2nd September 2012 to the Isle of Wight by Lea Brindle

At our usual meeting place, Top o' Town, on Sunday the 2nd September 2012, eight of us prepared for a trip to the seaside on a grey Sunday morning. It turned out to be more like a trip to several sea sides as we crisscrossed the  island.

We  had agreed not to use the ‘drop off’ system, and despite the ride being progressive from beginning to end, we kept together well only rarely becoming split as a group.  But, take note,  Brian Purnell volunteered to be back marker just in case anyone should fall behind, but who looks after the back marker ? More about that later !  We took a "back roads" route out of Dorchester, avoiding the Dorset County Show, towards Ringwood via Crossways, Bovington and Bere Regis finally following the A31 and turning off at the Shell Forest Edge garage to enter the New Forest.

The New Forest was a pleasant change from the busy holiday traffic which was replaced by some of the denizens of the forest sauntering on and off the road, very cute but, at times, fairly skittish ponies and their foals.

We made the ferry at Lymington in good time and had a pleasant crossing to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight. It was nice to sit and chat with the group and catch up on news - many of us were up on the forward deck enjoying the views despite the gentle rain that had settled in for the day.  Disembarking at Yarmouth was straight-forward as was getting on the ferry - the crew were biker friendly and one or two guys chatted about the collection of bikes we had on board.

After a short blast to Chale, we stopped for lunch at the Wight Mouse, Jeremy Weekes (our intrepid leader) had done his homework well, yes they did serve lunch from 12 noon but no we couldn’t order our lunch with our drinks because it was three minutes to !! Half way through lunch a ‘herd’ of  Yamaha RD owners arrived en mass, parking on the gravel car park at the rear of the pub – Jeremy had kindly lead us to the ‘safer’ tarmac car park at the side of the pub.  Jeremy's last bike, before family commitments meant a twenty six year break from bikes, was  a Yamaha RD400DX, so it really made his day!  All very reminiscent of Castrol R, Redex and Duckams 20/50 !

After lunch we headed off for Cowes the long way round, via Ventor, Shanklin, Sandown, Bembridge, St Helen's, Seaview, Brading and Newport,  but  only fifteen minutes into the ride  we realised that we were missing Brian.  Yes he had been at the car park, no, no one had seen him since .  After a couple of calls and texts, with increasing concern,  Jeremy decided to set off solo back to the pub and see what had happened. It turned out that Brian was OK but had dropped his bike on a tricky exit from the pub's car park and being somewhat delayed he had decided to go directly to Cowes to wait for us.

There were some wonderful but tantalisingly brief views riding along the Military Road from Freshwater Bay to Chale, our lunch stop, and on the Downs Road from Brading to Arreton overlooking Sandown & Shanklin bays. There were some interesting house boats at St Helens/Bembridge harbour and great views into the Solent from Seaview. We toured through several seaside towns and some very bumpy roads!

At Cowes we stopped for tea, in a Beatles memorabilia cafe, and met up with Brian who  was very philosophical

about his spill, even if his ego & BMW were both slightly bruised.  After Cowes we cut short our trip back to Yarmouth (via Newport) as we had lost a bit of time in the tight schedule.

Another leisurely trip back on the ferry – it was nice to have extra social time built-in to the ride, apart from coffee and lunch stops. To top the pleasant ferry trip back we were treated to a Vulcan bomber flypast on its way home from the Bournemouth Air Show.  Jeremy assured us he had laid it on especially for us !

All in all a great day's riding despite the, at times, gloomy weather. Jeremy had done us proud, having done a thorough recce and even warned us of the worst of the numerous pot holes to be negotiated on the dodgy road surfaces. Many thanks Jeremy - a great ride well received and greatly enjoyed by all!

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