2nd March 2016
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An Enfield Adventure - The RealClassic Compass Challenge 2016
We said you could tackle the RealClassic Compass Challenge on your own, with friends or as part of a club ride out. The latter is exactly what REOC members decided to do, reports JohnD...
On Sunday 21st of February, seven members of the Mid-Shires Branch of the Royal Enfield Owners' Club met at the 'Long Itch Diner' ready to undertake the RealClassic Compass Challenge. The day before, four members had been at the Telford Off- Road Show where they enjoyed the first snow-free off-road show in three years. The odds looked favourable for good weather on the Compass Challenge.
Our planned route toured through Southam, East of Leamington Spa then on to Northend, North of Banbury, before Crossing into Northants to visit East then West Haddon. As you may know such an endeavour must finish in the pub so the appropriate meeting venue was booked for 1.30pm. True to expectations the weather was kind, positively balmy in fact. Our 10.30 meet time enjoyed temperatures of 9-degrees C that rose to 12 degrees during the ride. Luxury.
Our choice of machines included a 2002 500cc Bullet trials, 2004 350cc Classic (Bobber), 1962 700cc Constellation, 1959 500cc Meteor Minor, 1960 250cc Crusader Sports and a 150cc MZ in green-lane trim (thanks, Andrew). All machines performed admirably.
Our start point, the ĎLong Itch Dinerí is situated in the village of Long Itchington on the A423 North of Southam. The venue has become very popular in recent years hosting bike nights, custom nights and American car nights. They have their own website as well as a presence on Facebook and are well worth a visit, especially in the summer months. (I donít get a discount at the diner if you were wondering. Itís just a good, biker friendly venue).
The first leg of our route thereafter was an easy 3.1 miles into and through the small Warwickshire market town of Southam where we stopped on the B4451 for our first village marker photo. Unfortunately the narrow verge didnít allow us to squeeze our bikes into the photo. That was to become a repeating theme of the day.
From Southam we headed cross country some seven miles to Northend, ironically the southerly-most point or our journey. Northend sits in the region of Burton Dassett, whose country park takes in the Burton Dassett hills only a mile from the M40 and another great biking area. If you decide to visit the Burton Dassett hills do consider lunch at The Castle on Edge Hill. Views Ďto die forí as they say, and again no discount for me. The nearby village of Warmington is possibly the most quintessentially English village in leafy Warwickshire and well worth a meander through.
The third leg of our adventure was the longest section, bringing our running total to 33.9 miles. Northend, Warwickshire to East Haddon, Northamptonshire would have been a fairly swift journey through Byfield and Daventry on the A361 were it not for the call of the Badby Garden Centre tea rooms. Tea is normally £2.50 per serving but the kind owner took pity on us urchin-like motorcycle types and charged us £1 per head for two large pots of tea and coffee. Discount at last!
(The proprietorís philanthropy brought the best out in Oryst who wandered through the sales area before arriving at the impulse purchase of a large, high-standing bar table in readiness for his summer BBQs. Apparently he returned in the car to collect it later that day, making his wife extremely happy).
Our adventure continued from East to West Haddon, another short hop of only three miles. We parked the bikes adjacent to the one safely positioned village marker, only to realise that it was so lime-covered that we would have to cross the road to the less well-placed alternative marker to capture the moment.
Job jobbed, the four compass points covered with only 37.2 miles between them all.
In order to head back into Warwickshire and on to our final destination we rode on through the village of West Haddon and passed the Pytchley Inn where they serve some of the best value steaks in North Northants. Through Watford (Gap) over the M1 and A5 into the lovely village of Ashby St Ledgers. Ashby Manor has a room above the gatehouse where Robert Catesby and his co-conspirators formulated the gunpowder plot. Not only is it a thoroughly nice place to see but itís only a five minute ride over the county border from there into Dunchurch, Warwickshire where the home of one Mr Guy Fawkes is situated. The house is a private residence now but a plaque marks its location on an outer wall.
We arrived at our destination, the Friendly Inn in Frankton, a little late for our intended 1.30pm lunch. Perhaps the tea break was to blame for that. Nonetheless, pub landlord, branch member, Bullet owner and all round good egg Nigel hurried out a buffet-style lunch that left us feeling fat and happy, and ended a near perfect winter Branch ride-out.
Thanks to RealClassic magazine for the inspiration!
Join The Challenge!
Everyone is welcome to join the RealClassic Ridersí Collective (aka the RCRC) on the Compass Challenge. Grab a motorcycle, find four places with North, South, East and West in their names, and go for a ride. Send us the photographic evidence of your four compass points by email or post your pics on the Compass Challenge Facebook page
At the end of the year, prizes are awarded for the best efforts Ė these can be on the oldest bike, or by the oldest person, the furthest travelled, the silliest place name, and so on. Final entries are due by 31st October 2016.
You can ride on your own, with a friend, or drag your whole club or branch along, as seen here. You can choose your own four points of the compass, and point your wheels in your own direction. Just take a photo of your bike (ideally an old one) at your chosen N, S, E or W point. You donít need to be located in the UK; entries are welcome from all around the world.
Special consideration will be given to anyone who manages to bag ALL FOUR compass points with the SAME place-name. There are actually very few of these, so itís a test of your detective skills as well as your navigational ability. Your collection of compass points donít necessarily need to revolve around the one place-name. You could ride to North Tawton, Westward Ho!, South Zeal and Eastdown, for instance. But top honours will go to the rider/s who claim four the same.
Donít delay Ė the REOC have already set the bar high on their Sunday ride aroundÖ
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