To Wells or Lunch Sunday 4th May 2014 Led by Jeremy Weeks

Bright, Dry and chilly weather conditions could not have been better.  Expecting a depleted number of Members due to Bank Holiday commitments and our own ‘Normandy Landing’ ride taking place the same weekend I was pleased that four riders joined me for some cornering practice and a trip to Wells for lunch.

Assembled for a 1000 departure from Top of Town were: John Laffan – Triumph Explorer 1200; Iain Kennedy - BWM K1200RT; Dave Plowman – Triumph Explorer 800 and Martin Eldridge – BMW K1600RT. With my little Aprilia 660 we made an unusual group for an IAM Ride out,  BWM’s being out-numbered two to three!  

It just shows that Top of Town is unique as a meeting point as in addition to the sundry bikes that came and went we also had a Triumph Bike owners club ride, a Wing Dig for Gold Wings and the Dorset Branch of the VMCC all meeting there during the thirty minutes that we were assembling.

For those interested in the route and to enable GPS to be plotted the roads out were: B3147; A37 right on to A352 Charminster/Cerne Abbas (the road having been repaired after the Winter floods) Minterne Magna;  left at the always gravel strewn turning over the hill through Blue bell covered woods via Batcombe to cross the A37 at Holywell; through Evershot, dealing with cyclists and 15 mph Honda Jazz sightseeing to cross the A356 then taking the B3163 to Beaminster (one of my favourite roads when taken from Beaminster to the A356);  a ‘Caution Hidden Turn’ sign actually did its job as a Citroen C1 decided to pull out then ‘accelerate’ to 20 mph but was dealt with swiftly by all.

Beaminster was busy as usual but the A3066 to Mosterton was not congested allowing for the corners to be taken as designed. Left on the A356 to Crewkerne that was as usual busy with traffic going in all directions without indicating.  The A356 to go under the A303 has some great stretches and corners that were mostly available to exploit.  Turning left off the A303 slip to join the B3165 through Martock with surprisingly grand buildings and minimal traffic was interesting, a slight confusion occurred at the hump backed bridge outside Long Load when three lead bikes went through on green but Iain and Martin found a red light facing them. Iain did the normal slow IAM approach without stopping but it would seem that the lights were camera/radar controlled and there was insufficient movement to change them to green so the lead group had to wait as they  saw the lights change on their side twice before Iain and Martin came through! 

On the B3151 to Street, various 40/50 mph stretches and three horses causing a queue saw us catch up with a group of Gold Wings, including a trike.   Having installed ourselves in the middle of their  group they then decided to pull in, it have been interesting watching them negotiate the ‘sleeping policemen’ in Street.  The A39 from Street to Glastonbury was busier than normal as the A361 was closed at all junctions  meaning heavy traffic all the way to Wells.

Easy Sunday ‘on street’ free parking was found in Priory Road and a short walk took us to the Market Square where Martin reliably informed us that the Steven Pegg film ‘Hot Fuzz’ was filmed. No parking for bikes in the square though as several Harleys with aged riders discovered on several circuits of the parked cars which included a 1978 Corvette!

Lunch at a very pleasant pub The Crown in the Market Square is to be highly recommended and (note for Linda & Brian) good coffee as well.  Suitable refreshed and with great conversations flowing the time rushed by so much so that a trip round the Cathedral would have to await another visit!

The return trip was to be slightly more brisk: A371 to Shepton Mallet, briefly on the A37 to join the A371 to Castle Cary and on to Wincanton; under the A303 again; turning right onto the B3145 to Sherborne; a great road with some challenging and flowing bends; A352 out of Sherborne to turn left at the top of the hill onto the A3030 towards Sturminster Newton, again minimal traffic and open corners with generally good surfaces saw some spirited riding by all; turning right onto the B3143 through Kings Stag; Pulham; Duntish then towards the Old Sherborne Road at possible one of the worst junctions for vision requiring a severe right Shoulder check! Flowing traffic and plenty of overtakes on the ‘top road’ back to Charminster and Dorchester.

We had all agreed that we would stop at Top of Town for a chat and Tea/Coffee when we got back at 1430 as planned (what luck!) and the conversation flowed again.

Thank you to all the riders who joined me, it was enjoyable to catch up and learn more about everyone than a larger Ride Out would have permitted.  ‘Small is beautiful’ is certainly the case it seems.

Just the right amount of time left to wash the bugs off the bike, first time this year that bugs have outweighed mud after a Ride out!Œ

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