Wight Riders M.C.C.
May 4th - 7th 2001.
For a lot of people this is the rally that marks the start of Summer, and apart from a couple of years the weather has usually been kind to us. As per usual, some folks set off at the crack of dawn, some folks waited until a more civilized hour, and some folks set off the next day. I decided on the 'more civilized' approach and headed for the cafe at around eight o clock. Roy, on the other hand, decided that eight was far too early and didn't arrive until around half past. Having fed, we set off for the motorway. As much as I dislike motorways, they are by far the best way to get clear of the Black Country urban sprawl.
The first planned stop was the picnic area at the top of Fish Hill. We swung off the main road and into the approach road to the picnic area only to be met with a notice saying "Closed". Now seeing as we were both towing trailers this meant a little bit of tricky reversing. Upon closer inspection it seemed the picnic area wasn't closed as such - it was open for the exclusive use of a bunch of "travellers" who had taken over the place.
Back on the road - the Cotswolds came and went, Savernake forest came and went, Salisbury came, and so did the only "heavy" traffic we encountered. Salisbury only slowed us down for around 15 minutes and before long we were rolling through the New forest and on to Lymington.
After the usual ten minute argument with the Wight Link ferry staff, we finally managed to get tickets. What is it about trikes and trailers that confuses 'em ?
originally quoted us over £ 30 for a crossing, but after a 'little
chat' this came down to a more respectable figure, and having
sorted that, we wandered off for a coffee until the next ferry
The Wight riders were correct about the disinfectant mats being slippery, even the trike's front end drifted slightly. The next stop was Freshwater, for petrol and a few necessities. Never believe the locals when they say the bank is only "just around the corner" - they have a different definition of just around the corner to normal folks ;-)
This year's rally was to be held at a new site - immediately next door to the "old" site. It certainly seemed a much better drained site, with virtually no damp and muddy patches, even if it was a tad smaller. It didn't take long to set up camp and get my dinner cooked.
There were "dark mutterings" about the price of the minibus up to the Wight Mouse. This year they were charging three quid. There comes a point where bikers will say "enough is enough" and refuse to be ripped off - the minibus owner had passed this point, as you will later see.
Saturday morning saw us heading over to Ventnor for breakfast. It seems that the main road from Niton to Ventnor has fallen into the sea, so a slight detour was in order.
For some strange reason, we ended up in a pub, where the topic of conversation was Kev's haircut - doesn't take much to amuse the Moonshiners.
Saturday night saw us back up the Wight Mouse, where there seemed to be a distinct lack of bikers. This pub is normally heaving with folks from the rally, eating, drinking and generally having a good time. Maybe the price of the minibus had put people off ? Following the pub - the marquee - and much silliness.
I refuse to say what went on in the swimming pool during the wee small hours, but that water was bloody cold - - - apparently.
Sunday saw a handful of us heading for the donkey sanctuary, of all places, where we found all manner of, surprisingly enough - donkeys. After trying unsuccessfully to remove the ears from the donkeys we moved on to the steam railway, where we found, strangely enough - steam trains. I think the Harley riders found some kind of affinity with the steam trains, but let's not go down that path. The day passed quickly, as it does when you are on holiday, and soon it was back to the site time. Myself and Kella headed up the Wight Mouse on the trike, where we were the only 'ralliests' there. It seems the minibus owner had finally realized he wasn't going to make his fortune out of bikers and had given up after taking only ten people all day. Serves the bugger right I say !
Monday morning, and all but four people start to pack up, but not before a leisurely breakfast, cooked outdoors in the sunshine. I'm afraid the sunshine brings out the worst in some people. Take a nose at the horrors below.
It's amazing just how much you can carry on one bike. Kev demonstrates how to overload a bike - and get away with it.
By mid day, all but two of
those heading home had left. The remaining two, Nigel and
Olwyn were taking the more leisurely approach. Dinner, then
head for the ferry. We knew of a place that did decent food,
so off we went - only to find that they stopped taking orders at
half past two, it was now three o clock.
"Never mind, we'll find somewhere else." Easier said than done. We did eventually find somewhere, but not until we had done a scenic tour of the West side of the island.
Having fed, we spent a while watching the hovercraft, and wondering why, according to the Hungarian phrase book, they were full of eels.
After saying our goodbyes to Nigel and Olwyn we headed back to
the site. What was a noisy, bustling place only a few hours
back was now a peaceful, quiet field.
Of course, in true Moonshiners fashion, we just had to look in the rubbish skips. Why do people throw perfectly good tents away ? Recycling is supposed to be 'politically correct' and all that - so we "recycled" these tents.
Later that evening we were treated to a magnificent sunset, which we enjoyed before heading back up the Wight Mouse for our last night.
The ride up to the Wight Mouse was excellent. A full moon rising dead ahead, a straight, flat road with the coast on the right. It was one of those occasions that are just made for bike riding - I didn't want the road to end......
Tuesday, and time to head for home. I would have liked
to have stayed longer, but I could feel a cold, or something
The sun blessed us once again, it looked like being a glorious day, so after feeding my face I packed up and headed for the ferry. I just had to stop and take a few photographs of Freshwater Bay. My timing couldn't have been better - I arrived at the ferry just in time to drive on without waiting, and thirty short minutes later I across the Solent. The trip back took four hours - four hours of excellent weather and most enjoyable biking.
So another Gurt Gallybagger comes to an end. The new site was certainly drier than the previous one, even if it was smaller. This year's rally was roughly half the size, turnout wise, than last years, which is the price you pay for a smaller site. The chalets seemed to be fully booked, which meant more room for those camping.
A couple of "internet bikers" were spotted wandering around ( Hello Chris - Hello Otter ) so it seems these computer thingies do have some uses then ;-)
The lads and lasses of the Wight riders excelled themselves again - this is always a bloody good rally, and I hope it continues to be.
Until the next time - thanks, and look forward to seeing you all again.