After months of planning and numerous recce runs to devise a scenic and enjoyable route to the North Kent coastal resort of Ramsgate for a visit to the wartime tunnels, the weather man had cancelled the sun for the day and the southeast was shrouded in heavy mist. When I got the bikes out of the garage I seriously thought we would have to don the wet gear as the mist was that heavy in the air. By the time we set off for Warr's SE there was improvement and upon arrival there was already about a dozen Meridian Members already there.
Swiping in duties duly carried out showed a very healthy 65 Chapter members registered for the ride. Coffee drank and banter exchanged it was time for morning prayers and my first Meridian service! Then followed a swift departure after the Chapter photograph.
The usual route out through Chislehurst, which seemed to be unusually busy; reaching the monument a quick glance in the mirror showed only three bikes behind, but once onto the A20 the pack was once again nicely riding in formation. On passed Brands Hatch and the Oakdene café, seven-mile lane, Wateringbury, Teston bridge, Coxheath and Leeds village it was time for a comfort stop at M20 J8 services.
By now the weather was bright and sunny, just what I ordered! Suitably refreshed, onward to Lenham where I turned left to go over the North Downs via Doddington. I’m sure the sight and sound of our Harley’s was enjoyed by the villagers as we rode through here, popping out onto the A2 and skirting around Faversham it was a blast down the dual carriageway to just passed Herne Bay. Again the Chapter looked really impressive riding in formation as l glanced in my mirrors. Turning left up and over the bridge through Marshside and Chislet to Upstreet. Left to Sarre Windmill then another blast on towards Ramsgate. A quick regroup before the Chapter rode down the cliff road overlooking the harbour, passing the Royal Pavilion and bandstand, up the other side where we picked up the sign for the Wartime Tunnels, zig zagged our way down to the sea front and our final destination.
The tunnel staff were amazed at the number of bikes that had parked up and remarked how impressive we looked.
After numerous photo opportunities people drifted off to the tunnel attraction to indulge in the bread pudding and mug of tea or along the promenade toward the harbour for fish and chips and ice creams.
I thoroughly enjoyed organising and leading my first ride as a newly appointed Meridian Road Captain and many thanks to the Chapter members who complemented me on the mix of roads I chose to get us there.
Photos courtesy of Jay Dhokia.
As always, thanks to the rest of the road crew for doing a sterling job in assisting with the Rideout and finally, thanks to Tim and Pat for opening the Dealership early and for the early shots of caffeine.
Meridian Road Captain
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