A bumble to Rye

The day had come, my first real organised ride-out that was to actually go ahead (after the impromptu cancellation of the Southend run on Bank Holiday Monday). I’ve only been riding a couple of months, so this was quite an exciting thing.

Saturday morning found me bimbling down the A2 towards my brothers place in Dartford, my little 20 year old 400cc Thumper rattling along nicely around 70 and I pulled into his driveway just as the first spots of rain appeared on my visor. After a quick spot of chain lube and an oil fill for me we headed out to meet some friends of the family at the Esso garage on the A21 at Pratts Bottom. We were the first in, and were just topping off our tanks as Roger pulled in on his R1, swiftly followed by our own bbbiker (a fellow newbie who passed a few weeks after me) on his CBF600. All topped up with no drama we headed out.

Me on the Yam SRX400, my brother on his Triumph TT600, Roger on his Yam R1 and bbbiker on the CBF600, the rain was coming down in dribs and drabs at this stage, nothing too major but enough to hamper visibility, so we took it easy heading off down the back roads, through Knockholt and down over Badgers Mount into Kent, and generally avoiding the A21, bypassing Sevenoaks and Tonbridge Wells. Had a couple of moments where the back tyre stepped out, but these have yet to phase me, luckily years of downhill mountain bike racing have lent themselves well to handling misjudging of corner speed in the rain on two wheels, though it’s not a skill I want to have to use, and I got angry with myself inside the lid nonetheless.

We stopped briefly to change into some waterproofs at a small country pub, somewhere in Kent then headed off. We picked up the A21 past Tonbridge and opened the throttles a bit through the rolling countryside. Every now and again my brother would get bored and blip the throttle, disappearing into the horizon in seconds with a satisfying scream of the engine, whilst I was already maxed out. Git. Roger on the other hand is a former Police motorcycle and evasion driving trainer having been part of special branch, so was used to taking it easy with noobs, despite the clear ferocity of power he had available to him, so we all kept together as we peeled of the A21 onto the A28 towards Tenterton. There was a small Steam Railway to be crossed with the train in full steam waiting at the level crossing as we zipped past it, and the road took on a beautiful quality as it became a tunnel through trees with some beautiful (and now dry) twisties which seemed to flow just right for me.

All too soon we rolled into Rye and parked up next to the harbour, completely alone in a bay I was assured was usually awash with bikes. We wandered over to the little cafe and ordered bacon, egg and chips all round, whilst discussing our next move. bbbiker (Bill) was quite keen to head out a bit more to see the sea, whilst my bro fancied pootling to Camber. I didn’t really give a sh*t, I was just enjoying the whole day, and more miles under the wheels in any direction was fine with me.

By this stage the winds had picked up and were tempestuous, so we thought the long windy open road to Camber probably wasn’t the best option, and best saved for a better day, so off to find the sea we went. We got to the coast at Rye, but the sea had deserted us. Turns out it was 14 miles away at an incredibly low tide. A little disappointed, we about faced and decided to head for home, taking the quicker route straight up the A21 and round the M25.

We saw a mammoth accident on the A21 heading south through a single carriageway section and I clocked the resulting tailback at about 14km as we rode north past it. A BMW Z3 seemed to have hit a Toyota pickup, towing a trailer loaded with hay, head on at high speed, and whilst there we no apparent injuries the road was a mess.

The rest of the journey passed without incident, by this stage though the winds were brutal, and I wasn’t relishing the idea of the wide open roads up and over the North Downs - I was right, it seemed that the winds from the side were just as powerful from the headwind at 80mph, though it all counts as valuable experience at any, and especially my, stage in my motorcycling career. We soon hit the M25 and it’s slight shelter was blessed relief. Again my brother got a little throttle happy and screamed past a couple of times, on the home straight Roger got to open up the R1 a little as well, and demonstrate just how much he had in reserve whilst I poottled at 80.

We all peeled off at Jnc 4 for the leg back to Orpington, before descending on another friends house and drinking all of their tea, whilst relaying the tales of our journey and dripping on their kitchen floor.

Before too long the time came to head off, we all had different stuff to do in the evening, and I had to get back to a Pub at Charing cross, via Dartford, Kennington and a shower in about an hour and a half!

Top day out - can’t wait for the next one!

sounds like fun - oli

and we did go on a rideout - just not to southend


the brekkie in Southend just wouldn’t have been up to par for our cultured palettes.

complete with proper tea cups and all

none of that polystyrene cups for us thank you!!

are we too classy for this forum?

I quite often go to Rye on a sunday, great roads round there, especially on the marsh, just be careful the old plod are always hiding somewhere about in their van, Some good roads for ride back too, we usually manage to find a village pub for a sunday roast, been to loads but christ knows where they are, we just take odd roads and hope top find our way home.

sounds like a plan for next time.

Where should I head to next?

Yeah, nice ride out Oli, despite the rain. I need more practice in hurricane side-winds tho - bottled out trying to keep up with Roger when the gusts caused me to nearly change lane on the exposed bits of the A21 at Tonbridge. I know…don’t go on the A21!

OK, done Rye (not sure we saw the best parts of town tho), so what’s next?

Anyone out there up for a ride round Kent or E Sussex on Saturday afternoon (9th Sept)? BP garage at Locksbottom (as per newbie ride to Hastings a few weeks back) or anywhere just off M25 would be fav meeting places. Whitstable for fish & chips? Bbbiker

Kill spills run!!!

on Sat!!

afraid I’m away for the weekend

Got a ride over to Harwich Sunday…then next sunday I’m at Brands watching Chuffster racing (getting up the nerve for a Track Day in October!!) how about the 24th September - could take in a bit more of Kent/ Sussex areas etc after last weekends ride down to Arundel???

24th could work.