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Ironbridge July 2011

The weather of late has been a bit hit and miss, do I pack rain gear, do I pack summer gear? I opted for the summer gear. It turned out to be the right choice it was a hot cloudless Saturday and dry overcast Sunday, but still hot. I packed the bags onto my Pan at 6:00 pm and set off.
Gavin (CBF600) and Colin (XJR1300 yes a Yamaha tut tut) were waiting at the Hungry Horse tucking into burgers when I arrived (No surprise there) I opted for a tuna steak with jacket spud and salad (Honest!!) You’ll see why later.
We headed to the usual meeting point where Roger (Blackbird) and Alan (CBR1000) were waiting for us. We had a brief chat then set off via the M4, A419/A417, M5, and Through Kidderminster & Bridgnorth to the Brewery Inn, Coalport where we were staying in the cottage for the weekend. We had a heavy downpour on the A417 but the sun came out at Birdlip and we were dry by the time we had our 1st stop. It’s a 2 ½ hour run to Coalport, We arrived at about 9:30
A couple or 3 beers and some typical banter after arrival and we were ready for bed.

The Brewery do a “normal” breakfast, and a large breakfast, being a growing lad I always opt for the large. (Hence the light meal the night before) People who haven’t been before usually comment “OH my god how are you going to eat all that?” (I’ve been nicknamed Mr. Upgrade by Roger the owner.) I’m a good boy though and usually clean my plate. This time my Saturday morning breakfast was, 4 sausages, 6 rashers of Bacon, 2 slices of fried bread, 3 fried eggs, about ½ a tin of tomatoes, 4 slices of black pudding, a huge pile of mushrooms bread and butter and a coffee. I fought a noble battle but lost to an egg and some tomatoes.

Gavin had organised the Saturday ride out to The Élan valley
 Near Rhayader in Wales. We popped into Carding mill,
 Near Church Stretton on the way for a coffee stop.
The total ride was about 170 – 180 miles with plenty of chances to take photos. If you’ve not been it is a must do place, beautiful scenery and some great roads. Huge thanks to Gavin for taking us there. We Started from Rhayader Headed southwest towards the village of Élan, which lies in a valley under the shadow of a rather large dam. We rode past the village and followed the road which meanders with the river, past yet more large dams and some very nice looking bridges. Of course it is Wales, so there are sheep littering the roadside. Having ridden the 15 or so miles along the valley we just had to turn around and ride back because it was so spectacular. Then after a quick coffee it was time to head back to Coalport and our evening.

Again knowing I was in for a hammering at breakfast I opted for fish, chips & a salad. Gavin opted for the large Steak!! Fiona the Brewery’s Chef assumed the Steak was for me and piled the plate high. Poor Gavin didn’t know what hit him, and barely managed a third of what he was given.

After a freshen up Alan, Colin, Gavin, Roger and myself headed to a local pub called the boat, where we sat in the garden sipping beer and putting the world to rights. Colin and I managed to stay until we were booted out by the landlord a little after midnight.
I really don’t know where to start with Sunday morning’s breakfast. 6 sausages, 8 rashers, 4 fried eggs, 6 slices of black pudding, almost a tin of tomatoes, an even bigger pile of mushrooms, 3 slices of fried bread, oh yes and bread & butter.
Needless to say I lost the battle big time, however, Roger, Alan, Gavin & Colin all offered to help when it arrived, but after fighting with their own breakfasts, couldn’t even manage a morsel.

We sat for a good hour after breakfast chatting. The real reason was that none of us could move, but eventually packed our bags and loaded the bikes. This is when Gavin discovered he had a flat battery and the bike wouldn’t start. Picture 3 Bikers all in their kit, pushing Gavin and his CBF up and down the pub car park hoping it was going to start and all wishing we hadn’t eaten so much! We had to give up despite a valiant effort and Gavin rang his breakdown people. While he waited for the truck to arrive, the rest of us rode into Ironbridge as Colin hadn’t been with us before. While he and Roger took photos Alan and I sat with an ice cream watching the world and his wife go by. We then visited the Maws craft centre which was sadly almost deserted. Alan brought a lovely pair of earrings; he did however insist they were for his wife. We had yet another coffee then went back to see how Gavin was doing.

Gavin’s bike was running in the car park, so happily we set off with the original 5 we’d arrived with. On the way home we stopped at Bridgnorth and walked around by the castle, opted for the scenic route home via the A44 having a bit of a play up Fish hill and stopping for cream teas at Moreton in marsh. Just as we got to the Peartree roundabout and I’m thinking that went well, I headed up the A34 slip with Colin behind, but no sign of the others. Colin passed me as we had agreed he was going to set off towards Newbury and then home, but the others were nowhere to be seen.
Well the a34 is a dual carriageway so I ambled along at 50mph waiting for them to catch up. I stopped at Nuneham Courtney to try to ring them when they all pulled up. The delay being caused by Alan who thought it a good idea to head off the roundabout in totally the wrong direction. (Well he is old bless him). So no drama after all and we all got home safely having had a great weekend away.

I’d like to thank those who made the effort to come for another brilliant weekend.


The Rabble
Roger and Bob at the valley 
Elan valley  





Please contact Bryan Moody if you would like more information about the Branch
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Meets at the The Swan, Basingstoke Road, Three Mile Cross, Reading RG7 1AT
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