Not a lot to report for this edition of Fishtail. Our Tuesday mid-week evenings usually see eight to ten members meet up at the Cherry Tree for a drink and natter about Velocettes and the rest of the world. We had our first Wednesday lunch time meet of the winter in November at the Riverside Café at Benson at it was well attended with most people turning up on their bikes. We will continue organising winter lunch time meeting as long as there is a demand for them. The Centre AGM is on 14th January at the Cherry Tree and we look forward to a good turn out to discuss events and runs for the coming year.
The weather hasn’t been too good during recent weeks with two planned runs cancelled and a very wet second day at Kop Hill. Over the two days there were eight Velocettes on the club display at Kop Hill. Saturday was a good day but Sunday was very wet and consequently attracted less visitors to the event. Six Thames Valley members took part in the Bob Foster run, Tony Mortimer, Julian Vockins, Roger Anderson, Roy Springate, Stuart McGuigan and Norman Bailie. Norman reported that the run was very well organised, the weather excellent and much enjoyed by all.
I have been unable to partake in most of the Centre’s activities recently and I apologise in advance for the rather sketchy report. Activities have continued apace with Popham Megameet on S11th August. Again a good turnout of Velocettes from TV and nearby Centres. The weather was good and a lot bikes attended the event. I missed the Gaydon Museum run on 21st August, Sammy Miller run on 1st September and Seymour Charity run on 8th September. Five members joined the Brookwood Cemetery run on 11th September, led by David Peterson, visiting his uncle’s grave to pay our respects. We stopped at Jack’s of Bagshot on the way back for “light” refreshments and a look at the bikes which gather there on a Wednesday lunchtime. Nights are beginning to draw in and we won’t be able to enjoy club nights in the garden at the Cherry Tree for much longer, soon be time to retreat indoors.
The last few weeks have seen a lot of activity at the Thames Valley Centre. In addition to our regular club nights at the Cherry Tree, which continue to be well attended, there have been five runs. Unfortunately I was not able to go on the first three, the Flower Pot run on July 3rd, Woodcote Steam Rally on July 13th and the Founders Day run to Stanford Hall on July 21st. Ten centre members had a good run down to the Flower Pot at Cheriton and enjoyed the food and beverages on offer. Several members joined the run to Stanford Hall for Founders Day on July 21st and had to negotiate a road closure on the A5 to get to the event. They were made very well at the Velocette stand organised by Woburn Centre. On July 28th six members joined up with South Hants Centre for their Up the Downs run. We met at Stockbridge and had a good run across the Downs to the Calley Arms at Hodson where we stopped for a lunch break. We left the South Hants group after lunch and had a good run back along Ermine Street. On August 6th we made a visit to the Whitefarm Lodge Care Home in Whitton again. The weather stayed fine for the run and several residents came down and enjoyed looking at the bikes and talking about bikes they had ridden in the past. We had a Norton, a Triumph and four Velocettes on the run to add a little variation for the residents to view and talk about. Riding into the London conurbation is quite tiring for those of used to more rural areas.
Our annual run to Cheddar was well attended, with 6 Riders meeting at Padworth, 2 more joining at Hungerford and 2 more at Beckhampton. A lovely sunny morning perfect ‘bike riding’ weather. Unfortunately our normal morning ‘pit stop’ at the caravan near Trowbridge turned out to be shut. However with the help of Chris Wiggins we found a garden centre which was able to fulfil our needs.eg. bacon sarnie and tea! As a result of the diversion we were now running late, so we arrived at Cheddar Gorge just as the members from Wye Valley, Bristol, Wales and Roger Franklin were leaving the car park to go the Queens Head at Priddy. So after a short rest and break at the Gorge we too proceeded to the Queens Head for lunch which had already been pre-ordered by Norman. Thus we didn’t have a long wait – so many thanks to Norman. In total there were 38 Velocettes at Cheddar Gorge plus 5 other Classic bikes – a really wonderful turnout and really good to meet up with the other Club members for a talk. Our return trip was again a very good run with our normal stop in the afternoon just outside Hungerford. A long day but definitely well worth it.
With the better weather our events programme is gathering speed. There were three runs in April, the first was to the Hovercraft Museum with South Hants. Unfortunate we were late getting to the start and it was decided not to carry on to the museum. The weather was better than forecast for the midweek run to Stoke Bruerne Canal Museum and six members had a good day out. The run to Bishopstone on Sunday 28th for the FBHVC Drive It Day event turned out very well. The weather was good after the gales on the Saturday beforehand and there were more Velocettes at the meet than any other make of vehicle. A good turn out and a pleasant ride along the edge of the Downs. Club nights at the Cherry Tree continue to be well supported, come along on your bike now the evenings are lighter and enjoy the chat.
A relatively quiet time of year at TV, our trial midweek lunch time meetings have been quite well attended and it is good to see some members who can’t make the evening meetings. We are going to a different venue for the March meeting which may be more convenient for members who live in the west of our area. On 12th February we had a very interesting technical session with Stuart and John from Criterion Engineers on the Velocette primary drive. Stuart and John went through some of the problem areas and give good advice and solutions to problems. Many thanks to Stuart and John for spending the time to make a very informative evening. I gave a talk on the working of chronometric speedometers and rev counters at our club night on 26th February which seemed to be well received. With the warmer weather and lighter nights hopefully we will be out and about on our more soon.
The only event since the last Fishtail report was our annual AGM on January 11th. It was well attended by 26 members. Dennis and I gave a review of the last year and Keith presented his Treasurer’s report. Norman lead the review of events for the coming year and it looks like we have a lots of interesting runs planned for this year along with our stands at the Southern Classic Bike Show, Popham Megameet and Kop Hill Hill Climb. Additional runs will be added during the year so watch out for updates on our website and in Fishtail. For any members not on my contacts list and would like details of runs sent to you by email please get in touch with me on the address above. The 2018 committee were all re-elected again for the coming year.
During the AGM Dennis presented 2 awards to centre members for their enthusiastic support of the Thames Valley Centre over the last year:
The Hardman Cup to Roy Springate
The Ted Portsmouth Cup to Steve Clark
We are trialling winter midweek lunchtime meetings on the Wednesday of the week between our regular Tuesday night meetings to see how much support there is for daytime meetings. Again details on the website or Fishtail. Looking forward to warmer days, lighter nights and more runs on the bikes.
Only two runs since the last report as the cool days and long nights draw in. The Berkshire Downs run in October was eventful in that one of our riders took a tumble on a bend and hurt his elbow and ribs. Fortunately he is recovering well and we hope to see him on his bike again in the Spring. I was unable to go on the last run of the year, the Reading Toy Run, in support of Dr Bernardo’s school in Wokingham. Club nights continue to be well supported.
Our Christmas Dinner was held at the Cherry Tree on Tuesday 11th December and 26 members and partners attended. As usual the Cherry Tree laid on a very good menu. A quiz and raffle followed the dinner. A very enjoyable evening and many thanks to Keith, Dennis and Mick for organising the night and the quiz and to the staff at the Cherry Tree.
By the time this edition of Fishtail arrives we will have had our AGM and the Events List will be posted shortly afterwards.
Best wishes to everyone for the New Year.
TV Centre had four runs since the last Fishtail report. On 19th September nine members enjoyed a run to the Iron Age and Town Museum in Andover. The route was mainly back roads from Padworth to Andover. The Museum features artefacts found at Danebury Hill Fort. It is a small museum run mainly by volunteers and the items are very well displayed. The craftsmanship in the metalwork on display is exceptional considering the age of the exhibits. As usual, coffee and cakes in the café went down well. On the way back we stopped at Danebury Hill Fort and had a look at the earth works. A good day out but a bit windy on exposed roads.
26th September was our run to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Brookwood Cemetery lead by Dave Peterson. We paid our respects to Dave’s Canadian uncle who was a Battle of Britain fighter pilot. It is interesting to look around the cemetery and see how many different nationalities fought and died for our country. On leaving the cemetery we stopped for lunch at the Outlook before returning home. The next run was to Crofton Steam Fair on Sunday 30th September where certain members made new friends with teddy bears in overalls!
We also joined up with the Oxford Centre on October 11th for the Geoff Steele Memorial Run. A good run to the northern part of Oxfordshire and into Gloucestershire. As we were a bit late arriving at the start, the break for lunch at Ilmington was very welcome. There was a good turnout on the day and the weather was good.
Our Centre AGM is on Tuesday 8th January 2019 at the Cherry Tree in Stoke Row starting at 8pm. We look forward to seeing as many members as possible at the AGM and please bring along suggestions for runs for 2019 as we will being reviewing the Events Diary for 2019 at the meeting. Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.