Bike Night

Motorcyclists in our part of the world are a lucky bunch; not only do we have stunning scenery, twisty roads and wonderful coastlines, but during the summer months we also enjoy a selection of events known as “Bike Nights.”

The basic principle of a Bike Night is very simple, riders and their machines gather to admire each other’s bikes and socialise with like-minded people. In scale the “Nights” range from small gatherings at a local café to impressive events with live music, bars and shops. (Though having a bar must be of questionable sense for people riding home afterwards!)

At this point I must confess to being only a very occasional visitor to “Bike Nights.” It’s just that if there is a nice evening to enjoy I’d much rather be actually munching the miles on two wheels than talking about it!

A couple of weeks ago I had arranged to hook up for some supper and ride to Bude, on the North Cornwall coast, with my oldest and dearest friend, known on these pages as “Vifferman.”

“Viff” works across the Devon border in Barnstaple and by taking a rather circuitous route on a beautiful afternoon I was able to enjoy just over 100 miles of delightful sunshine before meeting up with him at a convenient service station. We then enjoyed a spirited run to Bude and took on board that food of all British Bikers – Fish and Chips!

On arriving at Bude quay, we were pleasantly surprised to find “Bike Night” in full flow!

Can you spot Baby Blue?

Can you spot Baby Blue?

Bude Bike Night one of the smaller events, centred on a local café and as a result it’s very laid-back and relaxed…which pleased “Viff” as his Honda is well used and sometimes a tad grubby!

We parked up and had a cursory look at some of the bikes before enjoying our fish supper whilst putting the world to rights on a quayside bench.

Summer waning away with the ebbing tide.

Summer waning away with the ebbing tide.

It was a glorious evening with heavenly warm light from the dipping sun. The air was, however, tinged with that peculiar sadness that comes with summer closing fast and the knowledge of long dark nights of winter rapidly heading towards us.

Sunset at Bude.

Sunset at Bude.

Leaving Bude on my big blue Harley, I rode the Atlantic Highway into the setting sun and had time to muse.

Evenings spent with friends like “Viff” are like the light, golden, precious and to be treasured. I’ve known my mate all my life, well over fifty years, we’re the brothers that choose to be brothers and d’ya know, I don’t see enough of him these days…we need to change that!

“Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels
Looking back at the years gone by like so many summer fields.
You know I don’t even know what I’m hoping to find …
Running into the sun, but I’m running behind.”

Catch you soon.

Dookes

Photo101: Big

It’s been another wonderful day in paradise, or more correctly the byways and highways of Cornwall and South West England.

As I took in the air and let Mr Harley and Mr Davidson’s wonderful machinery do the hard work I got to think about today’s assignment. Well, I wasn’t thinking too much about it when I was riding, because letting the old mind wander is a sure-fire way of getting yourself hurt on a motorbike!

We took a trundle around Bodmin Moor before turning North West and along the Atlantic Highway for about 50 miles and hanging a sharp left near Clovelly. Then we headed to the beautiful Hartland Point on the most spectacular part of the North Devon Coast. The country lanes here become decidedly rural and after the long wet winter were in shocking condition, so bad that at times our progress was down to walking pace as we negotiated potholes, mud, loose gravel, stones and oh yes as this is early spring the farmers are out spreading manure. . . and dropping loads of it on the roads too! Joy!

Anyway, it was when we parked up at Hartland I reflected that nearly half a tonne of motorbike qualified as “Big” particularly when you are working hard to keep it the right way up on crappy roads! So here is my “Big” shot.

She's My Big Baby!

She’s My Big Baby!


Don’t look at the filthy state of that front tyre after those dirty roads; no ‘chicken strips’ here today!

Oh yes, Hartland Point is a 325 ft high rocky outcrop on the North-West tip of the Devon coast. The point marks the Western end of the Bristol Channel where it meets the Atlantic Ocean; if you like, it’s where the Atlantic begins! The Hartland Point Lighthouse was built in 1874. It’s tower is 59ft tall with the lamp being 121ft above mean sea level and today is listed as an historic structure. The light can be seen up to 25 miles away from the coast and was automated in 1984, prior to this the lighthouse was maintained by four keepers.

Heartland Point and Lighthouse.

Hartland Point and Lighthouse.


I supposed that’s all a bit “Big” as well!

“Did ya like that?”

Dookes