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Old 04-03-2011, 11:16 AM   #1
cuneesity OP
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A Yank in the UK.

Hey Guys,

On my weekend while working here in Swindon (over from the states for a couple of weeks), I was able to rent a bike (in London) and do some local (and also not so local, different story) riding. I was fortunate enough however to have decided to keep Sunday as my “local” day. Turns out my timing was perfect as it was the UK’s “Ride of Respect” today. (http://www.rideofrespect.co.uk/) As all the Brits well know, Wooton Bassett, where my actual work site is located, is also home to RAF Lyneham, the site where fallen UK soldiers from the war in Afghanistan are repatriated. There are often large shows of support when the hearses leave the Air Force Base. (By the way, the town is about to be renamed “Royal Wooton Bassett”)

While I did not participate directly, and just happened to be touring the area on my own, It was quite heartening to see such an immense amount of support from the motorcycling public here. Also, huge support from the local public, with St. Georges crosses flying everywhere and people sitting out in their front yards waving at any bike that happened by. Albeit only 10,000 entries were granted, about 15,000 actually showed. Bikes were/are still everywhere.

I thought it strange last night when I pulled into my apartment block, that there were easily 50 plus bikers walking in and out of the Travelodge right next door. This morning when I went to The George White motorcycle dealership group to check out their HUGE gear outlet there were hundreds of bikes (and not just the new ones in the two huge dealership showrooms), many with dayglow event bands the read Wooton Basset also seemed a bit odd. Then as I was making my way south west later in this afternoon, it struck me, upon seeing huge swarms of bikes on various country lanes, that this was the event!

Here are a few pics from today.

First stop, George White’s Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Honda, Moto Guzzi, Derbi and I believe the odd Ducati……Bigger than many of our car dealer ships, I am taking this pic from in front of this buildings slightly smaller twin, which is Honda only. That warehouse in the back is their gear outlet and rider training facility.




A few bikes you can’t get in the states….







Groups out ridding great country lanes.




This is the main roundabout in Wooton Bassett. We are waiting for the main cadre of riders to move through on the official route.
A bloke from Telford pulled up next to me and we chatted about the Ride of Respect for about 10 minutes. He was looking for his club chairman, who couldn’t find the Esso station that “he” had designated for their club to meet.



Sunday Roast up in Marlborough, I think I needed a nap after that. (Look at the size of that Yorkie!)






And finally my steed for the weekend, seen here in town centre Devizes, home of 6X ale!


Yes my friends, another bike you can’t buy in the states That is the Honda Transalp. 700cc’s of pure fun and it feels as light as my ole KTM400 rxc. Oh, and yes that street is wet. I was blessed with little to no rain this weekend upto that point in the afternoon. Then in true British fashion, it pissed down hail and rain on me all the way back to Swindon on the A361, I was smiling the whoooooole way.
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Old 04-03-2011, 11:56 AM   #2
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Awesome.! Thanks for sharing.!!

Me=Transalp=Want

Will probably have to "settle" for the Tiger XC next year..
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Old 04-03-2011, 02:23 PM   #3
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Hey,

where/how did you rent that bike?? was it weird riding on the wrong side of the road?? I am in London until June. Did they rent gear as well?
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Old 04-03-2011, 02:46 PM   #4
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Lucky man! Thanks for sharing your UK riding experience
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelB12 View Post
Hey,

where/how did you rent that bike?? was it weird riding on the wrong side of the road?? I am in London until June. Did they rent gear as well?

Rented the bike from HGB in Ruislip. Very nice people and one of the few outfits that rents bikes in the UK. The T/A is about $300 us for a 3 day weekend. It's not a cheap proposition, but if you can swing it, and have a US drivers license with an MC endorsement, I totally recomend it! ( they do not rent gear though.) From London, you can travel as far as you can bear on A roads, B roads, Motorways. And then find a nice pub with rooms in practically any town of any size. Get a meal, a beer and some rest. Then get up and do it all again the next day. So far I have done, Cornwall, Sussex, Mid and South Wales, and now the Peak District plus the wiltshire downs and Cotswolds in my four trips. And, being as I was only riding for two or three days, I really only scratched the surface of those areas.

As far as "wrong side of the road", it's all perspective. I drive a rental car everytime I come over (on average once a year for 10 years) So I get used to driving on the left, in right hand drive car pretty quickly. This is my fourth time riding a bike in the UK and I have only had one close call (the first time) as I made a standard US right turn at an oncoming range rover. The lady at the wheel was not amused.

Other then that I find it pretty natural. It's when I get home and pull out of my driveway that I get confused
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:40 PM   #6
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Not far from me -

Looks like it was good - I'll have to check out George whites sometime.

That was mothers day. I was with the mrs & kids

cheers
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Old 04-05-2011, 03:34 PM   #7
MarkN
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Great write up and thanks for coming along to the Ride of Respect.

I was on that ride and thought I might share a few pictures to try and give folks an idea of the scale of the ride
The runway at Hullavington Airfield where the ride started from.

Another pic looking at the side of the runway

Waiting in the queue to start my ride with 499 others - the police were escorting 500 bikes on each ride.

Entering Wootton Bassett


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Old 04-06-2011, 05:10 PM   #8
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i have visited friends who live close to Swindon. Nice to see our friends the Brits also have a deep respect for those who serve and sometimes pay the ultimate sacrifice for their country. The USA is a very patriotic country and now i see that the UK is also.

I am always impressed how the Brits ride and wear protective gear when riding. Not alot of slackers like the Sturgis crowd over here. But serious riders.
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Old 04-07-2011, 02:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkN View Post
Great write up and thanks for coming along to the Ride of Respect.

I was on that ride and thought I might share a few pictures to try and give folks an idea of the scale of the ride
Thanks Mark! That is the perspective that I wish I could have captured in photo form!
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