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Social Ride-Out May, 2018

Updated: Apr 19, 2019

(A Wander Around The Slug)

THE British weather is a bit like London Buses, you wait and wait for a sunny day, then all of a sudden you get three at once, and on a Bank Holiday too!!!

As could have been predicted, this meant a big turn out for the ride from Eccleshall. In all twenty riders turned up! This size of group was obviously going to be too unwieldy to manage so the decision was made to split it, a no-brainer really. This meant that some of the graded riders got a n extra graded ride, and the rest formed the social version.

So it was that the Graded riders departed, leaving fourteen Social riders to follow Yam (John Hampton) around the Shropshire / Welsh borders. Yam was supported by Gary Galpin as Tail End Charlie, with Weedfree and Irene on the FJ, Fiona Carter and John Wainwright as additional graded riders to patrol the group and keep an eye on things. Associate members, Gill Galpin, Roger Leath Nick Payne and our latest member Edwin Price, were all familiar with the ride outs as was Mark Baskerville who’d been out with us before. This left John Timmis, Mark Quarton-Billings, Keith Shannon and Dave Cox, all of whom had come along to see what Staffordshire Advanced Riders is all about.

After much sorting, a quick sermon on group riding and folks starting to melt in the heat, we headed off towards Newport.

As was to be expected, the roads were very busy, not just with other bikers but holiday makers and day trippers. This meant you needed your wits about you and careful planning of maneuvers. The procession of bikes snaked it’s way through Woodseaves and round the county town of Newport before bearing left towards Sherrifhales, across the A5 and on to Shifnal. With the second man drop working effectively we wriggled through the traffic in the small town and out towards Bridgnorth, again the roads were busy and cyclists were added to the mix, slowing the pace right down in places.

Passing through Bridgnorth, we headed out in the Kidderminster road to our first cafe stop at Quattford. IT WAS HEAVING WITH BIKES!! Not really a surprise given the weather, and there were many who looked like this was their first foray of the year.

Only stopping for a drink we headed back towards Bridgnorth, but turned before the town to head out on the Shrewsbury road. Yam lead us through Much Wenlock and on before finding a cheeky little single track lane heading towards Clun. Here the paced changed since, with a narrow lane and dry gravel, good planning and observation were the skills required.

After a few miles we exited the lane onto a bigger road and rode into Clun, only to be diverted due to a festival in the town. Now Yam needed to re navigate in order to pick up his route and before long we were riding some excellent twisty roads towards Bishops Castle. Out of the blue Yam turned up a very stately drive and for about a mile we road through the park land before the view of, what looked like a stately home, emerged before us. This was the lunch stop.

With magnificent metal sculptures of Deer and Pheasants in the grounds, you had to wonder if they’d let a group of bikers in? Fear not! All pre-arranged by Mir Hampton, we parked our bikes in front of the magnificent hall and made our way in. A selection of baps, made from the Sunday Carvery was on offer and having ordered, we sat outside in the magnificent grounds of Mellington Hall Hotel. Quiet and relaxing, we basked in the sunshine, away from the marauding hordes of day trippers, caravan owners and cyclists.

Eventually it was time to depart and having thanked the owners for excellent food and great service, we donned our gear, saddled up and made our way back down the mile long drive to rejoin the mêlée of vehicles on the roads.

Starting back towards home now, the route took us into the town of Welshpool and out the back on some twisty little roads and on towards Ford and the familiar watering hole of Dinky’s Diner.

After a brief respite for drinks we headed off towards Shrewsbury and took the classic route of Shrewsbury by-pass then on to Cruddgington and finally the back road into Newport on roads very familiar to club members. Riders were now starting to depart en-route to avoid a protracted journey home, and it was only nine riders who eventually returned to the fire station, before all going our separate ways.

Ok! So the weather was great, but the route was full of interest as were the cafe stops, especially Mellington Hall. The pace was very good considering the number of new riders, and the system worked very well, with only a couple of hiccups. This was credit to all riders, who conducted themselves in a professional manner.

Many thanks to Mellington Hall for the quality of both their food and their service.

And finally…………….many, many thanks to Yam for his efforts in designing a day out to remember!.

Gary G




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