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Orange Vespa Huskyteer

Wheels in the Forest

I spent my weekend in the Forest of Dean, on the X9 Forum Annual Bash. I've been attending for nearly ten years now, but this was the first time Howard joined me (as a last minute stand-in for my usual room-mate, Joyce, who'd had to cancel).

On Friday I hopped on my bike (primped and polished the previous weekend only to get rained on all Thursday) and headed down to Salisbury to meet up with Howard and forum member Mike for a leisurely ride across the Severn Bridge. We used country A and B roads, arriving at our accommodation just before 5pm.

Parkend is a pretty village with a serious sheep problem. They wandered up and down the road and lay on the verges, simply not giving a floss. We managed not to hit any of them on our way in. Our bikes were added to the line of assorted maxi-scooters, and we were greeted by the early arrivals. Some of the group were roughing it in the bunkhouse portion of the hotel, and laid on tea and coffee before dinner.

Saturday was the group rideout: a hundred miles, mostly of country roads with few other vehicles. The weather was much better than expected, with blue skies and comfortable temperatures. Lunch was in Hay-on-Wye, which gave me the chance to explore a couple of book shops. Mobile reception, unavailable at the hotel, came back, and I answered a couple of texts inviting me to do stuff with 'Sorry, in Wales' (I wasn't, but it felt like a more definitive excuse than 'in Hay-on-Wye').

The plan for the afternoon was to do the Gospel Pass, but despite sat-nav assistance we missed it. Still, the roads and the views were very pleasant anyway.

Sheep littering the roadside told me we were nearly back in Parkend, in time for a walk around the nature reserve but not, sadly, early enough to get an ice cream before the village shop closed.

On Sunday morning we split into groups and dispersed. I was in a group of five, riding along the scenic river valley for a coffee at Tintern Abbey. One of our number waved goodbye soon after the Severn Bridge, while Howard departed a few miles later. The remaining three of us made for Newlands Corner, a pretty spot overlooking the Surrey Hills, where Dave bought me a Cornetto before we finally parted ways.

It's always good to catch up in person with people who are usually an online presence. Many of us have moved from the X9 to other bikes, and some no longer ride but come along in the car anyway, just for the company.

Tonight I am going to dinner with another pair of lovely friends originally met on the forum, to help them with a Wordpress install. Hopefully we will all still be friends at the end of that.

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"...simply not giving a floss. " hee hee I see what you did there. Lol

Sounds like another lovely weekend!!!

So happy you had a great time!

Heh heh :)

Thanks, and *hugs* back!
Popped in via the Furry Bikers group...

Really nicely written up description of what looks to be a most interesting ride, thanks for taking the time to write all that up.

Being from California, I'd not heard of Hay-on-Wye before and got a good giggle from your floss and Wales quips :) Intrigued, I've just spend the last 20 minutes or so "driving" through the village via Google's street view - what a cool place! The book shops look like I could fill up my saddle bags three times over while emptying my wallet four times in the process.

I've not heard, well more accurately, read, the term "maxi-scooters" before, so thanks for the link to the forum and also for posting a group photo of the bikes there. Reminds me a lot of my visit to China with billions and billions of scooters as far as the eye could see but virtually no bigger "true" motorcycles at all.

Hi there! We haven't talked before but your name is very familiar. Thanks for coming along and reading! I could definitely spend more than a lunchtime pottering around Hay. I must do that some time...

My beast is fourth from the right in the photo (black), the Honda Integra. It's a strange thing, as it's semi-automatic, with a full auto mode or push-button gear changes, and shares an engine with the NC700 motorcycle.
Well howdy :)

We've bumped into each other in LJ a few times over the years; I seem to recall you made a series of epic posts on your trip trip out to the Left Coast some years ago that I may have commented on? It's been a while, I don't rightly recall and I need to push off to work soon so can't go back to refresh myself...

Regardless, TY for the add, I've taken the liberty of adding you back.

Excellent - I look forward to reading your posts!

Epic writeups are certainly a bit part of my LJing activities. Hopefully there will be many more of those!
And the Gospel Pass is on a NCN route? O.o Presumably only for the more insane of persuasion..

Come to that, I really ought to take the Heart of Wales line someday - sounds like a positively gorgeous ride, with, coincidentally, many good pubs along the way.
Difficult enough with powered wheels! And yes, everywhere I've been in Wales has been ridiculously pretty, with no shortage of pubs.