Saturday, 14 February 2009

Back on the Blog and the Southend Shakedown

It's been literally months since I last blogged: I keep meaning to sit down and write but there's always been something else to do that's got in the way.

I've always thought any type of writing is something you should do for fun, when you want to, so I never made myself sit down and start writing this again otherwise I'd have ended up hating it. But I'm back now with plenty to say!

The weather has been getting warmer for the past few weeks, and there are more bikes out on the road than there has been in ages. I've even been able to put away my inner gloves, and at times have ventured out in no more than a T-shirt and jacket!

This may not make any sense to those of you in warmer, sunnier climates, but the winter in the UK really can be enough to get any biker thinking twice about getting a car. If it's not cold its still raining, which makes visibility impossible. Its hard to find riding fun no matter how hard you try!

Southend Shakedown

Yesterday the summer weather was officially welcomed with the first big ride out of the year, down to Southend. Living as I do only 20 minutes from Stonebridge, I went from the Ace Cafe with maybe thousands of other riders.

Although it wasn't a gloriously sunny day (the sky was grey almost all day, with the sun coming through around 3) it was still warm, and it was a nice ride. Seeing bikes parked up at every petrol station you pass is a great sight...and surely thats how it should be all the time?!

I have no idea how many bikes were in Southend, but I know I must have been parked about a mile away from the start of the line of bikes. I wasn't among the last to arrive by any means, and still saw bikers turning up after I'd been there well over an hour!

The first thing I needed to sort once I was there was food, and there were queues of bikers pouring out of every chip shop, burger van and ice cream stand. Seeing big, burly bikers in their Harley leathers just sitting on the beach eating ice-lollies is a fantastic view!

People and the Bikes

I got talking to a few people once I was down there, including a father and his thirteen year old daughter, who wanted to ride the moment she was old enough. I got the feeling she already had a pretty good idea how to!

They were on a beautiful Goldwing, which was obviously about 5 times the size of my puny little GS500. They'd passed me at some point on the way down and I'd seen them both relaxing and listening to the radio!

Once I was down there I tried to get some pictures of the bikes I liked, including, I'm ashamed to say, a very nice pink one. I didn't even bother to see what the bike itself was, I was more interested in the paint job! I've included some pictures in various places throughout the blog: I'm still not very good at organising them to stay in the right places yet...

Unfortunately my camera died long before I had even walked past a quarter of the bikes that were there, so I missed out on photos of some amazing rides (and their riders!). It was definitely a great day and not one to be missed!

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Happy New Years Honours List

The New Years Honours List has recently been published, and motorcycling has a mention as Sammy Miller recieves an OBE.

The list is published at the end of every year, showing who will recieve recognition for their contribution to society.

Sammy Miller will be awarded an OBE for his services to motorcycling heritage, after his many years of work at his motorcycle museum.

The Museum

The Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum is said to house one of the finest collections of fully resored motorcycles in Europe.

According to the website, he is dedicated to "keeping alive the memories of the golden age of British motorcycling".

The museum is located in between Southampton and Bournemouth, although the bikes have been seen at various events across the world.

Trials Rider

Miller is also one of the most successful trials rider's in the world, having won the British Championship 11 times.

He has also won the European Championship twice, and in 1957 he came third in the world Grand Prix.

Although he still occasionally takes part in races, he now looks after more than 400 rare and classic motorcycles in his museum.

Miller is among many others from the Bournemouth area who have found themselves recognised for their services to the community.

The List

He is among many other greats who have made the New Years Honours List this year.

Sporting names have topped the list this year, with Olympic three-time Gold Medalist Chris Hoy due to be knighted.

The Scottish cyclist took home gold for the team sprint and the keirin event. He recently won the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year award.

Also on the list was Rebecca Adlington, who will recieve an OBE after winning two gold medals for swimming.

Lewis Hamilton, who became the youngest man to win Formula 1's World Championship this year, will recieve an MBE.

Positive Reaction

Seeing the services of motorcycling heritage being recognised through the Honours List is a great feeling, as it shows that not all motorbikers are dangerous thugs!

After winning the British Campionship many times, as well as the European Championship, it is right that Miller should be recognised.

It is also great that sports have featured heavily on the Honours List this year, as it is promoting health and fitness.