November proved to be a wet month in more ways than one: our Club night speaker dropped out at the last minute leaving Doug and I to give an impromptu talk on what we had gleaned from the IAM Road Smart conference at the end of October. Thanks for the interest shown by those who endured it!
In spite of the mixed bag of weather, I managed to get out on my bike several times in November because, whenever possible, I like to use the bike for everyday trips as well as social events like ride outs. Nevertheless, it seemed to me that whenever I decided to ride it started raining or worse! I joined a weekday ride with David Haywood and others, heading to Filey for fish and chips. The ride included some narrow back roads going through several small and picturesque villages. This was very pleasant except for the mud that our industrious North Yorkshire farmers had removed from the fields and transferred to the roads. Very messy, and of course it added a spicy challenge to our progress! Along the way we re-acquainted ourselves with the increasingly rare octagonal STOP sign and managed to negotiate our way to Filey, without mishap, parking in a supermarket car park to address the main object of our visit: a large plate of fish and chips. John Blanchfield reminded the proprietor of his notice giving pensioners a discounted deal so not only were our appetites satisfied but our deep Yorkshire pockets were happy too! After lunch we stepped out of the café, into the pouring rain, which was no problem except for those of us who had left our helmets on our bikes! This meant 30 minutes of difficult riding for some of us with visors and glasses misting over from the sauna we had unintentionally created inside our helmets. We were saved by the sun coming out to dry us, and allowing us a fine ride home in glorious sunshine. David gave us a great ride to Filey; well done and many thanks.
One of my shopping excursions this month included a trip into Leeds on the bike to buy a new car jack. As the literature stated that the jack weighted 35Kg I didn’t anticipate much of a problem to carrying it home on the rear seat (even Kate weighs more than that)! Of course, I had not considered the packaging which although it did not add much weight, it certainly added to the bulk of the item. Luckily I had my Rock Straps with me. Incidentally, if you are still using bungees you could consider changing to this method of securing loads. Rock Straps are fantastically secure and don’t scratch your bike. With the load safely secured, I set off on the 8 mile trip home. As I set off it started raining, no problem – used to that. Then, the rain turned to sleety snow – not so nice but still no problem. Next, the snow got thicker and plastered my fairing and visor until I found it difficult to see. After a lot of frantic wiping in order to see where I was going, I finally arrived home safely only to find that the cardboard box containing the jack had become sodden and was starting to collapse, leaving the jack precariously attached to the bike. Luckily the Rock Straps had proved their worth but it was a timely reminder that attaching a box items to a bike does not necessarily mean you’ve attached the item, especially if the box disintegrates in the rain! On reflection, I should probably have pulled over and waited for the snow shower to stop.
We have two more events in December. Our usual Monday evening meeting at the Bilton Cricket Club on 12 December will be The Christmas Quiz Night. All are welcome and the Buffet will be free on this occasion. Please bring friends and partners and make up teams of 3 to enter the quiz. Doug has invested a lot of time in making this an unusual and interesting event so it should be fun and don’t forget there will be prizes for the first three places. Our final event for 2016 is the rideout to Christmas Lunch on 14 December at Great Horton arranged by David Haywood. If you intend to go to this event please let David know.
Finally, as you are all probably aware, I will be stepping down as Chair at the AGM in March. Those wishing to stand as Chair need to get their proposal papers in to the Secretary as soon as possible. I will continue observing for the Club and, as Doug wishes to step down as Chief Observer more or less immediately, I will take over this role pending an appointment by the new committee after the AGM. Doug has been an observer for around 10-years, and Chief Observer for two of them. May I take this opportunity to thank Doug for his dedicated and enthusiastic support for the Club. He rewrote the Roadcraft Theory lessons and updated the presentations to improve their effectiveness and accessibility; he has also steered many associates to a successful test pass. We will miss the experience and commitment he has brought to this role.
We have a new IT committee member in the person of Tim Ryecroft, who will take over the work on the website from Steve who has stepped down due to pressure of work. Welcome Tim, and many thanks for your offer of assistance. The committee would still welcome other new members to help take the Club forward in 2017.
I hope I will see you all at the Club meeting on 12th, in the meantime, take care while riding in the Winter, and watch out for snow and those stop signs.
All the best for Christmas and the New Year.