Pulling up behind the pale blue Moggie Traveler waiting at the lights in Church Stretton I couldn’t help noticing the lady driver’s titfer. It was one of those floppy jobs, turned up at the front like Yosemite Sam’s and co-ordinating well with her floral print summer dress. From my perch on the Pampera I could also see a carefully arranged tartan rug on the back seat and a large wicker basket prominently displayed in the luggage compartment. She was living the period dream. All that was missing from the ensemble was a large Victoria sponge cake on a willow pattern cake stand with a winners rosette from the Women’s Institute garden party. Pulling in to Church Stretton petrol station I looked across to my riding companions Hugo and Lucas to see if they’d noticed the shooting brake and it’s driver. Of course they had. My chum Hugo has a particularly keen eye for detail and doesn’t miss a trick. He’s clocked the hat , the basket and of course the car. “ I wonder if she’s heading off somewhere to solve a mystery.”, he quipped, “Or perhaps she’s investigating a murder”.
It’s moments like these which sum up what riding with mates is all about and is a pleasure which , by and large , is denied car drivers. The banter is one of the things I really enjoy when out riding with mates. The very nature of the sport , given that we’re cocooned in lonely isolation most of the time inside our helmets, means when the opportunity occurs to communicate, your average group of bikers quickly turns into a garrulous, wise-cracking bunch of comics. The next thing you know everyone is laughing, usually at somebody’s expense.
Often my bookings are comprised of three or four riding buddies and the group dynamic is already well established. This invariably means there will be an opportunity for mirth at some point in the day. I had a group out a couple of weeks ago who were all seasoned, capable riders very familiar with each other’s strengths and, more to the point, weaknesses . Of course, they were ruthless Mickey-takers. One of the riders was an experienced and confident enduro rider who adopted the Alpha male role on the trail and generally showed a clean pair of heels to his mates. On one stretch of single track he took a tumble caused by over enthusiastic riding and ended up sprawled across the track and blocking the route. His mates, instead of jumping off and helping him, immediately commenced sounding their horns impatiently as if they were in a Milan traffic jam. The fallen rider jumped back on and tore off down the track only to come to grief again 30 yards further on and the group immediately advanced aggressively towards him and whole noisy pantomime started again. It was one of those great unrehearsed comedy moments which can’t be scripted . Yep, I love the craic and due to the nature of trail riding with frequent stops for gates, accidents , fords, fuel and goodness knows what else the opportunity for banter is ever present.
The AdventureRide week hasn’t all been about riding and laughter, there’s been some graft going on as well. A last minute opportunity to exhibit at the 2015 Llangollen Bike Fest presented itself and we had to hurriedly prepare a trade stand and man it for two days. It was exhausting but extremely rewarding and we met some old friends and hopefully persuaded a few new ones to come out with us. Here’s a few pics from the show.