lose sight of the person in front, keep going straight on. If we are turning off, the leader will wait for everyone to catch up.
The ride this week was almost a reverse of one we did a few weeks ago… over to Walkern, then Cumberlow Green. Straight on through Rushden to the A505. Up to Odsy and through Steeple Morden. Then towards Wendy but turning up to Gamlingay before coming back through Wrestlingworth and finishing at the Edward VII in Guilden Morden.
The pub was rammed with both Club members and locals so bikes were parked all over the place.
About 20:45, copious amounts of hot and cold food came out and there was more than enough for everyone to have as much as they wanted… just a shame no tea was available for those not wanting beer or coke.
It was good to see lots of newer members returning, including Steve and Carol from Raceways Motorcycles.
It was a great night for a ride and the ride home was also fun for most of us as we went our separate ways, although those who just wanted to blat down the A505 to Baldock were thwarted by road closures.
Next week we are back to the Goat in Codicote… always a popular destination and we can be sure of lots of pizzas and hot dogs.
Cider Bob won’t be around to lead the ride but one of the Petes on the committee will be there to take you on a mystery tour.
Monday 10th September 2018
Yesterday a few members had a bit of a tour to the coast.
After a stop at Redlodge cafe for nice fry up to set them up for the day, it was on the to Desert Rats memorial and then the priory and Castle Acre ford.
Then it was Houghton Hall for a quick stop, and then tea at Bircham Windmill.
Hunstanton was the initial destination but they made good time so decided to run up the coast to Wells on Sea and raid the sea food stall for cockles and crab meat.
Getting back was cross country through the Sandringham estate and a final stop at Kings Lynn work house near Gayton before the run back to Hertfordshire.
With an 08:00 start, 238 miles and getting back at 17.30, it was a fairly long day but everyone thoroughly enjoyed it (although some of the older boys needed an arse massage when they got home!).
Thanks to Steve Vaughan for organising and leading a lovely day out.
For the Monday evening meeting this week, the weather was fine but the daylight was starting to dwindle as we left Coreys Mill Sainsburys.
Thirteen of us left the car park and headed up the A1(M) to the next junction. Unfortunately, as a first, we somehow managed to lose the three trailing riders at the car park so we bimbled up the A1(M) at 60 mph and they eventually caught us up as we waited at Junction 9.
From there, we headed into Baldock and up the A507 to Buntingford.
Unfortunately, even though we never got to the 50, 40 and 30 limits, we managed to lose the trailing three riders again in Baldock. This wasn’t helped by the darkness and it was a challenge counting headlights.
Up to now, it’s always been the leader judging the speed that keeps the group together, but we may have to consider bringing in the “drop off” system if we continue getting large numbers riding in the dark. We’d be happy to have your opinion so please let us know by clicking here.
From Buntingford, we headed up the B1368 to Barley and then turned left to Royston on the B1039.
After touching the A505, we rode over to Litlington and then through the Mordens to Wrestlingworth where we ended at the Chequers.
Fortunately, the three riders we had lost in Baldock had found their own way there.
There were also a load of other bikes already in the car park, along with several members’ cars.
It was good to see first timers from last week back this week and all three signed up for membership. The total number of members this year is well over a hundred and it’s good to see the Club doing so well.
The bar was heaving and a request for three mugs of tea was greeting with some tongue in cheek distane. However, after the tea drinkers amongst us settled for coke, once the initial rush from the group ride died down, the Landlord very kindly sorted out the tea.
They are very friendly staff in the Chequers and the Landlord is a motorcyclist too. He has some interesting machines so pop in for a chat if you are ever passing.
The food was very nice. Lots of sandwiches and chips and enough for everyone.
The mild evening meant there were quite a few members outside while others crowded in the low ceilinged bar.
The car park was full of bikes and, although some started to leave fairly early, some were still there at close to closing time.
We write this every week but it’s true… another very enjoyable evening!
Next week we will be at the Edward VII at Guilden Morden. You can meet us there or join the group ride from Coreys mill Sainsburys, at 19:30 hours.
Monday 3rd September 2018
There was no Club meeting last week due to the bank holiday, although six members met up at 09:00 for a ride to check the route for yesterday’s monthly Bikestop rideout.
If you are not aware, Bikestop organise a group ride on the first Sunday of the month throughout the summer. Different Clubs take turns to lead it. S&DMCC did the first of the season and this was our second for the year.
So Ian Harris, Carlos, James, Alex, Pete Blackburn and Cider Bob met up and rode the route, with a breakfast stop at the Silver Ball. It was a nice way to spend a couple of hours on a Bank Holiday Monday.
The run yesterday was split in half with Ian leading one group and Carlos leading the other. There was excellent positive feedback from the 40 odd riders that came along so thanks to Ian, Carlos, Alex and James for sorting them out.
If you are interested , S&DMCC will be leading Bikestop’s ridouts on 7th April and and 1st September next year so we would welcome additional volunteers to help marshal… six is probably the ideal number.
Back to this year, and with no Club meeting last week, riders made up for it this week with seventeen meeting up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the group ride.
It was a longish ride this week as, with autumn approaching, the lead rider, Cider Bob, thought it would be good to get in some roads we don’t often do. So, after heading over to Ickleford via Willian, we headed up the A600. After everyone had negotiated a slow moving bus, it was through Langford and up to the water tower, where we crossed the A1 and continued to Gamlingay. From there, it was though the little know Hatley St George before the Mordens and ending up at the Pig & Abbot at Abington Pigotts.
It was a nice ride and, as the weather was fine, the pub was heaving with members.
The group ride arrived just as the food was served and there was some for most although one or two of the committee forewent a snack to ensure everyone else got some. Although not quite enough, the quality was up to the usual standard of the Pig & Abbott.
There were a few new faces so hopefully we will see you again.
Once again, another good night for the Club.
Next week we will be at the Chequers in Wrestlingworth. As always, you can meet us there or join the group ride from Coreys mill Sainsburys, at 19:30 hours.
Monday 13th August 2018
We’ve missed blogging about the Monday evening meeting for the past couple of weeks but we don’t suppose our tardiness has it’s impacted on your life to any extent – you probably haven’t even noticed!
We had a meeting at the Hoops in Bassingbourn, which was very well attended as always, and then we were at the Brewery Tap in Shefford, which was also very popular.
This week, we visited the Playing Fields Club in Upper Caldecote for the first time this year. We normally have two meeting there each year for the “cheese” skittles competition. Unfortunately, the chap who used to cook us up superb jacket spuds and chilli has retired from his much appreciated work so no food was available until a replacement was found. Fortunately, the Club now has a new volunteer and, while it wasn’t the ever popular chilli, she did provide a huge amount of traditional “finger buffet” type food which went down very well.
There were a lot of members at the Club and the skittles competition was as popular as ever. It seems that Gary’s talents extend beyond his astonishing cabinet making and fine harmonica music to being able to lob a cheese shaped piece of plastic at some skittles and he won for the second year running. Well done Garry.
It was a lovely evening and, while the bar was heaving, lots of members sat outside enjoying the mild evening temperature.
Load of bikes were parked both on the gravel car park and on the tarmac approach road for those who were confident their bikes were remain on two wheels.
The rideout from Coreys Mill Sainsburys had nine riders on it, which included new member Andy on his Repsol Honda CBR600. Welcome Andy.
It’s was a nice ride led by Cider Bob, which took us to Baldock and then Newnham, on to Ashwell and Hinxworth before crossing the A1 at the water tower and then to Langford. From there, it was the A507 to Shefford and then a blast around the back roads of Shuttleworth, Southill and Hatch before eventually getting to Upper Caldecote by the B658.
Although it’s usually Cider Bob who leads the rideout most weeks, or one of the Pete’s in his absence, if you fancy planning a route and leading, you are more than welcome.
We have two “any other business” for you this week:
Bikestop have asked us to lead their rideout on Sunday 2nd September. Neither Cider Bob nor Pete Blackburn can do it but we’d probably need a minimum of four competent riders so please let let know if you’d like to volunteer by clicking here or talking to Cider Bob.
Several Club members have enquired about “Coolmax” type polo shirts embroidered with the Club logo. We can now get these done for the princely sum of £15 so please click here or talk to Mick Taylor.
Monday 23rd July 2018
Yesterday we attended the Codicote Village Day, sharing the stand of Paul Bryant and his race team - Faith Fuelled Racing. Unfortunately, unlike the Walkern Fair which seems to attract lots of members, it was a poor turnout by the Club. it's a shame because the weather was great it was a really nice day. Lots of people showed an interest and kids loved sitting on the bikes. Our attendance was appreciated by the organisers so hopefully we will be able to drum up more interest if we are invited back next year.
Tonight's meeting was at the Angel in Ware.
As always, there was a group ride from Coreys Mill Sainsburys. Fifteen of us met up in the really warm summer sun and we headed off over the A507 to Buntingford and then down the A10 to the A120.
From Bishop Stortford, we headed down the B1004 to Much Haddam and then on to Ware.
It was a really nice paced ride that suited almost everyone. We were well up to speed in the nationals and everyone kept up reasonably well so there wasn't much waiting at junctions.
Leading the ride, on the A507, CiderBob was wringing the life out of his little CRF250 but once on the B roads, the smaller bike came into its own. Never the less, the riders on their rice burning plastic torpedos were exactly held up so, at the end, it seemed everyone had had a thoroughly entertaining ride.
As always, the Angel was packed and lots of members were already there.
Piles of food came out not long after the group ride arrived and, with such lovely weather, lots of members were still hanging around at closing time.
Next week, we will be at the Hoops in Bassingbourn.
Monday 16th July 2018
Yesterday was the Club’s 2018 George Brown Memorial Run. It was a gorgeous day and, judging by the number of positive comments, really successful. We hope to have a report about the event from the Chairman over the next week or so, so keep an eye out on the Features page.
This Monday was our first ever “Summer Social”. The Christmas socials have been so popular that we thought we give a mid season one a go… and what a success.
We held this event at the Crown in Stotfold. The Landlord there has been really pro S&DMCC and hosted a great night once again. Although there was no live music, the jukebox was turned up, some great tunes played and we were able to enjoy it from the beer garden, where we sat in glorious sunshine for much of the evening. Even as it got dark, the temperature stayed above 20°C.
The food was superb; not only huge amounts but all sorts of variety… baked gherkin wrapped in bacon was a tasty first for me! Massive Grosvenor pies, gorgeous sandwiches, pastries etc etc. A truly great spread – and the Club footed the bill.
There was a raffle for more quality booze than even Pete Starr could drink in an evening… an array of spirits, wines and more. Thanks to Dave Price for sorting it out.
There was a still a group ride out from Coreys Mill Sainsburys but it was a bit shorter than normal. Fifteen of us bimbled over to Great Wymondley, then on to Willian and Letchworth before the first road closure scuppered the planned route. The leader quickly formulated a new plan, only to be thwarted by another road closure. So we ended us taking the Bygrave road to Ashwell and then back to the A507 via Newnham before heading into Stotfold.
Over thirty members and some other halves were already at the pub and with more coming along, the total number was over fifty.
Not only was the food paid for but all Club members got two free drinks so, with nothing but the optional raffle to fork out for, it was a cheap night and, all in all, a great success.
If you have any comments on the George Brown Run, the Summer social, or indeed any Club issues, contact us here StevenageAndDMCC@gmail.com
This coming Saturday (21st July), we will be at Codicote Village Day and Club members are encouraged to come along to show off your bikes. We will be joining Club member Paul Bryant's Faith Fuelled Racing team stand. The parade starts at 12:45 so you need to be on the field well before that but Paul will be setting up from 10:00.
Monday 9th July 2018
The usual author will be back at the Club night next week, which is our new event - the Summer Social, which will be at the Crown in Stotfold. It should be an excellent night so bring along your other halves to enjoy the food and atmosphere.
Literary masterpieces from any others who've been attending the Club nights over the last few weeks have been conspicuous by their absence so there has been nothing add to this blog. But the Club did run the National Road Rally 2018 checkpoint on behalf of Bikestop over the weekend.
Jason Holmes kicked it off by dragging himself out of bed at "silly o'clock" in the morning to cone off an area outside the shop.
About 10:30, he was back, this time with a posse, to set up the gazebos & tables and generally get everything ready. Just before the rally kicked off at 12:00, Lisa Holmes set up refreshments for the riders (and checkpoint Officials - thanks Lisa). This year she went for fruit, breakfast bars and crisps etc along with huge amounts of bottled water and ice rather than the type of goodies shes done over the past few years as she thought they would suffer in the heat.
And there was heat - lots of heat. Running into the 43rd day of the summer heat wave, riders had temperatures of over 30 degrees to contend with.
But as riders passed through, there was no moaning, just smiles all round... except for one poor pair who, having ridden from Southampton to Kendal on Friday to start the Rally, rode three quarters of their Gold mileage to Harlow, only to find it shut at 8 o'clock the night before. The result - disqualification. They looked broken by the news having done so well. We hope it doesn't put you off next year!
Running the checkpoint is a sociable activity. Several Club members helped out or passed by and with Bikestop full of customers and the old town full of happy football fans, there were plenty of people to chat to.
Through the night, as so often the case in the old town, there was the odd drunken scuffle which several members assisted in splitting up but, on the whole, an entertaining way of spending about 17 hours.
Thanks to all who helped out. Special thanks to Jason & Lisa for the extra work and all the refreshments, and thanks to Bikestop for the unlimited supply of hot and cold drinks.
If you fancy doing it next year, click on this link for some info: National Road Rally.
Don't forget... the summer social at the Crown, Stotfold this coming Monday.
Monday 18th June 2018
The usual author of this blog can't be at the Monday night Club meetings for a few weeks so, this week, our Club Secretary has given it a go. You can rate his effort by clicking here.
There we sat the magnificent seven waiting for re-enforcements and at about 8.45pm they turned up... another set of magnificent seven, led by Ian Harris, to help us devour a lovely spread of food.
Inside the pub there was groans as England missed another chance and then a loud roar as they scored and won the game.
All in all a very poor turn out by club members - fourteen in total.
It was a lovely evening so where we're you all? It was lucky as everyone seemed hungry and most of the food was eaten. Any more turnouts like that and we will have to think about putting food on at all.
Next week, the meeting is at the Pig & Abbot in Abington Pigotts.
Monday 11th June 2018
The utterly superb Isle Of Man TT races were on last week so a lot of the Club’s members were on the island enjoying great weather and unbelievable racing.
As a result, there weren’t as many as normal at the pub for the Monday night meeting. But even so, fourteen riders still turned up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the group ride, which was led by Pete Blackburn. Apparently, it was good weather and a good night.
The sun was shining again this week and it was a great temperature for riding so, again, fourteen riders met up for the group ride, including “Fruit” on some weird chopper thing he's bought rather than the Yamaha R1 he’s had for years – each to their own (but we embrace any style of riding) – but it gave a new subject for discussion (or, in fact, for taking the p**s!).
Cider Bob was back this week and led the ride which was to the Edward VII in Guilden Morden.
Its always good to take advantage of the long summer evenings so it was a relatively long route, which took us over to Shillington and then on to Shefford.
The roads around Shuttleworth have been popular so we took a route in that general direction, but unfortunately, the A600 was closed so after a short detour through Shefford, we joined the road to Southill and then right onto the B658 to Stanford.
From there, after passing through the southern end of Langford, we crossed the A1 and headed up to Potton, where we turned right onto the B1042 to Wrestlingworth but crossed straight over at the cross roads, taking the final road to Guilden Morden.
It was planned to be about 40 miles which, if ridden by yourself or with just a few mates, wouldn’t take too long. But responsibly leading a larger group of riders means the leader has to ride a bit slower than normal and has to wait at each turn off to make sure everyone stays together. As a result, although a great ride, it did take just over an hour.
As we always recommend, if you like to ride reasonably quick, you need to be further back in the group. The slower you want to go, the closer to the front you should be. But don’t be mistaken, we still make pretty good progress… even with Fruit on his outrageous chopper.
We know we say this almost every week, but yet again, the pub was full of riders who prefer not to join the group ride but enjoy the ride to the pub alone or in smaller groups, and then the sociable nature of the Club. Thirty two bikes in total were in the car park and it was great to see some partners had come along.
If you aren’t a Club member but are reading this, come along one Monday night – there is a very friendly feel to the group and it’s a nice way of spending a Monday evening.
Topics varied as always but this week, as well as friendly mockery of "Fruit's" very uncomfortable looking chopper, we pushed to find out who will be helping at the National Rally checkpoint and who will be attending the Codicte Village Day on 21st July. If you'd like to come along to the village day, you can join the parade or just attend the Club stand… or both. If you’re interested, please let Cider Bob know by emailing here.
But don't forget, we have the Club's George Brown Memorial Run before that on 15th July.
Cider Bob is away again next week but why not join Ian Harris for the group ride to the Rifle Volunteer in Ware; or meet there…
…unless you are one of those people who like to watch twenty two over paid prima donnas running around after a bag of air & falling over for no reason, with acting skills that belong on the stage – in which case you’ll probably be staying at home to watch England get knocked out of the world cup?
Monday 21st May 2018
Another cracking summer evening meant fifteen riders turned up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the group ride.
Once again, the array of bikes was great and, this week, included a 650 Panther. Simon, the rider, is very pragmatic and came along to be sociable but did say he didn’t think he’d keep up for long as his top speed was only about 60 mph with comfort below 50 mph.
Never-the-less, day-glo Geoff, this week on his old 750 Honda, took up his usual position behind Simon with a vague intention of keeping the group together.
With the lighter evenings, the rides are longer so, leaving Stevenage, to keep everyone together through the “Junction 8” roundabout traffic lights, we went north on the A1 for one junction.
After bumbling up the nearside lane at barely 50 mph, we came off at Junction 9 and had already left Simon and Geoff behind.
But, we always try to keep the group together so, once safely on the B197 into Baldock, we waited… and waited and eventually, Cider bob, leading the run, was signalled by someone at the back, suggesting we were all there.
So we wandered down into Baldock and then took everyone’s favourite, the A507, to Buntingford.
Half way, in Cottered, we stopped again to allow the tail enders to catch up but after 5 minutes there was still no sign.
Assuming Simon and Geoff had taken their own route, as they suggested may happen, the rest of the group carried on and the pace picked up a little.
Straight on at Buntingford, we turned left at Hare Street, onto the B1368 and took this little know treasure all the way to the A505. From there, it was into Melbourne and Meldeth before heading for Kneesworth. With Bassingbourn in sight, we headed the other way, up to the A505 Royston bypass and then turned right to Lidlington. Although a long way round to for the last mile or so, and frustrating to be on a dual carriageway again for a short distance, it meant we avoided riding directly into the low sun.
We arrived at the Hoops where there were already loads of bikes in the car park. A quick tally up found twenty nine in total.
Everyone was outside enjoying the summer evening and the bar was empty. There was the usual general chat but much was also said about the Air Ambulance charity run which had been a great success at the weekend.
The staff at the Hoops always treat us well and this visit was no different… there was a great selection of food, including hot sausages and other nibbles, chips, and loads of sandwiches.
A great way to spend a summer evening.
We have a group ride to the Speedway this Wednesday so come along on your bike as there is a free snack for members.
There is no Monday night meeting next week as it’s a bank holiday but the following week we will be at the Goat in Codicote.
Monday 14th May 2018
This week, sixteen Club members on their bikes met up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the group ride with another three turning up to be sociable and making their own way to the meeting.
The array of bikes was impressive; from a variety of superbikes, adventures, and modern café racer to a 1970s Honda 750 four.
And it was very sociable, with all sorts of chat going on while we waited in the car park for any last minute stragglers.
But come 19:40 hours, we headed off in one group with Cider Bob leading.
To keep everyone together getting out of Stevenage, we started off by headed up the A602 dual carriageway to Hitchin.
Unfortunately Geoff, who normally brings up the rear in his ultra hi vis suit, couldn’t make it so Cider Bob struggled a little bit keeping an eye on Alex at the back. Alex was in dark clothing with a dark helmet so tended to blend in with others in the group.
None-the-less, the group was kept completely together for the entire route, which took us out to Harlington, then north, alongside the motorway, to Steppingly. Then straight on to the A507 and north onto the A6. We turned off to Haynes and then crossed the A600 to Old Warden. From there, we turned right to Southill and then onto the lovely B658 for some fast sweepers into Shefford, where our destination was the Brewery Tap.
There were even more bikes already parked up at the pub; amongst them, the ubiquitous Blackbirds, the chairman’s KTM and some old Italian thing that’s just about hanging on to life, ridden by the Club’s Secretary, Mick Taylor.
As everyone dismounted, there was a real buzz as everyone seemed to have particularly enjoyed the route, which encompassed slow twisties and fast sweepers with everything in between – and all done in daylight for the first time on a Monday evening this year.
Unfortunately there had been a minor mishap on the way with one bike nudging another at the A600 junction. There was a slight spill but thankfully no damage.
We seem to say this every week but, as always, the pub was filled by the S&DMCC and many members stayed in the beer garden to enjoy the summer evening.
There is less to be said for the rest of the evening as it was basically the same as every Monday night Club meeting – a bunch of like minded motorcyclists meeting up for a chat about just about anything.
But there is a very friendly feel about the Club so, although there are little groups within it, just like any club, many members tend to float about and are welcomed into the various conversations.
That is, of course, until the food is served. Then it’s every man for himself, throwing women in children aside to get to the buffet before all the food is gone there is a nice orderly queue which forms and almost everyone restrains themselves to make sure there is enough to go round.
This week’s selection was mainly some lovely bread rolls loaded with a variety of fillings and a selection of pork pies, chicken on sticks and various other delights, with a massive selection of Pringles. The rolls were demolished in no time but, surprisingly, some of the other food was less popular with those that raced to be at the front of the queue so, although there was less of a selection for those that were later to the table, there was still plenty to go round and even enough for seconds (and thirds!).
The staff at the Brewery Tap made us welcome and there was a nice atmosphere. It was also nice to see some of the locals sporting Isle Of Man TT shirts – always a good observation for striking up a conversation.
The evening’s chat included talk of who's doing what over the coming weekend with the MCN Festival (formally the BMF Rally) on Saturday and Sunday and the Air Ambulance charity run on Sunday. But there was also a reminder that there is a steam fair at the Hoops in Bassingbourn for those that want to immerse themselves in joys of dirty mechanical history.
The light faded on the evening and members began to leave after 21:30 but the stalwarts were still there at close to closing time.
Next week, we will be at the Hoops in Bassingbourn.
Monday 30th April 2018
A first for the Club this week as the meeting was cancelled due to the weather forecast predicting apocalyptic rain and storms and several of the roads in the Ware area were closed for road works.
But as it turned out, it was a lovely evening and several members went for a ride anyway.
Don't forget - it's the Walkern Fair this coming Sunday
Monday 23rd April 2018
Another great evening for a ride this week and fourteen bikers met up for the group ride from Coreys Mill Sainsburys.
Cider Bob was working so Pete Blackburn led for the first time since getting back on his bike after his long winter off after an operation.
He led the group over to Baldock and then onto the A507 to Buntingford. Then up to Royston, on to Littlington and then through the Mordens to Wrestlingworth and finally ending at the Thornton Arms in Everton.
Unfortunately, Pete managed to lose one on the way but he made it to the pub on his own route.
The pub was packed as always and the food was excellent.
Monday 16th April 2018
It was clearly the first really nice spring Monday evening of the year as we had sixteen riders meet up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the group ride this week.
As always, there were a couple of stragglers so we didn’t get away at 19:30 hours but it wasn’t helped by the lead rider waiting for an R1 rider at the petrol station who turned out not to be who we thought it was… so as he rode off into the distance, the leader felt a bit of a lemon!
We don’t use the “drop off” ride out system as, for some, it can detract from the enjoyment of the ride. Instead, the lead rider makes every effort to keep the group together by waiting at junctions.
The basic rules are:
Ride at your own pace
The faster you want to go, the further back in the group you should be
If you lose sight of the person in front, don’t ride out of your comfort zone. Just keep going straight on, at your pace, until you catch up with them at a turn off, where they will be waiting
Finally, avoid overtaking other riders in the group
This has worked well for years. Pete Starr managed to lose half of his group once and Cider Bob lost two recently but that’s not bad in all the years we’ve been doing it. Big Geoff tends to “tail end” and he always knows the destination so he can take over in the unlikely event the group gets split up.
We turned right out of Sainsburys and immediately got split up by the traffic lights. The lead group waited at the next lay-by and, once all together, we had a gentle bimble through Stevenage to the Walkern roundabout.
Although it can be frustrating for some, the leader will tend to ride at 5 mph below the posted speed limit to make sure the riders at the back can keep up without going over it.
Once onto the country roads, the speed is normally up to the national limit so as we headed towards Walkern, the twisties of the B1037 should have been great fun. Unfortunately, we got stuck behind a car displaying “P” plates.
Everyone has to learn and we should be tolerant of slower and unconfident drivers but this one caused significant frustration as many of us wondered how she could have ever passed her test – she seemed to think her Mini was the size of a bus and its top speed seemed to be about 25 mph.
It would have been easy for the lead rider to overtake but this would have split up the group so we just put up with it. Fortunately, she turned off towards Bennington as we headed on to Watton at Stone and then Datchworth Green.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before we were behind more slow moving vehicles, although the recent rain had washed quite a bit of gravel onto the Watton Road so those that aren’t happy with the back end wafting about a little bit were probably happy about that.
Once in Woolmer Green, we turned right and then left onto Wych Elm Lane, which took us to the back of Knebworth. It was then over to Nup End, where we turned double right onto Hitchin Lane. It was at this double turn where Cider Bob lost two of group back in the cold and dark of a February ride so this week, he slowed right up to make sure dayglo Geoff at the back of the group was in sight!
From there, it was onto the B656 to Hitchin. Normally, the lead rider won’t tend to overtake slower vehicles when it’s a fairly large group but, with all the frustrations of car drivers who seem incapable of driving to the conditions, the lure of the Codicote to Hitchin roads was too much. So with a van and an Audi in his sights, Cider Bob was past at the first opportunity. He was pleased to see new rider Steve on his Kawasaki W800 wasn’t put off as he followed on the overtakes.
The pace was quite nice for a few of us through the twisties to the Little Almshole turn but the leader slowed up early for the 40 mph limit to allow the others to catch up. It turned out the Audi was so slow that the riders towards the back were a long way behind so, before reaching the Three Moorhens roundabout, the leader pulled over and waited for the whole group to reassemble.
The rest of the ride was a little dull, being through the posted limits of Hitchin to Ickleford, where our destination was the Plume of Feathers.
On arrival at the pub, it was great to see bikes all over the place… a quick count up showed there were thirty three in total. But, as always, a load more members had arrived in their cars and, although many members were enjoying the mild evening outside, the bar was chocka.
It’s always good to see faces of those that have been away through the winter, as well as the regulars.
Chat was as varied as ever and included finding initial interest in a trip to the Isle of Man for the Manx GP next year, volunteers for supporting the National Rally checkpoint on Saturday 8th July and our attendance at the Walkern and Codicote shows.
There was also talk of the charity steam fair being run, as every year, by one of our Monday night pubs, The Hoops at Bassingbourn. If you are free on Saturday 19th May, it’s a great day out. Click here for details.
It wasn’t long before the food came out. The staff at the Plume of Feathers always look after us well but no one could have predicted so many of us turning up this week so, although everyone got some food, it was relatively limited to a bacon sandwich and some chips each. It may have been a little less than some would have liked, but it was more than made up for in quality – superb!
The evening ticked on and some riders started to leave between about 21:30 and 22:00 but many of us stayed on towards closing time.
I know we say it most week, but, as always, it was a very enjoyable social night out.
Have a look at our calendar for next week's destination and other events.
Monday 26th March 2018
It was pouring down with rain this week but it didn't put off two riders, who met this week's brave leader, Pete Starr, at the Coreys Mill Sainsburys for a group ride.
The destination was the Hen & Chickens in Baldock where there was a committee meeting so unfortunately the ride was short as the committee members had to arrive by 20:00 hours.
Fortunately, the sensible riders were wearing waterproofs but Pete was in jeans, as always, which resulted in soggy shrivelled bit where, at his age, he normally only has shrivelled bits!
The weather put off lots of people so it was a quiet night at the pub, which meant there was loads of food to go round.
The committee meeting was quite short but one of the decisions was to postpone this week's planned ride to the speedway due to the very wet conditions. It has been rescheduled for Wednesday 23rd May.
Next week's meeting is a change to the original calendar and will now be at the Plume of Feathers in Ickleford.
Monday 26th March 2018
The clocks went forward at the weekend so lots of riders took “British Summer Time” to mean just that so we had nine riders for the group ride from at Coreys Mill Sainsburys.
It was great to see the faces of some riders who’ve put their bikes away over the winter but bring them out to enjoy the better weather. But it was also good to see the old faithful stalwarts who put up with the worse weather and still enjoy riding in the in the more challenging conditions.
And with BST upon us, the weather had taken a turn for the better and it was a bright and mild evening – very nice conditions for the ride.
The A507 is always a favourite so we headed out over to Walkern with a view to a spin to Baldock but the ride was going so nicely that the leader, Cider Bob, made “on the hoof” changes and went straight on at Cumberlow Green through Rushen to the A505 at Slip End.
Crossing the dual carriageway, we headed on to Aswell and then turned to Hinxworth. After crossing the A1, we continued to Langford, on to Henlow and then finally Stotfold, where our destination was The Crown.
We arrived to find bikes already in the car park and loads of members inside.
This week was the return of our annual Easter Egg charity auction. Loads of members had donated chocolate eggs but special thanks go to Jason and Lisa for their very generous donation of some very special hand made eggs.
The Chairman, Tony “Norbert” Brown was the auctioneer but, after a slow start, he managed to gee everyone up into a spending frenzy, resulting in a very impression £250 being raised. Thanks to all who took part, particularly the two locals who either have lots of children or are destined for a diabetic episode with the amount they bought… and extra special thanks to Keith, the Land Lord, who contributed a small fortune; paying over £60 for one of the hand made eggs!
In no time, the eggs were gone and Keith brought out the food. Well, what a presentation. The food can vary quite a lot, from a few curled up sandwiches to some real treat but this pub is one of those that treats us like kings. The array of food was gastronomically astronomic – not only in quantity but in quality and variety. So thank you for that as well Keith.
As always, the chat was varied but Pete Blackburn passed around a message requesting assistance from members for a Bikestop rideout. There were several volunteers so if you’d like to join the Bikestop group ride on Sunday 8th April, be there at 10:30.
There is no meeting next week as it’s a Bank Holiday but the week after will be at the Hen & Chicken in Baldock. It’s a committee meeting night so the group ride might be short, unless someone else volunteers to lead!
Monday 19th March 2018
Snow returned again over the weekend but it had cleared by Monday but it was still cold and the strong breeze gave a negative wind chill. Four intrepid riders braved the cold to meet up for the group ride.
It was good to see Jason turn up on his new R1200RT – his first ride with us this year.
Although cold (apart from for Jason, who seems to have heated everything on his new beast) and the roads were salted, they were dry and not at all slippery so it was a really enjoyable ride… except for the loss of feeling in fingertips for those of us without a small furnace powering heated grips.
We seem to have done this week’s route a few times recently but it doesn’t make it any less enjoyable… over to Hitchin, then the B655 to Barton-Le-Clay, A6 up to Clophill and then the A507 to Arlesey. Although, as it was such a great night for a winter ride, we added a detour via Henlow Camp toward the end of the ride.
As we arrived at the Vicar’s Inn, it was nice to see Simon’s Sunbeam in the car park. Great to see such as classic still used all year round… no heated grips on that one.
Writing about what happens at the pub can be a little repetitive at this time of year as it boils down to just a loads of blokes with an interest in motorcycling talking about just about any old rubbish. But it’s highly sociable and always entertaining – not lease with the amount of p**s taking that goes on.
The Landlady Teresa and Hazel, behind the bar, made us all really welcome as always and, as always didn’t moan at all when those of us with frozen fingers ask for a warming mug of tea (yes, we know it’s inconvenient to leave the bar and spend time in the kitchen but we appreciate it!).
They also produced a superb spread of food. Along with sandwiches and the sort of things you might expect, they always do something special - some lovely tangy turkey rolls (like sausage rolls but much nicer!), gorgeous cheeses and even salady bits for the vaguely healthy amongst us. And there was an array of cakes to finish with.
The Chairman brought proceedings to a halt momentarily to announce next week’s charity Easter egg auction, which will be at the Crown in Stotfold. Please come along and, if you can, donate an egg or two, and bring some money so you can bid for what you’ve just donated!!!
We hope to see you there.
Please keep an eye on the Calendar and/or Facebook for up-coming events.
Monday 12th March 2018
There had been quite a lot of rain over the weekend and during the day on Monday so we didn’t expect many to turn up for the group ride but four of us left Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the damp ride to Hertford via Walkern and Watton at Stone. We then took the B1000 to Welwyn and ended at the Goat in Codicote.
Although the roads were wet and some of the country roads had a bit of crap washed onto them from the hills and fields, everyone enjoyed it and there were no “iffy” moments.
The Goat is always a popular destination and, as always, the car park was full of Club member’s cars and the bar was chocker.
Fortunately, the bar staff were happy dishing up mugs of tea because it turned out the be quite chilly and there were a few number fingers of the riders.
The food was just a tad late coming out but there was loads of it and everyone got as much as they wanted.
As always, the chat was varied but included some proposed bike trips for this year. And a poster was handed out encouraging everyone to come to the Easter egg auction on 26th March at the Crown, Stotfold.
Next week we will be at the Vicars Inn in Arlesey.
Monday 5th March 2018
After last week’s snow, this Monday was fairly mild although only four riders made it for the group ride.
The route was through Stevenage to Old Knebworth and then the back road to the B656. Unfortunately, even though he only had to keep track of three bikes, for the in all the years Cider Bob has been leading the Monday night rideouts, he managed to loose Geoff who always brings up the rear.
A car managed to squeeze between us between Deards End Lane and Old Knebworth but, in the darkness, it wasn’t obvious it wasn’t poor old Geoff. So as we took a left onto Driver’s End Lane and an immediate left onto Hitchin Lane, Geoff missed the second turn and went straight on to the B656.
As the rest of us arrived at the Codicote Road, Cider Bob noticed Geoff was missing so, after waiting a few moments, leaving James at the junction, Cider Bob & Steve went back to check Geoff was lying in a ditch.
Fortunately he’s far too good a rider to let that happen so as he thundered up the B656, he picked up James and they continued on to the Plume Of Feathers in Ickleford.
After checking all the way back to Knebworth and over to Codicote, and returning to find James had gone, Cider Bob and Steve drew the conclusion they had continued so they made their way to the pub where the others were standing about in the car park having a chat.
By the time we got there, the temperature had dropped a bit so it was teas and coffees all round.
But the rest of the members were already in the bar supping beer or Coke and it wasn’t long before the huge quantity of gorgeous sandwiches and chips were brought out by the really friendly staff.
We will be having an Easter Egg auction at our meeting at the Crown, Stotfold, on Monday 26th March. Please make an effort to attend if you can and, even better, bring a chocolate egg donation!
Next week, join us at Coreys Mill Sainsburys at 19:30 for the group ride to the Goat in Codicote; or join us there.
Monday 26th February 2018
The north wind dith blow this week and we dith have snow (although not much before the end of Monday night)... so Cider Bob was the only one keen enough to be at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the "group ride".
But, it was a committee meeting this week so, as he was alone, he left there and went straight to the Hen & Chickens at Baldock.
Surprisingly, although it was bitterly cold and there was a threat of proper snow, lots of Club members were at the pub and there was a roaring fire to warm everyone up.
At 20:00 the committee assembled for the first meeting since the AGM. There were discussions on all sorts of future activities - what events the Club will fully support and how we will spend our money etc. Have a look at the Events Calendar for a list. All the events in RED will involve the Club's attendance so please contact us here or let the Secretary, Mick Taylor, know if you are interested in attending and/or volunteering to help.
Days for your calendar include:
11th April - RYEHOUSE SPEEDWAY
Club rideout and free meal for members
6th May - WALKERN FAIR
Club stand requiring bikes to display and volunteers attend
20th June – MELDETH MOTORCYCLE SHOW
Volunteers for Club stand and Marshalling please
7th/8th July - NATIONAL ROAD RALLY
Volunteers for checkpoint please
15th July – GEORGE BROWN MEMORIAL VINTAGE RUN
The main Club event - attend if you can in any capacity (entrant, marshal, spectator etc)
18th July - RYEHOUSE SPEEDWAY
Club rideout and free meal for members
21st July - CODICOTE VILLAGE DAY
Club stand requiring bikes to display and volunteers attend
But if you have an event or ride you'd like added, let us know.
It was a successful meeting which ended quite swiftly so the committee retired to the bar for the general chit chat.
Not long after, the foot was served and, once again, Tally, the Landlady, did a great spread. Thanks to all who took note our comments regarding piling up your plate... this week there was plenty for seconds for those who were still peckish.
As usual, numbers started thinning out by about 22:00 with just a few stragglers left. But it was another pleasant night with a great atmosphere.
Monday 19th February 2018
A drizzly night and the need to be at the AGM promptly resulted in only two riders turning up for the group ride this week. So, after standing chatting for twenty minutes the riders simply went over to Hitchin, down the B656, through Old Knebworth and back into Stevenage, where the destination was the Cromwell Hotel.
The Hotel had given us a very nice room for the AGM and tea & coffee was provided. As seems to have become tradition, Gary very kindly supplied copious amounts of quality biscuits.
The evening got under way promptly with the President, Pat Barrett, immediately interrupting to announce it was Tony “Norbert” Brown’s fortieth anniversary as Chairman of the Club and was presented with a couple of bottles by way of a thank you.
The Chairman then began with a request for the Secretary’s summary of last years AGM. Mick Taylor gave last year’s account and it was then on to the Treasurer’s report. Pete Starr has, once again, been a “Starr” at this role and, even with money spent on new flags, gazebos and various charities, the Club still ended up about eleven pounds up on last year!
The Chairman’s summary of the past year’s activities was next with thank yous to all those who helped make it successful.
Then it was time to elect the new committee. Fortunately, the thankless tasks of the three Officers (Chairman, Secretary & Treasurer) were not up for reallocation this year so it was just the four support members that needed nominations. Generally, people join a motorcycle club to ride bikes together and talk about bike stuff so there is never a queue for this potentially dull and frustrating activity. As a result, those serving throughout the past year, Gary Jones, Jim Carmichael, Pete Blackburn and Cider Bob, were all proposed, seconded and appointed for the forthcoming year.
We then moved on to other pressing business, with the most notable topic being that of the Monday night food situation. It has been noted that some members treat the food as their evening meal and return for “seconds” before some have had “firsts”. It has been requested that people refrain from pigging out before everyone has had a chance to have some. There was also an agreement to keep the two pound contribution to the food but, as a trial, for the Club to subsidise an uplift in the amount we ask for from the pub.
It should be noted at this point that the quantity and quality of food put out by different pubs varies tremendously. Some are incredibly generous and some are as tight as… a tight thing. But, remember, a single sandwich at most pubs would cost a fiver so its still a good deal.
There was also talk about upping the annual membership subscription but this was kyboshed quite rapidly so the subscription remains the same as it’s been for well over twenty years at a fiver.
We also discussed future use of Club funds and where our charity donations would be directed in the future. The air ambulance remained a firm favourite.
There were also discussions on future activities, such as regular speedway trips, adding the Codicote Day show, Banbury vintage run & others to the calendar as well as all the usual events such as the Walkern Fair and the National Rally etc.
It was a surprisingly interesting and interactive AGM this year with what seemed like some good decisions made for the future.
It ended about 21:30 ish and, while some drifted off into the rainy darkness, several of us retired to the bar to discuss the progress.
In other news:
Ian Harris has been planning a S&DMCC trip to the Pyrenees and has a spare space. Dates are 18th to 25th September - ferries and B&B are already booked. Total cost per rider is £538 without meals & fuel. If you’re interested, he needs a £41.50 deposit, the rest payable in August.
Steve Vaughan is planning a Welsh off roading long weekend if anyone is interested. Just have a chat to him.
If anyone would like to volunteer to assist manning the National Rally checkpoint between 12:00 and 22:00 hours on Saturday 7th July, please have a chat to Dave Price .
We are also looking for supporters for the Walkern Fair on Sunday 6th May, the Meldreth Bike Show on Wednesday 20th June and Codicote Day on Saturday 21st July.
And, the Club’s main event, the George Brown Memorial Vintage Run will be on Sunday 15th July so please attend if you can in any role – on a vintage bike, helping out or just turning up on your modern bike in support – it’s always a great day.
And please keep an eye on the two website calendars. One is the Monday night destinations throughout the year but the other is for any motorcycling activities being suggested at any other time. If you’d like to get involved in any, let us know.
If you have a motorcycling event, rideout or similar you’d like to get people involved with, just contact Cider Bob by clicking here and he’ll get it promoted for you on the website, Facebook, WhatsApp and Text.
Next week’s meeting will be at the Hen & Chickens but will also be the first committee meeting of the new year.
Monday 12th February 2018
Unsurprisingly, it was cold again this week but some hardy bikers turned out for a group ride to the Pig & Whistle at Aston.
It had been planned that Pete Starr would be leaving the ride but he was late off work and couldn’t get there in time so, with the foreseen absence of Cider Bob, with no notice, Steve very kindly took the lead on his Dominator . And it was great to have Jason along for an outing of his shiny new R1200RT… hope you gave it lots of TLC to get rid of the salt when you got it home Jay?
The route was an old favourite… over to Hitchin, then the B656 through Codicote and on to the pub via Watton at Stone.
The pub was well attended and, as always, with friendly and accommodating staff, the food was great.
And with the AGM next week at the Cromwell Hotel, Stevenage, there was lots of chatter about what might come up.
Please make an effort to be there for the AGM… and don’t forget your annual subs!
Monday 5th February 2018
Expecting very cold weather this week, we didn’t think anyone would join Cider Bob at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for a group ride. But the negative temperatures predicted didn’t quite arrive by the time we left the car park at just after 19:30 hours.
So, with it just being cold as opposed to freezing our bits off, five of us met up and bumbled off together through the countryside, finding our way to the always entertaining B656 between Hitchin and Codicote.
The roads were dry so we cracked on at a nice pace and, on arriving at the pub, some of us thought it would have been nice to carry on for an extra few miles.
But we didn’t so, after squeezing our bikes into the few remaining gaps in the car park, we made our way in to the Goat.
We’d arrived a little earlier than normal so it wasn’t packed but there still wasn’t a lot of room to dump all our gear and find a spot.
This is always a popular destination and it wasn’t long before more members arrived and the bar ended up being as packed as always with barely enough room to swing an exhaust silencer.
There was a really good atmosphere and, as usual, lots of chat. The dinner dance, held two days ago, was a hot topic as it had been really well attended and the general feedback was that it had been very successful. If you’d like to read a report on the evening, click here.
Some riders left a bit early due to an early start in the morning or the impending freezing conditions but the evening rattled on to almost closing time for some.
Next week, the ride will be led by Pete Starr and the destination will be the Pig & Whistle at Aston.
Don’t forget, the following week, 19th February, will be the AGM at the Cromwell Hotel.
Monday 29th January 2018
Monday daytime this week was lovely but temperatures plummeted to about 4°C for the evening group ride from Coreys Mill Sainsburys.
Never-the-less, five intrepid riders turned up. Cider Bob led, this week on his DL650, James on his GSX650F, Prateek on his Royal Enfield 500 Classic, Steve on his Honda Dominator and, as usually the case, Geoff bringing up the rear on his trusty BMW R1150RT.
Although the roads had been salted, leaving piles of grit in just the wrong places, the roads were actually fairly dry and it turned out to be a nice ride.
Our route took up to Hitchin via the A602 and then towards Shefford on the A600. But we turned onto the A507 to get us to Henlow where we turned left to Langford and then up to the water tower at the A1.
We generally avoid major routes so we went over the A1 and took the long sweeping left down to the Millow road before turning right towards Hinxworth.
It’s a great road (but better in daylight) which took us to Ashwell. From there, it was left to Newnham and then on to Baldock where our destination was the Hen & Chickens.
Simon was already there on his Sunbeam Panther and both Alex and John had also ventured out on their bikes.
Inside, the pub was full of members but we squeezed in and it wasn’t long before the food was served.
As we’ve seen a few times recently, with so many members coming, the quantity of food doesn’t always go round. It’s very hard to predict how many will turn up. As a result, while most got fed, the Grande Fromages of the Committee went cheeseless.
There was lots of socialising as always and conversations crossed many spectrums. But, of course, motorcycling related topics featured greatly and there was much talk of this coming Saturdays Dinner Dance.
There were also a few conversations regarding the Bikestop/S&DMCC National Rally checkpoint in the old town on 7th/8th July. We think we have it covered but, if you’d like to get involved, email us here.
Possibly due to the impending ice, it thinned out a tad early with most people having left by not long after 22:00.
Next week, we will be at the Goat in Codicote.
And it’s not too late to get your Dinner Dance tickets if you want to join us for our posh do.
Monday 22nd January 2018
With temperature into double figures during the day, it was unseasonably mild for tonight's ride to our meeting at the White Lion in Baldock.
The rideout from Coreys Mill Sainsburys was well attended for the time of year. Six of us met up and had a little chat in the car park which included possibly routes bearing in mind a burst water main in Cromer and some sort of crash near junction 9 of the A1 causing traffic mayhem.
Undeterred, we set off for Watton at Stone via the A602 and then took the back road to Walkern. We carried on to Cromer but, being a hardy bunch, we headed up to the mill and the envisaged torrent of water rather than taking the easy option by turning left to Cumberlow Green.
It was the right decision as the waves of water turned out to be a bit of a trickle down each side of the road so we ploughed on to Cottered. From there, we took the obvious route of the A507 to Baldock.
By the time we got to the pub, the temperature had dropped a fair bit so, although not freezing, heated grips saw a little action.
Parking outside the White Lion is always easy for bike and we were all able to park up next to a BMW already there.
Inside, the pub was fairly quiet in the first bar but moving on through to the bar we frequent, it became evident that it was a very good turnout of Club members as there was barely standing room.
It was a really good atmosphere and it was't long before the food arrived. And lovely food it was - quite a few sandwiches, chips, pies, samosas etc. The pub staff did us proud and even with such a large number of us, there was still enough to keep everyone sufficiently fed.
While on the subject of food, its going to be proposed at the AGM that we increase the weekly contribution to £3 to make sure we keep getting served enough good quality food for everyone. If you'd like your say in advance of the AGM, let us know by this on this green link.
Members began to leave from about 21:30 with the last of us leaving about 22:30. It was a thoroughly enjoyable night. Thanks to all who came along and to the pub staff for looking after us.
Next week, we will be at the Hen & Chickens, again in Baldock.
And don't forget, it's not too late to get your dinner dance tickets by calling Mick Taylor on 01438 354130 or clicking on this green link.
Mon 15th January 2018
Cider Bob couldn't lead the run this week but 5 riders turned up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys and sorted themselves out with a route to the Plume of Feathers in Ickleford.
It was a chilly but nice night for a ride and, arriving at the pub, one of the members had thought the same, arriving on his classic BMW.
There was about twenty two other members already at the pub but the staff laid on loads of lovely food so everyone got plenty.
There's not much more to say about these winter meetings. But it won't be long until the spring when we'll have longer rides and more to write about.
Next week we will be at the White Lion, Baldock SG7 6BJ
Mon 8th January 2018
After a quiet few weeks, it was a quiet first meeting of the new year, which was at the Hen & Chickens.
Only three of us met at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the rideout but, unfortunately, Geoff's highly reliable BMW was less reliable this week but after a bit of fiddling, it was sufficiently repaired to get him home. This meant we left the car park a little late and, with a committee meeting to get to, it was a short ride via Willian to the pub.
There was only one bike there, but it was welcomed along with its rider who joined the club for the first time.
The committee meeting involved the usual sort of dull discussions that keep the Club ticking over as well as finalising the Dinner Dance.
Don't forget to get your Dinner Dance tickets from Mick Taylor.
Next Monday's meeting will be at the Plume of Feathers – Ickleford SG5 3YD