Skittles and a Pub Lunch

I arrived at the Top of Town car park with trepidation, as previously I had turned up for a Ride Out, but not understanding the etiquette was politely told that perhaps I should have some more practice before coming on a ride as I was unlikely to be able to keep up with the group, thus compromising mine and their safety. (Associates need the OK from their Observer before they go on a ride out. Ed.)

However, for this one, Dave Luke, my Observer was to accompany me and we could ride at the back of the group and drop out if necessary.    Twelve bikes and one pilion met at at  around 9.45 am, signed up and gave contact details,were informed of the rules for informing directions , there would be a leader and a back marker and overtaking would be allowed. 

We set off on the higher Sherborne road past the Sun Inn at Charminster riding up over the chalk escarpment to Ridge Hill above Buckland Newton then passing downwards into Cosmore and Middlemarsh.  Middlemarsh is appropriately named as there are many springs coming out of the bottom of the chalk escarpment around Cosmore. Then we turned left at Middlemarsh and  turned right towards the top of Batcombe Hill and Holywell crossing the A37 Yeovil road towards Evershot ( old English for corner of land frequented by wild boars)  through Horsey Knapp & Benville  Lane ( old English bean and field) crossing the A356 Crewkerne road going down into Beaminster ( Saxon personal name of a woman called Bebbe and Old English mynster for large church ).  We then turned left on the A3066 into Bridport taking the coast road to a pub on the far side of Abbotsbury ( old English for fortified manor of the Abbot ).

It was drizzly at the start, and heavy mist on the top of the hills with leaves and mud on the road in places.   However, it dried up and the sun came out as we hit the coast road from Bridport.  Somewhere along the way the back marker and two other riders became estranged from the group.   They eventually arrived at the pub suggesting the roads were a bit congested at Plymouth !!

One bike (I’ll mention no names)  went ploughing in West Dorset into a soft muddy bank verge having caught his front wheel on some slippy clay on a right hand bend.  Experience is something you do not get until just after you need it.  I tried to pick up the bike and ride on before anyone notices, but not quick enough. 

I have trained in martial arts for many years and I now  practice Taijiquan & study Chinese philosophy.  The is a good moral story as to the repercussions of any event.  Will it be good or will it be bad ? “We Shall See!”    So I fell of my bike but no one was hurt and little damage was sustained except for pride and  letting down my observer ,  who was very understanding.  If I learn from this it will make me a better rider and make the road safer both for me and for others.

At the pub there was a welcoming fire and the food was good.  Skittles was a game of’ Killer’  and there were many styles of ‘throwing’ the ball, the most impressive seemed to be the least effective !  

Debbie threw well whinnied on by her horse that was in the field next to the alley, “Close the window Debbie!”  There was a close battle at the end between Dick Catton, Mike Groves (who won last year) but they were both eventually beaten by Linda Ashmore to whom I thank for organising it as I very much enjoyed the ride, the skittles and the company.

Maybe the Group will let me ride out with them again ?   “We shall See” !

Despite my mishap perhaps  it will inspire  someone else  to take up IAM motorbike training. Personally this has been very inspiring for me and I really enjoy it. It gives me a buzz! There is such a level of skill and knowing how to  ride your motorbike better gives so much enjoyment. I cannot believe how much I have improved in such a relatively short time.

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