News feed, 13.8.16

Geordie Chapter teamed up with the North East Truckers (NET) last night, as part of their annual convoy. About thirty bikes, including fifteen Geordie Chapter members, led the way from Washington Services, along the A1 and up to the racecourse at Gosforth Park. The was no definite count on the number of lorries taking part but there was somewhere between sixty and eighty.

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NET convenes an annual show at the racecourse and fund-raising activities play a major part in their overall fun. Previous events have, individually, seen more than thirty thousand pounds raised for various charities.

Last night’s collection was for a very worthy cause, Seb and Olivia’s Den. Unfortunately, both of these extremely special children have passed away from their illnesses but the money raised will go towards a sensory room, in their memory, at Northburn Community Centre. The room will benefit children and their families from across Northumberland.

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We brought the A1 to a standstill in places as people stopped to stare. We travelled about thirty miles-per-hour and people lined all the bridges along the way to photograph and video the convoy. There’s a few videos on YouTube, if you want to take a look. We all know that V-Twins are loud but some of these sixteen-plus litre machines made a fantastic backdrop to the run. Davey tried his best to match the lorries, pipe for pipe!

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Once we landed at Gosforth, we peeled off and parked up next to Border Minstrel. We wandered back down to see all the lorries take up their places. It took more than half an hour to get them all in. Quite a sight!

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We then consumed chips, coffee or beer, and soon enough, we all headed our separate ways home.

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Thanks to Helen for making it all happen!

If you would like to know more about North East Truckers, you can find their website here.

If you would like to contribute news or photos for our website, email us: GeordieHOG News


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.

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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!

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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.

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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

If you would like to contribute news or photos for our website, email us: GeordieHOG News


Chapter Meeting, August 2016

A very brief write-up from the meeting this month …

Everyone was very helpful at August’s Chapter Meeting with lots of great feedback on the Heart & Soul Rally. Dawn will take this all onboard when arranging things for next year’s event. A few comments included … the rally packs, food timing, ingress and egress from Percy Park, them night etc. It sounds like a lot of people looked forward to the Tyne Tunnel on the ride-out. Maybe we can do that next year, instead of getting wet in Alnwick!

Peter and Helen provided further details of a few events in August: the fish and chip run on 10 August (from Westerhope at 6.00 pm), NET Convoy along the A1 on 12 August (from Washington Services) and the August Chapter Ride on 14 August. The latter will be our Ladies of Harley Pink Ride, in aid of the Bobby Robson Foundation.

Ride safe everyone. Barry.

If you would like to contribute news or photos for our website, email us: GeordieHOG News


Heart & Soul Rally, July 2016

The sun was shining brightly as we registered for the 2016 Heart & Soul Rally. Geordie Chapter has a new rally registration tent and it looked superb as Trish, Carol and Donna got everyone checked in, with Steve and John putting bands on bikes and trikes.

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After greetings and chat, it was time to visit the Swallie Officers, Greg and Dave, at the Whey-Aye-Five-Oh welcome tent. Both looked extremely summery in their Hawaiian ensemble! Jack or Honey was the choice, with the faithful Friendship Barrel proudly on display.

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Suitably fortified, it was soon time for the Friday ride-out. We had a quick scoot across to the school yard to find that many had already gathered, ready for the off. Steve gave us a briefing although he was very short of Road Crew – we had Steve at the front, Ray at the back with Tom, Bill and Shaun looking after the junctions, so we stepped in to help and took up the Pack Leader role.

A few wiggles and roadworks out of Percy Park led us to the A19 and the Tyne Tunnel. We collected together before the plazas, waiting for everyone to catch up. The blokes at the barriers marshalled us together and let us through in one bunch. All except Lee, who decided to make a bid for freedom on his own – we soon found him again though. We encountered quite a bit of traffic as we headed towards Port of Tyne and the V-Twins were getting very warm beneath our seats.

We navigated a series of speed bumps along South Shields front before tackling Whitburn, Roker and Sunderland city centre. It’s a great coastline and at times we were right on top of it, especially past Marsden Rock. Being a Friday afternoon, things were getting a bit busier and we lost sight of each other here and there but Steve slowed us down every now and again to re-group. The A1231 flashed by quickly and we found all the Road Crew again and onto the A1 before heading in to see the Angel of the North. Ice creams and refreshments came and went and then we headed down to Jennings Harley-Davidson Gateshead. We had lost a bit of time along the way, so it was a fairly brief visit. However, there’s always time for coffee and a piece of cake, all kindly laid on by Jennings! There were several routes taken back to the rally site, we used the Tyne Bridge and the Coast Road, both of which were pretty busy at four on a Friday. But, it was a great ride-out. Steve looked a bit edgy at times as we lost sight of the back markers however, it was another fantastic effort from our Road Crew.

Back at the rally site, Team Scotland had taken over much of the Cricket Club as we all sat down for some beers and some tea. The Oil City Shakers kept us entertained while we drank and munched, and Barry popped in to welcome everyone present to the rally.

Lots of people wore shirts, ties, shades and fedoras ready for the headline band in the Rugby Club, the Jailhouse Blues Brothers. With some lovely summer sunshine, we got underway. And, our Ladies of Harley – Trish, Ruth, Dawn, Helen, Helen, Carol, Lyn and Alyson – treated us all to a spectacular dance routine to one of the songs! A stellar performance! It was a great evening, very warm and just the weather that Helen had ordered. The Jailhouse Blues Brothers played a blinding set and everyone later wound their way back to the camp site and hotels for more beers and general tomfoolery.

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Saturday soon arrived and with a huge breakfast to get us underway, it was time for the ride-out. Greg led the briefing in front of a packed crowd in the school yard. And very soon, we were away, heading for Alnwick, past Blyth, via Amble and Warkworth.

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We had a great mixture of country roads, for the amazing Northumberland scenery, and dual carriageways, to cool us and our engines down. On and on we went, crossing the A1 at Denwick, before we stopped overlooking the impressive castle at Alnwick. Everyone collected together again, and as soon as Dave landed, Chris took our picture. In fact, several pictures. The weather was still great although we had a small threat of a shower or two.

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We then funnelled through Narrowgate and onto Bondgate Within, home of our recent stop on the 2016 ABC Ride. Once again, Northumberland County Council had cordoned off the street for us, and we packed in like sardines as people stopped and stared. We were all ready for some lunch, and people headed for cafes, bars and the Market Place. Soon enough, the rain arrived just to annoy us but fifteen minutes later, it stopped as soon as it started. With a few flourishes from towels and cloths, we were back in business.

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Leaving Alnwick, we headed across the moors, landed on the A697, then struck a course for Morpeth. The town centre was fairly busy and we became a bit strung out but again, everyone stopped to stare as we rolled on through.

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We then headed back towards the coast, passing Seaton Deleval on the way. Pretty soon, we were at St Mary’s Lighthouse, with a quick right soon after then we landed back at Percy Park. A fantastic ride-out, about ninety miles in total, with our Road Crew doing a great job in keeping us all together and headed in the right direction.

In the Cricket Club later on, we watched Johnny Boyle, with a much larger cross-Chapter group, before heading back to the Rugby Club about nine o’clock for Barry’s speeches. There were awards galore, from our Bike Show (held while we were in Alnwick) to our collection for Prostate Cancer UK.

The Kill then played a great rockin’ set, with a whole stream of mainly American classics including Van Halen, Aerosmith and Alice Cooper. Things soon got very lively and we all enjoyed a great ending with Bon Jovi’s Livin’ on a Prayer. Once they’d finished, our DJ saw things to a close.

Nothing happens by magic, everything takes a bit of effort and Dawn, our rally coordinator, and the rally team put in a huge effort to make the 2016 Heart & Soul Rally another amazing success. It takes a massive amount of organisation, from arranging bands, t-shirts and security to walkie-talkies, stalls and posters. Our superb Road Crew always manage to create a great ride-out for us too. We also had fantastic support from everyone in Geordie Chapter, from volunteering for gate detail, putting up our bunting and making the site look very welcoming. And packing it away, for another year, on Sunday.

Like most things in life, it’s the people who matter. We met so many like-minded souls from across the country, who contributed to create a great rally atmosphere. It warms your heart to know that we all have the same thing in common and the photos, videos and words help to capture our rally memories. Roll on next year!

Rob has posted some pictures, click here.

Chris has posted some pictures too, click here.

If you would like to contribute news or photos for our website, email us: GeordieHOG News


News feed, 19.7.16

Mags Lupton has lived in Edinburgh for more than twenty years but her home town is Dunbar. She goes back every year for the Lifeboat Day parade – it is one of the town’s biggest events.

Mags’ younger brother and his son both play in the Dunbar Royal British Legion Pipe Band and they were in the parade too. Mags has sent some pictures in for us all.

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News feed, 10.7.16

Dave (up front) and Phil (at the rear) took a Gang of Four through Northumberland’s wildest and wettest scenery via Otterburn and Kielder into Scotland on July’s Chapter ride.

We had Steve, David, Greg and James marking junctions for us but with such a small group, we were always fairly close. We had to stop for waterproofs just over the border but the sun shone as we landed in Jedburgh by way of Bonchester Bridge.

Fed and watered, we then made our way back into Northumberland over Carter Bar. Elsdon came and went and in no time at all, we were back onto the A68 and landed at The Highlander, just after Belsay.

A great day out!

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News feed, 9.7.16

And … finally, we have a new dealer, based in Dunston! Doors opened this morning at half nine at Gateshead Harley-Davidson. There are some old and some new faces. Sohail Khan is the Director, Burt Perry is the Franchise Manager and Grant Anderson is the Dealership Manager. You can find all the team here.

Here’s a few pictures from the opening event. There’s an official Launch Party on 23 July!

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Chapter Meeting, July 2016

Peter was in the chair again for last night’s Chapter Meeting. There were only a few updates from the Committee, so it was a fairly speedy round-up. The Road Crew kindly put on Newbie Ride, round the local roads, although there was only a small attendance for Chapter members.

Peter started by mentioning the turn-out by everyone to the funeral of Woz, landlord of the Penny Gill, on Wednesday. Peter told us that June will be carrying on with the pub and everyone is welcome at any time. We may have a Chapter ride up there soon.

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There was an update on the presentation by Northumbria Blood Bikes at the last Chapter meeting. We raised £140.00, which is great news. After the meeting, John went along to meet everyone at NBB. They assessed him and he undertook his first evening on call on Wednesday. A fantastic achievement, well done John!

Al has stepped down from the role of Head Road Captain, and Steve replaces him. Dave remains as Assistant Head Road Captain. Both will be in charge for the monthly Chapter ride-out on Sunday. We’re off to Jedburgh, with further details on the website.

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Peter gave us a brief overview of what’s what for events for July and August. We’ve posted everything on the website Events Calendar and keep an eye out for updates etc. on our Facebook group or by text, directly from Peter.

Ray went along to the HA clubhouse for the North East Coalition of Motorcycle Clubs’ meeting. Highlights for July include the Life’s a Pitch rally with the Draconians MCC (Derwenthaugh Park, 15-17.7), The Gathering with the North Men MCC (19-21.8) and an Open Night at The Penny Gill with the Brigantes’ Brotherhood (23.7). Get along if you can.

Mandy gave us a quick update on members and we now have 194 in the Geordie Chapter, which is great news!

Grant and Sam were at the meeting too and the new dealership, Gateshead Harley-Davidson, opens this Saturday at half nine! James has posted on Facebook about meeting up at Westerhope for a ride-in together, if anyone is interested. See you all there! There’ll be an official opening on 23.7 too.

Lyn has some rather swanky leather Geordie Chapter belts on sale now, skilfully crafted by Simon. £35.00, made to order, so get in quickly.

Paul McPherson updated the details of the November charity event. Bessie and the Zinc Buckets and Charlotte Yanni will be providing the entertainment and it’s on at the Lancastrian Suite on 4.11. Click here for a poster about the event.

Garry, Fay, Paul and Shaun all shared the spoils from the raffle.

Finally, Lyn told us that it’s Ray’s birthday on Friday, and he’s the oldest, and wisest (!?!), member of the Chapter. A very happy birthday to Ray!

Ride safe everyone. Peter.

If you would like to contribute news or photos for our website, email us: GeordieHOG News


News feed, 4.7.16

All roads led to Clennell Hall last Friday for our Chapter weekend away. People had taken a variety of routes to get there and tent pitching and checking in was underway throughout the afternoon. There was a mix of weather too, with some people getting soaked and some missing it altogether. As expected, everyone had a tale to tell as we landed in the bar to swap travelling stories.

We had a very circuitous route there via Morpeth, Bolam Lake, Otterburn, Otterburn Ranges, Blindburn and Shillmoor before landing into Alwinton. A great trip!

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Clennell Hall is a fantastic place, previously a historic manor house, much extended by the Clennell family during their stewardship. There was plenty of room to park the H-Ds but some of the little tweety birds did their best to poop all over them.

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People came and went during the evening, for some beers and some tea. Some had more of the former than the latter and were looking a bit shaky on Saturday morning at breakfast. Rocky kept the beer flowing and we were never thirsty. Olwyn and John B shared the spoils with the domino cards. John kindly donated his to the Blood Bikes, who were the recipients of all the proceeds from the games.

The hot water tank at Clennell Hall was knackered on Saturday, so many decided against a freezing shower before breakfast. But breakfast itself was piping hot, so we filled our boots then got ready for our ride-out. Shaun led this and Badger looked after things at the back. There were ten bikes and one trike on the ride-out.

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Berwick-upon-Tweed was the destination and we had some impressive roads, dodging rain clouds all the way there. There was a lot of gravel and potholes on some of those roads, so we all took extra care. Powburn was the first stop for some fuel for the Sportys, then we headed north, past Chillingham Castle, then back to Wooler, Milfield and towards Coldstream before following the A698 and the River Tweed into Berwick. We got some fuel for the non-Sportys, and then headed into town to Castlegate car park. It was a fairly busy car park to start with but we managed to bring it to a standstill as we all found a place for our iron horses. A very friendly man from the Council told us that parking is free for bikes throughout Northumberland. A wise idea.

We spent a great hour or so in Berwick – the sun shone all the time we were there. Peter even enjoyed a fruit scone with clotted cream and jam at Caffe Nero!

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Time to get moving again and we were soon back on the A1, heading south towards Alnwick, via Bamburgh and Seahouses. You never really tire of riding these great Northumbrian roads with such beautiful scenery and amazing coastal landscapes. The rain caught up with us a couple of times but we shrugged it off as we chased the sun back to Alwinton.

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In and out of Alnwick, we hit the B6341 and retraced some of our steps, in the opposite direction, from the ABC ride last week, past Edlingham Castle again and crossing the A697 towards Cragside and Rothbury. There was a particularly vicious pothole that caught many of us just outside Alwinton but we all landed back safe and sound. A superb 110 miles, about five hours all told.

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Some of our Saturday guests had already arrived, so we got back into beer and tea mode in Rocky’s Bar. Thankfully, the hot water tank was firing on all cylinders so we could all have a wash!

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Simon and Stuart warmed up their strings and very soon we’d been through The Wagon Wheel and Copperhead Road. Steve helped where he could on either guitar or harmonica. Mark even managed a few chords for one song. A rousing quartet! We had a few Bob Dylan moments too, with Knocking on Heaven’s Door and All Along the Watchtower.

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Everyone had a fantastic time: songs were sung, guitars were strummed, fiddles were fiddled and an amazing amount of beer was consumed. Phil even dazzled us with some foxy dance moves at one point too. The best thing though? It’s always the people that make it so great. There’s no doubt Geordie Chapter are a very friendly bunch.

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All too soon, Sunday morning arrived and with more breakfasts eaten, we made our way home. We travelled down with Paul and Donna, a lovely ride back after a great weekend away at Clennell Hall. Roll on next year!

You can find our flickr album of photos here.

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News feed, 27.6.16

Sun, rain, sun, rain, sun was how the day panned out for our annual ABC ride, starting from Albemarle Barracks, on Saturday.

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There were more than fifty bikes and one trike on the day. A good number of non-Chapter members joined us, on a wide range of bikes. Everyone wanted to join in the fun for our chosen charities, Tynemouth Volunteer Lifeboat Brigade and Help for Heroes.

We had a great start to the day with everyone enjoying coffee and bacon buns from the Junior Ranks Mess Hall. There was lots of good crack about all the important things in biking life, and Brexit didn’t get a look in. Steve was in post for his first ride as our new Head Road Captain and James gave us a rousing briefing to get us underway. Andy was Pack Leader and Dave was looking after things at the back.

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Waterproofs weren’t required as we headed out from Albemarle about half-ten, heading towards the roundabout at the A68 and B6318 junction. We had an observer from IAM along with us and we all managed to leave safely and in one group. Away up the A68, we then headed east again, past the reservoirs, heading towards the A696 at Kirkharle. Unfortunately, Craig had an issue with his Sporty and dropped from the pack. We had an unarranged stop as the Road Crew corralled us near Little Bavington. Not for long though and we were underway again quickly. However, the first of our torrential rain showers greeted us near the A696. Wisely, we pulled off again and everyone donned the waterproofs. Thankfully, still heading east, a few turns later the rain stopped and the roads improved again.

At Wallington, past the famous gargoyles, we headed north towards the River Coquet. Rothbury passed in a quick flash, although we got spread out again through the t-junction in the town centre. Cragside was next on the right, across the A696 and past Edlingham Castle to the left. Alnwick was very busy and we added to the fun as we all parked up on Bondgate Within. Time for a welcome rest and some lunch. Most found a café in the Market Place and others had some fish and chips.

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We were up and away again about one-fifteen and all managed to get turned round before heading back out the way we came, with a left at the bottom, then left again after Bondgate Without, off to Boulmer.

Fifteen minutes later, amazingly with no rain, we turned into the Royal Air Force base at Boulmer and swept through the base to the previous Search and Rescue concrete pavement. Unfortunately, there were no Sea King helicopters this time to herald our arrival. Nevertheless, we spoke with the base commander and had our picture taken by Rob.

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From Boulmer, we headed back to the A1068, with a quick fuel stop after Amble before on towards Woodhorn and Ashington. The rain paid us a further (brief) visit just to annoy us and then we were off left onto the A192 and through Seaton Sluice, Whitley Bay and to our final destination, Tynemouth.

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Thankfully, the sun came out again, and shone on our arrival at the Life Brigade Watch House. It was a tight squeeze getting everyone aboard but we managed. The party was in full swing and we headed inside for coffee and refreshments.

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A fantastic day, hampered a little bit by the rain, but a great route through some of Northumberland’s finest scenery. Robson Green would be proud. Once again, the Road Crew did an amazing job keeping us together and making sure we landed safely.

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Thanks to the Geordie Chapter, guests and the public in Alnwick, we raised £165 for Tynemouth Volunteer Lifeboat Brigade and £281 for Help for Heroes.



PS. After the event, we found out that Malcolm and Liz had an altercation with a car on their way home. Both are OK, but the H-D needs some work. Best wishes from everyone.

If you would like to contribute news or photos for our website, email us: GeordieHOG News