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Magazine of the Th ames Valley HOG Ch apter

Ride to the Wall 100% Pure NZ and much more...! !

Don Wibberley

Pat Adams

Chapter Director

Assistant Director

Colin Wilkins

Sue Moyler

Chapter Treasurer

Chapter Secretary

Barry Adams

Nick West

Activities Officer

Activities Officer

Lee White

Fred Cotsford


Membership Officer

Sue Brown

Shirley Churchill

Ladies of Harley


“Bulldog� (Bernie)

Linda Friend



Nij Jones

Sadie Clarke

Head Road Captain & Safety Officer

Editor & Photographer

2. Biker Gang


Your 2012 Chapter Committee

4. Start your engines Editor, Sadie Clarke

6. Words of Wibsdom In the Director’s Chair with Don Wibberley

13. Chapter Diva’s Ladies of Harley news and updates from Sue Brown

14. Get your motor running Activities and rideout calendar

16. Chapter Chatter General news and information

9. Picture gallery A couple of photos from Blazin Saddles

10. Here come the Girls The first lady of motorcycling

18. EU Hands off Biking The latest update from MAG

19. HD approved flooring A new product on the market

20. We shall remember them Ride to the Wall 2012

24. 100% Pure New Zealand Touring the islands on two wheels



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Chapter and other videos on our channel

Greetings and a warm welcome to your October magazine Yes, October already! The riding season is drawing to a close and we‟re getting to the tail end of available days to organise rideouts. We still have Hoggin‟ the Bridge to look forward to at the weekend and hopefully the weather will be as kind to us as the last two years. Although the early morning starts have been very cold (-3 according to local weather data), the days were clear blue skies and warm sunshine. More of the same for this year please, although I‟d happily go without the –3 in the morning! Unfortunately I missed the October Committee meeting, but details were discussed about a rideout for the end of the HOG mileage program - as an extra boost to get those recorded miles up. Details of what the Chapter is planning are on page 17. Do come along if you can.

There was the trip down to Blazin Saddles Rally at the end of September, which seemed to have been another excellent Chapter weekend away. That same weekend there was a small event over in Binfield (Bracknell) - BBN Bike Show, It was their first attempt at organising a show and, although rather small, it attracted a decent amount of bikes and visitors. A few from the Chapter dropped in to take a look since it was a bright, sunny afternoon. I can vouch for the quality of the burgers and the hog roast certainly looked rather tasty too! Overall the event raised over £1000 for NABD, so not a bad first effort at all.

We‟ve also had RTTW at the beginning of October - always a moving and emotional occasion. This was the 5th year of the event and a record number of bikers turned out over 15,000 according to the organisers. Our own rideout took us on a 260 mile round trip, which wasn‟t without its minor incidents. Read all about it on pages 20-23.

Get in touch with the Editor: Email Tell me what you want in YOUR club mag. All suggestions, ideas and contributions to TFTRB are always welcome!

Features This month TFTRB brings you a few different things. There‟s a piece about a pioneering legend in motorcycling history, a brief update from MAG about EU proposals and some photos from Blazin Saddles, sent in by Linda Plus, if you should happen to consider touring New Zealand on two wheels, then make sure you take a look at pages 24-27. Rome 2013 As you may have read in the previous issue of TFTRB, there was a bit in the news pages about a proposed chapter ride down to Rome for the 110th Anniversary Celebrations next year. After going to print, it was decided not to run a club event as it clashes with the chapter‟s own 15th Anniversary - for which we will be having a bash. However, the preferential prices and booking is still available with Eurocamps for anyone wishing to go to Rome and it actually works out great value for money. (see back cover for more details) Spence and I got in touch with Eurocamps and they costed a 9 night trip at £615 in total that‟s for two of us (not each) and includes our Eurotunnel crossings for two bikes. That‟s really good value. Having considered it quite seriously, we have however, decided not to make the journey ourselves and instead will revert back to plan A for our holiday next year - Alps touring, some time in early July 2013. Birthdays Coming up, Malcom Poulter has a Birthday on 25th October, then Nick West on 4th Nov and Lee White on 16th. Many Happy Returns to you all. Sorry if I missed anyone - it means no one told me about it! Don‟t forget, if you want to get a birthday or special occasion mentioned in the club mag then just let me know. Keep it rubber side down!


10th October was the last Poker Run for the season and it was a good turnout at the Crown Wood in Bracknell - which just happens to be our local. It was Spencer‟s Birthday too that day and it would‟ve been rude not to join in with the club gathering and celebrate with a drink or ten! On behalf of my husband, thanks to everyone for the cards and Birthday wishes and for a great night in the pub. Hopefully everyone else enjoyed their evening too and picked up a decent card for their poker hand. The winner will be announced at the November club night.

Welcome to the October edition of Tales from the Riverbank. It‟s been a busy month since last club night with events and ride outs on most weekends. The first was a week later, with a trip down to the Blazin‟ Saddles rally in Weymouth, organised by the newly formed New Forest Chapter. The rally was restricted to 450 people with 100 holiday caravans and took place at the Haven‟s holiday park in Weymouth – it certainly made a change from being under canvas on a rally field! The entertainment was a little different to what you would expect at a HOG Rally as the site was shared with holiday makers who didn‟t expect to see 450 bikers appear at the site on Friday lunch time!

Saturdays‟ ride out was a parade ride through the local villages and surrounding countryside, finishing with the sea front parade, riding along to the joy of hundreds of spectators.

We have a couple of different conflicting counts on the amount of bikes lined up for the ride out from 140 to 185 which all gathered in a lay by very near to the rally site. As the rows of bikes lined up waiting for the off we were offered hot bacon rolls by New Forest members, a really nice touch! The Thames Valley Chapter flag was on display for the ride and had pride of place at the front, until the flag pole on my bike decided collapse and I had to stop and sort it out about an hour into the ride - it was good while it lasted!

RTTW 5 Considering the horrendous weather over the two days prior to RTTW, 17 bikes risked coming on the ride from SportsAble. The roads were damp and flooded in places around Oxfordshire which made you take it just a little bit more cautiously. Our ride seemed to be going ok until the Burford roundabout on the A40, where it would seem that a member of the Chapter forgot the golden rule about staying in position until the tail man arrives… The remainder of the ride carried on over the roundabout another 8 miles, but they finally caught up with us in Morton in the Marsh at our coffee stop. (Double fine for Graham!)

The days problems unfortunately did not end there - Clive Skinner managed to run into a barrier as it came down on the Toll Road pay booth, and Sue Moyler and Ed had a rear tyre blow out on Ed‟s bike on the A38 near the Arboretum - thank God you both managed to keep the bike upright. We finally arrived at the Arboretum just after 1:00pm, just as an old Dakota DC3 in full military livery flew over demonstrating just what can still be done with a veteran aircraft from World War 2 - a fantastic display. Pat, Barry & CJ laid the wreath on behalf of Thames Valley Chapter this year, thanks guys.

Activities & Events The 2012 mileage program comes to an end on 31st October, so there‟s only a matter of weeks to clock up those last few miles towards winning one of the two prizes up for grabs on Thames Valley‟s very own mileage competition, and of course our Chapter entry into the HOG Mileage program. The results will be announced at the chapter Directors meeting in January.

The bookings for the Christmas party in November are going well, around 30 tickets sold already to our members with a lot of interest from Oxford members too. We have plenty of tickets available for a great party evening; please contact Pat & Barry to reserve yours. 11th November is our Remembrance Day ride, when we remember the members of the armed forces who lost their lives during conflicts old & new. This year we are riding again with Hogsback, meeting at Rykas in Leatherhead at 11am for a minutes silence before the laying of our wreath at a local church. We have our usual Toy Runs planned this year, the first being The Windsor Toy Run on the 25th November departing from Lego Land and finishing at the Military Social club in Windsor. The organisers are looking for help marshalling the route on the day if anybody can help please contact Lee to add your name to the list - you do not need to be Trained Road Crew to Marshall on the day.

The 2013 Cider Rally accommodation and tickets are now available from Bridgewater HOG. The Chapter will be planning a big ride out down to the rally for our members. This rally is always a great weekend away with a great party atmosphere. Book early to avoid disappointment. Thames Valley News Sue Dodds had a spill on her bike on Saturday 6th on her way to RTTW. She hit some oil or diesel on the A404 at the Henley/Littlewick Green junction. Sue was not hurt badly in the accident but is nursing some pretty painful bruises, glad you‟re okay Sue. 61 members attended club night in September and 2 Harley owners came to club night as guests and are looking to join us. Fred has reactivated 1 member‟s membership which had been archived as it had not been renewed. Our total membership count now stands at 113 members and 61 affiliates, giving a grand total of 174. The job descriptions we had planned to print in this month‟s magazine will now be printed in the November edition, as we are still waiting for some committee members to get theirs back to us.

The Reading Toy Run is booked for the 9th December which is another favourite ride for Thames Valley members; it‟s always well supported and gives you a chance to decorate yourself and the bike ready for the run.

The roads are damp, greasy and now have wet leaves on them, so be careful, but carry on having fun!

Don Wibberley Director

Women have always been a part of the Harley-Davidson family. As early as 1920, advertising and photos frequently featured women in riding apparel, posing with the latest motorcycles, ready to set off on their adventures. They were a far cry from the current days of supermodels draped over fuel tanks, with their features computer airbrushed to perfection, wearing little more than a few skimpy scraps of material - not real women of motorcycling, but a mere accessory provided for the amusement men. No, these early pioneers of female motorcyclists played influential roles in inspiring women and have been a serious part in shaping motorcycling over the years.

Dorothy “Dot” Robinson Motorcycling's First Lady and Legend Born on April 22, 1912, in Melbourne, Australia, Dot Robinson Dot set a standard for women motorcyclists and paved the way for women to ride. She also proved that you can be a lady and still ride a motorcycle. The women of today can be professional career people and yet they can step outside, throw a leg over a bike and take off cross country. Her mission: Ride, race, unite female riders, support the industry and look damn good doing it! Dot maintained her personal appearance with great attention to detail. Everyone who speaks of her recalls her perfectly applied makeup and fashionable attire. The same was said about her personal conduct; always a lady and always ready for the camera. Dot Robinson was a motorcyclist before she was even born! When her mother went into labour with Dot, her father, James Goulding, loaded her into a sidecar rig and dashed off to the hospital.

Goulding was a sidecar designer and amateur racer. and in 1918, he moved the family to the USA to expand his business. They eventually settled in Saginaw, Michigan, where they opened a Harley Davidson dealership. Dot grew up around motorcycles and started riding at a young age. She met her future husband, Earl, while working at the dealership when she was in high school. In 1931 Dot and Earl married and in 1933 Arthur Davidson (yes, that one!) gave the young couple the $3000 they needed to purchase her father‟s dealership and get started during the Great Depression.

In 1935 Dot and Earl set the trans continental sidecar record from Los Angeles to New York in 89 hours and 58 minutes. They also moved their dealership to Detroit and it was to become one of the top grossing dealerships in the country. Dot spent much of the 1930‟s competing in weekend endurance runs. She was just 5‟2” tall and 115 pounds. There was no woman‟s class and she participated in more than 50 runs. 1930 – First victory in the Flint 100 mile Enduro – perfect score 1930’s Dot and her dad competed in the Thanksgiving Day Enduro. They were teased as the “woman and the old man.” They won 1937 – 2nd place in the gruelling 2-day Jack Pine Run. Less than half the competitors even finished the race. Two days, 500 mile off-road event forcing competitors to average 24mph, checking in at check points, fording rivers, going through sand and very rough terrain. 1940 – Dot won the Jack Pine run in the sidecar class. She was the driver and the only one to complete the 500 miles Dot and Earl competed in many 24-hour endurance marathons from 1955-1962. Once begun, participants could not stop for mechanical problems; only for fuel and bathroom breaks. Dot‟s strategy was to sleep the first eight hours and let everyone get tired. Then she would jump in for the last 16 hours and win. In addition to competing, and acting as co-owner of the Detroit dealership, she worked as a motorcycle courier for a private defense contractor during World War II. In tandem with Motor Maids founder, Linda Allen Dugeau, Robinson spearheaded the expansion of the membership and growth of the club, and was elected its first president, a position she held for over 25 years. Even as a grandmother, Dot still rode her pink Harley with built-in lipstick holder and only gave it up in her eighty‟s because of knee problems. In all her efforts to promote females, Dot respected men and didn‟t hold any animosity toward them. She said she didn‟t think in terms of men and women. She was always determined to finish the events and always wanted to win first place. Dot rode an estimated 1.5 million miles in her lifetime on 35 motorcycles. She died in 1999, a rider, racer, champion, wife, mother, grandmother, business woman, organiser, supporter, fashion plate, lady and legend – beat that! Watch out for more female pioneers in future issues. Credit to Cycle Matters for much of the information

Email me: Brr, its getting cold again and the nights are drawing in. It seems that this biking season has come and gone so quickly, but then when I look through the Chapter galleries at the all events we have been to, we have done so much. Guess time just flies when you’re having fun!

On that note can ladies please keep Friday 14 December 2012 free for our annual Christmas Dinner. This year two venues were suggested and after a fairly even straw poll, of those people I had email addresses, for The World Turned Upside Down Carvery on the Basingstoke Road in Reading, got the majority vote. The price is £7.99 for a 3 course meal and a cracker! Please let me know by 27 October 2012 if you are able to come. I will also be collecting deposits of £5 from tonight, pretty please.

Just to draw your attention to the calendar, the Saturday Social’s which are open to everyone are up and running again from 27 October 2012 with lunch from 12.30 at The George and Dragon in Marlow. This is a children friendly pub if you want to bring the family along too.

The pub is very near the river and a stone’s throw away from the High Street shops. It’s probably best to leave the car in Higginson Park but if it’s nice enough to ride then I am sure there will be room outside for the bikes.

The Chapter are also planning lunch at The White Horse in Wokingham on Saturday 1 December 2012 followed by a visit to the Holme Grange Craft Village to pick up a few Christmas pressies. I haven’t been there before but I understand it’s worth a trip and the cakes for afternoon tea are recommended. As ever, please let me know if you have any suggestions for rides or trips out.


(LOH rep)



The 19th Carole Nash Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show Stafford County Show Ground Saturday 20th - Sunday 21st

Remembrance Day Ride Joining Hogs Back Chapter in Guildford 8.30am for 9am depart from SportsAble Sunday 11th

Hoggin the Bridge SportsAble to Chepstow. 7.30 for 8am depart SportsAble. 2nd pick-up Chieveley Services 8.30 for 9am depart. Please pre-register for the bridge crossing Sunday 21st

Chapter Club Night SportsAble 7.30pm - 10pm Thursday 15th Classic Motorbike Show Birmingham NEC Friday 16th - Sunday 18th

Harley Night Ace Cafe, 6pm Thursday 25th

Motorcycle Live Birmingham NEC Saturday 24th - Sunday 2nd (Dec)

Saturday Social (open to all) 12.30pm, George & Dragon, Marlow Saturday 27th

Riverboat Shuffle Xmas Bash 7pm Windsor promenade. ÂŁ30pp. Full details on website / see p16 Saturday 24th

End of Mileage Program Rideout Lincoln Harley Davidson. Times TBC Sunday 28th

Details correct at time of going to print. Check the website for updates and amendments:

NOVEMBER cont. Broom Farm Toy Run Windsor Legoland Windsor, 11am for 12 depart Rideout details TBC Sunday 25th Harley Night Ace Cafe, 6pm Thursday 29th

DECEMBER Saturday Social (open to all) 12.30pm, White Horse, Wokingham & Holme Grange Craft Village Saturday 1st Reading Toy Run SportsAble to Foster Wheeler, Reading for 1pm depart. Timings TBC Sunday 9th Ladies of Harley Xmas Dinner World Turned Upside Down, Reading ÂŁ7.99 for 3 course carvery Friday 14th

DECEMBER cont. Chapter Club Night SportsAble 7.30pm - 10pm Thursday 20th Harley Night Ace Cafe, 6pm Thursday 27th

JANUARY 2013 Chapter Club Night SportsAble 7.30pm - 10pm Thursday 17th Harley Night Ace Cafe, 6pm Thursday 24th

FEBRUARY 2013 Chapter Club Night SportsAble 7.30pm - 10pm Thursday 21st Harley Night Ace Cafe, 6pm Thursday 28th

This year‟s Riverboat Shuffle will also be our Xmas bash, joint with Oxford Chapter. Departure is from Windsor promenade, 7.30pm on Saturday 24th November.

There will be a seasonal BBQ plus glass of mulled wine on arrival included in the price, as well as disco from 7.30-11.30pm, fancy dress, raffle and anything else we can fit in! This takes place this coming Sunday, 21 October and this year the Chapter are riding to the event. It‟s an early start. Meet 7.30 for 8am departure from SportsAble with 2nd pickup at Chieveley Services 8.30 for 9am departure. It‟s incredibly busy for the bridge crossing so please pre-book to join the ride at - prices start from just £5 for the headlight sticker. T-shirts and pin badges are also available which you can collect on the day or purchase in Chepstow.

We are looking into booking some budget hotel rooms for those that have too far to travel home after the event. Keep an eye on the website for details Menu for the BBQ: Turkey, Chipolata Sausage & Stuffing New potatoes, Coleslaw Waldorf Salad, Tomato & Grape Salad Christmas Pudding & Brandy Sauce OR Yule Log & Cream Coffee & Mince Pies Tickets are £30pp - book yours with a £10 non-refundable deposit.

Last year we joined Hogs Back Chapter at Rykas Cafe in Box Hill for our Remembrance Day rideout. This year we‟ll be joining them again, starting at Rykas for the minute silence and then to a local church to lay the wreath. Meet at SportsAble at 8.30am for a 9 o‟clock depart on Sunday 11th November.

Sue Brown has booked a couple of Saturday Socials in the calendar and now that the Poker Run has ended, the plan is to keep those Wednesday evenings as pub meets during the winter. See Sue‟s page for details of what‟s coming up and watch out for details of Wednesday evenings on the Chapter website. Don’t forget to check the website and forum for up-to-date information on rideouts and activities

For the “end-of-season” we‟re planning a rideout on Sunday 28th October to Lincoln Harley Davidson. It‟s a long ride of around 164 miles each way, so there will be some motorway to keep the journey times down a bit. But there will be a nice section along the A15 north of Peterborough. See website for times and details. This is your last chance to clock up some good mileage for the HOG mileage program. We‟re in with a shout of a prize this year as only 4 Chapters have entered for 2012. Individually, the Chapter will be handing out vouchers to our male and female winners this year, so if you can come along and add to our total then we‟d love to see you!

Club Night Dates (and Magazine contribution deadline dates) Please send your mag contributions to editor November 15th December 20th January 17th 2013 February 21st

(8th) (13th) (10th) (14th)

Following on from last month’s news in TFTRB from MAG regarding proposed legislation for the new Type Approval System, this month we bring news of a further update... There has been an official announcement that the rules on the future of Type-Approval for two and three-wheeled vehicles have now been provisionally agreed by MEPs and Council (governments') negotiators. The headlines are... Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) on all new motorcycles over 125 cc. Either ABS or combined brake systems (CBS) on all new bikes/scooters under 125 cc - four years after implementation (c.2016/17?) the Commission will have to present a cost-effectiveness analysis, with recommendations as to whether the rules should be revised. Anti-Tampering measures on power-trains of new A1 (125cc bikes/scooters) and A2 (48bhp bikes/scooters) - the details to be decided under 'Delegated-Acts' by the Commission and experts over the next 12-18 months.

NB: the findings of an official study recently completed by TRL for the Commission show that AT will not be easy to achieve, so the main hope has to be that manufacturers will be able to take a light-touch when it comes to designing out the possibility of modifications being made to the power-train. - Euro 3 emission standards will apply to new mopeds from 1 January 2016. - New motorcycles will have to meet the more stringent Euro 4 standards from 2016 and Euro 5 limits from 2020 - the Commission will have to carry out a comprehensive environmental impact study before 2016 to evaluate the air quality and share of pollutants emitted by bikes. Next steps: The provisionally agreed text still needs to be formally endorsed by Council and Parliament. The deal will be put to an Internal Market Committee vote (rubber stamp) and then a plenary vote of the full Parliament on 19th November. The Delegated Acts are likely to take 12-18 months to thrash-out, these will be subject to scrutiny by MEPs but any changes that the Commission won't accept could only be forced by the MEPs if they were prepared to throw out the whole thing. MAG as a FEMA member will be discussing this further and announcing more news and updates when they are known.

Fancy a new floor? We recently received details of a brand new Harley-Davidson approved product that is now available through a company called RaceDeck®, which has the exclusive rights in the UK. It comprises a complete pack box of interlocking floor tiles (32 tiles each 1’ by 1’) in black and orange which are branded with the Harley-Davidson® logo, as is the packaging. The pack also includes side ramps, allowing the bike to be easily rolled on or off. The tiles are extremely high quality, with a point loading of up to 1 ton and are highly scratch, impact and solvent resistant. The multi-patented Step-N-Snap design makes for easy installation – no tools, no glues, and no toxic mess. Further details can be obtained from the RaceDeck® website: HDflooring.html Packs are being sold direct through Harley dealerships and via eBay at £249 including delivery in mainland UK. Other colours and designs are available on request (the HarleyDavidson® branded flooring is available in black, orange and alloy only) and they are happy to quote for any size and shape of flooring.

Further details can be obtained by contacting: Andrew Mence Tel: 01600 892830 Email:

Taking place on the first Saturday in October, this year was the 5th event of Ride to the Wall. If you havenâ€&#x;t been before then this is an annual pilgrimage by bikers from all over the country to gather at the National War Arboretum in Staffordshire. Here, everyone pays their respects and remembers our serving and fallen heroes as well as raising valuable funds for the Arboretum itself. The turnout has been growing each year since founder, Martin Dickinson (former Director of Nene Valley Chapter), started the event. This year saw a record attendance of over 15,000 people and thousands upon thousands of bikes, trikes and scooters of all make, model, size and colour. On this day, the biking community comes together as one for a great common purpose... we shall remember them. It was an early morning start for the Thames Valley Chapter in order to cover the 130+ miles from Maidenhead to the Arboretum in time for the main service. The first group met at SportsAble on a chilly day with moisture hanging in the air and wet roads from the overnight rain. If bikes were clean leaving home, then they were soon spoiled by the muck and grime that lots of standing water and lingering dampness creates.

But despite the conditions, it was a good turnout at SportsAble, with a further stop at the H-Cafe for others to join and a rolling pick-up at Burford for Pat and Barry to meet the rideout. Sue Moyler had to hitch a ride with Ed since her own bike refused to start, but was still able to fulfil her duty as ride marshal for the day. In total there was 17 in the group, led by Don W with Bulldog as tail.

But now back together, the welcome break gave everyone chance to warm cold hands and chilly bodies, before setting off again northbound to the Arboretum. It was a pleasant route through pretty villages and rolling countryside and the drop-offs all went to plan with everyone getting to the refuelling point just outside Warwick without further incident.

The early part of the ride went pretty much to plan, with the route taking the group through Abingdon and up the A40 towards Burford. Despite a number of splits at various drop-offs, everything was going to plan. Pat and Barry joined the rideout at the Little Chef roundabout in Burford, where we picked up the A429 towards Moreton-in-theMarsh. However, by the time the front half of the group reached Stow-on-the-Wold, the second half were nowhere to be seen. After a lengthy wait at Stow, it came to light that Graham was the culprit and had left his post on his drop-off at the Burford roundabout. Tut-tut Graham! With no indication of the correct route, the following group had taken the straight-on exit and not the correct right turn onto the A429. Eventually Don decided we had no option but to continue to the designated coffee break, where efforts could be made to re-group.

Thankfully, during coffee and cakes at Moreton-in-the-Marsh, the second half of the rideout appeared, thanks to some common sense and the aid of satellite navigation. Let this be a lesson to anyone on a rideout donâ€&#x;t leave your drop-off point, no matter how long you have to sit and wait! It only takes one person to contravene the procedure and the entire system fails.

However, back on the road some time later, Donâ€&#x;s rather erroneous navigating meant a spell of circulation around a 4-lane roundabout, crossing busy traffic flows to locate the slip road onto the M6 Toll. It was entertaining if not slightly confusing at the time and, the fun continued when 17 bikes all tried to exit the M6 at the pay station at the same time. Clive managed to confused the barrier and had to sit helplessly as it came crashing down onto his handlebars, while Don tried to negotiate with a faceless machine to get us all through to the other side.

Eventually all were ushered through in one piece and carried on with the journey to Staffordshire. Again the group got split, with the back half following Tony Robson who did a great job of following the right route up past Lichfield. It wasn‟t until reaching the junction where the ride was to join the A38 that yet more confusion and roundabout circulation struck. CJ was sitting at a drop off point a long way down the slip road that wasn‟t visible from the top and it wasn‟t until the second pass did anyone spot Di signalling frantically at the direction to take.

Now close to the destination, Doughnut led the remainder of the pack to the Arboretum despite one or two of the event marshals making hard work of directing everyone to the right location. As expected, the parking field was getting quite full by the time Thames Valley arrived. Despite being much later than planned and quite fragmented in the rideout at times, there was still enough time before the service to gather inside the grounds, enjoy a bite to eat and some refreshments as well as marvel at the Dakota flypast.

The service was one of emotion, reflection and even humour at times. Michael Brotherton, Chaplain for RTTW made an amusing joke concerning squirrels and a soldier, which invoked this moment of genius on the Official RTTW Facebook Page: “When you think you've seen and heard it all, a "man of the cloth" jumps on stage and tells a joke about male genitalia to 15,000 people. Carlsberg don't do Vickers, but if they did...”

But jokes aside, the service included a quite sobering depiction of the Falklands conflict as well as the current situation in Afghanistan. There were video messages from serving military personnel as well as the Last Post and a silent moment to remember. The Thames Valley wreath this year was carried and placed at the memorial wall by CJ, Pat and Barry, alongside hundreds of other Chapters, groups, clubs and individuals.

It wasn‟t until later that evening when people were all settled back home that the online socialising took over. Graham earned himself the nickname “Custer” for leaving his post which seemed to have stuck, despite the protests and insistence that he stick with his previous nickname of Muttley. Unfortunately, once something happens to get you known, you have a hard time shaking it off!

As the event petered out and folk made their way back to their bikes, Thames Valley was fragmented and spread around the field. Some made their way home themselves, while Clive (Skinner) led a group of 6 all the way home via A-roads - a superb route and ride back to end a quite fantastic and memorable day out.

But after the laughter has died down and another year passes by, one thing is clear about RTTW - regardless of who you are, or where you come from, you can‟t fail to be moved by the whole occasion - where bikers of all ages, from all over, all come together... where we shall remember them.

t this n e s s ng ha y bike i r u o T b heel Zealand W o w om T uring New r f t t o rt Sc l about to e b o l R in - a e c e pi Most of us have undertaken a tour of some sort on a motorbike, whether it‟s a couple of days with your mates somewhere for the weekend, or a couple of weeks around the country. For motorcyclists, more often than not it‟s the journey which is more interesting than the destination. How many of you though, have shipped your bikes to a pre-determined destination, ridden for a few weeks and then shipped them back home again?

One or two I‟m sure, but an increasing number of motorcyclists are doing just that to experience motorcycling in New Zealand, or taking the easier option and renting a motorcycle on arrival in „The Land of the Long White Cloud‟ to commence their touring experience. For many New Zealand is the land of sheep and the mighty All Blacks rugby team, but for those in the know, NZ also represents motorcycling nirvana.

New Zealand is roughly the same size as the US state of Colorado, or about one quarter the land mass of South Africa – big enough to see plenty of varying terrain and small enough not to have daunting distances. Both the North and South Islands are roughly of similar size and there are regular inter-island car ferry (similar in size to those crossing the English Channel) sailings traversing the three hour journey of Cook Strait. Foreign motorcyclists are always pleasantly surprised how readily kiwi motorcyclists return a wave, or to receive help from fellow motorcyclists if they involved in a breakdown on the side of the road. If you have ever considered motorcycling in New Zealand, you will be in for a treat. The North Island has the volcanic activity, great beaches with many awe inspiring coastal roads, whilst the South Island has the majestic mountains, sweeping forests, wide open spaces and relatively uncongested roads. If you are pushed for time, two weeks motorcycling can adequately cover the major points of interest throughout New Zealand. Summer is the main touring season from November through to March and indeed, in the month of February both islands are jampacked with touring motorcyclists.

Highways in New Zealand are classified by a State Highway (SH) numbering system and virtually all are tar-sealed. Many of New Zealand rural tar-seal roads are undulating and windy, so it is relatively easy to approach a corner with too much speed. South Islands‟ roads are of a better quality than the North Island roads due to a ready supply of river shingle for seal chip. Whilst there are thousands of kilometres of gravel roads in the rural parts of New Zealand, nearly all arterial roads are tar-seal, though in the more remote areas motorcyclists do have to pay attention to the locality of fuel stations – petrol is currently (Sept 2012) about $NZ2.18/litre (about £1.12).

Also to factor in are many one-lane bridges throughout the country and each bridge with their own give way protocol, which can easily catch out motorists. Pictured here is a road-rail bridge - common on the west coast of the South Island - often catches out motorcyclists who get their front wheels interlocked with the rail line. The maximum speed limit in New Zealand is 100kmh (62mph) and 50kmh in urban areas. Speed cameras and traffic police are a common sight on kiwi roads. There is an instant 28 day loss of your driving licence if caught exceeding 140kmh and a demerit points system is in place for other lesser infringements. Earlier this year New Zealand changed its right hand turn give-way (yield) road rule of the past 35years, to that of the commonwealth international community, which brings the right hand turn rule in line with Australia.

Three recognized must ride routes within the New Zealand motorcycling community for the North Island both starting from Auckland are: the 1000km Northland three day loop and the four day 1200km Round East Cape Run. The third candidate is the Volcanic Plateau 250km day ride loop from Taupo passing the three central North Island volcanoes of Mount Tongariro (pictured left), Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu.

For the South Island, must ride routes are the world rating 120km State Highway 94 The Milford Sound Road - which is hard to beat with majestic mountains and alpine scenery, along with SH6, which goes the length of the South Island and includes the remote Westland coastal forests and accessible glaciers. If you‟re looking for New Zealand‟s motorcycling festival calendar show-piece, then the four day Burt Munro Challenge held in midNovember will be for you (Munro was a kiwi Bonneville Salt Flats motorbike speed king from the 1960s). The Burt Munro Challenge is a four day festival of all sorts of motorcycle racing located at the southern most city of Invercargill.

ng tunnel l - a one mile lo Homer Tunne in s west of Duned about 220mile

Article written by Robert Scott

One thing you cannot escape in New Zealand is the drizzle and/or rain and even, if you‟re planning to ride in the height of summer, expect to encounter wet weather at some point of your motorcycle vacation. Temperatures in the mountainous areas particularly in the South Island can drop very quickly, even in summer - within twenty minutes, so it is not uncommon for riders to suffer from mild hypothermia if under prepared. It always surprises me than when kiwi motorcyclists regale their bike yarns from yester-year they always seem to remember the rides that involved inclement weather. New Zealand is one of the few countries in the world where Suzuki is regularly the annual top selling motorcycle marque and, with Honda second, they both have dealerships in nearly all the provincial main centres of the country, should any problems be encountered. Nearly all of the other leading marques too all have dealerships dotted around the country, should mechanical problems arise. Failing to plan is planning to fail, however having said that, New Zealand is an easy place to „wing it‟ and to Motorcycle tour on a day to day basis. Just like having your first drink after a long day‟s riding, motorcycle touring in New Zealand – „The Land of the Long White Cloud‟ - is an experience to savour.

Tales from the Riverbank October 2012  

Magazine of Thames Valley HOG Chapter. October 2012 issue

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