Saturday 21stApril 2018

The Viking



The best day of the year so far – weather-wise. Warm, sunny and dry roads. It brought the “dry weather” bikers out from the woodwork and we spotted lots of bikes along the way. It was great to see Jann, Jim and Gordan make their first trip of 2018 with the CRRG. Jann had her first spin on the back of Darragh’s latest purchase – a lovely silver FJR1300. And it was our first time to see Jim’s and Gordon’s new bikes too. And we had a few more new-comers too – Mike’s friend Michael as well as Jacek and Bartek. (That’s 6 new riders to join us in 2018). Derek and Mick made an unexpected appearance at the breakfast venue - our first time to have breakfast at Jack White’s Inn (that’s 3 new breakfast venues we’ve tried in 2018 so far). So, in total, we had 18 riders meet at Jack White’s and 10 went on from there to Waterford – Andy, Vincent, JR, Gordon, Claudio, Mike, Michael, Jacek and Sandra and me.

We certainly picked the right day for the longer spin. Unfortunately it meant taking the N11 to save time but once we hit Enniscorthy we had great roads to New Ross and on to Waterford. JR “The Master” led all the way, taking us on a short-cut through Enniscorthy and avoiding the bottleneck and the bridges. We stuck together most of the way and got to Waterford in one group. We found good parking opposite Reginald’s Tower at the end of the quays.

After the salty bacon, we were all dying of the thirst and headed straight for the nearest coffee shop.

Sitting outside, it resembled a scene from Italy or France.

We had a look into the Museum there but it was a bit expensive at €7 per person. Vincent, dressed in black like a stealthy Ninja, slipped silently past the Security guard and snook down the stairs to the ancient wine cellar and had his own FREE tour of the museum.

We took some photos at the Guinness Book of Records longest wooden sword before booking into the Virtual Reality tour of “King of the Vikings” tour. For €7 per person for a half hour show it was fairly reasonable and the show takes place in an exact replica of a Viking house where the tour guides were dressed as Vikings and explained about the Viking history and the house.

While we waited along the quayside in the beautiful sunshine for the second tour to finish, (only 8 people per VR tour), Mike and the lads dropped into the nearby restaurant for something to eat.

Once everyone was ready to head back, we decided on a different route home. We headed back to New Ross but took the narrow, winding road to Borris. That is a fabulous road with great scenery but lots of bends and farmers’ muck in places. And there are very few overtaking opportunities if you get stuck behind a slow moving vehicle. After a quick catch-up stop at Borris, we went from there to Bagenalstown where we joined the motorway and on towards Naas. While it was getting late and a few had to push on home from there, JR, Jacek, Claudio, Sandra and I stopped at the first Topaz station on the left as we approached Naas and had a last coffee/smoke/chat stop.

It had been a great day out. Fantastic weather. Great breakfast. Brilliant company with a great turnout - some “first spin of 2018” arrivals, a few new riders, and some unexpected. The trip to Waterford was well worth it. Much more exciting the MotoGP of The Americas !! And everyone got home safe. What more could you ask for ??

Looking forward to the next one,

‘Til then, Ride Safely.

Saturday 14thApril 2018

Jingle Bells...??

It was yet another good turnout – 14 riders on 12 bikes – Darragh, JR, Vincent, Noel, Paul C, Paul N, Claudio, Andy & Andrea, Karl, Mick, Sandra and me and another new rider, Franklin, on a ……Harley Davidson Sportster! Franklin is from Brazil and was introduced by Darragh. He amazed us with his handling of the Harley and certainly changed my own opinion about their capabilities on Irish roads.

For those of you who are inquisitive about the bike, it is 883CC, weighs 256Kg(wet), has 68BHP and top speed is around 180KMPH.

“Meetings and Greetings” all over, we were just waiting for Noel to arrive. He had gotten slightly delayed cleaning and polishing the big Pan and was reprimanded by the very strict JR. We headed off as planned, through City West and out onto the N7. But tragedy befell poor Darragh as his new FJR began to die and he had to pull over on the motorway and eventually head home (luckily it was just a small electrical problem but a bigger problem was discovered when the garage told him that his rear shock needed replacing). The rest of us had to wait until we got to the M9 for a safe place to pull over and wait as there were roadworks all along the M7. Vincent and Noel had stopped with Darragh and soon caught up and told us that Darragh had to turn back. Then Andy/Andrea and Mick, who must have stopped to do some shopping in City West, also caught up, with Mick deciding he preferred his own company and headed on alone to Castlecomer.

After the rest of us had re-grouped, we were soon on our way again and enjoying the rare sunshine and DRY roads. We had the M9 practically to ourselves. As we were riding along at a nice steady pace, to my surprise along came Franklin on the big Harley, in the overtaking lane ! He sped past Paul’s FJR and kept up with the leading group as we hit the exit for the N78 and on via Athy to Castlecomer and breakfast at the Lime Tree. Claudio was forced to endure the dreaded beans tipping the rest of the food on his Full Irish as the waitress refused to remove them and he swore (in Italian) that he would never eat there again. I offered to scrape the beans into the sugar bowl but he was too annoyed to even answer me. The rest of us enjoyed the food……..

During breakfast, there was a shock in store for me. My adopted son, John, had forgotten to buy me a Christmas present (actually he’s forgotten for the past 6 years since his official adoption) so he had saved up all his wages since then and bought me a “genuine Victorian” antique model Trike motorcycle. I was in tears as I placed it carefully back in the “To Jim, From Mike” labelled Christmas bag and the expensive SuperValue wrapping paper and threw it on the floor while I finished my coffee….. I even nearly “forgot” to pick it up off the window ledge outside the café after a smoke break but, thankfully, the very kind Vincent reminded me…...

Paul N had taken his new Ducati MS “Pikes Peake” for its first spin with the CRRG and he too was enjoying the dry roads. But he had made arrangements to meet some friends at the AMI Open Day in Gorey so he headed off.

The remaining 12 riders followed the planned route back to Crettyard, over towards Rosmore and on to Old Leighlin. That route takes you along the little known “Leinster Ridge” route with fantastic views of Carlow and Kilkenny below. Unfortunately, as we hit the summit, it started to drizzle rain and the views were very misty. We missed the turn for Bilboa but JR knew the roads well and brought us along a very scenic route and into Leighlinbridge before heading back the short distance to Old Leighlin. We stopped at the 13th Century “St.Lasarian’s Cathedral” but, unfortunately, it was closed. And Carey’s Bar – reputedly the oldest bar in Ireland (owned by the same family since 1547) – was also closed. It was, as JR so eloquently put it, another shit-hole. But a nice place to stop nevertheless.

St. Lasarian’s Cathedral, Old Leighlin

Carey’s Bar, Old Leighlin

We headed back via Leighlinbridge, Bagenalstown and along the lovely, twisty Mount Leinster Scenic Drive to Conways in Kildavin for a coffee stop.

We will never live this one down!!!!

As we were having our teas/coffee, Franklin was looking at Noel and JR’s bikes and seemed puzzled. “What’s theMstand for on those 2 bikes?” he asked, pointing at the screens. I could have thought of a few answers!!! But I told him the truth – it stands for “Marshall” as they marshal cycle races, I explained. “Oh”, he replied, “I was thinking that Lis for Learners, “Nis for Novices so I thought it might stand forM sters”. We will never be let forget that one………….. !!!

After the coffee stop, is was back up the N81 and another quick stop at Blessington before heading home. It had been a great day out as usual and I think that Franklin really enjoyed the company and the spin. It was great to ride on dry roads for a change too.

Hopefully we’ll get another good day for next Saturday. ‘Til then, ride safe.

Alan (M+++++)

Saturday 7thApril 2018

The Newer


And the Lord called his disciples, Michael, Mark, Vincent and John, and said to them, “ Go forth and gather your flock. For I am very unhappy with this sinful world and will send a warning to all the tribes on earth. A great flood will be visited upon them and they will wallow in mud. Only my most special and loyal followers will be spared”.

The four disciples went away and did as their Lord had commanded, gathering their fellow believers from all the far ends of the country – Darragh the Baptist, Karl the Tax collector and his daughter Emma Brunton, Andrew the Carpenter, Mike of Aprilia, Jennifer Magdalen, Keith the Cripple, Pat the Shepherd and his long-suffering wife Ger, Sandra (holy mother of God), Claudio the Roman, and Paul (later called Saul). Mark the disciple had travelled to the far wildnerness of Tipperaria, (it is a long way)- a land full of dangerous nomadic tribesmen wielding curved sticks - and he was never seen again.

While the followers travelled to the arranged meeting place on the sacred hill at Lucan, the skies began to darken and great black clouds began to form, turning the day into night. Distant thunder could be heard and the people of nearby Dublinia began to cry out “Oh Lord, Forgive us our sins and do not punish us!”.

But the Lord had spoken. He stood on a big rock at Lucan so that his followers could see and hear him. “Fear not, my brethern, for you have believed in me. Follow me and I will lead you to safety whilst the sinners will be washed away by thunderous downpours and epic floods. For I am the (LED) Light and the Way”. “Jesus Christ!!” muttered John the disciple to himself (in silent prayer) as he gathered his belongings and made ready for the long journey which lay ahead.

For several days and nights they followed their Lord as they escaped the deluge which befell the earth. On the Sabbath day, Vincent the disciple approached the Lord. “Lord, they have not eaten and cannot go much further without food and water. Let us stop a while at a nearby Inn and rest”. And so they arrived at a little Inn in the hamlet of Kinnedagii and sat down to rest. But the Innkeeper had very little food left as all the starving cattle had eaten everything. All he could give them was some loaves and rashers and sausages. The Lord took the baskets containing the food, blessed it and broke it and then passed the baskets around to all of his followers. It was a miracle – everyone ate their fill and could eat no more. Except for Mike of Aprilia who gave his portion to the hungry cattle and ate a bowl of warm oats instead.

The storms had grown more intense as they left Kinnegadii and the thunderous rain became a deluge, washing away the path in front of them. “Fear not my followers, for I will lead you to the promised land very soon” their Lord re-assured them. They pushed on, never complaining or moaning, in the driving rain until the Lord led them through a Holy gateway and up a bright path to a piece of open ground. Miraculously, the rain suddenly stopped and all the followers rejoiced. The Lord looked at Andrew the Carpenter and, touching him on the shoulder, said to him “Upon this rock you shall build my church. And raise cattle and grow crops. Henceforth, and from this day on, this sacred place shall be calledMulti-farming”.

Without delay, Andrew the Carpenter drew up extremely complicated and detailed plans and sketches and work soon began on the church. Soon it was finished and with the strong church to protect them against the wind and rain, all the followers were overjoyed and filled with the Holy Spirit as they squeezed into the church and lit candles to thank their Lord.

The Lord spoke: “Pat the Shepherd, you shall become a leader of this flock. I appoint you as High Priest of this church. Look after these followers and guide them on the path to heaven”.

This is the Word of the Lord.

Saturday 24thMarch 2018

Attack from the Gremlins

The recent events in the UK, with possible Gremlin involvement in the poison attack on the Skripals, have taken a nasty turn. A suspected poison attack on the motorcycle of a high-ranking member of the powerful CRRG at Kinnegad in Ireland has sparked fears across the world of a CRRG retaliation and a new “Cold War” between Ireland and Russia. In an attempt to de-escalate the situation, President Putin has taken the unusual step of appearing live on Russian TV to deny any involvement by Russia in the recent horrific attack on the prized BMW K1600GTL Exclusive motorcycle.

The injured motorcycle recovers in the shed awaiting new transplant

However, the CRRG Army Council – known as “The Knights of the Roundy Table” – met shortly after the incident in a secret location to discuss the attack and formulate plans to deal with the alleged atrocity. It was decided to expel all Russian members from the group and to carry out their own investigation into the attack.

The CRRG Army Council at their Emergency Meeting

Double agent involved?

One theory being discussed is that a secret or “double” agent may have been involved and he could be an active member of the CRRG itself. The BMW motorcycle had been behaving perfectly healthy until the CRRG official returned to it outside their headquarters at Mother Hubbards near Kinnegad. “It would not start and slumped on the ground with a very weak heartbeat” the owner told reporters through his tears. “Luckily a defibrillator was on hand and it was resuscitated at the scene”. But the theory that some form of toxic nerve gas may have been injected into it looks extremely likely as the motorcycle got weaker and weaker during the day with several more boosts from the defibrillator needed before finally it was brought to hospital back in Dublin. The motorcycle is said to be in a stable condition awaiting a transplant of a new battery. Suspicion has shifted to possibly three members of the CRRG who had been acting strangely during the day (though that is not unusual, according to our sources). The three members had all left early before the rest of the group continued their journey to Abbeyshrule. “We are especially interested in speaking with one particular member who had also been suspected of involvement in a previous incident involving an ambush attack on the CRRG in Northern Ireland last year” commented a member of the CRRG Army Council. “But we could not find any evidence to link him directly at that time. He’s a sneaky little fox!” he told reporters.

The scene of the 2017 ambush in Castle Saunderson estate.

But how do you uncover a Double-agent?

It is believed that, shortly before the BMW was discovered in difficulty, the suspect had left Mother Hubbards during breakfast, with the excuse that he had to move his motorcycle and had returned a few minutes later.

A good spy or secret agent is notoriously difficult to uncover. But there are tell-tale signs and traits which are common among international spies. Just like the movie characters who portray them, such as James Bond 007, spies tend to ride exotic European motorcycles, they like to drive black sports cars with dark tinted windows, they like to holiday in hot countries such as Morocco and they tend to live in the posher areas of the capital cities around the world. “We have our top men working on the case and looking into the private lives of the suspected members. I’m confident that we’ll nab him quickly before he inflicts any more harm on decent, law-abiding BMWs” said the CRRG spokesman, loading his AK47.

Courtesy World News © 27 March 2018

Saturday 24th February 2018

Giza on the Avoca


Despite the chilly morning, we had a fairly good turnout – 9 riders on 8 bikes. There was no way in hell that Keith was going to miss the opportunity to finally collect his 3rd Rideout keyring and Emergency ID helmet strap. And Jen came along for her second spin with the group, all the way from beyond Slane. Karl fired up the Multistrada and joined fellow Ducati-Fanati, Paul N., at TEXACO at Exit 11 off the M50. The usual suspects, JR and Vincent, reliable as ever, were already there and spilling coffee all over their bikes as Sandra and I arrived. Darragh had to put the washing out on the line, empty the dishwasher, make the beds and put out the bins so he sent a text saying that he’d meet us at Bunters in Newtownmountkennedy instead. All wrapped up, heated grips, heated seats, heated vests and heated gloves all burning a great big hole in the Ozone layer, we set off down the N11 for Bunters. After an uneventful ride, we parked up and were very lucky to get seating together in the busy café. Keith was presented with his momentos and a great surprise awaited Jen as she was presented with the massive silver trophy (it was silver coloured anyway) for being the CRRG’s first ever Lady Rider.

Keith & Jen were absolutely delighted with their presentations…

After breakfast, the top “BOB” (Breakfast Only Biker), Karl, had to head home. Darragh had forgotten to put the casserole in the oven so he also headed back before Jann got home. Their awards now safely tucked away in their pockets, Keith and Jen also decided to head off.

That left only the hardiest CRRG members to continue the spin – JR, Vincent, Paul N, Sandra and myself.

The five of us joined the N11 and sped down towards Arklow. After a slight detour (or two), we eventually found the road leading to the Arklow Pyramid – (surprisingly, it is not signposted at all). It is called “The Howard Mausoluem” after the local rich landlord who built it in the 1760’s as he wanted his family to be buried in a style befitting their high station in life. The Pyramid itself is very impressive, standing over 30 feet high on top of a mound in a medieval churchyard. There are great views from there over Arklow town and the surrounding countryside. JR was actually genuinely really impressed with this venue and said that I had outdone myself on this occasion (or words to that effect). As a special “thank you” he said that he’d take me to the beach… We took some photos there and had a good look around before heading towards Arklow.

JR took us out along the lovely R750 coast road towards Brittas Bay. It’s a fab road with lots of great scenery of the coast but some bad bends and a few potholes and some uneven surfaces. But it was worth it for the views. As promised, JR brought us to the car park at Brittas beach. Sandra folded out the BMW six-seater fold-up picnic table and treated us all to some orange juice (out of OEM BMW plastic cups). Paul had forgotten to pack the sandwiches but luckily we were still full after the big breakfast in Bunters.

The weather around Arklow and Wicklow was much better than it had been in Dublin. It wasn’t that cold at all and we took a stroll onto the beach. JR found a plastic bag, filled it with sand and carried it all the way back to the car park. But he had no panniers so he had to leave it there.

We pushed on and stopped at Wicklow Gaol for a coffee. We had a great political and social discussion there as well as discussing the Ulster rugby players’ trial, with Paul making some very relevant points…

Then it was back on the bikes again as JR led the way again, this time along some great roads to the R761 and Ashford to Newcastle and Kilcoole. It was a great route with little or no traffic until we approached Bray and then we joined the N11/M50 home.

Although it was a fairly short spin, it turned out to be one of our best. Dry roads were a blessing. And having the right gear is very important. But the venue was both unusual and interesting, the route JR brought us was fab and, best of all, the company was great! We had another fantastic day out and, as Paul N. always says,

"Biking is Great" !!!!

‘Til the next one (probably 10th March judging by the forecast for next weekend),

Ride safe (and make sure you have some bread and milk in).


Saturday 17th February 2018

Psychic Waitresses and Jumping Churches

For most of us, it was our first CRRG rideout of 2018. The sun was shining and temperatures were up a few degrees. But the roads were still wet and full of crap. Nevertheless, we had a great turnout of 14 riders on 11 bikes and we met on gleaming bikes at Topaz, Clonshaugh. John and Therese were the last to arrive and when he pulled into the Topaz, JP thought that he was at the NEC because there were so many bikes on display. JP was then delighted to receive his CRRG 50th Rideout patch (Therése was in a huff after that and didn’t speak to me all day). Other awards were Paul C who is now a Centurian with 102 rideouts, and Pat who finally reached his 30th CRRG spin. Congratulations to all three.

It had been 12 weeks since many of us had met up, so we spent a good half hour there before heading off. It was great to finally meet and catch up on all the news and gossip. Mark had been saving his best jokes, one-liners, innuendoes and non-PC comments and really let rip !!!! I don’t think he spared any race, religion, colour, sexual orientation or political allegiance.

Mark was delighted to get out...

I had booked the breakfast venue for 11:15am for a Group of 14. We had never stopped at the Hunterstown Inn (between Collon and Ardee on the N2) before so I didn’t know what to expect. Along the way there, the Ashbourne by-pass was a nice stretch of motorway to warm up the bikes and clear out the cobwebs. We had a good fast run and soon arrived in Slane. Then on to Collon and a few miles further on to the Hunterstown Inn. We arrived there at 11:12 am !!! Great timing!

As we drove in, a large group of farmers were driving out, obviously after finishing a “hunt” as they were all towing horse boxes. The farmers mustn’t be doing too well as their top-of-the-range €120k Toyota Landcruisers and Land Rovers were at least 2 or 3 years old. Mark had a few jokes about farmers and horses..

Mark was a little scared by the 2 massive horses standing in the car park. He confided that he doesn’t like horses. While he was a bit coy about it, I believe that it goes back to his childhood, when he was 6 years old and fell off his rocking horse, banging his head and causing irreparable brain damage……..

While we parked up the bikes, one of the waitresses came out and brought us through to our reserved area. They must have been psychic as, before we even got a chance to order, plates of delicious, massive Full Irish fries were placed in front of us!! Pat was absolutely stunned. “It’s a pity that Ger isn’t here to see this..” he thought to himself. There were a few changes of orders but it was no problem for the waitresses and we were well looked after. The food was great and reasonably priced. I’d definitely stop there again (especially considering that, apart from Watters in Collon, there really is no other place for breakfast along that N2).

I was disappointed that not one person had noticed my new Shark “Lorenzo” replica helmet. Or maybe they were just all dead jealous (especially Paul C). It has such a nice design that even Bus Eireann has adopted it……

Speaking of new gear, Paul N had recently spent around €10,000 or thereabouts on a nice set of biker jacket and trousers. But unfortunately it wasn’t enough to keep him warm on longer spins and he had to get help from our Chinese cousins (Mark had more jokes about them too) and modelled a battery powered heated vest which he got for €30.

Breakfast over, new gear discussed, we headed back out to the bikes. Mark had run out of jokes by that stage and headed home. JR couldn’t wait to try out his high-tech heated gloves which his adopted Daddy had bought for him and he sped off ahead of everyone. But, unusually for JR, he missed the turn and I had to wait for him to turn around. Then the rest of the group which had gone ahead missed the Jumping Church and we all had to turn around and go back up the very mucky country road to the venue. It is easily missed from the road but is definitely worth stopping at. It was an unusual sight and very hard to explain how the wall ended up 3 feet inside the foundations. Derek had brought his tools with him but it was too much work for one man to attempt. So he hopes to get the lads from the “Mens’ Shed” to go back there with him and fix the wall back in its proper position.

We left the Jumping Church and headed off towards Dunleer and into Drogheda. Pat and Paul N had to be back early while the rest of us had planned a coffee stop at the Snail Box near Ashbourne. We had assumed that Andy’s new bionic eyes were functioning properly but he failed to see us turn right in Drogheda as himself and Andrea followed behind Derek, Pat and Paul N. The remaining 6 bikes (with Paul C, Darragh, Vincent, JR, JP, Therése, Sandra and myself on board) went on via Duleek to the Snail Box. There we were warmly greeted by the staff who cracked more jokes with us than even Mark Holland. JR’s heated gloves were boiling at this stage so he switched the heating units into his socks. After a good chat there we headed home to wash the bikes….

A brilliant day was had by everyone. It was good to see a little touch of Spring in the air after 3 months of horrible wet, windy and cold weather. Let’s hope that we will be rewarded with a fab summer this year.

‘til the next one,

Ride safe.

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