Event Reports

September Rideout (Derbyshire Day Out) - Sunday 9th September 2018

Only me ........ I didn't expect to be writing this report as I didn't expect I would be leading September's ride out which was brought about by a chain of events surrounding Kane, Terry's bike and a lack of suitable twat nav support. Thus I volunteered my services rather than Kane by his own admission getting us all lost in darkest Derbyshire never to be seen again. As it happened I had a route already programmed into my twat nav around the area that had been predetermined we were meant to be going so it kind of made some logical sense for me to lead. A decision I later questioned as will become apparent if you choose to read on. At this point I will apologise for the lack of photographs as I say it was dropped on me out of the blue and I was a little unprepared.

Ed: It's OK, Clare Ellam has improvised:

No one took any photos, but Clare has improvised

Anyway route selected and off we went all together but unfortunately not for very long as the traffic lights conspired against us and we were soon disbanded and spread from one side of Wakefield to the other. On travelling down Westgate it soon became apparent that there was no one behind me so I waited patiently by St Michaels Church on the island in the middle of the road to indicate we were to head up Dewsbury road. Now the first of our merry band came into sight and I thought that's good he will take up my position allowing me to proceed however instead of going in the direction my bike was pointing he carried on up Wakefield road quiet oblivious to a large white motorcycle in the middle of the road with its rider (me) gesticulating frantically to turn right. After travelling 50 yards or so the penny dropped and brake lights came on tyres squealed and an impromptu u turn was performed. After a cheery wave he went in the direction indicated.

Eventually another rider turned up who did stop and allowed me to carry on. I expected to find the first rider parked up in the first suitable stopping place but instead observed him just passing Morrison's. I eventually managed to retake the lead after dodging speed cameras as we were approaching the top of Queens's drive and carried on across the roundabout up the mad mile. I had hoped my 2nd man would mark the exit but he stayed behind me until I decided to pull into a layby to let the others catch up. To my utter amazement my 2nd man rode on by giving me another cheery wave as he went, I gave several blasts on my horn and he pulled in at the side of the carriage way ... "what's up mate" he inquired, I asked if he was taking part in the Wakefield MAG ride out which of course he said he was, well how do you know where you're going then I asked seeing as I'm leading it. He expressed some surprise at my revelation as he apparently wasn't aware who was leading! I suggested he carry on to the next safe place to pull in and wait for the rest of us to catch up.

So on we went through Dewsbury and turning off Huddersfield road just past Mirfield fire station to cross over the river and start our trek towards Holmfirth. I am not exactly known for taking the most direct route between two points as I prefer to traverse lesser known roads which are usually infinitely more interesting than the major routes, however this seemed to cause certain issues and is why observation is so very important rather than just following blindly the rider in front and some time was lost as a result of lack of it. Anyway through Holmfirth we went and so started the steady climb up Holme Moss summit which was quite windy and raining and I understand caused certain confidence problems with one of our less experienced riders and caused very long delays as we waited patiently by the reservoir at the far end of the pass.

I was told later that one of our number stalled and almost dropped his bike pulling out of the junction fortunately he managed to save it or it would have been an expensive disaster. So onwards towards Glossop and left along the infamous Snake Pass to our first 'planned stop' at the cafe in the layby overlooking Ladybower reservoir. After a quick coffee and a chat it became obvious that some of our number were struggling with sections of the route and were conscious of holding everyone else up. After much reassurance and quotes of "we've all been there" and "we were all learners once" which I hope wasn't patronising we decided to carry on to a cafe I knew of at Honley which I estimated at being about 20 mins away. My estimate was way off and it must have taken an hour to get there after traversing another famously challenging section of the route known as the Strines.

Anyway now everyone could relax and discuss the day's events and I learnt an important lesson in that not all ride outs should be classed as learner friendly just because we don't go on a motorway. In hindsight I wouldn't have chosen this route had I appreciated the level of experience of some of our number as certain sections were quite challenging and technically difficult and other sections were very fast and bendy. Unfortunately the more experienced among us couldn't enjoy the ride as much as we could have due to being held back and the less experienced didn't enjoy it as much as they should have as they found it difficult and were aware they were holding the others up. So although I am no longer an 'official' ride out coordinator if I were ever asked to lead a ride out again I would prefer to specify if it were a genuine learner friendly route as in easy riding with no hairpins or hills or a non-learner friendly route to suit the more experienced rider and would involve much more challenging sections and fast bits and may include motorway sections. Maybe we could alternate between learner friendly ride outs and more experienced rider ride outs. Obviously anyone could attend the learner friendly ones but exclude learner riders from the experienced rider ones. I feel this would be beneficial to both as learners and less experienced riders would not be intimidated by a difficult route or worry about lack of progress and more experienced riders would I feel enjoy a challenging route and be able to maintain a good pace with riders of similar ability. Anyway food for thought.

Thank you to all who took part in the ride out and congratulations to everyone for completing it. My apologies to everyone for different reasons but at least we all made it. Looking forward to the next one.

Ride safe
Mick Culpan
'Unofficial Rideout Coordinator type person'