Mon 30th December 2019
Due to the seasonal festivities, last week and this week were not "proper" Club nights so there were no rides and no food at the pubs. But a few members met up for a beer and a chin wag.
The first Club night of 2020 is next Monday, the 6th January, at the Cock in Baldock.
As always, you can meet us there or you can join the first group ride of the year, from Coreys Mill Sainsburys, 19:30.
Mon 16th December 2019
Being so close to Christmas, poor old Cider Bob was whisked off to Europe and was being dragged around a Christmas market this Monday evening so couldn't lead the Group ride. Fortunately, Steve was on hand to lead two of the stalwart riders who put up with the damp roads but mild temperature on a nice route by Steve.
After a reasonably swift yet safe hack over to Hertford, they took one of the favoured B roads, the B1000, to Digswell and then another favourite, the B656, to Hitchin. It was then straight up the A600 to the A507 and on to Arlesey where the meeting was at the Vicars Inn.
As always, Theresa, Hazel and the team looked after us all with friendly smiles, banter and huge amounts of top notch food. This is why the Vicars Inn is always so popular and this week was no different.
There was lots of Christmas cheer and a few cards being dished (most were handed out at last week’s Christmas social).
This was the last “proper” Club meeting of the year.
We do have destinations planned for the Mondays over the Christmas period but as so many people will be away or otherwise engaged, we haven’t arranged food. We called it “Noggin & Natter”.
Those of us that are free will be meeting at the Pig & Whistle in Aston next Monday (23rd Dec) and at the Chequers in Stevenage old town on Monday 30th December.
Monday 6th January 2020 will be our next “proper” Club night, when our destination will be the Cock in Baldock.
But don’t forget, it’s not long now until our annual Dinner Dance on 8th February. Tickets are still only £35 (yes, all the shops say “only” before every price but in this case, it’s accurate… try finding a similar do for less… you won’t be able to!!) and you can get them from Club Secretary Mick Taylor.
Mon 9th December 2019
Even though this week was the 2019 Christmas Social, five riders and a pillion turned up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys and braved the cold for a forty mile ride to the Hen & Chickens in Baldock, via Codicote and Barton Le Clay.
Being the Social, the pub was heaving when the group ride arrived and it was great to see so many partners enjoying the festivities.
There was an enormous amount of food put on by Tally and her staff with plenty for everyone and no shortage for anyone wanting seconds.
After diving into the food, the customary raffle took place with Norbert calling out the numbers for the excellent prizes arranged by Pete Starr.
It was then back to the serious business of socialising and the bar remained full of members until late into the evening.
Next week is our last proper Club meeting of the year, which will be at the Vicars Inn in Arlesey. Although, the week after, those that don’t have other festive plans will be meeting at the Pig & Whistle in Aston (no food).
Mon 2nd December 2019
With icy back roads it was a pleasant surprise to have four riders along for the group ride from Coreys Mill.
Unfortunately, big Geoff’s headlamp saga from last week continued this week. He arrived on time but as we all started up and prepared to leave, the bulb failed again. It turned out it was just a loose connection but he took the sensible option and bimbled home to sort it out, rather than joining us for the ride.
With modern motorcycle clothing being so good and the benefit of heated grips for some, it actually turned out to be a really fun ride.
All the main routes and bigger B roads had been salted so, although it was damp, there was no ice and no-one suffered with any significant loss of grip throughout the ride.
The route was just under thirty miles; up to Baldock, A507 to the A600 and then down the B656 to Codicote where this week’s destination was the Goat.
This pub is another of the more popular destinations and this week was no exception. The bar was chocker and those on the lower level looked longingly as piles of hot dogs made their way to the upper level.
Fortunately, Graham and his team produce lots of food each time we visit so, although the hotdogs ran out, there was plenty of pizza and massive chips.
Next week is the CHRISTMAS SOCIAL at the Hen & Chickens in Baldock so bring your partners along for the festive cheer.
Now is a good time to get your Dinner Dance tickets. It’s not limited to Club members and family so if you’d like to fill a table with friends, they will be very welcome. You can get your tickets from Mick Taylor . We’ve kept the price down to the very reasonable £35 again this year. You won’t find a better value posh do like this!
Mon 25th November 2019
This week the “usual” four riders turned up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys and were joined by James on his ZZR1400.
It was surprisingly mild weather but there was a spattering of drizzle. On the plus side, the wet roads cleaned off any salt left on the bikes from recent colder rides, including last week, which had been very wintery.
The group set off at 19:30 and immediately got split up by the lights at the car park exit. Cider Bob waited in the next layby and, in no time, all five were back together and en-route to the Hen & Chickens via Wadesmill and Buntingford.
For a change, after Anchor Lane and the old A10, they headed up the B1368 to Hare Street, where they turned left to Buntingford.
While out in the sticks, big Geoff’s headlight bulb failed but with only the A507 left, it didn’t look like too much of an issue.
Unfortunately, as we got to the A10, it was evident the A507 to Cottered was closed due to a burst water main and the diversion was via Royston.
The leader continued up the A10 and the others got out between other vehicles. James was soon up behind Cider Bob but a tipper truck obscured the view of the leader for the rest.
We have fairly simple rules on rideouts of which one is “go straight on unless the rider in front is waiting at a junction”. This means that we shouldn’t ever get split up because we wait if we ever take a direction other than straight on.
Unfortunately, an unnamed member of the group decided to turn towards Throcking, thinking he could see the lights of the two bikes ahead – it was a car!!
It was also unfortunate that one of the headlights of the car behind the lead bikes was obscured by James’ bike and the remaining headlight visible to Cider Bob was a similar colour to Steve’s bike headlight. So Cider thought Steve was behind and carried on to the Silver Ball where he waited, thinking Paul and Geoff were a way behind.
It was immediately apparent the lead pair were alone so, after a couple of minutes Cider went back to the A507. Obviously, not finding any of them in a ditch, it was apparent the missing group had taken the different route so Cider returned to James at the Silver Ball and the two headed down to Baldock, via Royston, where the others had already arrived at the pub.
While Cider Bob & James enjoyed the swift A10 and A505, Steve, Paul and Geoff had found their route was strewn with very thick mud for the entire back road to Cottered. Looking like they had been off roading, both their gear and their bikes were in need of a thorough clean!
There were lots of members at the pub and the end table was blazoned with an array of entries for this year’s photographic competition.
With ex semi-professional photographer Ian Harris now on the Committee, he joined long standing judge, Cider Bob.
The array of entries was excellent. Many were artistic land and seascapes, some were artistic motorcycles, some were action shots and some were just plain silly.
Judging was based on three main factors – subject, quality and composition. Motorcycles always score well but many of the action shots were out of focus. There were some lovely attempts, for example Chris Sawyers motorcycle reflected in the river but the composition lost marks as the bottom of the reflection was cut off. A photo of motorcycles at sunset next to a windmill was also thought worthy of mention but the bikes were a bit dark.
Third place was a technically excellent photo of a Yamaha MT09 but it was similar to last year’s winner (although being a Yamaha, it was never going to be as good as a Triumph!!!). Second was a really good photo of a sailing boat off the Isle of Wight but was missing a motorcycle. The winner was Alan Evans' entry of a slightly out of focus photo of a wheelieing motorcycle from behind. A very hard shot to take which, even though not perfect, was worthy of the win.
Have a look at the Gallery to see the photos.
Next week we return to the Goat in Codicote.
The week after that is the Christmas Social. And don’t forget to get your Dinner Dance tickets from Mick.
Mon 18th November 2019
Winter really struck this Monday. As riders met up with Steve at Sainsburys for the group ride, it was fairly cold but by the time everyone rode home at the end of the night, the temperature was down to just below zero and there was ice about.
None-the-less, five brave soles jumped on their bikes and joined him. To avoid hypothermia setting in, it was a relatively short but still enjoyable ride to Baldock where their destination was a new pub on the calendar – the Cock.
Well over thirty members turned up to find out what this pub is like and they weren’t disappointed. The Landlord, Devon, and his staff were very welcoming and the food was excellent.
Everyone was happy and many stayed until much later that we generally tend to... although some may have regretted that as, after leaving the warmth of the fire, they wondered outside and realised how cold it was.
Next week, we are back to the Hen and Chickens for the annual Photographic competition. It's likely we will have a new judge who's a bit more "professional" in his analysis than Cider Bob's "it's a picture of a Triumph, how much better does it get" approach.
But before then, if you are at a lose end this week, the Motorcycle Show is on at the NEC. Reports so far that its a good one this year.
For other ideas of what do throughout the year, have a look at the Events Calendar. It's a bit sparce at the moment but will soon be updated with events going on next year. If you have any suggestions for events we can add to the page, let us know by clicking here.
Don't forget to get your Dinner Dance tickets from Mick - Saturday 8th February 2020.
Mon 11th November 2019
As riders made their way to Coreys Mill Sainsburys to meet for the group ride, several were showered in salt as the gritters were out in force.
The temperature had dropped and it was cold but the four consistent stalwarts (Paul, Steve, Geoff at the back and Cider Bob leading) met up and chatted for ten minutes before setting off.
Sticking to the larger roads with centre white lines to make riding easier, the group headed over to Hertford via the A602 and A119. It was then back east to Welwyn via the B1000 and up to Hitchin via the B656.
The destination was the Plume of Feathers at Ickleford so, after a ride of about thirty eight miles, the warm bar and, for some, a cup of tea, was very welcome.
Lots of members had arrived in cars and the bar was fairly busy. Although there was a darts match also under way so the other side of the pub was also full.
There was lots of friendly chatter going on but it wasn’t long before the food was served. Unfortunately, while the sandwiches were nice, the quantity was disappointing. Other pubs consistently produce great arrays of food and there is often some left over, particularly at the Vicars Inn. But our food soon disappeared while food for the darts team next door just seemed to keep coming.
Feeling very much hard done by, we may need to reconsider having the Plume of Feathers on the calendar in the future. If you’d like to let us know your opinion, email us by clicking here or go to our Contact Us page.
But, it was a friendly sociable evening and the atmosphere was nice.
Next week is a change to the original Calendar. We will now be at the the Cock in Baldock.
Hopefully you are planning on joining us for the annual Dinner Dance on 3rd February 2020. You can get your tickets from Mick Taylor and, to make it an extra special night, we have negotiated a special deal with the Cromwell Hotel where you can stay overnight - only £69 for a double or £59 for a single, including breakfast. You can book your room by contacting them on 01438 779954.
Mon 4th November 2019
This week was the annual quiz, which was at the Vicars Inn, Arlesey.
Having set a hundred general knowledge questions, our Club Chairman, Tony Brown compared the very well attended event. The bar was absolutely heaving with members so the enormous spread of food was laid out in the other bar.
As always, Theresa, Hazel and the team at the pub put on a cracking array of food, including everything you’d expect in a pub buffet but also an unbelievable cheese board. Every time a platter was emptied, more came out so, after valiant efforts by many of us to clear the table, there was still some left at the end of the night. If that wasn’t enough, after the first round, they brought out various cakes for “afters”. Thanks to them all for looking after us so well, as always.
The quiz started at 20:30 but the group ride, from Coreys Mill Sainsburys, missed it because they arrived a bit late. After leaving at 19:33, five of them braved the chill and rode over to Barton Le Clay and up the A6. Unfortunately, the road was shut at Clophill so they headed to Shefford on the A507 and up the A600 to Bedford.
Unfortunately, they were then held up by road works at Shortstown so, after taking the A603 through Moggerhanger and then the B658 to Stanford, they took the road to Clifton. Unfortunately, in the dark, Cider Bob missed the little back street turn off he was aiming for to get back to the A507 and ended up in the 30s all the way to Henlow.
The ride was just over forty two miles and we got to the pub at 20:45 but the roads had been dry, for the most part, and all the riders said they’d enjoyed it.
Ten teams took part in the quiz. The results were:
1st The Young un`s
3rd 92 Squadron
= 5th Speed Triple
= 5th M & M
= 5th The Barmaids
8th Mo MO quick quick snow
9th Choe Mein
10th Steve & Carol
Next week, we will be at the Plume of Feathers in Ickleford.
Please note, there is a change in venue the following week. On the 18th November, we will now be at the Cock in Baldock.
Mon 28th October 2019
Yesterday members attended the “PC Andrew Harper Ride of Respect”. Joining up with motorcyclists from the Hertfordshire Royal British Legion Riders Branch, and some Hertfordshire Constabulary Police motorcyclists, we headed over to RAF Benson where over five thousand of us made up the ride to Abingdon. What an event. It was great to see such a show of respect for both PC Harper and our Police and the support from the public who lined the streets to cheer us.
Big thanks to Sian Whymark who did a fantastic job of getting everyone together, all the volunteers and to the RAF at Benson, who were great.
Back to this Monday night and it was the first chilly night of the approaching winter, with a temperature of about seven degrees. But the roads were dry because Hertfordshire HCC had, very sensibly, not been salting. There was virtually no wind and, apart from the dark, the riding conditions were lovely.
Eight of us met up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the group ride which started off through Stevenage on the A602.
Unfortunately, this week resulted in the first “incident” for a long long time. Steve Vaughan, with his distinctive headlights that have more illumination power than a small star, was positioned at the back. The ride leader was doing a fair job of keeping an eye on those headlights until he, and three other riders, got to the Tescos roundabout and found themselves a significantly depleted group.
After thirty seconds waiting, they recip’d at the roundabout and had a heart sinking moment as they approached the previous roundabout to find the rest of the group at the side of the road and blue lights illuminating the surroundings.
As they pulled up, all the bikes were upright and everyone was standing but it was soon established that poor Ray had slowed up for the roundabout and, almost at standstill, was giving a “loving nudge” by the bike behind (we won’t name and shame!). Ray kept it up for a moment but his leg gave way and he had to let it go. Fortunately, he was unhurt and the damage was minimal so he was able to carry on.
The ride was an old favourite for this time of year – down to the Wadesmill roundabout on the A602, then Anchor Lane to the old A10 and then on to Baldock via the A507.
The first and last parts of the ride are good fun but the stretch up the old A10 is a bit boring as its blighted with 30, 40 and 50 speed limits.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable twenty nine mile ride but we had a fairly sedate Royal Enfield along so not as swift as some would have liked. That said, it never does any harm to take it steady in the dark when you can’t see over the hedges for a bit of forward planning.
The annual Club auction was held this week, which was at the Hen & Chickens. As always, the Chairman, Tony Brown, ran the proceedings. There were a few good items including a pressure washer and a new pair of Dainese Gortex textile trousers but there was also a whole load of toot that we see come back every year. There were plenty of really good books but, again, some old tosh too. Unfortunately, its hard to sort out the “wheat from the chaff” when the pub’s so crowded so lots of nice stuff went for very little money. It’s a shame when some of the gear was worth a reasonable amount. It’s also hard for Norbert because people want to chat as well as watch the auction so it can be hard for him to be heard. But it was entertaining and a hundred and ten pounds was raised for the Club, which will help go towards the Christmas Social on 9th December.
Next Monday, 4th November, we return to the Vicars Inn at Arlesey for the annual Club Quiz night. This will comprise of a hundred general knowledge multiple guess questions. First prize will be three bottles of wine so, if you have a team of four or more, you might just have to fight over it.
The quiz starts at 20:30 but there will be a group ride from Sainsburys at 19:30.
As an aside, here are two dates for your diary which are not directly associated with the Club but are motorcycling related:
Royston & DMCC have invited us to a talk by a Forensic Collision Investigator, entitled “Collisions are no Accident”. This is on Wednesday 6th November at Whaddon Village Hall, SG8 6RY, starting at 20:00.
However, the Club has its very own Police Forensic Collision Investigator and Bikesafe rider so if you'd be interested in an evening hearing about crash investigation or having a Bikesafe type presentation with tips on how to improve your riding, let any of the committee know or email us by clicking here and if there is enough interest, we will get it arranged.
The Glue Pot MCC have invited us to join them at the Edwards VII, Guilden Morden on Sunday 10th November for Remembrance Day. They will be heading over to Duxford for the Service but stopping for breakfast on the way. Please let Ray Thompson know if you are joining them.
Mon 21st October 2019
Generally, every four weeks, the “webmaster” can’t be at the Monday Club night so has to rely on others in the Club to give some insight into anything that happened. This is like getting blood out of a stone but we normally manage to cobble something together. Here is this week’s review:
Even though it’s autumn, a meteor shower provided extraordinary light and warmth so the group ride, led by Steve, set off in almost daylight with a temperature of a barmy 24°. Due to the weather a hundred and forty three riders turned up and the entire group managed to stay together all the way to the pub. Another two hundred or so bikes were already at the pub, as well as members who’d come in cars to avoid being too hot on the ride…
… ok, that’s obviously a load of old tosh but when members question if the "webmaster" was smoking something while writing it when they next meet, he’ll get an idea of who actually reads what’s written each week. But if you’d like to give any feedback or even just let us know you read this blog, email us by clicking here or send us a message via the Contact Us page.
The total sum of information actually received was “over thirty members about ten bikes good food very welcoming pub”.
We were at the Stag in Stotfold and there was a group ride, led by Steve. The weather was good so it’s likely more than half of those bikes were with him.
Next week, we will be at the Hen & Chickens in Baldock for the annual Club auction.
This is always a very entertaining evening and, while there is some old toot that gets donated, there is often some really good stuff that’s worth bidding on. So come along and if you have anything half decent you no longer want, please donate it to help raise funds for the Club.
The Club Chairman, Tony Brown with start proceedings at 20:30 and there will, of course, be plenty of food.
There will be a group ride which, as always, will start at 19:30 from Coreys Mill Sainsburys.
Fortunately, the “Webmaster” will be back next week so may be able to write something vaguely interesting or informative.
Mon 14th October 2019
Another very mild evening but, again, we set off out of Coreys Mill car park in drizzle. Four of us had come together for tonight’s group ride and we decided to pretty much stick to main roads after heavy rain at the weekend had dumped vast amounts of adjacent fields onto lots of the local country roads.
With only four of us, all experienced riders and on middle to large capacity bikes, the speeds were up at the speed limits for most of the ride. The A602 dual carriageway kept us together after the Junction 8 lights and once through Hitchin, on the A600, overtaking was no problem.
At the A507, we turned east and took it through Baldock all the way to Cottered, where we turned right to Walkern and on to the Pig & Whistle at Aston.
There was only one other bike at the pub and it was unusually quiet inside. With only about twenty five of us, there was plenty of food put out but more kept coming. As always, the staff there made us very welcome and produced lovely nibbles.
It was as sociable as always but relatively quiet so not much more to blog about!
Next week we are at the Stag in Stotfold. We haven’t been there for almost a year so come along and remind yourself what a great destination it is.
Mon 7th October 2019
Wet autumn weather this week didn’t put off six hardy riders who met up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the group ride.
Joining us for the first time on her own bike rather than as pillion was Louise on her Honda CB125F learner. But you wouldn’t think she was a learner – after starting off a little slow, her confidence grew rapidly and it wasn’t long before we were cracking on at almost the speed limits. Very impressive in the rain and the dark.
The weather conditions meant, although all the rest of the bikes were over 600cc, no one really felt held up and, in fact, as we arrived at the pub, several, including the ride leader, said they’d liked to have stayed out longer because it was so enjoyable.
The destination was the Crown at Stotfold.
During the committee meeting a few weeks ago, it was decided that the “Christmas and Summer Socials” have been so successful that we’d introduce an “Autumn Social”. With the Crown being so excellent for those events, we returned this week for this new addition to the calendar.
And while there was some trepidation amongst the Committee as to how popular it would be due to the dark, wet and chilly evenings at this time of year, there was clearly no need for concern as the pub was chocker.
There was no room to swing spark plug, let alone a cat. With more members than we could count, many of whom had brought along their partners, the atmosphere was terrific.
As always, the pub staff were very welcoming and the food laid on was absolutely superb with more than enough to go round. The now famous Gala Pies, Game Pies, array of sandwiches, cheese and biscuits and, for some unknown reasons, some vegetables. Most of it was hovered up with just some pie crusts and, of course, the vegetables left but no one was left wanting more.
There were two free drinks for all members and the food was free. But there was a raffle with good quality prizes so most chose to spend what would normally have gone on the food and drink on that.
It was, once again a really good event that was very well attended. Particular thanks to the Club Secretary, Mick Taylor (the long haired Casanova), and the Treasurer, Pete Star (“Danny Dyer’s dad??!!), who did an excellent job organising it.
We obviously have a Club night every Monday night but the next big event is the Christmas Social at the Hen & Chickens on 9th December.
But, if you haven’t already got it in your diary, don’t forget the annual Dinner Dance is on Saturday 8th February 2020. If you haven’t attended this event before, have a look at the Dinner Dance page of the website, click on this link to this year's flyer, or chat to some of the members who go every year. It’s a bit of a “posh” do and is always another great night out.
Next week we are at the Pig & Whistle in Aston. As always, you can meet us there or join the group ride from Coreys mill Sainsburys.
Mon 30th September 2019
Cider Bob turned up at Coreys Mill in the light rain expecting to be leading a group totalling one, including himself.
But, to his surprise and delight, shortly after arriving, Paul arrived on his purple VFR. Adding to the hoard, Steve then arrived on his Transalp.
At bang on 19:30, we headed off just as the rain began to get heavier. We didn’t go straight to the pub but decided to have a shorter ride than normal as trying to see through rain spattered visors with intense on-coming LED headlights glaring all over the place proved challenging.
We headed off along one of the favoured back roads to Willian and on to Hitchin. After bimbling around Hitchin, we eventually got onto the B656 for what was an entertaining ride to Codicote, where our destination was the Goat (that’s the pub, not a random farm animal).
The rain got heavier and heavier but the ride was actually good fun, although localised flooding meant for the odd surprise. But we all three arrived safely with no incidents.
The weather clearly put off a number of members with only about two thirds the number we normally tend to have turning up.
Fortunately, this had been predicted so there was just the right amount of food to go round. Although there was lots of chuckling over a pizza which was brought out in pieces… we were assured it hadn’t been dropped on the floor!!! But it went very well with the hot dogs and chips.
The pub was fairly full of members with little groups huddled in different corners and a load more lining the bar. But it was as sociable as always with chit chat and banter filling the air.
With more flooding forecast, many left earlier than normal but the stalwarts were still at the bar at 22:30. And, as the last left, the heavens continued to empty on the remaining rider as he made his way out of Codicote in into the darkness towards Nup End.
Next week is the newly introduced “Autumn Social”. Every week is sociable but with so much success over recent years with the Christmas and Summer Socials, and with a little spare cash in the coffers, it seemed reasonable to splash out and encourage members to get off the sofa and brave the weather at this time of year.
So, come along, with your partners to the Crown at Stotfold where, once again, members can benefit from free food and some free drinks.
Mon 23rd September 2019
The group ride out fell apart a bit this. Due to a Club committee meeting starting at 20:00, the committee members who could make it this week went straight to the pub so couldn’t lead the ride. Cider Bob was at work and Steve Vaughan was still touring in France so anyone who was going to Corey's Mill Sainsburys would have had to sort themselves out.
But autumn struck this week so, with a lack of ride leaders and persistent rain, no one rode to the pub.
That didn’t stop the Hen & Chickens in Baldock being crammed with well over thirty members who braved the rain in cars.
The committee was a little depleted, with apologies from Cider Bob and Pete Blackburn, but with the “Officers”, Ian and Jim in attendance, plenty was discussed. There was planning into the various events including the Dinner Dance in February and some activities next year, but also the introduction of an “Autumn Social”.
As a result of the meeting, there are numerous changes to the Calendar. The web page has been updated but if you can’t be bothered with the effort of one extra click of the mouse, here are the changes:
October 7th now Autumn Social Crown Stotfold
October 21st now the Stag Stotfold
Quiz night is now November 4th at the Vicars Inn
December 16th is now the Vicars Inn
January 6th is now the Cock at Baldock
As an aside, we’ve had an email from Maurice Hallett. Sadly Maurice lost his wife recently and he is asking the Club to support a charity close to his heart which helped look after her. Please click here to view his letter. It’s not related to motorcycling but if you’d like the Club to support it, please let the Committee know. While we do donate to various Charities from time to time, the majority of our charity fund raising goes to the Air Ambulance – apart from the fact that they do an excellent job, in our line of hobby, our chances of needing them one day are higher than most!
Next week we will be at the Goat in Codicote. Cider Bob will be at Corey Mill Sainsburys at 19:30 to lead anyone that fancies braving the autumn weather. Although Big Geoff won’t be “Tail End Charlie” for a few weeks as he’s broken himself – get well soon Geoff... there needs to be someone for Cider or Steve to lead through the depths of winter!!!
Mon 16th September 2019
With the darker nights closing in, nine members set off from Coreys Mill Sainsburys at 19:30 just before dark.
Everyone decided one ride would suit everyone so Ian led the group on the ride that he & Pete had tested in the rain earlier in the day.
They headed out on the A602 towards Ware, turning off onto Anchor Lane to Wadesmill and then up the ‘old’ A10 to pick up the B1368 through Braughing, Barkway & Barley before making a short burst on the A505 via Royston to take the Littlington turning. They then headed over to Guilden Morden where the destination was the Edward VII.
Despite the best efforts of our ‘Tail End Charlie' (TEC), one rider departed the group before Royston. As had been said before, ‘Leading a group is much harder than many think’ and this is particularly more challenging in the dark evenings, but if you’d like to have a go, just let us know’.
Many more club members had gone straight to the pub and it was a good turnout with the extensive buffet equally up to feeding the hungry crowd.
Next week, we are back at the Hen & Chickens in Baldock. It a scheduled committee meeting so hopefully Steve Vaughan will be up for leading the group ride as Cider Bob will be at work and the other committee members will be going straight to the pub for a 20:00 start.
Mon 9th September 2019
With wet roads, the threat of rain and the light dwindling rapidly, the nine riders at Coreys Mill Sainsburys decided between them to give up on the “swift” and “sedate” rides and simply have one ride that suited the weather.
Cider Bob led off with Steve and big Geoff at the back, in their Club hi-vis’ to highlight the back of the group.
The ride started off slowly so the group could reform after some got held up at the Junction 8 lights but we were all together by the time we got to Hitchin. Once we got into the nationals on the other side, we got up to the speed limit at the front but the pace of one rider was slightly slower so a gap emerged but the leader slowed at each posted speed limit or stopped at junctions for everyone top catch up. It made the overall ride a little slow but the pace for individuals at the front was good.
We stuck to fairly main A and B roads which took us to this week’s destination, the Chequers at Wrestlingworth.
As is usually the case, but less so in bad weather, the car park already had loads of bikes parked up but, with the threat of rain, quite a few members, including “fair weather Pete”, had come by car.
The staff were friendly and welcoming and the food they dished up was great – a lovely variety of rolls including coronation chicken, ham and cheese (not all in the same roll!), chips and, possibly best of all, bread and butter for chip butties!
Members filled the bar with barely standing room left for the odd local. There was loads of chatter about all sorts of subjects but the recent IOM trip provided a number of entertaining stories… not least of which was the “I thought it was a 40 limit”!
A thoroughly good night.
Next week, we are at the Edward VII at Guilden Morden. If you want to join the group ride, come along to Coreys Mill Sainsburys at 19:30 and we will decide then, with your opinion, if we have a single ride or separate swift and sedate rides.
Mon 2nd September 2019
Things went a bit awry for the group rides this week. It’s Cider Bob’s fault for not getting away from work on time so, instead of having one ride for those that like to be a little swift and a separate ride for the less confident, inexperienced or just more sedate riders, everyone joined together in one big group.
Steve successfully got everyone of his twenty two riders to the Pig & Abbot in Abbington Piggotts but his planned route had to be cut short as the rideout was obviously slower than normal.
But it was good to see yet more new riders coming along and a return of our recently joined learner on his Aprilia RS125.
We are an all encompassing Club and are always happy to welcome new members on all types of bike so we will always strongly encourage both newly qualified and even learners to come along and join in.
Fortunately, next week, Cider Bob should be back to lead the “sedate” group so no-one needs to feel like they are holding anyone else up.
The Pig & Abbot was as popular with Club members as ever and the place was heaving, with bikes parked all over the place. Mick, the Land Lord, and his team were as welcoming as ever and the food this time was made up of a mountain of glorious pasties (decent ones, not the little party things!), chips and various sauces. There was certainly plenty to go round.
Unfortunately, the evenings are starting to draw in so it was dark by the time most riders got there. For some reason, at this time of year, that seems to encourage a few to leave fairly early but many of us stayed until getting on towards 23:00.
The darkness may put you off coming along to Sainsburys for the Monday riedouts. Don’t let it! There are still great rides to be had and we will drop the speed accordingly so there is still no pressure on you to go faster than you feel comfortable. Just enjoy riding at your own pace. The less experienced riders in particular will benefit greatly from it.
The same is true once the autumn rain comes along. Riding in the rain can be fun so don’t let it put you off! Come the very depths of winter, Cider Bob and Steve will still be there almost every week to lead a run so if you fancy giving the colder weather ago, just keep coming along to Sainsburys at 19:30.
But if you prefer the comfort and safety you get with extra wheels and a roof, feel free to go straight to the pub each week. There will be loads of other members doing the same so there will still be a great social atmosphere.
Next week, we return to the Chequers at Wrestlingworth. Yet again, there are some great biking roads to get there.
Mon 19th August 2019
As many of the “sedate” riders were arriving at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for a 19:30 meet up, Steve’s less sedate group were just leaving, having met up at 19:15.
The swift group made there way over the ever popular A507 to Buntingford and continued on to Hare Street, through Clavering to Newport where they then headed over to Carver Barracks and Thaxted. From there, it was south west, to Stanstead Mountfitchet before taking the Stortfod bypass to the B1004 to Much Hadham and on to Ware via Widford.
Surprisingly, even though Cider Bob and Steve don’t discuss their routes, they ended up being quite similar this week, with the sedate group ride just being shorter.
Cider led out his surprisingly large group of sixteen riders to Clavering by the same route but from there, they turned right and right again to pick up the reasonably fast country road through Berden and Stocking Pelham to the A120 at the Little Hadham lights.
The plan was to go straight over there towards Much Hadham but the road was shut so they turned east and headed over to the Bishops Stortford bypass.
At the A1184 junction, while Cider Bob waited for the pack to bunch up, the back end of Steve’s group, marked by big Geoff in his Club hi-vis, passed by on the bypass.
The two groups then took the B1004 all the way to Ware, where the destination was the Angel.
Steve’s group arrived a few minutes before Cider’s group because, while the speed set by Cider is quick enough for most, he slows up well in advance of speed limits and chugs through the villages at well below the speed limit, to give everyone in the group the chance to catch up. The advantage of this is that those who want to ride at close to the national speed limit can but it is still a comfortable ride for the more sedate riders, like Chris, who returned on his Enfield. It is also learner friendly, as demonstrated by new member Jamie, who joined us on his R125.
With the Club continuing to grow, there were bikes all over the place at the pub and, once again, they spilled out onto the road.
Both bars and the garden were full of Club members and there was a great atmosphere.
Unfortunately, the Landlord, Nigel, had been let down by his “sandwich maker” so he had rushed out at the last minute to buy all the sandwiches he could from the local supermarket and produced an inordinate amount of chips to make up the shortfall. A sterling effort, to prevent us all going hungry, which was very much appreciated by everyone.
Some members had to leave early and some just preferred to leave a bit early due to the failing light but many stayed until almost eleven.
We say this a lot but it really was another very sociable evening and a great way to spend a Monday night.
Next week is a Bank holiday so there is no formal Club meeting but the following week we are at Pig & Abbot at Abbington Pigotts.
Mon 12th August 2019
Both Cider Bob’s sedate group ride and Steve Vaughan’s less sedate (but, as a responsible Club, we’d like to reiterate that it’s not “fast”!) group rides were well attended this week.
Setting off a little early again, at 19:15, to take advantage of the slightly drawing in evenings, Steve led a group of twelve from the Corey’s Mill Sainsburys on the reasonably swift ride. To get to the lovely Bedfordshire roads around Whipsnade, west of Luton, it started with a hack up the dual carriageways to Hitchin and then Luton before heading through Slip End to the A5. After passing the zoo and through Eaton Bray, they passed Pure Triumph at Woburn and then headed through the deer park before taking the A507 to Shefford and the B658 the Upper Caldecote.
If you read this drivel regularly, hopefully you’ll know by now that the slower ride is aimed at anyone who wants to have a more sedate ride or for those who are less confident or less experienced. In Cider Bob’s group were fourteen motorcycles consisting of sports bikes, adventure bikes, old classic bikes, new British roadsters and more. Andrea has been away on a biking trip and her confidence has plainly improved massively so this week, it was a new member, Chris, on a Royal Enfield who was setting the pace. As we regularly reiterate, we ride at a sensible pace but will always slow down lots at speed limits and we will wait at turn offs so the group can stay together. There is never pressure on any rider to keep up.
The destination this week was the Playing Fields Club in Upper Caldecote. As Cider’s group arrived with several new members and Ian Harris taking the rear marker position, there were already eight motorcycles in the car park but Steve’s group hadn’t arrived.
That was handy as it meant getting served at the bar didn’t take too long. But ten minutes later, the Steve’s group arrived and the place was heaving.
With well over fifty members in the bar, it was possible there could have been a shortage of food but, although we weren’t served up the more traditional jacket spud and filling that historically we’ve had at the Playing Fields Club, there were huge amounts of really nice sandwiches with plenty for everyone.
This week was also the second round of this year’s “ cheese skittles” completion. This is a fun game that has no competitiveness but, none the less, after a convincing win, Paul Thompson was the victor.
Next week we return to the Angel at Ware. Our Treasurer, Pete Star, goes to a lot of effort to make sure our destinations are good locations with good food and this is another one of his many successes. It’s a popular destination with some excellent roads to ride to get there. Check out the Facebook page nearer the time as the routes will probably be posted.
Steve's less sedate group will be setting off at 19:15 again while Cider Bob's group will leave at the usual 19:30.
If anyone is free at the weekend, British Superbikes is at Cadwell Park!
Mon 5th August 2019
The northern end of the Sainsburys car park at Coreys Mill was heaving again this week with Club members who’d come along to join one of the two rides.
Once again, Steve Vaughan had kindly volunteered to lead a fairly swift ride for the more confident or more suitably mounted riders while Cider Bob was there to lead a more sedate ride for those who had pillion’s who are less keen on speed, those on slower styles of bike or just the slightly less confident or generally more relaxed riders.
Steve’s group left a little bit early for the slightly extended ride he had planned. We didn’t count but it looked like there were about fifteen in his group with one more, “Fruit”, turning up on his R1 just after they’d left so missing the fun. Steve took the group along some great A and B roads with nice curves, bends and undulations, all the way over to Safron Waldon, before heading back via Clavering to Hare Street, where the Beehive was the destination for the night.
Cider Bob took his group of nine over to Willian but, somehow, after negotiating some horses on the road, managed to lose the trailing two riders. Fortunately both Pete and Martin had said they would peel off at some point during the ride anyway but Cider was still embarrassed and frustrated to have lost them.
Leading a group is much harder than many think but if you’d like to have a go, just let us know.
And, while on the subject, we’d like to ask again for volunteers to assist with the Bikestop rideout which we will be organising on Sunday 1st September. If you could assist, it would be appreciated. Just contact Cider Bob and he’ll let you know what it’s all about.
The Beehive car park was full and, once again, bikes spilled out onto the road. The pub staff really looked after us and the food was great, with plenty of it. They didn’t even charge us – instead the Club donated what it would have cost towards a collection for child leukaemia which, unfortunately, is a subject far too close to the owner’s hearts.
The committee also agreed to do a donation this week (instead of flowers) at the request of Sue Horton’s family, for the Stroke Unit at Luton & Dunstable Hospital. Many of the newer Club members won’t know Sue, who sadly died this week. Sue’s husband Bob, or “Straight Line Bob” as he was known, was a very long standing member of the Club before dying from a stroke a few years ago. As the nick name suggests, Bob was well into classic sprinting (drag racing) and Sue was, for many years, the secretary of the National Sprint Association.
It seemed members wanted to make use of the failing daylight by leaving quite early. So, by 21:30, the pub bar had almost cleared, although there were still lots of members enjoying the warm weather outside until quite late.
Next week, is a change to the original calendar but has been set for some time. We will be back at the Playing Fields Club in Upper Caldecote for the second round of the “cheese skittles” competition.
Once again, at 19:30 Cider Bob will lead a ride for anyone who wants a sedate ride and Steve will lead off at 19:20 for a longer, faster ride.
Mon 29th July 2019
After a few days of thunder storms and heavy rain, Monday turned out to be warm, sunny and dry.
Steve Vaughan planned a slightly longer ‘swift’ ride this week so his group met up at 19:20 and they headed off to Barton Le Clay. Following one of our favourite routes, they briskly continued to Haynes and on through Cardington, Cople and Blunham. After crossing the A1 at Church End, they passed the path to Gibraltar Farm on the left. It ended up in the middle of Tempsford WW2 airfield where the barn still stands today and is now a memorial to all the agents taken to France, never to return. There are many memorial plaques in and around the barn which is where the agents were checked for English markings in their clothes and they were given their French money and poison pills.
It was a short ride up the hill from there to Everton and the Thornton Arms.
Ian Harris led the ‘sedate’ ride with six in his group and picking up a seventh on route in Cromer. They continued on through Rushden towards Wallington before a short blast on the A505 and turning towards the Mordens. From their, they headed through Wrestlingworth and on the Everton via Potton. The group arrived by 20:45 in time for the food.
The Thornton Arms is always a very popular destination and this time was no different. There were nearly forty bikes in total and, as seems to be a regular occurrence during the summer months, the bar was chocker with members while others milled about outside.
The Landlord always looks after us and there was plenty of food as usual. And this week, we were pleased to accept him as a new member of the Club.
There are several motorcycling events coming up throughout August. The Club has no formal plans to attend any one but various members will be going so if you plan to, feeling free to use the Club’s Facebook page or WhatsApp group to invite others along.
Next week we return to the Beehive in Hare Street.
Mon 22nd July 2019
What a great Monday night meeting… this week we had the Summer Social which was at the Crown in Stotfold.
A combination of the excellent weather along with free food and drink resulted in over 50 members joining in the fun, many bringing their partners and even some children along.
We still had a rideout from Coreys Mill Sainsburys but numbers were down to fourteen as so many had gone straight to the pub.
All those who turned up for the ride were happy with Steve Vaughan’s “fast” ride so, at a really nice pace, we headed over to Walkern & Cromer and then into Baldock on the A507. We turned up through Bygrave, passed through Hixworth and crossed the A1 at the water tower. After Langford and Henlow, it was back onto the A507 into Stotfold. Big Geoff had gone straight to the pub with his wife so Cider Bob took up the “TEC” (Tail End Charlie).
It was also nice to welcome two new riders to the group - one on a BMW and the other on a Triumph. If we continue like this, we will start to look like an offshoot of the Triumph Owners Club!
One of the new members, John, is also an IAM Observer and knows Ian Harris through the IAM. You may have seen a note on our Facebook page recently that Ian is looking to train as an IAM Observer himself, but specifically for our Club. He's also arranged a S&DMCC member discount for the IAM course so if you want to know more about this, have a chat to him.
On arrival, “see no evil”, “speak no evil” and “hear no evil” met everyone as they entered the pub and dished out tickets for free drinks and swifty grabbed people’s money for raffle tickets.
At a fiver a strip, it might be thought a tad expensive by skin-flints but the prizes were good quality, being mainly various bottled of alcohol and posh chocolates.
There were nearly forty bikes crammed into all spaces and up and down the road outside. Have a look at the Gallery page for some photos taken during the evening.
Lots of members stayed out the front of the pub but the bar was also full and so was the beer garden out the back.
The Landlord at the Crown always looks after us really well and this time was no exception. The quality, quantity and array of food was stunning – most people agreeing that the two pies (Garla & Game) made by the local butcher were stars of the spread.
The queue for the food seemed to go on and on but there was plenty for everyone.
It was a really good, family atmosphere and fair to say another very successful night.
Thanks to the Committee for an excellent job arranging it!
Due to circumstances beyond our control, next week is a change to the original calendar and will now be at the Thornton Arms in Everton. The following week we will be at the Beehive, in Hare Street. The website Calendar is up to date so if you ever forget where we are going, just click on the link here.
For those of you that enjoy a Sunday ride and would like to help on a group ride, please put Sunday 1st September in your diary. Possibly a little premature for planning, but we are running another “Bikestop 1st Sunday of the month ride” and we could do with some volunteers to “marshal”. We led the first one of the year which went well but both 5 Counties and Oakley have led rides since that have split up and gone “Pete Tong”. We want to look a lot better than that so getting six, eight or even ten volunteers to sit in the pack and help keep it together would be great. And if anyone would like to set up the Gazebo and “sell” the Club before hand, the more the merrier. Any volunteers, please talk to Cider Bob or email here.
Mon 15th July 2019
Yesterday we hosted this year’s George Brown Memorial Run, which ran from the Cromwell Hotel to the Angel in Ware, via a circuitous route, and then back to the hotel. It was a great day out but if you’d like to know more, including who won what, keep an eye on the Features page of the website which will be updated with the Chairman’s report on the event as soon as we have it.
The Monday night runs from Coreys Mill Sainsburys were also well attended. Once again, we splits the groups in the “swift” and “not so swift”.
Steve Vaughan has kindly taken on the “swift” ride leader each week and there were twelve on his ride this week. His route was fifty six miles of fast flowing roads which went via Walkern, Linton and Duxford before heading down to Royston and on to the Bassingbourn, where the destination was the Hoops.
The latter half, heading west, resulted in a bit of glare from the sun so, although the weather was lovely, a bit of cloud cover would have been nice.
Seven riders opted for the less swift ride led by Ian Harris. His group also went out via Walkern. However, they turned right and passed through Bennington where they picked up Andrea on her Honda CB650. From there, they headed over to Wadesmill, and through Colliers End, before taking the Barkway & Barley road into Royston before heading slightly north to the pub.
Both groups arrived at the pub by 20:45 where the Land Lord had fenced off an area for all the bikes.
The groups were there time for the food but even though the Land Lord put on huge amounts, with so many attending, it ran out a bit prematurely so those at the back of the queue lost out – sorry!
Another great night out with nice rides, nice food and nice company.
If you are reading this for the first time and haven’t joined us before, have a look through the website and you’ll find out what we as a Club are all about. Have a look at our Facebook page for the latest updates and just come along a Monday night. You can join either of the two rideouts from Coreys Mill Sainsburys or go straight to the pub, which you’ll find on the calendar. We are a friendly mob so just come along and join in the conversations.
Mon 8th July 2019
Over the weekend, members of the Club manned this year’s ACU National Road Rally. As a Club we’ve run the Stevenage Checkpoint on behalf of Bikestop, in the Old Town, for years. Unfortunately, Bikestop have chosen not to continue supporting it so, after much negotiation, Herts Fire & Rescue Service very kindly allowed us access to their training premises at Longfield. This proved to be an excellent venue and, in return, we were able to promote their Biker Down course.
Biker Down is a superb free course on what to do in the event on an incident on the roads while you are out riding. Everyone who has done it thinks it’s well worth it so you should give it a go. But if you’d like the Club to see if we can arrange a specific course for us, click here to send us an email and if we have enough interest, we’ll sort it out.
The National Rally Checkpoint opened at 12:00 on Saturday and, while previously we have been an all nighter, this year we closed at 22:00. Most of the Committee were there to set up for the event but massive thanks go to Jason & Lisa Holmes who not only manned the Checkpoint for the full duration, with Cider Bob, but they also donated huge amounts of food and drink to keep all the marshals and riders stocked up with fluids and energy.
It was also nice to see a trickle of other members come down to be sociable during the day, including big Dave, Garry and Gordon who all gave hand signing through riders.
Back to Monday evening and what a great night it was. Welcome to all the new members that joined us at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the group rides.
As has become a regular approach, Steve Vaughan led the bigger group on a swift ride which took them on a round about route well into Bedfordshire before finally taking the A507 to the pub.
Cider Bob led nine riders on the less swift group for the less confident riders, more sedate riders, like new member Ted on his Triumph twin or those on bikes with a bit less ground clearance, like Paul on his chopper style Virago. The route went via Redcoats to the B656 and then up to Whitwell before bumbling over to Hexton. From there, we headed down to Apsley End and Upper Gravenhurst before taking the A507 to the pub.
Our destination this week was Vicars Inn at Arelsey. This is always a very popular destination and this week was one of our best turnouts for years with over fifty members crammed into the bars and milling around the garden and car parks.
Motorcycles were parked in every nook and cranny and the variety was great, encompassing every style from some very nice looking racers, like Ray Thompson’s Rizzla Suzuki, through adventure bikes, roadsters, trailies to a number of choppers and an immense Triumph Rocket.
Being such a friendly Club its easy to just wonder around the pub and slot in and out of the various conversations. Topics were as varied as every but there was a lot of chat about some of the special bikes outside, the ACU NRR, the group rides to the pub and the forthcoming George Brown Memorial Run.
The George Brown Run is an excellent day out run by the Club. It started years ago as a Vintage run but now we encourage any/all older bikes, with classes for all sorts pre-2002. But even if you don’t have a classic, come along for the social side of the day and just join the ride (or ask Gordon if you can ride one of huge selection of classics).
The food at the Vicars Inn was as outstanding as ever. Theresa and Hazel always put on a an excellent spread which includes sandwiches, quiches, chicken nuggets, new potatoes, salads and all the usual sort of buffet food but also a cheese board and cakes for desert. Even with over fifty of us there, there was enough to go round with some of us going up for seconds.
As tends to be the case these days members started leaving from as early as 21:30 with the majority staying until about 22:00 and some staying later.
It was a great evening for sociable motorcyclists so if you aren’t a member and are reading this for the first time, why not come along and join us. Either turn up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys at 19:30 for either of the group rides or meet as at the pub. You can see our weekly destination on the website’s Calendar page.
Next Monday we will be another very popular destination; the Hoops in Bassingbourn.
Mon 1st July 2019
This week’s riding weather couldn’t have been more perfect. Warm, dry and sunny but not so hot you’re sweating in your leathers (unlike those of us riding over the weekend!).
There were only thirteen members who met up with Steve for the group from Coreys Mill Sainsburys but there were nearly forty riders at the pub, as well as “the old guard” who turned up in air conditioned steel boxes.
Steve’s taken on the role of the main ride group leader and is proving to be excellent at route planning and leading. His route this week was perfect, taking in some great local roads, over to Barton Le Clay and up the A6 but also getting a little further afield, with the late evening light, up to Cardington and Cople before heading on over to Tempsford and ending at the Thornton Arms in Everton.
It was the perfect length ride as the group arrived just as the food was being put out.
The food was really nice, as ever, at the Thornton Arms, and there was loads of it.
While most of the Club members could enjoy the ride and the lovely atmosphere at this pub, the Club doesn’t run itself and the Committee had to sit down and discuss up-coming matters. Cider Bob was working so passed on his apologies but, due to the National Road Rally checkpoint him and Jason will be manning on behalf of the Club this coming Saturday, Jason took his place at the table.
As you will know from previous blogs, Bikestop have stopped hosting us at their shop in the old town but the Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Service have very kindly allowed us to use their front car park at Longfield, Hitchin Road.
They are happy to be involved with responsible motorcycling events and see it as a good opportunity to advertise their superb “Biker Down” course. If you haven’t done it, it’s well worth doing. It’s an input on what to do in the event one of your group comes off their bike or you come across a crash while you’re out and about. And it’s completely free.
While Cider Bob and Jason, along with Lisa, will be the mainstay of the checkpoint, several others will be involved (particularly in the setup) but mainly from the Committee. However, you are welcome to pop down to be social at any time. The checkpoint will be open from Midday to 22:00 hours on Saturday.
Another point of discussion for the Committee was the George Brown Memorial Run. If you’ve not done this before, have a look at our summary page. This year it’s on Sunday 14th July and, as ever, will start off from the Cromwell Hotel, meeting at 10:00 to leave at 11:00. If you have a bike over twenty years old, why not formally enter the run. If not, you are welcome to just come along on your newer bike to have a look at the array of machinery and chat bikes.
After a really sociable night at the Thornton Arms, the pub had cleared by 23:00 and it was a nice ride home in the mild summer “twilight”.
Next week we return to the Vicars Inn in Arlesey. This is another very popular destination and the food is always far more than we can eat so put it in your diary. Cider Bob will be back to lead a “slower” group ride for the more relaxed or less confident riders and Steve will lead the more “spirited” main ride.
Mon 24th June 2019
Although there was a threat of torrential rain forecast for later in the evening, it didn’t put off many riders from either going straight to the pub on their bikes or meeting up at Corey’s Mill Sainsbury’s for the group rides.
As planned, Steve Vaughan had a 50 mile ride at a reasonable pace planned and the majority of those gathered in the Sainsburys cark park left with him, with big Geoff taking up his usual position at the rear.
Steve’s ride took the group all the way over to Duxford via some excellent B roads, then wound it’s way back towards Hertfordshire but finishing at our destination which, this week, was the Pig & Abbot at Abington Pigotts.
Unfortunately, it was such a long ride that the group was a bit late getting to the pub so lots of the food had gone and there were probably a few who didn’t get much, or any.
We aim to have the group rides arriving by 20:45 so everyone gets a fair chance to dive in to the snacks that are served up for us.
The smaller group, for the slightly slower, more relaxed or less confident riders, was led by Cider Bob, who did get them to the pub on time, after passing through Langford, Gamlingay and the Mordens.
It was really good to see Paul return to the Club on his purple VFR800 after a few years away, and it was great to welcome several new potential members. Most of them tried out the “slower” group for their first go and Wayne, on his Harley, seemed to enjoy it but Andy and his lad on their Fireblade could probably have done with a bit more speed to keep comfortable so will probably move to the more swift group next week.
The Pig & Abbot is always a very popular destination and this week was no different. Loads of members turned up and both the bar and beer garden were chocker.
The food was as excellent as ever and this time included hot sausage rolls and hot mini ribs to go with the sandwiches and chips – lovely!
Although there had been a spit spot of rain during the rides to get there, the rain stayed away and most of us got away from the pub, at the end of the night, still in the dry.
The clouds did indeed drop significant parts of the oceans on Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire later that night but probably after all our bikes were home and tucked away.
Once again, a great night with a great atmosphere.
Next week, we will be at the Thornton Arms in Everton. Unfortunately Cider bob can’t be there so its one ride for all, led by Steve.
Mon 17th June 2019
The wet weather subsided for one evening this week and gave way to perfect conditions for the ride to this week’s destination; the Rifle Volunteer at Ware.
Steve Vaughan led the group ride from Coreys Mill Sainsburys, but, as planned, Cider Bob took up a position behind big Geoff with a couple of slower riders behind him.
It’s not that Steve thunders along, but he makes good progress with the main group while Cider Bob is happy to take the lead of the less experienced or just plain slower (in the case of “Fruit and his ridiculous chopper thing that can’t go round bends!!) riders.
The group stayed together leaving Stevenage but split slightly on the A1(M). But, exiting at Junction 9, we grouped back up and stayed fairly much together until we exited the 40 mph limit on the A507 towards Buntingford.
It’s on the faster open roads where the lead group tends to pull away but the trailing group still kept a reasonable pace so, as the lead group were held by temporary lights in Buntingford, we grouped up again.
Finally, with an inconsiderate g*t pulling out between us, once we got back onto the better country roads, over to Hare Street, the trailing group lost sight of the lead group and weren’t seen again until we all arrived at the pub.
The route was a repeat of one we tried a few weeks ago but, back then, Herts County Council had dropped that shitty crap all over it (pretending it’s some form of surface dressing) that is so hazardous to bikers.
The route took us over to Clavering, where we turned right, then through Stocking Pelham and over the the A120 cross roads at Little Hadham. From there, it was on to Ware, joining the B1004 at Much Hadham and through Widford.
It was a really enjoyable ride for both groups and it was smiles all round at the Rifle Volunteer.
The car park was full of bikes so we overflowed onto the surrounding roads with bikes parked wherever they could be squeezed in.
There was a huge array of bikes ranging from old classics like Chris’ old Bonneville, to brand new Bonnies, sports tourers like the Hester’s FJR, out and out sports like Pete Starr’s recent acquisition of a GSXR1000 (his father’s day present to himself!!), adventure bikes, retros, street fighters and all sorts right the way through to that thing of Fruit’s.
The pub has been done up a bit but the garden has had a complete makeover so it’s a really nice environment to stand and chat in the evening sun.
The Landlord there is really keen to have us and it shows with the hospitality of him and his staff. A great bunch who produced lovely food. Although the bulk of the food came out at the customary 20:45, the trailing group hadn’t quite got there so he put a load more on and there was plenty to go round. And it wasn’t just boring stuff… along with a selection of sandwiches, we were treated to sweet chilling chicken pieces, hot sausages, crinkle chips and more. We will all look forward to returning to this one later in the year!
The chats were great with all sorts of subjects. The Club is really sociable so if you’ve not been before and fancy giving it a go, just come along, introduce yourself and start chatting.
One topic was the forthcoming Meldreth bike show on Wednesday of this week. Gordon Hallet and others will be representing the Club so pop along for what is always a great charity biker evening out.
Next week we will be at another very popular destination; the Pig & Abbott in Abbington Piggotts. But you are very welcome to join us for the group ride from Sainsburys at 19:30.
Mon 10th June 2019
Severe wet weather put off most riders this week, although stalwarts Steve and Geoff turned up and had a ride in the pouring down rain.
With a shorter than normal for this time of year, because of the torrential rain, they arrived at the Edwards VII in Guilden Morden where the pub was heaving with members who hadn’t braved the weather and had turned up in those four wheeled things that we don’t really talk about.
The atmosphere was as good as always at the Edward VII, as was the food.
Hopefully the weather will be better next week so if you fancy a ride, join us at Coreys Mill Sainsburys at 19:30 or meet us at the pub, which will be the Rifle Volunteer in Ware. Cider Bob will be back so we will plan to start off in one big group but split into “faster” and “slower” groups if we start to split up on route.
Some other local events coming up that may be of interest:
Wed 19th June – Royston/Meldreth Motorcycle Show (Eternit)
Sat 6th July - ACU National Road Rally (S&DMCC checkpoint at Herts F&R Training Centre)
Sun 7th July – Bikestop monthly ride, this month being led by R&DMCC
Sun 14th July – George Brown Memorial Run (starting at the Cromwell Hotel)
Sat 20th July – Revs ‘n’ Rhythms (Shefford)
Click on the green text for links to the events and the blue text for links to the locations.
Mon 3rd June 2019
Yet another Bank Holiday last Monday so there was no Club meeting but, as often the case, lots of members met up and had rides to various destinations - some long, some short.
This Monday was another lovely evening and Steve Vaughan led a great run to the Goat at Codicote.
It was a good night but, due to various members being on holiday, several being on the Isle of Man for the TT, and some working, it wasn't as packed as usual.
But it was a good night none-the-less.
Next week we will be at the Edward VII at Guilden Morden.
Cider Bob won't be there so Steve will be leading again but we will be offering a split ride in the future so faster riders can join Steve and anyone wanting a slower ride can join Cider Bob. So if higher speeds have put you off before now, come along and give a slower group ride a go.
Mon 20th May 2019
Lovely summer evening weather again this week but surprisingly, there were only sixteen riders at Sainsburys for the group ride and only a total of 28 bikes at the pub.
It was surprising, particularly as our destination was the Hoops at Bassingbourn which is always a very popular destination. But it is always very hard to predict and there could be any number of reasons why members didn’t turn up this week.
The ride started as one but, with slower riders in the group, we had a change of approach this week. Steve Vaughan led the group over to Saffron Walden, via Buntingford, and then back to the pub via Royston. But as the faster riders began to move away, the slower riders, deliberately positioned at the back, were then led by Cider Bob.
As an experiment, it worked well so we will look to repeat this approach every time we have slower riders.
Both groups thoroughly enjoyed the rides and everyone turned up happy at the pub.
The Landlord and staff of the pub were very welcoming and the food was as superb as always.
There was lots of chatter going on about all sorts of things, as always, and there were several new and different bikes which drew lots of attention.
There was also some discussion about our National Rally checkpoint. One thing we are missing for that event is a fridge, so if you have one you can donate or let us borrow, please let us know.
There’s yet another bank holiday next week so there’s no meeting but the following week we will be at the Goat in Codicote.
Mon 13th May 2019
Once again there was no Monday night Club meeting last week but there’s been lots going on.
Morning rides at the weekends and rides to various destinations on the bank holiday but the Club also had a well attended stand at the Walkern Fair last Sunday and this Sunday lots of Club members attended the hugely popular Air Ambulance Motorcycle Ride & Family Fun Day.
It was nice to get back to a Monday night meet up but only ten riders thought the same as we met up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys. It started well but got split up for a couple of reasons, but through no fault of the ride leader. The result was three small groups riding different routes but all getting to the destination successfully.
Quite a few members had already arrived at the Brewery Tap in Shefford, before the group ride riders, and the bar was fairly full, although numbers were down a little compared to normal – perhaps as a result of the holidays season?
There was plenty of varied food for everyone and Pete Starr took over the arduous task of collecting everyone’s two pound contributions.
With lots of people needing an early night for an early start, and others just wanting to take advantage of the late evening light to enjoy an illuminated ride home, the pub started to clear from about half past nine but with some of the old stalwarts staying until well past ten.
This coming weekend is the MCN Festival of Motorcycling. We have no planned ride up to Peterborough but keep an eye on our Facebook page and Whatsapp Group for notifications of anyone happy to lead a group.
Next week, we are back to the Hoops at Bassingbourn. It’s always a very popular destination so we hope to see you there.
Monday 29th April 2019
There was no meeting last week because of the Bank Holiday, but Club members arranged rides to Wiltshire, Southend and Finchingfield and all those that went on the various routes had a great time. Particular compliments were made regarding Steve Vaughans route to Stonehenge.
This week, the evening was just a tad chilly but with overcast but bright skies, nineteen riders turned up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the group ride.
It was good to see the Club continuing to be so popular as we overshadowed the three members of the 5 Counties MCC who met there for their group ride. They were happy to “take the mick” out of our ride – suggesting we’ll barely get over 10 mph. Well, that’s far from the case although, as a Club, we are happy to promote our responsible approach to road motorcycling rather than the “head down arse up” approach other Clubs chose. While our Monday night Club rides won’t see riders on one wheel, we usually make good progress and have routes that tend to be fun and challenging at legal speed limits.
Having said that, we are an all encompassing Club and are happy to welcome new members with all sorts of riding experience and styles. As a result, some of our rides can be a little slow. This week, Andrea, who has been coming with Carlos for some time, passed her test and came along showing off her lovely new Honda CBR650. Obviously she is not too experienced yet so the ride was slower than normal this week. But we put absolutely no pressure on her to go fast and she thoroughly enjoyed it. We will work with her to build up her experience and confidence so she will be leaving some of us behind in no time.
Unfortunately, Hertfordshire County Council have a tendency to throw gravel over roads at this time of year in a hopeless attempt at surface dressing. As a result, many miles of this weeks ride dropped to 20 mph as we all tried to avoid destroying our paint work and radiators. If anyone else dropped crap all over the road, they’d be prosecuted; but stick up a warning sign and suddenly its OK. Well HCC – it’s not. Please roll it in or do the job properly with a descent resurface!!!
By the time we got to the pub, which was the Angel in Ware, many of the Group were a little frustrated. It had been a fairly long ride for a Monday evening, taking us via Buntingford and Clavering so adding the slow speed because of the gravel it seemed to go on and on.
We also welcomed another new perspective member, Adrian, on his BSA. Unfortunately, he wasn’t briefed fully enough before the ride and had a tendency to shoot past other riders on the near side. Cider Bob should have made the group riding guidelines more clear before hand but did have a chat with Adrian at the pub afterwards so hopefully he will know better next time. Please make sure you are familiar with the guidelines if you want to come along on the group rides – it’s all about keeping it safe and fun for everyone.
Another fourteen bikes were already at the pub and the car park was overflowing with bikes.
Once at the pub, the atmosphere was great. The S&DMCC is a friendly and welcoming Club and there is always lots of chatter about all sorts of subjects. This week, it included last Bank Holiday Monday’s rides and this coming Sunday’s Walkern Fair.
We were made extremely welcome as always and the Landlord put on a superb spread of food which was enough for everyone. The Angel is always a great destination.
There is no Club meeting next week as it’s another Bank Holiday but don’t forget, it’s the Walkern Fair this coming Sunday and the Club will have a stand as always. So bring your bike along to show or just come along for a traditional England fete type day out. It too is always a very sociable event.
Mon 15th April 2019
There were sixteen members on bikes at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the group ride this week.
We had a bit of a discussion about how to organise the group ride each week but it was generally thought the way we do it is best for us… so, rather than using the drop off system, we will continue using the method where you keep a vague eye on the bike behind you. If you lose sight of it for an length of time, you just slow up. That will filter through to the leader eventually. But hopefully, because the ride leader will tend to slow up significantly in the posted speed limits, it should allow the group to reform regularly. If you are interested, there is a summary on the Club Rules page.
It was good to see some returns who have only recently joined the Club but also welcome to potential new member, Steve Bamford on his Ducati Scrambler.
Unfortunately, Cider Bob was under instructions to be at the pub by 20:30 for a committee meeting, so he planned the ride for about an hour.
The original plan was to head down to Watton At Stone and then take the back road to Walkern but, there was a slower rider in the group so the route was adjusted by going straight to Walkern. From there, we headed up to Cumberlow Green where we went straight on through Rushden to the A505 and then on to Ashwell.
From there, it was through Hinxworth, over the A1 to Langford and down to the A507.
It turned out the slower rider has improved and there had been no need to cut the route short so, from the A507 roundabout at Henlow, a loop to Henlow Camp was added before getting back to the A507 and on to Arlesey, where our destination was the Vicars Inn.
Nine bikes were already at the pub and the place was heaving. It’s always a popular pub and we are well looked after there but, for the first time at the Viscars Inn, we ran out of food – mainly because there were so many people there but also because a small group tend to grab seconds or thirds before some have had a chance to get any. We’ve asked before but we’d like to ask again… please be restrained on your first visit to the table each week. If there is any left any the first round, then feel free to go back for more but please give everyone a chance to have a bite to eat.
There was a great atmosphere and the conversations were massively varied – from the excitement of tyre tread depths to the weather, and more!
There wasn’t much of great interest from the Committee meeting but the proceeds of the Easter Egg auction, after the cost of the eggs and food was deducted, was £150, but that didn’t include the proceeds from the bucket, which we think would have been at least £50. Thank you to all who contributed.
Other topics in the meeting included:
the Walkern Fair on 5th May - please bring along your bike… it’s always a very sociable event
the Meldreth Motorcycle Show - we like feedback on the Club’s input. Gordon always displays his bikes and uses his camper as the Club stand, and we have members who marshal each year but please let us know if you’d like it to be a bigger event for and and if you’d like to get involved?
A reminder that the Herts & Beds section of the Institute of Advanced Motorcyclists (HBAM) have kindly offered a £50 discount on their Skills for Life course. So, if you’d like to learn to ride more safely while maintaining a reasonable speed, it’s reduced to £99. We think it’s well worth it. Talk to Ian Harris.
There has also been some talk of a social meeting with the 5 Counties MCC. It was decided that, although there’s no animosity over what they did to us, there is no reason for the two Groups to meet up “formally”.
Next week is a bank holiday so there is no formal Club meeting… but feel free to arrange your own and if you’d like to invite others, let us know and we can put it on the Facebook page and Whatsapp group.
The week after, we’ll be at the Angel in Ware. There are some great roads to get there so why not try the Group ride, 19:30 from Coreys Mill Sainsburys, if you’ve not come along before.
Mon 8th April 2019
The annual charity Easter Egg was the theme of this week’s Club meeting.
Members are always encouraged to bring an egg to auction and bring lots of money to buy others that have been donated.
And because the proceedings get under way relatively early, the group ride is always kept short.
As a result of a short ride and, for many, a lack of egg carrying capability on their bikes, only six members tuned up for the group ride from Coreys Mill Sainsburys.
The “deputy ride leader”, Steve Vaughan, stepped up again and took the group on a nice ride but got them to the pub on time.
The destination was the Crown at Stotfold.
Although low on bike numbers, the pub was heaving with members. We lost count but well over fifty were crammed into every nook and cranny of the pub. It was a family affair with “WAGS” and children joining in the fun.
It was also decided that the food would be free and Keith, the Landlord, put on a superb spread which was big enough that everyone was satisfied. He’s always top notch and really looks after us. It’s a great pub all round.
Loads of eggs were donated and everyone was very generous with their buying.
That was particularly good as the nominated charity receiving the profits was Herts & Beds SERV. They provide overnight on call service moving blood and other hospital products around to help keep the NHS running. If you’d like to volunteer, have a look at their website by clicking here.
Club member Roy Brown brought along one of their motorcycles.
Unfortunately, as the “webmaster” wasn’t able to be there, no one thought to take any photos of the great evening. So here is one of their bikes off the SERV website.
It was a very entertaining and enjoyable evening so thanks to all that were involved in organising, all the donations and all the money you spent.
Next week, we are back to the Vicars Inn in Arlesey. As always, you can meet us their or join us at Corey's Mill for the group ride at 19:30.
Mon 1st April 2019
What a difference a bit of daylight makes! The clocks sprung forward over the weekend and the evening daylight drew members out on their bikes. As a result, nineteen of us met up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the group ride.
It was a really nice, sociable atmosphere as we congregated and it was nice to meet new member Simon on his Suzuki, with his wife on the back.
The ride too us on one of the favourite routes , over to Barton Le Clay on the B655. It was fully up to speed at the front of the pack but some of the riders were a tad slower, not that that’s a problem, so instead of taking the longer planned route over to Harlington, we cut it short and headed up the A6 to the A507 at Clophill. But, instead of turning right, we went straight on and then took the right through Haynes and up to the A600.
It’s always good to get in the B658 from Shefford so, from the A600, we took the fast back roads through Ireland to get there.
It was going well and the group had been kept together all the way to the G&M Growers roundabout. But Cider Bob took the group left past Shuttleworth and, although he thought everyone was in sight, he managed to lose the back end of the group.
They went straight on and the lead was taken over by Steve who led them the last half mile to the Playing Fields Club in Upper Caldecote.
Mean while, the lead group made their way to the Playing Fields Club via Ickwell and Hatch.
A load of bikes were already at the pub before both halves of the group ride arrived and there were over forty members in total.
This week also saw the first round of the Cheese Skittles competition, which soon got under way.
After being interrupted for the awesome chilli on jacket spuds, it concluded with the following leaders board:
1st Paul Thompson
2nd Michaela Hallett
3rd Steve Hutchins
4th Dave Chapman
We have to wait until August for the second and final round of the 2019 Cheese Skittles completion!
Next Monday, we will be at the Crown in Stotfold where the Chairman will officiate the Easter Egg Auction. This year, the food will be free and the proceeds will go to the Blood Bikers so please bring along a chocolate egg to auction and plenty of money to buy up what’s on offer.
Mon 25th March 2019
This week was our first visit to the Cock in Baldock. With changes in management at the White Lion, lots of members have been critical of the drop in quality and quantity of the food there so, after the landlord at the Cock showed an interest in having us, we thought it was worth a go.
We are always assessing the various destinations we go to throughout the year and we are happy to take on suggestions if you have any. Pete Starr in particular, goes to a lot of effort to make sure they are up to scratch in advance of our attendance.
The ride to get there was led by Steve Vaughan once again as Cider Bob couldn’t make it. It was significantly longer than normal, taking about an hour and a half, which went out to the A10, via Datchworth, then over to the B1368 and up to the A505 before finishing in Baldock.
The parking at the pub was great as the Landord opened up the back gate to let the riders park in the rear yard.
The feedback was that the pub was excellent but the food ran out a bit too early. The committee will have a chat to see if its worth staying on the calendar.
Next week, we will be at the Playing Fields Club in Upper Caldecote for the first of this year's cheese skittles competition. If you have a desire to throw hard things at other hard things (perhaps by way of therapy), come along and give it a go.
Mon 18th March 2019
The evening started to chill off after a mild day but it didn’t put off ten riders who turned up at Coreys Mill to join the group ride.
There was a great array of machinery as is often the case… Cider Bob leading on his DL650, big Geoff at the back on his K1300S and a mixture including a Street Triple, a Speed Triple, a Fazer, a 9RT, a modified CRF250 and an old Diversion, amongst others,
We started on the same route as last week, taking the entertaining back lanes past Redcoats to the B656. From there, we headed down to Codicote where we turned right towards Whitwell.
It was then on through Lilley to Hexton, where it was right to Hitchin and finally we pulled up at the Plume of Feathers in Ickleford.
It was a good route with fairly swift roads but we cater for all abilities on a Monday night ride so while the lead riders made some good progress, at every posted speed limit and turn off, they slowed up to allow the rest to catch up.
As we’ve said before, we don’t put pressure on slower riders to keep up. Everyone can ride at their own pace and enjoy their own style but waiting at the slower places allows the whole group to bunch back up. Never the less, some of the faster riders can occasionally get a bit frustrated but we are a sociable bunch and they don’t make the slower riders feel bad by showing it.
We often have group rides at weekends too. These can often be quite a bit faster – partly because of the daylight but also because people of similar riding styles tend to ride together.
At the pub, several bikers were already there and there were, as always, “the old guard” who’ve given up biking and arrive in the comfort of four wheels with a roof.
It was busy and the atmosphere was good. The staff at the Plume of Feathers always make us really welcome and the food was as good as always.
That said, even though there was a good buzz going on, for some reasons the pub seemed to empty relatively early and had almost cleared out by ten o’clock. Perhaps it’s our age or that people have to get up particularly early for work – either way, its strange how one week we will be at a pub until closing time and another will be almost empty quite early.
Next week is a change to our original Calendar. One of the members has recommended the Cock in Baldock and the Land Lord seems eager for us to visit so that will be our destination.
Cider Bob will be away so the ride will be led by Steve Vaughan.
Let us know what you think of the pub (and the ride?!)?
Monday 11th 2019 March
The Monday night group ride was led Steve Vaughan this week. After meeting at Coreys Mill Sainsburys, it was past Redcoats and up to Whitwell before heading all the way over to Harpenden and then via Wheathampstead to Codicote where the final destination was the Goat.
It was a valiant effort at planning something different but narrow country lanes in the darkness meant speeds rarely got over 40 mph.
But everyone arrived safely and there was a warm welcome as always at that pub.
Next week, we are back at the Plume of Feathers in Ickleford. Another of the very popular Monday night destinations.
As always, you can meet us there or join us at 19:30 at Coreys Mill for the group ride.
Monday 4th March 2019
On Sunday, the Club assisted Bikestop with their first group rideout of the year. The weather was poor, with moderate drizzle and very wet roads but, never-the-less, eleven riders braved the weather and were led by Cider Bob with Ian Harris, Carlos Santos and Geoff James in the pack and Pete Blackburn bringing up the rear.
Most of the Club riders were sporting the Club’s hi-vis vests, although Pete came up with some poor excuse for forgetting his. Here you can see a screen shot of Bikestop’s video, catching Cider Bob desperately trying to ignore the camera and big Geoff tucking into a stunning bacon butty.
Have a look at last week’s blog (below) if you’d like to know the route. Although parts were a tad waterlogged, the majority of it was really nice to ride and, when we got back, everyone was happy with the route.
Many thanks to all the riders from the Club who helped out.
Back to the Monday night meeting, Storm Freya had squeezed herself into the hours between the Sunday ride and the 19:30 meeting at Corey’s Mill Sainsburys so by the time we met up, the roads were dry, the salt had been washed away and most of the blustery wind had died away, leaving conditions almost perfect for the group ride.
Six of us congregated, welcoming new member Mike, from oop norf (who’d come along after being on the Sunday ride). Setting off a little late, it turned out to be perfect timing as Jason was able to tack on to the end of the group on Hitchin Road.
We headed over to Old Knebworth and then up the ever popular B656 to Hitchin. From there, it was the back roads to Willian and then on to Letchworth. Our destination was the Stag in Stotfold where the Club was meeting for only the second time.
There were already bikes in the car park when the group ride arrived and, as always, there were members who’d come in cars too.
There was a great atmosphere in the pub and Ian introduced another possible new member, Fiona.
Most of the food was already out and just needed uncovering but, as we did so, hot foot also appeared. A superb spread with gorgeous sausages, chips, pizzas, sandwiches and other top notch buffet food – it was obviously quality stuff that tasted great.
Conversations were as varied as always but included chat about the Sunday ride, talk of forthcoming activities, an “exciting” chat about textile gear and even mention of an unofficial mid week meet up with the 5 Counties Club sometime during the summer. They had their own reasons for splitting away from the S&DMCC a few years ago but they’re not a bad bunch and there’s been very little animosity. It would be good to meet up and bury the hatchet.
The staff at the pub were great and we were really welcomed so while some had to leave fairly early, some members stayed quite late. Definitely a pub to keep on the calendar.
Next week we are back to the Goat in Codicote, see you there.
Monday 25th February 2019
Global warming is definitely not a good thing but, on rare occasions, it has its advantages… this week, the daytime February temperatures hit 20°C with bright sunshine, meaning perfect riding conditions.
On Sunday, some of us marshalling the Bikestop Rideout next Sunday went for a “dry run”. What a great ride it was too. It’s only about an hour but its a cracking route so come along next Sunday and be part of the group if you are free - we’ll be setting off from Bikestop at 11:00. This is the route:
Onto the A602 dual carriageway to Hitchin (to keep the group together getting out of Hitchin)
B655 to Hexton
Unclassified road through Lilley to Codicote
B656 to St Ibbs & turn right towards Titmore Green
Left to the old A602 then left into Little Wymondley
Up to Great Wymondley but turn right back to Gravely and then North Road back to Bikestop
It was such good weather that those of us who were off on Monday did the same ride again… just for Pete Blackburn, who had been working the first time. Again, it was a great day and the ride was superb.
Although in the evenings the temperature had been dropping off significantly, it didn’t put off ten riders who turned up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the group ride.
Unfortunately, due to there being the first meeting of the newly elected committee this week, Cider Bob went on a short ride through the country lanes to get to the Hen & Chickens by 20:00, while Steve led the group over to Anchor Lane, up to the A507 and into Baldock that way.
The pub was a bit quiet as the committee meeting got under way but by the time we’d finished, we came out to find the place heaving with members.
If you’d like to know any specific of what went on in the meeting, contact us by clicking here, but the important points to note are:
the next two week’s destinations are swapped to we will now be at the Stag in Stotfold next week and the Goat the week after.
the George Brown Memorial Run has changed date to 30th June
the 2020 annual Dinner Dance has changed date to 8th February.
This is all due to circumstances beyond our control.
There was a great feeling to the evening and it was nice to see new member Liam too. Welcome Liam.
Perhaps it was the fine weather that encouraged so many to be out but it also seemed to encourage them to stay a little later than normal so the pub didn’t start clearing until well past 22:00.
A really great vibe to the night.
Don’t forget, change of venue next week. We will now be at the Stag in Stotfold.
Monday 18th February 2019
The Clubs AGM was this week so most members went straight to the Cromwell Hotel. Although Cider Bob did go to Sainsburys, just in case, where he found a solitary figure, James, on his ZZR1400.
They went for a short ride to the Hotel via Codicote.
The AGM was well attended with well over forty members tucking into the complimentary tea, coffee and biscuits.
Thanks again to Gary for contributing the biscuits, which he has done for many years. While they are very much appreciated, in all this time, he still wonders why the chocolate cookies are hoovered up in minutes but there are always a few digestives left at the end of the night - perhaps the clue is in the name Gary!
Even though this is just a motorcycle club, or perhaps a social club revolving around motorcycles, there is a remarkable degree of formality given to the AGM. With lots of “Mr Chairman” and “Mr Treasurer”, anyone would think it was a parliamentary select committee!
Anyway, before the formality of the AGM began, there was a mini auction for a donated bottle of whiskey and then a surprise presentation of the Johnny Greenhill Trophy to Cider Bob. Unfortunately, Cider couldn’t make it to this year’s Dinner Dance but was presented the award for his continued efforts in running the Club website and Facebook page… even though his attempts at humour have occasionally upset members or just aren’t funny.
The meeting should have started with the Club secretary, Mick Taylor, reading out the apologies of members who could not attend but he was tardy and neglecting his duties. This outrageous failure in etiquette was followed up with a failure to read out the minutes of last year’s AGM… a failure in protocol that everyone at the meeting was very grateful for as it shortened it significantly! You’d think after about 40 years of doing this thankless job he’d get it right!!!!
However, the Chairman, Tony “Norbert” Brown, must also take partial responsibility for this systematic failure. Likewise, with more years doing that also thankless role than the majority of members have been in the Club, he ploughed straight on into his annual report.
With few puns and quips, but sufficiently detailed and to the point, without unnecessary drivel , we’d rate his report at 7/10.
Summarising the year, he started by pointing out that the numbers on the books were over a hundred and that the weekly Monday night rides ranged from a lone Cider Bob up to as many as twenty during the summer months. He thanked the Petes and Steve Vaughan for planning a route and leading when was Cider Bob was unavailable and thanked Geoff James taking up position at the back to make sure everybody arrived at the pub.
He then mentioned the new Club hi-vis vests and explained that even though they are being sold at a loss, they are great for members’ safety and for advertising the Club. You can get one for £5 – just see Mick Taylor.
Next, Norbert summarised Members’ activities, focusing on Gordon Hallett’s vintage events, Sheelagh Neal’s classic racing and Roger Timm’s in the classic TT. He also congratulated Ian Harris on passing his Institute of Advanced of Motorists motorcycle test.
After thanking the land lords of the various pubs we visit, he thanked Dave and Jan Price for the great job they do extracting £2 off everyone each week for the food and for keeping the funds in tip top shape. They have very kindly agreed to continue doing that thankless job. Thanks.
After a few more thanks, he moved on to the photographic competition, which was won a great photo of a Triumph but, for some reason, wondered why landscapes were so unpopular in this motorcycle club competition!
Gary Jones’ name popped up again as he won the Cheese Skittles competition and there was mention of the Quiz, won by Team Speed Tipple with 58 points.
He talked about the various events the Club attends throughout the year and the Monday night Summer and Winter socials were highlighted as being very popular.
Further thanks were given to those involved in supporting the ACU National Road Rally checkpoint which, this year, is being run completely by the Club and is moving to a new location at the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service Training Centre, Longfield, on Hitchin Road Stevenage.
Next, Norbert talked about the George Brown Memorial Run which was as successful as ever and pointed out that this coming summer will be the fortieth. He also thanks Ray Thompson again for his great work driving the recovery vehicle.
The Dinner Dance ended up being quite a talking point later in the meeting but, during his speech, Norbert pointed out only thirty one members had attended with only seventy people at the event; asking why it was not as well attended as it used to be. But he also highlighted Jason Homes’ generous donations, including a four and a half litre bottle whiskey and other excellent contributions for auction and raffle.
The Chairman’s speech was suitably timed that it covered everything but by the end, everyone was still awake so we moved straight on to the Treasurer's report.
Pete Starr, who has done a superb job keeping the books in order, was very short (well, he is only about five and a half feet tall!) and perfectly to the point, giving the opening balance, the closing balance and pointing out that over the year we have made about fifteen pounds profit.
The Chairman then moved on to the election of the entire committee. Club president, Pat Barrett, proposed Tony Brown as Chairman, Mick Taylor Secretary and Pete Starr as Treasurer. They were Seconded and will continue as they were.
The other committee members were voted as being Cider Bob, Jim Carmichael, Pete Blackburn and, new to the role, Ian Harris.
Next came "any other business" and a few proposals had been put forward. Summarising, they were:
Change the Clubs HQ
It was agreed to remove the need for an HQ and Rule 1g had been deleted accordingly
Dinner Dance format
It was almost unanimous that the formal nature of the Dinner Dance should remain
A “Specials” category should be added to the Memorial Run
This will be discussed within the committee
Introduce a new role of “Vice Chairman”
It was highlighted that Norbert is “getting on a bit” and may pop his clogs at any moment.
He admitted he does bugger all and that Mick does all the work so there was no need to plan his replacement.
This was agreed but no one pointed out that Mick is also an old git!
Roy Brown, who is now a SERV blood biker, asked the Club to consider donating to that charity.
It was agreed the proceeds of the Easter Egg auction would go to SERV.
Finally, Cider Bob asked “the floor” for their thoughts and ideas - things that they would like to do that we don't do or things that we do do but they don't want us and he reminded everybody of the calendars on the website and encouraged riders to arrange and lead ride out throughout summer. Although it had been an interactive meeting, by now everyone just wanted to get away so the room remained largely silent.
The meeting was done and dusted by 21:45 when many members wondered home and the hardened committee wandered into the bar.
Back to the Hen Chickens next week where the “new” committee will start planning the 2019 events.
Monday 11th February 2019
Unfortunately the author of this weekly rambling wasn't able to join the group ride or get to the Club meeting at the Pig & Whistle in Aston this week so has no idea what went on.
And, after attempts to squeeze the committee for even the most basic of information about anything that went on, he is still none the wiser.
So, if you are so bored that you look forward to reading this drivel each week, we can only apologise that there is nothing to write about this week's meeting.
On the plus side, next week's should be lengthy as we will be holding the Annual General Meeting at the Cromwell Hotel, Stevenage, starting at 20:30 hours. If you get there early, complimentary tea and coffee will be available.
If you have any thoughts about how the Club is run, how it should be run, ideas for events, rides etc, please speak your mind.
It's also the three yearly election of the Committee Officers as well as the four additional committee members so, if you'd like to have a go at any of it, feel free to put your name forward.
Monday 4th February 2019
Five riders turned up for the group ride this week.
The weather was very mixed. The day had very wet and mild, which had washed the road and come 16:00, they were dry.
Unfortunately, by 19:30, when we met at Coreys Mill Sainsburys, the temperature had dropped a bit and the roads had become a tad greasy.
Never-the-less, we went for what turned out to be one of the unenjoyable rides Cider Bob has led on a Monday night.
It started off well with a swift but legal ride around Stevenage. Unfortunately, we were then held up at the first Nationals going towards Knebworth so we couldn’t get any speed up.
Carrying on to Woolmer Green, Cider made the mistake of taking a right into Bridge Road. Knowing the other end of that road opens up into a big long fast sweeping bend, it seemed like a good idea at the time but, to get there, we had to ride up a single track lane with crud in the middle of the road.
That’s ok on a little 250 off roader but on the rocket ship ZXR1400 and K1300S, it seems the traction control had a little work to do.
Hoping it would get better, by the time we got to the top of the hill, instead of cruising swiftly around the curves, we ended up at barely 20 mph in thick fog.
And that was the way it continued… into and out of fog, getting greasier and colder for the rest of the ride, which took us to the B656 and into Arlesey via the A507.
Although the weather is out of the ride leaders once we got off the bikes at the Vicars Inn, Cider Bob was very apologetic for such a crap ride when we could have stuck to “old faithfuls” like the A507 from Cottered to Baldock and onto Arlesey.
Surprisingly, the pub was quieter than normal. It’s normally a really popular destination but there was only about twenty five of us there… possibly due to the fog.
There is always plenty of top quality food at the Vicars and this week, with about a third fewer members than normal, there was a fair bit left over. The pub dog would have been well fed this week!
There was lots of chat about the annual Dinner and Dance that took place on Saturday. If you like to read the review, click here.
The weather is looking good for a Sunday ride so keep an eye on the Facebook page and WhatsApp group for any short notice suggestions.
Otherwise, we hope to see you next Monday at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the Group ride or at the Pig and Whistle in Aston.
Monday 28th January 2019
Winter arrived again this week with the bikes showing a temperature of -2°C as we congregated at Coreys Mill.
Surprisingly, even with a vague threat of snow, four of us turned up to enjoy a group ride in the chilly but dry darkness.
The gritters hadn’t been out long as we left the Sainsburys car park so, with low humidity, the roads were initially dry and really nice to ride on.
Our destination was the Goat at Codicote so our route was an “old faithful” to the south of Stevenage, taking up down the A602 to Watton at Stone and then the A119 to Hertford. From there, it was onto the B1000 to Digswell and finally the B656 to Codicote.
During the summer, this route would be extended to give us about an hour or so riding time but, at this time of year, it tends to be a bit shorter because it takes a bit longer in the dark. Not only that, while the younger ones have internal metabolic boilers to keep them toastie, some of the older boys lose feeling in their fingers a bit earlier than they used to!
As we got to Digswell, the salt had started to absorb moisture so from there on, speeds dropped slightly as the roads became greasy.
But it was a really fun ride and we all got to the pub safely, as did the old Panther, which was already there.
Loads of members that didn’t fancy braving the sub-zero temperatures had arrived by car and, as is usually the case when we visit the Goat, the bar was full.
There was lots of discussion about all sorts of this including website content. But it seems, from a straw pole, apart from the odd attempt at failed humour, members are generally happy with it and the utter drivel we produce in this blog each week.
We already have loads of members going to the Isle of Man this year, for both the TT and the Manx, but some of the quiet chat at back of the pub this week was a suggestion of a long weekend to the motorcycling mecca in August. If you might be interested, please let us know emailing us here or using the Facebook link here.
Next week, we are back at the Vicars Inn in Arlesey. There is never any shortage of top quality food served up by Theresa and Hazel so brave the elements and come along and join us.
Monday 21st January 2019
It stayed dry for the ride to the pub this week but it was quite chilly; not “January cold” but at the lower end of single figures. The roads were salted and some were damp so there were grippy bits and slippery bits. But big Geoff met Cider Bob for the ride, along with James on his first Monday night ride with his recently bought monster ZXR1400.
The route stuck to main roads, because of the temperature, so it was up the B655 to Barton Le Clay, A6 to Clophill and then on to the White Lion at Baldock via the A507.
A straight forward ride but good fun.
The White Lion is always popular location and this time was no different so the back bar was full of members.
Everyone was in good spirits but, unusually, the Pub let us down drastically with the food and served up a few plates of miniature pizzas, some small sausage rolls and a few other bits that far from met the standards we normally get.
The committee will have a chat to the Land Lord and have a rethink as to whether we will return to this otherwise great pub.
Conversations were as varied as always but there was a lot about the fast approaching annual dinner dance, on 2nd February.
Don’t forget, you can get your tickets for the big event from Mick Taylor. You can contact him by clicking here or see him on a Monday night.
We can expect a very cold evening next Monday so, as always, you can go straight to the pub, which will be the Goat in Codicote (in your car), or you can meet at Coreys Mill Sainsburys at 19:30 for the challenge of staying warm and upright.
As an aside, we are always keen to get feedback to make sure the website is informative and entertaining so if you would like to add anything to the weekly blog, or have any comment on its content, have your say by clicking here.
Monday 14th January 2019
Really mild weather for January meant perfect night time riding conditions although only a few turned out for the group ride.
Cider Bob couldn’t be there this week so Steve Vaughan kindly accepted the challenge of leading the group.
Although it seems easy, being a group leader is more challenging than you might think… unlike the IAM, who's leader just leads at a good pace and leaves everyone else to take turns in pointing the way, on our rides, the leader cracks on at a decent, just about legal pace but slows up early for speed limits and junctions so everyone can get back together.
Not only that, the leader has to come up with an interesting route, with as few speed limits as possible, and not keep going along the same roads.
But if you think you are up to the job and want to give it a go, either on a Monday night or perhaps a weekend ride, or you want to plan a trip somewhere (eg the Triumph factory or the seaside etc) let us know by clicking here and we will help you arrange it.
Steve did an excellent job and got the small but enthusiastic group to this week's destination at the Plume of Feathers in Ickleford, where the superb staff looked after us as well as always.
The weather is due to be cold and wet next week but don't let that put you off. Cider Bob will be at Coreys Mill Sainsburys at 19:30 to lead any hardened bikers that fancy joining him for a ride to the White Lion in Baldock.
If riding in poor weather is not your thing, meet us at the pub - it's always a popular one so there will be lots of Club members turning up in cars!
Monday 7th January 2019
HAPPY NEW YEAR
There has been a short hiatus since the Christmas Social as a result of all the festivities and merriment.
However, now we are into the new year, the meetings have restarted.
The first Monday night meeting of 2019 saw four of us meeting at Corey’s Mill Sainsburys for a fairly short but very enjoyable ride in the very mild and dry January weather.
Cut short because of a committee meeting (meaning the ride leader needed to be at the pub by 20:00) we headed to Great Wymondley via Redcoats and then on to Willian.
From there, it was round the Letchworth longabout and then the back road to Baldock, where our destination was the Hen & Chickens.
Once at the pub, it was straight in to the meeting for the committee members, while the rest of the members were able to stand in the bar enjoying the social side of the Club meetings.
In the meeting, the drudgery of keeping the Club going involved planning upcoming events.
While you probably won’t be interested in the detail, the main points included:
We need to encourage more members and their guests to come to the dinner dance.If there are reasons its becoming less popular, we need to find out what they are and address them. The plan is to bring it up at the AGM so if you have any thoughts, please make them clear then.
The ACU National Rally Stevenage checkpoint will be entirely managed and run by S&DMCC this year with the kind use of Herts Fire & Rescue premises. Members can enter the Rally or volunteer at the checkpoint.
Next year’s Calendar has been provisionally agreed and, hopefully, by the time you read this, will be on the Calendar page of the website.
It’s been suggested we have more weekend planned activities throughout the summer. Last year we posted a huge number of events on the Events page but left it to individuals to plan any attendance but this year we intend on formally planning lots more events. Have a look at the separate Events Calendar and if you’d like to lead any, please let us know here.
If you have any questions regarding what was chatted about at the meeting, any input on the Dinner Dance or, in fact, any other aspects of the Club, please share them with us by clicking here.
Also, with the AGM coming up and all roles up for re-election, please consider if you would like to have a go or who you would like to nominate.
Once the Committee meeting was done, the food was unwrapped and we all dived in. there was loads of it and it went down really well.
Don’t forget, the annual Dinner & Dance is fast approaching, on Saturday 2nd February 2019. The price has been kept at a very reasonable £35 this year. Click HERE for a link to the Dinner & Dance page for all details. Please see Mick Taylor for your tickets.
Not long after the Dinner & Dance, we will be back at the Cromwell for the AGM. Please make every effort to be there. Make sure you put your points across and have an idea of who you’d like on the Committee to run your Club for the next term.
Next week, we are at the Plume of Feathers, Ickleford.
See you then.