Birthday Run

17th April 2005

Safety brief

Paul Wiggins gives the pre-ride briefing

Motorcycling in April - the blossom’s out, the hopes are high - but will the gods be with us!? Yes. At 8.45am the sun was streaming into my garage as I opened the doors. Hopes soared and the Harley roared.

By the time we were ready for the Safety Briefing at Warrs I had lost count of bikes arriving, but somewhere in the high 40’s. There were many newcomers which is great to see - dads with sons and couples too.

From three recce’s of the route we had proven this to be a 2.5 hour journey of just on 80 miles... a full tanks and empty bladders run. We were passing through some of Kent and East Sussex’s quaintest country lanes and visiting two big reservoirs for good measure.

Others had taken advantage of the weather and as we rumbled up Putney High Street it was fairly heavy with traffic. Heading out on the A3, the perennial artery to leafier lanes, the cars grew thinner and we made our progress at a steadier rate. Heading for J8/M25 we made a short dash to J6 and began to enjoy the greenery more as we steered east on the A25.

Passing by Limpsfield Chart the sun glanced through the trees and made luminous patches of green and blue on the woodland carpet. Real country lane stuff now. Sunshine dazzled and danced on the water and ducks dabbled and bobbed in the early summer warmth as we potato-potatoed past Bough Beech Reservoir.

Heading south, our shiny convoy weaved and thundered through classic Kent countryside. It is so uplifting to ride with so many other bikes, delighting in the scenes and smells of sunny English country lanes.

Passing by Pooh Bridge (of Winnie fame) the vegetation was changing and suddenly we emerged onto Ashdown Forest. Rolling ground blanketed in heather and gorse revealed more distant horizons and views across East Sussex. Slowly, we filtered through the old town of Crowborough, famous for being home to Sherlock Holmes author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Back once again into verdant and wooded lanes we headed east to Wadhurst. As we neared Ticehurst we could only glimpse the stunning views to the south into the River Rother valley.

Turning left out of Ticehurst we trickled along single track lanes for a short distance and our first sight of Bewl Water burst into view. A very quick blast up the A21 and we arrived at our final destination.

Bewl Water

Bewl Water

Bewl Water was built in the 70’s and is the south-east’s largest stretch of open water and almost 100 feet deep. From atop our grassy lookout the shimmering view is quite spectacular. More importantly though, the rumbling in our stomachs needed satisfying in the restaurant.

With a final count of over 50 bikes we were all enjoying the delights and rewards of Harleying. It is wonderful to see new members rocking back with laughter at our tables and imbibing the spirit of Chelsea & Fulham, of biking and having fun.

Paul Wiggins - C&F Road Captain