On Wednesday 14th March, ten brave souls arrived at Lymm Services before setting off in monsoon rain wishing we had travelled in cars like the three Triumph owning Slam Bikers did (in-house joke with a nod to John Burns). Only joking, weather was windy but thankfully dry so off we rode through Knutsford and beyond on mostly A roads and a few B roads. A nice quiet pace was set by Derek, riding his new 1200 Tiger and having to keep the revs down for the first few hundred miles.

First brew stop was a transport cafe in Sudbury for late breakfast with bacon butties and a huge full english for the extra hungry ones (Woz). Comfort break sorted, and back on the A515 towards Barton-Under-Needwood. Full marks to the drop-off riders successfully marking the junctions under very difficult traffic conditions, especially around Stoke.  We did temporarily lose Pete Cole who fortunately caught up with us at the fuel stop just outside Hinckley. That was, however, after all of us took a detour into an Aldi’s car park instead of the petrol station. From the fuel stop it was a short ride to the factory and everybody’s tickets scanned ready for the factory visit.

 

On arrival it was time to relax and walk around the exhibition, which is an excellent in-house display of important historical bikes supported by wall displays of the Triumph time-line, which was very well laid out and well worth taking the time to enjoy. The Triumph staff we spoke to were very informative and helpful, and a pleasure to listen to. We had time to enjoy a coffee and lunch if you could (Woz) before the production line tour started at 2.30pm.

At the start of the tour we were all issued with hi-viz waistcoats and radio sets, and we had to leave our mobile phones in lockers as they are prohibited in the factory working area. We initially set off through the warehouse where 6,500 completed bikes are stored on racks seven storeys high. From the warehouse we made our way into the machine shop where camshaft and crankshaft bearing surfaces were being machined. Triumph engines apparently are good for 200,000 miles if all the fluids are looked after. What was very noticeable was that the working areas were spotless throughout the factory.

The number of completed bikes produced at the time of our tour was 6.5 per hour over an 18 hour shift pattern, although the computer controlled machinery has the ability to produce 18 bikes an hour if required. The tour took just about two hours and was well presented and thoroughly recommended.

After a final comfort break for the old boys we set off at 16.45pm. Apparently it’s the law – see a loo you have to go! Again we used A and B roads initially on a different route to the one we travelled down, until we reached the A50 before Stoke. We stopped for a final brew stop and food for those who could possibly eat anymore (Woz) just north of Stoke. When we then set off for the final leg home daylight had gone so I found riding the roads in darkness very challenging as my eyes and brain didn’t cope very well. I was glad to get back to Lymm Services and onto the M6 and back home to Clitheroe.

Finally, a thank you to Derek Saunders for the time and effort in booking and planning the event and also Steve Royce for volunteering as TEC.

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