So another Plymouth Bikers epic unfolded on Sunday. I am not sure why, but despite not leading I seem to have been elected as the PB historian and it is my job to maintain the most comprehensive, and totally factually accounts of our journeys. Or perhaps as I think I overhead somebody saying “if we get Pete to do the write ups it might stop him planning those stupendously stupid routes he comes up with.” Anyway on with the day. What more could the PBs ask for, a Bank Holiday, good weather and Biker Pete not leading! We had a great group of riders out, I can’t name check you all but it was worth the rush back from Leeds to see you all. I would like to mention Tony? And Amy new riders on a lovely Harley who are getting married on Friday. Great to see you, best wishes for the big day and hope to see you again.
So as you know no rideout I take part in is complete without a disaster. This time the disaster happened before I got to Sainsbury’s as I saw an unfortunate biker dump his bike on the approach to Marsh Mills. As you know I am not the sort to ride on by so I stuck my own bike on the side of the road and rushed back to help. To be honest I expected it to be a quick pick the bike up, sympathise with the fairing damage and park bike and rider at the side of the road and get on with my day. Sadly, the bike was totalled and was dumping massive amounts of brake fluid all over the road. Having got the rider to safety and a couple of cars to give me protection it was clear I needed to get the Police out and once they have your number you can’t just leave!! It also became clear the adrenaline was wearing off the rider and his injuries were getting to him so an ambulance was required. In fact when he was in the back of the ambulance he was happy having his Kevlar jeans cut off. I decided not to tell the medic he technically shouldn’t be able to cut through armoured jeans as clearly if the scissors went through them like a knife through butter our poor brother rider would be forced to admit his jeans weren’t as good as he thought! So thanks to all of you for delaying your departure.
A little word of warning, being a biker at the scene of an accident means everyone will assume it is your bike on the deck!! The ambulance turned up first – alright mate, you were lucky where does it hurt? I was thinking about telling them my back was a little achy from lifting loads of furniture the day before when I realised he thought it was my bike. I then politely pointed him in the direction of the guy swearing and unable to stand up properly. Same thing when Police arrived – “rider or pillion sir”. I got one of those police looks when I said neither until I pointed out where my bike was parked. As I was passed from cop to cop they all pointed out where my bike was as if to say, no really he is telling the truth!! I avoided cracking funnies as they were carrying guns, I mean I know my biker look is pretty bad but I didn’t think it warranted armed response. Having made a statement and endured the looks of all the car drivers stuck in the traffic who assume it was my bike I joined up with the main group.
So you are all aware of that disaster. What you may not be aware of it that was not the only disaster before the ride started. One of our number dropped their bike getting it out of the garage. No real damage, however, as I have dropped my bike a number of times on rideouts I know how much the dent in your pride hurts. Mindful of this I will not name said rider, on the basis that there will be no more complaints about beer not being in the fridge. Quite simply, you want beer in your fridge you put it there. Especially if you have the sort of fridge where if you put beer in, it stays there, unlike my fridge where Joe has an annoying habit of making it disappear. Its time to grow up and accept the beer fairy isn’t real. If Joe ever comes out on a rideout again I would be grateful for some support in making this point to him.
So onto our route. We enjoyed a good run out to Totnes and then up to Newton Abbot and along the coast. Many of you will know that my Sundays are normally marred by the train journey back to London, but this week I was on leave and thus was really looking forward to not seeing any train tracks – so I was really pleased to ride along the train tracks that I endure every week. Thanks Chris. Anyway we then popped into Bridge for what the website described as a QUICK COFFEE STOP. (Chris’s caps not mine).
Bridge. For coffee. No looking at bikes, no burgers (Robin what were you doing?) and no toilet use either. I mean seriously, I did my normal of getting to the toilet quickly but by the time I got back everyone was on their bikes with Chris muttering that everyone was waiting for me AGAIN (I did say I am not always truthful in these reports didn’t I?) I am not sure how Chris did it, every time I try to have a quick stop it doesn’t work but I don’t think we have ever been in and out of Bridge so quickly.
At this point I would like to invite a bit of audience participation. Is it legal for us to go to any bike shop, especially Bridge and not look at the bikes? Or at least get the free visor cleaner? We don’t have many (any) rules so I am sure we can have a rule about bike shops.
We did start to pick up a little bank holiday traffic but we made good progress with some good overtakes and filtering. Lyme Regis is a great stop as even with a classic car show on, organised for us by Chris, there was still loads of bike parking right on the front. The temp as we stopped was absolutely blistering. At this point I’d like to take a moment and think about what do women keep in their tailpacks. It’s always been a mystery to me, a bit like the contents of a woman’s handbag – and let me say I approach this topic from a point of having been thankful on many occasions for the stuff that has come out of my wife’s handbag to save the day. However, I do have to ask, why on the hottest day of the year do you put a fleece jacket in your tailpack??? Bottle of water (what was being looked for but not found) yes, but a fleece jacket?? Spanners, tie wraps, yes – fleece jacket NO. Just saying. J
The temps were blistering, jackets could be dumped but armoured jeans had to stay on (I am really glad we won that argument with Justin), so we wandered along the sea front with the sweat pouring out of us on a journey to find some nice cooling – fish and chips. I have to say I have been taught over 30 years of military service never question the leader but at this point I was seriously considering mutiny. Fish and chips in biker kit on one of the hottest days of the year. Bought from a chip shop next to an ice cream stall! I don’t think any of us managed the full portion but a refreshing passionfruit sorbet sorted out temperatures. The most stupid statement of the day, if not the year, was made at this point as I said “I think my sorbet is mainly mango”. No stupid it was mainly passionfruit, clues in the name Einstein. In future I am only going to have vanilla ice cream that will mainly be vanilla.
I then interfered a bit with the route at this point. Chris was happy taking us across to Cullompton, and then down to Exeter for a stop somewhere. I convinced him there was a good road over to Tiverton from Collompton (there is honest) so we could then hook down to Bickleigh Mill for tea and cake. Buoyed by the fact I have Bickleigh in my sat nav Chris agreed to be adventurous and go for it. Sadly he hadn’t realised how adventurous that was going to be.
Chris is a good bloke and knowing I was low on fuel as I hadn’t topped up before leaving (I know rule 1 of PBs fill up in Sainsburys, but the Police….. oh forget it my bad) so he stopped in a petrol station. He then had a nice view of me fly past having not seen he had stopped, I am sure accompanied by a loud “you just can’t help some people”. Anyway I got fuel elsewhere and set off to catch the main party which I did just before Collumpton where a debate was being had. My sat nav wanted to go down the M5 so Chris bravely (stupidly) agreed to keep going on the basis he knew it was “a couple of round abouts” and “his phone was now talking to him”. On reflection we should have taken action, we set off following a leader who was hearing voices in his helmet. Axe murderer in the front?
Anyway to the long and the short of it was having offered up the quickest route (M5) Google maps realised that wasn’t what we wanted and so instead offered up the shortest route to Bickleigh. No leg to Tiverton, oh no not when there are roads that were last driven in 1942 that take you directly to Bickleigh Mill. Anyway despite ignoring signs to Tiverton we eventually came back to civilisation exactly at Bickleigh Mill where we did our usual furniture re-arranging, enjoyed cream teas and the Ben Stokes final few runs as we (hang on I am a Jock so technically you) won the cricket.
We said our tearful farewells at this point and did our usual bomburst to find our own routes home. I think about 180 miles, roads we have never ridden before (and please god some we will never ride again J) but as normal great company and great banter. Thanks Chris, its never easy up front but you gave us a great day out and it was really good to push to places we don’t do very often. I have to say it is difficult to get good routes along that part of the coast so double kudos. Many thanks.
Final point as ever, if you want to join the Whatsapp group drop me a line on 07598 681157 and I’ll add you. On a serious point comms were critical on this rideout, so please do think about coming into the Whatsapp group, it can be useful. Also would there be interest in doing the Lifton Farm Xmas Dinner event again? We have missed a couple of years but I am happy to run it if there is an appetite (Pun intended!!!)
Any criticism or implied poor performance was only for comedic purposes and no animals were hurt during this rideout. Any resemblance to PB riders past or present is entirely coincidental. J