I wonder where all this lot are going I said to myself as I pulled into the Redbeck car park. I thought there must be another bike club ride-out going on as there were over 30 bikes parked up!
"Morning Mate" I said to a guy who appeared to be fairly normal for a biker, "so where you lot going then" I asked. "We are off on a Wakefield MAG ride-out to Goole" he replied, "anyone can go you know." "Yes I know, I'm leading it.". "So how did all you lot know about it" I enquired "it's all over the biker sites on social media you know" he said.
Well I didn't know that but all I can say is this was the most highly attended ride out that I can remember. On entering Redbeck Cafe I found some familiar Wakey MAG members all stuffing their faces with gut busting breakfasts especially Steve who looked like he had a wok stuffed up his shirt LOL. I had to suffer the usual verbal onslaught and p1ss taking with regard to some minor route deviation through Bradford on a previous ride-out that should have be consigned to history long ago but hasn't Ed: Too right, it's way too funny to forget about !!!.
Of course my loyal group of followers did their upmost to bolster my confidence and offered their uncompromising support and reassurance that nothing could possibly go wrong and that leading our largest ever ride out of almost total strangers to a unfamiliar destination without getting lost or losing anyone would be an easy task and if it did all go tits-up as did our last ride-out I would not be held personally responsible at all. As it happens it was probably the easiest ride-out I have ever led and we all arrived at the Waterways Museum car park without any problems whatsoever ... simples. Joking aside I did breathe a sigh of relief that I had discharged my duties with distinction and ended the years ride outs on a high. Of course this wasn't all down to me and I thank all the regulars for their support with our '2nd man' system and especially Chas for his usual role of back marker and for sweeping up all the stragglers. I must also thank Chas, ably assisted by Sharon, for their efforts in selling the raffle tickets etc.
Once at the museum everyone wandered off doing their own thing, some like myself went to look in the galleries which told the story of the canal network and the boats and people that used to work and live on them which I found interesting but then I have always been fascinated by water and would really like to own my own boat one day. Queuing up for a coffee in the museum cafe took some time as I think the museum was seriously understaffed as they probably weren't expecting to be descended upon by such a large crowd of bikers all at once. I went outside for a look round the bike show exhibits which were all rather impressive if you are into old motorbikes.
I confess that for a biker I may be shunned by some as they just don't really do it for me as I much prefer more modern machinery, in fact I prefer modern retro styled bikes to the originals ... am I alone in that I wonder Ed: YES !!!.
We went for a stroll up the towpath and into a pub that was having a mini car boot sale so of course we had to browse that for a while before entering the marina through the no entry to unauthorised persons gate. Of course they didn't mean us so we had a good look at the boats all moored up and considered putting in a joint offer for one up for sale at £80,000 - it was a cracker and could be moved into and lived on straight away ... if only.
Some of us decided the boat trip round the docks seemed like a good way to pass an hour although we had to wait over an hour for the two boatmen to arrive. As we clambered aboard the open boat and the mooring ropes were cast off I half expected one of the crew to start twanging on a banjo while the other one shuffled a dance while sucking on a crawfish - they really did look like extras from a remake of Deliverance but at least they knew how to steer the boat. The tour of Goole docks wasn't really much of a revelation as I had expected to see a little more activity and something of interest but at least we had a laugh like you do in these situations.
The general impression is Goole Docks is a shadow of it's former self and was probably hugely impressive in it's heyday. It was a Sunday so maybe it was quiet because it was the weekend, but there were still several large ships docked, including one from Malta. All the more amazing really as we have ocean going merchant ships docked at a port which is 20 miles inland !!!
On disembarking our craft we decided to make our way home with some choosing the M62 and others choosing more scenic routes. So that's it for the 2015 season, it's been a mixed year really with some good ride outs and some not so good for various reasons. I have learnt a few lessons about leading that hopefully I demonstrated on this ride out, namely not allowing the bike behind me to get out of sight which I admit I have been guilty of in the past. I think despite reservations from some, having more than one ride out co-ordinator proved to be a good idea and relived some pressure from myself so I would like to salute both Martin and Terry for stepping up and volunteering for joint ride-out co-ordinators and leading their own ride outs which proved very popular.
That's it from me for another year.
Mick Culpan, Rideout Coordinator #1