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30th November 2004


A Wet Sunday In The West Country

NVNL needs to test his wet weather riding gear. So an invitation to a breakfast ride seemed like the perfect opportunity to go for a splash...

'Piers Caff Sunday 28th

Posted by Rowena on November 27, 2004, 12:09 pm

So we haven't got RC09 packed in time to make it Oop North for the Leeds Show -- but that *does* mean we can take a few hours out tomorrow morning and meet up with the west country AMC people at The Piers Cafe, on the A39 Atlantic Highway, about 7 miles south of Bude.
Any of you lot fancy coming along too?
We'll aim for 10am...'

said the message board.

'I've been trying to find you a Matchless for your birthday' said Mrs NVNL.

'The cheque for the Ducati's in the post' said RC member number XXXX on the telephone from the Land of my Fathers.

It was all coming together nicely.

It rained hard all the previous night and I lay awake listening, awash with anticipation because tomorrow was shaping up to be one of my 'big' days. Several birds and a stone possibilities for certain. The birds in question were, in no particular order:

  • 1) Finding the rigid AMC cooking 500 I've been promising myself
  • 2) Getting to a 'do' which was in Cornwall
  • 3) Riding a motorcycle in foul weather and picking up some points toward my 'Junior Tony Page Badge'
  • 4) Taking a snap to complement Anarchy's most excellent Photo Bite, 'Nasty'
  • 5) Helping Mrs NVNL with the Christmas shopping

    Of course it stopped raining before I set off, Rufus the T140 was as sprightly and willing as ever, possibly bucked up by the new mudguard stay from TMS (www.tms-motorcycles.co.uk) fitted this week as part of my IKBA Level 2 Fettling project work. The final pre-ride check confirmed that I had pipe and accoutrements, camera, specs, phone, carefully-worded wanted ad, bungee cords to attach advert to bike when parked, and a cheque book in preparation for impulse buying.

    [Hint: something missing here, there's an extra IKBA unit for the first one to spot it.]

    Light drizzle as we crossed the southerly part of Bodmin Moor, but nothing you'd expect to get a Tony Page point for. Stopped at the village of Mount to take a snap. As we joined the A30 I noticed the odometer reading, 080. Time for more petrol; the Triumph does ninety miles before it wants its reserve tap switching on.

    At Trewint on the A30 is a very, very large deposit of some of Cornwall's first rate Bodmin River Sand, we've got about two hundred tons of it in our sand school at home, so I warm to Trewint. Also at Trewint is a Texaco Station (and a highly regarded greasy spoon). In the usual way I pulled up to the pump then went into the shop before I filled up. Spotted it yet? The thing I hadn't put on my very mental check list? No wallet. The guy behind the counter said it was OK to fill up and pay by unguaranteed cheque, so I did. I had no idea such things were still possible. Good Old Boy.

    More moorland poddling about brought us to the A39 or Atlantic Highway as English Heritage would have us call it. Well, we're not in England, we're in Cornwall and it's not the Atlantic Highway, it's the Bood Road.

    Still no rain. Bum, doomed to remain a fairweather motorcyclist forever.

    Quick pipe opener then turn right into the spacious forecourt of the Piers Café, Otterham Station. What is now the Piers Café was an Esso Station last time I was here and they've done a good job. Externally it's standard Kernow Pebbledash but inside light, airy, warm and welcoming.

    The forecourt has two bikes in it already, a 350 Harley and one of those liquid cooled twin-rotor Nortons. Yes Rowena and Frank are here, and now me. No other bikes, perhaps we've come on the wrong day?

    Look; I don't choose the vehicles in these photos, ok? Not my fault there's a 4x4 in there. D'Oh; I just mentioned 4x4s...

    ***** Interlude (or interruption; call it what you will) *****

    We wondered the same thing. Frank and I said; 'it IS the last Sunday...?' and 'do you think it's been cancelled?' and 'oh soddit I'll have the full monty breakfast then' when we arrived suspiciously on time and discovered an empty Piers. We actually had time to eat everything and finish two cups of coffee before anyone else hove into view. The rain must have slowed them down.

    It was inevitably going to yak it down for today's ride because I spent yesterday afternoon cleaning the wheels on the Dragonfly. I only intended to pump up its tyres, but was horrified to see the chrome cheerfully corroding from the rims while I was playing hunt-the-valve. Spent 20 mins with Autosol and had to declare it a draw - the rot is stopped, temporarily, but the sad fact is that these recently chromed rims will need professional attention in the near future. That's not good. I have resolved to dig through the paperwork and see who built these wheels last time around so I can avoid them in future. Snarl.

    So, indeed, to Snarl. The Dragonfly obviously needs a little cosseting so if it's to survive for another 50 years so I plan to take the Snarley 350 if inclement. If it's sunny I can ride the Drags and show it off and be appallingly smug.

    Righto: Snarley it is then.

    Which means himself would be riding the old Matchie G80 (after all, it is an AMC event). Or at least - he would've been riding the G80, but for the rather huge pool of petrol which appeared underneath it just before we rode away.

    Matchless back in shed; out comes rotary Norton.

    So we really would have been on two old bikes. Honest. But I can't get mine dirty, now can I? The road to the Piers is paved with good intentions, it seems...

    Matchless on eBay.co.uk

    Rowena

    ***** normal service has been resumed *****

    R100RS - a true classic.

    As I remove my hat and gloves a couple more bikes turn up, a tasty 75/5 in black and a Hinckley Rocket III -- this AMC Club is as broad a church as RC.

    Inside I get the glasses of water in and chat to Frank and Rowena who actually did ride here in rain; some guys have all the luck. The café fills up a bit and I chat to Chris Read who edits the Jampot and has built PLUTO (the AMC oil-bearing frame). As a fan of British twins in oil bearing frames I am full of admiration and gratitude. Couldn't help noticing he turned up in a car though, double-cool see, Cornish bikers. Chris lives very close to Otterham Station.

    By way of a contrast I was also very pleased to meet Norman who'd just popped in from Newbury in Berkshire on something called an NTV. Norman is a serious mile-eating sort of a cove and has done stuff I'd have nightmares about, as opposed to dream of. For example; he's ridden to every AMC club in the UK, on an AMC -- a sharp contrast to the tone of the morning -- with Jap switchgear, very eclectic shed, sound man.

    The time came for me to make my excuses and leave. In the car park I did spot a black Matchless twin of some sort. The camera chose this moment to pack up. While I was having a convivial chat about matters Meriden with a chap who wanted a US tank for his OiF TR6 I watched a bloke take a long look at Rowena's Harley then turn to his right and expectorate, eloquent DHB, glad to see some of our youthful traditions persist! Good size piece of gozz too, very phlegmy.

    Rode back part way with the Harley and the Rotary then home for tea and the remains of the day.

    So I managed two out of my five objectives, I went to a 'do' in Cornwall and I got a reasonable snap to go alongside Anarchy's excellent one.

    The atmosphere was convivial and welcoming and I'll go again. I'm joining the AMC club tomorrow. Anyone selling a cooking 500 AMC rigid?

    Have Anarchy and NVNL started something?

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