News feed, 30.12.16

Geordie Chapter: Monthly Newsletter, December 2016

Here’s a copy of our monthly Geordie Chapter Newsletter. We’ve got a great round-up of the year from some of the Geordie Chapter Committee, and a look-ahead to what’s in store for 2017.

Getting things underway, Barry has a few words for everyone:

‘Here’s to twenty years – 1997 to 2017! We’re looking forward to celebrating our twentieth anniversary next year and early indications show that it’s going to be one of the best yet!

2016 has been an amazing year for the Geordie Chapter – we managed to do all sorts of things from Chapter ride-outs, rallies, charity events and most recently, our superb Christmas Party. Our Activities Officers, Peter and Helen, managed to keep the Calendar stocked full of great events to suit everyone.

Our membership has increased considerably during 2016 and now stands just short of 250. I would be so proud to see us break the 300 barrier once again – hopefully we will manage this during 2017. So come on, let’s all encourage everyone who is buying bikes or trikes to join the famous Geordie Chapter and get involved in the fun.

Jennings Harley-Davidson Gateshead is also doing their bit to encourage new members to join the Chapter. They are giving all new members a 50% voucher towards their first year of membership. This is great news for us, and apparently not done at any other chapter in the country.

Fifty-four Chapter members took part in the 2016 H.O.G. Chapter Challenge and between them, managed to ride more than a quarter of a million miles. This was a fantastic result and we’ll be entering the challenge again. Keep an eye out for the forms coming round early next year.

Thanks to everyone’s generosity, we managed to raise £2,350 for various charities throughout the year, starting with the Great North Air Ambulance back in May. This contribution forms part of the c. £25,000 raised by the clubs in the North East Coalition of Motorcycle Clubs (NECC).

Paul and Lesley McPherson also raised an astonishing £4,000 in one night that they split between Gibside School and our Geordie Chapter mascot, Harley Stallard.

In July we saw our new dealership open, Jennings Harley-Davidson Gateshead, with its state of the art, high-spec store and the very latest Harley-Davidson motorcycles. They’re currently underway with their new workshop facilities, to service our bikes and trikes.

I would also like to thank Jennings Harley-Davidson Gateshead for their contribution to the Chapter over the past six months. They contributed a superb £450 jacket as the main prize at the Heart & Soul Rally, gifts for our Santa Ride, and money prizes for our annual mileage awards. It’s great to have their support.

Most recently, we had our annual Santa Ride. In all my years as a Chapter member, I have never seen such a great amount of gifts given by everyone. The ride to the hospital was spot on and this year the weather was really kind to us. A sincere thank you to everyone that took part. The amount of gifts people donated for the Salvation Army was astonishing.

In 2017, Percy Park will again host the Heart & Soul Rally. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone, including our friends from the Bergen Chapter who will be visiting us. I am so looking forward to catching up with them, sharing stories and building relationships for future events.

Our 2017 Events Calendar is quickly filling up with something for everyone to keep us on our bikes, having fun. And in February, we have our AGM. I would like to discuss a few items with you all, so please try and come along.

Here’s a list of the Chapter members who received awards at this year’s Christmas Party. Well done to them all:

L.O.H. Rider
1. Rachel Ratcliffe: 7,049 miles
2. Trish Gillespie: 6,000 miles

Iron Butt award
1. Paul Wright: 13,431 miles
2. Gwyn Brooks: 10,279 miles

Outstanding Achievement Award, voted by the Geordie Chapter Committee
Greg Holmes

Geordie Chapter Members’ Member of the Year
Paul Wright

David Williams H.O.G. Geordie Chapter Member, presented by our Director
Ray Hales

GeordieHOG News award, for the best website story
Ruth Neal

I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year, with peace and good health for 2017.’

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Peter, our Assistant Director (also one of Activities Officers), said:

‘As we come to the end of 2016 and take time to reflect on chapter life and the numerous events, activities and rallies we’ve all enjoyed this year, it’s good to see we’ll be repeating most of these in 2017!

Early 2016 saw us take part in the CRAGG event, at Gretna, for the first time. The weather was against us at times but it now looks like it’s going to be a well attended annual event.

We found out that the Bailey Mill venue for our camping weekend wouldn’t be available this year, so in July we went to Clennell Hall in Northumberland. We had a fantastic time with entertainment provided by some of our talented Chapter musicians and equally talented staff of Clennell Hall. We partied well into the small hours and then Shaun treated us to a fantastic rural scenic ride-out on the Saturday. We are returning in 2017 and hopefully we will make this another annual event. There’s still plenty camping available for anyone wanting to join us, so just give me a shout.

The Chapter BBQ is now, if memory serves me right, in its sixth year and still very well attended by everyone. I could go on and list a few more events, but I’ll point you all in the direction of the Chapter website and our Facebook page where we’ve listed all the activities, ride-outs and events for 2017.

The calendar is already starting to fill up for 2017, but there’s room for a few more events! If anyone has an idea for an event or activity, feel free to contact me or Helen and we’ll see what we can do.’

We have a Treasurer’s Perspective, from Duncan:

‘I write this in the middle of sorting out the end of year accounts for the Chapter, which we’ll publish in January 2017, and I am happy to report that they will again show the Chapter in a healthy financial position. We had a considerable turnover in 2016, and an improved final balance in our accounts. I can report a significant increase from when I first took over as Treasurer when the Chapter re-formed.

The role of Treasurer includes overall financial management of Chapter finances rather than just accounting for money received and spent. Our healthy financial position has allowed us to reduce the cost of membership by £5.00 to £15.00, for an individual member. At the same time, we have been able to give back some benefits to everyone, such as pie and pea suppers and curry, at some chapter meetings this year. We also gave a £10.00 discount on the Chapter Christmas Party tickets. Members taking part in all of these events have received a benefit of £22.00 each, which is pretty good value for the £15.00 subscription – especially when taking into account the other chapter activities and rides in the course of the year.

Not least of these Chapter activities was the Heart & Soul Rally which was a resounding success thanks to Dawn, our Rally Coordinator. With careful financial management, we were able to ensure it was a financial success, rather than a cost to the Chapter. I have been Treasurer now for four years and as I am well past retirement age, I will be stepping down next year. I will be handing the reins over to Gary Robinson.

I wish Gary every success in his new role and Happy New Year to everyone.’

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Trish, representing our L.O.H. officers, said:

‘As 2016 comes to an end, it’s time to reflect on the past twelve months. This year not only sees my first year as an L.O.H. Officer but my first complete riding year and I’ve got to say I’m very pleased with my 6,000 riding miles!

We’ve continued to expand our L.O.H. members, welcoming more riders and non-riders throughout the year (to be an L.O.H. member, you first need to join H.O.G. as a full or associate member, then join our Chapter).

Our communication with other Chapters has never been better. The welcome we received from the Brescia Chapter, during our annual holiday to Italy, completely exceeded my expectations. If anyone riding abroad would like help locating and arranging to meet overseas chapters, I’m only too willing to help.

I attended my second national L.O.H. Meeting in October, meeting up and discussing ideas for 2017. One of these is a national Sparkle Ride, scheduled for September, and I will be discussing this with the five northern Chapters to plan the weekend – more details to follow shortly.

We’ve had quite a few articles in the L.O.H. section of the HOG magazine and H.O.G. Insider, so please keep forwarding your stories and adventures to me to get them published.

We are the host Chapter for the 2017 H.O.G. Directors meeting in January and plans are coming along nicely to include a visit to our fantastic new dealership. To entertain partners during the weekend, I’m arranging a Cocktail Masterclass at Newcastle’s Revolution Bar and hope many of our Ladies of Harley will join us.

I’m looking forward to riding with you all again soon and hope you all have a very safe riding New Year!’

Lyn keeps our merchandise supplies in good order and has a few words for us too:

‘Our merchandise sales have never been better, with my stall at the monthly Chapter meetings, the rally and our online shop. We’ve recently expanded the range of Geordie Chapter items to include silver rockers to match the H.O.G. silver Eagles. They are available in large and small. We’ll have these available online soon.

I can also order name rockers (just in case you forget your own name!) and there are lots of styles etc. available. If you’re looking for a specific something but can’t find it, just get in touch and I’ll see if I can get it for you!

Best wishes everyone.’

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Robin, our Webmaster, has a few closing words:

‘Our website continues to develop, and I’m adding lots of new content all the time. It’s open for everyone to read and is a great way of encouraging new members to join the Chapter. I do a lot of research and upgrades to ensure that our website is one of the best!

I’m hoping to refresh a number of the pages early in 2017, making sure that everything is right up to date and meets the various requirements of regional and national H.O.G. There are quite a few guidelines in place.

Great stories and pictures really help sell our Chapter. They also promote our charitable events and activities. We generate some fantastic enthusiasm when we’re out riding and I’d like to capture as much of this as possible on our website. If you would like to contribute something that you think others would like to read or see, please get in touch, using GeordieHOG News

Best wishes to everyone for 2017!’

Finally, thanks to Cross Rob for the pictures in this month’s Newsletter.

We’ve got a Chapter Meeting at Nissan SLC on 5 January 2017, getting underway at seven-thirty.

See you all there!


Chapter Santa Ride, December 2016

There’s a great write-up of our recent Santa Ride on our Facebook page, with lots of pictures. You can read it here.

And Ian McClelland (Ian McClelland Photography) passed on a couple of great photos, below. Many thanks, Ian.

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Salvation Army members Eric Pearce, Eric Mercer and Brian Mercer with Barry Gillespie, Geordie Chapter Director, and Sohail Khan, Director of Jennings Harley-Davidson Gateshead, after our annual Santa Ride to the Royal Victoria Infirmary. Thanks to Santa Greg for looking very festive too!


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Dawn Bell, teaching assistant at Gibside School is presented with a cheque for £2,000.00, part of a total of £4,000.00 raised by Geordie Chapter. Dawn is joined by (L-R) Paul McPherson, Ladies of Harley Officer Trish Gillespie, Lesley McPherson and Director of Jennings Harley-Davidson Gateshead Sohail Khan.

It was a fantastic day, with much better weather than last year, and I’m very proud of Geordie Chapter for their generosity at this time of year. Well done to everyone who took part.


Chapter Meeting, December 2016

Thursday saw the last Chapter meeting of 2016 and Barry got things underway in great style by announcing the cumulative mileage total for the Chapter Challenge. A fantastic result, and thanks to everyone who took part.

A few snippets from the meeting:

There’s a few people going over to the BikeFest in Ireland next year. Anyone is welcome to join the group making the journey.

We’re looking for some ideas for guest speakers for 2017. We’ve had some great presentations in 2016 and all suggestions are welcome.

Voting is open for the Member of the Year, 2016. All nominations to Peter, please. There’s been a recent text about this too. This is your chance to vote, so make it count!

The Santa Run is on 10 December 2016. Please take all gifts for the Salvation Army to Jennings Harley-Davidson Gateshead, and don’t wrap them. The Chapter has purchased separate gifts that we will donate to the RVI.

More than 120 tickets have gone for the Christmas Party, on 17 December. Speak to Peter if you’d like one.

Lyn kindly let everyone know that Chapter rockers and H.O.G. patches are now available in silver. This ties in with Ray’s sterling work within the coalition to see it through. Please speak to Lyn if you would like some silver goodies. Ordering does take ages though, so you may not have them in time for Christmas.

And Ray continued the good news with some forthcoming events from the coalition:

10.12.16 HA MC Christmas Party. £10 entry. Available from the HA, Twin City and Earl of Zetland.
12.12.16 Bogeymen MC Rock Night
17.12.16 Dragonslayer MC Christmas Rock Night, A1 Allerdene Social Club 7.00 pm. £5 entry.
23.12.16 Brigante Brotherhood MC are holding a charity night in aid the Gurkhas

Ray also gave a further update on fund-raising – clubs in the NECC raised more than £24,000 for charity this year!

Ruth announced that the next L.O.H. meeting would take place on 17 December 2016. Our L.O.H. has also arranged a bowling evening, to take place 21 January 2017. Tickets are £12 per person. Please let Ruth know if you’d like to attend.

The next meeting is in 2017, 5 January. See you all on the Santa Run on 10.12, or the Christmas Party on 17.12. If not, see you next year!


Chapter Meeting, November 2016

There was a fantastic rally feel to November’s chapter meeting. Barry gave everyone an update on the Heart & Soul Rally – hopefully, we’ve got some of our friends from Bergen Chapter coming over for the 2017 event. About one hundred tickets are gone already which is about a fifth of those available. This is great news, and a reminder to everyone to get their orders in soon. Bands are all booked now too, with some new facilities planned at Percy Park.

A number of chapter members made their way down to the Cider Rally in 2016, and it looks like the same will happen again in 2017. It’s one of the first ones in the rally calendar. On foreign shores, we have the BikeFest in Ireland, the Euro Festival in St Tropez and the Benelux rally in Antwerp for 2017. Some great choices for everyone really.

A quick update from our Treasurer confirmed that Geordie Chapter donated more than £2,000 to charity during 2016. A huge thank you to everyone involved!

Ray ran through the events taking place across the coalition in coming weeks:

Every Thursday is Rock and Metal Night at the HA clubhouse, 8.00 pm until 1.00 am
18.11.16 Votadini MC Rock Night, Backworth Social Club, 7.00 pm
19.11.16 HA MC Bikers’ Ball, HA clubhouse, from 8.00 pm. £10 entry – cuts and tux or chicks in posh frocks
26.11.16 Gypsy Rebel MC Rock Night, Royal Navy Club (Roker) 7.00 pm. £5 entry.
12.12.16 Bogeymen MC Rock Night
17.12.16 Dragonslayer MC Christmas Rock Night, A1 Allerdene Social Club 7.00 pm. £5 entry.

It was great to hear that clubs in the NECC raised more than £19,680 for charity this year.

Mandy said that the Chapter now has 220 members and a further four joined on the night, bringing membership up to 224. New members this month are:

Robert Reed, Maureen Elliott, Andrew Kirtley, Kenneth Carse, Jason Melrose, Chris Trotter and Helen Trotter

Trish reminded everyone to submit completed mileage forms for the Chapter Challenge. All numbers to Trish, please.

There are a few tickets left for the Chapter Christmas Party, on 17.12.16. They will be on sale again at December’s meeting.

Ruth announced that there will be a Coffee and Cake morning at Jennings Harley-Davidson Gateshead on 26.11.16, to raise funds for Myeloma UK.

Our Ladies of Harley will arrange a ten-pin bowling evening, in January 2017. This will likely be at Washington, with some food available too. Everyone voted for a Saturday night, so watch this space!

Steve and the Road Crew are still developing a ride-out for our Santa Run. Everyone has fingers and toes crossed for some better weather than last year!

It was a boys-only night at the raffle this month, with three Johns, Dave and Mick all taking home some goodies. John B has done quite well at the raffle this year …

See you all on 1 December, at 7.30 pm.


Chapter Meeting, October 2016

A few of the Committee are away this month but Barry was still on hand to update everyone on what’s happening in the Chapter. Two great things to get us underway – the Christmas Party and the Heart & Soul Rally!

The Christmas Party is a Chapter-only event, at Nissan SLC on 17 December 2016. However, we need to sell a hundred tickets to make it happen. So, get in there now and your tickets! Trish has them.

Tickets for the Heart & Soul Rally go on sale on 31 October at midnight! Prices are exactly the same as last year, with two ticket types. The chapter website is the new place to buy your tickets: All ticket sales are online this year.

John and Ruth laid a wreath at the Ride to the Wall. Many thanks to them and everyone who travelled down to the Arboretum.

Our Ladies of Harley held a Macmillan Coffee Morning at Jennings Harley-Davidson Gateshead to coincide with the launch of the H-D 2017 models. It was a great event and raised £313.50.

Jennings Harley-Davidson Gateshead is holding a Halloween party, Harley-ween, on 29 October. All volunteers are welcome from 10.00 am to get the place decked out. There’ll be food and music in the afternoon, between 2.00 pm and 6.00 pm.

Steve and the Road Crew are planning things for the Santa Ride. It’s going to be great!

It’s Chippa’s Last Ride on Saturday and people should meet at 9.30 am, for a 9.45 am off, at Marsden Lea car park. The funeral is at 10.30 am at South Shields Crematorium. Everyone is welcome at the White Horse Pub, in South Shields, after.

A raffle of Steven Hardy’s motorcycle-related items took place recently and raised £415.00. This will go to North East Blood Bikes and GNAA.

Mandy said that the Chapter now had 217 members! Also, remember that Chapter membership is dependent on maintaining your H.O.G. membership, so check your renewal dates. You should get a reminder from H.O.G., and you’ll get one from Mandy, but keep your eyes peeled so that your membership doesn’t lapse.

There is no official Chapter Ride in October, so Greg and Dave have arranged a Treasure Hunt for everyone. Get down to Jennings Harley-Davidson Gateshead between 10.30 am and 12.30 pm to register and get underway! There’s some great prizes: a £50 H-D voucher donated by Jennings, a Heart & Soul Rally ticket donated by the Chapter and a bottle of Jack Daniels donated by Hadrian V-Twin Tours. What’s not to like there?!?

Tony, Ann, Dave and Jo took home the prizes from the raffle. Well done to everyone.

The next Chapter meeting is 3 November 2016 at 19.30 pm. See you all there.


Chapter Meeting, September 2016

The September Chapter Meeting was a busy affair with lots of things discussed. Here’s a flavour …

Barry led the plaudits for the recent Thunder in the Glens rally. Chapter members really boosted the overall attendance, with our friends at Dunedin putting on a great show for everyone. The ride-out was superb. Estimates varied, but George reckoned there was about 2,000 bikes and trikes. Which is simply stunning. It took ages to leave the venue and nearly an hour and a half to all park in Grantown-on-Spey. Have a look on our flickr pages for some photos, here.

Coming up soon, there’s the season-closer at Circus Maximus and European Bike Week at Faaker See, Austria.

The Christmas Party is ready! It’s on 17 December at Nissan SLC. We have exclusive use of the venue but need to sell one hundred tickets to make it work. Ticket prices are £5.00 for chapter members and £15.00 for non-members. Sounds like a bargain! It’s the same format as last year, with a delicious dinner, a band and a disco thereafter.

We’ve tried very hard to find the winner of the main raffle prize from the Heart & Soul Rally. We’ve now placed a note on our open Facebook page. It will remain for thirty days, after which the prize will be re-raffled.

There are two events coming up soon:

The September Chapter Ride is to The Lakes Distillery, on 11 September. Meet at Jennings Harley-Davidson Gateshead at 9.00 am, for a 9.30 am departure. It’s a 190-mile round-trip.

The annual Chapter BBQ at Ingram Valley is on 18 September. Meet at Jennings Harley-Davidson Gateshead for 10.30 am, for an 11.00 am off. Peter reminded everyone to take their own BBQ and food, and to remember not to burn the grass!

Mandy advises that there are now 212 members in the Chapter, with two new applications received during the meeting. Great news!

Dawn will take all the recent helpful comments on board in planning the 2017 Heart & Soul Rally.

Ruth is arranging an L.O.H. Macmillan event, either at Jennings Harley-Davidson Gateshead or a Chapter meeting. Watch this space.

Raffle: the winners are Lesley, Dave, Lesley and Tony.

Hope everyone has a great time at the forthcoming events. See you all at the next meeting on 6 October, at 7.30 pm.


News feed, 1.9.16

Thunder in the Glens, 2016

We left Newcastle at half eight on Friday morning, for a first stint to Carfraemill to meet the Beatties and the Fergusons. We had a great journey up, cruise control was on for about 80% of the time, and we saw a few Harley-Davidsons on the way. Brian and Matty arrived just ahead of us as we fuelled up in Lauder. Then Paul and Dawn arrived and we were off again to Kinross services, with Brian leading the way.

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We parted company with our leader when he went straight on at the M8 junction but, in a scene you couldn’t have made up, he re-joined right at the front of our group just before we headed across the Forth Road Bridge. The new Forth Crossing was looking spectacular on our left-hand side, with only a few more pieces to go in the structural jigsaw before the deck is complete.

Soon enough, with a couple of light showers along the way, we landed at Kinross and there were quite a few bikes there. We met up with John, John and Vanessa. Burger King provided the necessary fuel for our travellers, and we were off again pretty soon. There were quite a few more bikes in the service station, with people coming and going all the time.

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The sun shone on us as we whizzed up the A9 and we saw some of that amazing Scottish scenery – rolling hills, deep valleys, colourful heather and … distilleries. Brian saw us all safely into Aviemore, and we joined the queue for registration. Seven hours from home to registration, not bad at all. The Macdonald complex was absolutely buzzing with bikers, bikes and hi-vis people generally directing and helping us. We’d only been off our trike for a few minutes before we were chatting to someone new about the trip, Harley-Davidsons, the weather – everyone was extremely friendly.

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Registration was exceptionally smooth and we collected our rally packs. We had a quick scoot up the Grampian Road, to soak up some early Thunder atmosphere, and we saw Lyn, Ron and Steve taking a breather. The whole place looked absolutely amazing. Banners, flags and posters were everywhere: there’s no doubt we’d arrived at the right place … ! We made the first of several visits to the petrol station, then off to the hotel. They’d cordoned off a bikes-only section in the car park, accommodating about eighty bikes from across the UK and Europe.

Fully refreshed, we walked back into Aviemore and arrived at the Cairngorm Hotel about seven. Rob was on hand to take a Geordie Chapter picture, and we passed the time with some great friends and some great beer. The Heavy Drapes were just starting as we landed at the Osprey Arena, and they were belting out a sort-of-new-punk-style set. Very fast and furious. We watched them for a while, then headed over to the Strathspey Hotel to see Matt Black, with quite a few other Geordie Chapter members. A superb pianist, he treated us to a full range of stuff, from Titanic in Four Minutes to Van Halen’s Jump.

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On Saturday, we headed down to the ride-out line-up about half ten. The queue was already in full swing and Bill kindly piped us aboard so we could ride along with a small group from Geordie Chapter. Barry was much further up the field, with the Geordie Chapter flag fluttering in the wind. After a brief wander round the merchandise, we were back in the saddle at twelve, ready to go.

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The line-up behind us stretched for hundreds of yards, right round the complex, with bikes and trikes three abreast just to get them all shoe-horned in. Once underway, we saw hundreds of people line the route, pretty much from the start, as we headed up the Grampian Road out of Aviemore.

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The Dunedin Chapter Road Crew marked all the junctions for us as we ploughed on through Boat of Garten, Nethy Bridge and our first visit to Grantown-on-Spey. The ride was very smooth, with no hiccups or interruptions along the way. The most amazing thing was seeing everyone who had come out to wave and cheer us on. Each little village had new groups of people – some had even brought deck chairs and sandwiches, all set for the day! We also encountered lots of people filming our ride-out and there were a few drone cameras buzzing about in the sky too.

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The shores of Lochindorb were soon within touching distance, as we headed from the most northerly point on our trip, the junction of the A939, about eight miles north of Grantown-on-Spey. The weather had turned cooler and slightly cloudier, but at least it wasn’t raining.

We soon completed our loop and landed back into Grantown-on-Spey, with Dunedin Chapter calmly directing us into parking spaces. Once we stopped, we watched everyone filter past us. What a fantastic sight … on and on they came, hundreds and hundreds of bikes and trikes. There was no official count but George McGuire quoted about two thousand to the local press. It certainly seemed like it. Right at the back, we had some enormous American V8 muscle cars.

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The sun was shining brightly while we were there, so it was time for a can of pop to cool down. We didn’t wander too far from our steed – there was always someone new to talk to and share experiences with. We travelled back to Aviemore, along the A95, with Chris, Ruth, Ray and Lesley.

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They peeled off to their lodgings in the north of Aviemore and we braved the Grampian Road again. It was absolutely solid with bikes and cars. This gave us some time to see everything going on further up – Edinburgh H-D, West Coast Harley and Jeep all had stands and demo rides available.

We landed back up there later on, at the Winking Owl, for some more beers and bands. Everywhere we looked, there were people that we recognised from our own Heart & Soul Rally. As darkness fell, we headed back to the Cairngorm Hotel and then into the Osprey Arena for Live/Wire at ten. It was a blistering performance and the place was packed. Bon Scott took us through Sin City, The Jack and Livewire, then Brian Johnson put the Rock ‘n Roll Train on a different track with Hell’s Bells, For Those About to Rock and Thunderstruck. A very fitting song for the event!

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Sunday was a bit damp from some overnight rain, and the fog lingered. We eschewed the official ride-out to the Cairngorm and headed up there on our own about half nine. The ride was great, past Loch Morlich, but the midges were horrendous when we landed at the ski-lift! We kept our helmets on, and visors down, just to keep them out.

After some pictures up in the clouds, we headed for Inverness, via the A9. We decided to circumnavigate Loch Ness, first on the B852 and B862 through Dores and Foyers, then up the sunny side on the A82, through Drumnadrochit. The scenery was, again, fantastic – a couple of highlights were the trip down from the Suidhe Viewpoint to Loch Tarff and then Urquhart Castle on the other side of the loch.

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The sun shone pretty much all the time we were north of Aviemore. We saw lots of Harley-Davidsons on the way, some in groups and some riding along alone. We’d covered about 160 miles when we landed back in Aviemore, just missing the rain that had obviously fallen while we were away.

We got the trike shackled and covered again and after tea, we were back to the Osprey Arena for Clann an Drumma, a Scottish tribal drumming and bagpipes band. The arena was packed again as they took us through a rousing set including their own Thunder in the Glens tune. Then Rick Parfitt Jnr, with the RPJ Band, got the party really moving with his extravagant stage performance and audience participation. Thank you and goodnight, Thunder in the Glens!

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Our trip home was just as entertaining as the way up, just with more sunshine. We dodged in and out of light traffic, with some other riders along the way, and landed home at two o’clock with only one stop at Jedburgh. 720 hugely enjoyable miles for the weekend, with our friends from Dunedin Chapter. Great organisation, great people and great fun!

We have some more pictures on our flickr site, click here.

Here’s a few links to the local press and BBC sites, covering the event:

The National Scot


Robin and Beverley.


News feed, 18.8.16

David Clark recently went on a riding trip to the Schwarzwald, with three of his riding friends. They had a great time and you can read David’s write-up of his trip here.

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Chapter ride-out, 16.8.16

August the fourteenth saw the annual Geordie Chapter Ladies of Harley ride-out, which raises funds for a charity chosen by our L.O.H.

The ride out was nicknamed the Pink Run many years ago when we raised money to help fund a scanner specifically aimed at early diagnosis of breast cancer. The theme saw riders, pillions and bikes decked in pink fancy dress – an amazing spectacle! Despite a number of attempts to change, the pink theme has continued, particularly with the male riders (must be something to do with their feminine side) and this year’s ride was no exception.

In 2016, we raised money for a charity close to home. The Charlie Bear for Cancer Care fund is dedicated to raising money for the Northern Centre for Cancer Care (NCCC) at the Freeman Hospital. It also incorporates the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation which funds projects within the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. These directly benefit cancer patients from across North East England and Cumbria which contribute significantly to international research into the disease.

Our brilliant Road Crew planned a fantastic ride-out which left from Jennings Harley-Davidson Gateshead and visited NCCC, where members of staff greeted us (some of who came in to see us on their day off) and Charlie Bear himself.

After the customary coffee and cake and a chance to chat with the dedicated nurses, we left Newcastle and rode through beautiful scenery to the Carriages Tea room in Bellingham.

The ride-out ended at Brocksbushes Farm, after about a hundred miles, and raised £220 solely from our riders. It was a fantastic day, made better as three guests joined us – they all bid for a Harley-Davidson Experience in a charity auction in November 2015.

Although we call this event the Ladies of Harley run, it is supported by the entire chapter and is one of the favourite dates in our event calendar. They may all secretly enjoy the dressing up and pink is obviously the favourite colour however, raising money for worthwhile charities is at the heart of the ride-out and everyone’s generosity never fails.

Dawn Beattie, Ladies of Harley Officer


News feed, 12.8.16

Rachel Ratcliffe, and husband Roy, recently took a jaunt into Europe. Here’s their story.

La Dyna Vita

There is something about Italy. Is it the burning sunshine? The rolling hills sown with vineyards and olive groves? The breathtakingly precipitous shorelines? Or the succulently simple food? It is altogether la dolce vita, it translates to the sweet life.

Add riding a Harley to the mix and you get something even better, La Dyna Vita. As a Lady of Harley, I ride a Harley–Davidson Dyna Wide Glide. This became the theme of our journey through nine European countries in the summer of 2016.

2016, 07 Le Dyna Vita 1

Having a relatively big country and small population makes France a great place to ride. The roadways are fast and well–maintained. You can cover many miles in a short time.

After Holland and Belgium, we stayed overnight at the city of Reims in the champagne region of France. We had a debate about how to pronounce that. Is it like ream or rem? Is the last final s silent or not? Turns out we were both wrong. The locals say sometime like Rhems.

We got to sample some of the local champers at a tapas bar called Joseph just in front of the city’s magnificent cathedral. My hubby ordered some snails, or should I say escargot, to go with it. The French really know how to cook good food: simple, fresh and mouth-wateringly good. It made me realise that we eat and drink rubbish most of the time. Vive la France!

2016, 07 Le Dyna Vita 2

Even after just a couple of days riding in the sun, my hands had started turning brown but only underneath the gaps in my fingerless riding gloves: brown finger tips, brown knuckles. Even my husband’s lips burnt in the glorious sun. They were swollen by the time we arrived at the Rhone Alps later the following day. He looked like I’d punched him in the mouth. I hadn’t, honestly.

2016, 07 Le Dyna Vita 3

We crossed the western Alps from France, via Switzerland, to Italy with some trepidation. On previous journeys we had all–but–kissed the tarmac after leaving Italy’s roads behind. Italians were mad drivers: poor lane discipline, lack of peripheral awareness, driving too fast for conditions. Not this time however. Had we become Italian in our style of riding? Either more mad, or just more defensive. We worked together as a team using our helmet communicators. ‘Crotch rocket, six o’clock‘, was the warning for a racing bike (typically a Ducati) approaching very quickly from behind us. We used many such signals.

The mountain passes proved challenging but very enjoyable. The road switched back and forth as it climbed the slopes.

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The Wide Glide is a big motorcycle for a girl. Its long wide forks are heavy at lower speeds. The large narrow front wheel finds the bumps and grooves on rough roads. I call it the sexy bitch: a beautiful bike with nice lines, but takes a bit of practice to handle confidently in such an environment. Decelerating into a 180–degree switchback, I feel the engine for the best gear while looking into and around the tight bend. The Glide swings around the apex and I open the throttle again. Exciting and nerve–wracking at the same time. Happily, I’m not afraid of heights.

We descended into Italy down the Aosta valley. From there we rode south towards Genoa and then followed the rugged west coastline along the Cinque Terre, Italy’s Riviera.

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Hotter and hotter. We rode in Kevlar jeans, jackets and waistcoats with our Geordie HOG colours. But we started to wonder what to shed for comfort, yet retain some safety. My other half found the heat harder to bear. He was riding a Softail Slim S. It has a larger motor and the seat rests closer to the cylinder heads. He was riding with a heated seat. Heat from below, heat from above. My poor boy was starting to suffer from nappy rash. He said that he was beginning to understand why babies cry. So I bought him a bottle of talcum powder. Then he said he know understood why babies coo. Even so, we both started to remove gear to keep cooler: first our jackets, and later wore shorts and sun cream.

Bees and wasps kept hitting hubby. Our track crossed Italy west–to–east towards Rimini on the east coast, avoiding the autostrada motorway. The byways weaved between the bounteous fields, groves and gardens of Tuscany and Emilia–Romagna, a centre of Italian food production. He rode up front without a windshield. He prefers it that way. Bees and wasps kept hitting him, or rather, he kept hitting bees and wasps. The insects belonged in Italy after all, we were just passing through. After the fifth sting, the pain didn’t seem to bother him. I still gave him the necessary sympathy. Poor hubby.

We passed a lazy week sunbathing in Rimini, drinking Prosecco, enjoying Italian cuisine. We set out northwards, past Venice and up into the spectacular Italian Dolomite Mountains. We crossed the Austrian border at the Brenner Pass, following the ancient Roman trans-Alpine road towards Innsbruck, Austria.

Riding the Dolomites reminded us of the movie Avatar and the imaginary floating Hallelujah Mountains of Pandora. Our mountains weren’t floating but they made you want to shout Hallelujah.

Spectacular scenery makes you appreciate life. We take too much for granted, or take too little time to stop and stare at the beauty around us. Our rumbling V–twins added some sweet music to the scene.

At Innsbruck I had booked an overnight camp at lake Natterer See. They offer hobbit holes, barrels crafted into miniature apartments comprising one double bunk and a tiny living room. We slept like hobbits, until the thunderstorm stuck. Sheets of rain, thunder and lightning flashed across the mountain peaks. We could only laugh and drink wine in the dark.

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From Innsbruck we rode through Lichtenstein and then to Germany at lake Constance. It was a surprise to see a large airship on the horizon. Aren’t they a thing of the past? Apparently not. Friedrichshalfen by the lakeside is home to the Zeppelin museum. Count Zeppelin started out building airships around Lake Constance.

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Then there was more rain. Southern Germany likes rain. It must be the Alps. My boots started to leak. A pair of plastic bags served as waterproof socks. From Lake Constance to Mainz and Koblenz we were following the mighty Rhine.

Three thousand, two hundred miles later we arrived back home in Northumberland. Glad to be home, but glad of the adventure. Travelling expands the mind, opens the heart. Travel should be mandatory for everyone. We had seen so many wonderful places, met so many wonderful people. One road, two Harleys. That’s why we ride.

Rachel Ratcliffe, Lady of Harley