What great weather we’ve had this week. If you’re a new visitor, that line alone will tell you that ChuffingHog must live in Britain, but it’s true, we’ve had a wonderful warm and sunny week, but I have also had an incredibly busy week at work and really haven’t been able to make the most of such favourable biking conditions.
However, you don’t have to compete for an Iron Butt award to enjoy getting out and riding, in a group or alone. Wednesday evening saw the first of this year’s ride outs organised by the staff at the Robin Hood Harley-Davidson dealership. These are open to all riders, including Sherwood Chapter members, but quite a number of the shop’s non-member customers also turn up for them. For this first ride of the season, there were probably about 50% chapter members in attendance. However, as this is not a chapter ride, there were none of the chapter’s Road Captains on duty, (and I don’t think that anyone there was a trained road captain in any case.) So we set out without a single yellow Hi-Vis jacket in the group. The ride was led by Richard from the shop, and other shop staff were on hand and I believe, riding at the back of the group.
After Richard’s briefing on the route and destination, we formed up roughly in the time-honoured HOG-style staggered formation, although this proved to be nowhere near as well disciplined as on a chapter ride. I was surprised that each roundabout we negotiated had at least one biker blocking the oncoming traffic. It turned out that two chapter members had either been asked by the organisers, or had taken it on themselves to act as marshalls for this ride.
One of things that I like about group rides with HOG and the Sherwood Chapter, is the attention to safety that is totally ingrained into every aspect of the ride. However, over the past months I have noticed that “marshalling” group rides has become an excuse for one or two people, some of them road captains, some who are not, to blast up the outside of group to get to the next obstacle to shepherd us through it. This is despite the fact that the “Second Man Drop-Off” procedure covers roundabouts and junctions with far more attention to safety than being constantly overtaken by a marshal. I am convinced that this kind of riding is little more than an ego trip for those marshals.
The ride took a fairly short, but good enough route around South Nottinghamshire to finish at the Reindeer Inn in Hoveringham. This excellent pub provided Sue and I with a couple of cups of cappuccino, while the majority of the riders enjoyed a pint outside on the edge of the cricket field behind the pub. The shop staff had also arranged for sandwiches, chips and some outstanding chicken wraps to be served to us. We enjoyed some good conversation as well as good food before the group’s attention turned to moving on as the sun started to set. There was some debate about whether to go on to bike night at MFN, or to Hooters. Along with a few others, we decided to head for home.
Thursday and Friday were also warm and sunny, but all too often work gets in the way and it wasn’t until today, Saturday, that we pulled on the leather trousers and headed off out. We had some shopping to pull in on the way out of Nottingham and headed out via the A453 through Clifton towards the M1. We crossed the M1 junction and rode around East Midlands Airport to the aeropark.We sat in the sun for a while before making a move. As we left their car park, the Heritage was admired by one of the aeropark volunteers.
It’s amazing how often people comment on the gleaming chrome of a Harley, even when its rider is thinking that it needs another clean.
From the airport, we set off along the route of the old A453 through the villages of Isley Walton and Breedon-on-the-Hill. We turned left in Breedon and followed the lanes through to Worthington and then across to join the A6 near Hathern before returning to Nottingham via Sutton Bonington and Gotham. This is an area that we don’t ride very often, so it was good to be out in some different countryside.
After a total of just over 50 miles, we arrived back at home.