Wakefield MAG July 2009 Newsletter

Dear Wakefield MAG member,

Welcome to the Wakefield MAG e-newsletter. If you can’t attend our Wednesday meetings regularly, it’s the next best thing to keep you up to date with what we are up to.


1) Edinburgh MAG Ag Ol Anns An Achadh Rally Report
2) Evening Run to York MAG / York Bike Night
3) Tan Hill Rideout Report
4) FYP Report
5) Evening Run to Barnsley MAG
6) New Bike Test
7) Parking Fees Campaign
8) VJMC Show
9) Treasure Hunt - the 'Thinking Riders Rideout'
10) Forthcoming Events (July and Beyond)

1) Edinburgh MAG Ag Ol Anns An Achadh Rally Report

Seventeen Wakefield & Barnsley MAG members, met at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms on Friday 5th June for our much awaited trek north, for this years Edinburgh MAG Ag Ol Anns An Achadh Rally.  The rest of the Wakefield contingent (Pingy, Sue, Lorna & Mo) had travelled up the night before, stayed overnight in Jedburgh, and were going to meet us en-route.  Janet & Richard from Barnsley MAG were to meet us at the rally site itself, intending to set off later in the day.

The weather was warm and sunny in Wakefield, but unfortunately, the forecast in Edinburgh for the weekend wasn’t so good.  Suitably breakfasted, we set off just after 10:00.  We had good weather for the first 50 miles on the A1 and then it started raining, on and off.  Leaving the A1 at Darlington, we took the far more scenic A68 all the way to Edinburgh.

Our first petrol stop was at West Auckland on the A68, then we pushed on to a suitable café for a spot of lunch.  We stopped at the biker friendly Camien Café, on the A68 near Otterburn ranges, right in the heart of picturesque Kielder Forest.  Just behind the car park is an ancient Bronze Age dwelling, now used as a sheep shelter, complete with somewhat smelly dead sheep inside.  We had timed our lunch stop to perfection.  Within 10 minutes it was hail stoning like mad outside, so had been saved a guaranteed soaking.

Following lunch, we pressed on, in the intermittent rain and noticeably lower temperatures.  Our advance party in Jedburgh had decided to press on themselves rather than waiting for us in the rain, so we were to meet them at the rally site instead.  The A68 is a cracking road and very scenic indeed around the Scottish Borders.  We hit the A720 Edinburgh ring road, bypassing south of the city and picking up the A71, towards West Calder, our destination.

We arrived around 16:00, met our advance party and camped in exactly the same spot as we had occupied the previous year.

It wasn’t raining but it was very cold, and the temperature was in single figures pretty much all weekend.  Not that it bothered us too much, we were in another country, we had bands to see, proper farm cooked food to eat and cheap beer to sample.

Great to bump into Mark, Ruth, Ross & Jo from Huddersfield MAG too, who had also made the long journey north. Yorkshire folk almost outnumbered the Scots at the rally.

We all partied a bit too hard on the Friday night and consequently, felt a bit delicate on the Saturday morning.  Still, nothing that a full English (sorry, Scottish) breakfast didn’t fix.

Following the recommendations of some of our (gloating) contingent from the previous year, we all headed to the local hostelry at lunchtime for a carvery.  I’m pleased to report that it didn’t disappoint.  A choice of 3 different meats, together with lashings of vegetables, all for the princely sum of £3.50, a veritable bargain.  We made our way back onto site for a bit of a siesta (sleepy after all that food), ready for the Saturday nights entertainment.

Eight of us donned hi-viz vests to help Steve Wykes (Scottish Regional Rep) and his team marshal the event, on the Saturday evening, and in doing so, doubled our branch points allocation.

Wakefield MAG were most successful with the rally awards (again) on the Saturday night.  For the second year running, we won the biggest club turnout award and Sue’s trike won the best paint award in the bike show.

The bonfire was supposed to be lit at 22:30, but ended up getting lit much earlier, which was a relief to everyone as it was freezing.  Saturday night’s bands were most excellent, especially the female fronted one, who could really belt it out.

All too soon it was all over and it was Sunday morning and time to pack up and make our long way home.

Another cracking Edinburgh MAG rally was had by all.  The attendance was noticeably lower than last year, and I can’t quite understand why. This rally really is an absolute gem.  The site is a proper farmyard (no marquee, just cow sheds !!!), excellent food (laid on by the farmer), cheap beer (£1.50 for Newcastle Brown and Real Ales !!), good bands, proper flushing toilets and a lovely relaxed atmosphere.

The weather could have been better (considering it was June), not too much rain, but most of us spent the entire weekend frozen stiff and wearing all the layers of clothing we had brought with us.

Well done to Edinburgh MAG for putting on this great little rally !!    Looking forward to next year’s rally already, just hope it will be a bit warmer.

2) Evening Run to York MAG / York Bike Night

We held our first midweek evening rideout for several years on Tuesday 2nd June.  Fifteen of us met at our usual point, Stork Lodge Tea Rooms, Thornes Park, Wakefield, at 18:30, for a 19:00 departure.  Our destination was the York MAG meeting, at their Bumper Castle, Wiggington Road, meeting venue.

We left on time at 19:00, and, as we didn’t have any learners with us, decided to take the quickest, if somewhat boring motorway route.  Turning right out of Stork Lodge, we met Horbury Road, then a right onto Broadway, taking us up to Dewsbury Road, and the M1 at J40.  From the M1 northbound, we picked up the A64 towards York.  We opted to avoid crossing through the centre of York and continued on the A64 to the roundabout near Stockton on the forest, then a left onto the A1237, skirting the north of the city to the B1363, Wiggington Road and the Bumper Castle.  A somewhat long way round route, but it did have the advantage of the least number of junctions and traffic lights, hence keeping the group together with ease.  We arrived at 19:50, in good time for the start of York’s meeting at 20:00.

We significantly added to the numbers at the meeting, so much so, that it was held outside, as their normal meeting room was a bit too small to accommodate the numbers.

New Rep Nicki Gage went through their formal meeting agenda and then it was time for the raffle and quiz.  We divided into several Wakefield MAG teams and when the answers were called, one Wakefield MAG team was in a tie break situation with another (a situation created by the fact that one team member gave the other team a critical answer, mentioning no names, but it was Corinne !!!).  A tie break question was asked and Toby got the nearest answer and Wakefield MAG Team #1 were the overall winners.  First time in ages Wakefield MAG have won a quiz (we certainly seem incapable of winning our own annual Biker quiz !!).  The prize was £10, which went into the Wakefield MAG funds.

We had a good chat to Nicki, Trevor, Lee and various other York MAG members, then it was time to saddle up and head home.  We left at 21:30 and had a steady ride back to Wakefield.  Despite a dark sky at times, the rain held off and it was a most pleasant evening.

3) Tan Hill Rideout Report

Thirteen of us met at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms on Sunday 14th June, for our monthly rideout. Our destination was the Tan Hill Inn, England's highest public house, in scenic Arkengarthdale, in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. Avid followers of Wakefield MAG's exploits will note that this was our second attempt to visit Tan Hill, with our last (aborted) attempt in October 2008, getting no further than Hawes.

We were very pleased to welcome along Lee from York MAG, and Mark from Huddersfield MAG on our rideout. Toby (who had planned the route) was elected (if that is the right word ?!!?) to lead the rideout, Martin was back marker and Steve and Igor floating marshals, to mark junctions and make sure the group didn't get split up en-route.

We set off on schedule at 10:00, and took the A642 out of Wakefield, through Stanley, Oulton, Woddlesford, Swillington and to the Old George roundabout at Garforth, where we picked up the A6120 Leeds Ring Road. We continued on the A6120, skirting round the East side of Leeds, before picking up the A61 at Moortown. We followed the A61, through Harrogate and to our first scheduled stop at Ripley Castle, at 11:15, a distance of 30 miles. We were to meet Gordon here, who living in York, had decided to meet us en-route. Gordon was still moving house that morning and hadn't set off until 10:45, so it was with some spirited (Ed: yet LEGAL !!!) riding, he met us at 11:25.

We continued on our journey and promptly took a wrong turning at a roundabout onto a minor road instead of staying on the A61. One of those moments when as soon as you are committed you realise immediately you have taken the wrong turning .... DOH !!!! A quick U turn and we continued on the A61 (technically not getting lost of course, more a detour with style !!!).

We took the A6108 towards Leyburn and our second scheduled stop. The weather was sunny, warm and dry so the ice cream van in Leyburn market square did a brisk trade.

Following our ice creams, we took the B6270 from Leyburn towards Tan Hill, and through some quite stunning scenery. This really is a marvellous road, single track in places with a couple of hairpin bends to make life interesting. Also making life interesting were the numerous sheep at the road side, looking at any moment like they were going to sprint in front of moving bikes to commit suicide. As we headed nearer towards Tan Hill, the temperature was quite noticeably falling, and the sun disappeared behind dark clouds. We arrived at Tan Hill at 13:30 ...... cue rapturous applause, Wakefield MAG had finally managed to get there !!!!! Set in magnificent scenery, as well as being England's highest pub, it also must be one of the remotest with nothing for miles and miles around. Despite it's remoteness, it was packed with fellow bikers, hikers and families out for the day.

We enjoyed the facilities, drink, food and splendid panoramic views, eeee, it meks tha proud to be a Yorkshireman !!!! We said hello to the friendly sheep (that obviously thought it was a dog), and had our obligatory group photo. It also started raining, and judging by the tracked snow mobile, the weather up there can get quite hairy at times. Looking down the valley, you could see that only a mile away, it was still glorious and sunny.

Time to head back after an hour or so, and we retraced our route home, with the group getting split into two in the Harrogate one way system, with half heading back via Wetherby, and half via Leeds.

A thoroughly cracking rideout was had by all, we covered around 170 miles, and we had finally put the bogey destination to bed !!!!!

4) FYP Report

Wakefield MAG hit the 23rd Farmyard Party en-mass with well over eighteen members in attendance, including nine of us who rode in on the marshals advance party from Thornes Park on the Thursday evening. Our journey there was plagued by bike and trike trouble, but we all made it there eventually, albeit with a little help from the breakdown service. At least it wasn’t raining and we managed to pitch tents in the dry with daylight remaining (always a pleasant experience). We all enjoyed a few beers and a midnight barbeque (supposed to be held much earlier in the evening, blame the RAC !!!).

Friday morning was hot and sunny and as we were not marshalling till late Friday afternoon, we spent Friday lunchtime in the Royal Oak in Helmsley Square (as we have done for the past few years on the trot). A most pleasant experience indeed.

A good few of us were marshalling in the Blues tent on the Friday evening and we were rather glad when our shifts ended, as the Friday Blues tent bands weren’t that good. The rest of our contingent hit the 100% biker tent for the Bon Jovi tribute band, who were absolutely rocking the joint by all accounts. The lead singer even had an American accent (all the more amazing as he was from Cleckheaton !!!!)

Saturday was a mixed day of sunshine and showers, with the emphasis on the showers. Still, it didn’t detract from the quality entertainment on offer. The afternoon blues tent band, The Peasants, did a cracking set. Not really Blues music, but a combination of all manner of rock and pop, performed in their own style, with a mandolin – never thought I’d hear everything from Motorhead to Duran Duran in the same set at a bike rally, but it worked really well, and I hope they get booked again next year.

The BSH sponsored ride-in Custom show was again a huge attraction, with some amazing bikes on display. Everything from the radical to the agricultural, and something for everyone. I particularly liked the Warner Bros cartoon themed streetfighter, although it would probably have children in floods of tears at the outcome of Jerry, Roadrunner, Bugs and friends.

Saturday night’s Blues tent bands were brilliant and kept the marquee thoroughly entertained. New for this year was the main arena Big Top, designed to keep everyone dry, whatever the weather threw at us. From the outside it didn’t look that big, inside it was enormous and the stage set up and light show looked amazing and would not be out of place in any big concert venue. Saturday night’s headline band in the Big Top was Big Day, aptly named, and they did a cracking set of Rock and Pop covers, that had the crowd screaming for more.

Another thing which worked really well this year was the covered marquee near the food stalls, so you didn’t get wet in the inevitable rain, whilst grabbing a bite to eat – it was well used on the Saturday I can tell you !!!!

A most splendid effort by all the Wakefield (and Barnsley) MAG members who did a tremendous job marshalling in the Blues tent, including a number who have never marshalled before. The marshalling shifts went like clockwork and there was a nice chilled out atmosphere on both Friday & Saturday night (both marshals & rally goers I hasten to add). A huge thanks to all of Wakefield’s volunteer marshals, giving sterling service as always. The FYP is MAG’s premier fund raising event and it is the unpaid volunteer marshals that make the rally as successful as it is !!! Well done to all.

All too soon it was over, and time to pack up the tent and ride off for some; ring the AA / RAC for others. Not that it detracted from what had been an absolutely brilliant weekend. The FYP just gets better and better every year. Looking forward to the 24th FYP already !!!

5) Evening Run to Barnsley MAG

We held our second evening rideout of the year, on Monday 29th June, to visit our very good friends at Barnsley MAG. Ten Wakefield MAG members on nine bikes were joined by six Huddersfield MAG members on five bikes at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms. We set off at 8pm as planned, and took the A61 route to Barnsley, via Pugney’s Country Park. The weather was warm and dry and we made quite a sight riding into Barnsley (stopping only for traffic lights and passport control !!!). We went straight through the town centre, not really knowing where we were going (only ever been to Barnsley MAG meetings via the M1), and despite hitting the one-way system, didn’t actually get lost and arrived well ahead of schedule, at 8:40.

Cheryl, the genial host of the Longcar Inn, Barnsley MAG’s meeting venue, opened up the beer garden for us to park in.

A most impressive turnout at the meeting, and Barnsley Bob had arranged a buffet for us all. Nice one Bob !!!

Wakefield members were most successful in the wine raffle, walking away with both bottles.

A good chinwag with everyone, then we all headed home around 10pm, back on the A61. A most pleasant evening rideout was had by all. Great to welcome along Huddersfield MAG on the rideout too, thanks for coming guys.

Our next evening rideout is to visit Leeds MAG, on Tuesday 21st July.

6) New Bike Test

The quite farcical situation following the introduction of the new test regime in April continues. There have now been some 25 crashes, including six requiring an emergency ambulance to be dispatched, followed by hospital treatment. The accidents are all a result of the new swerve manoeuvre, which has to be completed at 31 MPH / 50 KPH, and has necessitated the building of multi-million pound Multi-Purpose Test Centres (of which there are only 60 serving the entire United Kingdom).

The controversial swerve manoeuvre is safe enough in good dry weather conditions, however, there is no adjustment for poor weather and the enforced 31 MPH / 50 KPH swerve manoeuvre in wet conditions is proving highly dangerous. The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) insist there is not a problem, the accidents have all been blamed on poor riding ability and inadequate test preparation, all the MPTC's are designed so that the surface is fast draining and does not waterlog. Recently however, our nearest MPTC at Rotherham had to suspend all tests for the day as the tarmac was waterlogged, which is a direct admission that the swerve test is dangerous and should not be attempted in poor weather conditions.

MAG is pushing hard for a post implementation review of the new test, which the DSA have themselves promised, but are yet to deliver. A MAG press release will be issued shortly to this effect.

However, as an individual you can do an awful lot to support this campaign:

7) Parking Fees Campaign

MAG is supporting the ‘No to Bike Parking Tax in Westminster’ Mega Demo, planned for 1st July

5,000 motorcycle riders are expected to join a 'Mega Objection' against over-charging of bike parking fees by Westminster City Council. The demonstration, to be held in London on the evening of 1st July 2009, follows earlier rallies attracting several thousand riders.

The No to Bike Parking Tax Campaign says a recent report from Westminster City Council admits it has raised FOUR MILLION POUNDS in the last six months by over-charging motorcycles parked in bays that are free to use in the rest of Britain. Westminster City Council has been forced to admit the extent of their gross over-charging and over-zealous fines due to effective campaigning by the No to Bike Parking Tax Campaign, organised by Westminster residents and commuters.

Westminster Council is trying to counter mounting public anger at the over-charging of motorcyclists by proposing limited reductions to on-street parking charges and restricting free-parking for riders to unsuitable areas of some multi-storey car parks. Adding injury to insult, Westminster CC say they intend to give the money raised from bikers to encourage commuters to share cars rather than travel by bike.

The Motorcycle Action Group, Britain's leading riders’ organisation, supports the campaign in its efforts to get a better deal for bikers in Westminster and elsewhere.

MAG spokesperson Nich Brown says "Riders reduce congestion and use fuel more efficiently, yet receive little recognition. Free on-street parking is one of the very few ways local authorities have previously recognised the role of motorcycling - even this is now under threat".

In a fit of political theatrics reminiscent of the Tehran regime, Westminster City Council has attempted to quieten dissent by forcing the No to Bike Parking Tax campaign website to be shut down. Campaigners have responded by using Facebook and other open-access communication routes to organise their resistance.

Campaigners are urging every rider to do their bit NOW to secure high quality, free, on-street bike parking for everyone. Although in London, councils across the whole of Britain are watching developments very closely indeed, as a potential revenue source in these hard economic times. To safeguard free secure bike parking in the Wakefield area and beyond, all bikers are encouraged to support the Westminster campaign (you do not need to be a Westminster resident to participate).

Check out the ‘Take Action Now!’ page on the campaign website: www.notobikeparkingfees.com

8) VJMC Show

Wakefield MAG will again be hosting the Yorkshire MAG stand at this years Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club Lotherton Hall Japanese Bike Show, on Sunday 26th July. In addition to hosting the stand, we will also be helping our good friends at the VJMC marshal this most excellent event. The VJMC have requested 6 marshals so if you would like to help out, let me know. The show is open to all Japanese motorcycles and despite the name, they don't have to be vintage or classics, you can enter anything (but it must have been made in Japan). Hope to see you there.

9) Treasure Hunt - the 'Thinking Riders Rideout'

Our popular annual Treasure Hunt will be held on Sunday 12th July. This years Hunt will leave Stork Lodge Tea Rooms, Thornes Park, off Thornes Road, Wakefield at 10:00 (or earlier if you think you know where you are going). Question pack and map available upon registration from 09:30. The key to a successful treasure hunt lies with the planning and navigational abilities, and is won (or lost) in the car park before you even get on the bike, hence why it's termed the 'Thinking Riders Rideout'. The hunt finishes back at Stork Lodge and the winners will be judged on the basis of a combination of best time/mileage (route) and most correct answers.  Prizes for 1st, 2nd & 3rd and a booby prize for coming last.  £1 p.p. to enter (to cover cost of prizes) and enter as a team or an individual (if you are confident enough with your own navigational skills). Previous years events have been an absolute hoot and this one promises to be no different !!!

Hope you can make it.

10) Forthcoming Events (July and Beyond)

Sunday 12th July - Wakefield MAG Treasure Hunt (Branch run with a difference !!)

See above

Friday 17th - Sunday 19th July - Ganton Gathering

MAG Foundation Charity Fundraiser Rally at Wold Farm, Ganton, North Yorkshire. Pre Book only and the Wakefield MAG ticket allocation has now been returned. If you want to go and have not yet got your ticket, you may just be able to get one from the MAG ticket hotline, although be quick as the event will sell out quick (if it hasn't already)

Tuesday 21st July - Wakefield MAG Evening Run to Leeds MAG

Meet 07:00pm (leaving at 07:30pm) at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms, Thornes Park, off Thornes Road, Wakefield

Sunday 26th July - Wakefield MAG at the West Yorkshire VJMC Show

See above

Friday 7th - Sunday 9th August - Yorkshire Pudding Rally

The one and only YPR, held at Hesley Wood Scout Camp, Chapeltown (Nr M1 J35). Pre Book only and the Wakefield MAG ticket allocation has now been returned. This event has now all but sold out so if you haven't got a ticket yet, e-Bay may be your only remaining source !!!

Thursday 13th August - Wakefield MAG Evening Run to Halifax MAG

Meet 06:30pm (leaving at 07:00pm) at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms, Thornes Park, off Thornes Road, Wakefield

Sunday 23rd August - Wakefield MAG Branch Run to Whitby

Meet 9:30am (leaving at 10:00am) at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms, Thornes Park, off Thornes Road, Wakefield

That's all for this month and I hope to see you all soon.

Ride Safe
Steve Travis
Wakefield MAG
0772 078 4734

Wakefield MAG meet at the Grey Horse, Kirkgate, Wakefield at 8:30pm every Wednesday. New (and Old) faces are always welcome.