Incognito Rideout, destination Sovereign Harbour, Pevensey Bay and this is a must read* for all new HD riders, especially the ladies…

As so many were recovering from the recent “event of the year” in Prague that it came as a surprise to see over 40 bikes arrived for the day’s outing.

All were gathered at Warr’s SE and, well, the thing is not many realise how tough it is to put on a high viz vest …. None of us did until the giggles started behind me, as I started the briefing, Kieran was fighting with his and losing until the other road crew stepped in. So, cabaret over and on with the day. And, more new Meridian riders but today was a bit special as Deborah Baker tells her story of her day* see end of report.

 Off we all rode and true to the briefing we actually turned right before Chislehurst! And so the scenic route began. Biggin Hill, Westerham and then onwards on a gem of a biking road B2026. Twists and turns and with sun shining making for some lovely mottled shadows of trees along the way. Chartwell, Hever Castle passed by and onto the Ashford forest and the heights of the moreland before Duddleswell.

I did mention that we were to beware of farm animals and so we turned off towards Nutley crossing cattle grids. So unlike Milton Keynes with concrete animals these were real, much to the surprise of some. We arrived at our comfort stop and I can report no hooves were seen poking out of saddle bags or panniers!

The next leg more biking roads through the countryside before we took to the roads that allowed us to stretch the legs and open up some throttle all the way to our destination and our obligatory group photo…. Many thanks as ever to all the Road Captains and Road Marshalls for helping out on the recce and of course on the day itself. 

And Every scallywag fer hisself.

Bernie Cresswell, Meridian Road Captain

 *New Meridian rider Deborah Baker's view...

So on waking up this morning I felt that stomach churning feeling return that I had whilst I was training to ride a motorbike. The reason was I had decided to challenge myself and join the ride today having only picked my bike up late Friday. Arriving at Warr's I was met with many people asking, "did you bring the bike" I proudly said yes, although the terror showing on my face was telling a different story. I went and swiped in and explained to Bernie that was going to me my first ride. I also explained just how little I had ridden since passing (30 miles to be precise) he gave me great words that I reminded myself of many times when we starting riding "this is your ride, go at your speed" I was still worrying about a number of things, mainly panicking under pressure but I told myself, you're here now and surrounded by a great group of supportive bikers just "man" up and do it. I managed to sandwich myself between Paul Baker and Paul Martin Lashmar which helped with my nerves and off we went..... And there I was, riding a big bike with a large group of riders and I felt fantastic.

Yes there were times when I was under pressure, but it was my own pressure no one was pushing me to hurry up it was just sheer inexperience and whenever that happened I pushed on and carried on with the ride. Finally we made our comfort break and I was smiling. I Immediately went and spoke to Bernie and thanked him for his wise words that I had repeated to myself whenever I doubted my capabilities. I was overwhelmed with the many who were asking how I was doing and telling me to keep going. Your kind words made me stay with the group despite feeling tired and wanting to give up. We carried on to Eastbourne and about 5 miles out I really started to hit my limit and had to really focus and give myself a talking to. I didn't want to let myself down. I didn't want to let Paul down as he had supported me so much with my journey in learning, and had taken me to Warr's straight after me passing my mod 2 to buy a bike and finally I didn't want to let down all the kind people who have been supporting me from the chapter and so I dug deep and carried on those last few miles. I did it!

Bernie it was a great ride for me to experience. I have conquered many bends and turns today and my riding is much improved by doing them. To the guys your support has been priceless. Jay Dhokia thanks for the great photo. Paul L thanks for holding back and giving me rear to follow! Bill Brown your endless encouragement is always well received.. Kevin Cotter for never failing to make me smile and Paul for having faith in me when I didn't. Alan Wright you was great to follow after lunch and I really appreciated your "speed".. I am still on high and totally exhausted from the 140 miles I rode today.

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