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.
Mon 7th Sept 2020
This week, Cider Bob was away on a trip but was still able to organise the week’s riding groups. Unfortunately, being immersed in Wales, he forgot what day it was and thought he had sorted everything out, only to find it was Saturday, not Sunday, and several riders hadn’t messaged him yet. Fortunately, he was able to get everyone else that messaged him into appropriate groups.
Steve Vaughan led one group from Sainsburys and Tony Brown led the other. Ian Harris led his usual sedate group from Bikestop and Paul Rousell kindly stepped in to lead a group from Screwfix.
Paul continues to be a great choice for ride leader because not only does he plan and lead great rides, but he also submits really entertaining text on his group’s exploits. Here is what he’s said this week:
"So, this week I was asked to lead the Screwfix group ride. Cider’s official reason for asking me was because Pete Blackburn, the normal leader for this ride was unsure on when he would be able to get there having just started a new job, but I have a sneaking suspicion it was a cunning plan to actually get a write-up done for the ride! The group had anyway decided on two things: 1. We would wait for Pete and 2. We would ride it on Monday night and not Sunday as Cider had originally tried to plan! The group consisted of myself, Nigel, Bruno and Pete. Pete arrived by 7:15 so we pushed off around 7:25 as we gave Pete a few minutes to catch his breath. Turning out onto Gunnels Wood Rd, another sports bike was turning in and indicated they were going to join the group. I didn’t find out until the end of the ride that it was Mark (Fruit) who was supposed to be in Ian’s group on his Harley but his number plate had fallen off so he’d managed to nip home and change on to his R1 and get to Screwfix in time to join us (just). Our route took us out through Titmore Green, Great Wymondley and Willian before heading up towards Stotfold and looping through Arlesey and then turning west on the A507. There seemed to be more traffic about than normal for a Monday evening and the group got split several times by various vehicles, but we managed to keep it together. It was also noticeably darker than two weeks ago and by about 8:15 it was essentially dark. We turned off the A507 at Henlow and headed up to Langford and then out towards the A1, crossing it at Edworth and then heading up to Dunton where we passed another group (Steve’s I believe) heading in the opposite direction so we waved and rode on. We carried on through Eyeworth and picked up the B1042 which I had originally planned to take all the way to the roundabout on the A1198 but my Satnav had other ideas and cut off a bit of my intended route by heading down past Wendy and through Shingay to Bassingbourn, A slightly smaller, more twisty and definitely more bumpy road than I had intended and not ideal in the dark – not sure why I followed the Satnav as I knew where I was and it’s not compulsory but it gets to be a habit. From Bassingbourn we rode over to Ashwell and then cut down to cross the A505 at Slip End, following the road, which initially is very wide and not too twisty, through Redhill and on to Cumberlow Green where we picked up the A507 for a final blast to Baldock. I was following a car on this last section who seemed very keen to stay in front and who really put his foot down once we had passed the more twisty bits, so I let him go. The group arrived at the Baldock services just as some of the others were leaving but there were still a few people there. Around 50 miles covered. Thanks to Mark, Nigel Bruno and Pete for their company and a double thanks to Pete for acting as tail man".
Club Chairman, Tony Brown, gave us this piece regarding his ride:
"Sainsbury group 1 ride left at 7.00 on a nice and warm evening heading out to Knebworth and down the Old North Road towards Welwyn, through Lemsford village on to the B653 to Wheathampstead and on to Batsford turning right on to the B652 to Kimpton, should have turned left after Kimpton but leader missed the turning, however ended up in Codicote, along the B656 towards Hitchin taking a lift turn on the B651 to Whitwell. Turned right in Whitwell
Going all the way along Lilley Bottom Road picking up the Hexton road to Hexton, where else. Turned right at the x road on to the Barton Road to Hitchin. Through Hitchin, Ickleford and Letchworth to Norton picking up the A507 to Baldock Services arriving there about 8.30".
Ian summarised his group's evening with:
"Before we even set off from BikeStop, one of our riders had a few dramas heading up the High Street, first his sunglasses fell off in the road and then his rear light and number plate were hanging dangerously close to his final drive belt, those Harleys must vibrate more than we thought. The unlucky rider (AKA Fruit) had to make his way home to collect his other bike to try and meet a later group. With two riders dropping out, our group of four (plus one pillion) set off just before 7pm on a new route of around 90mins and headed towards Todds Green via Fishers Green then through Redcoats Green and on to the Codicote Road towards Hitchin. We then took the Pirton Road where we took a left at Hexton on some really good lanes and road surfaces up to Lilley and on to Whitwell where the group had a ‘thumbs up’ from a local who seemed pleased that we were adhering to the village 30 speed limit. From Whitwell we re-joined the Codicote Road for a short spell before turning towards Old Knebworth and taking the Hertford Road before skirting Stevenage on the east side on our way to Walkern. It was around now that the darkness was closing in and our route to Baldock was via Halls Green and Church End then through Baldock High Street and arriving at Baldock Services at around 8:30pm where we had a brief chat about future rides. After discussion with the group and due to the dark evenings, our plan for future BikeStop group rides is to be around one hour starting at 7pm and now not finishing at Baldock Services due to the new Covid-19 restrictions".
Unfortuanetly, the Government’s Covid-19 restrictions are tightening again this week. As a result, we will still be having group rides of up to six but we are very sorry to say our ride leaders will be asked not to end up in the same place (Baldock Services has become the recent tradition).
But if you’d like to have a small group ride and perhaps just a chat between yourselves at the end, please message Cider Bob by 14:00ish on Sunday. Although he is away again on yet another motorcycling trip this week, he will endeavour not to get his days muddled up!
Mon 30th Aug 2020
Most of the committee met up this week to keep the cogs of the Club turning. We normally like to give a summary of what was discussed at the meetings but with the continued restrictions, even though we chatted for an hour, we haven’t been able to commit to anything so there’s not much to report.
Although, during the meeting, Ian Harris mentioned that he’s received his IAM National Observer qualification from the Institute of the Motor Industry. This enables him to coach Club members to pass the IAM RoadSmart Advanced Rider Course.
With it being a Bank Holiday this week, there were no Monday evening group rides. But several members got together for ride outs over Sunday and Monday during the day time. These short notice group rides tend to be organised through our Club WhatsApp page so make sure you are on it if you want to be more involved!
Cider Bob isn't about for the next three Mondays but will still organise the group rides so please let him know if you'd like to be included by 14:00ish on the preceding Sunday. Hopefully there should be enough leaders each week but please let him know if you would be prepared / like to plan and lead a route.
Mon 24th August 2020
Disaster for group motorcycling in Stevenage was averted this week when Bike Stop stepped in to oppose Stevenage Borough Council’s Injunction banning any more than one motor vehicle travelling together in the town.
The full story, published by Motorcycle News, can be read by clicking here.
Thank you to all of you that signed the petition but mostly thank you to Bike Stop for getting motorcycles specifically excluded from the injunction.
Hopefully, no more will have to be said on the subject.
Only four groups of six were arranged for this Monday’s group rides. It was probably the weather forecast that put many off and, as it turned out, there were a lot of wet crotches by the end of the night.
“Sainsburys 1” was led by Richard Green, whose smooth riding was commented upon. Hopefully Richard or one of his group will submit a summary of their evening’s ride. If it arrives in our inbox, we will update blog here.
“Sainsburys 2” is almost always led by Steve Vaughan. As we’ve said before, he’s much more one for riding than writing so we don’t get much of a write up describing what they got up to. What we do know if that within their group, they planned to leave early and were away by 19:00. They took an anticlockwise loop over to Safron Waldon, ending up at the Baldock Services for a “no more than thirty in a group” socially distanced chat with the other groups.
Ian Harris, yet again, led the most sedate group, from Bike Stop. Here’s Ian’s input:
“Back to our usual meet at BikeStop, I’d asked the group via WhatsApp if they could arrive a little earlier so we could set off at 19:15. The conditions were cloudy but warm and so far, dry with only one of our planned group held up at work so we set out towards Watton at Stone on time. Another new route this week of around 90mins to take in some countryside and a few good ‘twisties’ we took the lanes towards Bulls Green, through Burnham Green and then on to Tewin (passing Lewis Hamilton’s old family home) before picking up the Hertford Road towards Welwyn. After passing the Herts Police HQ then on to Stanborough, we took the Marford Road towards, and into, Wheathamstead dropping past the Miller & Carter restaurant before heading towards Kimpton. From Kimpton we were treated to some excellent twisty lanes and countryside going through Whitwell and St Paul’s Warden before a short spell on the Codicote Road then turning right at Little Almshoe to take us through Redcoats Green before heading towards Willian via Great Wymondley. From Willian we picked up the A505 towards Baldock where a ‘boy-racer’ thought it was a good idea to try and out-drag the group at the traffic lights although he didn’t seem to understand the limitations of his front wheel drive Corsa and just spun his wheels whilst we set off without any drama. After entering Baldock we picked up the lane to Norton before heading to our destination at Baldock Services ahead of schedule, arriving at 20:40. No other club groups were there and the clouds looked threatening so after a brief chat we went our separate ways”.
The fourth meeting place was Screwfix. Pete Blackburn got a rest again this week as Club Chairman Tony Brown volunteered to take the lead. Nothing is currently know about their exploits but we will update here if we receive anything.
Once again, thanks to all the leaders for taking the time to plan and lead the various groups.
Mon 17th August 2020
It’s been a very interesting week for the motorcyclists of Stevenage this week.
As we mentioned last week, Stevenage Borough Council are attending Court this coming Thursday to instigate an injunction that will stop more than one vehicle travelling together or meeting in the town. You can read the full details by clicking here.
This will, of course, dramatically affect our Club so we have been working, along with Bikestop, to try to have it adjourned and reworded.
There is a petition against the Injunction which we strongly encourage you to sign. Click here to be taken to it.
It has drawn national press coverage in Motorcycle News and they quoted much of the email we sent to the relevant parties. Click here to be taken to the MCN article.
If you want to continue being allowed to ride with others and meet in Stevenage, you really need to get involved.
Back to our Monday night group rides; the weather forecast had been heavy storms so only twenty two of us showed an interest in riding.
But, yet again, an unsubstantiated deity, mother nature or plain old luck (if any of those are what you believe in) intervened and there was no rain for any of the four riding groups.
Because the rain had the potential to put off more riders, all four groups were assigned to meet at Coreys Mill Sainsburys, however, each was directed to one of the four “corners” of the car park. That way, if any one group turned out to be significantly under represented, we could mix and match to create groups of six, making sure we still complied with the Covid-19 guidelines (note; the law is thirty but, as a responsible Club, we are still making every effort to stick to the guidelines).
Ian Harris, leading the most sedate group, from the barber’s hut in the car park, was first away as all his group had arrived early. He had chosen a sensible bike for the weather, being on his very shiny CRF250. Ian has been particularly efficient at getting his summary to us this week:
"Following a day of torrential showers and occasional thunder storms, tonight’s route of around 41 miles was chosen to be rain friendly and to try and avoid roads that could potentially be flooded. All groups met separately at Corey’s Mill Sainsburys to give flexibility in case many riders or a ride leader decided not to turn up due to the conditions. That said, our group only had one rider not turn up and we were able to set off slightly early on our route.
We headed out to Walkern, taking the turn towards Watton at Stone, passing through the village before joining the A119 to Hertford where an ambitious youth tried to join our group on his motorised push-bike at the traffic lights but just got in the way as we were pulling off. From Hertford we headed through Bengeo and High Cross then on to Colliers End then up to the A10, only this time we crossed the A10 to take in the High Street in north Standon and headed into Puckeridge village. Once through Hay Street & Dassels, we turned off into Hare Street and made our way to Buntingford before joining the A507 back to Baldock and the first time we had done that whole stretch of the A507 on our Monday ‘lockdown’ rides.
Arriving in Baldock High Street I saw we were running ahead of plan so added a small detour out to the Norton Road before heading to Baldock Services where we met by our illustrious Club Secretary, Mick Taylor. After a brief chat we all decided to get home as the rain was coming in.
Apart from the odd damp patch our ride route was free from rain and with the roads mostly dried out we were able to push on at a reasonable pace, I’m pretty sure we all caught a shower on the way home though".
Next away was Paul Purple VFR. His group was the most swift this week and they met at the recycling bins (it was just a land mark so no jokes at their expense!!). Paul Purple VFR has taken to submitting very thorough and entertaining write-ups so we’ll leave the rest to him:
"This week, due to uncertain weather, we were instructed to all meet at Sainsbury’s albeit in separate corners of the car park. For some reason my group were assigned to the (recycling) bins – not sure what that was supposed to imply! The group consisted of Bruno, Phil Mayo, Big Geoff, Richard Green and myself. Richard even turned up early, arriving at 7:20pm. He was still last to arrive, but it was a fine effort. As everybody was present and correct, we pushed off early departing the bins at around 7:25pm. The threat of rain was an issue this week and I don’t exactly have a great track record on that front. Richard, who had been on the receiving end of one of my excursions in the rain had wisely packed his waterproofs and informed me that he would be stopping to don them if it started. This time I had taken the weather into account and having done some research, the plan was to head north west-ish (or was that wet-ish!) towards Bedford before heading out towards Cambridge where the weather was supposed to be clearer. There was however some rain forecast for the far side of Bedford. We headed out to Willian via Great Wymondley before skirting round the west of Letchworth up to the 507, followed by a quick blast to Henlow. From there we headed through Clifton, skirting Southhill and then heading towards Cardington. The sky ahead was ominously dark whilst a glance to my right towards Cambridge, showed much clearer skies but also a very large Rainbow – definitely raining somewhere over there. The road to Cardington is quite good but we managed to get stuck behind a white van that decided to drive in the middle of the road making it difficult to pass. The road eventually widened as we approached Cardington which allowed us to all get safely past. Turning left at Cople we hit the A603 which we briefly took to Willington where we forked left towards Great Barford bridge. This is a really nice road to ride – mostly open and with some sweeping bends. At the Lights by the bridge we turned right and rode through Blunham and up to the A1 crossing via the bridge south of Tempsford and then taking the road to Everton. This road has a level crossing over the East coast mainline and the barriers were down, so we had a brief unplanned stop waiting for a train to pass. We headed through Everton, waving to the Thornton Arms as we passed by, then took a left and skirted round the North of Gamlingay and on to the B1040 to Waresley. At Waresley we turned off and took the road to Great Gransden. Approaching Great Gransden we dipped under some trees and I realised that there was a lady walking towards us in the road. She was difficult to spot in the semi-dark but fortunately we were riding in the middle of the lane so no issues, but we did slow down as we passed. At Great Gransden we turned right onto the B1046 which was a nice road to ride, following it all the way out to the A1198 where we turned right. The A1198 is an odd road. Being an A road, it is quite wide and at this point, almost dead straight. There was very little (almost no) traffic at all and most of the section we rode was in open countryside, but it was limited to 50mph all the way which is therefore the speed we rode at. Ironically however, you finally hit national speed limit 400 yards before the roundabout with the A603 and B1042, so you have to slow down anyway – what’s that about? From here we took the B1042 down to Tadlow before carrying on via the Eyeworth Road to Dunton. The B1042 is a lovely road which I haven’t ridden for absolutely ages, so I was somewhat disappointed to discover it is now limited to 50mph for most of its length. We also got stuck behind a camper van which would have been easy to pass but as it was driving at the limit, we simply stayed behind it. From Dunton we headed down to the A1 for a final quick blast to Baldock. 59 miles covered in total, deliberately shorter than last week and using larger roads towards the end as it is now getting ever darker in the evenings! My thanks to all for the company and of course to Big Geoff for being tail-man charley."
Club Chairman, Tony Brown, led the next group away. With a medium pace, they were held up just a smidgen by one of the riders who’d got confused with which group he was in but, in no time, they were off. This is what Tony had to say:
"Having by customery starting point at the Chequers at Bragbury End being made redundant I was honoured to be upgraded to one of the Sainsbury starting points which worked out well.After a day of heavy rain it was nice to have a dry evening, my group were all ready for the off except for Bernie who was nattering elsewhere. All went well we all got out of Sainsbury ok got to the first roundabout 100 yards up the road 2 went the right way one went his own way the other two who knows where. After a hasty round up we got things sorted out and were off in a group. Knowing what the condition of the roads could be like after a days rain tried to avoid the lanes and stuck to the A and B roads, although there was gravel on the roads in some places.Heading out of Gravely we went on to Willian, Hitchin and down the lovely Willbury Hills road and forward to Arlesey, where we picked up the A507 for a short blast to the next roundabout turning right on to the B659 through Henlow to Langford,turning right in Langford down the Edworth road over the A1M ond on to the Sutton road. Just to make sure everyone was paying attention I turned right down a farmers drive there were. Back on the road again to Dunton and Eyeworth turning right on to the Potton Road to Guilden Morden on to Ashwell and Steeple Morden turning right to Littlington and down to the A505 junction. Headed towards Royston where we turned off by the Heath and up the lane to Therfield, Reed End coming out at the A10 junction by the Silver Ball Cafe.From here it was all plain sailing down the A10 to Buntingford right on to the A507 to Cottered and Baldock finishing up at Baldock services about 9.10pm and approximately 55 miles later.Thanks to my team Bernie, Kev, Martin and Pete."
Finally, after waiting until 19:35 for a rider who didn’t turn up but, unfortunately also didn’t message to say he wasn’t coming, Steve Vaughan led the final group away. Pete Starr had highlighted the amount of gravel, mud, huge flooding and general crap over many of the local country roads so Cider Bob had mentioned this to some of the group riders, suggesting they stay more to the main roads. Unfortunately, Steve, who used to be Chairman of the Trail Riders Federation so is used to riding in really naff conditions, decided to lead his group on his Transalp straight into some of the worst hit roads around. After bimbling through Kings Walden at not much more than 20 mph, one of his group quite understandably decided it wasn’t the right place for his previously very immaculate Triumph RS and declined riding through a small lake on the basis the water was just being thrown off his back wheel, straight down his back-side.
Cider Bob had stayed as a “floater” (yes, we can imagine the comments to follow!!) this week so he could pick up any group if a leader dropped out. But he had tacked onto the back of Steve’s group so he volunteered to lead a splinter group of two on some more suitable roads.
Steve carried on with his intrepid riders, through the roads which might almost as well have been green lanes while Cider Bob led on some lovely B roads into Bedfordshire, ending up on the A507 at Steppingley before heading back to Hitchin and then on to Baldock just as it got dark.
Unexpectedly, Steve and his gang also ended at Baldock where, needless to say, there was some teasing of the splinter group but with some good retorts including “I didn’t have my fishing rod”.
The roads stayed dry for all except Steve’s group and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, which is always the aim.
While about twenty of us turned up at Baldock for some socially distanced outdoor chatting, many left soon after and some were faced with a few spots of rain for their ride home but it seems everyone was dry by the time they put their motorcycles to bed.
This Thursday is a big day for us. If the High Court grant the Injunction, apparently relieving the Police of their responsibility to enforce laws that already exist, then we may be forced to meet elsewhere. It’s a shame that after sixty years of responsible motorcycling history without so much as a request to “quieten down a bit”, the local authorities may banish us from the town because of the irresponsible and dangerous actions of a minority and the failure of the local Police to resource enforcement of that minority.
Keep an eye on Facebook and our Whatsapp group for updates... next week we may be meeting elsewhere!
Mon 10th August 2020
It is with great sadness this week that we report the death of a founding member of the S&DMCC, Arnold Hoiles.
Club Vice President Gordon Hallett has given us the following tribute:
Arnold Hoiles 1942-2020
Arnold was one of the original members of our club, being at that very first meeting in May 1961, as well as being a Vice President for many years.
A lifelong motorcyclist, he even took Christine, his new wife, to the IOM for their honeymoon in 1964, on the back of his BSA Super Rocket.
His passion for photography & bikes led him to take the photos of members & their offspring’s’ marriages, as well as shots of Tony Brown & his dad George on their record attempts, at venues across the country.
I spent many a ride with him & his great mate Jim Still, another no longer with us, and the pair of them were true gents.
Arnold road to the Classic TT’s a few times on his beloved air-head BMWs, but this last few months saw him battle with dementia, as well as this horrible Covid19, but I and many of the older members will remember him as simply “The Charmer” - the word he had sign-written on the fairing of his R100 S.
Our thoughts go out to his wife of 56years, his son & twin grandsons.
In other news, it seems Stevenage Borough Council are going to use a sledge hammer to “crack a nut” by getting a Crown Court injunction to stop vehicle meets in Stevenage.
It seems the lack of enforcement of laws that already exist by the Police and the Council may result in our Club rideouts being banned.
Click here for a link to Council article:
We have submitted our objection via email (to the Council, local Councillors, Police, Solicitors, Crown Court and our local MP, Stephen McPartland) which you can read by clicking here. We don’t think this will have any effect (unless the judge is a vehicle enthusiast and happens to live in Stevenage!) so you may want to get involved in an attempt to stop the implementation of these draconian measures.
We also strongly encourage you to add your name to this petition in an attempt to stop this injunction application:
On a happier note, our Covid-19 restricted six rider group rides went ahead again this week from six locations around the town. Since we started organising the Monday rides in this way, the feedback has been really good and it has been the same this week.
Historically, the “webmaster” has "blogged" a few words each week on what’s gone on but, of late, a few of the ride leaders have kindly submitted some text.
Now retired, Ian Harris, who led his group from Bikestop, is starting to get into providing some entertaining detail. Here is what Ian had to say:
"With the prospect of a balmy evening ahead, most of the BikeStop group met on time with one potential new member and one late arrival picking us up in the High Street as we were setting off on time although that didn’t give him the chance to show his creative leg-wear to the group before leaving. I had planned a repeat of a popular route we did back in Week 4, a 90 min loop of approximately 45 miles to finish at Baldock so heading east this week, the sun was a little hazy but not too bad as we made our way to the Codicote Road via Todds Green. At St. Ibbs, whilst waiting to join the Codicote road I saw one of our group waving his arms so we all stopped to find out what the issue was. It appears our distressed rider’s machine had an unexpected fuel deficiency (good job I carry an extra litre for my miniscule tank on the CRF). Once we were away again, we headed towards Hitchin and picked up the road to Barton-le-Clay then on to Harlington on a few stretches of the devil’s unswept surface dressing before reaching Harlington and heading to Flitwick. Conscious of the rider that was only running on fumes, we stopped just before Ampthill to allow him to fill up before our second stint on the best part of the route. Now heading away from the sun, we made our way to Maulden then out to Haynes and Clifton via Ireland on some lovely fast lanes before passing Langford heading to Edworth. Now on the last leg we made our way towards Baldock via Hinxworth, Ashwell then through Newnham to arrive at our destination just after 9pm where a few of our ride groups had already gathered for a socially distanced outdoor natter before dark".
Paul Purple VFR, was happy to lead a group again this week, starting from Raceways Motorcycles. He is proving to be a novelist in the making and has provided us with this amusing description:
"Redemption! Or at least that’s what it felt like as this week I was asked to lead the ride out from Raceways. Maybe it was because Nigel, one of the two first timers I managed to blind and soak two weeks previously, actually came back this week having finally dried his kit out. The five others were Tom, Pete B, Nigel, Bruno and Richard Green. As is now traditional, Richard turned up last, but he was on time, in fact a couple of minutes early even! Having learnt from the master, the general plan was to head east albeit we initially headed out west through Titmore Green to pick up the B656 Codicote road and then head SE towards Codicote. We managed to pull out on the B656 behind a tractor, a move that was repeated more than once throughout the ride but we did get past on the straight at Rush Green before promptly catching up with another tractor at Langley. We continued on to Codicote and then Welwyn with us all managing to pass the second tractor by Codicote. From there we took the B1000 towards Hertford which, once you get through all the restrictions through Digswell, is a good, open road with some nice bends. There were some cars that we passed on the way before slowing as we reached Sele Farm where we turned right and headed down through Hertingfordbury to the B158, slowing right down to creep past a Lady who was leading a horse. We then took the B158 into Hertford and then the A414 up to the A10 roundabout followed by a quick blast down the B5102. This is another nice road albeit with a car on it which all but Richard and Bruno managed to pass before we reached the bends. No matter, the plan was to go through Stanstead Abbotts so the car splitting the group would most likely turn off when we got to the next Roundabout – but it didn’t. OK, after Stanstead Abbotts we were turning off on the B180 towards Hadham so we can lose it there. Nope it turned off with us. Also a sign said the road ahead was closed! Now I knew that the road between Much and Little Hadham was closed but that was literally 6.5 miles further along so maybe something else is closed thought I. Oh well no choice lets go see! We followed the B180 on through Hunsdon, finally passing the car and reached Widford where we joined the B1004 – so no closure on the B180 then! At strategic places however, there were repeated warnings that the road ahead was closed, each more ominous than the last! This is starting to feel like Gandalf on the Bridge of Khazad-dum thought I - “You shall not pass” (apologies for another Lord of the Rings Reference!). On then to Hadham Cross and a growing feeling of confidence that the signs were about the known road closure, before passing a final dire warning, which blocked half the road, and then turning off on the road to Standon – free and clear. At one point along this next road, which was national limit, quite tight and bendy in places, a Hare shot across the road in front of me and then proceeded to race up the field alongside us. He was going faster than we were! From Standon we headed through Puckeridge and then up the B1368 which is one of my favourite roads. There are a number of restrictions up until Hare Street but after that there are some good sections to Barkway and then Barley which are open and sweeping and which allowed us to stretch our legs. From Barley we took the B1039 to Royston where Pete, by prior arrangement peeled off and headed direct to Baldock whilst the remaining five headed up the A1198 through Kneesworth before finally turning left through Wendy and Steeple Morden and on towards Ashwell pulling out on the Ashwell road behind another large tractor. From Ashwell we took the Bygrave road to Baldock. These last roads are good but it was now sadly getting dark which inevitably spoils some of the fun. 68 miles covered – maybe just a little too long for the available light. Thanks to Bruno in his Pink Hi-Viz for acting as Tail Man Charley".
Our Chairman led a smaller group from what has become his customary start point, the Chequers in Bragbury End. He was scheduled to have five in his group but two bombed out as they thought it was just too hot to get togged up in motorcycling gear. Tony provided us with this summary of his route:
"Myself, Bob Voss and Pete Star were the only three on the Chequers ride out heading for Walkern then on to Buntingford, where we took the lovely B1038 road to Newport. On leaving Newport we picked up the B1039 towards Gt.Chiswell and on to Royston. Short ride down the A505 turned off to Littlington through to Steeple Morden Ashwell and on to Baldock".
Not the extensive literary extravaganza that Paul Purple VFR provided but it could give you an idea for a rideout of your own some time.
Pete Blackburn led his group of six from Screwfix and Steve Vaughan led his group of six from Sainsburys. Unfortunately, neither enjoy the challenge of writing something for the blog that people might possibly enjoy reading so the final summary comes from Cider Bob who led his group of six from a different part of Coreys Mill Sainsburys...
"It was a very warm evening but my group of six all arrived on time or before, appropriately dressed for the ride ahead. I had added my planned route to our "Sainsburys 1" Whatsapp group so everyone had a fair idea where we were headed. Following me, Andrea tucked in behind on her beloved Honda CBR650 and experienced rider, but fairly new to the S&DMCC Club, Frank slotted in behind her on his huge BMW GS. We welcomed two more new riders to the Club this week; Kev was riding a lovely Harley (yes, I really did say that!!) Sportster, which is clearly a well used, all year round bike and not the usual gleaming chrome example we tend to expect of a HD. Behind him, Martin was on his very nice Triumph RS. Now retired, Martin has just returned to motorcycling after many years but he's clearly got into the swing of it very quickly as his riding was very nice. Bernie followed on his XSR and, bringing up the rear, it was great to have Alan Perry back with us, who this week treated himself to a KTM 790 (plainly he's a very good plumber!!). We all got out of Sainsburys together and, after being split up slightly as we bimbled through Stevenage, we were all together as we headed out the other side on the A602. In fact, as my group this week was completely different to last week, I decided to do almost the same route as I enjoyed it so much. Anchor lane was as fun as ever and, in no time, we were at the Berwick Ford. Andrea had been a little apprehensive about this as its sometimes quite deep and can be very slippery. But I took a swan neck route to keep the bike upright as we entered and she followed my lead, fording with no bother at all. We headed down to Much Hadham and over to Stortford (as the road to Little Hadham was still shut). Back to the Little Hadham lights and then right through Stocking Pelham and on to Clavering. We returned to Hertfordshire via the B1038 and ended up at Baldock via the universally appreciated A507, just as it started to get dark. Everyone seemed to enjoyed the ride and our new members confirmed they'd be back next week".
Same again next week if those that wield supreme executive power permit.
Mon 3rd August 2020
Yet again, the weather was almost perfect for riding this week, although it's beginning to get dark towards the end for the groups doing longer rides.
Our volunteer ride leaders were Cider Bob and Steve Vaughan from Sainsburys, Ian Harris from Bikestop, Pete Blackburn from Screwfix and the Club Chairman, Tony Brown, from Chequers.
As we try to each week, we mixed up the riders in each group a little bit and the feedback we are getting is that riders are getting to know members they hadn’t really talked to before.
It’s been suggested we keep some sort of smaller group riding format once the Covid restrictions have ended and we can get back to pubs. We are very keen to hear your views so please let us know via any of our social media, including email, Facebook or Whatsapp… or just come and have a chat to any of the Committee.
As for this week, although Cider Bob led Sainsburys 1, Paul Purple VFR, who is really getting his literary juices flowing, volunteered to write up this week’s ride. Here’s his very entertaining description (for which Cider Bob is very grateful for the kind words… and has said "the cheque is in the post"!!):
Last week I led a group of four riders, two of whom were first timers, on an epic adventure involving damp gravelly lanes, blinding sun, and biblical downpours. Neither of the first timers came back this week – hopefully only because their riding kit is still drying out. Retribution for this inappropriate induction was swift and this week I was moved to Cider’s group and made to write up the ride as punishment. Cider’s plan was brilliant – head east and avoid the blinding sun, so our group of six set off bang on time. Cider headed across the car park, Big Geoff as designated tail man waited patiently, whilst me, Tone, Carlos and Bruno looked awkwardly at each other. This won’t do I thought so I followed Cider as number two and the rest fell in behind. Cider had previously provided route details, which I had dutifully programmed into my SatNav and the plan was to head out on the A602 towards Watton. So, we turned right out of Sainsbury’s and Headed into town. At the second roundabout Cider continued straight on towards the Old Town. Now this is quite a sensible route and one which my SatNav would personally have preferred, but it wasn’t the route that Cider had provided. Consequently, I had added a waypoint on Gunnels Wood Road to force it down the pre-supplied route and I now had this woman shouting in my ear, demanding that I “turn around when possible”. This is just like driving in the car with the wife I thought! We proceeded through town and then headed out on the 602 which is restricted most of the way to Watton. We had a brief turn of speed on the bypass but then came back down to 30 due to roadworks. Now the 602 from Watton to Tonwell is a good road and normally national speed limit. The road works however meant a 30mph limit was imposed all the way to Tonwell despite there being no road workers present at that time of an evening and no narrowing of the road. We are however a responsible bunch and we stuck rigidly to the limit – after all we do have the good name of the club to protect. I glanced back and saw a long line of vehicles driving right up Big Geoff’s bottom and it occurred to me that the passengers of those vehicles were also thinking up some “good names” for us. Finally, we were able to get up to speed on the rather excellent Anchor Lane that takes you from the 602 to Wades Mill and then we headed up the old A10, turning off towards Barwick Ford. If you have never been there then this is a pleasant spot and a genuine ford, not one of those dried up river crossings that you often find. It’s a slab of concrete, covered in green slime and at least 4 inches of flowing river water – a good test for the group. Keep it straight and steady on the throttle and you’ll be just fine. All made it across without difficulty. Cider now decided to do another test. He had brand new rubber on his front wheel which he had just washed in a slime ridden ford and he had a nice tight and twisty national speed limit road ahead – why not up the pace? What could possibly go wrong? Off he shot. Well it turns out that if you ride silky smoothly, prudently use all the road to soften the bends, reduce the lean and avoid excessive braking, then the answer is “not a lot”. We then headed through Much Hadham and took a detour out towards Bishop’s Stortford and back down the A120 to Little Hadham as the direct road from Much Hadham is currently closed. Fortunately, Cider had covered this in his pre-supplied route so the lady in my ear demurely concurred. Then followed some nice national speed limit roads, punctuated by the villages of Stocking Pelham and Berden, before joining the B1038 at Wickham Bonhunt which we took to Newport. We then headed north on the B1383 which is a very open road but restricted to 50 for much of its length, before finally turning west along the B1039 at Wenden’s Ambo. This is a great road and one often used on club ride-outs. There are some nice twisty bits and other bits where you have a clear view down the road ahead. We were now heading into the sun but by this time it was very low and not a problem – nice one Cider. At Barley we took the B1368 south through Barkway and on to Hare Street. This is another very good road and more open than the B1039 – a real pleasure to ride. At Hare Street we turned on to the B1038 towards Buntingford. Now this is yet another good road which has a sharp right followed immediately by a sharp left not far out of Hare Street. Now I happen to know that some road planning officer has cunningly decided to put a whacking great manhole in the middle of the left hand side of the road on the second bend, so I made sure to miss this as we rounded the corner. Feeling pleased I approached the next bend with a little more “gusto” and was “rewarded” with a rear end twitch. As I came to the next bend, toping the hill, I realised how Laurence of Arabia (also a biker!) must have felt as a wide vista of rolling dunes came into view with the sun setting majestically over them…… OK I might be exaggerating a little here but I swear that was a significant patch of sand in the middle of the road. Cider deftly steered round it. It was effortless, mesmerising even, or at least that’s my excuse as I hit it and had a “moment” – that feeling you get in the pit of your underpants when your bike unilaterally decides that the patch of tarmac 2ft immediately to the right (or left) of where it currently resides looks so much nicer and decides to emigrate there without further notice. Just down the road, there were some roadworks and the traffic lights were red which gave us a chance to pull up and make sure everyone else had “crossed the dessert” in one piece. Tone, who was riding behind me pulled up alongside gesticulating wildly – he’d also had a “moment”. A quick poll at the end of the ride revealed that pretty much everyone else had “played in the sand” as well. From there it was on through Buntingford and up to the A10 where Cider shot across the roundabout onto the 507 whilst I, and therefore everyone else, stopped to let a car go past southbound on the A10. At the same time another car turned on to the 507 behind Cider so having crossed the roundabout, myself and Tone just managed to get past the car before the bends and we set off after Cider who was now out of sight. We caught up with Cider on the brow of a Hill. He was braking moderately hard (for Cider). Why was that I wondered? Oh, that would be the tractor and trailer that was turning across our path just over the brow – good spot Cider. We then swept on to Cottered where we slowed right down to let some of the others, who had been impeded by the car, catch up. Then it was just a case of a run down the 507 to Buntingford. This is another familiar and favourite road which gave me time to reflect on the ride. I’d personally felt very ragged in places but following Cider is a lesson in itself and I highly recommend it. Tone also commented similarly on What’s App after the ride. So, you can imagine my surprise when after pulling up at the Baldock Services Cider walked up and apologised for being off his game this evening – I’m sorry but that’s just showing off! 63 miles covered, a really well-matched group, great roads and excellent “sun management”. Well done Cider and thanks to Geoff for bringing up the rear.
Ian Harris’ summary is less extensive but, no-the-less, informative:
With another fine evening forecasted, it was perfect for a ride around the lanes of Hertfordshire. A full group of 6 riders met at BikeStop where Chris G. surprised us again with his choice of legwear sporting some homemade zoo animal print trousers and Gary turned up on his brand spanking new Royal Enfield Himalayan (411cc Single) which would suit the twisty route I had planned. To avoid the blinding sun of last week, we set off east towards Cromer via Walkern before taking the turn to Ardeley, then some great lanes to Wood End and Great Munden. Next village was Nasty (but nice) before heading towards Cherry Green and Westmill then on to Aspenden and a quick view of Buntingford High Street before turning off towards Wyddial.
After a short stint on the Barkway road we started our return leg heading towards Buckland (which made Mr Rogers feel at home) before heading to Wallington via Sandon and Roe Green before making our way towards Baldock. After picking up the old Royston Road and a bit of the A507 we all arrived safely and happy at Baldock where we were soon joined by another group but maintaining our social distancing.
Tony Brown said:
Five of us headed out on our ride out this evening, heading along the A602 to Watton then the A119 to Hertford.From Hertford we proceeded down the lovely B158 all th way to Essendon,from there we picked the old Great North Road through Hatfield and W.G.C on to the B656 through Codicote till we came to Little Armshoe. Went down to Little Wymondly, on to Great Wymondly and onwards towards William. We then went on to Hitchin and a blast down Wilblbury Hills,through to Letchworth, Stotfold and on to Baldock, a round trip of 50 miles. On our arrival at the services we were greeted by a happy smiling Mr Gary Jones.
If we get an input from Steve or Pete, we will post it immediately, if not sooner.
Thanks to all the ride leaders for planning and leading each week and thank you to those who submit some text (particularly Paul's very lighthearted & entertaining review) for the website.
There’s still no reductions in restriction for the foreseeable future so same again next week… please let Cider Bob know if you’d like to join in the fun by Sunday lunch time.
Mon 27th July 2020
During Monday morning and afternoon, the rain was heavy and, with the forecast, we were down to “only” four full groups, making up twenty four riders.
But those that didn’t want to get wet should have had faith in Mother Nature who, once again, cleared the sky for beautiful sunshine by 19:30 as the rides got under way from their respective starting locations.
Most were home having had a great ride but, for the more adventurous, who like to go a bit further on a Monday evening, Mother Nature changed her mind and there were a few wet crotches by the end of the night.
Cider Bob was working so Paul Purple VFR led “Sainsburys 1”. Steve Vaughan was back this week after what looked like a fantastic motorcycling holiday around the north of England so he was there to lead “Sainsburys 2”. Pete Blackburn led what has become his customary Screwfix group while Ian Harris, as always, led the most sedate group from Bikestop. A fifth group had been planned but the “Chequers” group came to a join decision to avoid the rain… an early decision that meant they missed the sunshine!
Here is what some of our rider leaders had to say...
Paul Purple VFR has given this absolutely superb summary:
“Well that turned out to be a tad more challenging than I had anticipated! The forecast had been for grey clouds and a band of rain passing through by 5pm followed by clearer skies. Right on cue the rain stopped around 5pm and by 7:30pm at Sainsburys, it was sunny with very few clouds and drying roads. Great I thought – then the challenges started. First off Cider, our tireless and talented organiser, had obviously decided to test the communication skills of some of his group leaders with a cunning ruse. He put me in both of the WhatsApp groups for Coreys Mill and had put Steve Vaughn, the other leader, in neither! Consequently Steve received none of the updates to his group, but I did – would we talk to each other? Steve was heading out at 7:30pm with what he believed to be his group of four other riders when I got an update from Richard Green saying he was running late. I managed to flag down a confused Steve, who had no idea Richard was even in his group and after a quick discussion we decided that he would head off and I would wait for Richard as my group was already three down (all of whom had let me know in good time – thank you!) Thus it was about 7:37pm when myself and two first timers, Nigel and Rob headed out with Richard as tail man. We initially headed south west, picking up the B651 through Whitwell and Kimpton and on to Wheathampstead. These are good roads but not overly wide and reasonably sheltered so they were still quite wet. When you couple this with gravel which had been washed on to the road in Saturday’s deluge, progress was “steady” rather than “thrilling”. Another factor was the slowly sinking sun (curse that clear-ish blue sky) but more of that later. We took a right at Nomansland Common and proceeded via Harpendon on to Redbourn. From here we headed out via Gaddesden Lane and then Gaddesden Row towards Dunstable where we planned to stop. We were now heading west, the Sun had sunk lower and was blinding in places, even if you did have a tinted visor and/or sunglasses. There were also sections where you were suddenly plunged under arches of trees and those same visors/sunglasses were now way too dark. What we need I thought, are some more clouds to block the low sun – boy did I regret that later! Gaddesden Row is a long, picturesque and fairly straight road that is unfortunately limited to 40mph for much of it’s length however that was not a problem as getting up to 40mph was proving difficult given the previously described optical challenges. It was therefore with some relief that, towards the end, the sun finally sank below some clouds and we could see. However, as we climbed up to the top of Dunstable Down, we were met with a wide vista and a clear view of those clouds, which were dark, dumping a significant amount of water on Aylesbury and heading our way – Damn! None the less we stopped as planned and had a chat, but as rain was obviously getting closer, we thought we should head off. The next section was the most enjoyable. The roads were now open and dry, and although there were speed restrictions all the way through Totternhoe and Lower End, we then had a brief section on the A505 and A5 before turning off on the wonderful B5120 towards Toddington. Finally we were able to get a bit of pace and get those bikes leaning over. But as we reached Toddington, the skies rapidly darkened with the sort of clouds that would make a resident of Mordor feel right at home. Thus it was, as we crossed the M1, Sauron let loose and skies opened (apologies for the literary references but Lord of the Rings is my favourite book). So we headed back to Barton-le-Clay and turned left through the high street before taking the road towards Shillington. This is another really good road when the conditions are right but as they weren’t, our progress was back to being “steady”. We then headed towards Meppershall joining the A507 at the Airman’s roundabout leading to a final moderate blast to the A1M where Richard, ever the optimist, headed off to the services on the off-chance that some of the other club members might have decided to stand around in the car park in the pouring rain for a chat! Myself, Rob and Nigel headed off down the A1 and bolted for home. So 56 miles covered (Corey’s Mill – Baldock) and not the easiest of club rides but it does improve your skills. My thanks as always to my tail man charley, Richard. Also a warm welcome to Rob and Nigel. Do come again – it’s not usually this grim!”
He tends to tell us his route and let us know if anything particularly interesting happens but doesn’t tend to write much so we don’t have anything from him this week.
Pete Blackburn :
We waited patiently with baited breath for Pete's input and our Screwfix leader came up with... "Ok so team screwfix set off via Hitchin towards Barton le clay then left towards Lilly on to codecote,Digswell then on to Hertford. Through Bengeo then wadesmill up through braughing then though Reed and Therfield through the twists on to the A505 up to Baldock. 61 miles in total enjoyed by all"
“With rain throughout the day and forecast of showers in the evening, a few of our group dropped out so we were down to 5 riders, sadly one was a breakdown just 10 mins from our meeting point at BikeStop where one of our riders gave us all a laugh riding in his homemade ‘teddy bear’ trousers. This week’s route was planned with the conditions in mind for a 90min (40 mile) run initially heading out to Todds Green before joining the Codicote Road towards Hitchin where one of our group decided the damp conditions were not suiting his Harley chopper, so he dropped out. We then headed to Barton-le-Clay then through Sharpenhoe, Harlington and Westoning, the roads were dry but the low sun was ‘blinding’ in places which was less of a problem once we headed to Pulloxhill via Greenfield. Some lovely lanes out to Hanscombe End, Shillington and Lower Stondon before passing RAF Henlow and Henlow itself where there were several Police vehicles and a man being scanned for weapons and arrested as we passed by. From Henlow we headed towards Langford before making our way to Baldock via Edworth, Hinxworth, Ashwell and Newnham. Most of our route was dry with not a single drop of rain and we arrived at Baldock around 20:50 and as no other groups were there, we had a brief chat before heading home and all managed to miss the incoming downpour”.
Still no change to restrictions so same again next week… let Cider Bob know by Sunday lunchtime if you’d like to join a group on the Monday evening.
Mon 20th July 2020
Five almost full groups of six were planned for this week. Unfortunately, there was clearly a lot going on, with some away, including our usual ride leader Steve Vaughan, some with poorly motorcycles and several people at work so, at only twenty eight riders, we were a bit down on the numbers we have had recently.
But those that could make it seemed to have fun… the feedback we are getting on our Whatsapp groups is excellent.
Once again, the weather was great and the roads were dry. In fact, the only down side to any of the rides was having to ride into relatively low sun.
As has become the “new normal”, our five ride leaders were asked to give a summary of their groups’ ride. Some are excellent at this and as time goes on, one or two are becoming quite the authors. But, one or two (well, one actually) still consistently fails to come up with the literary goods but we won’t name and shame him; because he’s probably too busy at his job in Bikestop!
Ian Harris continues to lead a sedate group each week. This is proving very popular and this week welcomed experienced motorcyclist Gary on his 125. Riding a small bike with people on larger bikes can be fun, as it’s challenging (just keep the throttle wide open!!) but if you fancy joining Ian’s group, big bike or small, just let us know. Here is what Ian wrote for us:
“A full group with another ninety minute route planned and a potential new member with us on his 125cc. The ride was ‘book-ended’ by 2 Royal Enfield 500s and we headed out of Stevenage via Todds Green before joining the Codicote Road at Little Almshoe. In Codicote one of our riders experienced a drunken man crossing the road in front of them without looking, but avoiding action ensured that he made it across the road, just. From there we headed into Welwyn then through Digswell to Hertford, Bengeo then on to Anchor lane, heading up the ‘old’ A10 to Puckeridge and Dassels towards Barkway then towards the Silver Ball Café and Buckland. As we headed towards Sandon we had a slight delay with some temporary traffic lights that didn’t seem to detect our group, but after getting through safely we headed to Roe Green then picked up the A505 for a short blast to Baldock”.
Our Chairman, Norbert (Tony Brown) took charge of the Chequers group this week. He said “The old boys group headed to Aston then to Walkern, Cottered and Slip End. Short blast along the A505, down to Steeple And Guilden Morden.On to Eyeworth Dunton over the A1 and on to Langford.Down to Henlow,Lower Stinson, Shillington, Apsley End and Pegsdon.Picking up the B655 through to Hitchin, Ickleford and Letchworth and on to Baldock”.
With Steve Vaughan away on a biking trip to the Lake District, Paul (Purple VFR) kindly good his place as leader of “Sainsburys 2” as it has become known. Paul is a literary genius and has come up with "Our group of five set off from Corey’s Mill and headed towards Hitchin. We were a man down as unfortunately Chris was unable to make it but as he had already let us know well in advance, we were able to get away on time. The plan was to head out towards Woburn where we would take a short break in the park, and then head back towards Baldock. In an effort to try and travel on some different roads we actually headed out through Gosmore and Kings Walden before picking up Lilley Bottom Road and heading towards Lilley. This is quite a good road albeit narrow in places but as we got stuck behind a Tesco’s Delivery truck we moved at a fairly sedate pace. The truck turned off at Lilley and we continued on through the village and then out through Steatley and lower Sundon on some more open and sweeping roads, before Heading up to Toddington. From there we followed more sweeping roads via South End before picking up the B5704 which facilitated a swift blast to Woburn and our stop at a picturesque spot in the park. After a short stop we headed on through the deer park where the herds of deer were in full view, before skirting round most of Ampthill and then picking up the B530 where there were some good views off to the left. We then turned back east via Houghton Conquest and Appley Corner and passed through Ireland which I hope Liam at the back appreciated! From there we went through Broom and Langford before reaching the A1 at Edworth, At this point Pete B split off by prior arrangement and headed off to Baldock - yes I do tend to do longer than average rides! The rest of us took a loop up through Eyeworth, Guilden Morden and Ashwell before finally heading back via Newnham to the Baldock. These last roads are old favourites and I may have got a bit carried away (apologies to Buck) but Carlos did give me a good run for my money which I took as encouragement! Thanks to all for coming out and especially to Liam for acting as tail man Charley. It really helps when you have someone clearly identifiable at the back (He’s got side lights).The route was 65 miles”.
Cider Bob said “I enjoyed throwing my little 250 around the B roads so much last week that, as I had an almost entirely different group this week, I led the same route again (although I did check with Big Geoff first to make sure he didn’t mind). It was another cracking ride and everyone seemed to really enjoy it - over to Codicote, back end of Hertford (via the Essenden road), then Bengeo and Anchor Lane to Ware. Taking the correct turn off this week, we then took the Widford road to Much Haddam road. The closure was still in place but I’d planned to continue up to Bishops Stortford this week so no surprises. Then it was back to Baldock via the A507. There were no hump back bridge incidents this week but just a questioned overtake… “that overtake on Anchor lane was a bit moody?”… no, a good look across the hedges and fields showed the road was clear all the way round so it was a perfect overtake, flying around an apparently blind bend on the wrong side of the road. I love motorcycling!!”
Finally, Pete Blackburn set off from Screwfix with a full group of six. We are told they also had a great ride and he summarised it with this: “ ”. Thanks Pete, very insightful!! :)
It doesn’t look there will be any let up with the six person Covid-19 restrictions in the near future so we will continue with this current way of organising our Monday night rides for the time being. But if you have any suggestions or feedback, please let us know by clicking on this link or Whatsapping us.
This seems to be so popular that there has been chat about keeping something like it going once restrictions are lifted. We’d welcome your views.
As “always”, if you’d like to join a group next Monday evening, please let Cider Bob know with Whatsapp or text by Sunday lunch time. Although, he will be at work next week so won’t be riding (Purple VFR Paul will be leading “Sainsburys 1”).
This coming Sunday should have been the George Brown Memorial Run. Obviously we had to cancel but hopefully it will be back next year with lots of entries. If you'd like to know more, click in this link.
Mon 13th July 2020
Having got five full groups and a couple extra sorted out by Sunday evening, come Monday afternoon, the forecast of heavy rain put a lot of riders off; so it was all change and the numbers dwindled to three almost full groups.
We understand not everyone enjoys riding in the rain, but it can be fun and will definitely make you a better rider.
It’s a shame so many opted out because there were only a few spots up to about 21:15 hours. It was only then that it started to get heavier, by which time two of the rides had already finished and the third was only the 10 miles from its finish point.
Ian Harris led what has become his customary “sedate” paced ride from Bikestop and Pete Blackburn found out his tyre do actually stick in the wet as he led his group from Screwfix.
Steve Vaughan and Cider Bob were both at Sainsburys, not knowing who would turn up but they ended up riding in the same group with Big Geoff and two new potential members, Frank and Adele (welcome to you both).
Unfortunately the author of this weekly drivel is away this week so doesn’t have time to wait for an input from Pete but suffice to say his group had a good ride.
Ian was as swift as ever at getting us a summary of his group's ride:
"Down to a group of 4 (plus 1 pillion) this evening due to potential wet weather so we set out on a slightly reduced (figure of 8) route planned to be around 75mins. We set out towards Great Ashby to take the lanes to Weston and continued on to Baldock before turning on to the Bygrave Road and heading on to Ashwell. From Ashwell we headed out to Hinxworth then Edworth, Millow and Wrestlingworth before getting back to the ‘figure of 8’ crossover in Ashwell. From there we headed Newnham before being the first group to arrive at Baldock (just as the rain started) for a quick natter amongst ourselves then rather than stand around in the rain, we went our separate ways. We were very lucky with the weather this evening, the lanes were mostly dry and was pleasantly surprised how little traffic there was on our route, must have been football on the telly!"
Cider Bob led the third group over to Codicote and then the back end of Hertford, via the Essenden road. Bengeo and Anchor Lane took us to Ware where the road was shut and the diversion route was very poorly signed. So Cider made up a route to Wareside to join the Much Haddam road. Unfortunately, he took a left turn one junction early (for which he apologises again to the rest of the group) which took them down a country lane. It was narrow and there was a bit of gravel but it was still entertaining… particularly for one of the group who mis-judged a hump back bridge and might have thought they were flying an aircraft rather than riding a bike for a moment. There were road closure and road works all over the place so after another detour to Bishops Stortford, they returned via the A507 where they just started to get wet after an otherwise dry and fun ride.
Mon 6th July 2020
Saturday this week should have seen Club members manning the National Rally checkpoint at Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Service Training centre. Unfortunately, being another victim of Covid-19, the Rally has been postponed and will now run on 12th September 2020 but with unmanned, “virtual” checkpoints around the country. It’s a great event that’s been running for 87 years so if you don’t know what it’s and/or want to join the ride, have a look at their website - www.nationalroadrally.co.uk/nrr/index.php
Back to this Monday evening and our numbers swelled further; now with seven groups of six riders. Although two had to drop out, it was still a challenge to get forty members to different start locations around the town, in groups of riders with similar styles of riding.
We are really grateful to our ride leaders. They are great at keeping their groups together, riding at an enjoyable pace and planning some fantastic routes. Most of the ride leaders are Committee members so it’s hardly surprising they are happy to get involved but special thanks goes to Steve Vaughan for his ubiquitous attendance through the year, no matter what the weather, Bob Voss for leading the “old boys” (plus Steve & Carol) and Richard Green, who stepped in this week because other non-committee leader Paul Rousell (“Purple VFR”) was off celebrating his birthday. It’s great to see so many appreciation messages on our Whatsapp group each week while we are struggling with the current Covid-19 restrictions.
Some of our leaders have commented on their rides:
Cider Bob said: I met my group at Coreys Mill Sainsburys. It was great to welcome yet another new member, Joe, who was introduced by Kev. Chris also joined us and it was great to have Jason Holmes return on a rare day off back in the area after working away for so long. We headed into Bedfordshire, into a low sun (although that’s hard to avoid when doing a “loop” as you’ll always be heading into it at some point). From Hitchin it was down to Pirton, Barton-Le-Clay and the A6 to Clophill. We then took some twisties to Haynes and then around the Cardington/Cople/Southill/Old Warden area before taking the A507 to Stotfold. A slight detour into Norton took us into the back of Baldock, where we ended. I’m glad to say there were no incidents and everyone seemed to enjoy the ride.
Steve Vaughan took his group over towards Berkshire, stopping for a break at Wendover.
Bob Voss had this to say: The Chequers group was a little depleted this evening due to one of our numbers leading a 7th group and the other knackered old boy being in the pub. We zoomed off along the Watton bypass turning left to Danes End then right past Whitehills golf course to the A10. Short blast on the A10 to Puckeridge then up the old road through Hare Street toward Barkway village. On to Shepreth and Meldreth and into Bassingbourn passing the Hoops with a wave at the folk having a drink in the garden. Littlington, Steeple Morden, Ashwell and on to Baldock for a chat with other riders. Lovely ride chaps and chapess. Thanks for the company.
Richard Green did a 70 mile routes into Essex while Pete Starr took his group into Bedfordshire.
Pete Blackburn eventually got round to summing up with this: Apologies for no ride report last week but I simply forgot. This week we ventured out through Walkern onto the A507 to Buntingford down Hare Street through Braughing ending up at Flint Cross. Short blast down the A505 then down to Bassingbourn through the villages of Littlington,Steeple Morden ,Ashwell and Newton ending up at Baldock.
Ian Harris had a bit more to say with: A group of 5 this week as one of our rider’s had broken down on route (not him, just his bike) so he went home andswapped bikes. When he then arrived at BikeStop on his Yamaha R1, I suggested he take up the spare space in the ‘Screwfix Group’ which would probably suit his pace better. Sticking to our 90 minute plan for the ride this evening, I gave the group the option of a surprise mid-ride stop which was agreed. Heading out towards Walkern, we took a right taking the lane to Watton at Stone where we had a slight diversion due to road works before getting on the A602 then on to Wadesmill via Anchor Lane. We then headed towards Puckeridge and after a short blast on the A10 took the road towards Church End, Dassels then on to Barley via Barkway then dropping into Royston before heading to Bassingbourne where we stopped at The Hoops pub for refreshments. The pub staff were pleased to welcome us back and the ‘Screwfix Group’ were already seated and socially distanced with their drinks of choice. Following our stop, we headed out to Littlington, Morden Green then on to Ashwell and Newnham before ending in Baldock for a socially distanced chin wag.
This way of organising the Monday night rides seems to be really popular. If you agree or disagree of want to give us any feedback, just send us a message. It may be we continue with something similar once the restrictions are removed so we are keen to hear your views.
The committee are risking getting together this week for the first meeting in months. If there is anything you want brought up, contact us here or contact any of the committee members directly.
Mon 29th June 2020
Six full groups of six riders were planned to meet up at various points around the town for this weeks “C-19” restricted group rides.
Paul Rousell (or “purple VFR” as he signs himself so everyone knows who he is) kindly led the first group from Coreys Mill Sainsburys. He took his group on an excellent ride well into north Bedfordshire which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. He’s written this summary:
“Everybody turned up by 7:20 so we got away slightly early. We headed north via Little Wymondley and Willian and then skirted between Hitchin and Letchworth up to the A507 which we took to Henlow. We then headed north again via Stanford, Upper Caldecote, Blunham and Great Barford, circling Bedford to the north via East End, Bolnhurst, Thurleigh and Milton Ernest before stopping by the Great Ouse at Felmersham which was a really nice spot. We took a 15 minute break and then headed back down via West End, Bromham, Houghton Conquest and then out to the A6 and down to the A507. From there we turned off and made our way back to Hitchin via Apsley End and Pirton. We had agreed at the break that three riders would split off on the way back to head straight to Baldock which they did so it was just myself, Geoff, Robin and Tracy that ended up back at the Corey's Mill roundabout. It turned out to be a really good route with some open and fairly quiet roads that allowed us to get a decent pace between some of the villages. It was also a well matched group which made it even more enjoyable and easy to lead although it's always easier when you have Geoff at the back sweeping up. 68 miles in total”.
As has become the norm, Steve Vaughan led the second group from Coreys Mill. To comply with the restrictions, they meet in a different part of the car park, well away from the first group. Unfortunately, Kelvin was injured so couldn’t ride but his place was taken by “late entry” Liam. Steve also took his group into Bedfordshire, stopping at Woburn to admire the huge herd of deer.
Pete Blackburn led another group from Screwfix but, as usual, he hasn’t found a pen so we don’t have anything to write about their exploits.
Unfortunately, Bob Voss had to drop out this week so Pete Starr took the reigns of the Chequers group. It wasn’t planned but he too headed for Bedfordshire, taking in Barton-Le-Clay, Clophill and Malden, to name just a few villages they passed through, while avoiding main roads as much as possible.
Ian Harris had a more eventful evening with his group and welcomed another new member, Bruno. Ian has described their evening with this literary masterpiece:
“Another planned 90 minute ride this evening from BikeStop so we headed out towards Bennington via Walkern through Whempstead then on to Hertford via Bengeo. Taking the Welwyn Road through Panshanger and on to Welwyn, we picked up the Codicote Road and to add interest a challenging lane route avoiding the centre of Codicote. In hindsight the tracks were quite stoney but all riders made it through safely to Sally Deards Lane. However the same cannot be said for all the bikes with one casualty being the Royal Enfield on the tail. After waiting a while at the next junction, one of our riders went back to see what the delay was and reported back that the Enfield had broken down. After returning to the stranded rider, we set about trying to diagnose the issue which seemed to be fuelling. A few failed attempts to get it running but seemed to improve after cooling down, enough to get bike & rider heading home ahead of us. The rest of the group continued on our route picking up the Codicote Road again then towards Willian via Todds Green through to Letchworth then down Baldock Lane, Baldock and then back to Stevenage where, en-route, we saw the Enfield going into Letchworth and later news reached us that our Enfield rider also made it home ok”.
Having left the main group at Sainsburys with Paul, Cider Bob moved to Raceways where he met his group. Unfortunately, Jon had to drop out but that left a spare space, which was filled by yet another new member, Fiona – a warm welcome to you. Here is what Cider Bob had to say about his ride:
“We were all there by 19:25 so headed straight off. It was a well matched group riding at a nice moderate pace. Bernie has only had his licence for a few months but his years as a learner clearly show as he was keeping up comfortably. Mark is still running in his gorgeous Triumph so the pace also suited him. It was Fiona’s first ride with us so we didn’t know her pace but she was also very much enjoyed it. Gavin and Phil were at the back and also seemed to like the speeds we were riding at. We headed over to Walkern and then Buntingford via the A507. Continuing east, we headed into Essex, all the way to Newport on the lovely B1038 and then turned north onto the B1383. The plan was to return to Hertfordshire via the B1039, another great riding road, but it was closed at Wendens Ambo so, rather than risking possible gravelly unclassified roads to get us back on route, we kept to the diversion which took us to the very dull A505 from Duxford to Flint Cross. Having battled the head on wind for about 6 miles, we finally got back on track by heading north to Melbourne. Then it was Meldreth, Bassingbourn and Litlington before ending up at Baldock via the Newnham road. We’ve done that last couple of miles for the past three weeks but it’s such good fun there’s no reason not too! By coincidence, some of the other groups had ended up at the Services but we all kept our distance”
Under the current restrictions, Cider Bob is organising the groups of six each week. He is a very sad man with a bit of CDO (its like OCD but the letters are in the correct order) and has a colour coded spread sheet which gives an indication of the sort of speeds different riders enjoy. He moves riders around a bit between groups for a bit of variety but tries, as much as possible, to keep everyone in any one group the same colour.
If you want to join any of the group rides each week, so he can help get you the most out of your ride by matching everyone as much as possible (and still stick within the C-19 restrictions) please let him know each Sunday lunchtime if you are intending on riding the following day. This can be by:
Understandably, some of you are a bit rubbish at this as its not much of a priority, so if necessary, why not set yourself an alarm to remind you to tell him you’re coming.
Mon 22nd June 2020
Yesterday was the longest day of the year so we had plenty of daylight for tonight’s various group rides, some of which were almost two hours long.
Once again, Covid-19 restrictions meant we are still running groups of six. This week we added another group as it’s become so popular with both existing and new members.
Cider Bob and Steve Vaughan led two separate groups out from our usual meeting place at Coreys Mill Sainsburys.
Ian Harris led a sedate group from Bikestop, as did Bob Voss from the Chequers, and we had Pete Blackburn leading a more swift group from Screwfix as well as Paul Rousell with a sixth group from Raceways Motorcycles.
Some of the ride leaders have summarised their routes:
It was good to have Kev & Chris back with us after a bit of a break. We all took the B656 down to Codicote and then nipped over to Lilly via Whitwell. It was a good route but the sun was low and slowed the pace a little. From Lilly, we nipped up the A6 but turned right onto the Gravenhurst road, which is great fun, and then joined the A507. Unfortunately, I managed to lose Big Geoff… a random rider out for a very unsafe ride got into the mix. From a distance, I couldn’t tell it wasn’t Geoff but as he blatted past us at well over a ton and into on-coming traffic, it soon became clear it wasn’t Geoff and he was missing. We waited for a bit and then returned to the last junction but he was no-where to be seen. So we carried on, over to Old Warden, then Clifton and Langford before crossing the A1 and taking the right through Hinxworth to Ashwell. Finally, we finished off like last week with a blat through Newnham to Baldock, where we found Geoff who had gone looking for us but looked up the A507 rather than the A600.
Essex route. Two hours and six minutes, taking in Royston, Chishill, Saffron Walden, Great Sampsford, Abbess Roding, Widford and back to Stevenage, stopping at Audley end house on the way.
A full group met at BikeStop for a planned ninety minute loop to end at Baldock Services. On leaving we waved to the 'Presidential Group' meeting outside the High Street Tesco then made our way to the Codicote Road via Todds Green. Heading towards Hitchin, we picked up the road to Barton-le-Clay, Westoning & Sharpenhoe before heading to Flitwick. We then headed to Shefford via Ampthill & Maulden then on to Clifton and Edworth towards Ashwell and Newnham before ending in Baldock.
The usual suspects gathered once again for our Monday evening jaunt around the countryside terrorising the bugs of which there was an abundance splattering our visors. Bounding down the Watton bypass and on to Tonwell we turned right at the roundabout and on to Bengeo and in to Hertford. Keeping to the speed limits a slow section to Ware and over the rail crossing. Passing the Angel with a wave some nice variable speed sections to Little Haddam. Shame about the gravel on this road. Left at the lights and up to Puckeridge. Short fast section of the A10 then back to the lanes passing the Bee Hive to Barkway. Across the A10 to Therfield and down the hill to Royston and on to Littlington. Steeple Morden then Ashwell and back to Stevenage Baldock. Fifty miles of enjoyable varied riding even though our Hon Sec was knackered at the end of it. Anyone wants to buy a head down ass up Aprilia please see Mick.
Paul Rousell’s route went over to Newport, via Hare Street, then up the B1383 all the way to the A603. From there, after a detour through Barrington, it was over to Baldock via Wimpole and Bygrave before returning to Stevenage.
Pete prefers riding that writing so hasn't let us know where he took his group!
Same again for anyone wanting to ride next week please… if you’d like to be included on one of the group rides, please let Cider Bob know by Sunday lunchtime. He will then assign you a start location & ride leader and temporarily add you to that location’s Whatsapp group. If you have a preferred leader or riding style, please let him know, otherwise he will move you around each week to mix it up a bit but will try to keep you with others who like to ride at similar speeds.
Mon 15th June 2020
We were still under Covid-19 restrictions this week so we stuck to the six rider maximum group rides and, again, Cider Bob, Bob Voss, Ian Harris, Steve Vaughan and Pete Blackburn all volunteered to lead a ride out.
More new members joined this week and they were asked to join Cider Bob at our traditional meeting place, Coreys Mill Sainsburys. Welcome to Jonathan and Mark.
Cider took a twisty route over to the other side of the M1 and then back to Hertfordshire via Cambridgeshire. There were a few spots of rain and the odd damp road but it was generally lovely riding weather. They finished off at Baldock Services where some of the others had ended up again, but they all kept a good distance from each other.
Ian Harris led a sedate ride from Bikestop. There was a full compliment for his ride this week and he led them on a fifty mile loop around the countryside, taking about an hour and a half. The route went through Graveley, where they struck light drizzle, before riding to Willian, taking a left to Hitchin and then on to Stotfold via Wilbury Hills. They picked up the A507 before heading towards Ashwell, the Mordens, Littlington and Bassingbourn. After Royston they headed to Barley and Barkway and then all the way through to the A10. There was a short stop so those wanting to go back to Royston could split away and the rest took a short blast south on the A10, the onto the the 'old' A10 to Colliers End before joining the A602 and back to Stevenage via Anchor Lane. We had no other rain but did have a few damp roads out in the countryside. Ian commented that “it was a pleasure to lead a well disciplined group”.
Bob Voss keenly led another group from the Chequers at Bragbury End. As ever, leaving at 19:30, they too suffered a few damp roads on their route. They headed through Knebworth, Old Knebworth, Nup End and then Codicote where they picked up the B656 towards Hitchin, but they turned left on to the B651 to Whitwell. From Whitwell, they carried on to Lilley, then took the B655 Barton Road from Hexton towards Hitchin. Before they got to Hitchin, they turned left on to the Apsley Road, through to Shillington and Lower Stondon before taking the A600 to Ickleford. Finally, they also headed over to Baldock via Letchworth, Norton and the A507.
Steve Vaughan took his crew down to southern Hertfordshire, stopping for a short break at Paradise Wildlife Park (which was obviously closed) and Pete Blackburn did a route similar to Bob’s but in reverse.
We don’t know if there will be any changes to the restrictions this coming week so we plan to do something similar next Monday evening.
As has become the norm, please let Cider Bob know by Sunday lunchtime if you plan to come along so he can put groups of six riders together who share similar riding styles.
Mon 8th June 2020
Five separate groups were organised this week with four supposed to be made up of six riders and one of three.
Steve Vaughan left Sainsburys early, at 19:15 and took his riders over the Wendover for a cultural tour of Hertfordshire and Berkshire.
Bob Voss led his group of “the old boys” with Steve & Carol. This is what Bob has reported:
"19:30 and all our intrepid riders are gathered at Bradbury End ready for the off. With Scooter Bob spinning his rear wheel followed by Tony, Mick, Steve, Carol and Pete making their way toward Watton at Stone. Galloping along the Watton bypass through to Hertford North. Turning right along and past Panshanger Park through Digswell to Welwyn. Lovely ride with some nice fast bends through Codicote, waving to the Goat to Hitchin then turning right toward Stevenage and into Little Wymondley. Up to Great Wymondley to Willian. Along the lane to Wilbury Hills and a blast down the hill turning left and along to Arlesey. Quick wave to the Vicars Inn and on to Baldock where we ending up meeting with Pete Blackburns group. Quick chat before going our separate ways. Bit colder tonight but invigorating all the same".
Ian Harris led a group for Bikestop and he sent us this:
"Down to five riders tonight due to illness but we set out ahead of time towards the Codicote Road via Todd’s Green then headed to Welwyn then on to Hertford, Wadesmill and Colliers End to pick up the A10 for a quick burst before heading to Barkway via Hare Street then on to Reed then Therfield, Kelshall where there was a sign saying ‘local honey £5’ but we were all enjoying the ride too much to stop for her. Then through Sandon for a little blast down the A10 to pick up the A507. The group stopped in Cottered to part ways with just two of us returning via Walkern to Stevenage arriving just after 21:00".
Pete Blackburn took a group from Screwfix, with potential new member Tone and ended up at Baldock Services for a socially distanced chat. This is how Pete described the evening:
"So a nice 48 miles route taking in the Hertfordshire country side. Myself Kelvin,Carlos, Richard and new member Tone went out towards Ware down anchor lane up the A10 then through the back roads to Braughing ending up at flint cross. Short blast down the A505 then down the B1198 to Bassingbourn through Steeple Morden Ashwell Newton ending up at Baldock for a chat".
Cider Bob led another group of five from Sainsburys, where they were joined by another potential new member, Pete “Buck” Rogers. We were also contacted, via Facebook, by another potential new member but unfortunately he didn’t turn up.
Cider’s group took the A507 to Buntingford, then the A120 to the Haddens and then over to Ware before returning to Stevenage.
They too chose to wander over to Baldock Services for a cuppa (although it turned out to be closed) where they were surprised to find Pete and his group along with some of Bob’s group. It meant there were about fifteen of us in the car park. We have been discouraging groups over six but, as we were there by coincidence, we stayed - just well apart.
Next week, we will be planning groups of six again, leave from Sainsburys, Bikestop, Bragbury End and Screwfix (plus other locations if required).
If you’d like to come along, contact Cider Bob by any of the usual media, although the Club Whatsapp Group is preferred.
Mon 1st June 2020
The Club continues to abide by the rules so there are still no planned Monday night meetings for the foreseeable future. But the Covid-19 lock-down rules relaxed more this week and groups of up to six were allowed to meet up in public.
With this new found freedom, all-be-it quite restricted, the Club arranged a number of six member group rides.
To maintain social distancing and to ensure we continue to be seen as a responsible motorcycle Club, we planned three different start locations and the groups didn’t meet up.
Leading the group who met up at our usual start point, Coreys Mill Sainsburys, Pete Blackburn reported:
“We had a good ride out from Sainsbury’s Corey’s Mill. We had a total of eight in the end, taking in Walkern, Cottered and the A507. Through Buntingford and Hare Street, then all the way up to Flint Cross. A short blast down the A505, then the A1198 into Bassingbourn, past the Hoops pub, through Steeple Morden, Ashwell, Newton and then finished at Baldock for a socially distanced chat”.
Bob Voss kindly volunteered to lead one group and this is what he reported:
“Five good men and a rather splendid Lady sent off from the lay-by opposite the Chequers pub at Bradbury End dead on the arranged time of 19.30. With me (Scooter Bob) leading, we set of at a gentle pace through Hooks Cross, taking the Watton bypass and on the A602 to Tonwell. Turning left at the roundabout, a nice country lane to Wadesmill gave us the chance to experience some fast sweeping bends. From there we went straight through to the A10 at Puckeridge. A short stretch on the A10, turning onto the B1368 at the north end of Puckeridge, gave everyone the chance to experience my favorite road. Slow 30mph parts and fast National limit stretches all the way to Barkway. Turning left at Barkway and crossing the A10 by the Silver Ball saw us blinded by the sun through Therfield and down the hill to the A505. A short section of the A505, then right to Littlington and on to Steeple Morden, Guilden Morden and Ashwell. Left in Ashwell and more lanes back to cross the A505 again, on to Walkern and back to Stevenage. A great ride of about an hour and a quarter covering about fifty miles was enjoyed by all.
A third group left from Bikestop in Stevenage old town. This one was led by Ian Harris, who reported:
“We managed to get away before 19:30 with a police escort out of the High Street. (Lucky they couldn’t count). We headed out to Buntingford via Walkern and Cottered, then Hare Street, through Barkway and Barley and into Royston. Next through Bassingbourne, Littlington, Steeple Morden then a little blast on the A505 before heading towards Wallington and picking up the A507 towards Baldock, then Graveley before a brief chin-wag back at BikeStop. All returned safely with no incidents. Our seventh rider dropped off near Baldock”.
Each ride leader independently planned there own rides, which just goes to show how popular the A507 and B1368 as, as well as the faster country roads around the Mordens.
If the lock-down rules still allow, we will arrange something similar next Monday. If you’d like to lead a group or just join one for the ride, let us know. You can contact us via this website, or email, or our Facebook page, or via the Whatsapp group.
Mon 25th May 2020
Still in semi-lockdown this week but it was another Bank Holiday so there wouldn't have been a meeting anyway.
But a few pairs met up yesterday for a Sunday rideout and, by coincidence, several members ended up meeting at Finchingfield for brunch.
There were a reasonable numbers of bikers there. All were well behaved and most (all the S&DMCC members) maintained good social distancing.
The Winners cafe was open for takeaways (the breakfast baps were absolutely superb) and the sports field toilets were open for use.
We are not encouraging group gatherings yet but you can get out there riding for fun (and your sanity). But remember, when you stop, if you meet others, use common sense and keep at least two metres (preferably a bit more) between you.
Ride safe and stay well.
Mon 19th May 2020
Wednesday last week did indeed see an easing of lock-down restrictions.
As a result, lots of Club members have been out and about on their bikes, sometimes with one other.
The weather has been superb so many members have been day tripping to the coast.
But, as a responsible Club, we are not having larger gatherings yet.
Please let us know of any good routes you've come up with for a blast out on the bike so we can share them.
Ride safe, stay well and avoid close proximity with others.
Mon 11th May 2020
The "Corona Lock-Down" continued this week but there may be a "light at the end of the tunnel".
Due to copyright we won't duplicate it but if you click on this link to Motorcycle News, you'll find some information telling us that, as of Wednesday, we will be allowed to ride our motorcycles again socially (a bit!).
But there are restrictions (although quite unclear as to what is mandatory and what is a recommendation).
Trying to summarise it with common sense, it seems:
- you can ride as much as you like on your own or with anyone you live with
- you can ride with one or two others but you MUST keep your social distance (particularly when you're off the bike!)
- if you chose to ride somewhere nice, like the coast, the likelihood is nothing will be open
This is almost experimental at this stage so if the virus starts to spread too quickly again, we will be put back in full lock-down. So its important you still do your bit.
Get out there and have fun on your bikes but:
- don't ride like a ****
- don't crash
- don't go out in big groups
- don't put yourself or others at risk of infection.
Ride safe, stay safe
Mon 4th May 2020
This week would normally have been a Bank Holiday so we generally wouldn't have had a Club meeting anyway. But this year is special as it's the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe so the Bank Holiday has been changed to Friday the 8th for that momentous commemorations.
With gatherings still banned, we didn't meet but there will be lots of socially distanced street parties this Friday so get out there and be distantly sociable.
Don't forget, we have posted a little motorcycle quiz so if you find yourself at a loose end, have a go and then click on the link and we'll send you the answers.
This lock-down seems hard but don't forget all those who gave everything to protect our way of life. Not riding a motorcycle for a few weeks pales into insignificance against their sacrifices.
Mon 27th April 2020
Still not allowed out on our motorcycles for fun. Although you wouldn't think it with the number of bikers tearing about at stupid speeds. Unfortunately, those ****s give the rest of us a bad name.
If you are using your bike for essentials journeys, ride sensibly. There have been a lot of motorcyclists killed or seriously injured in Hertfordshire since the lock-down started.
If you haven't seen our Facebook message, have a look at our new "Covid-19 Lock-Down Quiz" page. We aren't supposed to be riding motorcycles at the moment but we can think about them!!
Mon 20th Apr 2020
It was Easter Bank Holiday last week so no Club meeting.
Not that we could have met up anyway... just like this week.
The "lock down" continues and we remain in generally good spirits, like most of the Nation, but frustrated at not being able to get out on our bikes.
But spare a thought for our friend and long time Club member Jim Carmichael who was laid to rest this week. A true gent; may he rest in peace.
Mon 6th Apr 2020
Even worse this week: Still confined to home - still no riding - but the weather has been gorgeous.
Mon 30th Mar 2020
Confined to home - no riding.
Mon 23rd Mar 2020
With the widespread disruption resulting from the Covid-19 Coronavirus, several members got out in the glorious spring sunshine during the day which meant only three turned up for the planned evening ride.
A zip over to Barton Le Clay, up to Clophill, then the A507 to Shefford and we then joined the back roads to Shuttleworth and then down to Stanford, Clifton and Henlow before taking the A507 to Baldock, where we said goodbye and split up.
On getting home, the news of a complete ban on all social activities outside the home became evident.
So for the foreseeable future Monday Club night meetings have been cancelled.
But stay in touch via our Whatsapp group and Facebook page and hopefully we will all be back on the road soon.
Mon 17th March 2020
Wild fire in Australia, plague of locusts in the middle east and now a world wide "killer" virus… makes us wonder if the four horsemen of the apocalypse will be arriving soon – perhaps on motorcycles?
We were surprised to see sixteen riders out for the group ride this week. Having thought members might stay at home, it was far from the case and there was a very good turnout at the pub too.
At Coreys Mill Sainsburys, we offered two rides like we do in the summer – the reasonably swift (but still legal) ride and the more sedate ride for those who are less experienced or have a style of bike that suits a more relaxed pace.
Steve Vaughan had a route plan for the main ride and Ian Harris had a route for the second ride. But as we set off, it was clear everyone was up for Steve’s ride so Ian merged into that one.
Big Geoff was going to be at the back as usual, but with this dynamic change of plan, unusually Cider Bob took up Tail End Charlie (TEC).
It was an excellent ride at a really nice pace and, with hardly any traffic and the traffic lights on our side, it stayed together really well.
The route was similar to the Bikestop Sunday rideout route we did a couple of weeks ago with a few modifications including a great country road between Reed and Royston.
At the pub, due to the Corona Virus (Covid-9), there was concern there would be too much food for the number of members coming along but, as it turned out, hardly anyone was put off and the lovely hot sandwiches and chips were devoured in no time.
Due to the unusual circumstances, there was an impromptu committee meeting. We had a chat about what the Club’s approach to the Corona virus should be.
We decided that we will assess it each week but, for the time being, we will carry on as normal.
If there are any updates, such as pubs being forced to close, we will update you via text message, Whatsapp, Facebook and our website so please check any of our social media before each Monday meeting.
So we don’t waste Club funds on excessive food each week during the outbreak, we would be very grateful if you could let us know if you decide not to come along. Thank you.
So, at this stage, our plan for next week is still be to at the Hen & Chickens in Baldock.
Mon 9th March 2020
This week we returned to the Goat in Codicote which, as always, was a popular destination with the members as Graham and his team look after us really well.
The pub was packed with both riders and the “old boys” who’d arrived in cars.
If you read the About Us page of the website, you’ll see we are a very eclectic motorcycle Club that caters for a huge array of motorcycling interests. So while we have youngsters who’ve only just passed their test, we also welcome those who have retired from riding and just want to come along to be sociable.
So if you are not a Club member but are reading this, perhaps for the first time, just out of interest, why not come along and join us on any Monday night and introduce yourself.
Getting to the pub, many riders go by themselves or in small groups of two or three but quite a few usually join the main group ride, which leaves from Coreys Mill Sainsburys at 19:30. Unfortunately, this week there were only a couple of riders being led by Steve. Cider Bob was away again, Paul’s VFR had a puncture, big Geoff’s tyre was on the limit and Pete Blackburn hasn’t got his bike out yet on a Monday night since the winter because the temperature hasn’t reached 30° and the humidity is above 1%
Steve’s route was shorter than normal as the weather was a tad poor and there were so few riders, so they arrived at the pub in good time.
Next week we are at the Cock in Baldock.
But another date for your diary has been suggested by Club members Steve & Carol at Raceways Motorcycles. You might have seen this on our Facebook page but, just in case you missed it, they are recommending a track day for those that would like to give it a go but are put off by the wannabe racers who think they have something to prove on the track. Have a look at this advert and if you’d like to find out more, pop in to Raceways Motorcycles (back of the Old Town) where Steve & Carol can fill you in.
Mon 2nd March 2020
Yesterday, members from the Club marshalled the first Bikestop “1st Sunday of the Month” ride of 2020.
After three named storms in quick succession, we though it might be rained off but the weather broke and we had dry bright blue skies, only a moderate breeze and mild temperature.
Led by Cider Bob with Pete Blackburn and Steve Vaughan bringing up the rear and with Ian, Andrea, Pete and Carlos also in the group in our distinctive S&DMCC hi-vis vests, it went fairly well but not perfectly.
After a briefing from Martin at Bikestop and then from Cider Bob, about sixty riders set off from the old town.
The principal is really easy… the leader points at a spot for the rider behind him to stop. That rider points the way to everyone else and then rejoins the pack in front of the tail ender in the distinctive blue.
It only works if everyone stays put until the tail ender arrives. Unfortunately, whoever was marking the Royston Road junction in Barkway decided to move off before the blue hi-vis arrived, which meant the next one through just went straight on and everyone else followed.
Fortunately, Steve was able to get to the front of the sub pack and bring them back to the route.
The rest of the route went well and, back at Bikestop, lots of the riders thanked us for a great ride. We also seemed to drum up a lot of interest in the Club with lots of “business” cards being handed out. Lets hope we see them at the Club soon.
This Monday evening, Cider was away so Steve Vaughan took up the lead. The route took the group to the Stag in Stotfold.
At the pub, there were nearly fifty of us to tuck into a lovely spread of food with more than enough for everyone. The pub staff made us very welcome and it was a great evening.
As an aside, we’ve had an email from a local special school asking if any members can attend their “summer ball” to show the children their bikes. If you’d like to get involved, please let us know by clicking here.
Next Monday, we return to the Goat in Codicote.
Mon 24th February 2020
This coming weekend will see the first of the 2020 Bikestop Sunday Rideouts and S&DMCC will be organising it.
So, on Monday, in light rain, three of the committee (Pete Blackburn, Cider Bob & Ian Harris) rode the planned route to check it was suitable.
For those interest, it will be:
- Out of the Old Town and right onto Martins Way.
- Straight on to the Walkern roundabout and then left to Walkern and on to Cottered.
- Right onto the A507 through Buntingford to Hare Street.
- Then up the B1368 to Barkway and turn left onto Royston Road to the A10, past Reed.
- North to Royston, around the bypass to the Tesco roundabout and then up the A1198 to Kneesworth.
- Left through Bassingbourn & Litlington to Steeple Morden and then left up to the A505.
- Short trek down the dual carriageway and then left opposite Slip End, through Rushden to Cumberlow Green.
- Turn right on the A507 to Baldock and then back to Bikestop via the B197 old Graveley road.
You can view the map by clicking here.
With a pit stop at the Silver Ball for breakfast, about half way round, the second half of the check ride was a bit wetter but still an enjoyable ride.
It was agreed Cider Bob will leave the ride with Pete Blackburn being TEC (“Tail End Charlie”) in a distinctive blue hi-vis to help recognition for the “drop off” system. Ian will take a position in the pack just in case things go array or will lead a second group if there are too many riders for one.
Three other members, Pete, Carlos and Paul have also shown an interest in coming along. From a Club perspective, the more the merrier. If you’d like to join us, please come along. No need to tell us in advance but please where your Club hi-vis if you have one (if you don’t you can get one from the Club Secretary, Mick Taylor).
After drying out a bit, at about 19:00, now in quite nice weather, the group riders started assembling.
Unfortunately, it was a committee meeting this week so Cider Bob left alone to be there for 20:00 while Paul took up the lead rider role as Steve wasn’t about. It was a good ride over to Barton Le Clay, up to the Clophill and then over to the Hen & Chickens in Baldock.
By the time the group arrived, the Committee meeting was in full swing. Being the first of the new Club year, and after welcoming Dave Chapman to the team, it was more of a general chat about various ideas and options on everything that will be coming up throughout the year. There was a lot of discussion over the 2021 Dinner Dance and how to make it special as it’s our 60th.
Once the Committee had finished, the food was uncovered and a there was a good go at demolishing the huge feast that had been put on by Tally but there was so much, it beat us. That might be because it wasn’t as busy as normal. Unusually, there were only about twenty five members chatting away – it’s always hard to predict how many will turn up but that’s the lowest we’ve seen for some time. Never-the-less, the newer members keep coming back so we must be doing something right.
Next week we are at the Stag in Stotfold but don’t forget the Bikestop ride on Sunday.
Mon 17th February 2020
This week was the 2020 AGM, which started at 20:30. This gave the group that met up at Sainsburys about fifty minutes for a ride in what turned out to be nice conditions after the weekend’s Storm Dennis had wandered through. It was still slightly breezy but no rain and almost dry roads.
With the destination, the Cromwell Hotel, being less than a mile away, the group took a wide “circle” to the west and south of Stevenage, initially heading over to Hitchin, then the B656 through Codicote and onto the B1000 to Hertford. Finally it was back up the A602 into Stevenage and arrival in time for a cuppa before the formalities began.
By far the majority of our Club meets are very informal and sociable but as the name suggests, once a year we have to go through the drudgery of an annual general meeting. But it didn't put off over fifty members from coming along.
The point is really to summarise the past year, get an update on finances, make sure the membership are happy with the way the Club is being run and to elect committee members.
But before proceedings got under way, a couple of trophies, which couldn't be presented at the Dinner Dance, were presented by the Chairman. One was the Jan Hallet Trophy for an achievement by a Club member which went to Ian Harris for his excellent work with the IAM. He has qualified as an IAM Observer and has worked to create a collaboration between the Club and the IAM so members can achieve an advanced riding qualification without joining the local IAM group.
If you'd like to improve your riding and possibly get cheaper insurance, have a look at our IAM Collaboration page.
Mick Taylor was first up but before he read out the minutes of last year’s AGM, he was thanked for his 40 years as Club Secretary, so far, with a bottle of whiskey.
Mick subsequently emailed the Club with the following:
I would just like to say a big thank you for the bottle of whisky given to me for my 40 years of being secretary of the club.
I joined the club in about 1966/7 and seen it grow into what it is now a very successful club.
As secretary I have enjoyed organising every Monday club night, arranging with the Cromwell Hotel for the dinner dance, AGM and the George Brown run.
Last year for the first time the national rally checkpoint with Cider Bob .
Again a very big thank you.
Mick Taylor, Secretary.
After last year's minutes, it was the Chairman, Tony Brown who went through the activities of the 2019/2020 year with a number of thank yous to various Club members. If you'd like to read his full report, click here.
Next up was Pete Star, the Treasurer. He’s been trying to spend money for several years with all sorts of expenditure, such as additional socials (we now have Spring, Summer, Autumn and Christmas socials, all with some free drinks and food), charity donations and better raffle prizes at our events but he’s failed miserably and we ended the year with slightly more money than we started!
Nothing was proposed from the membership and it was generally accepted that the Club is being run how everyone wants. So the final part of the meeting was to elect some of the new Committee. The “Officers” positions are for three years and were elected last year so this year it was just the four additional members.
Unfortunately Jim Carmichael is not in the best of health so was unable to continue on the Committee. We'd like to thank him for over seven years input helping to run the Club and wish him a return to better health.
Four proposals were put forward with no contests and three continue in post from last year so the new Committee members are Cider Bob, Ian Harris, Pete Blackburn and new to the team, Dave Chapman.
The evening finished with social chats and a queue to pay up the annual subscription which is still, after more than thirty years, only a fiver.
Next week we are back to the Hen & Chickens, which will include the first meeting of the new Committee.
Mon 10th February 2020
Saturday night was this year’s annual Dinner Dance and what a night. With over a hundred members and guests, it was well attended and everyone seemed to have a great night.
Click on this link for a review of this year’s event.
After Storm Ciara over the weekend it was looking like far from ideal riding conditions for the Monday Club night group ride.
But, although it was still a bit windy, it had died down and the rain had stopped so the conditions weren’t too bad at all.
Unfortunately Cider Bob couldn’t leave work in time so missed this week’s group ride but Steve Vaughan was on hand to lead the group which was tail ended by big Geoff.
The route was short and simple but one of the old favourites… A602 to the Bengeo roundabout, the short but superb Anchor Lane to Wadesmill, the old A10 to Buntingford and A507 to Baldock.
The Cock in Baldock was the destination this week. It was rammed with Club members so, unexpectedly, although the Landlord had put on loads of sandwiches and chips, the food ran out and it looked like just a few of us may go hungry. But the Landlord wasn’t going to let that happen so, within minutes of Pete mentioning it, more delicious chips and chicken nuggets appeared. Thank you to all who initially had a bit of restraint and didn’t take mountains – it meant almost everyone got more than just a handful of chips and then there was seconds for those who’d hadn’t taken much the first time round.
It was a really good night with lots of chatter including talk of how everyone had enjoyed the dinner dance.
Next week is this year’s Annual General Meeting.
It’s your chance to have your say and to elect some of the committee so please come along if you can. You might even choose to step up yourself?
We know it’s a bit boring because it’s not riding or talking about motorcycles but it has to be done!
It’s at the Cromwell Hotel, starting at 20:30. There’s no food, although it’s become tradition that Gary very kindly brings along a pile of biscuits! Tea and coffee are compliments of the Club.
Don’t forget to bring your £5 subscription and, if you haven’t already done so (ie. last year), your “GDPR” membership form (yes, you are yawning but it’s now a legal requirement!).
There will still be a group ride from Coreys Mill Sainsburys which will get to the AGM for 20:20.
Mon 3rd February 2020
It was like a spring evening for this weeks group ride. The roads were dry and the temperature was mild so the five of us that met up at Corey’s Mill Sainsburys had a great ride. Rather than explain the route, have a look at the map:
When we arrived, it was great to see eight motorcycles already parked up, including Andrea, who’d come on her CB650F – she’s not so much of a fan of riding in the dark but with her new heated jacket, she was warm as toast!
Inside the pub, the main bar was so full of Club members that those of us on the group ride, and some others, had to overflow into the other bar.
As always, the Vicars Inn put on a superb spread with more than enough for everyone and plenty for seconds. The variety is also very much appreciated, with choices of various sandwiches, different juicy meats on sticks, buffet snacks including mini scotch eggs and spiced chicken nuggets and all sorts. There was a cheese board (the very best we see between the pubs) and cakes for desert. They really do look after us!
We choose pubs that are keen to have us join them on a Monday night and show it by being friendly and providing good food. But, as you’d expect, while they are all good, some are just brilliant and the Vicars is among them.
This coming Saturday is our 59th annual dinner dance. It’s going to be very well attended this year but if you haven’t booked your place, it’s now too late. You can book the day for next year which will be our 60th!!!
Next week we will be at the Cock in Baldock. It’s a relatively new pub on the Calendar but has proven to be very popular. Join us for the group ride or meet us there.
Mon 28th January 2020
Chilly and damp but with heavy rain throughout the day, the previously greasy roads had been washed clean. Cider Bob normally plans a route in advance but, at this time of year, no knowing if anyone will turn up, its often made up on the spot!
The five who met up at Coreys Mill for the group ride set off at 19:30 with a hastily planned route to the A507 via Willian, the ‘longabout’ and Norton. But, en-route, Cider was mulling over the options and decided there were too many unmarked roads, for this time of year, so, on the hoof, decided passing Fairfield Park would be a better option.
Once on the A507, we were held up by slow-ish moving cars and, again, Cider was mulling over the options as they approached the A600 and the Airman pub. But, he plumped for the A600 and almost immediately regretted it as they were held up by more cars. The better option would have been to continue to the A6 and come back via the B655, although we’d have arrived a little later than normal for the winter months.
On the plus side, having had a fair trek down the B656 to Codicote, shortly after arriving at the Goat, the hot food was served so, although there was plenty, some on the ride might have grumbled at it being cold if we had ridden the longer route.
The turnouts continue to be excellent for this time of year. The pub was heaving and we estimate nearly forty members were chatting away.
It’s always a bonus to see Graham, the landlord of the Goat, milling around the pub. So often we turn up and he’s away on one of his many well deserved bike trips in sunny Spain.
The general chatter was as varied as ever but, as you’d expect, the forthcoming Dinner Dance and AGM were high on the list of topics.
Some of the members who "braved" the chill in their cars started leaving from about 21:30 with the last of us, including some of the riders, finally getting away about 22:30.
Next week we return to another old favourite, the Vicars Inn in Arlesey, where Theresa and Hazel always do an excellent job of looking after us.
Mon 20th January 2020
After last week’s storm, the weather had turned a little wintery again this week, but the usual four met up at Sainsburys for the group ride. It was great to be joined by another hardy biker, prepared to brave the winter chill - welcome to Michael on his BMW F750GS.
Unfortunately, due to a committee meeting, Cider Bob had to be at the Hen & Chickens by 20:00 so the others went for a longer ride, via the A602, A10 and A507. Although Michael only passed his test a few months ago, he showed he’s already a very competent rider in the fairly challenging conditions.
We won’t bore you with the mundane drudgery of the fairly typical committee meeting but, in summary, we dealt with a number of things including the up coming dinner and dance. If you haven’t got your tickets, you are running out of time but can still get them from the Club Secretary, Mick Taylor.
We also chatted about the agenda of the AGM, which will be at the Cromwell Hotel on 17th February. Please make an effort to attend – it’s your Club and you should have your say. Not only that, there are four committee positions up for election so if you want to give it a go, put your name forward. We’d also like to remind you that if you want to add something to the agenda, please let Mick Taylor know in writing at least two weeks before.
The 2020 Calendar was agreed and the website page has been updated. But please remember to keep an eye on it throughout the year as we occasionally have to make changes for reasons beyond our control. We also have a second calendar with suggestions of events members may be interested in.
Another item discussed was the implementation of “in-house” Institute of Advanced Motorcyclists training by Ian and Pete. We will be giving full details on our Facebook Page and on the website in the spring but if you’d like to find out more now, talk to Ian Harris.
By the time the committee meeting ended, the pub was heaving with members – we estimate well over forty. The food was served up shortly after and Tally had put on huge amounts with more than enough for everyone to have seconds.
With all the chatter, it was almost closing time before everyone had left.
Next week we are back at the Goat in Codicote. See you there.
Mon 13th January 2020
It was good to see the very high winds and heavy rain didn’t put off the usual suspects to be found at Coreys Mill for the group ride on most Monday nights. Cider Bob was away this week so Steve led the trio to the Plume of Feathers in Ickleford on a challenging ride.
But the really poor weather didn’t put off those who tend to use their cars at this time of year either so there were well over thirty members packing out the pub.
There was loads of food to go round so everyone was happy and the atmosphere was great.
With such a sociable night, lots of members stayed through ‘til closing time before braving the storm for their journey home.
Next week we return to the Hen & Chickens in Baldock. For those who spend much of their time running the Club, it’s a committee meeting (so, for the rest, don’t eat all the food before we are done!! :) ).
Mon 6th January 2020
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
After a break for the festive season, the first group ride of the year from Coreys Mill Sainsburys was attended by five riders with Cider Bob leading and Steve Vaughan at the back.
VFR Paul and K1200 Geoff were there and it was great to have Ray join us for the first time since the weather had turned poor for the winter. Fortunately it was a mild night and the rain pretty much held off so it was a nice ride out.
Unusually, Cider Bob hadn’t planned a route but, after a short discussion, it was decided he’d just make it up as he went along but with the initial plan being to turn right out of Sainsbury.
We headed down London Road to Knebworth but with temporary traffic lights creating a small queue, we cut the corner via Deards Lane and on to Old Knebworth.
From there, it was onto the old favourite; the B656 to Hitchin.
After taking the A600 to Ickleford, we head to the back side of Letchworth via Arlesey New Road.
We then crossed the A505 and headed over to Willian via Willian Road. Normally we tend to take this road in the other direction so it made a nice change to be eastbound towards Baldock.
From there, we negotiated the the Letchworth longabout and then took Baldock Lane into Baldock before arriving at The Cock pub.
The great thing about having Steve at the back is that his immensely bright trio of lamps really stand out so keeping the group together was easy.
Ours were the only bikes out at the pub but both bars were heaving with Club members. In fact, we took over the pub with only one table occupied by anyone else.
There was a really good atmosphere and lots of New Year good wishes. To add to the positivity, piles of bacon sarnies were served up to keep everyone fueled up.
Conversations were as varied as ever but there was, obviously, lots of talked over what everyone had got up to since we last met and what motorcycling goodies everyone had got for Christmas.
Such was the atmosphere that the last few members didn’t leave until almost closing time.
Next week we are back to Plume of Feather (or, according to the website, the Plumb of Feather - as Paul pointed out!) in Ickleford and Steve will be leading the group ride.
The Dinner Dance is getting close so don’t forget to get your tickets from Mick Taylor… and please feel free to continue bullying Steve and Carol into getting theirs!
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
- 2nd Ray/Richard/Mike
- 3rd 92 Squadron
- 4th Caldecote
- = 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 March 2019
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
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.
Next week, we are at the Plume of Feathers, Ickleford.
See you then.
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 will restart. This coming Monday, 7th January, we will be at the Hen & Chickens in Baldock.
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.
We hope to see you on Monday night at 19:30, Coreys Mill Sainsburys, or at the Hen & Chickens for the first meeting of the new year.
Monday 10th December 2018
Another year has gone by and this week saw the return of our annual Christmas Social, which was at the Hen and Chickens in Baldock... and what a night it was.
There was no group ride because of the Christmas Social so about fifty members went straight to the pub, with three on their bikes and the rest using any means possible to get there so they could enjoy a few beers, with two donated by the Club for every member.
Once again, the music was provided by the most excellent Rock Stock and Basil, who gave us a stirring set with their catalogue of classic rock and roll numbers.
There was a superb buffet laid on by Talli and Sue who also attended to our every alcoholic need throughout the evening.
In the interval we had our usual raffle with some brilliant prizes - thanks to Dave Price and Pete Starr for sorting it out and our Chairman Tony Brown for selling the tickets.
All in all it was a superb night which just goes from strength to strength.
Don't forget your Dinner Dance tickets available from Mick Taylor.
Monday 3rd December 2018
Yet another relatively mild night this week and five riders met up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the group ride.
Our destination was the Goat at Codicote but obviously we didn’t take a direct route. Instead we did a fairly regular but very popular route to the A507 at Cumberlow Green, via Walkern.
From there, we whipped up to Junction 9 of the A1(M), where we went straight over before turning left to Willian.
Then left again to Great Wymondley and down to the A602 at Hichin. We finished off on the ever popular B656 to Codicote.
A reasonably swift ride this week with plenty of overtaking and good progress.
There were a few bikes already at the pub and the bar was full. The predictions from last week’s blog were right… the destination was popular and there was loads of hot dogs, pizza and chips.
Thanks to Graham, the Landlord, and the rest of the bar staff (particularly the grumpy one who, although accompanied by lots of moaning, will always do a mug of tea!!)
Next week is the CHRISTMAS SOCIAL at the Hen & Chickens so there won’t be a group ride… straight to the pub where members can enjoy free food, a free drink and live music.
Don’t forget, fast approaching is the annual DINNER DANCE at the Cromwell on 2nd February 2019.
Tickets have stayed at the same price of only £35 this year (you’d be hard pushed to find a similar event at better value). It’s a great night and you might end up with a trophy. Please bring along friends and family.
You can get your tickets from Mick Taylor.
Monday 26th November 2018
The Club’s annual photographic competition took place this week at the Hen & Chickens, Baldock.
But, before that got under way, as always, there was a group ride from Coreys Mill Sainsburys.
Five robust riders turned up in the November chill but riding conditions were actually pretty good. Although the temperature was only about 6°C, the roads were dry and even Alex, who was wearing a very nice pair of Keis heated gloves, didn’t turn them on (although that may be because he’d not sorted them out with a long enough lead!!!).
The roads in Stevenage were a tad greasy but were OK. Once we got on the back road to Old Knebworth, where there had been no salt to absorb moisture, it was dry with plenty of grip so we were able to get up a reasonable pace.
From there, we used another back road, behind Knebworth Park, to get to the B656 where we headed up to Hitchin at good speed.
After passing through Ickleford, we dropped down the “big dipper” at Wilburys. We would normally be going the other way so it made a change to head towards Hitchin from Letchworth and then take the back road to Willian.
We circumnavigated the Letchworth longabout and then took another back road into Baldock where we arrived at the pub about forty five minutes after we started.
It was a nice ride for the time of year and everyone seemed to enjoy it.
An array of food was out and ready to be uncovered shortly after the group arrived. So, while the queue wound its way through the pub to the food table, Cider Bob judged the entrants to the photographic completion.
Although his job includes taking photos, Cider has no specific expertise in the finer points of creating a well composed piece of art, but he knows what he likes and he can tell a good photo from a bad one.
This years array of entries was an eclectic mix of landscapes, buildings, aircraft, events and, most of all, motorcycles.
The photographs were judged on:
- content - so, as it’s a motorcycle club, anything with a motorcycle in it will automatically score an extra point or two
- composition - how things are positioned in the photos
- colour - crisp & varied colours or well presented black & white
- technical quality - particularly regarding focus
- artistic flare
There were loads of really good entries this year but, unfortunately, while most met parts of the criteria, very few met all.
Someone had entered six superb photos of racing motorcycles. Any one of these could almost have won as they were really nice but, while Cider realises how hard it is to take a picture of a high speed bike, all were out of focus so weren’t up to the mark.
There were also some lovely photos of a Lancaster and a Mustang but, while they were popular, from an artistic point of view, the orientation of the aircraft wasn’t ideal.
Some of the other photos were also very nice but a common theme was photographers clipping the subject of the photo… which is OK if its artistic but they just looked rushed.
So, now you know the sort of things Cider was looking for, you can make your own judgements. But, the result on the night were:
Nick Eliason – Triumph in the Park
This was considered a really nice photo for many reasons – artistically, the black and white motorcycle contrasted well with the vibrant autumn colours of the trees in the background. Its technically a good photo and, best of all, it features the best bike manufacturer, Triumph! You can see the winning photo by clicking here.
Gordon Hallet – Manx GP
This wasn’t perfect as one of the two bikes wasn’t perfectly in focus, but it wasn’t far off. The motorcycle racing content scored highly and it was well composed.
Ian Harris – BMW in thePyrenees
This was, in fact, an excellent photo which, again, met all the criteria. A well positioned motorcycle with a beautiful mountain background. The only reason this didn’t win is that choice of motorcycle – why ruin this lovely scene with a BMW? Oh, and Ian used to be a professional photographer so had points deducted for that!
Thanks to all those who entered and congratulations to Nick. It’s an entertaining way to spend an evening and there was a lot of interest. Cider Bob apologises for inadvertently selecting a photo by the same winner as last year but, as mentioned, it was entirely anonymous (except for Ian’s as we all know it was his F800GS).
It was a busy night and the pub was full until about 21:30 hours when those with an early morning start began to leave while others of us were still socialising at 22:30 hours.
Next week we return to the Goat in Codicote. Its always a popular destination for our members – probably because we are made very welcome but maybe also because we get huge amounts of hot dogs, pizza and chips.
Hope to see you there.
Monday 19th November 2010
Only three hardened riders ventured out into a cold and damp night for this week’s group ride from Coreys Mill Sainsburys, which was led by Steve Vaughan.
It was a fairly short ride which ended at the Pig & Whistle, Aston for this year’s quiz night.
Last year’s winners, the young ladies who work behind the bar, were parading their title winners Tee Shirts of 2017.
Five teams entered this year’s quiz, and the 100 questions were once again supplied by the Club chairman Tony Brown.
Bottles of wine were up for grabs to the winners, runner up and last place and the results were:
- 1st place with 58 points “Speed Triple”
- 2nd place with 54 points “Dads Army”
- 3rd place with 40 points “ Sam Anarchy”
- 4th place with 39 points “The Bar Staff”
- 5th place with 37 points “The Knob Heads”
Thanks to the publicans, Charlie and Linda for their hospitality once more.
Next week is this year's Photographic Competition which will be at the Hen & Chickens, so dig out photos you’ve taken this year and bring them along.
Monday 12th November 2018
The riding conditions this week were, once again, just about perfect – except for the dark!
With warm winds from the sound, it felt more like September than November but it had rained a little earlier in the day, which may have put a few riders off. Never-the-less, six of us met up at Sainsburys for the group ride to the pub.
Rather than planning a route this week, the lead rider, Cider Bob, just asked for opinions on where any of the group wanted to go. With no preferences and no-one making a decision, he led the group on a “see where it takes us” ride.
With everyone except Cider Bob on a middle weight or larger bike, he chose the faster roads and kept away from the unclassified roads.
The ride started up the A602 dual carriageway which, in the dark, is a good way to get the group together when some get stuck at the lights on the big roundabout at Junction 8.
Unfortunately, a bus got in the way a bit and we ended up being slightly split up. Waiting at the layby entering Hitchin, the back markers caught up but then not everyone got out together so, for the first time, big Geoff ended up in the middle of the pack rather than being TEC (“tail end Charlie”), which made it harder for Cider Bob to see the back of the group… its hard to tell groups of bike headlights from car lights a hundred metres away, in the dark, in mirrors, whereas Geoff stands out fairly well in his and on his K1300.
Anyway, although we ended up with a few cars in between, we kept in sight of each other and by the time we got onto the open road of the B655, we were all together. Well, to some extent… even though the ride leader was only on a 250cc traily, it seams the power of some sports bikes wasn’t enough to keep up for some but its not a race and there is never any pressure on anyone to ride faster than they are comfortable or to break the speed limits.
Towards the end of the B655 we got stuck behind a very slow driver and, even though there’s a nice long open straight just before Barton Le Clay, the lead rider didn’t overtake as, entering the town, its important to keep everyone together.
From Barton, we headed up the A6 to the A507. Initial thought were to keep going and then turn right through Haynes but, thinking there might be wet leaves under the trees, we headed east on the A507 to Henlow, where we turned left to Langford and then right to the water tower at the A1.
From there, we carried on towards Edworth and then on to Ashwell via Hinxworth. Although not a main road, and at night you need to be a little bit slower as there are no edge marker lines, its still a great road.
We then took the Newnham road to Baldock where our destination was the White Lion on the high street.
There was a total of twelve bikes there and, when we entered the pub, we found the entire back bar was filled with S&DMCC members while the rest of the pub was quite quiet.
The bar staff were great and even did a cracking mug of tea. And the price for a pint of coke was far more reasonable than the £4.40 charged at last weeks pub.
The food was lovely – warm sausage fish & chicken things and sausage rolls, chips, loads of sandwiches and nibbles and the ubiquitous veg (which rarely gets eaten!!).
There are a few events coming up in the near future, including the annual Quiz at the Pig & Whistle, Aston next week and the Christmas social on the 10th December but the Committee have started to push the annual Dinner Dance at the Cromwell on 2nd February.
Tickets are still only £35 this year (sounds like a lot but you won’t get a posh night out like this anywhere else for less). It’s a great night and please think about bringing along friends and family. You can get your tickets from Mick Taylor.
See you next week for the Quiz at the & Whistle.
Monday 5th November 2018
Bonfire night kept a few members away this week but it was still fairly chokka for our meeting at the Vicars Inn, Arlesey.
Only four of us met up at the Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the group ride at 19:30. It started off a bit dank as a very light shower an hour earlier had been absorbed into the salt laid earlier in the week so the roads were a bit greasy around Stevenage.
But the temperature was very mild for November and, once off the A roads, heading over the Walkern, the roads dried rapidly and it turned into a really nice ride.
From Walkern, we headed over to the A507 at Cottered and then just stayed on it to Arlesey. But, unexpectedly, we made good progress so, as we got to the Arlesey roundabout, we were having such a good ride that we carried on. We turned left at the Airman pub and left again at Henlow Camp, taking us back to the A507 and then back to Arlesey.
A thoroughly fun ride at a good pace.
At the pub, as usual, other bikers were already there and lots of members were crammed in the bar, having come by car.
The spread of food was as good as always and there was plenty for everyone. Although one member almost needed CPR when he ordered two pints of diet Coke and was met with the response “that’s £8.80 please”.
If you'd like to learn CPR, and what to do at the scene of a crash, at no cost, book up a "Biker Down" course with Herts or Beds Fire Services.
There was nothing of particular note during the evenings socialising but, as always, there was lots of chatter in all parts of the bar.
Some started to go slightly early and one rider took a decidedly lengthy ride home to enjoy the lovely riding conditions.
Next week we will be at the White Lion in Baldock, SG7 6BJ.
Tickets are now available for the Club Dinner/Dance on Saturday 2nd February 2019 at the Cromwell Hotel. Priced at a very reasonable £35, please see Mick Taylor.
Monday 29th October 2018
The roads were dry and, although it was cold, it was almost ideal riding conditions this week so five of us met up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the group ride. The cold didn’t put off a new member turning up – welcome Ray on your Triumph Street Triple.
The ride was quite short as we needed to be at the pub by about 20:15 as it was the annual auction this week.
We headed off towards Little Wymondley before shooting up to Willian. Then we took the twisty road to Hitchin and the “big dipper” to Letchworth. Going straight on, we bimbled up to the A507 and then on to Baldock, where the auction was at the Hen & Chickens.
Loads of other members had braved the cold and gone straight to the pub and it was a challenge getting everyone parked. There was even a gorgeous MV F4, which had obviously started even though the humidity was over 2%!!
Once inside, we started to warm up rapidly, not only because the fire was roaring, but because the pub was heaving with other Club members.
It wasn’t long after arriving that the Chairman, Tony Brown, started the auction.
It was a bit slow to get going, with only 50ps and £1s being successful bids, but it wasn’t long before decent bidding started and some sensible money was paid for some decent lots.
The array of lots ranged from old books, some of which seem to come up for auction every year, to second hand bike gear, brand new bike gear and some really high quality stuff, including bottles of Glenfiddich and a Garmin Virb action Cam. There was also an incredibly kind donation of a GasSafe approved boiler service by Alan of A&D Gas services. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem clear to everyone just how much this was worth so it went for only £15. Massive thanks to Alan. If you need a decent plumber, check out his website here, where you’ll see he has excellent Check-a-Trade feedback.
By the end of the evening, although we hoped to raise more, we finished with a fairly tidy sum of exactly £200 (after a small additional donation to round it up). This will be split between the Club and our nominated charity.
Half way through the auction, we had a break for food. The spread was superb with more than enough for everyone.
There was also a “trying on” session of the new Club hi-vis vests which will be sold at significantly less than half price of only £5 to any Club member. If you’d like one, have a chat to the club Secretary, Mick Taylor.
The auction was as entertaining as ever and was rounded up around about 22:00.
A great atmosphere and many of us stayed around until almost closing time.
Next week we will be at the Vicar Inn, Arseley.
Monday 22nd October 2018
There was a distinct hint of approaching winter this week as the three riders that met up for the group ride from Coreys Mill Sainsburys could see the condensation on their breath.
None-the-less the intrepid trio went for a ride, taking them through Knebworth, to Codicote and then up to Hitchin before taking the A600 to the A507 to Stotfold where their destination was The Crown.
Another five bikes were at the pub and there was no shortage of members in the bar as its always a very popular destination.
The food was superb as always with more than enough to go round.
But it wasn’t long before members started thinning out and it was quite quiet come half past ten.
They probably had to get home early to start looking out donations for next weeks auction, which will be at the Hen & Chickens in Baldock.
As always, we ask if you have anything decent you no longer use or want if you could bring it along so everyone else can bid to make a bit of money which gets split between the Club and this year’s nominated Charity.
Examples from the past have included good condition tools and tool boxes, very good condition motorcycle clothing, books and magazines, and even some Grand Prix clothing.
… and even if you don’t donate something, bring some money for the good causes.
Come along because its always a very entertaining evening.
Monday 16th October 2018
The weather was a bit grotty this week and the ride leader, Cider Bob, expected he and perhaps big Geoff might be the only two riders waiting in the rain at Coreys Mill Sainsburys.
But, he had a pleasant surprise when he turned up at 19:20 to find three other members already there and three others turn up not long after.
Unfortunately, it was that horribly misty rain that sticks to your visor and makes seeing in the dark slightly challenging (it’s much more fun to ride in proper rain) but everyone was up for a reasonable length ride so we all headed off to Watton at Stone, where we turned left to towards Datchworth.
Although great in the summer, it got a little slow through the fairly wide country lanes as the blobs of light rain accumulated on our visors but, as it was a mild evening, lifting the visor and putting up with rain in the face was the simple solution and then the speed picked up again.
Although the first half of the ride was a bit slow due to speed limits and wet visors, it should have improved as we left Mardley Hill and got onto the B656 through Codicote to Hitchin.
Unfortunately, we got stuck behind two cars; the leader of which was really slow, doing no more than 40 in the nationals, and the one behind plainly wanted to get past but being indecisively aggressive at going about it, meant we didn’t want to risk being taken out by him when he finally committed to the overtake. So we ended up in a snail trail all the way to Hitchin, which was very frustrating.
It was then all speed limits to our destination at the Plume of Feathers in Ickleford.
But, even with the rain, there were loads of Club members already there, including several on bikes.
There was a great buzz in the pub and it wasn’t long before absolutely superb sandwiches were brought out, accompanied by lovely chips. Thanks to the staff for a great spread.
As mentioned in last week’s blog, we have been looking at getting Club Hi-Vis made up and they were available to be examined this week in a combination of the Club's green contrasted with bright orange. We initially planned to just have a few for specific events but they were so popular we are offering them to all Club members.
Have a look below and please let us know if you would like one by clicking here or contact Mick Taylor. They are being heavily subsidised by the Club as they are a safety benefit to our riders but they are also a great way to advertise the Club.
Monday 8th October 2018
There’s been a bit of a break from the blog for one reason and another for a couple of weeks but the Club meetings have continued throughout with lots of riders turning up for the group rides, which have been led by Pete, and really good turnouts at the pub.
All the recent riders who’ve come long to try us out have joined the Club and have returned each week and a new venue for us, The Stag at Stotfold, proved to be an excellent location for a meeting.
This week, darkness had already fallen as ten of us met at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the group ride. Unfortunately, the committee needed to be at the Hen & Chickens in Baldock by 20:00 for the committee meeting so, after a very quick “referendum” with the choices of “follow Cider Bob through the country lanes to the pub” or “someone volunteer to lead a longer ride”, during which time Steve Vaughan was volunteered as an impromptu leader, the latter was the result.
So, while Cider Bob shot off on his little 250 traily towards Weston, Steve and the rest wondered off towards Walkern for a route ending on the A507 into Baldock.
There were another eight bikes already at the pub, when the group ride arrived, with another arriving shortly afterwards after the rider and his pillion went to the wrong pub (whilst there was much micky taking on the night, we are no so unkind as to name and shame any Church Lane motorcycle shop owners here on the internet).
While most of the members could relax and enjoy the social evening, the committee were locked in the back room and only emerged after an epic, but very successful meeting.
As well the the usual business of any similar Club, the agenda included planning for the 2018 annual Dinner Dance (1st February is the date to save in your diary) the Christmas Social and other forthcoming Monday night events.
Keep an eye on the Calendar for what’s going on but the next of particular note is the Club Auction on Monday 29th October. Please have a look through your garages, sheds and anywhere else you might have something someone else might want to bid on and bring lots with you. As always the proceeds will be split between the Club funds and this years charity.
We also discussed trying to drum up interest in supporting the 2018 ACU National Road Rally, which won’t be at Bikestop anymore, and Bikestops planned first Sunday of the month ridouts being supported by the Club in April and September next year.
We are in the process of having some special Club hi vis vests embroidered but if you’d like your own, or any other logoed regalia, please have a chat to Mick Taylor.
Eventually, the committee meeting ended and we were able to dive into the huge amounts of food provided by the pub.
Yet again, a really sociable evening and a generally successful meeting.
Next week, we will be at the Plume of Feathers in Ickleford… lets hope the excellent weather holds out for a bit longer.
Monday 17th September 2018
Yet again, the weather was fine this week which helped encourage eleven riders to meet up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the group ride.
Two new potential members joined us so before we left, the ride leader explained our very simple ride rules:
- The faster you are, the further back in the group you should be
- Don’t overtake
- Ride at your own pace – you’re not hassled to ride fast
- If you lose sight of the person in front, keep going straight on. If we are turning off, the leader will wait for everyone to catch up.
The ride this week was almost a reverse of one we did a few weeks ago… over to Walkern, then Cumberlow Green. Straight on through Rushden to the A505. Up to Odsy and through Steeple Morden. Then towards Wendy but turning up to Gamlingay before coming back through Wrestlingworth and finishing at the Edward VII in Guilden Morden.
The pub was rammed with both Club members and locals so bikes were parked all over the place.
About 20:45, copious amounts of hot and cold food came out and there was more than enough for everyone to have as much as they wanted… just a shame no tea was available for those not wanting beer or coke.
It was good to see lots of newer members returning, including Steve and Carol from Raceways Motorcycles.
It was a great night for a ride and the ride home was also fun for most of us as we went our separate ways, although those who just wanted to blat down the A505 to Baldock were thwarted by road closures.
Next week we are back to the Goat in Codicote… always a popular destination and we can be sure of lots of pizzas and hot dogs.
Cider Bob won’t be around to lead the ride but one of the Petes on the committee will be there to take you on a mystery tour.
Monday 10th September 2018
Yesterday a few members had a bit of a tour to the coast.
After a stop at Redlodge cafe for nice fry up to set them up for the day, it was on the to Desert Rats memorial and then the priory and Castle Acre ford.
Then it was Houghton Hall for a quick stop, and then tea at Bircham Windmill.
Hunstanton was the initial destination but they made good time so decided to run up the coast to Wells on Sea and raid the sea food stall for cockles and crab meat.
With an 08:00 start, 238 miles and getting back at 17.30, it was a fairly long day but everyone thoroughly enjoyed it (although some of the older boys needed an arse massage when they got home!).
Thanks to Steve Vaughan for organising and leading a lovely day out.
For the Monday evening meeting this week, the weather was fine but the daylight was starting to dwindle as we left Coreys Mill Sainsburys.
Thirteen of us left the car park and headed up the A1(M) to the next junction. Unfortunately, as a first, we somehow managed to lose the three trailing riders at the car park so we bimbled up the A1(M) at 60 mph and they eventually caught us up as we waited at Junction 9.
From there, we headed into Baldock and up the A507 to Buntingford.
Unfortunately, even though we never got to the 50, 40 and 30 limits, we managed to lose the trailing three riders again in Baldock. This wasn’t helped by the darkness and it was a challenge counting headlights.
Up to now, it’s always been the leader judging the speed that keeps the group together, but we may have to consider bringing in the “drop off” system if we continue getting large numbers riding in the dark. We’d be happy to have your opinion so please let us know by clicking here.
From Buntingford, we headed up the B1368 to Barley and then turned left to Royston on the B1039.
After touching the A505, we rode over to Litlington and then through the Mordens to Wrestlingworth where we ended at the Chequers.
Fortunately, the three riders we had lost in Baldock had found their own way there.
There were also a load of other bikes already in the car park, along with several members’ cars.
It was good to see first timers from last week back this week and all three signed up for membership. The total number of members this year is well over a hundred and it’s good to see the Club doing so well.
The bar was heaving and a request for three mugs of tea was greeting with some tongue in cheek distane. However, after the tea drinkers amongst us settled for coke, once the initial rush from the group ride died down, the Landlord very kindly sorted out the tea.
They are very friendly staff in the Chequers and the Landlord is a motorcyclist too. He has some interesting machines so pop in for a chat if you are ever passing.
The food was very nice. Lots of sandwiches and chips and enough for everyone.
The mild evening meant there were quite a few members outside while others crowded in the low ceilinged bar.
The car park was full of bikes and, although some started to leave fairly early, some were still there at close to closing time.
We write this every week but it’s true… another very enjoyable evening!
Next week we will be at the Edward VII at Guilden Morden. You can meet us there or join the group ride from Coreys mill Sainsburys, at 19:30 hours.
Monday 3rd September 2018
There was no Club meeting last week due to the bank holiday, although six members met up at 09:00 for a ride to check the route for yesterday’s monthly Bikestop rideout.
If you are not aware, Bikestop organise a group ride on the first Sunday of the month throughout the summer. Different Clubs take turns to lead it. S&DMCC did the first of the season and this was our second for the year.
So Ian Harris, Carlos, James, Alex, Pete Blackburn and Cider Bob met up and rode the route, with a breakfast stop at the Silver Ball. It was a nice way to spend a couple of hours on a Bank Holiday Monday.
The run yesterday was split in half with Ian leading one group and Carlos leading the other. There was excellent positive feedback from the 40 odd riders that came along so thanks to Ian, Carlos, Alex and James for sorting them out.
If you are interested , S&DMCC will be leading Bikestop’s ridouts on 7th April and and 1st September next year so we would welcome additional volunteers to help marshal… six is probably the ideal number.
Back to this year, and with no Club meeting last week, riders made up for it this week with seventeen meeting up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the group ride.
It was a longish ride this week as, with autumn approaching, the lead rider, Cider Bob, thought it would be good to get in some roads we don’t often do. So, after heading over to Ickleford via Willian, we headed up the A600. After everyone had negotiated a slow moving bus, it was through Langford and up to the water tower, where we crossed the A1 and continued to Gamlingay. From there, it was though the little know Hatley St George before the Mordens and ending up at the Pig & Abbot at Abington Pigotts.
It was a nice ride and, as the weather was fine, the pub was heaving with members.
The group ride arrived just as the food was served and there was some for most although one or two of the committee forewent a snack to ensure everyone else got some. Although not quite enough, the quality was up to the usual standard of the Pig & Abbott.
There were a few new faces so hopefully we will see you again.
Once again, another good night for the Club.
Next week we will be at the Chequers in Wrestlingworth. As always, you can meet us there or join the group ride from Coreys mill Sainsburys, at 19:30 hours.
Monday 13th August 2018
We’ve missed blogging about the Monday evening meeting for the past couple of weeks but we don’t suppose our tardiness has it’s impacted on your life to any extent – you probably haven’t even noticed!
We had a meeting at the Hoops in Bassingbourn, which was very well attended as always, and then we were at the Brewery Tap in Shefford, which was also very popular.
This week, we visited the Playing Fields Club in Upper Caldecote for the first time this year. We normally have two meeting there each year for the “cheese” skittles competition. Unfortunately, the chap who used to cook us up superb jacket spuds and chilli has retired from his much appreciated work so no food was available until a replacement was found. Fortunately, the Club now has a new volunteer and, while it wasn’t the ever popular chilli, she did provide a huge amount of traditional “finger buffet” type food which went down very well.
There were a lot of members at the Club and the skittles competition was as popular as ever. It seems that Gary’s talents extend beyond his astonishing cabinet making and fine harmonica music to being able to lob a cheese shaped piece of plastic at some skittles and he won for the second year running. Well done Garry.
It was a lovely evening and, while the bar was heaving, lots of members sat outside enjoying the mild evening temperature.
Load of bikes were parked both on the gravel car park and on the tarmac approach road for those who were confident their bikes were remain on two wheels.
The rideout from Coreys Mill Sainsburys had nine riders on it, which included new member Andy on his Repsol Honda CBR600. Welcome Andy.
It’s was a nice ride led by Cider Bob, which took us to Baldock and then Newnham, on to Ashwell and Hinxworth before crossing the A1 at the water tower and then to Langford. From there, it was the A507 to Shefford and then a blast around the back roads of Shuttleworth, Southill and Hatch before eventually getting to Upper Caldecote by the B658.
Although it’s usually Cider Bob who leads the rideout most weeks, or one of the Pete’s in his absence, if you fancy planning a route and leading, you are more than welcome.
We have two “any other business” for you this week:
- Bikestop have asked us to lead their rideout on Sunday 2nd September. Neither Cider Bob nor Pete Blackburn can do it but we’d probably need a minimum of four competent riders so please let let know if you’d like to volunteer by clicking here or talking to Cider Bob.
- Several Club members have enquired about “Coolmax” type polo shirts embroidered with the Club logo. We can now get these done for the princely sum of £15 so please click here or talk to Mick Taylor.
Monday 23rd July 2018
Yesterday we attended the Codicote Village Day, sharing the stand of Paul Bryant and his race team - Faith Fuelled Racing. Unfortunately, unlike the Walkern Fair which seems to attract lots of members, it was a poor turnout by the Club. it's a shame because the weather was great it was a really nice day. Lots of people showed an interest and kids loved sitting on the bikes. Our attendance was appreciated by the organisers so hopefully we will be able to drum up more interest if we are invited back next year.
Tonight's meeting was at the Angel in Ware.
As always, there was a group ride from Coreys Mill Sainsburys. Fifteen of us met up in the really warm summer sun and we headed off over the A507 to Buntingford and then down the A10 to the A120.
From Bishop Stortford, we headed down the B1004 to Much Haddam and then on to Ware.
It was a really nice paced ride that suited almost everyone. We were well up to speed in the nationals and everyone kept up reasonably well so there wasn't much waiting at junctions.
Leading the ride, on the A507, CiderBob was wringing the life out of his little CRF250 but once on the B roads, the smaller bike came into its own. Never the less, the riders on their rice burning plastic torpedos were exactly held up so, at the end, it seemed everyone had had a thoroughly entertaining ride.
As always, the Angel was packed and lots of members were already there.
Piles of food came out not long after the group ride arrived and, with such lovely weather, lots of members were still hanging around at closing time.
Next week, we will be at the Hoops in Bassingbourn.
Monday 16th July 2018
Yesterday was the Club’s 2018 George Brown Memorial Run. It was a gorgeous day and, judging by the number of positive comments, really successful. We hope to have a report about the event from the Chairman over the next week or so, so keep an eye out on the Features page.
This Monday was our first ever “Summer Social”. The Christmas socials have been so popular that we thought we give a mid season one a go… and what a success.
We held this event at the Crown in Stotfold. The Landlord there has been really pro S&DMCC and hosted a great night once again. Although there was no live music, the jukebox was turned up, some great tunes played and we were able to enjoy it from the beer garden, where we sat in glorious sunshine for much of the evening. Even as it got dark, the temperature stayed above 20°C.
The food was superb; not only huge amounts but all sorts of variety… baked gherkin wrapped in bacon was a tasty first for me! Massive Grosvenor pies, gorgeous sandwiches, pastries etc etc. A truly great spread – and the Club footed the bill.
There was a raffle for more quality booze than even Pete Starr could drink in an evening… an array of spirits, wines and more. Thanks to Dave Price for sorting it out.
There was a still a group ride out from Coreys Mill Sainsburys but it was a bit shorter than normal. Fifteen of us bimbled over to Great Wymondley, then on to Willian and Letchworth before the first road closure scuppered the planned route. The leader quickly formulated a new plan, only to be thwarted by another road closure. So we ended us taking the Bygrave road to Ashwell and then back to the A507 via Newnham before heading into Stotfold.
Over thirty members and some other halves were already at the pub and with more coming along, the total number was over fifty.
Not only was the food paid for but all Club members got two free drinks so, with nothing but the optional raffle to fork out for, it was a cheap night and, all in all, a great success.
This coming Saturday (21st July), we will be at Codicote Village Day and Club members are encouraged to come along to show off your bikes. We will be joining Club member Paul Bryant's Faith Fuelled Racing team stand. The parade starts at 12:45 so you need to be on the field well before that but Paul will be setting up from 10:00.
Monday 9th July 2018
The usual author will be back at the Club night next week, which is our new event - the Summer Social, which will be at the Crown in Stotfold. It should be an excellent night so bring along your other halves to enjoy the food and atmosphere.
Literary masterpieces from any others who've been attending the Club nights over the last few weeks have been conspicuous by their absence so there has been nothing add to this blog. But the Club did run the National Road Rally 2018 checkpoint on behalf of Bikestop over the weekend.
Jason Holmes kicked it off by dragging himself out of bed at "silly o'clock" in the morning to cone off an area outside the shop.
About 10:30, he was back, this time with a posse, to set up the gazebos & tables and generally get everything ready. Just before the rally kicked off at 12:00, Lisa Holmes set up refreshments for the riders (and checkpoint Officials - thanks Lisa). This year she went for fruit, breakfast bars and crisps etc along with huge amounts of bottled water and ice rather than the type of goodies shes done over the past few years as she thought they would suffer in the heat.
And there was heat - lots of heat. Running into the 43rd day of the summer heat wave, riders had temperatures of over 30 degrees to contend with.
But as riders passed through, there was no moaning, just smiles all round... except for one poor pair who, having ridden from Southampton to Kendal on Friday to start the Rally, rode three quarters of their Gold mileage to Harlow, only to find it shut at 8 o'clock the night before. The result - disqualification. They looked broken by the news having done so well. We hope it doesn't put you off next year!
Running the checkpoint is a sociable activity. Several Club members helped out or passed by and with Bikestop full of customers and the old town full of happy football fans, there were plenty of people to chat to.
Through the night, as so often the case in the old town, there was the odd drunken scuffle which several members assisted in splitting up but, on the whole, an entertaining way of spending about 17 hours.
Thanks to all who helped out. Special thanks to Jason & Lisa for the extra work and all the refreshments, and thanks to Bikestop for the unlimited supply of hot and cold drinks.
If you fancy doing it next year, click on this link for some info: National Road Rally.
Don't forget... the summer social at the Crown, Stotfold this coming Monday.
Monday 18th June 2018
The usual author of this blog can't be at the Monday night Club meetings for a few weeks so, this week, our Club Secretary has given it a go. You can rate his effort by clicking here.
There we sat the magnificent seven waiting for re-enforcements and at about 8.45pm they turned up... another set of magnificent seven, led by Ian Harris, to help us devour a lovely spread of food.
Inside the pub there was groans as England missed another chance and then a loud roar as they scored and won the game.
All in all a very poor turn out by club members - fourteen in total.
It was a lovely evening so where we're you all? It was lucky as everyone seemed hungry and most of the food was eaten. Any more turnouts like that and we will have to think about putting food on at all.
Next week, the meeting is at the Pig & Abbot in Abington Pigotts.
Monday 11th June 2018
The utterly superb Isle Of Man TT races were on last week so a lot of the Club’s members were on the island enjoying great weather and unbelievable racing.
As a result, there weren’t as many as normal at the pub for the Monday night meeting. But even so, fourteen riders still turned up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the group ride, which was led by Pete Blackburn. Apparently, it was good weather and a good night.
The sun was shining again this week and it was a great temperature for riding so, again, fourteen riders met up for the group ride, including “Fruit” on some weird chopper thing he's bought rather than the Yamaha R1 he’s had for years – each to their own (but we embrace any style of riding) – but it gave a new subject for discussion (or, in fact, for taking the p**s!).
Cider Bob was back this week and led the ride which was to the Edward VII in Guilden Morden.
Its always good to take advantage of the long summer evenings so it was a relatively long route, which took us over to Shillington and then on to Shefford.
The roads around Shuttleworth have been popular so we took a route in that general direction, but unfortunately, the A600 was closed so after a short detour through Shefford, we joined the road to Southill and then right onto the B658 to Stanford.
From there, after passing through the southern end of Langford, we crossed the A1 and headed up to Potton, where we turned right onto the B1042 to Wrestlingworth but crossed straight over at the cross roads, taking the final road to Guilden Morden.
It was planned to be about 40 miles which, if ridden by yourself or with just a few mates, wouldn’t take too long. But responsibly leading a larger group of riders means the leader has to ride a bit slower than normal and has to wait at each turn off to make sure everyone stays together. As a result, although a great ride, it did take just over an hour.
As we always recommend, if you like to ride reasonably quick, you need to be further back in the group. The slower you want to go, the closer to the front you should be. But don’t be mistaken, we still make pretty good progress… even with Fruit on his outrageous chopper.
We know we say this almost every week, but yet again, the pub was full of riders who prefer not to join the group ride but enjoy the ride to the pub alone or in smaller groups, and then the sociable nature of the Club. Thirty two bikes in total were in the car park and it was great to see some partners had come along.
If you aren’t a Club member but are reading this, come along one Monday night – there is a very friendly feel to the group and it’s a nice way of spending a Monday evening.
Topics varied as always but this week, as well as friendly mockery of "Fruit's" very uncomfortable looking chopper, we pushed to find out who will be helping at the National Rally checkpoint and who will be attending the Codicte Village Day on 21st July. If you'd like to come along to the village day, you can join the parade or just attend the Club stand… or both. If you’re interested, please let Cider Bob know by emailing here.
But don't forget, we have the Club's George Brown Memorial Run before that on 15th July.
Cider Bob is away again next week but why not join Ian Harris for the group ride to the Rifle Volunteer in Ware; or meet there…
…unless you are one of those people who like to watch twenty two over paid prima donnas running around after a bag of air & falling over for no reason, with acting skills that belong on the stage – in which case you’ll probably be staying at home to watch England get knocked out of the world cup?
Monday 21st May 2018
Another cracking summer evening meant fifteen riders turned up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the group ride.
Once again, the array of bikes was great and, this week, included a 650 Panther. Simon, the rider, is very pragmatic and came along to be sociable but did say he didn’t think he’d keep up for long as his top speed was only about 60 mph with comfort below 50 mph.
Never-the-less, day-glo Geoff, this week on his old 750 Honda, took up his usual position behind Simon with a vague intention of keeping the group together.
With the lighter evenings, the rides are longer so, leaving Stevenage, to keep everyone together through the “Junction 8” roundabout traffic lights, we went north on the A1 for one junction.
After bumbling up the nearside lane at barely 50 mph, we came off at Junction 9 and had already left Simon and Geoff behind.
But, we always try to keep the group together so, once safely on the B197 into Baldock, we waited… and waited and eventually, Cider bob, leading the run, was signalled by someone at the back, suggesting we were all there.
So we wandered down into Baldock and then took everyone’s favourite, the A507, to Buntingford.
Half way, in Cottered, we stopped again to allow the tail enders to catch up but after 5 minutes there was still no sign.
Assuming Simon and Geoff had taken their own route, as they suggested may happen, the rest of the group carried on and the pace picked up a little.
Straight on at Buntingford, we turned left at Hare Street, onto the B1368 and took this little know treasure all the way to the A505. From there, it was into Melbourne and Meldeth before heading for Kneesworth. With Bassingbourn in sight, we headed the other way, up to the A505 Royston bypass and then turned right to Lidlington. Although a long way round to for the last mile or so, and frustrating to be on a dual carriageway again for a short distance, it meant we avoided riding directly into the low sun.
We arrived at the Hoops where there were already loads of bikes in the car park. A quick tally up found twenty nine in total.
Everyone was outside enjoying the summer evening and the bar was empty. There was the usual general chat but much was also said about the Air Ambulance charity run which had been a great success at the weekend.
The staff at the Hoops always treat us well and this visit was no different… there was a great selection of food, including hot sausages and other nibbles, chips, and loads of sandwiches.
A great way to spend a summer evening.
We have a group ride to the Speedway this Wednesday so come along on your bike as there is a free snack for members.
There is no Monday night meeting next week as it’s a bank holiday but the following week we will be at the Goat in Codicote.
Monday 14th May 2018
This week, sixteen Club members on their bikes met up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the group ride with another three turning up to be sociable and making their own way to the meeting.
The array of bikes was impressive; from a variety of superbikes, adventures, and modern café racer to a 1970s Honda 750 four.
And it was very sociable, with all sorts of chat going on while we waited in the car park for any last minute stragglers.
But come 19:40 hours, we headed off in one group with Cider Bob leading.
To keep everyone together getting out of Stevenage, we started off by headed up the A602 dual carriageway to Hitchin.
Unfortunately Geoff, who normally brings up the rear in his ultra hi vis suit, couldn’t make it so Cider Bob struggled a little bit keeping an eye on Alex at the back. Alex was in dark clothing with a dark helmet so tended to blend in with others in the group.
None-the-less, the group was kept completely together for the entire route, which took us out to Harlington, then north, alongside the motorway, to Steppingly. Then straight on to the A507 and north onto the A6. We turned off to Haynes and then crossed the A600 to Old Warden. From there, we turned right to Southill and then onto the lovely B658 for some fast sweepers into Shefford, where our destination was the Brewery Tap.
There were even more bikes already parked up at the pub; amongst them, the ubiquitous Blackbirds, the chairman’s KTM and some old Italian thing that’s just about hanging on to life, ridden by the Club’s Secretary, Mick Taylor.
As everyone dismounted, there was a real buzz as everyone seemed to have particularly enjoyed the route, which encompassed slow twisties and fast sweepers with everything in between – and all done in daylight for the first time on a Monday evening this year.
Unfortunately there had been a minor mishap on the way with one bike nudging another at the A600 junction. There was a slight spill but thankfully no damage.
We seem to say this every week but, as always, the pub was filled by the S&DMCC and many members stayed in the beer garden to enjoy the summer evening.
There is less to be said for the rest of the evening as it was basically the same as every Monday night Club meeting – a bunch of like minded motorcyclists meeting up for a chat about just about anything.
But there is a very friendly feel about the Club so, although there are little groups within it, just like any club, many members tend to float about and are welcomed into the various conversations.
That is, of course, until the food is served. Then
it’s every man for himself, throwing women in children aside to get to the buffet before all the food is gone there is a nice orderly queue which forms and almost everyone restrains themselves to make sure there is enough to go round.
This week’s selection was mainly some lovely bread rolls loaded with a variety of fillings and a selection of pork pies, chicken on sticks and various other delights, with a massive selection of Pringles. The rolls were demolished in no time but, surprisingly, some of the other food was less popular with those that raced to be at the front of the queue so, although there was less of a selection for those that were later to the table, there was still plenty to go round and even enough for seconds (and thirds!).
The staff at the Brewery Tap made us welcome and there was a nice atmosphere. It was also nice to see some of the locals sporting Isle Of Man TT shirts – always a good observation for striking up a conversation.
The evening’s chat included talk of who's doing what over the coming weekend with the MCN Festival (formally the BMF Rally) on Saturday and Sunday and the Air Ambulance charity run on Sunday. But there was also a reminder that there is a steam fair at the Hoops in Bassingbourn for those that want to immerse themselves in joys of dirty mechanical history.
The light faded on the evening and members began to leave after 21:30 but the stalwarts were still there at close to closing time.
Next week, we will be at the Hoops in Bassingbourn.
Monday 30th April 2018
A first for the Club this week as the meeting was cancelled due to the weather forecast predicting apocalyptic rain and storms and several of the roads in the Ware area were closed for road works.
But as it turned out, it was a lovely evening and several members went for a ride anyway.
Don't forget - it's the Walkern Fair this coming Sunday
Monday 23rd April 2018
Another great evening for a ride this week and fourteen bikers met up for the group ride from Coreys Mill Sainsburys.
Cider Bob was working so Pete Blackburn led for the first time since getting back on his bike after his long winter off after an operation.
He led the group over to Baldock and then onto the A507 to Buntingford. Then up to Royston, on to Littlington and then through the Mordens to Wrestlingworth and finally ending at the Thornton Arms in Everton.
Unfortunately, Pete managed to lose one on the way but he made it to the pub on his own route.
The pub was packed as always and the food was excellent.
Monday 16th April 2018
It was clearly the first really nice spring Monday evening of the year as we had sixteen riders meet up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the group ride this week.
As always, there were a couple of stragglers so we didn’t get away at 19:30 hours but it wasn’t helped by the lead rider waiting for an R1 rider at the petrol station who turned out not to be who we thought it was… so as he rode off into the distance, the leader felt a bit of a lemon!
We don’t use the “drop off” ride out system as, for some, it can detract from the enjoyment of the ride. Instead, the lead rider makes every effort to keep the group together by waiting at junctions.
The basic rules are:
- Ride at your own pace
- The faster you want to go, the further back in the group you should be
- If you lose sight of the person in front, don’t ride out of your comfort zone. Just keep going straight on, at your pace, until you catch up with them at a turn off, where they will be waiting
- Finally, avoid overtaking other riders in the group
This has worked well for years. Pete Starr managed to lose half of his group once and Cider Bob lost two recently but that’s not bad in all the years we’ve been doing it. Big Geoff tends to “tail end” and he always knows the destination so he can take over in the unlikely event the group gets split up.
We turned right out of Sainsburys and immediately got split up by the traffic lights. The lead group waited at the next lay-by and, once all together, we had a gentle bimble through Stevenage to the Walkern roundabout.
Although it can be frustrating for some, the leader will tend to ride at 5 mph below the posted speed limit to make sure the riders at the back can keep up without going over it.
Once onto the country roads, the speed is normally up to the national limit so as we headed towards Walkern, the twisties of the B1037 should have been great fun. Unfortunately, we got stuck behind a car displaying “P” plates.
Everyone has to learn and we should be tolerant of slower and unconfident drivers but this one caused significant frustration as many of us wondered how she could have ever passed her test – she seemed to think her Mini was the size of a bus and its top speed seemed to be about 25 mph.
It would have been easy for the lead rider to overtake but this would have split up the group so we just put up with it. Fortunately, she turned off towards Bennington as we headed on to Watton at Stone and then Datchworth Green.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before we were behind more slow moving vehicles, although the recent rain had washed quite a bit of gravel onto the Watton Road so those that aren’t happy with the back end wafting about a little bit were probably happy about that.
Once in Woolmer Green, we turned right and then left onto Wych Elm Lane, which took us to the back of Knebworth. It was then over to Nup End, where we turned double right onto Hitchin Lane. It was at this double turn where Cider Bob lost two of group back in the cold and dark of a February ride so this week, he slowed right up to make sure dayglo Geoff at the back of the group was in sight!
From there, it was onto the B656 to Hitchin. Normally, the lead rider won’t tend to overtake slower vehicles when it’s a fairly large group but, with all the frustrations of car drivers who seem incapable of driving to the conditions, the lure of the Codicote to Hitchin roads was too much. So with a van and an Audi in his sights, Cider Bob was past at the first opportunity. He was pleased to see new rider Steve on his Kawasaki W800 wasn’t put off as he followed on the overtakes.
The pace was quite nice for a few of us through the twisties to the Little Almshole turn but the leader slowed up early for the 40 mph limit to allow the others to catch up. It turned out the Audi was so slow that the riders towards the back were a long way behind so, before reaching the Three Moorhens roundabout, the leader pulled over and waited for the whole group to reassemble.
The rest of the ride was a little dull, being through the posted limits of Hitchin to Ickleford, where our destination was the Plume of Feathers.
On arrival at the pub, it was great to see bikes all over the place… a quick count up showed there were thirty three in total. But, as always, a load more members had arrived in their cars and, although many members were enjoying the mild evening outside, the bar was chocka.
It’s always good to see faces of those that have been away through the winter, as well as the regulars.
Chat was as varied as ever and included finding initial interest in a trip to the Isle of Man for the Manx GP next year, volunteers for supporting the National Rally checkpoint on Saturday 8th July and our attendance at the Walkern and Codicote shows.
There was also talk of the charity steam fair being run, as every year, by one of our Monday night pubs, The Hoops at Bassingbourn. If you are free on Saturday 19th May, it’s a great day out. Click here for details.
It wasn’t long before the food came out. The staff at the Plume of Feathers always look after us well but no one could have predicted so many of us turning up this week so, although everyone got some food, it was relatively limited to a bacon sandwich and some chips each. It may have been a little less than some would have liked, but it was more than made up for in quality – superb!
The evening ticked on and some riders started to leave between about 21:30 and 22:00 but many of us stayed on towards closing time.
I know we say it most week, but, as always, it was a very enjoyable social night out.
Have a look at our calendar for next week's destination and other events.
Monday 26th March 2018
It was pouring down with rain this week but it didn't put off two riders, who met this week's brave leader, Pete Starr, at the Coreys Mill Sainsburys for a group ride.
The destination was the Hen & Chickens in Baldock where there was a committee meeting so unfortunately the ride was short as the committee members had to arrive by 20:00 hours.
Fortunately, the sensible riders were wearing waterproofs but Pete was in jeans, as always, which resulted in soggy shrivelled bit where, at his age, he normally only has shrivelled bits!
The weather put off lots of people so it was a quiet night at the pub, which meant there was loads of food to go round.
The committee meeting was quite short but one of the decisions was to postpone this week's planned ride to the speedway due to the very wet conditions. It has been rescheduled for Wednesday 23rd May.
Next week's meeting is a change to the original calendar and will now be at the Plume of Feathers in Ickleford.
Monday 26th March 2018
The clocks went forward at the weekend so lots of riders took “British Summer Time” to mean just that so we had nine riders for the group ride from at Coreys Mill Sainsburys.
It was great to see the faces of some riders who’ve put their bikes away over the winter but bring them out to enjoy the better weather. But it was also good to see the old faithful stalwarts who put up with the worse weather and still enjoy riding in the in the more challenging conditions.
And with BST upon us, the weather had taken a turn for the better and it was a bright and mild evening – very nice conditions for the ride.
The A507 is always a favourite so we headed out over to Walkern with a view to a spin to Baldock but the ride was going so nicely that the leader, Cider Bob, made “on the hoof” changes and went straight on at Cumberlow Green through Rushen to the A505 at Slip End.
Crossing the dual carriageway, we headed on to Aswell and then turned to Hinxworth. After crossing the A1, we continued to Langford, on to Henlow and then finally Stotfold, where our destination was The Crown.
We arrived to find bikes already in the car park and loads of members inside.
This week was the return of our annual Easter Egg charity auction. Loads of members had donated chocolate eggs but special thanks go to Jason and Lisa for their very generous donation of some very special hand made eggs.
The Chairman, Tony “Norbert” Brown was the auctioneer but, after a slow start, he managed to gee everyone up into a spending frenzy, resulting in a very impression £250 being raised. Thanks to all who took part, particularly the two locals who either have lots of children or are destined for a diabetic episode with the amount they bought… and extra special thanks to Keith, the Land Lord, who contributed a small fortune; paying over £60 for one of the hand made eggs!
In no time, the eggs were gone and Keith brought out the food. Well, what a presentation. The food can vary quite a lot, from a few curled up sandwiches to some real treat but this pub is one of those that treats us like kings. The array of food was gastronomically astronomic – not only in quantity but in quality and variety. So thank you for that as well Keith.
As always, the chat was varied but Pete Blackburn passed around a message requesting assistance from members for a Bikestop rideout. There were several volunteers so if you’d like to join the Bikestop group ride on Sunday 8th April, be there at 10:30.
There is no meeting next week as it’s a Bank Holiday but the week after will be at the Hen & Chicken in Baldock. It’s a committee meeting night so the group ride might be short, unless someone else volunteers to lead!
Monday 19th March 2018
Snow returned again over the weekend but it had cleared by Monday but it was still cold and the strong breeze gave a negative wind chill. Four intrepid riders braved the cold to meet up for the group ride.
It was good to see Jason turn up on his new R1200RT – his first ride with us this year.
Although cold (apart from for Jason, who seems to have heated everything on his new beast) and the roads were salted, they were dry and not at all slippery so it was a really enjoyable ride… except for the loss of feeling in fingertips for those of us without a small furnace powering heated grips.
We seem to have done this week’s route a few times recently but it doesn’t make it any less enjoyable… over to Hitchin, then the B655 to Barton-Le-Clay, A6 up to Clophill and then the A507 to Arlesey. Although, as it was such a great night for a winter ride, we added a detour via Henlow Camp toward the end of the ride.
As we arrived at the Vicar’s Inn, it was nice to see Simon’s Sunbeam in the car park. Great to see such as classic still used all year round… no heated grips on that one.
Writing about what happens at the pub can be a little repetitive at this time of year as it boils down to just a loads of blokes with an interest in motorcycling talking about just about any old rubbish. But it’s highly sociable and always entertaining – not lease with the amount of p**s taking that goes on.
The Landlady Teresa and Hazel, behind the bar, made us all really welcome as always and, as always didn’t moan at all when those of us with frozen fingers ask for a warming mug of tea (yes, we know it’s inconvenient to leave the bar and spend time in the kitchen but we appreciate it!).
They also produced a superb spread of food. Along with sandwiches and the sort of things you might expect, they always do something special - some lovely tangy turkey rolls (like sausage rolls but much nicer!), gorgeous cheeses and even salady bits for the vaguely healthy amongst us. And there was an array of cakes to finish with.
The Chairman brought proceedings to a halt momentarily to announce next week’s charity Easter egg auction, which will be at the Crown in Stotfold. Please come along and, if you can, donate an egg or two, and bring some money so you can bid for what you’ve just donated!!!
We hope to see you there.
Please keep an eye on the Calendar and/or Facebook for up-coming events.
Monday 12th March 2018
There had been quite a lot of rain over the weekend and during the day on Monday so we didn’t expect many to turn up for the group ride but four of us left Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the damp ride to Hertford via Walkern and Watton at Stone. We then took the B1000 to Welwyn and ended at the Goat in Codicote.
Although the roads were wet and some of the country roads had a bit of crap washed onto them from the hills and fields, everyone enjoyed it and there were no “iffy” moments.
The Goat is always a popular destination and, as always, the car park was full of Club member’s cars and the bar was chocker.
Fortunately, the bar staff were happy dishing up mugs of tea because it turned out the be quite chilly and there were a few number fingers of the riders.
The food was just a tad late coming out but there was loads of it and everyone got as much as they wanted.
As always, the chat was varied but included some proposed bike trips for this year. And a poster was handed out encouraging everyone to come to the Easter egg auction on 26th March at the Crown, Stotfold.
Next week we will be at the Vicars Inn in Arlesey.
Monday 5th March 2018
After last week’s snow, this Monday was fairly mild although only four riders made it for the group ride.
The route was through Stevenage to Old Knebworth and then the back road to the B656. Unfortunately, even though he only had to keep track of three bikes, for the in all the years Cider Bob has been leading the Monday night rideouts, he managed to loose Geoff who always brings up the rear.
A car managed to squeeze between us between Deards End Lane and Old Knebworth but, in the darkness, it wasn’t obvious it wasn’t poor old Geoff. So as we took a left onto Driver’s End Lane and an immediate left onto Hitchin Lane, Geoff missed the second turn and went straight on to the B656.
As the rest of us arrived at the Codicote Road, Cider Bob noticed Geoff was missing so, after waiting a few moments, leaving James at the junction, Cider Bob & Steve went back to check Geoff was lying in a ditch.
Fortunately he’s far too good a rider to let that happen so as he thundered up the B656, he picked up James and they continued on to the Plume Of Feathers in Ickleford.
After checking all the way back to Knebworth and over to Codicote, and returning to find James had gone, Cider Bob and Steve drew the conclusion they had continued so they made their way to the pub where the others were standing about in the car park having a chat.
By the time we got there, the temperature had dropped a bit so it was teas and coffees all round.
But the rest of the members were already in the bar supping beer or Coke and it wasn’t long before the huge quantity of gorgeous sandwiches and chips were brought out by the really friendly staff.
We will be having an Easter Egg auction at our meeting at the Crown, Stotfold, on Monday 26th March. Please make an effort to attend if you can and, even better, bring a chocolate egg donation!
Next week, join us at Coreys Mill Sainsburys at 19:30 for the group ride to the Goat in Codicote; or join us there.
Monday 26th February 2018
The north wind dith blow this week and we dith have snow (although not much before the end of Monday night)... so Cider Bob was the only one keen enough to be at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the "group ride".
But, it was a committee meeting this week so, as he was alone, he left there and went straight to the Hen & Chickens at Baldock.
Surprisingly, although it was bitterly cold and there was a threat of proper snow, lots of Club members were at the pub and there was a roaring fire to warm everyone up.
At 20:00 the committee assembled for the first meeting since the AGM. There were discussions on all sorts of future activities - what events the Club will fully support and how we will spend our money etc. Have a look at the Events Calendar for a list. All the events in RED will involve the Club's attendance so please contact us here or let the Secretary, Mick Taylor, know if you are interested in attending and/or volunteering to help.
Days for your calendar include:
- 11th April - RYEHOUSE SPEEDWAY
Club rideout and free meal for members
- 6th May - WALKERN FAIR
Club stand requiring bikes to display and volunteers attend
- 20th June – MELDETH MOTORCYCLE SHOW
Volunteers for Club stand and Marshalling please
- 7th/8th July - NATIONAL ROAD RALLY
Volunteers for checkpoint please
- 15th July – GEORGE BROWN MEMORIAL VINTAGE RUN
The main Club event - attend if you can in any capacity (entrant, marshal, spectator etc)
- 18th July - RYEHOUSE SPEEDWAY
Club rideout and free meal for members
- 21st July - CODICOTE VILLAGE DAY
Club stand requiring bikes to display and volunteers attend
But if you have an event or ride you'd like added, let us know.
It was a successful meeting which ended quite swiftly so the committee retired to the bar for the general chit chat.
Not long after, the foot was served and, once again, Tally, the Landlady, did a great spread. Thanks to all who took note our comments regarding piling up your plate... this week there was plenty for seconds for those who were still peckish.
As usual, numbers started thinning out by about 22:00 with just a few stragglers left. But it was another pleasant night with a great atmosphere.
Monday 19th February 2018
A drizzly night and the need to be at the AGM promptly resulted in only two riders turning up for the group ride this week. So, after standing chatting for twenty minutes the riders simply went over to Hitchin, down the B656, through Old Knebworth and back into Stevenage, where the destination was the Cromwell Hotel.
The Hotel had given us a very nice room for the AGM and tea & coffee was provided. As seems to have become tradition, Gary very kindly supplied copious amounts of quality biscuits.
The evening got under way promptly with the President, Pat Barrett, immediately interrupting to announce it was Tony “Norbert” Brown’s fortieth anniversary as Chairman of the Club and was presented with a couple of bottles by way of a thank you.
The Chairman then began with a request for the Secretary’s summary of last years AGM. Mick Taylor gave last year’s account and it was then on to the Treasurer’s report. Pete Starr has, once again, been a “Starr” at this role and, even with money spent on new flags, gazebos and various charities, the Club still ended up about eleven pounds up on last year!
The Chairman’s summary of the past year’s activities was next with thank yous to all those who helped make it successful.
Then it was time to elect the new committee. Fortunately, the thankless tasks of the three Officers (Chairman, Secretary & Treasurer) were not up for reallocation this year so it was just the four support members that needed nominations. Generally, people join a motorcycle club to ride bikes together and talk about bike stuff so there is never a queue for this potentially dull and frustrating activity. As a result, those serving throughout the past year, Gary Jones, Jim Carmichael, Pete Blackburn and Cider Bob, were all proposed, seconded and appointed for the forthcoming year.
We then moved on to other pressing business, with the most notable topic being that of the Monday night food situation. It has been noted that some members treat the food as their evening meal and return for “seconds” before some have had “firsts”. It has been requested that people refrain from pigging out before everyone has had a chance to have some. There was also an agreement to keep the two pound contribution to the food but, as a trial, for the Club to subsidise an uplift in the amount we ask for from the pub.
It should be noted at this point that the quantity and quality of food put out by different pubs varies tremendously. Some are incredibly generous and some are as tight as… a tight thing. But, remember, a single sandwich at most pubs would cost a fiver so its still a good deal.
There was also talk about upping the annual membership subscription but this was kyboshed quite rapidly so the subscription remains the same as it’s been for well over twenty years at a fiver.
We also discussed future use of Club funds and where our charity donations would be directed in the future. The air ambulance remained a firm favourite.
There were also discussions on future activities, such as regular speedway trips, adding the Codicote Day show, Banbury vintage run & others to the calendar as well as all the usual events such as the Walkern Fair and the National Rally etc.
It was a surprisingly interesting and interactive AGM this year with what seemed like some good decisions made for the future.
It ended about 21:30 ish and, while some drifted off into the rainy darkness, several of us retired to the bar to discuss the progress.
In other news:
Ian Harris has been planning a S&DMCC trip to the Pyrenees and has a spare space. Dates are 18th to 25th September - ferries and B&B are already booked. Total cost per rider is £538 without meals & fuel. If you’re interested, he needs a £41.50 deposit, the rest payable in August.
Steve Vaughan is planning a Welsh off roading long weekend if anyone is interested. Just have a chat to him.
If anyone would like to volunteer to assist manning the National Rally checkpoint between 12:00 and 22:00 hours on Saturday 7th July, please have a chat to Dave Price .
We are also looking for supporters for the Walkern Fair on Sunday 6th May, the Meldreth Bike Show on Wednesday 20th June and Codicote Day on Saturday 21st July.
And, the Club’s main event, the George Brown Memorial Vintage Run will be on Sunday 15th July so please attend if you can in any role – on a vintage bike, helping out or just turning up on your modern bike in support – it’s always a great day.
And please keep an eye on the two website calendars. One is the Monday night destinations throughout the year but the other is for any motorcycling activities being suggested at any other time. If you’d like to get involved in any, let us know.
If you have a motorcycling event, rideout or similar you’d like to get people involved with, just contact Cider Bob by clicking here and he’ll get it promoted for you on the website, Facebook, WhatsApp and Text.
Next week’s meeting will be at the Hen & Chickens but will also be the first committee meeting of the new year.
Monday 12th February 2018
Unsurprisingly, it was cold again this week but some hardy bikers turned out for a group ride to the Pig & Whistle at Aston.
It had been planned that Pete Starr would be leaving the ride but he was late off work and couldn’t get there in time so, with the foreseen absence of Cider Bob, with no notice, Steve very kindly took the lead on his Dominator . And it was great to have Jason along for an outing of his shiny new R1200RT… hope you gave it lots of TLC to get rid of the salt when you got it home Jay?
The route was an old favourite… over to Hitchin, then the B656 through Codicote and on to the pub via Watton at Stone.
The pub was well attended and, as always, with friendly and accommodating staff, the food was great.
And with the AGM next week at the Cromwell Hotel, Stevenage, there was lots of chatter about what might come up.
Please make an effort to be there for the AGM… and don’t forget your annual subs!
Monday 5th February 2018
Expecting very cold weather this week, we didn’t think anyone would join Cider Bob at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for a group ride. But the negative temperatures predicted didn’t quite arrive by the time we left the car park at just after 19:30 hours.
So, with it just being cold as opposed to freezing our bits off, five of us met up and bumbled off together through the countryside, finding our way to the always entertaining B656 between Hitchin and Codicote.
The roads were dry so we cracked on at a nice pace and, on arriving at the pub, some of us thought it would have been nice to carry on for an extra few miles.
But we didn’t so, after squeezing our bikes into the few remaining gaps in the car park, we made our way in to the Goat.
We’d arrived a little earlier than normal so it wasn’t packed but there still wasn’t a lot of room to dump all our gear and find a spot.
This is always a popular destination and it wasn’t long before more members arrived and the bar ended up being as packed as always with barely enough room to swing an exhaust silencer.
There was a really good atmosphere and, as usual, lots of chat. The dinner dance, held two days ago, was a hot topic as it had been really well attended and the general feedback was that it had been very successful. If you’d like to read a report on the evening, click here.
Some riders left a bit early due to an early start in the morning or the impending freezing conditions but the evening rattled on to almost closing time for some.
Next week, the ride will be led by Pete Starr and the destination will be the Pig & Whistle at Aston.
Don’t forget, the following week, 19th February, will be the AGM at the Cromwell Hotel.
Monday 29th January 2018
Monday daytime this week was lovely but temperatures plummeted to about 4°C for the evening group ride from Coreys Mill Sainsburys.
Never-the-less, five intrepid riders turned up. Cider Bob led, this week on his DL650, James on his GSX650F, Prateek on his Royal Enfield 500 Classic, Steve on his Honda Dominator and, as usually the case, Geoff bringing up the rear on his trusty BMW R1150RT.
Although the roads had been salted, leaving piles of grit in just the wrong places, the roads were actually fairly dry and it turned out to be a nice ride.
Our route took up to Hitchin via the A602 and then towards Shefford on the A600. But we turned onto the A507 to get us to Henlow where we turned left to Langford and then up to the water tower at the A1.
We generally avoid major routes so we went over the A1 and took the long sweeping left down to the Millow road before turning right towards Hinxworth.
It’s a great road (but better in daylight) which took us to Ashwell. From there, it was left to Newnham and then on to Baldock where our destination was the Hen & Chickens.
Simon was already there on his Sunbeam Panther and both Alex and John had also ventured out on their bikes.
Inside, the pub was full of members but we squeezed in and it wasn’t long before the food was served.
As we’ve seen a few times recently, with so many members coming, the quantity of food doesn’t always go round. It’s very hard to predict how many will turn up. As a result, while most got fed, the Grande Fromages of the Committee went cheeseless.
There was lots of socialising as always and conversations crossed many spectrums. But, of course, motorcycling related topics featured greatly and there was much talk of this coming Saturdays Dinner Dance.
There were also a few conversations regarding the Bikestop/S&DMCC National Rally checkpoint in the old town on 7th/8th July. We think we have it covered but, if you’d like to get involved, email us here.
Possibly due to the impending ice, it thinned out a tad early with most people having left by not long after 22:00.
Next week, we will be at the Goat in Codicote.
And it’s not too late to get your Dinner Dance tickets if you want to join us for our posh do.
Monday 22nd January 2018
With temperature into double figures during the day, it was unseasonably mild for tonight's ride to our meeting at the White Lion in Baldock.
The rideout from Coreys Mill Sainsburys was well attended for the time of year. Six of us met up and had a little chat in the car park which included possibly routes bearing in mind a burst water main in Cromer and some sort of crash near junction 9 of the A1 causing traffic mayhem.
Undeterred, we set off for Watton at Stone via the A602 and then took the back road to Walkern. We carried on to Cromer but, being a hardy bunch, we headed up to the mill and the envisaged torrent of water rather than taking the easy option by turning left to Cumberlow Green.
It was the right decision as the waves of water turned out to be a bit of a trickle down each side of the road so we ploughed on to Cottered. From there, we took the obvious route of the A507 to Baldock.
By the time we got to the pub, the temperature had dropped a fair bit so, although not freezing, heated grips saw a little action.
Parking outside the White Lion is always easy for bike and we were all able to park up next to a BMW already there.
Inside, the pub was fairly quiet in the first bar but moving on through to the bar we frequent, it became evident that it was a very good turnout of Club members as there was barely standing room.
It was a really good atmosphere and it was't long before the food arrived. And lovely food it was - quite a few sandwiches, chips, pies, samosas etc. The pub staff did us proud and even with such a large number of us, there was still enough to keep everyone sufficiently fed.
While on the subject of food, its going to be proposed at the AGM that we increase the weekly contribution to £3 to make sure we keep getting served enough good quality food for everyone. If you'd like your say in advance of the AGM, let us know by this on this green link.
Members began to leave from about 21:30 with the last of us leaving about 22:30. It was a thoroughly enjoyable night. Thanks to all who came along and to the pub staff for looking after us.
Next week, we will be at the Hen & Chickens, again in Baldock.
And don't forget, it's not too late to get your dinner dance tickets by calling Mick Taylor on 01438 354130 or clicking on this green link.
Mon 15th January 2018
Cider Bob couldn't lead the run this week but 5 riders turned up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys and sorted themselves out with a route to the Plume of Feathers in Ickleford.
It was a chilly but nice night for a ride and, arriving at the pub, one of the members had thought the same, arriving on his classic BMW.
There was about twenty two other members already at the pub but the staff laid on loads of lovely food so everyone got plenty.
There's not much more to say about these winter meetings. But it won't be long until the spring when we'll have longer rides and more to write about.
Next week we will be at the White Lion, Baldock SG7 6BJ
Mon 8th January 2018
After a quiet few weeks, it was a quiet first meeting of the new year, which was at the Hen & Chickens.
Only three of us met at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the rideout but, unfortunately, Geoff's highly reliable BMW was less reliable this week but after a bit of fiddling, it was sufficiently repaired to get him home. This meant we left the car park a little late and, with a committee meeting to get to, it was a short ride via Willian to the pub.
There was only one bike there, but it was welcomed along with its rider who joined the club for the first time.
The committee meeting involved the usual sort of dull discussions that keep the Club ticking over as well as finalising the Dinner Dance.
Don't forget to get your Dinner Dance tickets from Mick Taylor.
Next Monday's meeting will be at the Plume of Feathers – Ickleford SG5 3YD
Mon 11th December 2017
It was the Christmas Social this week. It’s always a great event and this year was no different. The even was the Club’s headquarters at the Hen & Chickens and it was very well attended with over fifty members.
We don't tend to have a group ride to this event but the snow this week meant even the most hardy were sensible enough to avoid two wheels.
“Lock, Stock and Basil” provided superb live entertainment, although earplugs would probably have been useful when Gordon started to join them with his dulcet tones!
There was a banquet of comestibles put on by Tally, the Land Lady with huge amounts of food and such variety that there was something for everyone. This year the Club footed the bill and coughed up for free drinks too.
As always, there was a raffle to help raise some funds for the Club and for charity. Now you go to some events and the raffles are a bit poor but, due to some very generous donations, our raffle was very well worth entering and there were lots of smiles for the winners.
Thanks to those involved in organising what was a most excellent evening.
Next week’s meeting is the last of 2017 and will be at the Pig & Whistle, Aston.
Mon 4th December 2017
For a December evening, it was quite mild this week and, if the roads had been salted, it hadn’t been for long so most of them were fairly dry for the group ride from Coreys Mill Sainsburys.
Most riders probably thought the roads would be greasy and the ride wouldn’t be fun so there were only five of us. But they were wrong and we were right to give it a go as it turned out to be a great ride.
It wasn’t cold and, with dry roads, the only things to be wary of were inconsiderate car driver’s (but that’s normal!) and suicidal deer (although, fortunately we didn’t come across any of them).
Always keen to mix it up a bit, we took some country roads to Hitchin, via Titmore Green, and then took the Pirton road. From there, we headed over to the A6, up to the A507 and over to Baldock, via Norton.
In Baldock, we headed up the high street to our destination which was the White Lion.
Even though there were only five of us on the ride, the pub was heaving with nearly forty members.
There was a really good atmosphere in the pub but, due to the unexpectedly high turnout, the chips disappeared far too quickly. There was enough other nibbles but a couple of members popped over to the chippy!
With so many people, it was hard to keep track of all the different conversations but, as is often the case, the variety of subjects was wide ranging.
Numbers started thinning out about 22:00 with the last of us leaving just before 23:00. Another great night.
Next week we will be back at the Hen & Chickens for the Christmas social so join us on your bike or in your car, as a rider/driver or passenger, alone or with your partner for all the festivities. It’s always a cracking night but remember to bring extra cash for the raffle – this year it has some extra special prizes!
And, don’t forget your tickets for the dinner dance…
Mon 27th November 2017
The roads had been salted this week but it had also been raining so the weather wasn’t ideal but it didn’t stop six bikers turning up at 19:30 for the group ride to the pub.
It’s always hard to come up with new routes each week when we are just staying locally and this week was no different. As a result, we took a route we’ve done a few times recently, taking us via Walkern, Cottered and on to Baldock, where our destination was the Club’s head quarters, the Hen & Chickens.
Fortunately, although most of the gritted roads were damp and slightly greasy, once we exited Stevenage, the roads were almost dry which made the ride fun, even in the cold.
The pub was heaving with members this week. Possibly because it was the annual photographic competition or possibly because several members live in Baldock. Either way, it was great to see so many turn up on a winter night.
The down side is that, exceptionally, the great spread of food put on by the land lady, Tally, didn’t quite go round so some didn’t get a chance to eat.
On the plus side, there was lots of interest in the photographic competition, with mixture of photographs entered, from motorcycles, motorcycle related subjects, landscapes and even some random but high quality photos of buildings.
Judged by Cider Bob, the third place was a great shot of Michael Dunlop riding the Classic TT but Gordon Hallet. Unfortunately, it was very slightly out of focus… but he was probably travelling at about 100mph at the time! Second place was Pete Blackburn’s photo of his own Triumph set against a background of the Isle of Man. Another nice photo but slightly lacking in definition.
The winner of the completion was Nick Eliason who had a technically excellent photo of a shack... just a shame there was no motorcycle in it!
It's that time of year that we start reminding you the annual Club Dinner Dance is coming up. It's always a great night and includes a lovely dinner, followed by the annual awards and then live music by Lock, Stock & Basil.
It's different to our usual meetings so please support the Club and buy your ticket from the Club Secretary Mick Taylor. The cost has been held down at £35 again this year.
One last thing; as the web master, I'm very interested to know if anyone ever actually reads this drivel. If so, feel free to click here and press send or actually give me some useful feed back. Thanks
Mon 20th November 2017
This week was the annual quiz night which was held at the Pig and Whistle, Aston.
It was pouring with rain and only James turned up to join Pete Starr, who’d stepped in to lead for Cider Bob, for the “group ride”. But the weather didn’t put them off and they went for a half hour ride to the pub.
Unfortunately, it’s never easy to know how many will turn up on any one week and, although the Chairman had put together an extensive 100 question quiz, the evening was not well attended (although that could be because the Chairman had put together an extensive 100 question quiz!!).
With only about 20 members at the pub, it didn’t take too long to rattle through the questions and it was then on to the fine food put out by the land lord.
A quiet but enjoyable evening.
Mon 13th November 2017
Slightly milder this week but still too cold for a lot of motorcyclists. But. None-the-less, ten of us met up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for the group ride to the Vicars Inn in Arelsey.
We don’t often do the B656 northbound so we headed south to Knebworth and then over to Old Knebworth before cracking on to Codicote to join the Hitchin Road.
After getting into the 40mph limit, we turned right and took the twisties past the Redcoats Hotel and then on to Great Wymondley.
We then took the ever popular Willian road to Hitchin and then headed over to Arlesey.
There were a few bikes in the pub car park but in the pub, the bar was chocker with Club members.
As always, Hazel had put on a terrific spread of food with something for all tastes and delicate little flags telling us what each dish was. And, as always, there was more than we could eat.
It’s always a favourite pub and for the riders with chilly fingers, there’s never any moaning from behind the bar when mugs of tea are asked for. Thanks Hazel.
Next week we will be at the Pig & Whistle, Aston. There will be a group ride, led by Pete Starr, but it will be relatively short as we’ll need to be at the pub by 20:15 as it’s the annual quiz night.
If you don’t fancy joining us for the ride, meet us there and you can join a team to challenge the grey matter.
Mon 6th November 2017
Another chilly night this week and roads had been salted so the roads were a bit damp.
None-the-less, six intrepid bikers turned up for the group ride from Coreys Mill Sainsburys.
After a short discussion, its was decided everyone was up for a reasonable length ride but, with the Goat in Codicote being the destination, Geoff was keen to take in the joys of the B656 to get there.
So, rather than going south to Hertford, we headed over to Gravelly and then took a left to Great Wymondley. The route then took us to Willian and Hitchin before taking the “big dipper” to Wilbury and then back to hitchin, via Ickleford.
That took us to the north end of the B656 and were we headed south to Codicote.
It was a really nice ride and turned out not to be as cold as it felt when standing around in the Sainsburys car park.
As is usually the case, the Goat was full of members who’d gone straight there, both in cars and on bikes.
The pub provided a pile of burgers in buns, pizzas and chips, which went down very well.
Next week’s meeting will be at the Vicars Inn in Arlesey. The Landlady there always puts on a mightily impressive spread so don’t have any dinner before coming to the pub.
Mon 30th October 2017
The clocks went back this weekend which seemed to be like a switch for the cold weather as this Monday saw the first chilly night of the winter.
But the cold didn’t put many off the group ride from Coreys Mill Sainsburys. Unfortunately, what did reduce the number of riders was lots of members going straight to the pub in cars because this week was the annual Club auction.
The auction night is always very entertaining. Members bring things they no longer use (or, in some cases, brand new things) which, as the name suggest, are auctioned off to the highest bidders.
It hard for those without top boxes/panniers/tank bags etc to carry stuff so we only had six on the group ride. It didn’t help that we'd advertised a short ride as we had to be at the pub for 20:30 when the Chairman was due to start yelling out what’s for sale.
So, with that in mind, it was a short but fun ride over to the A507, via Walkern and Cottered and then straight down into Baldock to the Hen & Chickens.
On our arrival, it was good to see the pub jam packed with members and the auction got under way soon after.
Bidding was somewhat less than enthusiastic but Gary got things rolling with a huge bag of earplugs for £1.50 – what a bargain!
Lots consisted of all sorts… some really cracking stuff like a bottle of £100 brandy and a new £100 Dainese back protector through a range of books, magazines, bike bits, right down to some old tat.
Fortunately, while the astute got some really good deals, a drunk local in the corner of the pub kept bidding on all sorts of stuff he didn’t want, which kept the interest.
Not the best result but with over £160 raised for the Club and the Air Ambulance, along with the entertainment of the evening, it can only be considered a success. Thanks to all those who contributed.
Once the auction was done, Tally, the Landlady, brought out huge amounts of great food. She must have been slaving away in the kitchen for hours because it just kept coming.
Being a cold night, some riders began to leave from about 21:30 but many stayed ‘til closing time.
But, as it turned out, it had warmed up very slightly throughout the evening so when one hardy rider left, he went off for a 20 mile ride rather than hooning straight home.
Next week is at the Goat in Codicote.
And for those interested, we’ve been contacted by the Birchanger services organisers of the Ring of Red (Ride of Respect) asking for volunteers to Marshal so, if your are interested, send us a message and we’ll pass on the details.
Mon 23rd October 2017
This week saw our first visit to the Crown in Stotfold. An absolutely superb destination and we were really well looked after by Keith, the Land Lord, who put on all sorts of homemade food including a huge gala pie and pickles.
Unfortunately, we only had twenty turn up for the meeting which is a real shame as not all the food was eaten. Next year we will plan this pub for one of the summer months.
The ride to the pub was fairly well attended with eight joining this week’s leader, Pete Star.
Pete created a great route which took in the A507 from Buntingford, through Baldock and over to Willian and then Hitchin before thrashing up the “big dipper” to Wilbury and straight on to Stotfold.
Although not huge numbers, a thoroughly enjoyable first visit to the Crown.
Mon 16th October 2017
A Hurricane hitting Ireland meant blustery conditions in Hertfordshire – but it didn’t put off the eleven riders who met up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys for this week’s ride to the pub.
Our destination was the Pig & Whistle, Aston, but apart from the stiff breeze, it was a mild and dry evening and almost ideal motorcycling weather. So we had a twenty four mile ride that took us to Willian, via the Wymondleys, then “straight over” the A505 (via the longabout) onto Radburn Way… a little known, short but very nice piece of road for motorcycling. That took us over the A1 and into Baldock.
With most people on 600cc+ bikes, we try to get in some faster roads each week, as well as some twisties, so, as we so often do, we then headed up the A507 to Cottered. For those that don’t know, Motorcycle News (MCN) once rated this as one of the top 10 roads in England. Having ridden a lot of English roads, we are not sure that’s quite right but it’s certainly great fun and conveniently local to our Club. In fact, our Club headquarters, the Hen & Chickens, is conveniently located about 50 yards from the start of this great stretch of track road.
When we plan routes, we try not to go over the same piece of road twice in one ride but we were all enjoying the ride so, rather than turning right at Cottered to make our way down to Walkern, we carried on up to Buntigford, recip’d at the A10 came hooned back to Cottered where, this time, we turned left towards Walkern.
The roads are twisty but fast once past Walkern and, in no time, we turned right to take us into Aston where we found another twelve bikes filling up the pub car park.
Inside the Pig & Whistle, all the “old boys” who’d arrived in cars were huddled around a few tables and the “not quite so old boys” who’d arrived on all sorts, from a 2017 Honda Forza 300cc scooter to an old pile of bits known as an Aprillia Falco. Fortunately, when the group ride arrived, the average age of the Club members present dropped from about seventy to about forty. But if you are youngsters looking for a club, don’t let that put you off – we are always pleased to see the younger generation getting into bikes.
This pub is always a popular destination and the staff were as welcoming as ever. The food started coming out about 21:00 and, for a short time, it looked like we might go a bit hungry. But the Landlord, who serves up excellent food, just kept bringing more and more out. So, by the end of the night, we were all stuffed.
Some of us (including the author of this pointless and probably hardley ever read blog) had to leave early for one reason or another but many stayed up until closing time.
The ride home was also mild but rain started to fall by about 22:00 so some would have got a bit damp. But, as we all know, riding in the rain can be entertaining and, with enough practice, can be almost as much fun as riding in the dry.
We mentioned the annual Club auction on last week’s blog but we’d like to plug it again… 30th October at the Hen & Chickens from about 20:00. Please come along and support it. If you can, please bring along anything you no longer want but someone else could make use of. A bit of the proceeds goes to the pub but most goes to the Air Ambulance.
Have a look at the Calendar for next week’s destination.
Mon 9th October 2017
Once again this week, the weather was nice. Mild temperature and dry roads resulted in a fun ride. The usual ride leaders, Cider Bob and Pete Blackburn could be there for the ride out so Ian Harris kindly stepped in.
The destination was the Plume of Feathers, Ickleford, and his route took a group of eight out of Stevenage via the A602 to Hertford, then heading over to Digswell via the B1000 and then up to Hitchin on the B656, finishing at the pub.
There were quite a lot of the Club already at the pub but there was plenty of top notch food to go round.
For those who try to keep the Club active, there was a short committee meeting. There was little of note so it finished in good time so the committee members also got some food (which is a nice change as it’s often demolished before the meeting is over).
There was some chat about the Ride to The Wall – an excellent day’s ride to the National Arboretum in Staffordshire.
On a similar note of remembering fallen heros, don’t forget the Ride of Respect / Ring of Red on Sunday 12th November.
Next week’s meeting is at the Pig & Whistle, Aston, SG2 7DY.
On 30th October, the annual Club auction will be at the Hen & Chickens - please come along and support it. There's usually some really good stuff that goes very cheap - and a large proportion of the proceeds goes to charity. If you can, please bring along anything you no longer want but someone else could make use of.
Mon 2nd October 2017
The first week of October and the weather could not have been nicer. Which was reflected by the excellent turnout of 13 bikes.
Not only was it a good turnout but even the usual late stragglers turned up on time so we were away from the Corey’s Mill Sainsbury’s car park by 19:35.
It’s much harder for the lead rider to keep everyone together in the dark, even with Geoff in his Mr Day-Glo suit at the back, so to start with we trundled up the A602 dual carriageway to Hitchin, which meant everyone stayed together after the traffic lights on the Junction 8 roundabout.
What also helped keep everyone together was new lad James’ being near the back with bright blue running lights on his GSX.
Because of the dark, it was decided to stay off the dark, twisty roads and stick more to the sweeping bends of the A roads and fast B roads. So, once into Hitchin, we took the B655 to Barton-Le-Clay, where we turned north on the A6 to the A507 at Clophill. We then blatted to Shefford, where we took the B658 towards Upper Caldecote.
At the G&M Growers roundabout, we turned right, crossed the A1 and took the relatively new road around the back of Biggleswade. This was probably a bit frustrating for Simon and Alison who rode all the way the Stevenage for the ride out, only to come straight past their house in Biggleswade.
We then took a roundabout route to the pub, The Chequers, at Wrestlingworth, via Potton.
Another ten bikes were at the pub and inside was crowded. And with another new member joining, this year’s membership has topped 100.
Riders started to leave from about 21:30, but many of us stayed until almost closing time. Whatever time members left, they had a lovely ride home in lovely weather and bright moonlight.
Don’t forget, this coming Saturday will be the Ride To The Wall. Unfortunately Roy normally arranges the ride but he can’t go this year so we don’t have a formally arranged group Club ride. Please contact us or put a note on our Facebook page if you’d like to lead a ride for this very worthwhile annual event.
Next week’s meeting is at the Plume Of Feathers, Ickleford.
Mon 25th September 2017
This week the ride was led by Pete Starr as neither Cider Bob nor Pete Blackburn could make it.
Seven riders met up with Pete at Coreys Mill Sainsburys and were led out to Baldock, via Graveley. From there it was over the A507 to Buntingford and then on to Hare Street.
Turning left, it was up the extremely popular B1368 to Flint Cross. While whisking their way up towards Barkway, the riders were treated to a display of tawny owls swooping across the road, some possibly a bit closer than was comfortable!
From Flint Cross, it was over to Melbourn and then down the A10 to Bassingbourn. Passing through Lidlington, it was on to Steeple Morden and finally ending at the Edward VII at Guilden Morden.
Although there had been rain during the day, the roads had dried out for the ride, which helped make the ride even more enjoyable.
As always, there were lots of members at the pub but there was plenty of food served up by Kirk, the Landlord so everyone got their fill.
It was another good night and the ride home was also dry.
Next week we will be at the Chequers, Wrestlingworth.
Mon 19th September 2017
The evenings are drawing in and this coming Friday will be the autumnal equinox so only three months to the shortest day of the year. This means although we met at about 19:20 in daylight, it was dust by the time we left Sainsburys car park at Coreys Mill for the rideout.
But even though it was getting dark and it was a little chilly, it was great to have nine bikes out for the group ride, including a new member on his GSX650F – welcome James.
It’s always difficult trying to come up with new routes as we tend to visit the same areas throughout the year and this week was no different. So we headed off over to Walkern and up to the A507 at Cottered.
Light rain began to fall which made visibility a tad poor so, with initial thoughts of continuing straight on at the Cumberlow Green junction, the ride leader thought everyone would prefer the more major route so we stayed on the A507 to Baldock.
But, we always avoid dual carriageways where possible, so instead of heading up the A505, we took the Bygrave road to Ashwell, then on the Steeple Morden, where we turned right to Litlington and finally on to Abington Piggott where our destination was the Pig & Abbot.
We got a little damp but just as we arrived, the heavens opened and it hammered down.
We had postponed this visit to the Pig and Abbot due to some refurbishment work so, unusually, we were at this pub in the dark. This was the first time any of us could remember being at there and not standing outside in sunshine. But, with darkness and pouring rain, we shoehorned ourselves in to this very popular pub along with the locals, people who’d come for a nice meal and a load of pedal cyclists (why ride something that doesn’t have an engine?).
As always, the Landlord served huge amounts of lovely food for the Club, which was demolished quite successfully… particularly as the Maurices were sitting right next to the main table of food!
Unfortunately, Cider Bob had to leave early, after demolishing his fair share of food, but, as a result, was caught in the watery deluge. But a good set of waterproofs kept the rain out. Unfortunately for some of the others, their leathers were not so watertight.
Some of the roads home were flooded so it’s likely the Club members that arrived in cars had a chuckle at the challenge faced by the riders. But that’s all part of what makes motorcycling so fun.
It was an entertaining night and we hope to continue seeing lots of riders out for the group runs as we head through autumn into winter.
Next Monday we will be at the Edward VII, Guilden Morden.
Mon 11th September 2017
While the Caribbean and Florida suffered devastating hurricanes this week, in Hertfordshire, we suffered bright sunshine one moment and very heavy rain the next. So, once again. expecting no one but the ride leader to brave the weather, we were very pleasantly surprised with six turning up for the ride out from Corey's Mill Sainsburys.
Apparently, there was a crash on the A602 between Stevenage and Hitchin so we waited in very light drizzle for any stragglers and finally got under way at 19:40.
Our initial intention was to head over to Hitchin on the dual carriageway, then go down the B656 to Codicote but after waiting for a full sequence of the traffic lights with no movement of vehicles at all, there was a change of plan and we headed to the B656 through Stevenage, via Titmore Green.
By now, although the roads were wet, there was no rain and it was a really nice ride , continuing onto the B1000 to Hertford and then to the A602. Although there were roadworks, we opted to wait for the temporary traffic lights rather than risk Anchor Lane as it was thought it was likely to be flooded.
We got baulked again in Ware as the B1004 was closed for road works but, after a short detour, we arrived at the Angel. Unfortunately, as we chatted about the ride, poor old Geoff explained that he had dropped back a bit because his wing mirror had fallen off on the Wadesmill Road. So, if anyone has an R1150RT wing offside mirror they don't want, I'm sure he'd be pleased to take it off your hands!
It was apparent the poor weather even put off many of the car driving members so the group was unusually small, with only about twenty of us at the pub. But the banter was flowing, as always, and we were looked after very well by the staff.
A few of us left early to go looking for Geoff's mirror, but unfortunately we were unsuccessful in the dark.
Next week is another change from the original calendar. The refurbishment of the Pig & Abbot is complete so we will be there, where we always receive a good welcome and get mountains of great food.
Mon 4th September 2017
There was no meeting last week due to the Bank Holiday so we thought there would be lots of riders keen to get out on the rideout this week.
As the ride leader turned up at 19:15, it looked unlikely as there were no bikes in the Sainsburys car park. The thought was the the very dark clouds and high pressure, giving the distinct impression of an incoming storm, had put people off but, moments later, the stalwart tail end rider, Geoff, arrived on his BMW R1150RT.
It soon became evident that the weather hadn't put many off as more riders kept arriving and we ended up with twelve in the group.
Two routes had been planned - to account for good and bad weather. But, brave soles all, we opted for the longer, more twisty run, no matter what the weather. This took us out of Hertfordshire via the Wymondleys, Willian and Hitchin before cracking on into Bedfordshire, through Lower Stondon and Shefford before heading up to Upper Caldecote and then the Sandy roundabout. A few hundred yards on the A1 got us to New Road where we turned left and then, by Sandy railway station, a right and left towards Everton.
This last part of the ride, through some lovely country lanes, was a tad slower as it was dark by then, but the road took us straight to our destination - the Thornton Arms.
As we always end up writing at this point... the pub was full of "the old boys" who'd arrived in cars... and it was nice to see another eight bikes parked up, with three more arriving later on.
The bar staff at the Thornton Arms were as friendly as ever and had laid on a great spread of food consisting of a vast amount of very nice chips, accompanied by a mountain of tasty sandwiches, which was put out just as the group rideout arrived - perfect timing!
Chat throughout the evening included all the sort of stuff you would expect of a bunch of bikers - bikes and biking, mechanical stuff and general chit chat, as well as tales of the Manx GP, from which lots of Club members had just returned.
There was also a bit of chat about Shed Fest at Bennington but it seems that particular endeavour has bitten the dust so we, as a Club, won't be attending this year if anything does eventually come of it.
The pub was pretty full until about 21:30 when a few individuals began to drift away but at 22:00, there were still plenty of members chatting away.
A few then left as individuals or small groups and those heading back to Stevenage with a blat down the A1 ended up getting caught in light drizzel but it way, none-the-less a very pleasant was to spend an evening.
We should have been at the Pig & Abbot next week but the pub will be shut for refurbishment so we are currently planning an alternative. Please keep an eye on the calendar and/or our Facebook page, or just turn up at the Coreys Mill Sainsburys car park at 19:30 next Monday and you will be led to the new destination.
Mon 21st August 2017
It was overcast this week with the threat of rain so we weren't expecting many riders to turn out for the rideout from Coreys Mill. But we were pleasantly surprised by the large turnout at the Sainsbury's car park.
But our regular meeting point coincided with the 5 Counties motorcycle club this week so it was nice to catch up with some of the former S&DMCC members that we haven't seen for a while. The 5 Counties group left before us as our group swelled in numbers before we headed off at about 19:40.
We started with a bit of a dull blat up the A1 to junction 9 so we could quickly get onto the A507 from Baldock to Buntingford - always a favourite. We then headed south on the A10 and left onto the A120 to Bishops Stortford.
We then got onto the B1004 but, although a lovely biking road in the daylight, by this time it was starting to get a bit dark so, although fun, it was a bit slower than it would have been in better light.
That took us to Ware and the Rifle Volunteer where we were met by Club members who had made their way directly to the pub. The car park was full of bikes and most of the members were in the car park, enjoying the warm summer evening.
As always, there was lots of chatter about all sorts of things, but mainly motorcycle related. There were more speedway trips planned, there was talk of various ad hoc weekend rideouts and Ben's plans for his bike replacement were mulled over as we munched our way through huge amounts of fried food served up by the pub staff.
If you'd like to come along to join us for the pre meet rideout or you want to join us at the Monday night meet for general chat and a sociable evening with like minded people, just come along and introduce yourself.
Have a look at the Gallery for photos of our Monday evenings, including this week.
It's a bank holiday this coming Monday so no planned Club meeting but several members will be riding down to Hoddesdon to the Rye House speedway. If you want to join us, meet at the layby outside The Chequers, Bragbury End, at 18:30.
Mon 14th August 2017
The weather was perfect this week. It was a warm and dry evening made even better by low cloud cover (so no sun in the eyes). This brought out 11 riders for the ride out from the Coreys Mill Sainsburys to the Playing Fields Club in Upper Caldecote.
As last week's planned route was cut short due to the poor weather, we opted to try again this week but ending in Upper Caldecote instead of Shefford. Although the speed was adapted for the slowest rider, it was still a nice route and some entertaining roads with great bends.
Unfortunately we forgot to take some photographs before the start of the ride and with it taking about an hour, it was a bit too dark by the time we parked up.
But, on arrival, there were about another 8 bikes already in the car park and the usual crowd who'd arrived in their cars.
the rideout arrived just in time as "food's ready" was called just as we walked in. As is always the case, the Playing Fields Club served up excellent food in the form of chilli on jacket spuds with enough for two for some of the hungry members... and three for the ride leader!
Tonight was also the second round of the cheese skittles competition. It was well attended and cheeses were flying everywhere. Results of the competition, held over two legs at the Playing Fields Club:
- Martyn Patmore
- Mark Browning
- Bob Voss
- Cider Bob
- Pete Blackburn.
Amongst other things, there was a bit of a chat about ride outs - Steve Vaughan is contemplating a run to Hunstanton this coming weekend so if you are interested, please reply to the Facebook message.
Next week is a change to the original calendar. Due to a change of landlord at the planned pub, we will now be at the Rifle Volunteer, Ware.
Mon 7th August 2017
Saturday night was our Club subsidised excursion to Rye House for an evening of very entertaining speedway. Unfortunately the local boys, Ryehouse Rockets, were trashed by Swindon. But it was a well attended event and after a quick rain shower as everyone left home, by the time we met up at the Chequers, the sun was shining and the roads were pretty much dry. It stayed that way for the whole evening and we got home in the dry at about 22:00. Everyone agreed it was a very successful night.
The weather for this week's Monday night meeting was not so good. It was too wet for any photo but we still had a surprisingly good turnout of 7 riders who braved the weather and enjoyed an initially wet route over the Barton-Le -Clay via Apsley End and then up the A6 to the A507. Fortunately the rain stopped and even the roads were dry for the next few miles. Due to the weather the original route, planned to take us to towards Woburn and Haynes before cutting back to Shefford via Old Warden, was cut short but with the dry roads, we picked up the original plan from the A600, past Shuttleworth and through Stamford before arriving at the Brewery Tap in Shefford.
Only Garry was there with his bike at the pub but inside, as usually the case, the pub was crammed with members who preferred the comfort of 4 wheels and a roof as their chosen transport.
It was a good job lots of us were because the massive spread of food was even too big for all of us. We made our best efforts at demolishing the impressive variety of sandwiches, pizza, flan, chips, garlic mushrooms, pork pies, breaded chicken, etc etc... the list could go on and on. There was even salad... although, unsurprisingly, that was less popular! And if that wasn't enough, there were cakes for afters. Thanks to the Landlord for the great food and warm welcome we received from him and his bar staff.
A few of the riders left fairly early to avoid the imminent heavy rain but many stayed later into the evening with the members of the "light car section". A very sociable night.
Next week we will be at the Playing Fields Club, Upper Caldecote. As always, meet us at Corys Mill Sainsburys at 19:30 if you'd like to join the ride or meet us at the venue.
We are always keen to hear your views on how the Club is run or how we do our rideouts so if you have any comments, please get in touch. Likewise, if you want to lead the Monday night ride or plan a rideout on a different dayy, let us know.
Mon 31st July 2017
If you have a look at the Gallery on the Club's website you'll see we had another great turnout for the ride from Coreys Mill Sainsburys this week.
Pete Blackburn led the ride which wound it's way around the countryside of Herts, Beds and Cambs for about an hour before arriving at The Hoops in Bassingbourn.
As is often the case, the car park of the pub was already half full of bikes and with the fine weather, many riders were enjoying the evening outside.
As with most of the pubs we visit, the staff at the Hoops are always pleased to see us and looked after us with a great spread of food.
Don't forget, this coming Saturday, 5th August, is the Rye House Speedway night at Hoddesdon. There’s no need to book - just turn up at the lay-by outside The Chequers, Bragbury End on your bike at 17:45 to leave at 18:00. First race 19:00 & last is 21:00. Entry is £18 but any member going on a bike will be reimbursed by the Club.
Mon 24th Jul 2017
Some members travel a fair distance to join us for our Monday evening ride outs. A couple of them left their homes in lovely weather this week but in Stevenage, the heavens had opened and the roads were wet but it didn't put off lots of us as we had a very enthusiastic twelve riders on the run.
It was great to see so many out on such a miserable nigh and a warm welcome to new members Dave and Sharron on their pair of Honda NC750s.
The ride started with a blat up the motorway to Junction 10, where we took the road to Newnham and on to Ashwell and Steeple Morden. We turned towards Litlington and carried on through Bassingbourn, to Meldreth. After a few hundred yards on the A505, we turned onto the B1368 for the trek down to finish at Hare Street. Unfortunately, the road was shut in Barkway so we missed out on the last few beautiful twisties and had to settle for the A10 to Buntingford, via Reid.
On the plus side, by the time we got into Cambridgeshire, the weather and roads had dried out a lot and it stayed that way all the way to The Beehive.
As always, loads of other, members were already at the pub and were tucking in to the excellent BBQ food put on by the staff.
The pub was rammed so lots of us enjoyed the mild evening outside while smelling the continuing aromas emanating from the Barbie as more and more food was served up.
It was another entertaining and sociable night and another really successful summer BBQ.
Unfortunately the planned speedway night this coming Saturday has been cancelled by the track so we have rescheduled for Saturday 5th August. There’s no need to book - just turn up at Coreys Mill Sainsburys on your bike at 17:45 to leave at 18:00. First race 19:00 & last is 21:00. Entry is £18 but any member going on a bike will be reimbursed.
Next week we will be at the Hoops, Bassingbourn but, as always, meet us at Coreys Mill Sainsburys at 19:30 is you want to join the group ride.
Mon 17th July 2017
The weather this week was excellent once again and lots of members took advantage of the warm and dry evening and late daylight.
As always, those wanting to join the group ride met at Coreys Mill Sansburys at 19:30. Unfortunately, the petrol station is currently shut for refurbishment so we were a bit late getting away after some had to divert for fuel.
We didn't count but there were about 16 in the group, consisting mainly of sports bikes but with a few other nice pieces of machinery. After injury, Cider Bob was back on a bike but opted for his little 250 trail bike. Not being particularly quick, particularly on knobblies, he suggested following up at the rear but a lack of volunteers to lead the ride resulted in him taking the front. This turned out not to be a problem as it was quick enough through the twisties, as the chicken strips that might have been there rapidly wore away and, nailing its throttle wide open, could just about muster an indicated 75 on the dual carriageways.
It's always a challenge coming up with new routes but tonight's was partly a reverse of that often ridden. Starting with the familiar buzz through Great Wymondley to Willian, spinning round the longabout, we picked up 2 more members from the Shell garage, and then on to Willian Road to Baldock. It was then onto the A507 where the sports bikes were probably held up a touch by the screaming little trailie at the front.
But at the A10, Buntingford, as always, we waited until the full group was back together. As a responsible Club, we don't pressurise anyone to ride hard. We suggest the slower riders sit behind the leader and the faster you want to go, the further towards the back of the group you need to be.
With the group back as one, it was a fairly dull zip down the A10 to the A120 where we headed toward Bishops Stortford. On a night with faster riders, we'd probably go all the way to Stortford and then cut down to return to Much Hadham on the B1004 but tonight we took the slightly shorter route, turning right at the Little Hadham lights and following the road all the way to the Angel at Ware.
At the pub, there were even more bikes in the car park and, as always, a contingent of the older boys, who no longer ride, in their cars.
It was a great atmosphere at the pub and a thoroughly good evening.
This was improved by the lovely spread of sandwiches and chips kindly laid on by the pub land lord and friendly staff. If you are ever passing through Ware, it's a pub well worth stopping at.
Next week will be the summer BBQ at the Beehive, Hare Street.
Mon 10th July 2017
Yesterday the club hosted our annual George Brown Memorial Vintage Run which included a lunch stop at the Vicars Inn, Arlesey. Tonight, we were back at the same pub for our club meeting and, as always, we we hosted by the friendly staff who provided a lovely spread of food.
Unfortunately, Cider Bob is going to be off hos bikes for a month or so due to an injury so the responsibility of ride leader for the pre-meet run will probably be shared between Pete Blackburn, Pete Starr and Ian Harris. But if anyone else would like to have a good, you will be more than welcome.
Last night, Ian took up the mantle and took a surprisingly small group of six riders over to the A10, onto the B1368 and then back down the A10 to the A507 with the subsequent blat through Baldock to Arlesey. Yet another new member came along, as well as others who have recently joined so it was good to see the rides are popular.
However, many members opted to plan there own smaller rides and there were over 20 bikes at the pub before the end of the evening.
As always, there was a friendly atmosphere and much of the talk was about the George Brown run.
Due to the late daylight, many left early to enjoy a dusk ride home.
Please note, we have had to swap the next two weeks meeting around due to circumstances beyond our control. Next week will now be at the Angel, Ware and the following week will be the summer BBQ at the Beehive, Hare Street.
Mon 3rd July 2017
The weekend just gone was this year's ACU National Rally. Although numbers are dwindling, it was a great event. Many thanks to Jason and Lisa Holmes and Cider Bob for manning the checkpoint at the start and through the night. Also, thanks to Dave Price for all his work helping Jason and Lisa setup at silly o'clock on Saturday morning and dismantling on Sunday morning. Further thanks goes to Steve and Gary for covering the afternoon shift. Finally, thanks to Martin and the Bikestop team for supplying copious amounts of coffee throughout the day and night.
For those of you that haven't done it, it's a great event that's been going for decades. Have a look at their website for details and give it a go next year. If you don't fancy the ride, feel free to man the checkpoint for a while.
Unfortunately, the "webmaster" hasn't been to the Club for a couple of weeks due to a non-motorcycling related injury so there isn't much to say unless some of the members give an update.
However, it appears the last two weeks has seen excellent turnouts for both the runs and the pub meetings.
Pete Blackburn has led the last couple of Monday nights rides with 17 bikes last night winding their way through the Hertfordshire countryside to the Rifle Volunteer, Ware. I'm told Pete has made an excellent job and is, hence forth, considered the Monday night run leader (unless it's raining or slightly chilly!).
Don't forget, this Sunday is the Club's Vintage run so come along and support - it's always a great day out for anyone with an interest in any motorcycles.
Next Monday's meeting will be at the Vicars Inn, Arlesey.
Mon 19th June 2017
Last week, many members were on the Isle of Man for the TT races or away on other bike trips so there was no-one to write a review. But, by all accounts, it was a surprisingly well attended ride out, with Pete Blackburn leading 14 riders on a route taking about an hour and a half, ending at the Edward VII at Guilden Morden.
This week, the ride out was equally well attended. Meeting, as always, at 19:30, Corey's Mill Sainsburys, the ride was dividing in two as the committee members had to be at the pub by 20:00 for a meeting. They were joined by some others and simply took a route up to Cottered and then down to the Hen and Chickens at Baldock. The majority followed Ian Harris on a longer ride which was enjoyed by all.
At the pub, bikes were slotted in everywhere with "overflow" around the surrounding streets. The variety of machines was impressive... as well as the the usual types of bike we tend to see, this week other exotica included a spanking new KTM, a very very nice "shed built" Harris GSXR and a couple of 1920s bikes brought along by Gordon Hallet and Chris Sawyer, who had done the Banbury Vintage Run yesterday.
Gordon has written the following summary of their exploits:
The Banbury Run is open to bikes manufactured before 1931 and is the world's largest gathering of such machines. The oldest was 1898, with many others over 100 years old. I rode my 1928 New Hudson 350cc which I have had for 22 years and I've completed the run about 17 times. It is approx 65 miles of mixed roads & includes the infamous Sunrising Hill, which has a gradient of of about 1 in 5 (20%) in places & I needed 1st gear to get to the top. Both Chris & myself were trouble-free, in what was far from ideal heat for these old gals. The oil system on our bikes is "total loss", I used about 3lts, which is now spread about those 65mls. It would make a good ride out in2018.
If you'd like to know more about Chris' Cotton, have a look at this link.
There is no point in boring you with the dreary detail of the committee meeting but some points of note are:
- Reminder for the Royston & DMCC Meldreth bike show this coming Wednesday.
If you'd like to help marshal & earn a free meal, be at the ground at 15:00 of join Pete at Bikestop at 18:00.
- Reminder of the George Brown Memorial Run on 9th July.
- Ryehouse Speedway night on 29th July. If, as a member, you go on your bike, meeting at Coreys Mill Sainsburys at 18:00, the club will reimburse your ticket
- A member has proposed enamel Club badges for the bikes. If you are interested, please let us know.
Although there were so many people, the pub was empty as everyone was outside enjoying temperatures of about 25°C. But there was a constant trickle of members in and out of the pub as Tally, the Land Lady, laid on a superb spread with quality food that just kept coming.
The superb weather and 21:45 daylight meant some riders left early to enjoy the ride home more than they might in the dark.
A cracking evening so if you're not a member and it sounds like your thing, come along and join us for an evening and see how you get on.
Mon 5th June 2017
Last week, Monday 29th May, was a bank holiday so there was no club meeting.
This week was a return to the Goat in Codicote.
The weather was poor but Pete Blackburn was at Coreys Mill Sainsburys at 19:30 just in case anyone turned up. But a combination of the rain in Hertfordshire and many members being on the Isle Of Man for the TT races meant it was a quiet night and Pete ended up riding the B656 to Codicote alone.
Although quiet, there were a few Club members at the pub and it was a sociable evening.
As always, the Landlord, Graham, laid on a great spread food.
Next week will be at the Edward VII in Guilden Morden.
The Royston & District Motorcycle Club's show (known as the Meldreth bike show) is coming up on 21st June and they'd be grateful for volunteers to assist with marshalling. If you're interested in helping out, please contact Pete Blackburn or Cider Bob.
Mon 22nd May 2017
It had been a hot May day and the evening continued with good weather, being very warm and dry.
Cider Bob arrived at Corey's Mill Sainsburys ready to lead the ride a bit early and was met by the 5 Counties Club. While lots of engine revving with straight threw pipes sounds good, particularly when you are 17 years old, it was very successful at annoying the shoppers. Fortunately they went on their loud way, with excessively hard acceleration followed immediately by harsh braking, before any of the more considerate riders of the S&DMCC arrived at the meeting point.
Joining the Triumph Explorer, was an eclectic mix of machinery which seems to be becoming the norm for the Club. Other Triumphs were out in force, the sports bike contingent was there, classic Honda (although you wouldn't think it was classic by the way it's ridden by Geoff), armchair tourer and a new one to the group - a slightly modified Yamaha XSR750 ridden by Ben. We were also joined by a friendly chap, Rob, from Cambridge who was passing and tagged along for part of the ride on his very shiny Harley.
We left the car park and headed up the A602 dual carriageway simply to keep the rather large group together if anyone was held at the lights getting out of Stevenage. But, all together, we entered Hitchin and turned south on the B656 Codicote road. We don't know any bikers who don't like this little stretch of tarmac - it's just not long enough. From Codicote, Cider stupidly took the group to Wheathampstead, which turned out to be a mistake due to pedal cyclists, car and a bit of gravel on the approach to a bend. But everyone survived and we were soon onto more major roads, taking the Marford Road to Lemsford and then the B197 to the sweeping bends of Digswell Hill. A short stint along the A1000 to the B1000 at Digswell and it soon became clear it was another poor choice as the Council had thrown gravel along the full length to Hertford, leaving the cars the roll it in and the bikes to get grit blasted. If anyone else left a road in that condition, they be prosecuted but the councils seem to get away with it just because they put up warning signs - outrageous!
From Hertford, we zipped down to Anchor Lane, over to Wadesmill and finally into Ware, arriving at the Rifle Volunteer for the evenings meet.
Unfortunately, the pub car park was crowded with vehicles that had too many wheels but there were also loads of Club members bikes already squeezed into every nook and cranny. We squeezed in where we could but several had to park up on the surrounding roads.
Being a warm evening, most members were outside and there was a great atmosphere. There was lots of chat about the Air Ambulance charity ride which lots of members attended in amongst about 900 others.
We were very well looked after by the Landlord and his staff with loads of nice sandwiches and platters of chips - no-one went hungry!
But, while it was an excellent meeting, the warm weather and near daylight still at 22:00 meant many members fancied leaving a little early to enjoy the ride home. Several left alone but 6 of us had a nice ride back to Stevenage led by Simon and Allie on the XJR.
Mon 15th May 2017
It looked like there was going to be rain this week but it didn't put several riders off so there was a nice mix of bikes at Sainsburys Coreys Mill for the rideout to the Club meet.
Rain or shine, warm or cold, Cider Bob doesn't get put off by the weather and was there to lead the group. The route he planned this week involved a mix of roads and took the group via the A507 to Buntingford, over to Hare Street and then up the B1368 to Flint Cross. Then over to Melbourn and Meldreth before taking Kneesworth Road to Bassingbourn.
The route finished at this week's meeting place; the Hoops in Bassingbourn.
Several bikes were in the car park and a lot of "the old boys" were there in cars.
The weather, although overcast, stayed dry so most of us milled about in the car park and beer garden, chatting about the wide variety of bikes on shown, which included Ian's new BMW1000R, Alex's immaculate GSXR, a number of new and old Triumphs, a Harley Davidson Electra Glide, an Africa Twin and even an MZ 301 brought along by Paul Thompson. Some of the stalwarts were also there, including the Honda Blackbirds of Pete and Jim, Geoff's R1150RT and Cider Bob had opted for his DL650.
The food included hot sausages, lovely sausage rolls and spring rolls along with oodles of chips and more. An unusual but surprisingly nice addition to the array of food was some salted popcorn. Thanks to the staff and Landlord of the Hoops.
The evening ended without rain and it was a nice ride home in the mild spring darkness.
Don't forget to look at the Gallery or our Facebook page for photos of the evening.
Mon 8th May 2017
This week, Pete Starr led the rideout as Cider Bob couldn't make it. Although short (the road, not Pete... although he is!) one of his favourite roads is Anchor Lane at Wadesmill - so he planned a route to include it on the way to the meeting, which was at the Angel in Ware.
Only seven others joined Pete for the ride but it included another new member - welcome Martin. And welcome back to Peter Berry who came along and renewed his membership.
As is usually the case, the pub was fairly chocker with members who had gone straight there either on bikes or in cars. And it was nice to meet a rider from Hertford who'd heard about us and came along to see what we're all about.
Nigel, the landlord at the Angel, laid on a excellent selection of sandwiches, chicken bits and chips with plenty for everyone.
all in all another good night.
Mon 24th April 2017
After missing a week due to the bank holiday, the poor weather during the afternoon didn't stop a good number of bikes turning up for the evening ride this week to the Playing Fields Club at Upper Caldecote.
The roads dried up and, apart from being a bit chilly, it was an excellent ride out which left Coreys Mill Sainsburys just after 19:30 hours. Cider Bob turned up on his 250 trail bike and was followed by a great selection of bikes including Simon and his other half on his Yamaha XJR1300, a few sports and sports tourers, Mark on his Ducati, John on his Electra Glide (yes, a Harley out with a risk of rain - very impressive!) and Geof, as always, taking up the rear position on his trusty BMW R1150RT.
For a 250, Cider Bob didn't hang about and the route took us along mainly wide, open country roads - ideal for all styles of bikes and avoiding dull A roads.
Passing by Redcoast, to Hitchin, then on to Pirton. Unfortunately, although the planned routes normally avoid riding directly into the sun, there was no avoiding it this week and the low and very bright sun slowed up the pace between Pirton and Shillington. But, as we turned left at Apsley End, we moved away from the direct sunlight as we passed through the picturesque Bedfordshire countryside. Using the A507 and A600 to bypass Shefford, it was then through Ireland and old Warden before reaching Upper Caldecote. Everyone seemed to enjoy the ride and no-one was left behind.
As always, some bikes were already in the car park as well as a load of members who'd gone in cars. The bar was full, which meant a great night of chat but also ideal for the first round of the cheese skittles competition, which was taken by Mark. A highlight of the evening for many was watching Pete Blackburn "accidentally" throw one of his heavy plastic "cheeses" straight at Gary's nadgers (hopefully the impact didn't incapacitate both Gary?)
During the evening, the thanks we had received for our charitable donation to Great Ormand Street was highlighted. This was the message we received from Nancy's mum who has been fund raising for this great cause:
Nancy would like to thank all the members of Stevenage & District Motorcycle Club for the kind donation and helping Nancy raise money for Great Ormond Street. Nancy's had her operation and finished one week of physio, just another week to go.
Thanks again, Nancy xxxx
The Playing Fields Club always look after us and this week was no different with a really tasty chilly & cheese on jacket spuds, with more than enough to go round. Thanks gents.
Don't forget, this coming Sunday is the Walkern Fair. If you'd like to show your bike off, or spend some time chatting on the stand, or both, come along any time during the afternoon. we'll be setting up from about 13:30. The event starts at 14:00 and we'll be packing away about 16:00. The more bikes the better.
Mon 10th April 2017
The weather was perfect again this week for an evening ride. Cider Bob couldn't be there so Pete Starr took the leader mantel and led a good size group from Corey's Mill, which included a welcome back to Simon with his other half on his immaculate XJR1300.
Pete chose an excellent route to the A507 via Walkern, then over the the Mordens and Wrestlingworth before arriving at at The Bell, Sandy after passing through Potton.
At the pub were a mass of members and the evening saw a charity easter egg auction which raised £131. Thanks to all that supplied and bought the eggs.
As always, we were well looked after by the staff at The Bell.
Mon 3rd April 2017
The lovely spring weather encouraged lots of riders to get out on their bikes for this week's Club night. The meeting time at Corey's Mill Sainsburys was brought forward 15 minutes to 19:30 to take advantage of the lighter evenings which meant we inter-mingled with the 5 Counties Club who were also meeting there. The quantity of bikes from both Clubs was great to see and even better was the number that remained after the few from the other club had left.
Being a committee meeting this week, Cider Bob had planned a half hour ride to get to the Hen & Chickens by 20:00 hours but Ian Harris suggested a longer ride and led all the non-committee members over to Ware, up the A10 and down the A507 while the others cut the route short by making their way to the A507 via Walkern, and then into Baldock.
It was a cracking night for a ride and everyone enjoyed their respective routes.
A huge number of bikes had been ridden straight to the pub, rather than joining either of the ride outs, and the bar was jam packed with members.
There was lots of friendly chat in the bar while we on the Committee had to endure the dullness that accompanies the drudgery of running almost any social club but, as we finished in the back room, we came out to the main bar to find yet another fantastic spread of food by Tally, the Land Lady.
I know we write it every week (but that's because it's true) but, once again, a well attended and very entertaining and enjoyable evening.
Mon 27th March 2017
A great turnout at Corey's Mill for the rideout this week with yet more potential new members. There was lots of chat going on in the car park but we finally got going about 19:50. With the ubiquitous 650 V-Strom leading the way, a pair of very shiny CBR600RRs followed. Behind them, Suzuki weren't to be outdone on the sports bike front and naked Triumphs were out in force. Along with a BMW, the trail of riders was rounded off with John on his stunning Harley Davidson.
The route took us through Stevenage (not very exciting) and out onto the A602 towards Ware. The ride was a nice pace and we stayed together until we reached Anchor Lane to Wadesmill. This is a short but stunning piece of motorcycling road which saw the pack get spread out a little. But, as always, at the next junction, the leader, Cider Bob, waited for the group to reform. But it was clear John was no slouch on the American beast as we weren't waiting for long.
From Wadesmill, it was over to Bengeo and through Hertford to another nice biking road, the B1000 to Digswell. The A1000 took us to junction 6 of the A1(M) where we joined the B656 to Codicote and the Goat.
As is usually the case once the weather starts to improve, the car park already had a number of bikes parked up, including Roy's new toy - a Triumph Trophy. Inside, the place was full of both past and current riders and we received a cheery welcome from the Landlord, Graham, and his staff.
As always at the Goat, there was plenty of food for everyone with enormous piles of hot dogs, chips and pizzas. No greens but what "hardened" bikers need veg on their night out!!
It was a cheery atmosphere with lots of banter but the numbers started thinning out about 22:00 with the last members leaving before closing time.
Next week's meeting will be at the Hen & Chickens in Baldock (meeting for committee members). It's our HQ and a great destination as we are very well looked after by the Landlady, Tally.
The meeting for the rideout is being brought forward and will be 19:30 hours at Coreys Mill Sainsburys. Hope to see you there.
Mon 20th March 2017
The weather took a bit of a dive this week with the temperature dropping and heavy rain throughout the day. Although it dried up later on, the down-turn took its toll on the number of bikers keen for a ride and it ended up with Cider Bob leading Geof and yet another new member, Carlos, on his very nice and very new Honda CBR600RR.
Never-the-less, the ride was fun with dry loads and not many other vehicles. It was a straight forward ride, taking us out of Stevenage, through Walkern, and up to A507, all the way to the Vicars Inn, Arlesey.
As usually the case, the pub was full of members who didn't want to brave the weather but still wanted the social side so, while there were no bikes other than from the run, those who shared a lift were able to benefit from the excellent beers on tap.
The staff at the Vicars Inn always seem pleased to see us and were as friendly as ever. The food laid on was no less than a banquet with a superb selection of nibbles and so much that we couldn't polish it off between us.
So, with lost so members having their fill and beer & food and those driving and riding being coked out, the numbers started thinning out about ten o'clock and we were all gone by the time Hazel wanted to lock doors.
Next week we will be at the Goat in Codicote. Hope to see you for the run first or at the pub.
Mon 13th March 2017
What a difference a week makes - the weather this week couldn't have been much nicer for our rideout from Corey's Mill to The Plume Of Feathers, Ickleford.
Yet another potential new member joined five of us for the ride which took us past Redcoats to the B656. That road is always a favourite so we went all the way to Codicote where we turned right to Whitwell and continued on, over the A505, through Lilley and on to the excellent B655 Barton to Hitchin road. Into Hitchin and then a bit dull as it's all 30s to the pub in Ickleford. Click here to see the route mapped out.
There were already several bikes at the pub as the rideout group arrived and, as always, no shortage of the "old boys" who gave up riding years ago but still like the social side.
Inside, there were too many of us for one bar so we were spread all over and filled the pub; just leaving enough room for the darts players to lob their arrows.
The lady behind the bar was friendly and helpful but, while we are not pub critics, it would be fair to the Landlady looked streessed and provided us with what felt like minimal rations (certainly less than we are used to) for the evening. While several of us went away hungry, by all accounts, the chips and various sandwiches, including some with hot sausages as filling, that were provided, were extremely nice.
With more bikers in the pub signing up for this year's membership to the Club, and some great conversations going on, all in all, another good night (although some of had to tuck into a sandwich having got home).
Mon 6th March 2017
The chilly wintery weather continued this week but it stayed dry and there was an excellent turnout of hardy motorcyclists at Corey's Mill for the run..
The winter stalwarts, Cider Bob & Jeff were joined on the run by Jason on his RT (with heated bum), with intrepid Lisa (who was about three times bigger than normal with all the winter gear on) on the back. And yet another new member, Alex, on his GSXR who had a 20 mile trek just to join us - welcome Alex.
With a new rider and Lisa joining us, we opted for a run of about half an hour at a sensible pace but the dry roads meant reasonable lean angles and it was a fun ride along one of the more popular short routes - past Redcoats, Great Wymondley, Willian and Stotfold before joining the A507 into Baldock.
We arrived at the White Lion in Baldock where two bikes were already parked up - one being Gordon's 1950s beast which drew a crowd when started up. If you want to know what this unusual monster was, with it's riveted frame and 750 open valve engine, you'll have to come along and ask him!
Yet another member braved the weather and joined us on his CBF1000 slightly later in the evening.
The pub staff looked after us as always with beer, soft drinks and tea flowing readily (depending on your preference) and a huge amount of food came out at nine o'clock... lovely if you like pasties, chips, onion rings, flans, and battered fish etc but not ideal for the healthy living members of the club (eh Lisa?) who might have preferred a cress sandwich!
It was a really good turnout of members who didn't brave the weather on bikes but arrived in a variety of "light cars". With so many crammed in the pub, most of the food disappeared quickly but there was more than enough for everyone.
It was a very sociable evening with lots of chat and a great atmosphere.
yet another successful S&DMCC outing.
Mon 27th February 2017
Having had a couple of days of spring weather, it turned wintery again for the rideout to the Club this week. But as usual, Cider Bob was at Coerys Mill Sainsburys for anyone keen to ride... and was was met not only by Geoff, who had got his BMW R1150RT back together but also yet another new member, Alan, on his spanking new Honda NC750 - Welcome Alan.
The original plan was a straight forward and dull blat up the motorway to Baldock because it's was a committee meeting night, starting at 20:00, but with 3 of us eager for a cold and damp ride, and considering Alan's bike was only about 8 hours old, we chose a twisty route through the countryside through Chesfield and Weston before making our way to the A507 for the final couple of miles into Baldock, where the club was meeting at the Hen & Chickens.
It was a fun but cold ride and resulted in Alans previously pristine NC needed a proper clean!
The committee didn't wait for Cider to arrive with the "proper riders" and the meeting was under way on arrival. Fortunately, he didn't miss much before the useful stuff was talked about. There were various conversations about the forth coming year's events and how/what we would do. The meeting ended about 20:45, at which time a superb spread of food was put out by Tally, the Landlady - she really does look after us!
The club night was well attended but there was enough food for all. Members disappeared one at a time throughout the evening and as the last left, they found the heavens had opened and those riding had heavy rain to add to the cold for the ride home... while "the old boys" jumped in there cars and turned the heaters on!!!
See you next week.
Mon 20th February 2017 (AGM)
A new member was waiting at Corey's Mill Sainsburys this week to join the rideout. Welcome Aiden.
Unfortunately, this week was the Club's AGM so the "rideout" was simply a half mile bimble to the Cromwell Hotel.
Tea and coffee were provided by the hotel but a big thank you to Gary Jones who provided the biscuits (which turned out to be dinner for some!).
AGMs are usually a dull evening what ever organisation you are part of so our turnout of 37 members wasn't bad.
The meeting started at 8.05 pm with the minutes from last year's AGM read out, followed by the Chairman's report for this year. He summarised all the events we've done throughout the year and talked about proposed events for 2017/2018.
Next was the treasurer's report. Pete Starr continued to do a sterling job and we finished the year with about the same amount of money as we started with.
This was followed by the election of committee members. Nominations were for Bob Voss, Cider Bob, Jim Carmichael, Gary Jones and Pete Blackburn with some additional proposals turned down by people who know better!
Unfortunately, Bob Voss was not elected so the only change to this years committee is Roy Brown being replaced by Gary Jones.
The term of the Committee Officers (Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer) is 3 years so there was no election for them this year.
Dave Price has kindly agreed to continue as sandwich monitor - this is a thankless task so please just cough up your £2 without complaining if you want to eat.
Any other business followed with a proposed trip to Rye House speedway on 20th May - details to follow.
Club President, Pat Barrett, proposed a spring disco and buffet at the Bucks Head on 21st April, in aid of the Air Ambulance. There will be no charge for Club members but, for the charity, there will be a small entry fee for guests. Details to be arranged.
The Walkern show on 30th April will be supported again this year, as will the Meldreth show on 21st June. Volunteers have been requested to help marshal at Meldreth.
Bikestop will, once again, be hosting a National Rally checkpoint. Volunteers are requested to help man the stand again in an attempt to promote the Club. Some of the members who normally support this event may be riding this year so please put your names forward for a stint on the stand.
As every year, Pat Barrett proposed that club fees should be £10.00 and OAPs free. This was declined, as always as OAPs outweigh the "younger" members by about 10 to1 !
The meeting closed at 8.45pm with members retiring to the bar.
Mon 6th February 2017
This week, we visited the Pig & Whistle at Aston.
The evening started for most with a drive to the pub, but the ever hardy rideout leader was waiting at Sainsburys Coreys Mill at 19:45 hours in the cold pouring rain on the off chance another rider might be mad enough brave the elements. Alas not so he had a slightly convoluted route via Walkern and a couple of back roads to enjoy the flooded roads and the challenge of staying rubber side down.
It was a relatively quiet affair at the pub as the dark wintry night put off all but the keenest members. On the plus side, there was more than enough excellent food provided by the land lord with some left over to dish out to other pub goers.
There was lots of talk of last Saturday night's annual dinner and dance. There is a short report on the dinner and dance website page.
The night ended relatively early due to the weather but an entertaining night non-the-less.
Mon 30th January 2017
It's been a while since we've updated, due to the Christmas and New Year break and then the "webmaster" was away for a couple of weeks but we're now back in the swing of it and last night saw an excellent turnout at the White Lion in Baldock.
Unfortunately Cider Bob was all alone for the ride from Sainsbury's at Corey's Mill but it was a dry night, all be it cold, and the roads were grippy so it was a fun ride to the pub. It became evident that Pete Starr was also on his bike but unfortunately arrived at Sainsburys a minute or two late so rode straight to the pub.
As always, the Landlord of the White Lion put on a superb spread - not only was there mountains of food but there was a good variety and it tasted top notch.
There was plenty of chat and a good night was had by all.
Don't forget, if you want to join us, you can meet us at Sainsburys, 19:45 each Monday, or go straight to the pub - see the Calendar for next weeks destination.