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No One Ever Said Getting Into Paradise Would Be Easy ......
It all started so well!  Tom Tom Service Dept did a sterling job of helping me update my European Maps, Sophie had agreed to 'puppy sit' Willow for us, and the weather forecast was very favourable. Baz had asked me to lead the ride to Paradise Park and I had agreed on the basis that it would be a good trial for my new maps.

We met at The Shire Horse in glorious sunshine, where we agreed a non- Motorway route should be taken. Route planned we set off !
Although there were eleven bikes in the convoy, I was soon running out of 'Markers'. It became apparent that something was wrong. We stopped and a few mobile calls later discovered a fat bloke, a steep hill and a slipping clutch were not a good combination. This problem was compounded by the fact that once Stigg's clutch was sorted, Arlene could not get her bike to start or her Alarm turned off.

We turned around and located them (by mens of Dan Dan as Tom Tom did not know where the hell they were, having gone off piste!).
As soon as I arrived on scene Arlene's Bike reset itself and started (as I had her spare remote alarm fob in my pocket). A garage forecourt made an easy turn around for us and we set off again, retracing our original route to collect Phil & John who were dutifully still Second Manning their Junctions. With all my ducks once more lined up it was off to Paradise Park.............. Well, for a little while it was, but all too soon my mirrors were showing a distinct lack of bikes behind me.

More phone calls revealed that having stopped once to retreive her number plate from the roadThe answer is "Yes" Andrea was in a lay by trying to re-attach  her rear exhaust pipe. Unfortunately the two retaining bolts were lost on a very busy A41 (The M1 was closed and traffic diverted !). However, Peter, a real gentleman and Kawasaki rider was passing by and stopped to see if he could be of assistance. He surveyed the problem then rode off home, returning with two bolts with the right thread, but too long. So back home he went, ground them down and returned once more. What a great guy, and all this on his way home after a 12 hour shift. Thank you Peter, you are a star.

Whilst all this was going on Sarah went off to do her weekly supermarket shop, Iain went to a nearby oasis and returned with water for all, and Stigg found some females to entertain.

Stigg chats up the girlsWe eventually set off one more time and made it all the way to Paradise Park without further incident. I don't know if it was the drama of the ride there but as a bike show it wasn't what I was expecting. They had a stunt rider who was brilliant but other than that everything seemed lack lustre. The best bit for me was meeting up with a few fellow VSOC members at the Club Stand.
The voyage home was via the M25 with a fuel stop at South Mimms. It wasn't the best of rides but even with the problems we all had a good laugh.


Exhaust diagramPlease note:  In order to prevent a short, one hour ride becoming a three and a half hour ride..…   Would all owners and riders of  Dragstar 650's who may be from overseas and not familiar with our nut and bolt tensioning equipment here in the UK, please study the above diagram before setting off on short or long journeys.  Please note nut and bolt positioning.   Number plate fixings should also be checked.  In fact check all fixings.  Motorcycle parts are not bio degradable.  If you're ever on the M4 please look out for my mirror, the M6 my visor or the A329 my side panel.   Riders by the name of  A Stevens, please  familiarise yourself with your anti theft device.  Failure to start your vehicle can result in a short journey tripling in time.    Heavy loads can cause wear on clutches, please see Stigg for details.  Stopping to check the clutch can turn a short journey into a long one.  Long short rides of which involve lost riders, broken down bikes can have a tendency to ’do the rear marker's head in’ (Keith Stone).  The words patience and Saint come to mind.   Please also be aware that when passing horses (and even though you can't possibly ride any slower without going backwards), the horse rider may require you to slow down even more !  I’m sure John’s response was louder than our pipes… (and unrepeatable!)!   Thanks to Peter, the Kawaski rider who helped The Vultures.    Dan