One of the greatest things about riding a bike is that you get to do it with some lovely people… in lovely weather… in lovely places… Last weekend was the annual SLAM Isle of Man Trip which I’ve organised for the last few years.  I can safely say that we achieved 2 out of our 3 objectives!

As we were clinging to a rock in the middle of the Irish Sea in late September, I’ll leave it to you to figure out which ones we met.  There were to be 30 of us – on 26 bikes.  A big group… note to self – take cat herding course notes along next time…

Sadly, Louise wasn’t well enough to join us – but she was missed!  Next time, for sure!  So we had 29 folk on 26 bikes… what could possibly go wrong?

We departed Heysham on the Ben My Chree – a sort of floating Indian restaurant with built in motion sickness!  Some 4 hours later we arrived in Douglas after a lively crossing!

Staying at the Empress Hotel, we soon found the bar and prepared ourselves for a weekend of spirited riding.  As ride leader, I’d reminded folk that although the IoM has no maximum speed limit when in the national speed limit areas, we owed it to ourselves to be sensible – too many bikers have fallen foul to the opportunity to flex their right wrist without caution and suffered the consequences.  Not for us SLAMmers!

Saturday morning dawned… not bright, not dry, but it was light.  We were meeting up with the YOMYAMs – the guys and girls from the IoM IAM Group who we know well and who always take us places that we otherwise wouldn’t find on the Island.  Led by head YOMYAM Chris Roughley we set off towards the South – it was to be dry there… he said.

All I can say is that we saw some spectacular sights… and were dry for a while!

After the obligatory crab bap in Peel, we headed back through a raging ford towards Ramsey and over the Mountain Course back to Douglas… at the height of the road (1400 feet) there was 10 meters visibility… we got better visibility at around 400 feet – in other words it was seriously poor weather!  Plan B beckoned… beer!

Meanwhile two of our group had gone “green laning” – which I believe means riding on roads only fit for horses and sheep…

And there is still no maximum speed limit!

Whilst John and Bob were doing their thing, some of us found a nice place to sit for the afternoon… and we weren’t thirsty either!  It cost us £1 to get in, but beer prices were straight from the ‘90s… result!

So, a good meal (there were 37 of us in total, including YOMYAMs, and we were all very well behaved) and a good night’s sleep at the Empress set us up for a great day riding the roads on Sunday…

Sadly, it was lashing it down and although a few hardy folk battled with the fog on the Mountain Course, the rest of us chilled and watched the Moto GP race on the telly!

We took the Fast Cat back to Liverpool and were all safely home by early evening, without mishap.

So what lessons did I learn? 

  1. I love the Isle of Man – it is a friendly and interesting place, whatever the weather.
  2. Its brilliant getting away with a group of like-minded folk… even when the distance covered isn’t great!
  3. You can have fun riding wet roads without overdoing it… whatever your ability.
  4. Fords are scary, especially with high water volume!
  5. There is always another day to do that fast pass over the Mountain Circuit…
  6. I need to go back again next year!

See you next year!

Dave

Chairman

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