Rocking Riding Roarin’

rockride-250That was an eventful weekend just passed, one that started out with a puncture and ended up at the “tragic” Belfast Motor Show at the Kings Hall.

Fortunately the bits in-between along with a sun drenched Northern Ireland and the inevitable, wet you through to the skin drizzly rain made it all worthwhile!

The plans for the weekend were to start at Stormont at Parliament Buildings and join the “Rock And Ride The North” with the band “Mean Bone” and the “Quay Vipers MCC” ride out which was supporting Barnardo’s Northern Ireland, to finish at the “Roaring Meg Custom  Bike, Trike And Scooter Show” on “Derry’s Walls”.

The best laid plans started last Friday with the discovery of a front wheel puncture,  so it was wheel off and into the back of the car and up to the start of “Rock And Ride The North” at Stormont, with a few pictures snapped including some of MLA/MP Sammy Wilson who sup0ported the event and then to Hursts Tyres on the Sydenham Road Belfast.

Unfortunately Michael at Hurst’s tyres was under pressure and with bikes lined out the door it took over three hours to get round to my puncture with a new tube at a very good price.

By the time we got back down the Ards Peninsula and refitted the wheel, I reckoned it was just to late to head up north. Having missed the ride out and the escorted entrance through the city to the civic reception at the Gasyard Centre, I would also miss out staying the night in Londonderry.

Roaring Meg

roarinmeg2-2014-250So on Saturday morning under a grey sky, which was a complete change from Fridays sunshine and heat, it was an early start to get to the “Roarin Meg” show. In Northern Ireland biking terms that is nearly a whole two hours or a bit less to get to the far end of the country, really just a hop and a skip. With the rain finally bursting from the clouds somewhere around the Glenshane Pass, I dodged in off the road and parked under a very large tree for shelter, rather than wait to see if the re-proofed wax cotton jacket was going to hold out the deluge.

After an uneventful two laps around the city I finally found the location for the show, right at the Verbal Arts Centre on Derry’s Walls, near the double bastion which holds two demi-culverin cannons, one of which is the famous Roaring Meg, overlooking the Bogside and Long Tower.

The show saw the bikes/trikes/scooters lined up on the walls on the Grand Parade under the sycamore trees which commemorate – bit of history here which you can’t ignore – the 13 apprentices who closed the gates during the 1689 siege: the fruit of the sycamore tree resembles a bunch of keys; symbolic of the locked gates but enough of that as we all know of the more recent history of the city, as the show is there to promote the Bike, Trike and Scooter scene and to raise money for local charities.

roarinmeg3-2014-250However the location on the walls gave the visiting non-biking tourists there to take in the walls, the opportunity to view the bikes and riders, with music from the band on stage and local stalls selling “stuff” adding to the attraction.

I have been trying to get up to this show for the last couple of years and I am glad I made the effort, hopefully it can get bigger with promotion a bit more widespread, support from riders and those with show bikes from scooters to trikes, from classic to custom.

All of the money raised at this year’s festival will be donated to the local branch of Barnardo’s and to the family of two year-old Charley Ward who suffers from Epidermolysis Bullosa (E.B.). The shows organisors have thanked the, “Gasyard Feile (Derry’s biggest community arts and cultural festival), Quay Vipers, Mean Bone, Rough Diamonds, John & Bofs, King Rat, all our sponsors every biker that showed up all the people that donated time to make this event a great sucess”

And as they say, “See you all again next year.”

Belfast Motor Show

r1-250The less said about the tragic Belfast Motor Show, an opinion gleaned from attending many a variety of shows of different types over the years, the better.

However with Elaine present we had a few good converstations with the police on their road safety stand, had a coffee, a bag of mini-doughnuts, picked up a free pencil from the Northern Ireland Ambulance stand and chatted to the bloke from the TA about life in the army and about the Serengeti principle as regards redundancies or rather restructuring..

We also called into the MAG (Motorcycle Action Group) Northern Ireland stand with Steven O’Kane and MAG Director of Communications and Public Affairs Lembit Öpik.

We were able to catch up on some shared information but missed Sarah who was away practicing for her car and motorcycle collision reconstruction with the Fire Brigade and paramedics.

You can read her article, “The Day I Died”, on the MAG Northern Ireland Facebook page a snippet of which is, “You are hearing all this play out around you, but of course with you being dead in the story you can’t react to it, I found it chilling to lie staring up through my dark visor at the grey sky with the rain bouncing off it and realising that this was most likely the last thing the motorcyclist in this collision would have seen.”

Anyway on a lighter note the end of the weekend saw no tyres deflated,  jacket no longer leaking and a run up North with a seat on the bike that appears to now have broken its self in i.e. it has gone from the consistency of a wooden plank to the relative comfort that somebody with sciatica can just find bearable!

Trevor Baird – Right To Ride


Barnardo’s Northern Ireland – Click Here
Mean Bone on Facebook – Click Here
Roaring Meg Bike, Trike And Scooter Show On Facebook – Click Here
The Gasyard Centre – Click Here

The Roaring Meg Custom, Classic Bike, Trike And Scooter Show – July 2014

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Rock And Ride The North – July 2014

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