The Crows nest!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Epping Highbeach and the biker hut

Well its my birthday today a whole 45 years of me *laugh yeah I know I should be sitting doing the garden like most semi retired men but nope not me, I celebrated my birthday with a planned trip to Epping High Beach, or the bikers rest, not knowing if actually anyone would be there, I did leave a message on my Essex buddies group on , and invited anyone to come along and say hi, but seems my friends on bikerbook were at work or just busy doing something else, but I did not let that put me of from going I just wanted to say I been there, done that and got the tee shirt well actually no tee shirt but I did get a really nice tea from the hut for only 75p and a decent cuppa it was, in fact it was a well supplied little hut, sold everything to sandwiches and burgers, thought nothing much for a veggie, ooh well you cant win all the time.

Now getting there was not easy, even thought I had a sat-nav what a load of shit for one, I could not see that damn thing and it was way down in my tank bag, I think I have to find a way of attaching it to my handle bars, and because I could not find any sigh posts to High Beach, I was going up and bloody down the high street, until, I asked for directions from a little old lady (yeah I’m a guy and yes I do ask for directions, the reason being, I’m modern in contact with my feelings of being totally stupid nuff said)

The journeys there was a bit hit and miss, I did take several wrong turns, which lead me to god’s knows where, but I took the bull by the horns and told my self its an adventure yeah a fucking adventure lucky I filled up with petrol before I headed towards Roydon, and go to Epping via the back door so to speak.

The roads are a mixture of 30mph – 50mph thought some of the bends in the national speed limit are quite tricky but, I just kept an eagle eye open for tight bends which there was many from Roydon to Epping, but I totally enjoyed myself in fact so much so I took a wrong turning and ended up on some god forsaken back B road, I liked this stop, the wind was whistling thought the small bushes, It was then I decided to put my visor up, it really needs changed and put my sun glasses on, god I was riding through the streets thinking that it was getting dark, I did not stop to think that I was wearing sun glasses when I had a stop just before I entered Epping, I took them of and realized that it was so bloody sunny, the wind can do that on a easy rider I have noticed now, it can get quite cold sitting up right on a seat face into the wind, I do admit that I prefer using my sun shades as apposed to visor.

After being totally lost and the sat-nav being no help at all, I should call it twat nav, that’s just what I am, I need a better way of watching the damn thing my tank bag is not the place for it.

So I get directions and head off into the sunset, I was nearly ready to give up and head back to Sheering, after all I did what I was planning to do, and that was get to Epping, but I pushed myself I really wanted to find High beach and with the Lady’s directions I found it with little or no trouble.

High Beach, well there it was and yes there was quite a few bikes as well, now making my way from Sheering to Epping most bikes I passed there was a nod of acknowledgement, but when I got to High beach well, no one wanted to talk, thought my bike was scrutinized right down to the spokes on the wheels, some even took a second glance after noticing the L plates, walking up to the hut and getting a nice strong brew tea, and at a reasonable price I might add its all good.

I stay for no more than 30 mins dump the paper/plastic cub in the bin, and put my gear back on, start Athena back up and I stall, a few snigger from the harden bikers, I curse myself for doing this after all, I have done over a 135 miles so far.

I leave the hut well behind and get totally lost trying to get out of high beach, in the end I take a different rout out of Epping and head to Harlow, via one of the A roads, for the first time I hit 60mph, it was scary and yet felt good, the wind was buffing me like mad, I still had my shades on, and at times I could feel my helmet lift up, but still I kept on going, before I know it I can see Harlow town in the distance, taking a turning to the right, knowing that, I have yet took another wrong turn, I go down this single track, and for some reason end up on a Cycle path, some guy keeps looking back at me, then it dawns on me it’s a path way for walkers and cyclists ooh shit I think to myself if the old bill comes I will surely get a few points on my Provisional, going so slow, I was able to keep well behind the worried cyclist, I slowly over take and eventually find the road again which leads to old Harlow.

It feels like a life time till I find the B 183 to Sheering again, but when I do, I feel that I am going quite fast between 40-50mph, by this point I feel I just want to get home, my throat is so dry, and Zak wants a piss no doubt.

All in all my road trip took a good few hours I started out at 10am did not get back till 3:15pm, I wish there was more road sighs to High beach I felt that I was on the road a bit too long, but you live and learn and being a novice biker well you just got to make mistakes, its how you handle hurdles is what matters.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

I have finally found a MCC in Harlow yipee

Well it’s Monday now, and yesterday was umm yeah Sunday well today was a good day for me; I actually found an active Biker club in Harlow. Yay I hear ya scream, no more running up and down the B 183, well actually I still have to do that journey, that’s the price to pay for village life as opposed to Town or City life.

Not that city or town living is bad, just I, or should I say we, me and fox have done that, got the tee shirt, Essex, London, Sussex then back to Essex this time we should settle down now- too much moving is not good for me.

Well, I do have to thank fox for showing me the way to the Mcc. I did not have a clue as to where Abercrombie road is in Harlow; apparently its near mum’s and Toms. And how right she was. A little off from the main road that circles the town centre, by the water gardens, leaving the Asda behind a bundle of traffic lights and a swift left turn and there you are; car-bunga there yee are.

Its only 5pm, and I’m feeling like a nervous schoolboy going to a disco for the first time by myself. And I still have like an hour and a half before I will do the ride to the Mcc. I think I will make a quick dinner tonight, there are so many butterflies in my tummy. God I wish I was more confident in these settings, but in fairness I think I handled it well. Feeling all self conscious- I circle the hut that I think is holding the meeting like a shark. Eventually I see a line up of mc’s, looking in my direction, and suddenly feel a wave of self-consciousness, hoping I don’t end up falling off as I approach, and look like a complete prat.

Well a little more about the Harlow 70s MCC was formed in 1974, the club has its own hut, which is adorned with pictures of bikes and a massive Ogri drawing. I have yet to understand the significance of this character but I know most bikers like and love him, with his winged helm, thought I understand that he is appearing in the next issue of BSH.

The hut is on the large side - in anticipation of a large posse of bikers, with the main room, with a pool table having ample seating for at least 40 bikers. But on this night there were around 12 of us, in and around the small-hatched area, which was the kitchen Cups of tea were steaming on the serving hatch, eager fingers curling around the cups. Fellow bikers trucked out to the car park, my bike being inspected, by one with a torch. Seems my bike is a good one though the wheels could do with a clean. Hmm yes, we know where that mud came from… but that’s another story.

Most of the bikers including myself spent the first hour standing outside waiting for any stragglers coming but after 30 mins it feels like every one that’s coming to the club has arrived, I have just been about introduced to everyone, thought names escape me, which if any of you are reading this, I’m bloody old ya know, my brains not as sharp as it used to be lol.

But what a night it was, the topics of conversation was just about anything, the warmth that the members showed to each other was great, you could be for given saying that it’s a club but in actual fact it felt like one big family, which all have its characters, saints and sinners, but one thing they did do was made me feel welcomed.

And that I thank them for, I told them that finding the Mcc was hard in fact I spent quite some time trying to find a link to any Harlow Group, it was by chance that I found there place via the Cernunnos website, which is a handy site for all MCC’s the country over.

I have included there web page if you fancy a look at both Harlow 70s Mcc ..

And of course Cernunnos website….

If you have some time please visit both particularly if your in the Essex area, the Harlow 70s are looking for new members and I guarantee you will not be disappointed and guess what you see me lol, what more of a reason do you need.

Nuff said!

Friday, 18 September 2009

Once more into the Breach dear freind!

As each day passes I am feeling the cold bite of Autumn, taking grip the land around me is tiled are ready for next seasons crops to be sowed, and our first winter feels closer than I would like, its scary to think that Vailima can with stand some of the winds we get, I hear the plastic PVC roofing groans and creeks when the north wind blows up a gale.

I am quite certain if I was to take away the massive grape vine that completely covers the patio the roof would fly away one night or day, high winds don’t just happen at night time.

When I am on Athena I am quite happy, but when like yesterday it rained and the roads were quite slippery I just stay in, I hate to get wet and I hate being cold even more, I still don’t have all the protective clothing that I would like for riding, but like anything in life it takes time, after all money don’t grow on tree’s yadda yadda!

But what I have already got I am quite happy with as long as it don’t rain or too cold I could wrap up well but I hate to feel like a Michelin man, all puffy and fluffy, but then a beggars cant be a choosers is my motto, so grin and bear it me old son.

Well I did it I finally went to Hatfield forest for a spin on Athena, and I even took that corner that made me have a fall at over 20mph, what a blast to actually face up to a fear and over come it words that best describe it is At Last!

I admit it has been playing on my mind that there was a place that I was trying to avoid like the plague but like so many other bikers would say you got to face it, get up and go for it, so I did and now I feel like I can get around it again and again not that I will unless I am going back to Hatfield forest in the near future.


And there lays a problem, I have a nice quite bike she purrs along not a noisy bike like the ones that pass Vailima on a daily basis, now I do have a membership to the National trust and its gardens, forests and properties and I was dismayed, no angry that there seems to be a bias towards bikers, as I pulled up outside the kiosk, to show my card the woman before I could even turn of the engine was saying that’s ummm, I quipped I have a national trust card, and before I could finish, she says motorbikes are free but you have to park here,

I ask why, because there is cattle roving around, but car’s can park up by the Café! She repeats herself, you can park here free of charge, but I have a card I respond thinking that this is all I need, after all I have a bad heart, and walking is ok but the café is like a mile+ up a fucking hill.

Still she sticks to her guns, just park over yonder, I feel that I am holding up the line of cars and noisy pick up trucks behind me, I give in and park in the car park and park my bike, having to hall up my tank bag which weights a fucking tonne, I walk thought the forest towards the café it takes me nearly 30mins to get there, my tank bag slowing me down, trying to take photos and rest along the way.

I reach the café spend £1.90 for a kit cat and a minging cup of draft Pepsi, I spend a little time talking to one of the volunteers about joining doing some work in the forest, something I have been planning for a while, I spend about 30mins walking around the trees before heading back to the bike.

I would have loved to spend more time in the forest but because I have to walk quite a distance, back to the lower car park, I cut short my time, the journey home was nice lovely twisty lanes a good challenge for a novice rider, and a good time to go would be around 10am till around 2pm,

the roads are less used, now there is one word of caution, one of the roads to Hatfield forest is chip stone which carries on for around 2miles, if possible avoid this as I could feel my bikes paint work being smacked as I moved along this horrible single track road.

Best to get to the forest via, Hatfield Broad Oak, some really nice stop of points to take photos, happy biking people and please be careful, there’s lots of white van men that speed along these roads.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Knebworth classic bike show

Well I have finally gone to my first classic bike show, and what a day out it was, and we are called the Harlow Hogs!

The group comprising of Tommy Two Wheels, Gunner Glen and me Bootlace Al!

The show was held at Knebworth House 29 miles north of London off the A1(M) at Stevenage, Tommy two wheels knows all the roads in and around London/Essex so well he could do it blindfolded, I would have loved to go on Athena but little bro Glen is still waiting to do his CBT,

thought I got to admit some of the roads to Knebworth are a bit tricky lots of bends thought that did not stop quite a lot of classic bikes over taking us along the route, many a Norton roaring by as we approached the classic bike show.

It took no more than 30 mins to get there from Vailima Sheering, we all had a good chat talking musing and thinking about bikes like we were some sort of nostalgic bikers, Tommy 2W spend some time reminiscing about his days on a Norton, his mind being drawn back to when he was a teenager imparting his knowledge and tails of daring and road savvy.

The entrance price was £7.50 each not bad for a really decent day out, lots of bikes and lots of stalls selling every thing you could imagine for a bike some of the stuff looked really nice but totally unsafe like the helmets

I saw I was so tempted to buy one to use on Athena but decided not when I gave it a closer look, the clasp was to say the least poor construction and a devil to actually clip together in fact I was unable to do it up, it was that fiddly and a close inspection of the helmet its self showed that the material was flimsy next to the helmet I already have, so if your ever found yourself in front of a stall like this DON’T BUY THE HATS THEY ARE NOT GOOD.

I also found that there is a bike much better looking than any Harley I saw there and there were lots of Harleys today in fact there was so many I could not make up my mind till I saw the Honda Valkyrie, what a wonderful bike big, bad and totally gorgeous 1520cc of pure power, I just had to get a picture of the Engine, what chrome it was so shiny that you could see me kneeling in front of the silver bike of pure power.

Some more unusual bikes were there as well, one from the GPO General post office and some strange white racing bike with a skull and cross bones

which was a favourite one of mine just for the sheer unusualness of it.

It was not all classic bikes many bikes were modern and up to date, nice in they’re own ways, Gunner Glen loves Ducati’s and could not resist having his picture next to the best one he saw that day, Me I was a Harley man till I saw the Honda Valkyrie sitting there.

The food on offer during the day was good, lots of stalls selling every thing from chips to burgers, thought they were pricey a portion of Chips was £3 which is very expensive I wonder how much the pitch was for the day? It could not have been that much but I will stand corrected next classic bike show

I go to I will be a stall holder my self, I have noticed something that is lacking at these type of meetings and at the moment I am in the thinking stage of things but soon I will put my plans to action, and get on the band wagon if at all possible.

All in all what a great day out, good company, good food, great bikes and lots of fellow bikers pondering and auguring over bikes a great day had by all.

Want to see more head over to my facebook page i got 136 pictures from the day out leave comments if you can that be nice thanks.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Harlow MAG

11thSeptember 2009

Before I start, my sympathy and respect to America on this day.

Well how did my first MAG meeting go? Well for a start, I think I can safely call my self a Muppet why! The reason being I never look close enough, and go off on a tangent and make myself more work than I should do.

Well Thursday night 8pm I set off for the Crown, which the Harlow MAG says is biker friendly well it was like 8 years ago, by then its changed hands and the Harlow MAG no longer uses the venue for its meetings.

Still I went up and down the B 183 like a fucking YoYo, in the pitch dark, one thing that I found quite scary is the use of High beams on car’s, there are too many twats who like to use high beams, right in my face, which blind me for a few seconds, I would like to avoid those situations as much as possible, my speed I kept really slow not going over 40mph, some of the bends on that road are quite sharp one in particular is a right turn that branches of to Sawbridgeworth the corner is tight and for some reason is always wet.

Now I could not make up my mind which Crown pub the meet was in the maps they give are confusing, about 1.5miles from my Vailima there is a crown and my little bro say lots of motorbikes parked out there, and from the first map it looks like its just down the road, so I head there, park up there is a bike there already but it turns out it belongs to the bar man, no one has heard of the MAG before, so I decide it must be on the other map which means the MAG meets in old Harlow on Market street, so I head out into the darkness and after a few wrong turns I find Market street by accident really.

Like a prune I wait outside hoping and praying that some bikes will come and park beside me, but to no avail thinking that maybe I again have made a mistake I phone the fox, and ask her to have a look at the Harlow MAG website see if I got the right place.

Well I did get the right place unfortunately the website had not been updated for nearly 6 years Doe! And unfortunately they are no longer there, in fact MAG are looking for a area rep now, and the nearest MAG group is in Colchester 15miles down the road who meet on a Thursday at 5:30pm.

So looks like I going to have to do a few trips to Colchester to get familiar with the area, and hopefully join the local MAG group there, but just in case I email them first to let them know I’m coming lol.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

My first ride since the crash

Well look at the date its 999, for those that don’t know the British emergency service number well that’s it, lucky I did not see that or I would never have took my bike out, I’m very superstitious concerning these things!

Well now as most know I had a crash last week that really screwed my bike good and proper, a new foot plate or repaired well I got it repaired for the princely sum of one crate of beer. A bargain in my mind, and thank you so much for doing it Kenny you’re a star.

Well, all morning I been putting it of getting on to the saddle and taking to the road, my mind conjuring up all sorts of excuses and reasons to leave it a day, the black bodywork of Athena sitting there, wanting to go, I ponder and muse my thoughts trying desperately to give me a reason to put if off, my granddad standing beside me in spirit, his wisdom and smiling face telling me I am in control of my bike and the road not the other way around.

10am comes the road falls silent and only the sound of the birds singing fighting over the food I have left for them, still my troubled mind tries in vain to stop me, I start to pack my tank bag for my little road trip, I decide I will do no more than 10miles in and around the back roads in Sheering and Much Haddam stopping along the road to take a few photos of Athena.

Well, I let her warm up for a few moments before, I kick her into first gear, I can feel the tank bag press into the front of my pelvis, it feels nice but I am a bit worried after all its attached by magnets and two clips at the handle bar.

Gingerly moving forward to the Street, which is the main road through Sheering, the road is empty except for cars parked outside the village store, she moves off, kicking into Second, third and forth gear, she purrs along the Street, no cars around, I notice that the wing mirrors need adjustment I can’t really see what’s behind me, as I approach Hatfield Heath I pull over to make the proper adjustments to both mirrors, feeling satisfied that I have made the right adjustments I carry on, down into the traffic free lanes that surround Sheering and Matching, I end up at Matching green and the pond, and come back to the Street towards home, feeling quite chuffed that I over came my trepidation and no accidents or anything I feel that if I do different routes on a daily basis.

I will be ready for the trip to Hatfield Forest and over come that bend, some of the corners that I did today were just as sharp as the one that made me fall from the bike, I think I have learn that going at my own pace is far better than the pace of others, after all I’m only a learner!

On the Road again at last

Well, its nearly the happy season as I have always called it and it starts with my birthday 22nd September, as a kid and teenager, this has always been my fav time of the year, from sorties to the Glinnifer brays and lakes to Yule, I become more excited but now the excited ness is less, but still I feel the drawing of the shorter days longer nights coming upon me, like a long lost friend I take comfort in the long drawn evenings, things feel more clear, my birth the joy of Halloween, Guy Faulks, Yule and the new year, then January cold, damp and windy, and even in this dark period there is much to do and see, I love Astronomy and have my dedicated telescope, summer is all fine and good but dark sky’s is almost as useful as a worn out spanner.

Well an update on my bike, finally Tom has had the plate done, which is great, I so want to get back on the saddle after my fall, like my granddad told me when I fell of my bicycle when I was the tender age of 7 years old he put me back on and told me keep going, I did and that attitude has stayed with me through life.

I do admit that I am a bit apprehensive in taking the corner that I had my fall from but for once I will head in the opposite direction and go to Epping forest’s high beach biker tea room for a change in direction though there are some quite tricky corners along the way, I think or hope so anyway that I have the right attitude when it comes to riding a bike, and that’s to go at my own pace and not the pace of say a car driver, who in some ways has more road control than a bike, after all the main break on a bike is the front and as we all know bikes skid and slide if you’re a bit slap happy with the front brake.

Well Mum, Tom and lil bro Glen and Tara turned up at the door as I was chatting to a few friends on chat room, the normal thing is turn everything of and get the kettle on, don’t know if that’s just me or what, but I find the first line of being a good host is making sure your guests are well looked after and tea is always a good start.

Glen got tore into the bike fixing the plate and foot rest, in next to no time it was done, gingerly sliding the key into the ignition slowly turning the key the neutral’s green glow showing that its in deed in the right gear, pressing the start button the bike purr’s into life, that slow rumbling purr, showing my bike even after all the falls is still going strong.

Tom bless him, took me to the doctors to get my prescription being in the middle of a village means that the nearest pharmacy is actually in my doctors 2 miles up the road in Hatfield Heath.

I’m moved to actually put a video camera on my bike, I would like to take my blogging to the next level, for some reason I feel that its important to keep a video blog, well in a way is more easy than just writing and of course taking pictures of the journey.

My plan is to go to Epping but behind me is the niggling feeling that in order to put the crash behind me is to take that same route and over come what took me of the bike in the first place, I must admit my nerves are playing me up, scared maybe, off putting defiantly the fear of falling from the bike again and doing more damage to my ribs, is firmly in my mind at the moment.

I have been going though some scenarios in my head, when I come upon the corner stop at the side of the road and take a picture of it then proceed again al be it very slowly, the words of Brutail firmly in my mind go at your own pace not the pace of others.

To be honest I’m trying to give my self reasons not to go out today thinking I feel a bit under the weather, had a lousy sleep last night Zak keeping us up, it was very hot and humid last night and both me and Fox had very little sleep and during the night my pain killers wore of, and I am feeling sore not on the ribs but my arm is painful. I think I’m just looking for reasons not to go on the bike, and yet I know it was me to blame, being old and no confident is no excuse not too, but still I wait till the rush hour is over and let my tablets kick in and see how I feel.