Strange times at ‘The Isle of Wight ride out | OPINION
Our full Isle of Wight coverage with a write up from Col and hundreds of photos will be published early next week. Before that though, Sticky takes a look at the strange (and getting stranger) spectacle that is the Isle of Wight ride out.
This year it was lead off by bagpipers, war veterans and even an overweight dog – what’s that all about? Aren’t the multi-coloured scooters enough of a tourist attraction in themselves any more? Watch the video, read the article and feel free to leave your comments and thoughts – good or bad.
The gallery of photos at the end of this article are available direct from Sticky as a much higher resolution download. If you’re in one of the photos and want to buy a copy for personal use you can email him directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Isle of Wight has always been like several different rallies all taking place in the same location at once. I don’t begrudge it that. When the location is this big, this sunny and this much fun then there’s space and time for everyone to enjoy themselves on their scooters in whatever way they want.
However, at the start of the ride-out I do admit that my credulity was being severely tested. At one point near the entrance of the Ice Rink car park, the only things I could see were:
- A bloke on a monstrous motorcycle trike
- A bagpipe band in kilts
- A local photographer directing the bagpipe band
- The roofs of some BMW C1 scooters
In that specific photo you can’t see a single Vespa or Lambretta.
In the end the ride-out was lead out by the bagpipe band playing ‘Scotland the brave’ followed by flag-bearers and a row of suited war veterans in medals, one with a Bulldog who was so sweltering in the intense heat that he collapsed briefly on the tarmac.
Now let me be clear on this, I have every respect for our armed forces and our veterans, but WTF was that all about? Isn’t honouring our military the purpose of Remembrance Day? Why the bag-pipers playing Scotland the Brave when you’d struggle to be any further from Scotland on our island? Unless I’m massively mistaken it all has absolutely zero to do with scooters; which I found odd to say the least?
In the past few years, we’ve had ‘oh so cute’ kids on tiny scooters leading the carnival procession. Fair enough – they are still on scooters of sorts. Call me picky but aren’t scooters and scooterists supposed to be the stars of this particular show? Isn’t that the point? What will it be next year, the National Union of Minecraft Players, Lesbian Dopeheads on Mopeds or The Congolese One-Armed Banjo Player’s Association?
The path of enlightenment
This year the ride-out was directed at each junction, very generously I understand by a Christian motorcycle club; which made it easy because there is only ‘one true path’. Apparently, that path leads around Bembridge.
So, why politicise, militarise, religi-cise or Morecambe & Wise a perfectly good scooter ride-out? Aren’t the scooters enough of a spectacle for the tourists any more? If the answer is ‘no’ then this prompts a bigger question then of ‘who is this for?’ Is the Isle of Wight Scooter Rally for Scooterists, or is it for the benefit of the Island and its tourism?
Not wanting to be a performing monkey in anyone’s circus, I cut through the back streets of Ryde to meet the ride-out further ahead, once all the pomp and ceremony had fallen away.
There, in its purest form, joy was restored. If you can subdue any scooter-snobbery then seeing the enjoyment of everyone riding, many in continental beach-grade riding gear, then who can say that anyone is doing it wrong? As the woman sat with her dog waving at the procession put it succinctly, ‘this is brilliant isn’t it?’
Yes love, it is brilliant. Simply to see so many scooter riders showing off their machines and enjoying riding them in the summer sun is enough for those taking part, and the vast majority of spectators too.
No bagpipe band required…
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