So had planned a lovely day a long time ago with a group of riders that I haven’t spent a lot of time riding with New York City Wildlife Removal.
Before the ride that the Admin and owner of the Facebook group that I had become a part of wanted to go to the seaside and had chosen Hunstanton as the destination, I was asked if I could plan a path and direct the ride, I can only assume that they thought myself to be a capable rider that could safely get everyone to the destination, and also the group had 1 maybe two people riding on 125’s and L plates, not a problem to plan a route avoiding any motorways I can do that.
Sounds like a good idea and that was that.
Late on the evening before I received a message saying someone else was going to direct the ride and plan the route, fine not a problem I could enjoy myself, sit back look at the scene, did I mention my wife was coming along as pillion too? We can have a nice chat on the intercom about the usual married stuff (all of the married men. You understand what I am talking about, all the single men you will find out).
So we arrive at the meeting point a little early and lots of bikers are found, I am then informed that the individual leading can not locate his satnav but has looked at the route, OK I said I am going to sit in the back anyway and can pick up any stragglers.
So eventually everyone is here and we set off, having already programmed my Satnav with the route we turn right instead of left and head off, no problem I remember saying to the wife as we will end up at the exact same point only the long way around.
After about 20 minutes riding we’re on a dual carriageway all riding in single file all being good (we did have two 125’s with us so speeding was not going to be a concern).
We begin gaining on a Waitrose HGV, no worries I want to pull out to let the other in particular the 125’s a chance to overtake, but instead we slow down to a creeping 52mph, OK maybe not the end of the world we are travelling at just above 50mph on a 70mph road, but remember I am sitting at the back! , now cars do not see motorbikes in the best of times but when travelling at around 70mph they are not hoping to gain on a group of 6 bikers at a fantastic rate, after a few close calls and a slip road a car had determined to force his way on in between the group of cycles that I decided enough was enough, we might have 2 125’s with us but this is now getting dangerous and the smaller bikes can overtake a lorry in 52mph, so that I move out overtake gesture and everyone into the lead rider that it might be a great idea to accompany me (I was polite, honest).
So everybody follows me around and I gesture everybody past me and take up position at the back again and now we’re doing a comfortable 65-70mph, happy times.
It wasn’t long before I noticed the man in front of me acting really odd, I mean in the sense of a panic, something had flown into his crash helmet and was making buzzing noises, today most of us know that feeling of utter dread we get from time to time but that is real, I know it has happened to me and scared the crap out of me.
After a quick ripping from the crash helmet and plenty of arm flapping we was back on our way, this individual was on a 1000cc bike like me so catching the group up was not going to pose a problem and we sent off.
We rounded a bend on the dual carriageway and to my surprise and astonishment and amazement to be honest there they are parked in the side of a 70mph road, not in a lay by or anywhere safe but the side of the dual carriageway.
Yup unbelievable I understand. We slowed down and thankfully the group caught us up and again I waved them all past and took up position in the rear.
OK by this time I’m beginning to get concerned about the ride, nothing major but a few concerns about my safety that of my pillion and the other riders in the group, also that intercom was occupied with spouse chatter about how dangerous the past few incidents had been and how we will need to do more shopping and something has to be done about blah blah blah.
So we eventually stop at a McDonald’s and have an ice cream and a urine etc and the leader of this ride is busy looking at his phone and telling everybody we’re nearly there and it’s the A47 for the most of the way so that it should not take us long. Today I am a forgiving man and I will always give someone a second chance so I decide not to say anything about the past couple of incident and to just try and enjoy the remainder of the ride and see how things go, nobody is perfect right? We all make mistakes so we’ll just continue and enjoy ourselves.
A bit further into the ride we are all moving along nicely staying together and the intercom chatter is the typical stuff about look at the car etc, you understand wife talk!
After several roundabout and a few winding roads we approach a large roundabout and according to the signpost it has 5 exits, I look see what exit we want (it’s the 2nd) and we all start piling onto this very large roundabout with extended slip roads, and we stop on the roundabout, yup on the roundabout to the left just before departure 1, now believing someone has just had an issue as I’m at the back I stick the hazard lights on and attempt to see what’s going on ahead, the lead rider gets off his bike and walks back towards a couple of the riders behind him and… he’s his phone in his hand… assessing the map! I know right, just what you are thinking, not a lay by or quiet residential road to pull on, a roundabout, nothing could possibly go wrong right? We thankfully nothing did go wrong, we all got going again and nobody died or was hurt, thankfully.
After we reached out destination and everybody had dismounted de-kitted and normally relaxed I did ask the question of what was you thinking about when you decided to follow a lorry across the dual carriageway, stop in the side of same said road, and of course the parking on the roundabout? , well apparently none of these things occurred although others among us was equally unhappy with the ride as a whole, this being said me and the now furious wife went off on our own in search of food.
After a hearty meal and plenty of coffee we return towards the bikes and some of the other riders are hanging around as apparently they’re all heading back soon.
I gave my excuses and let them know we’re going back on our own today and to say thank you to everybody.
After we had returned home thinking about the ride and the things that had happened I decided to have a little rant about it amongst the group that I belong to, now this group has some very experienced riders and some recognized ones, but we all above everything else watch out for each other when we are out together, we can as you envision spend a good deal of hours riding together and a certain level of trust has built up amongst us, well they all felt exactly the same as myself, these events shouldn’t happen and there are no explanations for this. End of discussion really NO EXCUSES for failing to keep yourself and others with you safe and not purposely put anyone in danger.
Well apparently there are excuses for these incidents and some of them never actually happened or wasn’t as bad as I think they where, after all everybody made it home did not they, well everyone did but not together because after I left them they apparently lost two of their other riders at some point, but this is OK, they just carried on.
During the fall from my remarks in a personal group, this is the fun bit, I have been kicked from the Facebook group that organised this ride and O dear unfriended by some of the members who made it home alive on this day, well am I gutted? upset? Feel like I had been treated unfairly? , no not really in the event you can’t take any criticism and insist on lying about what really happened so you do not feel bad, continue, all I was offering was advice about how to keep yourself safer on the streets, not interested? Fine carry on and hopefully you will never have an accident or get hurt in any way, I seriously hope that is true because I do not want people to get hurt and it makes me mad when you would rather lie than admit you made a mistake.
Anyway this has rambled on a bit so I can leave it there and you can let me know what you think.
Incidentally I have been out on a few other rides recently and even lead some of them myself and everyone had fun and nobody has been put in any danger so that it can be done.
Ride safe everybody and if you don’t ride a bike, just keep and eye out for us, we love it.