On Sunday 25 May, Paris bore witness to an unusual sight: 200 motorcycle riders revving their vintage and customised bikes through the streets, leaving the city with a noisy crescendo that turned the heads of all around.
It was a one-of-a-kind event organised by RRL – Ralph Lauren’s denim line inspired by Americana and authentic, traditional workwear – in conjunction with Paris’ own resident hipster bike mechanics from Blitz Motorcyles.
The route was 99 km and lasted for three hours, heading in a loop through Versailles, the Chateau de Dampierre and Saint Cyr l’Ecole, before finishing at the Ralph Lauren flagship store on the Boulevard St Germain, which had been decked out in vintage petrol pumps and bales of hay, to help add to the sense of adventure.
The other night The London Bikers organised a night to remember, a midnight ride ride across the city hooning past all the sights. What made it special was the immense turnout (over 50 bikers), the gorgeous warm evening and amazing atmosphere from fellow bikers and the crowds spectating and cheering us all on. With Miss Plum getting everyone organised and leading the ride, we all had a top night we’ll always remember.
Our ride started at Oval Motorcycle Centre, then on out across Battersea Bridge into Chelsea and Knightbridge, before whizzing past Wellington Arch, Buckingham Palace before a quick pit stop on the Mall overlook St James Park. Then on past Trafalgar Square and looping up round into Soho via Frith Street, before heading down past Downing Street, the Cenotaph, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey and across the river for a second stop by Waterloo and the London Eye. Back in the saddle we went North of the river again, zoomed past Aldwych and Royal Courts or Justice, down Fleet Street and our third stop outside St. Pauls cathedral, for a perfect photo opportunity. Off again, hanging a right by the Bank of England and South over London Bridge, past Southwalk cathedral, Borough Market, the Shard and then crossing the river again over Tower Bridge, lit up beautifully.
… a stop at the wonderful 24 hour Beigel shops for some much needed sustenance and a mix with Shoreditch hipsters leaving their night clubs and bars.
We continued North weaving through the streets and up to Brick Lane and a stop at the wonderful 24 hour Beigel shops for some much needed sustenance and a mix with Shoreditch hipsters leaving their night clubs and bars. To finish off, we continued East onto the Isle of Dogs and took a tour through the ghostly skyscrapers of Canary Wharf all lit up and towering overhead. The original plan was to continue on to Greenwich, but alas the Blackwall tunnel was shut for maintenance.
All in all, it was a wicked night, it was great to get out with Mary pillion (sorely missing a bike of her own) and great to see all of London’s landmarks lit up. Everything went swimmingly, even if group of us sometimes got separated momentarily.
By gum, a mid week ride out, what’s that all about? With kids at school, the weather forecast predicting summer arriving and the two of us in dire need of a break, we booked a day off and hit the road. The plan was to hit the infamous Burnham Bends (around Burnham-on-Crouch), then double back, through Chelmsford and out to Bishops Stortford following the A1060. But wait, Mary was having a wardrobe malfunction: her old leather trousers were hideously baggy after recent dieting, but the interim pair bought cheap off ebay seemed to fit, but had no give in them and prevented her getting her leg over the bike. Not good. A quick pit stop at J&S Gants Hill sorted us out with a pair Frank Thomas trousers that fit and didn’t break the bank. Sorted. Now back on the road.
Wednesday night means one thing – London Bikers Borough Market meetup or LB BM as it’s often more succinctly known. With all the chaos on the roads due to the prevailing tube strike, it was a welcome opportunity to chill out for a bit and let the carnage dissipate a little before undertaking the commute home.
Had a great ride out yesterday with the Fazer Owners Club (Unofficial). The weather was a bit grey and rain was hinted at, but luckily we escaped it all and had a great ride. Starting out at the Silver Ball Cafe on the A10 just South of Royston, we made our via some back roads to Finchingfield in Essex. A picturesque village with a super little cafe and a popular pitstop for lots of bikers. Once sated, we set off South down to High Beach tea hut in Epping Forest.
Overall a chilled out ride, with some good company, top stuff all round.
A day of annual leave booked, kids with childminder, mid week, quiet roads, lovely sunny weather – ah the perfect ride out. The intention for the day was to go for a reasonably long run on the bikes, get Mary more accustomed to her new ZZR400, build up her confidence after returning to biking and have a chilled out ride, culminating in a picnic in Finchingfield, Essex.
The route was fairly straight forward. From Dagenham: Hainhault → Stapleford Abbots → Chipping Ongar → Leaden Roding → Great Dunmow → Finchingfield. The route is very scenic, especially the stretch North of Great Dunmow. Undulating fields, twisty bends and corn in the fields being harvested. Total length is just she of 40 miles and easily doable in under 1.5 hours. If you fancy a longer ride, you could continue North through Haverhill and onto Bury St Edmunds, which is another 28 miles.
I went for my first ride out at the weekend with the FOC (unofficial Fazer’s Owner Club), London lot (LoFo). We started off in High Beach, Epping at the well known tea hut, then made our way North up through Great Dunmow, Saffron Walden and finished up near Royston.
The the plan was to meet up with the (slightly more) Northern branch of FOC and then ride back to Epping together. Everything started off well, but the day didn’t continue as planned.
Had a good blast out to the Ace Cafe last night. Another newbie night for the London Bikers forum. This time however we sorted a babysitter and I took Mary along. Bit of a round trip, but not too bad on the North Circular.
First time at the Ace for Mary and out with the LB lot. Great night, meeting people, some new, some not. Mary had a sit on Ally’s Kwak ER-6n, now convinced it’s the bike for her and even more determined to get her own wheels. Fair enough really.
During my recent visit to Shrewsbury I had chance to catch up with two of my sister’s buddies who are also avid bikers. We had a nice leisurely Saturday afternoon ride out, with excellent sunny weather, quiet ish roads (compared to London anyway!) and a decent pub at our destination. I was joined by Blake, riding a heavily customised Harley 883 Sportster that sat barely a hairs breath off the road and Pete on a Honda Transalp adventure style bike. With me on the sports-tourer Fazer, we couldn’t have as far apart from one another in our styles of bike and riding posture.
I had a half day at work, motorcycle loaded up, 170 miles to cover, time away from kids, lovely dry weather and a pub dinner booked with family in 6 hours time. It doesn’t really get much better than this. It turned out to be great ride up to Shropshire, cross country through the Cotswolds, Worcester and South Shropshire. Here is how I got on.
I left work after lunch and immediately cut straight up across the city via Islington, Highbury etc along the A1, before hitting the North circular and then out of London on the A41. This first leg was a little slow going due to traffic, but later on the A41 was almost empty. A fast dual carriageway with big sweeping bends leading to Aylesbury, a nice easy ride through green countryside, but not the fun country bends I was looking for.
Aylesbury is a nice small town, but straight through I went continuing on the A41 to Bicester. The road was mostly single carriageway, but with occasionally stretches of dual carriageway. The scenery was pleasant, highlighted by passing the majestic Waddesdon Manor, but nothing compared to beyond Bicester as I entered the Cotswolds.