Circumstances forced me to attend on my ET4, which isn't really designed for long-distance touring. Undaunted, on Friday morning I packed my luggage under the seat, polished the paintwork and chrome, and set off for the Ace Café in glorious sunshine.
There I met some familiar forum faces, and we travelled to Wales in convoy and in leisurely fashion, arriving in good time for dinner.
Saturday's rideout led us up Hay Bluff, where the wind and rain commenced and I entertained the party by struggling into my waterproofs in the gale. Then down again along steep and twisty single-track lanes, across cattle grids and through little villages, while sheep leaped into the hedges for dear life.
We had a coffee stop at Llanthony Priory and lunch at Crickhowell, both charmingly scenic. The afternoon included a very narrow bridge, a weir and a lake, and finished up in Hay. The weather was showery, with rain commencing every time we stopped and got off the bikes. Fortunately I was carrying an umbrella; anyone who suggests that I am therefore Not A Proper Biker is just jealous.
We enjoyed a pub dinner on Saturday night and went our separate ways in the morning. Many of us were heading for London and remained together until our various junctions on the M25, waving as we parted. By evening almost everyone who attended had reported their safe arrival home on the forum and shared their memories of a great weekend.
Most of the X9ers I would have nothing in common with if we weren't all bikers. It's fantastic the way this interest draws us together and ensures there's always lots to talk about regardless of age, sex or other dividers.
Very, very pleased with the ET4's performance: keeping up with the group, coping with the roads, and even coming runner-up in the Best Turned-Out Scooter competition (resplendant in new furry seat cover). I seem to have put 450 miles on my so-called commuter bike over the weekend - not bad for 125cc and a top speed of 65mph.