A Fat Pigeon among the Fast Cats.
I am Bryan Melrose, 77 years old and a Goldwing owner for the past 24 years. I have held a motorbike driving licence for 60 years and have always believed you are never
too old to learn. Until my Goldwing era my best and long lasting memories are of my 1958 Triumph Tiger 110. Back in the day this was as good as it got. And then came the Bonneville.
Being a “Geordie” exile who moved south some 35 years ago I have enjoyed residing in the Midlands although I did work abroad until my retirement in 2010. It was then
my Goldwing GL 1500, bought in Saudi Arabia and shipped home in 2004, became a large player in my life.
I was always looking for something different and wanted to test myself and my riding skills, ie. 1956 v 2016. I met up with Ken in the Stratford bike park and he told me about BAM. This, I thought, would be the perfect platform to answer my questions. I joined BAM in April 2016 and was immediately impressed with the enthusiasm of the members and speakers. After 6 observed rides with Julian Grubb as my mentor I passed my advanced driving test and became a full member of IAM in July 2016.
It was whilst checking out the members’ bikes at Club nights I realised my GL1500 was a bit dated and slow, so I upgraded to the GL1800 I am now using on FMR. The Belvoir Loop is the fourth time I have been out with the club, two of these being Wednesday evening runs. My bike always draws attention and comment which is nice, but looking around me and seeing some of the great machines preparing for the run was a bit daunting. My thoughts were of being able to keep with the group and not embarrass myself by holding others back.
The weather was perfect, the sun was shining with a temperature of 17oC. There were 28 bikes present, and after a pre run check and safety talk we were led off by Andy Pratt on his KTM Superduke. The second man drop off was in operation. I positioned myself in the middle of the pack and with some trepidation set off heading out towards Meriden, Fillongly and Furnace End. We carried on through Hartshill, Fenny Drayton, Sutton Cheyney and Bagworth passing the Thornton reservoir. There were some great roads with testing twisties to negotiate. I enjoyed the villages we passed through and I’m sure the countryside was as equally appealing had I been able to take my attention from the roads we were riding and the exhilaration I was experiencing.
Our first stop after some 50 odd miles was at Odd Johns Kitchen where coffee, tea, bacon butties and scones with strawberry jam, butter and fresh cream were duly served. The scrap over the one too many scones served was memorable, “And the winners were ……….”
Onwards to Belvoir Castle. There was some confusion on approaching the Castle Carpark, no bikes! These were eventually found a mile down the road where it was explained that the view of the Castle could not be seen from the Carpark. And there it was, through the trees Belvoir Castle in all its glory. Whoever had done their homework to get us there had done a wonderful job in picking the route. After a break for a photo shoot we then carried on through Harston, Croxton and Buckminster stopping for lunch at Colsterworth A1 cafe where full meals were served and stories swapped.
Leaving the A1 Cafe and heading back towards home using some more excellent bikers’ roads we passed through Oakham, Uppingham and Market Harborough. There were holdups here due to heavy traffic but our second man drop off system prevailed and we worked our way through without incident or losing anyone. Shortly after this the weather changed for the worse and we hit a couple of bad storms which took a bit of the shine off the ride. We then carried on through Clipston and Lutterworth to our final destination at Ansty Golf Club outside of Coventry. I had intended to have a final coffee here and say goodbye but like the majority of the members, decided, because of the weather, to head for home.
On reflection this had been a wonderful day out. I have met many members of the club who have made this Geordie welcome and I look forward to more of these most enjoyable rides in the future. I do feel that my Goldwing is a Fat Pigeon among all you Fast Cats but hey, at my age it’s the comfort I’m chasing not the sore wrists and stiff back. Done all that and got the T shirt as they say. I’d like to finish by saying thank you to Andy for arranging and leading this FMR and to all of the members who I met during this Belvoir Loop run. I’d also like to thank Julian for being such a good observer and mentor.
Thanks to all.
Sent in by Bryan Melrose