Tag Archives: Pub

Summer Arrives and The Road Beckons

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.  

Ride Safe


May Day Bank Holiday

We set off at 10:00 am to go to Peak Rail to sell raffle tickets on the train to raise some funds for the Darley Dale Down Building. This is a grade 2 listed building on Darley Dale Station that was abandoned when the railway from Matlock to Buxton was closed in 1968 and has been neglected ever since. The railway and the charitable trust are keen to restore it to use, but it will cost a lot of money – about quarter of a million pounds.

Our contribution today was to travel up and down the line, talking to the railway’s passengers and trying to persuade them to part with a pound for a strip of five tickets. The prize was a very large cuddly toy dog. Almost every family on the train was happy to join in, with early contributions from Australian visitors and a lone traveller from the USA. It was great to talk to people from as far afield in the UK as Stoke on Trent, Kettering, Manchester and Essex.

After a lot of walking up and down the train all day, punctuated by several mugs of tea, two bacon cobs and a slice of quiche from Rowsley buffet, we asked a passenger on the last trip to draw the winning ticket. As we pulled into Rowsley South station for the last time, the winner happened to be sitting on the platform, so it was great to be able to hand over the prize straight away. However, we had devised a cunning plan in case the winner had already left the railway – we had collected a name and phone number from everybody who bought a ticket and we had planned that the railway’s office staff would contact the winner and send the prize out by post.

On thing that Sue and I always find a bit of a rip-off with lots of raffles is when we are sold a strip of five tickets and the whole strip is put into the draw, effectively making it a single ticket. Sue and I were having none of this, so we asked each buyer to write their name and phone number on the first ticket and we copied this onto the other four before separating the individual tickets. Sure, it’s lots of work, but we both feel strongly that it is the only honest way that we can justify asking £1 for 5 tickets.

Anyway, we raised £87 pounds, not a huge proportion of the total needed, but it is more than we would have had if we’d stayed at home. We also rode over to the railway on the Heritage, making this the fourth consecutive day that we had ridden the bike over this weekend. With a dull, overcast start to the day, I almost left the bike in the garage and took the car, but when the sun came out and it turned into a warm spring day, the bike was the correct choice.

We left the railway at about 5:30pm and headed back to find the centre of Matlock was a traffic jam. We originally decided to head for home, but today was the first evening ride out of the year by Mansfield area group of Sherwood Chapter. It was a very easy decision to decide to ride to Mansfield and join the group who were having dinner in the Oak Tree. I had sausage and mash, Sue tucked into her customary roast chicken and we chatted to the group that grew to a respectable size as 7pm approached.

At the appointed hour, it must have been had a dozen or more bikes that set off behind our Chapter Director, Pete Clifford. He took an interesting roundabout route through the Trent-side villages before crossing the river at Gunthorpe Bridge. We then rode to the Castle Barge, a floating pub in Newark. After some good conversation, we all started to set off on our separate ways homewards as the night was starting to draw in and some of our number, Sam in particular, were starting to feel the cold. We arrived home almost 12 hours afters setting out to greeted by a hungry cat, Misty.

We are getting well into the riding season now and it is only a couple of days until the first ride out of the year organised by the shop. This, of course, is our chapter’s sponsoring Harley-Davidson dealership. With this ride out due to take place on Wednesday evening, that only leaves Tuesday night to give the bike a good wash before then. I am full of good intentions, but I’ll have to let you know how I go on in reality.

Ride safe,