Nice weather for ducks –October 8thJames O’Shea
I don’t remember Stoke Bruerne looking this sunny ………… but memories do soften with the passage of time. It was the 2nd Thursday of the month, so time to gently dust of our fine German engineering and top up our tans in sunny Northamptonshire. Weather forecast was optimistic – no Yellow Warnings today, Storm Alex was calming down. At Peartree delicious coffee (FREE!) was served by our ever-generous Social Sec, David T to the intrepid riders from the east – who had successfully navigated foggy mist and lashing rain whilst scaling the heights of High Wycombe.
10.05am – we’re late, time for Ian, Dave and and James to leave the safe shelter of Starbucks and head north.
Up through pretty Islip and across the Badlands towards Ambrosden. Flooded fields to the right of us, riderless cavalry to the left of us and ahead of us deep swamp! Obviously the RT and the K16 cast the waters asunder but much to our surprise Ian’s handsome GS achieved the same feat!
Beyond Marsh Gibbon the roads have dried and somehow without a Bucks pothole in sight, we pick up speed and enjoy a fast clatter towards Buckingham. Nipping to the right we cross busy junctions with the 413/421/422 – felt a bit like collecting trolley bus numbers! On the approach to Thornton the weather remembers its supposed to be a rainy day and an epic rainstorm descends on us.
Onward to Potterspury by way of Wicken, home of the fabulous wooden forts! Highly recommended by Dave T who enjoys hours of pleasure in his!
This is the saddest part of the journey as Sammy the squirrel throws himself under the back wheel of James’ bike. Clearly chose not to follow the sage’s advice – “Be decisive, right or wrong. The road of life is paved with flat squirrels who couldn’t make a decision.”
Arriving at the Super Sausage for a comfort break we are slightly stunned. It is mid-morning and not one motorcycle is to be found in the car park – where are the bold all-weather motorcyclists of yesteryear? Please let me know when you find one……..After using the facilities there is probably just enough time for a rapido coffee/tea.
The 2nd part of our ride loops us back past the canal museum at Stoke Bruerne, past the gee-gees at Towcester , and onwards to Silverstone and Stowe.
A warm welcome awaited us at The Red Lion at Little Tingewicke, next to the wartime home of R.A.F. Finmere but now less auspicially of regular car boot sales.
Another successful conclusion to the club’s regular mid-week ride. Uncrowded country roads, good company and riding pleasure. Come and join in when you can.
Social Hub Report – Wednesday 7thOctober
A small group met up in the Waterfront Café by the Thames under grey skies and drizzle, sheltering beneath the terrace roof to come up with ideas for the 2021 Calendar. At least it made a change from another Zoom meeting.
This is when we set the schedule for events that members will see in the trifold Calendar delivered around the end of the year. This year we have to work within the COVID restrictions, even though we are not quite sure what they will be in a few month’s time. But we need to have events ready to run next Spring even if we cannot be certain we will be allowed to run them, and so we will be trying to run a normal schedule from next April.
We can run the Oxford Meetup® Rides (OMR) which are proving very popular, and we are now running the same route again when the first one fills up. Normally over the winter period there are no Sunday rideouts, but we will continue to offer OMRs for those brave enough to withstand the weather.
The indoor meetings we normally have at Uffington are also affected by the COVID restrictions, and we are not planning to run these this winter. Also pub socials are suspended for the same reason. Instead, we are running Zoom socials with talks by the speakers who would have been seen in the indoor meetings. The Zoom socials will run in the evening like pub socials, but with the added structure and interest given by the talks.
Pub socials have not been forgotten, but some of our favourite pubs are sadly no longer
operating. Much diligent work has gone into evaluating suitable new venues and these will be appearing in the Calendar from next April.
COVID restrictions keep changing and so everything we do is provisional. Keep looking at these Bulletins for the latest news.
Thames Valley Air Ambulance
We have recently passed our 2020 collection target of £1,000 for Thames Valley Air Ambulance, many thanks to all members who kindly donated to support this important charity. Carl Flint deserves a special mention as his South Downs Way Mountain Bike Ride raised over £400. The new Oxford Meetup Rides also raised a steady flow of donations through the voluntary £2 per ride donation – thank you to the OMR riders. Since TVAA is entirely funded by donations they were very pleased to receive our help and sent a nice thank you letter. You can read the thank you letter on the club website by clicking here.
Meet Up Ride Out – Friday 23rdOctober
Winter comes early to the Northampton uplands . . . . . . not really. As soft rain gently washed ourselves (Andy, Jill, James, Pip, Steve and Tim) and motorcycles (C, K, GSs, RT) we left the shelter of Costa, Thame and headed north to the bandit country of Bucks. Our destination today was the Mecca of transport cafes: the Super Sausage on the A5 at Pottersbury.
Back in the day the Romans tramped up Watling Street and established the garrison town of Lactodorum, which the locals now prefer to call Towcester. However, no records exist of them stopping off at the Super Sausage.
Our pre-ride caffeine fix with the customary fisherman’s tales of outwitting the constabulary using superlative riding skills only known to BSA Bantam riders, were enjoyed by all . Andy recounted how he had denied BMW vast profits by sourcing wheel bearings for his C650 from the manufacturer and not Motorrad! Tales of Denali battery draining horns and dodgy cable were lamented by Tim and Pip.
We exit Thame without incident and somehow found ourselves north on the B4011 towards Bicester. Riding past Long Crendon Courthouse and HM Prison Bullingdon only caused slight anxiety – had I remembered to re-tax the bike after the final red reminder?
After circling Bicester on its own version of the ‘Peripherique’ we head towards Aynho. Founded in Anglo-Saxon times it was thoroughly modernised in 1787 with the construction of the Oxford Canal . . . . . .
. . . . . but some locals say not a lot has changed since then. West of Banbury the roads are now drying out nicely and we make brisk progress through pretty Northants villages: King’s Sutton, Middleton Cheney, Chacome and beyond.
As we approach Moreton Pinkney the inevitable happens, some mistake surely?
The ride leader from the previous day (he knows who he is!) made no mention of this. Must be an error, contractors have forgotten to remove their signs after roadworks, therefore > onward. Two miles later we meet a very friendly man from the Water Board. A former Kawasaki 1000 rider he sees we are riding BMWs so explains very carefully and slowly . . . . that there is a whacking great hole in the water main so we should go back from where we came! Time to stop anyway for a leg stretch and free entertainment as we see numerous silly car drivers executing 9-point turns and go back to where they came from too! Surely, they had read the signs!
We arrive in good order at 12.30pm. But has there been a calamity?
Cars are crowded in the car park but apart from one lonely GS where are the other motorcycles? Have all the other riders crashed on their way to this world-famous eatery?
Steve gently explains to me that on days when there is some moisture in the air then the bike spaces are many and the queue is very short – so really we have chosen a good day to visit. A few crocodile tears slip down for the unfortunate club members that had to ride in the day before’s sunshine and wait for parking and food!
Lunch is consumed with joy and cheerful banter. Coronary-on-a-plate is served up all around us, as our jaws drop in admiration. Vegans seem to be a lost tribe in this ‘Sausage Palace’ where back in 61 AD Roman legions passed by on their way to Towcester to show Queen Boudicca who the new Caesar on-the-block was!
Time to head home after a fun and in parts challenging morning. Great company, tall stories and lots of laughter. November approaches and a further two rides to anticipate. Join us. If the ride fills up (maximum of 6 at the moment) just join the ‘Waitlist’ and we will try and put on a repeat ride on a different day in the same week, if at all possible. And don’t forget . . . .