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20th June 2005

An Indian Summers Day; Bullet Mania Seaside Ride 2005

Where is the natural place to ride a 1950's single cylinder motorcycle for a day at the seaside? Answer: East of Ipswich of course! Anarchy follows...

A group of friends set off from the old bikers café, the Silver Ball in Hertfordshire, to trace the path of so many 1950's holiday makers to the seaside, long before it meant a £20 easy jet flight to Malaga. Off to the forgotten crumbling seaside towns that litter the east coast and on to recreate 'the Quest' on an assortment of Royal Enfields.

Aaaarggghhh... noooo.... not the summer shirt....

It was hot, not just sunshine hot but the kind of heat that fries the oil and vapourises the fuel in any classic motorcycle. Surely riding in the mid day heat en masse - and on Indian Enfield's finest for gawds sake - would be surely tempting fate?

If there are enough fins for summer in India, surely summer in Hertfordshire won't be a problem?
Enfield Stuff on

Setting off we formed an orderly convoy. There are many ways to do this, one can assemble all the handsome riders and shiny bikes at the front and tear off at full speed leaving the less fettled and visually challenged bikes to fall behind and wither and whimper or you can put the slowest bikes at the front to set the pace and have the looniest riders at the back to ride shot gun and keep out of everyone's way. We chose the latter.

Olive Green - the new black?

We had arranged to meet other bikes on the way, and close to the midway meeting point we had our first mechanical casualty. The 612cc tuned café racer snapped its clutch cable most conveniently outside one of the prettiest pubs I noticed on the run, which lead us to believe that the failure was self inflicted. The owner/rider admirably faked bitter disappointment but he was off in a flash to quaff ice-cold lager whilst arranging his chauffer, courtesy of Carole Nash, to waft him home.

Metallic paint and sunshine - unbeatable.

We were soon off again and burbled and thumped through the holiday traffic, all straining to look and point at the big blue thing at the end of the road. Clutches were dragging and clothing being discarded as we finally neared the sea with its welcome drop in temperature and faint but useful sea breeze.

Too damn hot...

...but we don't care.Parking. On a rare hot June day it is near on impossible to park anywhere within 10 miles of a patch of sand or pier.

Parking up brashly on the seafront and informing beach control of 'exactly who do you think we are' plus faking REOC credentials and relatives in the higher order of Tendering Borough Council did the trick, the patrol man confused and apologetic.

We could step across the road and enjoy Walton's finest seafood cuisine with a motorcycle and sea backdrop. Smug? You bet! .

The pier, the promenade, the parade of bikes. All that's missing is... Typically Italian, the scooters were fashionably late.

We're still awaiting the results of the sandcastle building competition.And this is what is was all about. The seventy-two miles of thump thump thump on an Indian summer's day to reach the epicentre of a tradition so true to the core of every working man.

And how right the Royal Enfields looked lined up beside the sea, as natural in context as a weather beaten coastal wall or amusement arcade. The public enjoyed the sudden exhibition, though frankly an expo of used cereal boxes could have rivalled the bikes in such a quiet town.

Bullet Wanted?

Who needs the Riviera when we have these magnificent coastal towns? So hurrah ,ride forth to east of Ipswich, you won't be disappointed, honest!

Ace T-Shirt, Sunshine and a Cheesey Grin. And a handful of Bullets...


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