Planning a ride for October can be tricky. Autumn is a beautiful time of the year, but can make a day out on two wheels, well, less fun than it might. Indeed, the Sunday before the ride, the crack team of Road Captains that came along to test and recce everything were firmly tucked up in their waterproofs with proper gloves (with actual fingers). Sunglasses were packed away and everything tightly zipped up as we headed off into a grey, drizzly morning. When we reached our planned ‘comfort stop’, it was almost deserted, and we didn’t see too many two-wheeled friends along our journey. But, hey, that’s the Autumn, isn’t it?
Er, not quite! Come the morning of the ride, the wind dropped, the clouds vanished and the sun came out. A perfect day, in fact, for a gentle meander around some iconic (for West Kent, anyway) motorcycling roads and historic Kent Weald towns and villages. Clearly, and very gratefully, the Meridian Chapter agreed, and there were already plenty of eager members at F.W. Warr and Sons (South East), or ‘Motters” to its friends, to greet me as I arrived. Shaun Lee had very graciously agreed to get up early on a Sunday and come down to open up the shop, and switch the coffee machine on, and was already manning the ‘ride-entry-swipe-system’. Thank you Shaun. Definitely above and beyond the call of duty, and very much appreciated by all of us.
After putting up with me waffling on for ten minutes (Ed: No Andrew, after 10 minutes of vital safety information and engaging repartee, which everyone so clearly enjoyed), without any prompting, everyone knew exactly what to do and the procession lined itself up beautifully for me to lead out towards ‘The Countryside”.
We took a ‘classic’ route down to Yalding, via Brands Hatch and Seven Mile Lane, stopping at the wonderfully eccentric ‘Teapot Island’, on the Medway for, obviously, a cup of tea. This is a well known and well loved stop off point for motorcyclists, and the proprietors are very welcoming. The sunshine had brought out a lot of locals, and a fair few motorcycles and cyclists, and so our stop took rather longer than planned. But, everyone seemed to be having a great time and we eventually got back out onto the scenic part of the ride.
Now, I must confess to a bit of cheating at this point, as the route out from here went past my front door (my neighbours were very impressed!). We snaked through Collier Street and on through Horsmonden, before joining the main road through Goudhurst, Sissinghurst and Biddenden. These towns and villages are famous for being at the centre of hop farming, with their many oast houses and shire horses. Nowadays, the hop farms have largely gone, but horses are still a large part of life here.
In medieval times, this area was the centre for the iron industry. You can see where I am going with this, I am sure.
At Biddenden, we headed north on our Iron Horses, through Headcorn back towards Maidstone, and then on to our destination ‘Mickey’s Diner’, another ‘classic’ motorcycling meeting point. Unfortunately, for me, I was not able to stay and enjoy a cuppa and some lunch, as I had ‘a thing’ later that afternoon, and so many apologies if anyone was wondering why I disappeared a bit sharpish.
I hope that everyone enjoyed their day and that it was a fitting end to another brilliant riding season for Meridian Chapter.
Thank you to the brilliant Road Captains and Marshals. A brilliant, swan-like, job, as always. And thank you to all the Chapter.
See you all in 2019!
F H Warr & Sons Ltd is an Appointed Representative of Automotive Compliance Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA No 497010). Automotive Compliance Ltd's permissions as a Principal Firm allows F H Warr & Sons Ltd to act as a credit broker, not as a lender, for the introduction to a limited number of finance providers and to act as an agent on behalf of the insurer for insurance distribution activities only.