I’m sure many of us are feeling a little strange this morning. We all know the drill, spend all week faffing about with our scooters, then get it packed up for the first National of the year. We’ve already arranged to meet our friends and club mates. Probably have a bit of banter on social media and meet a few more mates along the way. A rolling convoy gathering numbers as we head to our weekend destination.
Sadly this year there are more important things going on than riding shopping bikes to far off destinations, for the first time since 1981 there’s no Easter rally. In my own scooter lifetime, I’ve only missed one Easter rally since 1988 (incidentally the Easter rally that year was to the Isle of Wight).
Who would have predicted in February that the Modrapheniacs would be the only UK rally by Easter? Not us for sure. Anyway, to give you a reminder of what it’s all about – the trials and tribulations of getting to a rally, here’s a little riding story from SLUK reader, Steve Gladdis.
I wake up Friday morning and peer tentatively through the curtains. Amazingly the sun is shining. Storm number 54, ‘Zebedee’ or whatever it was called has blown itself out at last. So this means go, go, go, for three of us from the Heart and Soul SC. We had agreed to meet up on the IoW just a few miles from the ferry port at Yarmouth and ride together to the ferry for the 11.05 sailing. We arrive in good time and meet up with the Isle of Wight SC who are on the same sailing over to the ‘Big Island’.
With tickets scanned we board the ferry and set sail for Lymington, amid fears of catching coronavirus, will we get there before the next big storm arrives and the general end of humanity? Nah, we were just concerned we would have enough beer for the weekend.
After 50 minutes we arrive in Lymington. We’re let off the ferry first, much to the annoyance of a few in their tin boxes, and are soon on our way. Our journey takes us through the New Forest. I have ridden through here on numerous occasions but never seen it flooded so badly. At one point we had to go under a railway bridge and the water was flooding all over the road. We splashed through it avoiding the water buffalo that are now in residence. Our first stop was Picket Post for fuel. Here we got in line whilst the 4×4 driver in front changed his small child’s nappy! I moved to another pump and got stuck behind a person who’d fuelled up and done her monthly shop. Eventually I got fuel and joined Ian and Neil.
Turn the fuel on
We waved goodbye to the IoW SC and joined the A31 dual carriageway. Not long after joining the fast-moving traffic, I notice that Neil is no longer visible in my legshield mirror. I find a layby, pull in and wait for him to catch up whilst Ian disappears into the distance. Eventually, Neil arrives, it seems that apparently TS1s do not get very far on just a carburettor of fuel, and manufacturers recommend that the fuel tap is switched to the ‘on’ position for trouble-free scootering.
We then wait for what seems like an eternity before we spot a gap and pull out. Soon we are approaching Ringwood where we see Ian at the side of road. He waves us by and we carry on toward the 4-lane terrifying A31, all the time praying to the scooter Gods that we don’t seize, blow up or get sideswiped by a fast-travelling car or lorry. We soon find ourselves safely back on the relative calm of a dual carriageway where we look for a safe place, pull over and wait for the big one to arrive. Mission accomplished, we pull over in the entrance of a disused garage. Ian soon arrives, at last, we are three again. Alas not for long, Ian pulls out and leaves us waiting for a big enough safe gap to pull out into. Eventually, we get back out onto the road and catch up with Ian.
Men at work
The next few miles pass incident-free and we manage to stay as a group of three. We soon see a sign for Sandford and exit the roundabout knowing we will soon be at our destination. Not long after we leave said roundabout we arrive at a set of traffic lights. The local council are digging up one side of the road and coating the other with mud, a real nice touch I thought. About a mile up the road I hit a bump or a pothole, soon after that my nearside panel decides it doesn’t want to be part of the scooter any longer. It slowly starts to creep off at the front before making a bid for freedom. The next thing I hear is the sickening sound of it dragging behind me before a spot of road surfing. Luckily Neil wasn’t hit by it and managed to pull over safely. Also, the car behind missed it too.
I pull over and do my best sprint/run/jog/waddle in my full riding gear to retrieve it. As I’m reattaching it the IoW scooter club ride past. They catch up with Ian who has pulled over waiting for us and tell him we’re a mile back down the road. So the next time we see him he’s riding towards us. Eventually, we all manage to coordinate ourselves and actually head together in the right direction. We soon arrive at Sandford and hand our money over to the Modrapheniacs in exchange for our wristbands and goody bags.
I take this opportunity to inspect the panel. Not too bad, just a few deep scratches and one very small dent. So I got off rather lightly I think. Next on the agenda is getting the caravan keys at reception. This done and with map in hand, we have a quick look at where we are going and set off. The calamitous journey didn’t end there though, I forgot to turn my fuel back on after checking in, and apparently it’s the same for Imola powered Lambrettas as TS1s where fuel is concerned…
Steve, Heart and Soul SC
You can read Booga’s write up from the Modrapheniacs rally by clicking this link. I wonder how long it’ll be before our next scooter rally?
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