On Friday morning of the 2009 Rallyman's Rally it was freezing but bright. With Maggie on the back I made it past the end of the M69 and onto the M1 before it clouded over. It stayed dry but the temperature dropped even further as we passed Bolsover, obesity capital of the UK.
We made a quick stop at Woolleyedge Services. I dreamt of heated grips and Maggie reacquainted herself with her old mate Nick O'Teen.
I think just about everyone from the rally who rode the bus used a bus pass.
We reached the site at about three thirty and after inspecting the frost-covered field we booked into the B&B next door.
I feel that it's time to admit, I am a Southern Jessie and I'm going soft in my old age.
We drank tea and watched TV until at about seven thirty when it was time for a beer. The cold had not stopped a hardy band from camping and we found the pub had the cheerful atmosphere that a bike rally engenders.
Maggie keeps an eye on me at rallies so we had a meal and I drank a sensible amount of beer.
Saturday started with a hearty breakfast in the B&B before we went to the bus stop where others joined us for a trip into the local town. I can remember when the average age at a rally was about twenty-five. I think just about everyone from the rally who rode the bus used a bus pass.
The bus was bursting at the seams on the way to town so to avoid travelling on the roof Maggie and I caught an early bus back.
The temperature had gone above freezing in the town but on our return to the site we found it was still freezing hard. There was also a biting wind. The people manning the tea tent were braving it well and should be mentioned in dispatches.
The number of tents had increased while we had been away, but the numbers were down on the year before last. This may be due to the economic climate and the fact that the temperature had been below freezing for most of the previous fortnight.
We walked back to the B&B for coffee an biscuits before returning to the pub at about six thirty. The pub has three main rooms laid out in a long line. This works well with the disco at one end and people who are looking for a noggin and natter at the other end.
I missed the awards but Barry from Cornwall won both the gents long distance and grot bike with his very lovely Honda Valkyrie.
Maggie and I finally left the pub sometime in the morning and took a steady walk back up ice-covered footpath to the B&B.
The bike seat was still covered in frost when we awoke on Sunday morning but by the time we finished breakfast it had thawed.
We said our goodbyes and set out on the trip home. It was a lot warmer than the Friday so apart from a fuel stop we made it home in one go and in time to wash the salt off the bike before it went dark.
I have just been rereading Les Hobb's and Steve Giddens' reports of a mid seventies Rallymans. It shows the lasting appeal of this rally because many of the people mentioned in the reports were also at the 2009 rally.
Steve's report also led me to ask the questions "Whatever happened to Derri Boots? Are they still out there?" The answer at 22/1/2009 is Derri Boots are safe and well and can be found at:- www.aepcountrystyle.com.
- Dave Cooper