Welcome to our weekly blog. Here you can get an insight into what we get up to each week.
Click on the green links for related material and click here to read historic blogs from previous years.
Monday 23rd May 2022
It was a relatively quiet week this week although Frank arranged and led a small group ride down to the Ace Café yesterday.
Monday evening’s weather forecast was poor and, as a result, the Club meeting was less well attended than of late.
Anton had kindly volunteered to lead the sedate ride, usually led by Ian, but only had one turn up. This is typical as that ride is aimed at, amongst others, the less experienced (who tend not to like riding in the rain) and cruisers (who tend not to like getting their bikes dirty, in the rain). That was a shame for Anton because he came out anyway and his Harley will have taken a lot of cleaning.
Bev very kindly offered to lead an all ladies group but she also only had one come along to join her. Hopefully the weather will be better next week.
Steve and Paul had about twelve riders between them and Cider Bob had another eight for the 19:00 ride. Although Big Geoff for there but decided to wait until 19:30 for Pete’s ride, just in case no-one else turned up. That turned out to be a nice thing to do as it was, indeed, just Pete and Geoff in that group.
But, overall, good numbers considering the forecast.
None of the group leaders have given us a summary of their rides, although it was mentioned that Cider Bob seems to have an inbuilt weather radar as his group spent the hour and twenty minutes skirting around the heavy rain that was never far away.
Our destination was the Bee Hive in Hare Street. Normally the weather is good for this pub and we typically stand outside but this time we were crammed (comfortably) in the bar because of the rain. There were about thirty of us, so numbers were slightly down, but that meant the huge amount of food was more than enough – including proper beef, cheese & onion, ham & mustard and other sandwiches, hot sausage rolls, onion rings, copious roast potatoes and pizzas. We really were very well looked after.
As is often the case, some started leaving about 21:15, once they’d eaten, while others stayed until almost closing time.
Next week we will be back at the Hoops in Bassingbourn.
We will plan to have all the same groups next week but if we find the Ladies and 19:30 groups aren’t popular, we will look to give up on them in the not too distant future. You can have your say on what you think/want regarding the group rides, or any aspects of how we run the Club, by any of our social media or by clicking here.
As an aside, the R&DMCC Show (known as the Meldreth Motorcycle Show) is on the Wednesday 15th June this year and we usually have members help them out with Marshalling. As always, they would be very grateful of our help so if you can volunteer, please contact Gordon Hallet on 07780 844700.
And a reminder of other dates for your calendar:
- Sunday 12th June – Pete Starr Memorial ride to St Osyth
- Sunday 10th July – George Brown Memorial Run
- Sunday 14th August – Member Memorial Ride
Monday 16th May 2020
Last Saturday, Anton led a very successful group ride to the MCN Festival of Motorcycling. It was a lovely sunny day and everyone had a great time.
There were several rides planned for yesterday too but with the forecast being very poor, they were cancelled. Although that didn’t put off several members going out for rides on their own or in smaller groups, with Steve finding himself at the Festival, where he met Cider Bob who was working there. And the weather turned out to be OK for most of the day.
On to Monday evening thirteen riders met up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys at 18:30 where they split into two groups, with Steve and Paul.
There were also two group rides from the Lytton Way Esso, with Ian leading his usual group and Kay leading our first ever ladies group ride. That ride had five of our female Club members who all seemed to thoroughly enjoy it. Many thanks to Kay for stepping up to lead.
There was also a 19:00 ride from Coreys Mill, where Cider led another ten riders out on a group ride.
The destination was the Crown at Stotfold for our first “Pete Starr Memorial Social”.
Previously called the Spring Social, these events occur four times a year and are where we encourage members to bring along their family for extra lovely food and a raffle. The Spring Social has been renamed in memory of Pete because, as Treasurer, he introduced these great events, which have always been very popular. And this being the first, not only was there free food and some free drinks but a free raffle as well. We were also honoured to have many of Pete’s family come along, including his wife, Teri.
In other news, the Club now has a Twitter page, which is mainly being run by our relatively new member Lainey. We’d be keen to get any content you may think worth sharing so please send anything of interest to Lainey. We will also take this opportunity to remind you that when you joined, you will have signed to say you don’t mind having pictures of you on our social media. But if you’d like to avoid being on Twitter, again, please let Lainey know.
There has been some chat recently about forming some sort of Ladies Section to the Club. But, after several conversations, it’s been decided not to. It seems the ladies prefer the all inclusive nature of the Club and will arrange lady only rides between themselves. Fortunately, with Lainey now doing our Twitter, hopefully we will attract more diverse members.
Next week we will be at the Bee Hive in Hare Street. We’ve even more group ride options so please come along and join in:
- 18:30 Coreys Mill Sainsburys with Paul / Steve
- 18:30 Lytton Way Esso with Anton, for what is normally Ian's group of cruisers/beginners/small bikes/relaxed riders etc
- 19:00 Coreys Mill Sainsburys with Cider Bob
- 19:00 Lytton Way Esso with Bev – just for the ladies
- 19:30 Coreys Mill Sainsburys with Pete Blackburn
If you don’t fancy joining a group, meet us at the Bee Hive.
Monday 9th May 2022
There’s lots to mention this week so we’ve subtitled sections of this week’s blog so you can bypass whatever you aren’t interested in.
Last week was a Bank Holiday so there was no Monday night meeting. But Club members got involved in the Bikestop “1st Sunday of the Month” rideout and a Bank holiday day run.
Spearheaded by Ian Harris, several Club members were at Bikestop last Sunday to help in the organising and execution of the May rideout. With a large turnout, the Club ran three groups with a lead, mid-pack and tail. A lot of interest in the Club was generated and lots of business cards and calendars were given out to prospective members. BikeStop pass on their thanks for our support.
Rutland Water Bank Holiday Ride
Twelve SDMCC club members met up for the Bank Holiday ride, split into two groups, led by Steve and Ian. Leaving ten minutes apart, their first stop was at Raunds Services for McDonalds and a freshen up.
They then headed for their first sight seeing stop at Seaton viaduct, near Harringworth – the longest train viaduct in England. After stopping under the arches for a few minutes, they headed off to the field gateway for a good view of the entire viaduct. Then it was off to the Harbour cafe at Rutland Water.
The return route took them to Grafham Water,using a twisty country route through the sandstone villages of Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire. The last part of the journey was marred by another road closure so they diverted through Bedford where they used all the roads in the town centre one way system, where the tail end of the group, led by Beverly, came out in front by Bedford bridge, much to everyone’s amusement.
It was a 170 miles round trip, back by 16.30.
Your committee met up again last Wednesday to keep the Club running like a well oiled machine. We won’t bore you with all the drivel that went on but here are some bits you might find interesting:
- The Pete Starr Memorial Social (formally the Spring Social will be on Monday 16th May
- Monday 30th May will now be at the Hoops in Bassingbourn
- The one off Pete Starr Memorial Ride, to St Oysth. Will take place on Sunday 12th June
- The George Brown Memorial Run will be on the 10th July but will be at the Novotel (NOT the Cromwell)
- We are looking at ways to increase the female membership (any ideas from the ladies in the Club would be welcome)
This week we were at the Rifle Volunteer in Ware.
As has become the norm for the time being, Steve and Paul led rides from Coreys Mill Sainsburys at 18:30 while Cider Bob led one at 19:00.
Ian Harris led his more sedate group, starting at 18:30 at the Lytton Way Esso.
But we soon hope to have a regular 19:30 ride too, led by Pete Blackburn.
The weather was great (very mild and a little overcast) so lots of riders turned out for the group rides. Steve and Paul had fourteen between them while Ian had ten and Cider had nine.
As well as the thirty three riders in the organised groups, loads more went straight to the pub.
Most members stayed outside, enjoying the mild evening, where the food was served, while several more clamped themselves to the bar indoors.
The Rifle Volunteer was as popular as ever and the staff looked after us as well as usual. The food was excellent and it was another great evening.
Some members don’t tend to stay long, with some leaving at about 21:00 but some stayed through to 22:30 when the last of the stalwarts started making their way home.
Next week we will be at the Crown in Stotfold for the Pete Starr Memorial Social. Please come along if you can and bring your family. Pete’s wife, Teri, is planning on coming along too.
Before then, on Saturday, Anton will be leading a group ride up to the MCN Festival of Motorcycling (formally known as the BMF Rally). If you’d like to join them, meet at the Broadwater Esso at 09:00. The route include some A roads, B roads and motorway. Total riding time about an hour and a half. Let him know if you fancy going along.
Tickets booked in advance are £15 or £22 at the gate.
On Sunday, Steve will be leading a ride Danish Camp on the River Ouse for breakfast, leaving Corey Mill Sainsburys at 09:00. Should be back in Stevenage by around 13:30. There will be a leader and tail ender but there will also be a girls group, led by Bev. The speed and pace of each group will be set by the newest riders - it's not a high speed route and they will wait at junctions for any rider to catch up.
Monday 5th April 2022
It was a Bank Holiday last week so there was no Monday evening Club meeting. Although several members met up for rides on both Sunday and Monday.
This week, Steve led seven riders from Corey’s Mill Sainsburys, leaving at 18:30, while Cider led a group of six at 19:00. Cider’s routes was a relatively short one of about forty miles, arriving at the pub by 20:00, where Steve’s group was already parked up.
Ian led a further six riders on his ‘Cruiser Friendly’ ride, which left the Lytton Way Esso garage at 18:30 and headed out via Saffron Walden, which was one of his most popular routes last year. The route, to one of the most popular Monday destinations, took them through Walkern, Bennington, Hare Street, Wicken Bonhunt and Wendens Ambo before the return west through Great Chishill, Heydon, Melbourn and Meldreth before arriving at the pub at 20:00.
The destination was the Hoops at Bassingbourn. This is always a popular and this visit was no different, with about fifty or so members in attendance. The staff were as friendly as ever and the food was lovely – lots of roast potatoes, fish fingers, deep fried vegetables, some spicy samosa type things and even some really tasty omelette segments. A great spread which was both very much appreciated and devoured. Thanks to the Hoops. If you’d like to see why it’s so popular, come along next time we are there, on the 30th May. You can see all our destinations on our Calendar by clicking here.
Just in case you haven’t noticed, we also have a Calendar for other events, which you can see by clicking here.
Next week is another Bank Holiday so once again, there won’t be a formal Club meeting. But feel free to plan your own meet or ride and invite everyone via the Whatsapp group.
Steve Vaughan has a day ride planned for the Bank Holiday. He will be heading north for Rutland Water with a few scenic stops and tea or breakfast at Harringworth and a photo opportunity at Seaton viaduct. He’ll be leaving Corey’s Mill Sainsburys at 08:00 and expects to be back late afternoon.
Our next Monday night meeting is on the 9th May at the Rifle Volunteer. As always, you can join one of the group rides or meet us there.
Monday 11th April 2022
This week we were at the Angel in Ware.
Once again this week, with Ian still away, Cider Bob led the more sedate group, from Esso at Lytton Way. After a short delay, due to the petrol station having no petrol, the group of six got away at about 18:40 but no-one seemed bothered as there was a friendly, chatty atmosphere. With Cider leading through mainly large B roads and some A roads, the speed at the front barely got over 50 mph so everyone had the opportunity to ride at a speed they were comfortable with.
As usual, Steve Vaughan led the other 18:30 group, from Coreys Mill Sainsburys. Six riders also formed that group.
Paul Purple VFR led the third and final group, leaving Coreys Mill Sainsburys at 19:00. Another six riders were in that group, making eighteen riders in total across the three groups. Paul’s route was out towards Bishop’s Stortford before heading to Ware via the Hadhams.
The pub had a few locals in but once all the Club members had arrived, it was heaving. The staff at the Angel were as welcoming as always and the food was lovely – really nice sandwiches and pizzas (and very nice tea).
Another excellent evening all round.
Next week is a Bank Holiday so there’s no Monday night meeting. There may well be some daytime rides so keep an eye on our various social media.
The following week, on 25th April, we will be at the Hoops in Bassingbourn.
Monday 4th April 2022
Yesterday, Steve led another of his off road rides, with four riders meeting up for a cold start to the day. They headed out towards Saffron Walden where Steve, who carries virtually everything anyone could need when he's out on a ride, got out his saw to cut back some dangerous branches at eye height on the second byway. On the next byway, they had to turn back as a landslip had removed all but six inches of the track, with a sixty foot drop into the field below. Then it was into Cambridgeshire’s unspoilt byways and on to Thetford. After a Maccy D's and fuel, the return journey took them via Six Mile Bottom and the manual level crossing (keeping an eye out for the lights) and continued the off tarmac route finishing at Therfield. It was a 138 mile route during which time Bruno baptised his CRF with no trauma at all - hopefully not the last water it will see!
Monday evening was mild but damp. That, along with the request to bring an Easter egg for the auction, seemed to put off a lot of riders so Steve had four, starting at 18:30 from Corey's Mill Sainsburys while Cider Bob, who was leading the sedate group (normally led by Ian Harris), only had one, at 18:30 from Lytton Way Esso. Paul Purple VFR was left by himself for the 19:00 ride from Corey's Mill and we cancelled the 19:30 ride because of the need to be at the pub by 20:00.
The venue for the auction was the Crown at Stotfold. All the "group" rides arrived at the pub by 20:00 and after a minor delay, the auction got under way with the Chairman, Tony Brown, taking up the virtual gavel. Along with the eggs and chocolate supplied by the Club, many Members donated so the array on offer was huge. It was a bit of a slow start but it wasn't long before the bidding took off, not least as some of the more mischievous members waited for the for the "going", just before the "gone", before shouting up counter bids. This got several laughs on several occasions and helped the bids get up to a reasonable amount for each lot. It look nearly half an hour to get it all auctioned off and the Members, and locals from the pub, collectively raised in excess of £300.
After the auction, the staff brought out the usual mountains of food the Crown always serves up. The queue was long but there was more than enough to go round and everyone got plenty.
It was a very entertaining evening. Thanks to "Norbert" for being the auctioneer and thanks to everyone who donated and/or bought lots. Money raised at events like this help towards funding our heavily subsidised events, like the quarterly "Socials"... without them, we wouldn't be able to do as much for you as we do.
Next week we will be at the Angel in Ware.
For the time being, until the weather and light conditions improves more, we not having the 19:30 group rides, so you can meet us at the Angel or join one of the group rides:
- 18:30 at Coreys Mill Sainsburys with Steve
- 18:30 sedate ride at Lytton Way Esso with Cider Bob (Ian is STILL away!!)
- 19:00 at Coreys Mill Sainsburys with Paul
Monday 28th March 2022
Yesterday Steve Vaughan led another of his famous day rides, this week up to Hunstanton. New member Frank joined Steve, along with Bev, Jason, Bernie, Ian and Vernon. It started a little over cast with heavy mist which started to clear by the time they got to Saffron Walden and by Swaffam the sun was shining and heat was building. They had a little wait for breakfast but it was worth it for the freshly cooked food. They took the same route as last week through to Castle Acre ford but found a dry route through this time. Over breakfast they discussed extending the trip so re-routed to Wells-next-the-Sea using rural lanes. Being too early in the season, all the sea food stalls were still closed up so they made do with ice cream before Bev and Jason recreated a scene from the Titanic movie on a pirate ship! They returned to Hunstanton and then routed back via Sandringham and Taylor’s Café before getting back to Stevenage about 16:30, having covered 236 miles.
With the clocks springing forward over the weekend, we had more daylight for our Monday evening group rides. We also reinstigated our staggered start times, which worked fairly well – although there were no takers for the 19:30 slot so Pete Blackburn ended up riding along.
Steve had eleven on his 18:30 ride from Coreys Mill Sainsburys while Cider Bob, leading Ian’s group, had six join him from the new start location of the Lytton Way Esso garage. Paul Purple VFR had another three in his group.
All the groups, except Pete, arrived at the Goat in Codicote by 20:00 so it was still just about light. The weather was perfect and everyone really seemed to enjoy being out.
The pub was heaving. There were about thirty bikes in the car park and the it was a struggle to find somewhere to put helmets. But we all squeezed in and it wasn’t long before piles of food came out. Graham, the Land Lord always looks after us and this week was no exception, with hot dogs, chips, roast potatoes and pizza.
Next week is the Easter Egg auction. Please bring along an egg if you can (you can donate before and drop it at the Chairman’s house if it’s easier) but, more importantly, bring lots of cash to buy lots of eggs – not only will you or anyone in your family with a sweet tooth benefit, but the money raised goes to providing all the free events we put on throughout the year so your support is vital.
As the auction will be starting at 20:00, we won’t be running a 19:30 group ride next week.
We will have our usual “summer” start times of 18:30 at Coreys Mill Sainsburys with Steve and Lytton Way Esso (Ian’s group, being led again by Cider Bob next week) plus a 19:00 start with Paul Purple VFR.
Monday 21st March 2022
Tomorrow is Pete Starr’s funeral. We encourage all members to join the motorcycle escort – please be formed up at Aubries in Walkern, ready to leave at 14:15 for the ride to Harwood Park Crematorium.
Yesterday Steve Vaughan led another of his excellent off road rides. Leading Bob, Jason and Bev, they set off from near Thetford, north to sunny Hunny. It was a sunny day although a little cool in the morning. They trekked through the top half of Thetford and Brandon forests. There were a few trees down but that just added to the fun as they continued out towards Swaffam and had a short stop by a WW2 Q station used as an decoy, near RAF North Pickenham, for the Germans to bomb. After a breakfast stop and a fuel top up, they headed for Castle Acre ford where they stopped for a few moments to view the abbey and then headed off to Soigne woods. Then it was on to Bawdsey and a stop at the abandoned church site of a village which, along with the church, was abandoned and in ruins since at least 1745. There was also a good high view point of the distant Kings Lynn. Not having had enough of the arduous terrain, they continued to Hunstanton along Pedders way and, after tea, doughnuts, ice cream and more fuel, they headed back to the vans… but not before picking up three lost bikers wanting to get home to Kings Lynn. It was a long day, getting back by 19:30, having covered a hundred and thirty eight miles off road.
Steve still has one place left for the bank holiday weekend in Wales at Llanerchindda farm .
Our Monday evening ride was made up of two groups of five. Paul Purple VFR led one group, having come up with a route via Pirton, the A507 and Ashwell to Baldock. Strangeley, Cider Bob had come up with a similar route and led the second group. The two groups headed off separately but soon caught each other up due to the traffic. But, by the time they turned off the B655 towards Pirton, the lead group had made some ground and they didn’t see each other again until they got to the pub.
The destination was the Cock where we were welcomed with lovely food, which was already out by the time the group rides arrived. Lots of members were already there so lots of the food had been munched but there was enough left for all the riders to grab some.
The warmer evening and slightly lighter start encouraged some returning members and we welcomed new member Frank.
This coming Sunday, Steve will be leading a ride to Hunstanton. Leaving Coreys Mill Sainsburys at 8.00 am, they will head off on back roads to Newmarket, a short bit of dual carriage towards Brandon and back onto back roads to Swaffam. First stop at Walkers with second at Pedders Way café, Swaffam, for breakfast. Then on to Castle Acre ,with a brief stop, and on to Bircham windmill and optional tea & loo stop before continuing on to Hunstanton. Return through Sandringham & then Swaffam or Walkers for tea. Expect a fairly leisurely, pillion friendly pace with plenty of tea and rest stops. Paced for the slower riders with nobody getting left behind, they will be back in Stevenage around 4.00 pm
Next week we will be at the Goat in Codicote. The clocks spring forward this coming weekend so the first hour or so of the ride will be in daylight.
With the move to British Summertime, next Monday we plan to reinstigate our 18:30, 19:00 and 19:30 start times.
Steve Vaughan will be leading the 18:30 ride from Coreys Mill Sainsburys.
Ian Harris will be leading the more sedate 18:30 group as he did last year, although he is away for a few weeks so, in the mean time, Cider Bob will lead his group. There is a change to the start location, which will now be the Esso fuel station on Lytton Way.
Paul Purple VRF will be leading the 19:00 group from Coreys Mill Sainsburys and Pete Blackburn will be leading the 19:30 ride.
The week after next, we will be having the Easter Egg auction. It's always an entertaining evening and we try to make lots of money for the Club so please come along and buy lots of chocolate - but if you can, please also bring an egg to auction.
Addendum - 23/03/2022
Yesterday (Tuesday 22nd) was the funeral of our Treasurer, Pete Starr.
While its never nice having a funeral, if a funeral could be good – it was this one. The sun shone down on Aubries in Walkern where Pete had lived with his family for years. Close to fifty motorcyclists congregated and followed the hearse and the family as the cortege made its way out onto the main road.
One of the lead riders took up a position requesting the oncoming traffic to stop and the whole group got out as one.
As the procession made its way to Harwood Park, motorcyclists stopped at each junction and the oncoming traffic were very thoughtful in holding back to allow the group to stay together.
It was an impressive sight which did Pete proud - you can see some of the ride by clicking here.
We are sure he would have appreciated it – his family certainly did, with thanks from Teri, his family and his sister.
Pete's family requested donations to The Great Ormand St Hospital Children's Charity.
Donations can be sent directly to Great Ormand St Hospital by post - 40, Bernard Street, London, WC1N 1 LE;
Cheque payable to Great Ormand St Hospital Children's Charity (GOSHCC).
Or you can donate by visiting www.gosh.org/donate
Monday 14th March 2022
The main news this week is that Pete’s family have requested the Club provide a motorcycle escort for his funeral next week, on Tuesday 22nd March 2022. In his honour, we request as many Members as possible attend please.
Please be formed up at Aubries in Walkern, ready to leave at 14:15 for the ride to Harwood Park Crematorium.
Yesterday, Steve Vaughan led a small group out for a Sunday ride - planning for the Pete Starr memorial ride to St Osyth.
The morning ride was dry and sunny. Their first stop was Finchingfield for a tea and then on to Chappel Viaduct , where they stopped for a quick look around at the WW2 stop line, in case of possible German invasion, with the pill boxes and tank traps under the arches. The Swan pub looks a likely good stopping point for breakfast on the Memorial ride. They then headed to St Osyth, arriving at the coast at 12.30 with breakfast at the cafe by the beach. They reversed the route for the ride back and encountered some predicted drizzle on the way, arriving back in Stevenage around 16:00. The Memorial ride will have the option of returning via a country route or onto the A120 dual carriage for those that want to be back earlier
The Monday Club night gave the false impression of being a mild evening this week but the six who met up for the group ride were led to some fairly chilly countryside by Paul Purple VFR.
After about an hour and twenty minutes they arrived at this week’s destination, the Plume of Feathers in Ickleford, where there were already a load of other bikes in the car park.
No one counted but there must have been thirty or forty of us there because the pub was packed, although still noticeably quieter for not having Starry’s voice penetrating the background chat!
The staff were great, as always, and there was a gorgeous chilly with all sorts of other goodies, including donuts, and there was more than enough to go round.
Chatter carried on until about ten thirty when the last of the stalwarts made their way home.
Next week we will be at the Cock in Baldock.
Monday 7th March 2022
Six riders met up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the group ride which was about an hour long and ended at Stag in Stofold where there were about twenty five other members already in the bar.
The Stag is a great pub and the landlady and staff always make us very welcome. Not only that, the food was excellent and there was plenty for everyone.
Next week we will be at the Plume of Feathers in Ickleford.
If you haven't yet paid your subs, please hunt out the Secretary, Mick Taylor, and hand him a crisp five pound note for the year.
Monday 28th February 2022
A very sad week indeed. Yesterday our Treasurer, Pete Starr, died in a motorcycle collision.
Our thoughts and deepest condolences go out to his family.
You can read a little about him by clicking on this link. Rest in peace Pete.
Pete was always jovial and would not have wanted us to cancel our Monday meeting so we met at the Bucks Head in Little Wymondley.
The staff were absolutely superb and the food was great but there was, as you would expect, a very subdued atmosphere. But it wasn’t long before the chat about Pete and his great character brought smiles and a few respectful chuckles to the meeting. A toast was raised to Pete by our Chairman.
Our Secretary, Mick, is in contact with the family and we will update all our social media channels with any relevant information, such as funeral arrangements and wishes regarding attendance.
This Wednesday we had our first meeting of the new Committee, since the AGM.
A number of issues were discussed but we thought you would be pleased to hear we will be renaming the annual Spring Social the “Pete Starr Memorial Social”. Along with many other things you may not realise Pete did, he was instrumental in introducing the quarterly Socials so it is only right he is remembered for them.
On a date to be determined, probably in April or May, if his Family permits, we will also be running a one off “Pete Starr Memorial Ride” to St Osyth, where he had a holiday caravan.
We also had the uncomfortable task of dealing with a replacement Treasurer. Clearly Pete was irreplaceable but former Treasurer Bob Voss has very kindly offered to step in on a temporary basis until next year’s AGM.
Monday 21st February 2022
This week was the 2022 Annual General Meeting.
Initially there was a group ride planned to the Cromwell Hotel but, although all the ride leaders are hardened motorcyclists that will ride in almost any weather, Storm Eunice and Storm Dennis had left fallen trees all over the place so, with branches being hard to spot in the dark, and with the ride only being very short (as the AGM was planned to start at 20:00) it was decided the group ride would be cancelled. But that didn’t stop several members arriving on their bikes.
The AGM was very well attended, with fifty one coming along to enjoy the galvanising reports and free coffee.
The meeting opened with the Chairman, Tony “Norbert” Brown who immediately got the Secretary, Mick Taylor to read out last year’s minutes (well, actually the 2020 minutes as Covid put pay to last year’s AGM).
This was followed by Pete Starr’s Treasurer's report. Pete works really really hard as the Treasurer and he does an excellent job. That said, every year he tries to spend more than he gets in to reduce the balance, but normally breaks even and this year he made a few hundred pounds profit. As he explained, he likes to make sure members get their money’s worth – and he certainly succeeds.
Next was Norbert’s summary report of what’s happened since the last AGM. You can read his report by clicking here.
The new committee was then voted in. The “Exec” stood for another three years with no objections. As always, there was no rush from anyone to volunteer for the remaining posts on the committee but Pete Blackburn, Dave Chapman and Cider Bob all reluctantly accepted nominations to stand again. Ian Harris declined to rejoin the committee but Steve Vaughan kindly took his space.
With no “AOB”, the meeting ended astonishingly quickly, at about 20:15 but, after paying subs, most members hung around for a while chatting and several went through to the bar, just like on any other Club night.
After many years away, next week we return to the Bucks Head in Little Wymondley.
Monday 14th February 2022
Although Valentine’s Day, over thirty Club members treated this pointless commercial drivel with the contempt it deserves and came along to the Crown at Stotfold for this week’s Monday night meeting.
It was an excellent night, as always at the Crown, with huge amounts of great food and a great atmosphere.
It was also good weather for the time of year but only four riders met for the group ride. Normally Cider Bob or Steve Vaughan would lead, particularly in the absence of Paul Purple VFR but Andy Hale fancied giving it a go so took the group over to Barton Le Clay, up the A6 to the A507 and then into Stotfold. It wasn’t bad for his first go, although he did manage to lose half the group as he left Sainsburys!! But, he waited and the group arrived as one at the pub.
Next week is this year’s AGM, which is at the Cromwell Hotel, Stevenage. We know it’s not a riveting night but we really encourage you to come along. It’s your Club and the Officers of the Committee need to know you are happy with the way it’s being run.
The 2023 committee members will be voted for so if you fancy giving it go, please put yourself forward – new perspectives and ideas are always welcome.
Subs are remaining at only £5. For the sanity of our Treasurer could you please bring it in cash – our Club bank account hasn’t caught up with the concept of online banking!
Please come along and support the Club.
Monday 7th February 2022
It was a relatively quiet Monday night meeting this week - which is often the case straight after the Annual Dinner Dance. You can find the Chairman's report on this year's dinner dance by clicking here.
Five riders met up for the group ride, which was a lovely route led by Paul Purple VFR. Although, quite impressively, he did manage to lose the back marker at the first junction after leaving Sainsburys. But, in fairness, it's hard to see at night so it's really up to each rider to check the rider behind them is in sight at each junction, before moving out of sight. We won't name and shame but you know who you are!
It was great weather for the forty mile ride which the four who stayed together thoroughly enjoyed.
The destination this week was the Hen & chickens in Baldock. Tally, the Land Lady, was as welcoming as always and had put on a great spread. With only about twenty of us, there was plenty of food for seconds and even thirds!
The understandably low turn out didn't dampen the mood and it was a lovely evening with several members staying until closing time.
Next week we are back at the Crown in Stotfold; one of our most popular destinations.
But the week after will be our 2022 AGM at the Crowell Hotel, Stevenage. Please attend if you can - it might be a tad formal and boring but it's your Club and the committee need to know it's being run as you like.
2022 committee members will be elected so if you fancy giving it a go, please put your name forward.
If you would like anything raised at the meeting, please let the Club Secretary, Mick Taylor, know by this coming Monday.
It turns out our blogs are not a new thing but back in the 1960s, they were called a news letter. Click here to see a bit of our history!
Monday 31st January 2022
Another great ride was planned and led by Steve yesterday. Nine riders turned out for a chilly but bright and clear start to the day, meeting up at Corey’s Mill at 09:00. Sunglasses and tinted visors were deployed due to the low sun and the few damp patches were of little concern on his curvy route to Newmarket and on to La Hogue’s. The ride was around 120mile, getting back about 13:45.
Steve has a few more rides planned for this year, some on and some off road. His next road ride is to Hunstanton on 27th March but he, or others, may have some short notice rides in between.
Monday evening stayed dry but still just a little chilly. With dry but salty roads, ten riders weren’t put off by the thought of having to clean their bikes and they left Corey Mill Sainsbury’s, as usual, at 19:00.
Cider Bob led this week but, as typical for this time of year (not knowing the weather or how many will turn up), he hadn’t planned a route in advance. But, he devised one on the spot (although he did say he'd make up the last bit on the way!) and Paul Purple VFR, who could visualise the route, kindly offered to go in the middle in case we got split up. Andy was near the back with his distinctive lights so it was easy to keep the group together. Or at least it was through Hertford and up the B1368 and B1039, until we got to Royston. Cider originally planned to use the A505 to get to Ashwell and then head through Newnham to Junction 9, before turning through Willian. Unfortunately, he changed his mind as the group negotiated the Royston one way system. Thinking the A507 to Baldock would be more fun than the A505, he recip’ed on the one way system and headed down the A10. Paul purple VFR thought Cider was just doing a circuit to let everyone catch up so continued on the original route, waiting in a lay-by just up the road. Martin didn’t notice the bike behind him was no longer there and with the headlights of a couple of cars joining in the mix, Cider thought everyone was there or there abouts. He only realised once the lead split group were on the A10, out of Royston, by which time it was too late to go back. But it is for exactly this sort of occurrence that we like to have sub-leaders like Paul Purple VFR, who just took up the lead of his sub-group, on the original route. Coincidentally (or deliberately as Cider & Paul would have you believe) they met up again at Junction 9 and carried on as a whole group to the Plume of Feathers in Ickleford, arriving about 20:40.
There were loads of Club members already in the pub and the food was already out but, fortunately, there was mountains of Chilly, with plenty to go round. The chips ran out early but everyone who wanted it got some garlic bread. Perfect food for the riders to warm up with.
It was another good night with all sorts of chat, including much talk of this coming Saturday’s Diner Dance.
We shall report on that next week and we are sure there will be lots of chat about whatever goes on during the night there at next week’s Monday Club meeting at the Hen & Chickens in Baldock.
Monday 24th January 2022
We don't suppose anyone actually reads this so just a short one this week... a great night at the Goat in Codicote with five meeting up for the group ride.
On Monday, we will be at the Plume of Feathers in Ickleford.
But before that, on Sunday, Steve will be leading a ride out to Newmarket. Meet at 09:0, Coreys Mill Sainsburys (back about 13:30).
Next Saturday is the Dinner Dance... with most Covid restrictions removed, it's an idea time to get you tickets from Mick.
Monday 17th January 2022
Yesterday a number of Club members braved the weather on two very different rideouts. Ian Harris led a road riding group over to Finchingfield for breakfast while Steve Vaughan organised an off roading day.
Here is Steve's summary of their day negotiating green lanes:
"First time out for Bruno so we started with some easy going routes to build his confidence off road. He seemed to enjoy the it but left us mid-morning at Gilston, near Harlow. Hopefully will be back for more. After the mid-morning break, we headed out to deepest Essex, where they know how to make sloppy mud. A couple of routes were quite tricky with the deep 4x4 ruts full of muddy water, but we all made it through unscathed. The route took us out to Harlow, Sawbridgeworth, Good Easter, Dunmow, Thaxted, past Finchingfield and back to Newport and Buntingford. We started to loose light so we headed back to Stevenage and home by 4.30 pm. we covered 114 miles."
Don't forget to have a look at some of our photos on the Gallery page.
Steve has a few more off road rides planned, including two trips to Wales, as well as some on-road rides. So keep an eye on our blog, Facebook page and Whatsapp group or contact Steve for details to be added to his mailing list.
The weather for the Monday evening ride was just as poor, although five riders met up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys to enjoy(?)/experience the ride. A quick conflab resulted in the A600 being selected as a relatively direct route to the A507 and, ultimately the Cock at Baldock. After a convoy of gritters left the Highways yard, Cider Bob led off but, in his usual way, thought the route was a tad short so headed off south, through Knebworth, to Codicote and up the B656 to Hitchin and the A600. He was OK with his heated gloves but some of the others were a tad chilly after the fifty minute ride.
The pub was heaving with about forty members crammed in all over the place. The Cock is clearly a popular destination and they didn’t disappoint with the food either, providing loads of decent sandwiches, hot sausages and chicken things and a massive tub of chips – just what we wanted.
Unfortunately, the pub had to shut early so we were all out by ten o’clock and making our way home in the cold, wet fog.
Next week we are at the Goat in Codicote.
The Dinner Dance is fast approaching so make sure you’ve got your tickets. See the Secretary, Mick Taylor.
Monday 10th January 2022
Happy New Year.
This Monday was our first meeting of 2022 and, for a dark, chilly and wet winter night, it was a reasonable turnout with four on the group ride and about twenty at the pub.
We met at the Stag in Stotfold, where the bar staff were welcoming and the food was excellent.
It was an enjoyable evening with some members staying until closing time.
Next week we are at the Cock in Baldock.
Don’t forget to get your tickets for the Dinner Dance on 5th February 2022 from the Secretary, Mick Taylor.
Below is the last couple of months of the 2021 blog, still with hyperlinks, before being archived
Monday 14th December 2021
Although there was a bit of drizzle in Stevenage, five riders met up at Sainsburys for the group ride, and they were rewarded with great weather. It was a really mild evening and by the time we got to Graveley, the drizzle had stopped and the roads were dry. Cider Bob led Martin, Bernie, Paul Purple VFR and Steve for about an hour, ending up at this week’s destination; the Crown in Stotfold.
As always, the staff at the Crown were great – very welcoming and put on another excellent spread of food.
The bar was full, with almost thirty members. It was nice welcome Lainey, who’s been a member for a while but hasn’t had the chance to come along before. She brought along her friend, fellow biker and new member Shelly.
It was another really enjoyable evening with lots of chat. It’s good to see the spectre of Covid hasn’t put people off coming along. Lots of us test regularly so we can see members are doing well at keeping themselves sufficiently distanced.
Next week is our last before Christmas. We normally call this a “Noggin & Natter”. None of us below the age of sixty seem to know what this means but, in practice, it means there won’t be any food for our meeting at the Hen & Chickens.
We then have a bit of a break over Christmas, due to the Bank Holidays, with the fist meeting in 2022 being on the 10th January. It was supposed to be at the Vicars Inn but sadly that’s closed so we will now be at the Stag, in Stotfold.
But don’t forget we also have the Dinner Dance fast approaching. For details, click here. Get your tickets from Mick.
All the committee of the Stevenage & District Motorcycle Club wish all our members a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR.
Monday 6th December 2021
This week was our Christmas Social.
Starting about 19:30, the Hen & Chickens was already heaving by the time the group ride of six arrived at about 20:00.
Tally, the Landlady, had put on mountains of great food and the Club subsidised the evening with two free drinks for all members and free food.
There was also a raffle with some excellent prizes.
It was a really good evening, like all of our Socials, with lots of chatter and members staying until closing time.
But we do have two more meetings before Christmas – next week we are at the Crown in Stotfold so you can meet us there or join the group ride from Sainsburys.
Before that, this coming Sunday, 12th December, is the Addenbrookes Toy Run. Several Club members will be going along. Meeting from 8.30 for 10.00 start at the La Pergola restaurant on the A603 at Wimple, the ride will be to Trumpington Park via Cambridge city centre & Addenbrookes and will be escorted by the Police. For more details, have a look at their Facebook page by clicking here.
Monday 29th November 2021
Steve, who used to be the Chairman of the Trail Riders Federation, arranged a group ride off road in Norfolk yesterday. Along with three others, who all took their trail bikes over by van, they spent several hours riding very muddy trails from Walkers Café at Five Ways. There were lots of photos posted on the Whatsapp group which showed it was a great day out.
The weather for the Sunday ride was chilly but dry and sunny. Monday was, however, much colder, with a temperature of about minus three in the morning. Fortunately it warmed up to about one degree for the evening ride. Never-the-less, the temperature seemed to put off most riders and only Steve and Cider Bob turned up at Sainsburys for the group ride. Although salted, the roads were actually quite dry so the ride was enjoyable.
At the pub, members started arriving from about 19:00 with the small group ride arriving about 19:30. It wasn’t long before about twenty five of us were crammed into Goat in Codicote.
There was a nice atmosphere in the pub with lots of chatter going on.
Hot dogs and chips were served up about 20:30 which, although there was loads, was demolished in no time.
Again, with many having an early start, members started to leave from about 21:00 but, as always, some stayed until closing time.
Next week is our Christmas Social. At the Hen and Chickens in Baldock, there will be free food and two free drinks for members. We’ll also have a raffle with decent quality prizes. Please come along to this highly social event and bring your partners.
Monday 22nd November 2021
Cider Bob woke up yesterday morning, having not consumed as much alcohol as he thought he might the night before, so used our Whatsapp group to offer a short notice group ride. Although only Kelvin replied, in fact six others also turned up for an hour or so ride to Dunstable Downs. After a hot beverage, it was a fifty minute ride back to Stevenage where everyone went their separate ways. It was a beautiful day for a ride although just a tad chilly.
For Monday evening’s group ride, it was colder, with one of the bikes indicating a temperature of about 3°. Although cold, the ride was nice and most of the roads were dry; although the gritters were out so by the time we reached the A507, heading to the Hen & Chickens in Baldock, the salt was absorbing moisture and the roads started to get just a little bit greasy.
Even though it was cold, there were six on the group ride, but a lot more went directly to the pub.
This week was the 2021 photographic competition. There were lots of entrants with all sorts of subject matter but the winner was a purple VFR posed in front of a beautiful landscape. It wasn’t particularly anonymous as we believe there is only one “special” purple VFR, belonging to the aptly named Paul Purple VFR.
There was some disagreement over the winning entrant. While Paul’s photo was excellent, some thought the photo of Dougie Lampkin doing a wheelie should have taken top spot. But after much deliberation (well, about 20 seconds!), Kelvin’s photo of Dougie was relegated to second place. Third place was a photo of a shadow in a field by Gordon.
Soon enough the serious business of photograph judging (OK, it wasn’t that serious!) was over and the food was dished up. As always, Tally and the staff at the Hen & Chickens made sure we were well looked after and there was plenty of really nice food to go round.
Unfortunately, all too soon, the evening started to come to an end as those with an early morning start began to wander away, leaving only the stalwarts supping their beer/coke until almost closing time.
Next week we are at the Goat in Codicote. It’s a great village pub that is always very welcoming so please come along to support both the Club and the local pub if you can.
The week after will be the Christmas Social and don’t forget to get your tickets for the 2022 Dinner Dance from Mick Taylor.
Monday 15th November 2021
Steve was out again yesterday with another group ride with about ten members of the Club. After a tour of a few ex RAF bases, they ended up at North Weald airfield for lunch. The weather was a little drizzly and the roads a little greasy but, never-the-less, everyone enjoyed it. Thanks for arranging another great group ride Steve.
Monday, on the other hand, was a lovely dry evening but quite chilly. Only six riders joined Cider Bob, who led a ride over to Hertford, Welwyn Garden City and Hitchin before ending at the Plume of Feathers in Ickleford.
Unfortunately, they were met by only few members at the pub – perhaps because of the weather or perhaps because eleven overpaid Englishmen were kicking a bag of air around a patch of grass… whatever the reason, there was only about sixteen members out being sociable.
While the lack of numbers meant the Club would have loss a little money on the food that had to be paid for, for those that did turn up, it was a fantastic dinner, consisting of a copious amounts of gorgeous chilly on chips with garlic bread. There was loads for everyone with many having seconds and some (Cider Bob) have four portions!
Even though there weren’t many there, it was still a very sociable night and everyone enjoyed it.
Our thanks to the landlord and staff of the for many us so welcome.
Next week is our photographic competition, at the Hen & Chickens, Baldock. If you’ve got any photos you’ve taken this year, bring them along and let someone who knows nothing about photography judge them for you – there’s a posh trophy to be had!
Hopefully you’ll know Saturday 5th February 2022 is our Dinner Dance – obviously it’s a great night but you can find out more by clicking here. The more people come, the better it is and the more money the Club makes (or doesn’t lose!) so please get your tickets from Mick Taylor.
Monday 8th November 2021
Steve’s ride yesterday was another success. Eight riders joined him for a ride around the Chilterns in glorious November weather and some lovely photos were posted on our Whatsapp group. We’ve copied some of these to the our website Gallery page in the “Sunday Rides” album.
The good weather looked like it was going to continue for Monday evening and twelve riders came along for the group rides. We split into three groups of four with Steve, Paul Purple VFR and Cider Bob leading. The rides started in great weather but, unfortunately, light drizzle started about half way round which made it quite hard to see as it wouldn’t clear readily from visors.
But everyone arrived safety at the Stag in Stotfold where there were about thirty or so other members who’d either gone on their bikes or arrived in cars. There was a really social atmosphere and a great buzz. Food was served up about half past eight and even though the queue was long and everyone had fairly full plates, there was plenty to go round and enough for seconds for some.
Another great night.
Don’t forget to get your your 5th February 2022 Dinner Dance tickets from the Club Secretary, Mick Taylor.
Steve will be leading another ride this coming Sunday (Remembrence Sunday). Here is Steve's summary:
Breakfast rIdeout to North Weald,leaving Coreys Mill Sainsburys at 9.00am 14 November. Passing past Ex RAF Sawbridgeworth, Matcham Wood and RAF Hunsdon. Expect to arrive just after 11.00 at North Weald. Will either have breakfast in Wings cafe or the Squadron cafe. Leisurely ride back to be back in Stevenage around 1.00 -1.30. Just 1 tea stop on this ride at North Weald.
Monday 1st November 2021
No one was about to lead a Sunday ride this week although both Paul Purple VFR and Cider Bob were able to be at Sainsburys as leaders for the Monday evening group rides.
We planned to have at least two leaders so anyone who prefers the slower paced ride Ian has typically led could come along while those who prefer a slightly swifter pace were also catered for.
Unfortunately, it seems the former “Bikestop Group” riders aren’t keen on riding in the dark or cold, or perhaps either (it's not everyone's cup of tea!), and none came along for a ride.
However, with two leaders for the eight riders that did come along, they tried a new approach… splitting the group in half with Paul leading the first four, Cider leading the second four but with the intention of staying as one group if that could happen without any hassles. This meant Paul only had to keep an eye on four bikes behind him and Cider did the same for the other four. If they'd have got caught up in traffic, it would have been easy to split in half but, as it turned out, they stayed pretty much together for the great route Paul had planned. It turned out to be a nice night for a ride and everyone enjoyed it at a very comfortable pace.
The Cock in Baldock was the destination, where the group riders found others had made their own way on bikes but numerous members had opted to take advantage of just the social side, turning up in cars. It’s great that members are still coming along now winter is upon us… without the support through the winter months, the Club may not be as successful as it is in the Summer months.
The staff at the Cock were very welcoming and we were treated to a variety of sandwiches, chips and chicken.
Another very successful night with lots of social chat.
Next week we will be back at the Stag in Stotfold. We haven’t been there for a while but Treasurer Pete Starr has been working as hard as ever to keep a wide variety of pubs on the calendar that are happy to welcome us and provide good food. He’s had a lot of success recently and in a couple of weeks, we’ll be back at the Plume of Feathers in Ickleford.
If you can’t wait until next Monday for your next sociable ride, Steve Vaughan will be leading a group this coming Sunday. Here’s the details:
Sunday morning run 7th November - leaving Stevenage Sainsburys Coreys Mill at 9.00am for a 70 mile loop out through Woburn, Wing and Leighton Buzzard, returning past Whipsnade Zoo. Expected time is around 2h 20m plus any stops. Expect to stop at Woburn for a quick tea and a few scenic stops on the way around the route. Should be back before 1.00pm.
Don't forget to add Saturday 5th February 2022 to your diary for our Annual Dinner & Dance at the Cromwell Hotel, Stevenage. We should have had our 60th anniversary Dinner & Dance this year but Covid restrictions put pay to that. So please come along in 2022 for what is always a very enjoyable evening and one where we encourage you to bring along your partner and friends. Tickets are now on sale from the Club Secretary Mick Taylor at £35.00 each. Have a look at the Dinner Dance page of the website for full details.
The website platform is a bit rubbish and slows up horrendously once there is a lot of content (particularly with hyperlinks) on any one page... so we've had to create archive pages for the Blogs. It's a shame because it's nicer if its all in one place, and it will upset any shortcut on other websites or members computers, but unfortunately it can't be helped (unless we spend a lot of money on a better platform!
Click here to be taken to the previous years' blogs.