Wight Riders M.C.C.
May 3rd - 6th 2002.
Once again the May bank holiday is upon
us, and that means only one thing; Yes, it's time for the
Moonshiner's annual journey South to the Isle of Wight and the
Gurt Gallybagger rally.
We decided that a full stomach would be a good start, so the epic journey started as all good journeys should - in the cafe. The motorway took care of the "urban sprawl" and before long we were rolling through the Cotswolds. Three trikes, complete with trailers and three bikes.
weather was warm, without being too overpowering, in fact, the
ideal conditions for riding. Of course, no trip would be
complete without the odd mechanical failure. In this case,
it was Kev's battery that decided to give up the ghost, which
meant a few "helping hands" had to give his trike and
trailer tent a bump start every time we stopped. Not to be
outdone, I managed to snap my throttle cable in the middle of the
New Forest. Being of the "sensible" triking
school, I never travel without a spare throttle cable, clutch
cable and fan belt, so after a few minutes spanner twiddling, we
were on our way to the ferry terminal.
I must thank the Wight Riders for managing to get us a considerable discount on the ferry prices. For the grand sum of £ 19-50 the trike and dog kennel was carried across the Solent, compare this to the price that I paid for the same journey last August . . . . £ 68-80. Now I ain't brilliant at maths, but I make it almost fifty quid cheaper. If it wasn't for the concession on the ferry fares, this rally would be a tad out of reach, price wise, for a lot of people, so thanks again to the Wight Riders.
Now the council on the Isle of Wight decided to close one of the most scenic roads on the island for a month. Guess which month it was closed for ? Yep, you've got it. May. The section of Military Road, which runs between Freshwater Bay and Brook Bay was closed. Although a diversion was sign posted, it just didn't seem the same without that spectacular view as you travel along the cliff top with the sea on your right.
By early tea time we were happily set up, which was perfect timing, for within a few minutes the heavens opened and people were "trapped" in their tents for while.
It seems the people responsible for running the bus service to the Wight Mouse pub had learned from last year's episode. This year the fare had dropped to a reasonable £ 2 per person, and as a result, the pub did a roaring trade.
As per normal, the food in the Wight
Mouse was excellent, even if it had phallic connotations.
Why is it that when ever you find a group of Moonshiners, the conversation takes a turn for the worse, with "meat and two veg." taking on a whole new meaning ?
Of course, due to my sheltered upbringing and general
innocence, most of the conversation was lost on me. ( Stop
that tittering at the back )
Saturday morning, and the first thing to do was find a new battery for Kev's trike. A quick trip into Newport solved that problem, and all less than thirty quid.
Now there just happened to be an interesting sort of steam
powered trike parked up at Calbourne water mill, in fact, there
were several interesting things, all of which just had to be
So there we were, sitting in the sun, enjoying the happy rhythm of the stationary engines and the annoying shriek of the occasional peacock. Just as I thought "this is the life" I felt a slight headache, which promptly turned into one of those headaches which can not be ignored, so I'm afraid the rest of the day was lost to me. At least with a hangover you get to have enjoyed the night before - I feel robbed !
Sunday, and it was late morning by the
time most of us had surfaced. Now one good thing about the
Isle of Wight is, despite its small size, there always seems
something to do, somewhere to go and something to see. So
that's what we did, we went somewhere and did something, which in
Moonshiners fashion seemed to involve food and drink.
Now I know the island is getting smaller every year due to erosion, but the picture below is ridiculous.
As in previous years, a few of us stayed over on the island for a few days, and as in previous years the bus service to the pub ferried all eleven of us for the same price, £ 2 per head.
I still can't get used to the silence when you arrive back on the field, where, only a few hours earlier, there were a few hundred bikers milling around. Just the crows and the odd rabbit greet you as you make your entrance, even the beach was deserted. From a few hundred to eleven, and by the following day that eleven was reduced to six.
The six of us carried on to West Bay, as we had often done
before. Upon arriving at the usual campsite we found it had
changed hands, was this a good or a bad thing ? After a few
minutes "haggling" we got the cost of camping down to
£ 4 per pitch, per night. Considering the last owners were
charging £ 16 a night, I reckon this falls into the "good
Having set up camp, we took in the sunset over the harbour at West Bay before sampling the delights of the locally brewed beer. "Palmers 200" - the beer brewed to celebrate the bi-centenary of the brewery, an excellent pint, although a little steep a £ 2-50 per pint.
Continuing on the beer theme, we paid a visit to the smallest pub in England, which just happened to be closed. Ah well, you can't win 'em all.
From six of us, three remained down by the coast for another couple of days or so, whilst myself and two others took the somewhat scenic route home - via the Severn bridge, past Tintern Abbey. The road from Chepstow to Monmouth, the A 466 is one of those roads just made for biking, it follows the river Wye, with the forest of Dean rising up on your right, all in all, a most enjoyable road.
And so ends another Gurt Gallybagger. A great rally, a great ride, the waterproofs never got used in anger and the trike only suffered a minor setback in over 600 miles of touring.