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A Day Trip to Barley Mow, Reigate - 27th May 2001

The day after Belgium, it was get up early again (for a Sunday) 9.00am.  Wash, dress, get the bikes out the van and leave at 10.15 to meet up at the Little Chef, Charing on the A20 by 10.30am.  Here we met up with Nanny No-good on her Suzuki, Daddy Oakley on this Indian and Clive on this Triumph with his son as pillion.  For some in our party it was the first airing of the season.

After fuelling up we set off about 11am on a journey that should have only taken about 1 to 1 ½ hours max.  NO, it was definitely a case of the blind leading the blind and as everybody had a turn at leading the group we can’t portion blame to any one person.  What should have been a simple A20, A25 ended up with us getting lost in Maidstone for about an hour – this is local to all of us and highly embarrassing.  The A20 through Maidstone was shut in about 3 places with diversions designed to create the most chaos and confusion in a busy town on a bank holiday weekend.  We ended up on the A26 and I was heading towards my place of work in Paddock Wood before we all pulled over to discuss tactics.  Our final choice out of three options was the right one, the first that day, and we heading back towards the A20 and picked up the A25, which is straight forward from here on. 

We were all getting a bit cocky by the time we got close to the Barley Mow, we had been once before.  Daddy Oakley and Clive turned down the turning before whilst TAG carried on to the next turning with me and Nanny No-good stopping abruptly to much hooter tooting behind us  – impatient cars.  TAG was gesturing that he could see the pub so I followed, closely chased by Nanny No-good.  I lost sight of TAG at this point and just spotted the Barley Mow on my left as I went sailing past with a squeal of brakes.  A more leisurely turn around, followed by Daddy Oakley & Clive who had gone around the block, and we all pulled up to squeeze into a packed car park full of bikes, the majority Indians.  It was around 1.30pm.  Another record I think!

Again it was a lovely sunny day, not as hot as Belgium the day before, a few spots of rain on route that didn’t even get you wet.  This meant the pub was empty; everybody was either out front with the bikes or in the beer garden where a large army tent had been erected and a barbecue was smoking away, supervised by the Laughing Chef.

Food was provided by our landlord and host, Allan Ford, free to all Indian riders and there were a number of other punters who were enjoying the bikes, the beer and the food.  Sybil had arrived like the Queen (with a royal wave) in the chair of the recently restored 741B with Chris Ball as her Charioteer.  Mike led on his four; did he know there would be trouble with the carb needle vibrating off and roadside repairs required?  This must be a common fault – it happened to Daddy Oakley in France one year – all the joys of riding old bikes.

After a pleasant afternoon of chatting, drinking, eating and lazing in the sun, people started to leave about 4.00pm.  We ended up being the last to leave and after saying goodbye to Allan with plans to meet again at the pub we set off to Mike & Sybil’s house.  Easy, A25, A22 - we’ve been there before.    Wrong!  A25, A23 (oh hell-we’ve gotten lost again).  A minor road signpost to Caterham behind us, a bit of cross country riding for some and back pedalling for others on the dual carriageway we managed to find the shortcut (BY MISTAKE). 

We finished the day socialising at Mike & Sybil’s over tea and biscuits with a table crammed with riders.  We finally said our goodbyes and left around 8pm, no more faffing about on A roads, we decided to go home the quick way M25, M20.

No sooner had we all got onto the M25 and good cruising speed than my bike started to cough and splutter, lose of speed meant 50mph max with much coughing when I met a hill.  With thoughts of her grinding to a halt and refusing to go, leaving me stuck on a motorway I finally managed to get TAG’s attention and we both pulled onto the hard shoulder.  Indian dies out straight away but starts up again easily enough, we decided to see how far she would go and proceeded to gather speed only to be pulled over by PC Plod for driving on the hard shoulder.  It must have been a bit of a rarity for him, a bike that doesn’t do 0-60 in a nanosecond to join a lane of traffic probably travelling at 80.  Anyway, he left and I set off AGAIN (on the hard shoulder) to gather speed and join the motorway – still coughing and spluttering only to see blue flashing lights a little further down the road.  He had just spotted Nanny No-good having a quick fag whilst Daddy Oakley & Clive were keeping her company waiting for me and TAG to catch up.  A quick wave as we rode past and left them to it.  As it turned out the bike made it M25, M26, M20, a few revs to keep her ticking as we joined the A20, goodbyes shouted and waves as our party split again at Charing and I finally pulled up at home with the Indian conking out straight away.  TAG was following me at this point and listening to the engine.  As I stopped he bent down to the left of the bike and told me to start her up.  First kick, she fires, revs nicely, doesn’t stall – a quick run down the road – she’s cured?   Bloody choke had vibrated on.  


Boudicca & TAG


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Indian Motocycles - you can't wear them out                                  Indian Motocycles - built to last  
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