Geordie Chapter: Pretty in Pink
It’s Sunday morning and the chapter Pink Ride today. As Ruth is one of our chapter Ladies of Harley Officers attendance is mandatory for me, but the weather is looking great, and I’m one of the chapter photographers so it’s an ideal opportunity to get some good shots of pink nutters on decorated bikes.
We are to meet at 10am at the Gateshead dealers. All loaded with Camera, and collection buckets we set off, and after stopping for fuel arrive before the gates open. Ten minutes later we are in and sipping coffee while we wait to see how many others are coming along for the ride.
The plan is to ride out to Seaham sea front and stop at the Tommy memorial statue for a group photo before heading into the center of Durham where Ruth has arranged a street collection permit for us all to raise money for CHUF (The Children’s Heart unit Fund at the local Freeman hospital in Newcastle).
They have planned a road crew briefing before leaving at 10:30. Just after ten I check with the ride leader if there is anything in the briefing I need to know, as I will be heading off ahead of the ride to photograph them arriving in Seaham. Leaving ahead of a ride is quite common for me, especially as I know both stopping points well, and the best spot to photograph everyone.
After a detour due to a closed road I am ready and waiting at the Seaham statue at just after 11am when the first bikes pull into the street. A few curious people have stopped to check out my bike and chat, but as the chapter begins to fill the street, and the chosen parking area it soon becomes apparent that the turnout is very good indeed. More and more people stop to take in the sight as pretty much every bike and rider is wearing pink. Anything from armbands, to full tutu, pyjamas, ribbons, tinsel etc. – it’s quite a sight and brings a smile to everyone watching.
53 bikes arrive over the course of the next 5 minutes, and I get shots of pretty much all of them passing the memorial. More shots of the parked bikes and a few strange and pink sights before beginning the hardest part of the day for me. Herding approximately 90 people into some form of order in front of the statue for a group photograph with the chapter flag. These days everyone wants photos and I usually end up with a collection of mobiles to use as well.
15 minutes later we head off again leaving behind many smiles, and lots of phone camera footage with those watching. We also leave behind a small flock of scooters that seem to have latched onto the tail end of our group as they rode in. This time I am riding towards the back of the group as we head into Durham for just over an hour to collect for CHUF. The ladies are at the front – after all it is their day!
Our road crew takes us via a twisty and back road route down to the river below the theatre in Durham where a large coach car park is soon taken over by a group of pink bikes and bikers. More photos as everyone scatters for lunch and collections. I follow Ruth and a few of the others up to the main market square where I see one lady member being interviewed by a local camera crew, while the rest of us try and convert smiles and public curiosity into funds for our elected charity.
Just under 90 minutes later we are waiting for the last stragglers before our road crew lead the group off via more country villages on a circuitous route back to the Gateshead dealership. I stay behind this time to photograph everyone leaving and help assist car drivers while everyone organizes, and eventually leaves. No group ride for me this time as I head alone back to the shop on the motorway to catch them all arriving an hour or so later.
Everyone has had a great time, and on top of this we have raised approx. £350 for an excellent cause. Back home to review, edit and update in the region of 400 photos before whittling them down to just over 60 that I put up that night on the chapter Facebook and web pages.
Chris Neal, Geordie Chapter photographer