The Cheddar weekend, 8th/9th April 2017.
(Click any photo to see a larger picture - then just follow the slide show.)

A number of us headed over the bridge to Cheddar for the annual riding weekend organised by the Somerset Section. This was the 52nd running of the event. Those who went this year were:

Bruce and Di - 1943 Triumph 3HW
Rob Jones - 1953 Velocette MAC
Roger and Iris - 1987 PAC
Howard and Carol - 1983 Lomax
Bill and Jean - 1925 Indian

Rob, Bruce and Di took their camper vans, whilst Howard and Carol along with Jean and myself opted for a local B&B, as did Roger and Iris.

Saturday - the social run day
We all congregated at the Football club ground from around 9am, ready for the 10.30am start, with some very nice bikes turning up:

The weather looked set for a glorious day as we set off into Cheddar itself before climbing up over the Mendips and through Shipham. The route went on to Blagdon and then past the Chew Valley lake as we headed north. We ended up on the A38 and soon passed Bristol airport before turning off towards Flax Bourton. After 28 miles the lunch stop was reached at Oakham Treasures, not far from Portbury and the Easton in Gordano services on the M5. After a good ploughman's lunch we all had a look around the Treasures museum - and there was a lot to see:

Inside the museum:

The run back to Cheddar can hardly be described as uneventful. We set off from the museum and travelled a single track road running parallel to the M5 when my Indian developed a squeak that got louder and louder as we went along. Eventually I noticed that the kickstart lever was stuck in the down position and after kicking it back up noticed that the folding part of the kickstart had completely gone. No real problem - just don't stall the bike I thought. Tomorrows run will need a push start to get going. So on we went. We arrived at a set of traffic lights to cross the A370 and Rob stalled his MAC. Myself and Bruce went on and waited, leaving Rob kicking his Velo into life. Eventually we were all together and riding around the perimeter of Bristol Airport, after which we then joined the main A38 and headed south for about 4 miles to the traffic lights at Churchill. As the lights changed Rob's Velo decided to stall again, as the rest of us went through to wait the other side of the lights. I couldn't wait too long, as I had no kickstart and the engine was getting hot on tick over. So, Jean and I left Rob in the capable hands of Bruce and set off for the finish. A change of plug soon got the Velo running again and we all eventually all arrived back at base after a 26 mile run back from lunch.

Sitting on the back of the van and musing over the day and the lost kickstart I noticed that fuel was dripping off the front corner of the Indian tank. After some inspection I decided to call things a day and cancel the following days ride, so drained the tank and loaded the bike into the van. It was then suggested that I could borrow the Honda 400/4 that Bruce had brought with him as a spare. That was soon arranged, so Jean and I were able to ride the following day.
The evening buffet was very good, I must say and the whole evening went off well amidst plenty of story telling and laughter.

Sunday - the day for the competition
Seen at the start:

Glorious sunshine again today as we all set off, this time up the Cheddar gorge. Not a pleasant ride at all due to the cyclists and us being stuck behind several cars and a minibus that was reluctant to pull out and pass the cyclists. However, we were soon off into the countryside and it was a pleasure to ride Bruce's Honda for a change. All those gears and an electric starter.
There were some special tests, which I dodged, as it would have been wrong for the Vintage class to be won by a 1975 Honda. The first test was to ride through a ford and I ducked out of that, as did Howard in the Lomax. The next test, which I didn't notice, was the observing of how we did a right hand turn - by being distracted by the observer in his yellow jacket I missed the turning and had to back track. Finally, there was a layby where everyone queued up for the questions and to have a feel of the black bags in order to identify the contents. All in all we covered around 40 odd miles and were soon back at the start and the packing up.

The final part of the weekend was a Sunday lunch, which was good and soon eaten. By 3pm we were on the road home and feeling quite pleased with what turned out to be a great weekend.
It was down to the three-wheelers to uphold the section reputation by Roger and Iris winning the 2nd place with Howard and Carol coming in 3rd. All the rest of us disappeared without trace in the results.