News feed, 22.10.17

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

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!

News feed, 25.3.17

Greg led the way on a great ride-out up to Blanchland, as we basked in some beautiful sunshine on Saturday. Our Road Crew play a very important part in keeping us together on our Chapter ride-outs and they volunteered to help new members understand riding in a group.

We met at Jennings Harley-Davidson Gateshead at half-ten for a comprehensive briefing from James and Greg to get us underway. We had about seven new members with us. We were soon underway along the A1, A69 and A68 to Kiln Pit Hill. There were some great opportunities to experience the staggered riding formation, and watching out for our Road Crew as they marked the junctions for us. Paul, helped by Donna, marked his first junction as a new member of the Road Crew as we turned right, and headed to Blanchland.

The kettle was boiling at the White Monk tearoom, as everyone settled down for refreshments. Others headed over to the Lord Crewe Arms, with its fantastic setting and beautiful grounds.

Suitably refreshed, we headed off again through Shotley Bridge, Medomsley, Burnopfield and Streetgate back towards the A1 and Dunston. We then had a post-ride briefing to round off the event. The pressure is now on Greg to organise similar weather as we head through the 2017 riding season!

See you all at the Haggis Ride next week!

News feed, 16.1.17

There are some changes for our 2017 Road Crew …

James Jobson is our new Head Road Captain, supported by

Allen Glasper as Assistant Head Road Captain.

Many congratulations to both and we look forward to seeing our Road Crew leading us when we’re out and about this year.

News feed, 12.9.16

An early start on Sunday at Jennings Harley-Davidson Gateshead and everyone gathered together for this month’s Chapter ride, this time to Lake Bassenthwaite and The Lakes Distillery. The Great North Run closed large sections of Newcastle, but everyone found alternative routes to the shop. Twenty riders were present and about fifteen Road Crew, with Mark at the front, Dave at the back and Duncan, on his new Superlow 1200, as Pack Leader. Gary joined us too, on his Ultra Classic, with his membership application form in the post to Mandy.

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The weather promised great things and we set off in sunshine, round the Metro Centre and up onto the A69, with a left onto the Military Road at Heddon-on-the Wall. The Military Road never fails to impress and we swept along through dips and corners. We split up slightly at Chollerford but soon found everyone again with Hadrian’s Wall whizzing past on the right hand side with loads of visitors and walkers at Sycamore Gap, even at that time in the morning.

Soon we were heading down the bank into Greenhead, with some temporary traffic lights to split us up again, and then back onto the A69, past Gilsland and Spadeadam. Warwick Bridge was further on, and just over the River Eden, we dropped onto Steele’s Bank and through Wetheral and Cumwhinton towards the Golden Fleece Services, just off the M6.

We paused here for ten minutes to recharge with everyone enjoying the sunshine. There was a beautiful sparkly green paint-job on a Breakout on the ride and the colours on John’s H-D always looks polished to within an inch of their life. John L was also on his new Limited, with its fine grey colour scheme.

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We were soon away again, crossing the M6, through Durdar and across some spectacular moors heading down towards Uldale. Thankfully, most of the sheep remained stationary as we went by. Losing elevation now down into Bassenthwaite, past the famous Armathwaite Hall, and the distillery on the right. A great ride.

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Lunch was next, with food, coffee and whisky-tasting on offer. Some went on the tour round the distillery too. We had a walk down to see the resident alpacas and the River Derwent, lazily meandering by. Apparently, they use the water from the River Derwent in the processes at the distillery. The alpacas looked completely bored, sitting in the sunshine in the far reaches of the field.

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With everyone fully refreshed and distillery purchases safely stowed, we left by the same general route, then headed for Plumpton, and across the M6 again. The roads got narrower and narrower and very grassy in places but we soldiered on. We pulled out just after Plumpton, on the B6413. The group then carried on towards Melmerby, Hartside Café, before landing in Hexham, via Lowgate. Back onto the A69, then north at Corbridge to the Military Road again before ending the ride back at Heddon-on-the Wall.

It was a great day, with some lovely weather and a great place to visit. We haven’t been across to The Lakes during this year’s riding season but this ride was a great reminder of how nice it is on a sunny day. Once again, the Road Crew did a splendid job keeping everyone corralled together and thanks to Mark for a superb route.

www.lakesdistillery.com


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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, 15.5.16

What a great start to the Geordie Chapter 2016 riding season! Led by John and Andy, we brought together an Air Ambulance Crusade Ride collecting money for the Great North Air Ambulance service.

The meeting point was Lumley Castle, just off the A1, and many arrived in Crusade outfits. We had a couple of new members with us for the ride-out, possibly not sure what to make of all the flags and banners. We also had James back into the Road Crew after a short spell on foreign shores. Mandy soon got the collection underway.

There were a few patches of mist about as we congregated but it soon cleared and sunshine prevailed for the rest of the day. John and Andy delivered the safety briefing and gave us an idea of where were going. Arthur was Pack Leader, Ray was Back Marker and Al made sure that everyone was where they should be and ready to go.

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We had the first junction to ourselves coming out of Lumley Castle and then we formed an enormous V-Twin snake along the A167 towards Neville’s Cross. People just stopped and stared as we rumbled through some of the smaller villages, including Waterhouses, then we headed north up towards the A68 and Carterway Heads.

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Junctions came at us thick and fast but our fantastic Road Crew had them all covered and we ploughed on now heading west, just to the south of Derwent Reservoir on the B6306. The scenery was majestic: the water shimmering blue and Blanchland basking in the sunshine.

Just after Baybridge, it was time to cross the moors and then drop down into Nenthead. It was just spectacular – we’ve travelled these roads many times before but it is such a fantastic place for a ride-out! There was very little traffic about and we pretty much had the place to ourselves.

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After about sixty miles and two hours in the sunshine, we were all ready for a stop at Alston – fuel for us and fuel for the bikes. We squeezed in tight onto a very small parking area and headed across the road to the Alston House, although some stayed in the car park with flasks and some sandwiches. Some of the Chapter had been down to the Cider Rally the previous weekend, so there was some good crack about their adventures, and the forthcoming Iron Horse Rally.

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The Road Crew got us lined up again and we brought Alston to a standstill as we headed back up the cobbles on Front Street. There was an abundance of sports bikes in and around Alston and they all stopped and stared at the American Iron on show. However, once we got away on the B6277, many went whizzing past us. The road just seemed to go on forever, with lots of great twists and turns, dropping lower and lower towards Barnard Castle. We then headed due east towards Durham Tees Valley Airport.

When we arrived, the Great North Air Ambulance helicopter already had its blades spinning. We jumped off to get some quick shots before the crew boarded and it took off. All too quickly, it was gone. It wasn’t guaranteed that we would see the helicopter but we did and it just shows that they are on constant call, ready to help people in need.

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We collected about £300.00 for the service and John handed this over to the team before we left. Everyone then headed their own separate way home.

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It was a superb day, with some great scenery, weather and roads. The Road Crew did an amazing job keeping us together and making sure we landed safely.


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News feed, 22.2.16

Dawn led the First Aid refresher course for our Road Crew on Saturday, helped by Shaun and Greg, at Pegswood Fire Station. It was a great turn-out by everyone – it is vitally important that they get this training so that they know what to do in case of emergency, either within our own group or if we come across an accident when out riding.

We’re very lucky in Geordie Chapter to have such knowledgeable people to provide the training too.

Dawn started with a presentation describing some of the symptoms and immediate measures associated with choking, bleeding, shock and broken bones. It was a very interesting discussion with a lot of the group able to describe situations that they’d encountered previously.

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On the practical side, Shaun stood firm while Greg demonstrated back slaps and abdominal thrusts. These are quick actions that they can take in the event of choking – eating, drinking or even swallowing insects when riding.

Dawn then described the way to deal with someone who is unconscious and not breathing. This provoked considerable discussion about the right way to do things and in which order. Shaun took the floor and reiterated that speed is of the essence. He said ‘as soon as you’ve determined that you are safe to approach the person or accident, seconds can count, so once you’ve made your assessment then get on with it’.

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The Road Crew got stuck into the practical side of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, more commonly known as CPR. This comprised the timing, interval and number of chest compressions and rescue breaths. There was also a further practical exercise with the defibrillator.

Al said, ‘as far as we know, only two chapters in the UK carry a defibrillator and Geordie Chapter is one of them. Everyone in the Road Crew also carries a mini First Aid kit’.

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Towards the end of the session, Dawn, Shaun and Greg gave a quick round-up of what else can be done – removing a helmet from an injured person, turning someone over, the recovery position, comforting people etc. All valuable lessons.

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The Road Crew gave up their spare time to make sure that they’re fully prepared for medical emergencies. Let’s hope we don’t have to call on them when we’re out and about.

If you would like to know more about the Road Crew or the First Aid training then contact Al, our Head Road Captain. Use the Contact Us form to get in touch.


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