As this was a Modern Vespa outing I was planning to take the ET4, but the week before the trip it shredded its belt spectacularly on the slip road up to the A20 from Orpington. So I brought the GP800 and endured a lot of stick for having such an enormous bike while being so small of stature (somebody referred to me as a 'dainty young lady', which is far from the truth on every count).
I met three forum comrades in Greenwich for a drizzly ride down the A2, to join forces with the rest of the troops at the Dover to Dunkirk ferry. A pleasant crossing complete with fried breakfast and we were ready for action.
Having the biggest baddest bike turned out to be a lot of fun: I went Tail End Charlie and cruised along in the rear keeping an eye on everyone. On the Saturday two Belgian members of the forum took us on a tour which included the Menin Gate, Tyne Cot and the 'Trench of Death' at Diksmuide; on Sunday we visited a chocolate factory and picturesque Bruges, to cheer ourselves up.
We stayed overnight at the Bikers' Loft. Having heard tell of this establishment, I was anticipating a nightmare night of slamming doors, revving engines and loud, drunken bikers. In fact I slept cosily in a motel-style twin room, with my bike camped safely in the central indoor courtyard. The tropical-island shower block was nifty too. (We did have one loud, drunken biker in our party, mind, and I
It would be pointless and boring trying to explain the many incidents and in-jokes of the weekend to anyone who wasn't there; suffice to say I have never in my life laughed so much on a cross-Channel ferry.
As for my poorly ET4, one of the forumites dropped by on Tuesday night to fix it for me. Bikers rock.