Laburnham Grove, Easter 2012
Duxford Rideout, 1
The first official Rideout was greeted with glorious sunshine as the participants gathered at Tesco Thetford. There to send us on our way was Alan & Jane with a warm welcome & a pile of Bikeshow flyers. The night before was the club tenpin bowling night at Mr. G’s in Brandon so there was a hint of sufferance amongst one or two people, but what better than a days riding to refresh the head! As we waited for any late arrivals it was debated as to what we should do at Duxford, whether to visit the museum or to continue to a second destination as the weather was so inviting. Several cigars & roll-ups later we came to a unanimous decision, we would decide when we got there!
Ten o’clock approached with no sign of Grand-dad so an urgent mobile call was made, only to be met with no answer. No one was in a hurry to get going so it was decided that just in case there had been a start time confusion by our senior colleague that we would hang on until 10:15. Several more cigars & roll-ups later we came to another unanimous decision, we would go without him! Bikes were started and helmets fitted just in time to see the unmistakable shape of a red & white Yamaha R1 negotiating the mini roundabout. Bikes were switched off again, helmets removed, cigars & roll-ups lit, as we gave Grand-dad a warm welcome! 5 minutes later and we were finally off! With new member Jim on his first rideout & perspective new member Pete joining us for the first time it was decided that I should lead the ride to avoid any “over enthusiasm” ( who is James May & why do they keep saying I’m like him?). We set off with a slightly drab section of the A11 for starters but then managed to head onto the much more enjoyable B1102 & the chance to remove some cobwebs on the twisty bits between the villages. After a minor delay in Fordham caused by a bit of DIY traffic control at the local car boot sale it was back to the twisties as far as Stow-Cum-Quy then cross country to the splendidly named Six Mile Bottom!
After a short stretch of dual carriage way and still with no fixed plan as to what we would do at Duxford the Triumph started to unexplainably veer off towards the A1307 and the “World Famous Comfort Café”. On arrival it appeared that several others had had the same steering problem as there were at least a dozen or so bikes already there. We quickly took the chance to lighten our load & distribute some show flyers. As the sun was still blazing we took advantage of the superb outdoor seating area & a chance to partake in some tea & coffee, handing out yet more flyers to the now steady stream of bikes arriving. One person (who shall remain nameless) even took the chance to partake in a “light snack” of the cheese & bacon toasted baguette variety, which unbeknown to us at the time actually turned out to be a good move! After putting the world to right the subject of the rest of the day was raised & before long it was decided that we would make the most of the good weather to move on to Finchingfield with its fantastic approach roads & the fine food provided by the Fox Inn. For those unaware, Finchingfield on a Sunday has become something of a magnet for bikes & bikers of all types, shapes & sizes with literally hundreds parked around the village green on a good day. We said farewell to Pete at this point who hadn’t been able to negotiate a full day’s pass & was keen not to blot the proverbial copy book on his first ride with the club. After a final push with the flyers we decided that it would be fun to go the back-roads route but as no one was 100% sure of the way it was down to Steve to lead on the ZZR with his recently installed twat-nav system. The little box of GPS trickery didn’t disappoint as we were soon on some superb roads, punctuated with a mixture of tight S bends, long sweeping corners and pretty villages (although it has to be said that the winter weather had made a bit of a mess of the road surface in more than one place!). All too soon, with adrenaline levels raised and rumbling tummies we found ourselves looking for parking spaces around the already well populated village green at Finchingfield. As we assembled by the Fox we couldn’t help but notice a lack of people sitting around outside with tempting meals & cold pints. This mystery was soon solved when we noticed the large “closed for refurbishment” sign propped up outside the entrance. As a result, the café next door was completely packed with a long queue stretching out onto the road. This was bad news for all of us except one person (who shall still remain nameless) who had, as previously stated, stuffed his face at the Comfort Café. We were left with no choice but to have a sit on the green and come up with plan B (or was it C or D by then?). It was all a bit much for Steve who had to lay down with raised legs to avoid going into shock!!
Steve taking emergency measures to avoid shock!
Many ideas were put forward including a return to the Comfort Café or having a ride around to find a bike friendly pub somewhere. With time pushing on and some guys starting to look anxiously at watches, knowing that they needed to be home reasonably early, the savior of the day proved to be Grand-dad. The magical words “There’s a KFC just up the road in Haverhill“were met with universal approval. Job done!! Rapid distribution of more flyers, helmets on, bikes started and away! Amazing how hunger focuses the mind.
.The forming of plan B!
Yet more gloriously twisty roads took us away from Finchingfield and before long we were dropping down into the pretty little hamlet of Haverhill with its picturesque industrial estates & quaint housing. After what seemed like a never ending stream of traffic lights the very welcoming big red KFC sign came into view. Parking as quickly as we could and trying not to break into a run we made are way inside the cool air-conditioned restaurant, trying not to dribble as we formed an orderly queue. Grand-dad, the architect of this much needed feast, kept us all amused in his usual style with a stream of breast jokes, much to the delight of the lovely Kim behind the counter. It wasn’t great food but it was food and, whilst I can’t speak for everyone, I know mine went down very well indeed! We bid an early farewell to Mick who was by now pushed for time and sat outside in the car park enjoying the weather & a smoke whilst those that needed it went for a fuel top up. With the time getting on for 4 o’clock we decided that the still pleasant but also more direct A143 would be the route home of choice. Unfortunately at this point the annoying ticking noise coming from the Triumph’s rear hub turned into a slightly more worrying clicking noise so I had to leave the others & turn off before Bury & take the direct route home as a precaution. Catching up with Steve later on the phone it seems the day ended as it began with an enjoyable but uneventful ride back to Thetford. All in all a pretty satisfactory start to the Rideout calendar!
TDMCC Boys Do The Full Monty !
With the Bank Holiday weather forecast predicting showers by the coast and with no ride-out planned, a last minute run “in-land” to the allegedly famous “Jacks Hill Café” nr Towcester was organized. Web articles suggested it was a popular bike meet on a Sunday morning & a quick phone call confirmed that they were open until 2:30 which meant even allowing for any dodgy route finding around Milton Keynes it should be a comfortable morning ride.
The new meeting point at McDonalds proved particularly popular with warming cups of coffee taking the edge off the early morning breeze. As our destination was also allegedly famous for its food, even the one who shall not be named (but had previously shown a liking for a quick Scooby Snack) abstained from eating. Departure was delayed briefly thanks to Mike getting an early morning call to work but everyone was mounted up and ready to go by 11:00.
Bank Holiday traffic meant the A11 to Mildenhall was a slow weave past mostly stationary cars but as soon as the dual carriageway was reached the group was able to reform and good progress was made. Before long we were on the A505 and were actually passing Duxford (which is more than we did on the official Duxford Rideout!). The never ending stream of speed cameras between Royston & Baldock made no difference to our progress as yours truly, Captain Slow, was leading. In fact once we had left Baldock & headed along the A507 we would have been happy to have been able to get anywhere near the speed limit as the sunshine had brought all the Sunday drivers out in force! Suddenly in a flash of Kawasaki green, Den “the Snake” Pearce shot from the back of the group to the front in under 2 seconds and pulled everybody into a convenient lay-by. Immediate fears of “oh dear what’s wrong with the 1400” were allayed when the lay-by became more convenience than convenient! Perhaps the coffee drinking before the ride wasn’t such a good thing! Horses watered so to speak and with time getting on we were soon back on the road and heading into the delightful hamlet of Milton Keynes with its attractive warehousing and quaint street names. As predicted the navigation went slightly astray as we eventually got ever nearer to Buckingham with still no sign of the A5 northbound. A quick dose of nicotine and a look at the map had us back on the right track, well, to be more precise it was a bit of a cart track (funny how the roads look bigger on a map) but it soon had us on the A422 and then at last the A5.
We finally pulled up at said “jacks café” at about half past one. A few bikes were then pulling away and there was about half a dozen others parked up on the well worn car park (all though far short of the hundreds suggested by the web info!). After another quick smoke we went inside in search of famous food, bellies rumbling as one. To be honest, the inside was pretty much bog standard transport café and in need of a bit of updating but that was of no worry to a pack of hungry bikers like ourselves! As we surveyed the menu, trying hard not to dribble, our dreams were shattered by a youth with a dishcloth proclaiming without any form of apology “we’re not serving food!” Initial stunned silence was followed by “but we rung up during the week and were told 2:30”. “Yeah 2:30 is when we go home but we shut at 2:00 and stop serving at 1:30” was the response! Too weak from hunger to start a fight and aware that we had passed another café as we came into Towcester we shuffled back out to the bikes in silence, remounted with barely a word and headed back down the A5 with fingers and toes crossed. After what seemed like ages but was in fact only about 5 minutes we pulled onto the car park of “ The Super Sausage Café “. As helmets came off the unmistakable aroma of bacon filled our noses! MMMMMMMM Food!
The bikes pose for a picture ( riders were too busy stuffing themselves inside!)
Delightfully styled with retro black and white checkered paintwork on the signage and spotlessly clean inside, we soon realized that we hand landed well and truly on our feet. They were open till 3 and were most definitely still serving! The great menu had a whole host of reasonably priced and delicious looking items as well as some very tempting specials. The thought of “the Full Monty Breakfast” was all too much for yours truly and the one who shall not be named. Our order was quickly and pleasantly taken by the lovely Gail, proprietor and hostess with the most-ess! Once we knew food was imminent we started to have a closer look round. The walls decorated with framed prints of racers & racing bikes, the purpose built helmet and gear rack in the corner and the warmest of welcome all confirming that whilst some places claim to be “biker friendly” the Super Sausage was “Biker Heaven”. No sooner had we sat down when a smart youth appeared holding two massive white plates saying “Numbers 48 & 49, two Full Monty’s?” That was our cue to eat at last. Unfortunately we were too hungry to take pictures so you will just have to believe me when I say it was without doubt one of the best breakfasts I have ever attempted to eat (I say attempted because at this point even with my considerable experience I wasn’t sure that I hadn’t over ordered). Nicely arranged before me on a massive plate stood 2 Eggs, 2 Sausage, 3 Bacon, Fried Slice, Hash Brown, Mushrooms, Black Pudding, Baked Beans & Tomato, all backed up with 2 slices of toast and a mug of coffee (refilled freely on request!). Our early fears proved needless as, with the honor of the club in mind, we selflessly exposed more and more of the white plate from under the mountain of food. The one that shall remain nameless did struggle with the Black Pudding but that was only because he hadn’t noticed it was included when he ordered, otherwise he would have substituted it for something less blood based (well he is from the south!). With bellies bulging even more than normal we sat on the outside benches with yet more coffee refills in the glorious sunshine, contemplating our route home and generally singing the praises of our surroundings.
Eventually it was time to attempt to zip up the leathers again and head for home. With one or two fuel gauges looking grim we went back into Milton Keynes for juice then took the back route to Bedford, passing the famous Concrete Cows between two of the several hundred roundabouts we crossed before reaching the Milton Keynes boundary. Traffic was at last a bit lighter and as we made our way along the A421 riding conditions were good and the miles started to fly by. We pulled into the services at Caxton for a quick comfort and smoke break. Oddly no-one was in need of any food at this point! A quick discussion was had with regards to the route home but as one or two of us had to be back at a reasonable time a compromise was reached, a quick blast up the dual carriageway of the A428 & A14 as far as Quy then the pleasantly twisty B1102 across to Mildenhall. This decision was the backed up further when a quick phone call informed us that it was raining in Watton! Although the sun was still shining, the strong breeze was all to much for “the Snake” who popped his HiViz jacket on over his leathers, a decision that seemed odd at the time but as the clouds got bigger and blacker as we neared home didn’t seem quite such a bad idea. The group split and went there own ways home from Mildenhall with yours truly getting back to Brandon just as a heavy shower decided to help wash the flies off the Triumph! All things considered, another bloody good day!
Big thanks to all for the pictures
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