Sammy Miller Trip

This trip was undertaken before the current lockdown rules, we were allowed to mix and we were allowed to leave our county boroughs, but just in case we were a group of 6 and we all live together in a bubble house.

Well we all meet socially distanced of course outside the Station inn on Nantgarw Rd in Caerphilly on a chilly Saturday morning in early September, it was 7am after all, we had a full array of bikes Japanese Italian German British the club was well represented. Martyn decided to take his new Bonneville because he wanted to get further than Machen and I decided to not to take my BSA because I hadn’t booked Monday off work! Gareth was looking like Mr Cool on his Guzzi California & Adrian just looked like an extra from the long way down (Ex London courier see nothing rattles Adrian), Jonny Lewis was on his first outing on his recently re-engined ZZR1100 and was looking suitably apprehensive, on our previous trip to the Cotswold motor hub a loose 6mm bolt on the end of the camshaft had failed and caused the engine to eat itself, he’d sauced an engine and fitted it in a little over 7 days. Meanwhile Alan Robinson oil filler cap on his FJ decided to throw oil out and on to his Virginal boots on his way to the starting point so we dashed to my house to pick up some PTFE tape and fixed it. Alan looked really dapper in his new Richa attire. A quick Hi Ho Silver and we were off down through Machen and onto the M4 at Tredegar House, in what appeared to be no time at all we were off at Jcn 18 for Bath for a quick regroup and then on to a breakfast halt a farm café just outside Frome, we avoided Bath centre and went through Bradford on Avon instead. Did you know Royal Enfield re-located from Redditch to Bradford and assembled control equipment for Bofors guns and other gun sights in the old stone quarry workings around Bradford-on-Avon during the war, after the war they stayed on manufacturing the 250 Crusader, Meteor and finally the interceptor in Bradford. 

At the breakfast halt Alan Collins reported that the front end of his Tiger was feeling a little vague, so Adrian in true Boy Scout style produced a tyre inflator that looked like a gadget from one of the Jonny English films, A LITTLE VAGUE!!!! It was showing around 10psi and that was on a warm tyre. I’ve since talked to Alan and he was so impressed with Adrian’s tyre inflator he went straight out and bought one. The bacon sausage and egg were superb, well if a Farm café can’t get those three ingredients right they’d better give up haven’t they. Josh our resident IT wizard approached the breakfast table wearing an enormous rucksack, he has so much IT equipment inside sometimes I feel like the president and he’s carrying the missile launch codes or something, Nibs whispered in my ear “why is he carrying a parachute”. Mike told us his alarm didn’t go off and he actually only woke up at 6.45 and he still made it on time. A good effort Sir.    

So onward past Warminster to Shaftesbury, then we took a road I’m fairly familiar with the B3081 up Zig Zag hill, I was at the front of the group but I believe a few people overcooked the bends a little, come on you know who you are.

Our final stop before Sammy’s was for fuel at Christchurch, Mikes little 400/4 was on fumes, it was a shame I picked the smallest petrol station in Dorset though….15 minutes after that we pulled in to Mr Millers museum.

45 seconds after arriving Nibs was sporting shorts T shirt flip-flops oh and a pair of Oakley’s and was ready to go, 45 minutes after arriving Alan R was just about ready to leave his bike, WOW I thought my Mrs was slow, sorry Matt don’t tell Mam.

If you’ve never been to Millers it’s well worth a visit, there are literally dozens & dozens of bikes and many are just unique, then there’s the memorabilia that needs a museum of its own alone. A good guide to take with you to any of these establishments is Danny, he has an opinion on everything and its usually hilarious and some of his off the cuff comments are brilliant, and despite what he’ll have you believe he quite likes some of the old British bikes, 2 strokes are his love though it don’t really matter who made it so long as its noisy and creates a blue haze behind him. I had contacted the museum a few days before to let them know of our groups imminent arrival on Saturday and the Lady curator was somewhat impressed that we were making the journey from South Wales, so after we’d been there for an hour or so she announced to Mr Miller we’d arrived and the great man introduced himself and spoke at length about a few bikes we were currently viewing, he then invited us into his workshop for more lectures, when he was describing something he’d achieved he talked about himself as the third person, e.g. (that wasn’t good enough for Miller or the young power hungry Miller wasn’t happy with that) it was surreal really, he asked who was the Navigator and from which direction we’d arrived at the museum, when I told him he said that’s totally the wrong way and proceeded to give me a rough sketch of how to get the boys home from there, I think he was fed up with us by then and perhaps the novelty of Welsh voices in his Workshop had worn off. We thanked him for the personal tour and headed off for cake a coffee, I had a piece of chocolate cake, and it was like one half of a breeze block it was HUGE.

We decided to leave and head home via Stonehenge and Avebury standing stones, I thought I’d better give Alan the nod that we were leaving soon so he could get his clobber back again and boy did he need the heads up. We headed for Ringwood roughly following Sammy’s exit strategy and then Salisbury, did you know Salisbury Cathedral has the highest steeple in England, anyway we passed Stonehenge on the right and the traffic was mental most of the group missed it anyway, the traffic was far too heavy for a closer inspection, next up we stopped outside a pub…….it was shuttered up, I don’t think it was a casualty of covid. Mike Shak 400/4 in a previous life it would seem had repaired industrial appliances in commercial premises all over the South of England and recommended the Red Lion at Avebury, he’d given the dishwasher there a good service a while back…her name was Dawn….. no it was Hotpoint really. Anyway after a brief tour of Avebury’s car parks we finally arrived at the pub only to be asked have you got an appointment, someone said we don’t want to see a Doctor we just want to sit outside in the sunshine with a drink. After 10-15 minutes the girl who I think used to work for border control at Dover decided to let a small party in to buy drinks for everyone else, honestly it was like been back in school and being limited to how many kids are allowed in the local sweet shop! It was around then when I noticed Mike was on his second drink already and I thought, he must’ve really given that old dishwasher a good service! The Red Lion is on a series of S bends and a Triumph 1200 Trophy dropped into the bends like Barry Sheene its cans scrapping all the way around to the sound of Cheers and whistles.

We headed for Chippenham Mike dropped off for fuel again but the rest of us were good, we all pulled in a lay-by just before the M4 and awaited Mike, when Mike appeared he went straight past like he was passing the pits at Le Mans or something, to the rest of us it was like Fox & Hounds and we all gave chase.

And that’s pretty much what happened your Honour, we got home just before the heavens opened up, a good time was had by all I think and I for one can’t wait until we can a do it again. We are seriously thinking of renaming the club, THE SOUTH WALES

If you’ve never been to Millers it’s well worth a visit, there are literally dozens & dozens of bikes and many are just unique, then there’s the memorabilia that needs a museum of its own alone. A good guide to take with you to any of these establishments is Danny, he has an opinion on everything and its usually hilarious and some of his off the cuff comments are brilliant, and despite what he’ll have you believe he quite likes some of the old British bikes, 2 strokes are his love though it don’t really matter who made it so long as its noisy and creates a blue haze behind him. I had contacted the museum a few days before to let them know of our groups imminent arrival on Saturday and the Lady curator was somewhat impressed that we were making the journey from South Wales, so after we’d been there for an hour or so she announced to Mr Miller we’d arrived and the great man introduced himself and spoke at length about a few bikes we were currently viewing, he then invited us into his workshop for more lectures, when he was describing something he’d achieved he talked about himself as the third person, e.g. (that wasn’t good enough for Miller or the young power hungry Miller wasn’t happy with that) it was surreal really, he asked who was the Navigator and from which direction we’d arrived at the museum, when I told him he said that’s totally the wrong way and proceeded to give me a rough sketch of how to get the boys home from there, I think he was fed up with us by then and perhaps the novelty of Welsh voices in his Workshop had worn off. We thanked him for the personal tour and headed off for cake a coffee, I had a piece of chocolate cake, and it was like one half of a breeze block it was HUGE.

We decided to leave and head home via Stonehenge and Avebury standing stones, I thought I’d better give Alan the nod that we were leaving soon so he could get his clobber back again and boy did he need the heads up. We headed for Ringwood roughly following Sammy’s exit strategy and then Salisbury, did you know Salisbury Cathedral has the highest steeple in England, anyway we passed Stonehenge on the right and the traffic was mental most of the group missed it anyway, the traffic was far too heavy for a closer inspection, next up we stopped outside a pub…….it was shuttered up, I don’t think it was a casualty of covid. Mike Shak 400/4 in a previous life it would seem had repaired industrial appliances in commercial premises all over the South of England and recommended the Red Lion at Avebury, he’d given the dishwasher there a good service a while back…her name was Dawn….. no it was Hotpoint really. Anyway after a brief tour of Avebury’s car parks we finally arrived at the pub only to be asked have you got an appointment, someone said we don’t want to see a Doctor we just want to sit outside in the sunshine with a drink. After 10-15 minutes the girl who I think used to work for border control at Dover decided to let a small party in to buy drinks for everyone else, honestly it was like been back in school and being limited to how many kids are allowed in the local sweet shop! It was around then when I noticed Mike was on his second drink already and I thought, he must’ve really given that old dishwasher a good service! The Red Lion is on a series of S bends and a Triumph 1200 Trophy dropped into the bends like Barry Sheene its cans scrapping all the way around to the sound of Cheers and whistles.

We headed for Chippenham Mike dropped off for fuel again but the rest of us were good, we all pulled in a lay-by just before the M4 and awaited Mike, when Mike appeared he went straight past like he was passing the pits at Le Mans or something, to the rest of us it was like Fox & Hounds and we all gave chase.

And that’s pretty much what happened your Honour, we got home just before the heavens opened up, a good time was had by all I think and I for one can’t wait until we can a do it again. We are seriously thinking of renaming the club, THE SOUTH WALES CLASSISIC & SARCASM MOTORCYCLE CLUB. I can’t think why.

Alwyn

The 26th Carole Nash Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show – The Write Up

So once again the invite was given, and we were told with a few weeks to go we could have a double stand, so the call was made and our members answered. It’s a huge commitment and requires big effort to put on a show like this so a huge thank you goes to those members who answered the call. A plan was made, and we kicked off meeting up for breakfast although some members went up earlier after a good feed the convoy progressed up to the show.

We made good time and then the chaos of unloading begins it’s always a tricky with trailers and keeping the bikes clean unloading on mud. Going up on the Friday is really the only way to get it all setup in time. Once the hard work is done though the real feature of the weekend begins and that’s chatting together and having a beer and having a laugh with people from the club and fellow clubs and organisations.

Saturday night is always the Chinese buffet night where there is lots of chat between many plates of food, though most opted for an early night with the plan to get up early to watch the rugby between getting into the show. Thankfully Wales won and happy moods retained. Another busy day of chatting and chaos then ensues to pack it all down.

It really can’t be understated these show weekends really are a good weekend and opportunity for members to really grow their friendships and banter as friends of friends all get thrown into the mix and if you after parts or knowledge this is the place to figure out your biking woes or project builds. There is always an expert either there or numbers traded for the guy that knows what your after. Many deals done and knowledge shared. Tho you will need a weekend off to get over the busy jam packed weekend. But a huge thank you again goes to the members who made the trip, it was great to see you all.

Llandovery Bike Show – The Write Up

The long delayed write up, life took over but now it’s here. Llandovery Bike Show commands almost the centre of the map in Wales and is the main hub for bikers from almost every direction with a long history of being very accomodating it’s a perfect spot for a show.

There is always a great selection and this year was no different, supported by a number of Safety Inititives and local support from Charities and Clubs alike. It’s also growing year on year and one not to be missed with great entertainment on for those there for the full weekend.

A number of us rode up first thing to help setup and enjoy the day. After a great local cafe discovery and a splendid feed we settled in to chat to people on our favorite subjects it’s strangle being penned in but there are worse places for the show and it allows for clubs and entrants to the show to spread out. It’s always good to be showing beside the Pembrokeshire Classic Club too they always have a great selection of bikes and chat about up coming events like the Piston Rally.

There is a great timeline of events throught the whole day and a number of stalls to visit. And a gymkana style time trial in the main arena. With the car park being as good as the show for the entire weekend. If you missed out this year make sure it’s on the schedule for next year and maybe make a full weekend of it. Martyn’s Bonnie picked runner up for Best in Show in the British Bikes Catagory on the Saturday too.

Weston Bike Night – 27/06/2019 – The Write Up

So it finally happened, the rain stopped and that big burning ball in the sky finally came out to bless us and a Thursday night was actually looking like great weather. Weston is always a great night but logistics always make it a bit tricky especially if you have to work until late so we had 2 groups heading down and earlier group for those lucky enough to not be working and those heading down after work, thanks to the whats app group these last minute plans can be sorted. I managed to leave work a little bit earlier and managed to get there for 6 the event is 6-9 so being there at the start meant time for fish and chips.

By 7 it was all in full swing and the event never fails to provide huge variety in whats there and time to have a good natter about bikes. If a sunny night blesses a Thursday it really is a must do event in the summer calendar. Anyway enough chat here’s my pics:

Remembering Malcolm Uphill Welsh TT Legend – Charity Ride – The Write Up

So where to start, we had the idea to create this event actually before we decided to create the club. The Club has now turned a year old and this type of event was exactly what we wanted at our core. Malcolm Uphill was a local legend to those bikers in the know and any fan of the Isle of Man TT, he was one of very few successful Welsh Motorcycle Racers. The Anniversary of his win, Now 50 years ago and breaking the 100mph average speed on the circuit meant this was worth the effort to make an event happen. Being a local Caerphilly man and our club being based in Caerphilly many of our members have a connection or a Malcolm story from the years gone by. His achievements in recent years are really becoming more recognised with the Weatherspoon’s in Caerphilly being named after him.

As regulars of the “Malcolm Uphill” pub we discussed a potential event with the Managers almost right after we had the idea and they were thrilled with the potential. So when we went back to them to say we were pushing forward with it we knew this is where the ride should start. A huge thanks goes to the team over at Weatherspoons for allowing us to host the start of the event and for throwing in some bacon rolls for our participants. A huge thank you also to the Caerphilly Town Mayor Councilor Mike Prew who came to meet us all and give us a send off. He was not the only Councillor in Support however, Councillor Chris Morgan from Bedwas, Trethomas and Machan Council took up position in a side car outfit for the whole event.

We were aware the weather was not going to be perfect for the run so we had our fingers crossed for a good showing, this was important because we did not want to let the Charity down. It was always our intention this be a Charity ride and we will be the first to suggest immediately Motorbikes and Wildlife are not normally associated however this is where it comes back to the main man himself. During his lifetime Malcolm was a quiet and humble man but was well known for his love of wildlife and nature. We knew he would have wanted us to support a charity that will make a difference in our local and wider area. The Wildlife Trust for South & West Wales was an obvious choice and were thrilled to be involved.

Thankfully on the day we were not disappointed and we had 68 participants leaving Caerphilly in various forms, riders, pillions and side car passengers. With a huge variety of bikes of all manufacturers and ages of bike. The ride was great with only one breakdown but thankfully he rejoined us at Brecon on another bike. The main downpour happend while we were stopped at Abergavenny. Apart from a few showers the weather turned out ok for the rest of the ride. The road to Llandovery is always a lot of fun and we were pleased to stop in the West End Cafe a favorite of Malcolm’s for more refreshments before heading back Brecon for a mandatory stop at Terry’s Van before heading back to our local Club Pub The Station Inn, this is where we meet every two weeks on a Tuesday Night and we were more than happy to fill their carpark with bikes and have a final chin wag.

The Event went very well and we plan to do it all again next year, fingers crossed for sun next time. We felt the event was a great way to remember Malcolm’s life and achievements. We are even more pleased to be able to annouce we raised £419.67 for the Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales who were incredibly greatful and happy to recieve the funds. All the money will go towards covering the cost of their vital conservation work, protecting our beautiful Welsh wildlife.