WHO: Teresa Stratford
WHAT: Surviving the ride
WHERE: On the way back from Llandudno
WHY: My first ride to a scooter rally
After riding pillion on the back of the husband for a few years I thought I could never ride a scooter myself. I had a slight lack of confidence and perceived them to be too scary & heavy to handle. Then I gave in to the buzz of it all and on the spur of a moment bought a scooter and booked a CBT.
CBT day arrived and needless to say I was crapping myself, I was the only one never to have ridden before, so as you can guess I was ride leader on the day. But as soon as we were out on the road I was in my element and wondering why I had left it so long. CBT done and dusted and scooter of choice already bought, an LML auto. Why? Because I liked the classic shape but I’m not confident with the gears, (haters will hate, but I’m on the road).
Well, I was new to riding so what next? We booked to go to Llandudno scooter rally last year, a mere 156 or so miles. Scooters loaded, riding was all new to me, let alone riding with baggage. Three of us rode there, the hubby Rob and a fellow Nottingham Knight John Hibbert. It was a lovely sunny day and the scenic route was chosen with me being new to it all (Nottingham/Ashbourne /Stoke/Welsh winding back roads) and after a few brews and petrol stops, five and a half hours later we finally made it to Llandudno, with no fuss.
Saturday we rode up The Great Orme, beautiful scenery and lots of winding roads to get my head around. The town was packed with hundreds of scooterists, all friendly and patient for the new rider. The weekend came and went, much of it in a blur, until the ride home.
Sunday morning I looked out of the window (yes we did the B&B thing and glad too as we heard many shifty stories about the camp site) it’s throwing it down with rain so waterproofs on. Then came the ride home. The rain was relentless and we decided to ride home via the dual carriageway, as it would be safer than the winding roads through Wales. We picked up another Nottingham Knight member, Mark and set off heads down into the weather. Well I never hope to ever endure this nightmare again!
The rain was very heavy and the wind scared the shit outta me, anyone owning a P-range will know they are not wind friendly. Mile after mile after mile we saw other scooterists stopped off under bridges having a break or broken down, and mile after mile the wind and rain never eased up. I had contemplated crying but thought I wouldn’t be able to see where I was going if I had (the things that go through your mind). After what seemed like a lifetime we stopped off at a petrol station. We were soaked to the bone and as I came to a standstill my legs went and me and the scooter (Purple Ronnie) went over. While I was laughing to myself the lads rushed to help me… fortunately just a metre away there was a huge shitty muddy puddle I just missed, we still laugh about it now.
Now back onto the horrible A500 to Stoke, the rain was as heavy as it had been the last 100 miles, the wind was blowing me all over the road, mile after mile after soggy mile. And if the wind wasn’t enough the passing lorries kept me alert with extra spray and sucked me towards them. Finally after what seemed like a lifetime we were home, wet to the bone, alive with excitement and buzzing. Would I do it again? Yes. Llandudno was an experience I will never forget, it would either make me or break me. Well it definitely made me.
Thanks to the husband, Rob, and fellow Nottingham Knights John Hibbert and Mark Pointez, for pushing me on. As if you lot hadn’t been there I would have been in the nearest B&B for another night! Needless to say it hasn’t put me off riding, as I have ridden my scooter every day since – no fair weather riding here.
Teresa Stratford: Nottingham Knights S.C