So had planned a lovely day out a while ago with a group of riders I haven’t spent a lot of time out riding with New York City Wildlife Removal.
Before the ride that the Admin and owner of the Facebook group that I had become a member of wanted to go to the seaside and had picked Hunstanton as the destination, I was asked if I could plan a route and lead the ride, I can only assume that they believed myself to be a competent rider that would safely get everybody to the destination, and also the group had 1 maybe 2 people riding 125’s and L plates, not a problem to plan a path avoiding any motorways I can do this.
Sounds like a fantastic idea and that was that.
Late on the night before I got a message saying someone else was going to lead the ride and plan the route, fine not a problem I can enjoy myself, sit back examine the scenery, did I mention my wife was coming along as pillion too? We can have a great chat on the intercom about the typical 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 several bikers are found, I am then informed that the person leading can not find his satnav but has looked at the road, OK I said I am going to sit at the back anyway and can pick up any stragglers.
So finally 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 recall saying to the wife as we will end up at the exact same point just the long way round.
After about 20 minutes riding we are on a dual carriageway all riding in single file all being good (we did have 2 125’s with us so speeding wasn’t going to be a concern).
We begin gaining on a Waitrose HGV, no worries I want to pull out to allow the other specifically the 125’s a opportunity 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 expecting to profit on a group of 6 bikers at a great rate, after a few close calls and a slip road a car had determined to force his way on between the group of bikes I decided enough was enough, we may 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 disturbs everyone and gesture into the lead rider that it might be a great idea to follow me (I was polite, honest).
So everyone follows me around and I gesture everybody ago me and take up position at the back again and this time we are doing a comfortable 65-70mph, happy times.
It wasn’t very long before I noticed the man in front of me acting very strange, 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 sheer panic we get from time to time but this is real, I know it’s happened to me and scared the crap out of me.
Following a quick ripping off of the crash helmet and plenty of arm flapping we had been back on our way, this individual was on a 1000cc bike same as me so catching up the group 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 street, not in a lay by or anywhere safe but the side of the dual carriageway.
Yup unbelievable I know. We slowed down and happily the group caught us up and again I waved them all past and again took up position at the back.
OK by this time I’m starting to get concerned about the ride, nothing major but a couple of concerns about my safety that of my pillion and the other riders in the group, also that intercom was occupied with wife chatter about how unsafe the past couple of episodes had been and how we will need to do more shopping and something needs to be done about blah blah blah.
So we finally stop at a McDonald’s and have an ice cream and a urine etc and the leader of the ride is busy looking at his phone and telling everybody we are nearly there and it’s the A47 for the most of the way so it should not take us long. We all make mistakes so we’ll just continue and enjoy ourselves.
A little further into the ride we are all moving along well staying together and the intercom chatter is the usual stuff about look at the car etc, you understand wife talk!
After several roundabout and a couple of 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 long slide roads, and we stop on the roundabout, yup on the roundabout to the left just before departure 1, now believing someone has just had a problem as I’m at the back I stick the hazard lights on and try and discover 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 has his mobile phone in his hand… assessing the map! I understand right, just what you are thinking, not a place by or quiet residential street 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 injured, thankfully.
After we reached out destination and everyone had dismounted de-kitted and generally relaxed I did ask the question of what was you thinking about when you decided to follow a lorry across the dual carriageway, stop at the side of same said street, and of course the parking around the roundabout?
After a hearty meal and plenty of coffee we head back towards the bikes and a couple of the other riders are hanging around as apparently they’re all heading back shortly.
I gave my excuses and let them know we are going back on our own now 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 knew ones, but we all above everything else watch out for each other when we are out together, we can as you imagine spend a good deal of hours riding together and a certain level of confidence has built up amongst us, well they felt the same as myself, these events should not happen and there are no explanations for this. End of conversation really NO EXCUSES for failing to maintain yourself and others with you safe and not knowingly put anyone at risk.
Well apparently there are excuses for these incidents and a number of them never really happened or wasn’t as bad as I think they where, after all everyone made it home didn’t they, well everyone did but not together because once I left them they apparently lost two of their other riders at some point, but that is OK, they just carried on.
During the fall out of my comments in a private group, this is the fun bit, I have been kicked from the Facebook group that organised this ride and O dear unfriended by a few 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 If you can not take any criticism and insist on lying about what really happened so that you do not feel bad, continue, all I was offering was guidance on the best way best to keep yourself safer on the roads, not interested? Fine carry on and hopefully you will never have an accident or get hurt at all, I seriously hope that’s true because I do not want people to get hurt and it makes me angry when you would rather lie than admit you made a mistake.
Incidentally I have been out on a few other rides lately and even lead some of them myself and everybody had fun and nobody has been put in any danger so that it can be done.
Ride safe everyone and if you do not ride a bike, just keep and eye out for us, we love it.