Can you remember those carefree days when you could ride your scooter anywhere you fancied at the drop of a hat? At home or abroad. A group of mates having a few days away or heading off to a rally… It’s not so long ago but still feels like a distant memory, past and future.
As our third National Lockdown was announced earlier this week I’m sure many of us could envisage a repeat of 2020, waiting for the next date on our calendars to be scribbled out (Modrapheniacs have already been forced to cancel). We have to remember the good times though and hope they’ll soon be back. Until then, once lockdown is eased we may see more rides like this one, a few mates heading off on a little trip
SLUK reader, Tony Regan managed to get away last summer (in-between lockdowns) and thought he’d share his trip with us. We’ve all had some fantastic times away on two wheels, let’s remember them and spread some hope and positivity for the coming year. Things will get better.
Let the good times roll – win a SLUK T-shirt
We’re always happy to publish the stories and scooter adventures of our readers. If you’d like to share yours, you can email us at email@example.com
There’s a free SLUK T-shirt for every story we publish, so relieve the lockdown boredom and get typing. Your story can be about any memorable scooter trip, good or bad but we’ll need some photos to accompany it.
Having ridden the NC500 in 2019 we decided we’d have another Scottish scooter trip in 2020 – but where to? Browsing the net I came across another Scottish route called the South West Coast 300. After a bit of investigating and a quick consultation with a few mates, we decided to go for it in July. Then Covid struck and it was all thrown into doubt. By June restrictions had slackened off a bit and the trip was back on.
We decided to ride up from Leeds to Dumfries on the Thursday (150 miles), then roughly split the SWC300 in two on Friday & Saturday and ride back home on Sunday. It was around 600 miles in total. We set off at around 08:30 and made good progress up the A65, stopping off for brekkie near the Lancashire border. Then it was up the A6, through the Lake District and up to Carlisle – where the sat-nav went a bit haywire. This lead to several laps of the town centre and many smiles and stares from the locals as nine smokey and noisy Lambrettas tried to find our way back on track.
We had the usual splitting up of the group with traffic lights etc. but eventually rolled into Dumfries around 3:30. Then it was time to find the hotel, have a shower, a change of clobber and head for the boozers (there’s a phrase we can’t use at the minute).
The following morning, there were a few banging heads but we were all fit and ready to ride to Stranraer. Then came the first panels off moment but only a minor one, a snapped clutch cable. We stopped for a coffee in Kirkcudbright having passed a sculpture of the Wickerman on the way, as this was the area where the original movie was filmed.
Later that day we had our first real problem when the hub on Gary’s Series 1 cracked a lug, which pulled the hub off as it got trapped in between the frame and engine casing and his machine came to a halt. It happened at a junction, so only at low speed but he had just pulled onto an ‘A’ road and a 40ft artic was fast approaching. He, and Jep – who had to take evasive action to avoid hitting Gary, just made it onto the ‘apron’ at the side of the road – a very near miss!
Lambretta Club of Scotland to the rescue
He refitted the hub and ‘limped’ (50mph) the ten miles or so to the North West Castle Hotel in Stranraer with only 3-wheel nuts and a dodgy hub. It was then that the magic of Facebook came into play. I put a call out for a spare hub on the Lambretta Club Scotland page and within 90 minutes we had two offers, from Shaun Hills & Joe Reilly. The first offer was in Dumfries but the second was in Stranraer. Ten minutes later Joe turned up at our hotel with a hub and refused to take any money for it. A fantastic gesture and massive thanks to him, Shaun and all at the LCS.
We decided to fit it in the morning, so first a trip to the pubs and a late night in the Stranraer FC Supporters Club – where the steward happened to be a Leeds United fan and played a few stirring LUFC tunes for us – much to the chagrin of our loan Chelsea fan.
On Saturday after breakfast the new hub was fitted so away we went – to the end of the hotel drive where the same lad’s clutch cable snapped! Soon sorted, we headed off again and were met with another problem. A big part of the route was closed for roadworks. A quick re-jig of the sat-nav found an alternative route and to be honest it took us off the beaten track on roads not too dissimilar to the NC500. In my opinion, it was the best part of the route, twisty, hilly almost track like roads and the usual hazard of cattle and sheep standing in the middle of them.
It was on this detour that Tony Denton had to pull up quickly when it was pointed out to him that his back tyre had a white stripe down the middle where it had worn down to the fibres.
It had a decent tread on at the start – I’ve never seen a tyre bare so quick!
We stopped off in Girvan for snacks and continued the journey back to Dumfries. More food and beer followed. A couple of lads had ridden up from Leeds that day to join us for a drink so that boosted our number to 11.
Sunday morning came too soon and we groggily set off south. We had strong winds and heavy rain as we rode back through the Lake District. It was here that we had our only casualty of the weekend – Gez with a holed piston. He arranged recovery so we waved goodbye and headed back down to Leeds. With only one more incident of note when Crad’s fibreglass panel flew off (unbeknown to him) ten foot into the air, Jep’s quick reactions helping him to avoid disaster. He strapped it on to his bag and carried on until he caught up with Crad – who still had no idea of the incident!
It was an excellent trip and although not as spectacular as the NC500 it’s definitely a worthwhile route with lovely coastal roads and beautiful countryside aplenty.
Participating clubs: Three Owls SC, Rothwell Crusaders SC, Kippax SC, Maidenhead Phoenix SC.
Words and photos: Tony Regan