Absolutely fantastic weekend in Wales with the training team. A place I have wanted to go to on my motorbike since me and my brothers took my Father on a Train tour of Wales a few years back.
A bunch of us members met up in Chichester on Friday at 10am.The ride down was led by Liam Hoad and Carl Furnell as back door using the drop off system which was relatively successful considering we only lost three people on the way! However we all arrived roughly the same time at the Metropole Hotel in LLandrindod Wells with enough time to change, grab a drink and get to the meeting room by 6pm to meet and introduce ourselves to other members and the training team.
We had a briefing about what the weekend would entail, the IPSGA system, safety and talked about the various ride outs through the Welsh country side we would be going on the following day, the aim being to iron out flaws and add sparkle to our riding. It was then to the Bar and dinner at 8pm where it was great to sit with some of the members that I didn’t know too well but got to know better, then back to the bar and bed 10.30pm.
The training team had travelled down on Wednesday to do their own thing on Thursday and Friday. Saturday was to ride out with members in various small groups.
Saturday started with breakfast at 8am then to the meeting room by 9am to look at various videos and a briefing by the group team leader. We were to take it in turns to ride at the front with the leader second, directing that person with his indicators. There were five in our group with Alan Cuthell as group leader and Yesh Patel following up the rear. We started out from the Hotel at about 10.15am and headed to Aberaeron on the Welsh coast on a route of approximately 70 miles that tested all our skills of observation and control as we rode the wonderful, undulating, twisty curvy roads of Mid Wales.
We stopped at various points along the route, one being a cafe in a small village where we had to park 100 yards or so up the road. Walking to the cafe facing the oncoming traffic we heard the roar of motorcycles coming toward us round a left hand bend so close to the inside curve that I jumped off the road onto the bank, one so close he had to visibly swerve to avoid us. They were all at a speed far higher than the 30mph limit. When I witness this type of behaviour it makes me really glad to have had the opportunity to go through the advanced training and really appreciate the time taken by everyone who gives their time to do this.
At the stops we briefly discuss various points of our ride, what was good and what we could have done better. I wasn’t holding the line as best I could through some right hand bends so I worked on that. What I was particularly please with for myself was that I was looking up to see ahead, using my peripheral vision naturally with good effect more than I had felt I had done previously.
We parked on Aberaeron seafront and found a cafe for lunch near the harbour after a failed attempt in another venue that turned out to be a restaurant After settling down at the table we realised would be far more expensive than we would want to pay so after drinking the water they had served us we made a quick exit. Perhaps our observational powers failed a little there?
We took a different route back to the hotel effectively completing a circular tour of the Welsh country side, stopping at a garden centre cafe for our final stop of the day for a welcome drink on what turned out to be a very warm day. We arrived back at the hotel in time to get a drink to take to our 6pm meeting to talk over the day’s events.
Dinner was again at 8pm, this time sitting with other people from our group and then an hour or so in the Bar before bed.
Sunday breakfast at 8am then our final meeting a 9am to discuss the ride home which was to join the previous day’s groups into two larger groups to ride back as far as Petersfield following the group riding rules. Each group took a different route to get there but planned to meet on the way at the Services just over the Severn Bridge. Although we had to travel on motorways to make up some time the plan was to avoid these as much as possible.
All went well riding through more of Wales’ beautiful country side and I think on the whole we followed the group riding rules well throughout the ride back. From Severn Bridge back to Petersfield was pretty wet but we made good progress arriving late afternoon with both groups turning up at exactly the same time even though we had taken different routes to get there. From Petersfield we all made our own way home. Some of us rode together in the same direction dropping off as they reached their destination. I arrived back home in Brighton at around 6pm.
The weekend was great, loved the company, loved riding with likeminded people and look forward to the next one. I really appreciate the time and effort taken by the training team to bring this all together and especially to Alan and Yesh for the ride out on Saturday, thank you.