This years’ Adventure Bike Rider ABR Malvern meet pitched their tents at the Marlbank Inn, Welland Worcestershire. Friday night was time to make new friends over a beer with people who shared an interest in riding motorbikes. This was going to be fun.
At 10am on Saturday morning around 20 bikes gathered in the pub car park and I have a confession, I am a ride-out virgin. I was nervous. What if I was too slow? What I got lost and set off with a group following and we never made it back? What if I needed a wee?
The route was a mystery. I’d caught a glimpse of a small map, not detailed enough to navigate by. I’m going to get lost, I thought.
The group leader walked among the bikes, chatting to the riders to check everyone was familiar with group riding. As this was new to me, he explained that we were going to ride using a round-robin method. I’ll explain. A lead rider and a back rider are identified. These 2 riders top and tail the group to prevent stragglers. At each junction, the rider behind the lead stops at the junction to mark the route for the following riders. As the back marker approaches, the rider marking the route rejoins the group. Easy!
Setting off among the other riders I felt happily anonymous. I was in the middle of the pack, the ones at the front picked up the pace, but as those at the back chose to be more leisurely, I didn’t feel any pressure to push on. My world was a happy one. We rode through the gently rolling hills and along the curving roads of Worcestershire. No longer the only woman, just another rider in the group. Then, comfortable biking anonymity mixed with an awareness of how brazenly conspicuousness 20 very loud, large motorbikes were.
After a stop in Abergavenny to browse at a Ducati stand and have a cuppa we pressed on to the second part of the ride. Instead of the smooth tarmac our route took us along a narrow road that we shared with cyclists. It twisted and turned, grass and mud mounded in large strips down the centre of the road. Narrower roads, larger pots holes, more grass, more gravel, more mud. Branches and bushes overhanging the tarmac making the muddy central strip the only useful part of the road. I was in my element. Thinking about the riding, picking my route. I rode alone as the ex trail riders disappeared in dust clouds ahead, the riders on the heavy bikes with full panniers being forced onto the muddy central strip dropped back, taking it easy.
We’d climbed high into the Brecons and lined up for a photo shoot with snow still on the ground. Views were out of this world. Wales is a beautiful country. A high point to our ride-out in more ways that one.
Back at the campsite we changed and headed to the pub for food and to chat about the day. I enjoyed my first ride-out and I am looking forward to the next one.
If you are interested in the details of future meets and events visit Adventure Bike Rider.
Enjoying the views from the Brecons.
Getting to know the other riders.