News feed, 18.7.17

Mother Nature treated us to one of those rare meteorological anomalies: two days of consecutive glorious weather! Having plotted a gpx course, we were up and away about half ten heading towards Eskdalemuir. We missed the May Chapter ride, so decided to travel part of the route to remind ourselves of those great riding roads.

The A69 was uneventful but there’s always someone that needs past you. We did hit a huge queue of traffic at Bardon Mill, due to some temporary traffic lights. So we flew down the other lane, breathing in as we went, and landed right at the front. A fantastic barge-in by anyone’s standard.

We then did a left at Brampton, heading for Longtown. Despite plotting a perfect route, the trike sat nav decided to take us a bunch of stupid places and junctions, so we casually ignored it as we sped on. The road was completely empty, with no-one about to interrupt our journey. Some of the curves north of Canonbie are just amazing. We swept along watching the fantastic countryside whizzing past us on each side.

Soon after Arkleton, we took a sharp right towards Hermitage Castle, our designated lunchtime picnic spot. The road was ridiculously narrow in places, and of course we always met oncoming traffic where there wasn’t a passing place. However, it must be a contender for a future Chapter ride, swooping left and right, and up and down. A real treat. We were unzipping and unfastening as we went, as the temperature got hotter and hotter. We ate our sandwiches in the grounds of Hermitage Castle, which was bathed in sunshine, nestled in superb green valleys.

After lunch, we travelled the amazing Steele Road between Newlands and Larriston, with more great curves. We then landed at Saughtree and were back on familiar ground, heading down the south side of Kielder Water. It was too beautiful for words.

Swiftly through Bellingham, we took the A68 to Corbridge, then the A69 home via the Free Trade Inn. This is much better than being at work!

News feed, 17.7.17

The blue sky shimmered all day, as we travelled south today to Whitby for some fish and chips. A brisk start through the Tunnel soon settled down to a steady sixty as we waded through some playlists from our Route 66 trip last year. The A19 soon behind us, we landed onto the B1257 south of Stokesley and we had the road to ourselves in some fantastic sunshine. Weaving in and out through the North York Moors National Park, we soon got to Helmsley which, even for a Monday morning, was busy as ever.

On the A170, we travelled through some beautiful countryside towards Pickering. Then left, onto the A169 past RAF Fylingdales through Sleights and we dropped down into Whitby. The clear sky meant we could see for miles in every direction. We were in no rush and meeting the odd tractor or two didn’t really slow us down.

Whitby was going like a fair, clearly others had the same idea too, so we joined the throng and pottered along the harbour heading for our favourite place at the end, The Quarterdeck. Cod and chips, twice please! Fed, watered and with a quick walk to end of the harbour wall, we steered a course back towards Guisborough, the A174 and the A19.

We turned off the A19 onto the A689, heading for the Cameron’s Brewery Visitor Centre in Hartlepool. We had a good chat with everyone there, and came away with twenty-four bottles of their finest Road Crew beer. We even scored for a V-Twin tap label.

The queue after the tunnel on the north side was incredibly tedious and the engine was running extremely hot as we pulled in for some fuel just off the Coast Road.

A superb day, in amazing North Yorkshire countryside, and with some fantastic weather! Time for a beer!

Chapter Meeting, July 2017

A warm July evening brought nearly a hundred Geordie Chapter members, including a few new ones, down to Nissan SLC last night for our monthly meeting. We had about thirty bikes in the car park as everyone took advantage of the lovely weather. We even had a full squad from JH-DG too. Great to see everyone there.

Barry was back at the helm again, after his trip to BikeFest in June. He handed straight over to Paul from Deluxe Detailing, who gave us a talk on how best to look after and seal the paintwork on our Harley-Davidsons. Paul gave us quite a few tips on pre-washing, washing, drying and sealing the paint, including some advice on cloths, foam cleaners and sealants. There’s a wide range of products out there, and Paul is willing to help anyone who needs a hand talking through them, including all the fine stuff that Harley-Davidson make too.

Barry then led us through a few highlights from June and early July:

Bike Fest was good fun, if a bit wet. The Gathering was great too, if very wet!

Ray and Paul led the charge up to Eskdalemuir for our June Chapter ride. A stack of people turned up, and it was a superb day.

The Road Crew led a fantastic ride, once again, for our annual ABC ride. Keeping everyone in formation along Newcastle Quayside was a huge challenge but they managed it perfectly. We also raised the thick end of £800.00 for our armed forces.

We had forty or so people up at Clennell Hall, with Peter leading a cheeky little ride on the Saturday to the Lavender Tea Rooms at Etal. Some of the roads were very entertaining and he blind-sided us in Etal by swinging down close to the River Till. Reaching for the life-jackets, anyone … ?

As expected, a load of people rode over to Wake the Lakes with Red Rose Chapter. To celebrate their tenth anniversary, they laid on ten rides. Quite an achievement, which they managed admirably. There isn’t a rally next year as lots of people will be in Prague for the 115 H-D Anniversary.

We had the first anniversary of JH-DG on Saturday and there was some sunny weather for everyone. There were a couple of bands, a scran van and some beautiful bikes on show.

Looking forward, we’ve got The Kelpies run on Saturday, followed the week after by the CHUF ride, then … it’s our rally! There are only about thirty tickets left, so everything looks on track for a sell-out. There is no monthly ride in July but we’ve got The Normans looking after us on 6 August then our monthly Chapter ride on 13 August.

Gary gave us a quick update on the CHUF ride, and everything is on track there too. Gary has a great mix of things for us to do on the day, so get your outfits ready and cross everything for some sunshine!

The Christmas Party tickets are now on sale – see Trish for yours now. We have a band called the Test Pilots keeping us entertained, and a scrumptious turkey dinner ready for everyone.

Ray was in France when the last meeting of the NECMC was on, so no news this month. However, he tells us that copies of the picture from the Angel of the North are available. See Ray for details.

Grant said JH-DG raised an amazing £221.00 from the first birthday bash for GNAA. And Hayley presented Greg with the wining raffle prize. Well done to him.

A couple of rapid-fire items to close the meeting:

  • Barry presented Allen with his Road Captain certificate. Well done to Allen!
  • Allen said that the ABC ride went very well from an RC point of view too and mentioned that they will only pass within the pack when it is safe to do so. Please don’t wave them through with hands or feet.
  • The rally volunteers meeting is on 21 July at 7.00 pm at Tynemouth Cricket Club

And that’s it! Tony, Chris, Lesley, Paul, Vicky (a new member!) and Gary shared the raffle prizes. Well done to everyone.

The next meeting is on 3 August, see you all there!

Ride safe everyone, Barry.

News feed, 2.7.17

Music, motorbikes and mayhem sums up our second outing to Clennell Hall! The finest Northumbrian scenery and landscape provided a green and pleasant backdrop, with about forty chapter members making their way there over the weekend. We had a combination of people in the Hall itself, some in the bunk rooms, and a wide selection of tents and motorhomes.

The trip up on Friday was reasonably uneventful, but the promise of some rain somewhere meant the clouds were grey rather than white. A bit better than last year though, when it tipped down on the way up. We got there about four, and the GC faithful already occupied the bar.

Drinks orders and food orders came and went over the next hour or so and, after checking in, we installed ourselves next to the Charlton and Kent party at the long table in the middle. Rocky kept the beer chilled for us all, and after our own food, we settled down to some music from a local band, and general tomfoolery, GC-style.

The band was good, playing a varied selection of tunes, and they kept everything swinging along nicely until the wee hours.

Breakfast came and went in the morning, and we shared a table with Ron and Lyn. We covered all the finer points of GC merchandise during our brief time together!

James, Bill, Mandy and Paul then arrived from Newcastle to join our ride-out, scheduled for an 11.00 am departure. Peter was up front and Paul at the back. Peter delivered the briefing, and revealed our lunch stop – the Lavender Tea Rooms, at Etal.

And we were off! We took a quick left-turn out of Clennell Hall, and then navigated through some great roads, heading for Alnwick. There were nineteen bikes and two trikes on the day. The sun popped in and out from behind the clouds, and the day was getting much warmer as we landed into Alnwick, past the lovely Edlingham Castle. We also played second-man-drop-off which is always good fun!

We arrived at a very familiar petrol station, got some fuel in the Sportys, then had a slow meander back through Alnwick, fighting against some Saturday morning traffic. Alnwick must be very used to having the GC through its street: we had a great pit-stop there last weekend as part of our ABC ride.

Peter’s route then kicked up a gear, as we headed north through Eglingham and Chillingham. At times, it felt like we were on the waltzer at The Hoppings but the plan slotted beautifully together and, after a small about-turn at the castle in Etal, we landed en masse at the Lavender Tea Rooms. What a glorious spot! A few of our gang who weren’t on bikes had also made their way up there, so we all sat for an hour and drank up the sunshine and some lovely tea and coffee from the café. They were so excited about it, they even filmed our departure!

Barry now took the back-marker spot and we whizzed back down the A697 for some more fuel at Powburn. Peter wasn’t finished with us yet, so we went into Glanton, Callaly and some other lovely villages back to Clennell Hall. There was a great collection of narrow roads, potholes, green tufts and gravel to keep us all on our toes, and we were in and out of our seats bouncing through it all.

And that was that! Eighty miles later, we were back at Clennell Hall, debating the day’s ride with a cold beer outside in the sunshine. The place overflowed with more of the GC gang, in additional tents and motorhomes. As a small reward for his superb efforts, Jasper the dog then took a tinkle in Peter’s lid.

NB: this is NOT Jasper!

We fought the temptation to stay out right through, so showered and changed and landed back in the bar at seven.

More tea, more music and more beer, that’s how it went from there. Our Les, followed by Stu, accompanied at times by Mark, then kept our toes a-tapping though another fantastic evening.

What a great time! Great folk, great patter and some great riding! Let’s get it sorted again for 2018.


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News feed, 26.6.17

Our 2017 ABC ride was another triumph for sunny weather, happy riders and our amazing Road Crew. We met at Albemarle Barracks, home to the British Army, and then zoomed off to Alnwick, via the A68, Elsdon and Rothbury.

Everyone’s in the NAAFI …

We had a brief stop for lunch, before heading east via Denwick to Boulmer, home to the Royal Air Force. It was a breezy stop, so once we’d had our picture taken, we strapped ourselves in again, and rode off south towards Ashington and Newcastle upon Tyne.

Today is obviously checky-shirt day!

You can never have too many pictures!

Our new Sportster Sickness ladies: Caroline, Sharon and Sarah

Cross Rob is flying the flags!

We re-grouped a couple of times, so we could make the final push along the quayside in a single group. The traffic lights thwarted us slightly but our Men in Orange did a great job in keeping us all together and in the right direction. Finally, we landed at HMS Calliope, home to the Royal Naval Reserve.

We had a stupendous day, with about one hundred riders and pillions, eighty bikes and trikes and a sea of smiley faces! We managed to raise about £750.00 for our armed forces. Well done to everyone!

What a great day!


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News feed, 14.6.17

Well, that was The Gathering 2017! We had a great time, met some great people and travelled through some spectacular scenery in and around Argyll and Bute.

We fuelled and packed the trike the night before, ready for an early start on Friday. We got away about nine, with the promise of some light rain somewhere on our journey. We went along the A69 and up the M74. After a brief coffee stop at Abington, we encountered more and more dark skies, and then the rain started after junction 8 as we headed for Kilmarnock. Thankfully things eased off slightly as we hit the coast, turning right at Ardrossan, heading for McInroy’s Point through West Kilbride and Inverkip.

The Firth of Clyde is a huge expanse of water, leading into the North Channel and the Irish Sea, but we couldn’t see much of it, with the ever-present mist and clouds. We landed at the ferry terminal about five hours after setting off, which was a good time given the conditions, and we endured a further drenching as we took up our place on the ferry.

Hunter’s Quay is only a short step from the ferry and after a chat with the Clyde Valley welcome team, we made our way to our lodge. We saw lots of bikes and trikes in the car park and Clyde Valley had decorated everything in the black-and-orange. A very welcoming sight! We then saw loads of Harley-Davidsons parked outside the lodges and caravans.

Thankfully, the weather cheered up and we went over to the bar and grill about seven. Clyde Valley and Dunedin were in abundance and we saw people from Red Rose, Belfast and Oslo chapters too. To keep us entertained, The Kilts played a cheerful set of cover songs and we slurped a few beers into the night. Somehow, we managed to get the cover on the trike later …

The rain started about eleven o’clock that night and kept going for twelve hours solid. A complete wash-out, and Clyde Valley wisely cancelled the Saturday ride-out. We managed to stay away from the bar during the day, with a promise of some sunshine later. It landed about three, so we saddled up, plotting a course for Strachur through some beautiful scenery on the B836 and the A886. We travelled on a range of roads, and some of the single track ones were challenging in places. They were still very wet, with lots of puddles and standing water.

We travelled past Holy Loch, Loch Tarsen, Loch Striven, Loch Fyne and Loch Eck, on a seventy-five mile trip. When we landed back at Dunoon, we took a right-hand turn towards Toward lighthouse, the southernmost point. The day was basking in sunshine by this time and we had an ice-cream on the outskirts of Dunoon before we headed back, very pleased that the rain stopped and smiling about our wee trip.

Bessie and The Zinc Buckets played a rousing set that evening in the bar and grill, and we watched them, listened to Stephen’s speech and won nothing in the raffle. Unsurprisingly, Dunedin won the highest attending chapter.

The rain started again later that evening but the promise was for a brighter morning, with the rain setting in about one in the afternoon. So we saddled up early and headed for Inverary, with a straight run up and down the side of Loch Eck. Inverary is beautiful, with lots of whitewashed buildings. We had a cup of coffee, bought some shortbread and decided to go to Lochgoilhead, to see our sixth loch. We struck off for Arrochar on the A83, round the majestic Beinn an Lochain. It’s a great climb up to the Rest and Be Thankful, but the mist spoilt our view.

On the B828, we navigated more single-track roads as we dropped into Lochgoilhead. On a dry day, it would have been a great trip, but the rain started again just as we pulled in to the tiny village. We took a different route back, climbing out of the valley towards Ardno.

We met quite a few single riders on our hundred mile trip, then we encountered the official ride-out, with about twenty five bikes, including Road Crew. We landed back to Hunter’s Quay about one o’clock, just as we’d planned.

Monday promised even more rain, so we set off early back to Newcastle. We took a different route after Kilmarnock, on the A76 to Dumfries, then the A75 to Gretna Green.

We had a great time with Clyde Valley chapter! The rally site sits within some amazing landscapes next to some superb riding roads, and we managed to visit six of the seven local lochs. Next time, we’ll try and do it with a bit less rain!


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Chapter Meeting, June 2017

Barry and Peter were away in Ireland at BikeFest, so Robin was in charge at our June meeting. It was a great evening, weather-wise, and we had about thirty or so bikes and trikes in the car park, and eighty Chapter members in the room.

Here’s a few highlights from the meeting:

  • Our first Chapter ride of 2017 was a great success, led by Duncan
  • We’ve had a few rallies already in 2017, with a good number travelling down to Cider and Iron Horse
  • The Normans convened their second Fat Bob event in The Lakes recently, which was another great success (although it did rain a bit!)

We’ve got a couple of events coming up in the coming weeks, starting with the next monthly Chapter ride to Eskdalemuir, led by Ray and Paul.

Helen handed out event sheets for everyone. Helen will update this as we go forward. We’ve got full details on the website too: www.geordiehog.com/events. The Bad-Landers Armed Forces Day event is on 18 June, and full details are on the website. We’ve also got our own ABC ride on 24 June.

At the end of June, there’s the Chapter Ride Weekend at Clennell Hall. There’s plenty of space left in the bunk rooms, or you can camp. Speak to Helen or Peter if you’d like to go.

Ray thanked everyone who attended the recent photo-shoot at the Angel of the North, with the North East Coalition of Motorcycle Clubs. We had about forty people there, a sizeable proportion of the overall one hundred and ninety who attended. Pictures are available on Facebook.

Dawn said that the rally organisation is going really well and encouraging everyone to help. Ticket sales are going well too!

We finished on a sad note, noting the recent death of a Kalle Johnsen from the Bergen Chapter. Trish arranged for some flowers from us all, at his funeral on Wednesday.

The raffle is always a flourish at the end with Steve, John, Jan, Ian, Bill and Ben all collecting some great prizes.

The next meeting is on 6 July, see you all there!

Ride safe everyone, Robin.

News feed, 29.5.17

The warm summer sun shone down on Ray and I as we revved up the trikes, making our way down to Angels Place for the North East Coalition of Motorcycle Clubs’ meeting last Friday. Many others had taken also had the same idea, lining the street outside the pub with their beautiful bikes. Clutching a glass of the amber nectar, we stayed outside for some chat with our coalition friends. It’s a great way to start the meeting.

Steve got the meeting underway and there were a few absentees this month. Firstly, he thanked everyone for coming down to the NECMC photo shoot at the Angel of the North on Wednesday. It was a great turn-out from everyone in the coalition, with nearly two hundred people there. The HA will get some prints and canvas pictures made for everyone for a reasonable cost. In the meantime, here’s a sneak preview from the picture that made its way onto Facebook.

Everyone then ran through the various events and activities that are coming our way over the summer. We’ve listed some of these in our February write-up, here, but in addition we’ve got the following …

  • 10.6: the HA is hosting a rave at Angels Place, with live bands and DJs keeping everyone entertained
  • 1.7: HAMC Custom Bike Show, with loads of north-east custom bikes on display. Get there for about one o’clock. There are loads of categories for bikes, so get your chrome polished ready for the day.
  • 18.6: the Bad-Landers MCC is convening the annual Armed Forces Day at Bents Park. It’s on between ten and five o’clock and it looks like there’s a stack of things to do, including bands, a bike and car show, and the parade itself. If anyone would like to join the parade from Angels Place to Bents Park, get there for about nine o’clock, ready to ride at quarter to ten. There’s also a raffle with some big money prizes. All in support of our armed forces.
  • 23.7: the Ride of Respect to Catterick. Starts at Angels Place at eleven o’clock. It’ll be busy, so get there early.
  • 5.6: Brigantes Brotherhood MCC is hosting an Open Night
  • 24.6: Geordie HOG ABC ride, starting at Albemarle, up to Boulmer and then to HMS Calliope. You’ll need to have photo ID with you to join this ride.
  • 24.6: the Hylton Hornets MCC is hosting a fund-raiser for the RVI Children’s Wards, 1A and 7, at 12.00 pm. It looks like it will be a great day for the entire family. It’s on at The Golden Lion, South Hylton.

As an aside Bellatorum MCC thanked everyone for their support at the recent event at their place. They raised more than £1,000, bringing their total to nearly £6,500 so far this year.

The next meeting is on 30.6 at 8.00 pm. There are lots of websites and Facebook pages for all these groups, so get online and help support them and the NECMC.


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News feed, 25.5.17

We all met up at Bradbury Services on Sunday for the first monthly Chapter ride of 2017, led by Duncan. A few arrived early, having gone straight there, then the Washington posse landed en masse just before ten. It was great to see so many people taking advantage of the good weather, and also so many new chapter members. We chatted to John, Gill and Tony in the car park beforehand.

The Road Crew huddled together to get their game faces on, then Duncan delivered the all-important ride briefing. Barry announced that James would be celebrating his sixtieth birthday on Monday, so we raised our voices for a quick burst of Happy Birthday for him.

Once we’d completed the formalities, everyone got kitted up, started up and ready for the off about half ten. A kindly Stobart’s lorry gave us all a free pass straight out of the service station, then we crossed the A1, heading west up Weardale towards the A68 and Wolsingham. The roads were fantastic and we tucked in behind John B on his Dyna and Ian on his Breakout. Ron and Lyn were close behind us.

The Road Crew got us quickly through the relatively straight route to St John’s Chapel, then a quick left, heading south towards the B167, High Force waterfall and Teesdale. We used part of this route on our first ride from last year when we raced from Alston down to Durham Tees Valley Airport to see the Great North Air Ambulance.

Right onto the B6276 took us onto the North Pennines AONB and the moors. The weather turned distinctly chilly as we soldiered on, and a bit of mist managed to dampen our shiny chrome. Thankfully, the sheep kept out of our way and in no time, we landed at Brough, crossing under the A66. It was a bit bumpy on the roads on the moors and it was good to ride some better roads for a change.

Kirkby Stephen was very busy but everyone stopped and stared, open-mouthed, as we navigated the traffic lights through the village. Up and out again as we headed for Nateby and Outhgill towards Aisgill, next to the very remote Hell Gill Beck. Once on the A684, we landed at the Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes.

Things have changed at the creamery recently, including a new car park. We all managed to find a space, then headed for lunch. It’s such a great place, and Lyn took full advantage of the cheese-related merchandise on offer.

 

We left about an hour or so later and we rode through Hawes itself. It was rammed with tourists and fellow bikers yet we still managed to cause a stir as we went by. There’s something cool about riding in such a big group, and watching everyone watching us! This time, we were following John L, Trish and John B, with Ian tucked in behind. There’s always something entertaining watching John B whacking the throttle grip on his ride, but he kept the hammer down and we made a good pace!

Pretty soon, we dropped down a very steep bank and crossed the lovely Aysgarth Falls. Unfortunately, Kevin Costner was nowhere to be seen! The roads were again magnificent and kept us on our toes, although we nearly ran out of Road Crew at one point. Everyone was doing a good job in letting them through but there were a lot of junctions to cover.

We dropped out of the Yorkshire Dales National Park at Richmond and headed north, crossing the River Tees again, west of the A1 at Darlington. Finally, we had a short stretch of A1 to travel before we landed at Newton Park Services. Everyone was full of smiles for a job well done, all credit to Duncan and the Men in Orange for a superb day!


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News feed, 15.4.17

CRAGG 2017

With Clyde Valley and Red Rose chapters, we held our annual pre-season event over at Gretna Hall Hotel. We got underway on 7 April for a couple of nights. Each day had perfect weather, much better than last when we had sleet, rain and snow!

Between us, more than a hundred and fifty turned up to join in the fun. On Saturday, Derek and Rachael Norman arranged a ninety mile blast round some great rural roads of Dumfries and Galloway. We stopped for a lunch break at The Steamboat Inn at Carsethorn: well worth another visit. The ride was just superb, and we arrived back at Gretna mid-afternoon. In the evening, after a superb dinner, a group called Rocket Man entertained us. They were previously on at last year’s Wake the Lakes rally.

CRAGG is a great opportunity for everyone to get together after the long winter’s break! Roll on next year!

Barry


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