"Well it's a lovely day for it." I thought, as Alice's bike coughed to a halt. Turns out her new 600 drinks a bit more fuel than her 125 did.
Happily the MAG run to the Julian Trust night shelter was rather more organised and when we got there with 30 seconds to spare everyone was lined up and ready for the off.
Most had arrived at the Burrington Inn Cafe in plenty of time and spent a while in the sun having a cuppa and a natter. The breakfast was not cheap but apparently it was quite sizeable and worked well for those stomachs as deep as their pockets.
Someone with more fingers and toes than me counted about 45 bikes and with support from the White Lines, Brothers, Independents and Blackhawks MCC the marshalling was top notch. The route spent little time on the A38 before bimbling off along the less trod path through Barrow Gurney, Flax Bourton, Failand and Abbots Leigh before heading into the centre of Bristol along the Hotwells road.
We arrived at the shelter to a warm welcome, even warmer tea-urn and plates of custard creams and left a decent stack of food and over £300 to support the shelter who's work has been all too important these last few years.
Those that hadn't yet had their fill of food and chit-chat scooped on up the MAG haunt that is The Railway Tavern in Fishponds for a drink of something hot or cold and a quite a lot of sandwiches. All in all a very nice morning and hats off to Dan for organising it.
On Saturday August 23rd over a hundred bikes took part in the Bristol protest ride as part of MAG's national "Now You See Us!" demonstration.
The protest aimed to raise awareness of the justice system's continued acceptance of excuses such as "Sorry mate, I didn't see you.", and the woefully inadequate sentences handed down to drivers that kill motorcyclists and cyclists.
After taking over the South-east corner of Gordano Services the convoy rode into and around Bristol's city centre to arrive at Waterfront Square where Ian Mutch gave a speech and we handed out flyers to the public.
A great big thanks to all those that turned out on a busy bank holiday weekend. Special thanks go to Motorcycle Funerals for leading the convoy with their side-car hearse, and to all the marshals that ensured a spectacle whilst avoiding negative disruption.
With a brilliant all-night performance from Pressed For Time, all the crowd had to do was keep drinking and keep dancing. They did both admirably and had a damn good time to boot.
As always the kitchen was the cool place to be - OK so it was actually pretty warm - and the "Angels of Chef" kept the masses well fed.
The soft turf of the Bristol Saracens' ground gently popped a couple of camping cherries and a decent club breakfast cut through the morning after the night before.
"Well the rain let up, and the sun came up, and we were gettin' dry..." And so it was that the twenty or so from Bristol MAG were more or less dry by the time they arrived at The Bridge Inn at Michaelchurch Escley.
And what a great little place! Set in a sun trap by a babbling brook, surrounded by willows, and yet not a fly in sight. With showers and soft, flat turf this was posh camping indeed.
The poshness continued with dinner - many opting for steak with chips served in natty little buckets - before heading out into the evening sun where the good wine and local beer and cider were going down very nicely. This did of course lead to things becoming a bit less posh.
The Black Rat Effect proved to be a fantastic party band and despite the very tight squeeze pretty much everyone was soon up and dancing in the crush of locals, bikers and half a dozen girls enjoying a hen night.
It's about this time that memory gets a little hazy, though I'm certain there was no inappropriate dancing to Electric Six's "Gay bar" song. Ahem. Needless to say a few of us were a little more subdued the following morning until the bacon & egg rolls and pots of tea had kicked in.
All in all it was a cracking weekend and definitely one to do again. In the mean time why not try The Bridge Inn for yourself? We also heartily recommend The Black Rat Effect who play the last Friday of every month in the Kings Arms in Abergavenny.
Lew's Boat Inn Birthday Bash has always been a great event, and this year being The Big 5-0 it was one of the best.
A suspiciously convenient landslide had closed the road a few yards on from the pub, letting the event spill out into the gorgeous weather of a Wye Valley summer.
With the hillbilly style band now in the open air, the good vibe and hi-jinks of the troop in blonde wigs drew a decent local crowd.
No wig needed to spot the larger-than-life Lew of course as he popped is cork across the river before handing out the bubbly.
The management at The Boat are top people and did a cracking job of keeping everyone happy, with plenty of good beer and local cider and excellent food.
Everyone enjoyed themselves quite hard and the following morning's ride down to Tintern for breakfast at The Old Station was definitely well past "brunch", whilst Lew and Anita in particular barely made it for afternoon tea!
As to the "wild camping", 20 tents were pitched in nettles taller than people, leading to some unusual crop circles and a fair few rashes, whilst fairies disguised as small dogs were easily lost.
Eddie & Dave in (separate) bivvy bags slept where they fell, whilst Joe simply fell! He's making a habit of that, though credit is due for keeping his luggage out of the river!
With no-one asking the question "Does a Dave shit in the woods?" the only one remaining is: Was that really the last Boat Inn Birthday Bash? I hope not!
Saturday March 29th saw 22 from Bristol MAG take an "educational" tour of the Towles brewery in Easton, Bristol. So - what did we learn?
Bristol's newest brewery is run by the Towle family who are knowledgeable, hands-on, and only have mild obsessions with the art of the maltster and the breeding habits of yeast.
The name is pronounced as in "For whom the bell tolls". This is also the name of one of their beers so if you find yourself saying "towels" then a few pints should help you remember the correct pronunciation.
The beers are great! Favourites of the night were Old Smiler - a traditional dark amber ale that goes down all too easily - and the IPA which is deceptively light as it's quite strong!
Finally, we learned that Tim CAN organise a piss-up in a brewery! Everyone had a cracking time and even stayed late for extra tuition, though some of us may not have felt too clever on the Sunday.
This was set to be Bristol & Avon Roadrunners MCC's final Charity Pet Food Run to Bristol & Bath Dogs & Cats home, and in keeping with the previous 20 years it was a good 'un.
The ride raised £231.79 on the day with over 70 bikes coming along ranging from 6 foot men on BMW beasts to spaniels riding in side-cars, it was also good to see a couple of young bikers getting involved either on 125s or as pillion.
The turn-out was well received by both the staff at Bristol & Bath Dogs & Cats home, and also their visitors on the day who were quite intrigued and impressed by the spectacle.
Also well received was the weather - in a welcome break from the wintry soakings the sun shone all day and tinted visors & sunglasses were much needed for the ride out from The Colosseum in Bristol.
Find out more about Bristol & Avon Roadrunners MCC here.