Musings, Riding

Spring.

You can tell it’s spring. All the little parking gaps in Stow that are empty in the winter now host Solvol-gleamed motorcycles. The creak of leathers is almost audible as sportsbike riders mix it with the righteous Harley brethren in the mean streets and tea shops. Today, I headed up to Stow, as ever, through the Ural-friendly backlanes. Those backlanes seem always have a habit of leading me to old airfields.

I’m pretty used to disused hangers, cracked and pocked runways with more grass than gravel. But RAF Little Rissington (‘Rissy’ to its friends) is, unusually, still at least partially, active. 637 Volunteer Gliding Squadron are based here, flying Grob 109s and training air cadets. All rather a long way from the Red Arrows, heavyweight C130 Hercules and C5 Galaxies that used to rumble down the runways. Continue reading

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Musings

The Good Samaritan

5 June 2010.

“For God’s sake!”

For the third time that evening, Squadron Leader Martin Delaheye cursed his decision to ride the BMW. Even in mid-summer it was hopeless. You’d think, in June, you had a chance of getting home without half-drowning. But no, the rain had got to the electrics and and that was it – the bike was spluttering, coughing and regularly dying by the roadside.

With that bogging, helpless sensation known to every motorcyclist who’s run a classic, the 1959 R50‘s engine coughed and stalled. No power. Delaheye coasted to a stop, realising as soon as the water started filling his boot that he’d put his left foot in a puddle the size of the Channel.

German reliability. Right.

He pulled his helmet and misted goggles off and wondered where the hell he was. He eschewed GPSs – particularly on classic bikes Continue reading

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Riding

The RAF’s Revenge – Part III – RAF Broadwell

If one has any sense. one doesn’t mess with the spirits of a few thousand RAF servicemen. One doesn’t, particularly, thumb one’s nose at them by riding one’s German through-and-through R1100GS onto the middle of one of their airfields, even if they did technically “leave” in 1947.

Sorry, chaps. I suppose I had it coming. Continue reading

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