"Morning Rupert!". These are words I've not heard at a bike rally before. Also, "Nice MZ!". I knew it wasn't going to be a normal rally and I was not disappointed. It's the first time I've been to an owners club rally of any sort so I've not got anything to compare it to.
The people didn't bother so much with the biker "lifestyle" so you could easily be mistaken for assuming they were "normal". A few minutes after speaking to most of them though, as your eyes start to glaze over hearing about their motorbikes, you realise that these are real enthusiasts. Most of them had some story about their machines and they were all very knowledgeable and friendly.
I made the journey up to Whitchurch in Shropshire on my own as Carl, Vicky and Rich were supposed to be setting off at the crack of dawn! Normally I consider this to be any time before 9am so let me make this clearer - they were leaving at 7am! Well, that was the plan. In reality it was nearer 8am but still incredibly early. I set off 2 hours later. I don't think I could have stood the 2 stroke smell at that time of the morning anyway. Also, Rich had some old Jupiter that he thought would only cruise at around 40 to 50 mph.
See that last picture? Amazing isn't it??? Well it must have been, it caused all sorts of comments. Apparently Rich is very brave for attempting a journey with the old side insertion hook and gromit flippancy valve carb (or whatever it was called). Carl says it was really low tech as the only tools a Russian farmer has is a plough and a hammer. Apparently the bike was designed to get farmers to the field. Some other chap thought it was because it'd work at minus 30 degrees. Another person said the best thing you can do with them is to throw them away. Rich said there was nothing wrong with it if you knew how to set them up and they were all very silly people indeed.
Also see that first picture? A rare site of Rich with a tax disc on a bike.
We eventually dragged Rich away from carb talk and went to the pub where we met some people who must be the Bad Lads & Lasses of the MZ crowd. We found them boozing it up in town instead of talking about carbs. I'm surprised they've not been thrown out. I can only remember the names "Jack" and "Neil" now but there were a few more.
Saturday arrived. Can you guess why I didn't leap at the chance
of going on the organised ride out ? Here's a picture for a clue -
A word about guide ropes. You do not need them unless you are
on Everest or expecting some gale force winds. People will trip over them
and they get in the way. Look at this mad man -
The worst case I've ever seen. There was more pegs for his guide ropes than there was hold the whole of my tent down. Bert made the same mistake and look what happened -
That's a hasty repair to the side panel that was ripped out in the night by a guide rope. He insists that it was some twenty stone Cossack rider but I don't know, he'd been boozing most of the day. Or perhaps it was when one of his "friends" was feeling a bit peckish and thought she'd raid his Mars bar collection? Here's the evidence -
That was taken after the rip happened but you never know - it could have been her second raid. She couldn't find any Mars bars and she thought he must have locked them in the paniers of his bike. Lucky I was there with the camera or she'd probably have been at them with a hammer and one of Mr gale force's tent pegs.
Back to the pub in the afternoon. Here's Vicky, still smiling even as the
alcohol robs her of the ability to sit upright -
It took Neil a bit longer. He had to be taken off to bed early as for some reason, boozing constantly and mixing his drinks didn't do him any good -
Not sure what this hat is all about -
"Bloody light weights! Can't take their drink!" says Rich just before having a kip -
I hear that one of the bar ladies kindly woke him up with a water pistol normally reserved for unruly customers later.
Sunday morning - amongst clouds of two stroke the people left. The fire brigade were called out by some neighbours a few times but they soon learned to ignore the reports of fire. I braved the smog and went most of the way back following the Jupiter which could actually go about 60mph.
I really enjoyed the rally but I knew it was time to go back as I was thinking about a cheap MZ to get me to work when I couldn't be bothered to go by push bike. Of course, I realise now that it would increase my commute time by too much (ho ho).