Twenty five of us met up at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms on Saturday 9th May for the ride-in to the Multi-Purpose Test Centre (MPTC) National Demo. Great to welcome along a few new faces, including our honorary member from Medway MAG.
Time for a chin wag and the obligatory group photo, then a steady and scenic ride over to Squires, led by Steve, Justine acting as back marker and Toby & Mark acting as our floating marshals, marking junctions and making sure the group didn't get split up.
We took our usual route to Squires, out of Wakefield on the Stanley Road, past Rothwell Sports centre, then through Methley, Castleford, Allerton Bywater, Newton, Fairburn, Ledsham and arriving at Squires at 10:25.
We met a further five Wakefield MAG members at Squires, so a most impressive turnout from the branch. A most impressive turnout at Squires too. The place was absolutely heaving, much to the surprise of a few bikers who had turned up, unaware of the demo, thinking how quiet it would be on a Saturday morning. A good turnout from bike instructors and trainers, who are badly affected by the MPTC debacle, and in a number of cases, whose livelihood's are at risk.
Demo posters were displayed on the bikes then it was time to set off to meet our police escort. The run was marshalled by members of the East Leeds Lions MCC, Team Sober MCC and MAG members, all of whom did a splendid job of keeping the very large group together. We stopped on the A63 near Strikes Garden Centre outside Garforth to collect our police escort. By this stage, nearly 400 bikes were massed, and it was a pretty awesome sight.
We collected our escort of one patrol car and three police bikes after 10 minutes or so, then made our way through Cross Gates, onto York Road and into Leeds. There is nothing quite like riding in a huge group, under police escort with all the junctions closed for us, and being ushered through red lights. We left York Road, past West Yorkshire Playhouse and the bus station, then into the City Centre via the Calls and the Dark Arches, past City Square, then up onto the Headrow. We literally stopped Leeds in it's tracks. The sight and sound of so many bikes was awesome, and provided a massive spectacle for the Saturday shoppers. We will most certainly be on lots of photo's and video's.
Ian Mutch (MAG El Presidente) and Sheila MacFarlane (Yorkshire RR) stopped to give a TV interview to BBC Look North. The rest of us were escorted back onto York Road, where we lost our police escort (who had a Bikesafe event to attend) and retraced our steps back to Squires.
Once back at Squires, Mr Mutch gave a rousing speech (managing to avoid nautical stories and his Harley to Mali anecdotes), followed by Thank You's from Sheila to all those who helped organise, run, marshalled and attended the demo.
We finished with a buffet, then made our separate way's home.
A truly brilliant demo run, extremely well attended, the weather was kind to us and we did literally stop Leeds in it's tracks. I don't know how successful the demo was in raising the plight for learner riders with the current lack of MPTC's ................. but it was a cracking rideout.
A huge thanks to all the Wakefield MAG members who attended, 75 well earned branch points duly awarded.