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May 2019 10th Anniversary Ride-out

Updated: May 8, 2019

Every now and then, the planets align, birds sing sweetly, and the world seems at peace!

And so it was on May 5th 2019 for the Staffordshire Advanced Riders’ 10 year anniversary ride. For us, that meant, the weather was spot on, not too hot or cold, dry roads and little wind. It meant a good turn out of riders, sixteen in all. It meant the banter was good. It meant the faffing to sort the comms was worth it. Most of all, it meant Jon Cook, our Vice Chairman and the last remaining club founder, returned from a long absence from ride outs due to an injured shoulder, to lead us, much as he had on the club’s inaugural ride some ten years earlier.

SO! Faffing over, Jon turned us right out of Eccleshall Fire Station and headed for wales. It was quite a sight, to see a train of bikes, all making progress along the road to Woodseaves. A short blip up the A41 and round the outskirts of Newport, saw us head out through Edgmond and Roden on the B5062 and on to Crudgington, passing the site of the old Milk Marketing board. The roads were sublime, not too much traffic, dry and flowing and led at a good pace. Everyone played their part, second man drops were executed efficiently allowing the group, large as it was, to make good progress Chairman Edward had decided to turn up on his ‘toy bike’ , a Triumph Bonneville, fortunately with his riding ability (?) and with just enough horsepower, he didn’t slow the group down, although he did jettison some ballast in Dave Hall’s direction, and it wasn’t long before he needed to refuel. Fortunately, there’s a petrol station near the old favorite, and first planned stop, of Dinky’s Dinahs on the A458. So it was that we pulled in for a quick refreshment, no frills catering at its best. The pace had been good, but not frantic, and so it was to continue. Now we headed into Wales and B roads taking us on to the picturesque area of Lake Vyrnwy. The pace slowed around the lake, as the road was narrow and the traffic was steady with walkers and cyclists and the occasional puddle which Ed was keen to avoid, lest he should get some water on his old bike which might instantly rust! Half way round Jon turned us right up a narrow lane with patches of gravel, but which lead to the Pass of Cwm Hilnant. The views along this road are stunning and to see a procession of 15 motorbikes, (Mole having turned back earlier, due to family commitments), snaking their way through the Welsh countryside was a sight to behold! Eventually, we arrived at a spot along this road where the club has previously done a photo stop and so it was this time. First we aligned the bikes and then we aligned ourselves and various fingers were pressed against shutter buttons to record a notable event in the club’s history. Faffing over! Jon rallied the troops and onward we went, heading for lunch. Descending into Bala, we turned to the The Gorwelion Centre. Unfortunately, it appeared to be shut, so we about turned and headed for the UK White water center. This seemed very busy with no parking. Communications being what they are, it then became apparent that Roger Leath, who’d gone to see if the first cafe was open had initially surmised that it was shut, but on further investigation, found it to be open. Unfortunately, this communication hadn’t relayed. Now, Roger reiterated his findings, and so we headed back to our original destination. GOOD DECISION!! As it happened they had an event on, which meant the menu was limited, but I have to admit they did us proud and what we had was first rate. Not only that, but we basically had the place to ourselves, making for a very relaxed atmosphere. So, everyone fed, (and Edward’s bike refueled AGAIN!!), we headed over the hills for the return journey, despite a slight hiccup of Guy (or maybe Roger???), running over his own driving glasses! Fortunately, still serviceable, ( although you couldn’t tell from his riding!). So, over the top it was and more stunning views with, yet more sheep to avoid before Jon pulled up to regroup before taking the roads around Shrewsbury. Yet again, everyone pulled together to get the potentially cumbersome group around the complicated bypass roads. We now headed back on roads we’d taken on the outward journey, apart from a final cafe stop. This time a new destination, Haughmond Hill Cafe, a Forestry Commission site. Yet another relaxed cafe break in great surroundings. So to the final leg. Jon piloted us back to Newport, on roads familiar to the club and great to ride, before a final fuel stop in Newport (Really Ed? You need a bigger tank!!). From here it was the usual route back to Eccleshall and final chit chat at the Fire station.

What a great day! Thanks to Dave Hall for bringing up the rear and keeping an eye on things. Thanks to all who participated, I won’t list you all, you know who you were and hope you enjoyed it as much as I Finally, a massive thanks to Jon for leading and managing the pain in his shoulder, I’m sure he’ll feel it tomorrow, but hopefully, the joy of the ride will have been worth it. Not just that, but also his involvement in founding the club and his ongoing support of the club over the past ten years………. Thank you, and here’s to the next Ten years of training riders to be safer on the roads!

Mr Cooke ready to lead us on to the 10 anniversary ride out

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