Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Our First BMF Show Peterborough

"Dad, I feel sick"
"Do you want me to pull in now?" 
"No I'll be OK for a bit"
"Are you sure?"
"I think so!"

Not the start I'd envisage but having had previous encounters of the “Dad I feel sick” kind in the Lake District where I chose to appease Ben with, “Don’t worry we’re out of the twists now sweetheart” . Only to have him throw up down the back of my leg, having only just managed to flip the front of his helmet up  in time to avoid what could have been ‘total carnage’.  I'd learned my lesson. 

When Ben says he feels sick, he really does 'feel sick' and so I pulled into the first place that looked safe which just happened to be a Shell garage.

I gingerly slipped off Mr T and helped Ben do the same. He looked washed out and very pale. 

"Do you think it might be the the two yogurt drinks you had for breakfast Ben?"
"No it's my jacket it's too tight, it's throttling me"

Ben was right! , I'd fastened the Velcro far too tightly and just about choked the poor little sod. In my defense I was only trying to ensure he didn't get a draft down the front of his jacket. Happily as soon as I loosened the collar around his neck the colour came flooding back giving his cheeks a healthy rosy glow . ‘It was my fault!’ I felt like crap but didn’t make a fuss. 

Well as we were at the side of a petrol pump I took the opportunity to fill up then called into the station to pay. The lady on the till was very interested as to what was happening, as they had been really busy with bikes calling in ever since the previous day. I explained it was the BFM Show in Peterborough. For my trouble I got chapter and verse about last weeks ‘Scooter Club Meeting’, still it was rather nice to be welcomed by such friendly staff.

Since turning off “George Orwell Strasse” onto the A1 Ben & I had been playing ‘Cat & Mouse’ for the last 15 miles with a rather plush looking black & gold tour bus. Ben was a little concerned as he climbed back onto Mr T as he had attracted a rather large crowd. We were being photographed by at least half a dozen camera wielding Japanese tourists. They didn't stop clicking until we passed the petrol station out of sight. 

As we had rushed out without eating I was starting to feel hunger pangs. The reason we’d rushed out was my fault again, I’d over laid by half an hour. Ben had set his alarm and was up and about at 0700. Me- I'd slept in until 0730 then rushed about trying to get ready as I wanted us to be on our way by 0800. ‘I wasn’t having the best of mornings so far!’.

Having had a battle with Garmin’s latest offering BaseCamp the previous evening, I was still none the wiser as to just how far Peterborough Show Ground was is from Rochdale. I have absolutely no idea what the hell is going on with it. I've been using MapSource for years and its a breeze to plot a route. Not so with BaseCamp I cannot even get the maps to load from my Garmin 660 and stay on the computer. 

Setting off at 0810 ‘late’, we had taken it really steady across "George Orwell Strasse" as Ben & I have re-named the M62. We tried to count the speed cameras but gave up at 23 average speed camera and 18 gantry cameras. It was a lot busier than I’d expected for a Saturday morning, there were loads of trucks and tour buses but I’m pleased to report it was a good clear run to the A1. Sadly that's where Ben started to feel sick. 

75 miles into the 148 mile ride, the exact distance being thanks to Garmin 660 for telling me exactly how far it was A to B once I’d plumbed in the show grounds post code. I pulled over at a lay-by Burger Van. Although it was showing 11 degrees on Mr T's temperature gauge Ben started shivering whilst we stood waited for our bacon & egg rolls to be made. 

"You can sit in the car if you want, It will warm you through", said the burger van owner.  
"No I'm OK" Ben replied sheepishly
"Go on, you'll be fine, I sit in there when I'm not cooking"
“OK thank you” and with that Ben climbed into the guys Mitsubishi and closed the door. 

I was well impressed with the burger van owners thoughtfulness towards Ben and thanked him again.

A cracking burger van owned by a true gentleman
Oh- and he used to have a bike (till it got nicked that is!)

After eating our bacon & double egg roll’s we mounted up and set off down to Peterborough and our very first ever BMF Bike Show. Not really great to say the show has been running for 34 years but at least we were on our way now. 

So why were we heading to the show this year? well that's simple to answer, the Adventure & Overlanders Touring Area. It's the first year that BMF have had an Adventure & Overlanders Touring Area but having attended Horizons Unlimited for the last two years I had a good idea who would be there. For one I knew Sam & Birgit were there having Tweeted with @SamManicom about Ben & I attending.     

Pulling into the show ground parking area I was immediately impressed with the parking and the well organised attendants slotting each bike into a parking place with loads of room to get about. Heading in through the entrance I wondered why I'd bothered buying a ticket on line (Ben got in free  as he's only 11). The tickets were listed as £15 rather than the £18 on the gate BUT you then had to pay £1.50 booking fee PLUS another “optional’ £1.00 for a Rapid Entry Bar Code. What a load of tosh, as every ticket issued at the gate had the bar code on anyway. There wasn’t even a queue to get in. Just as well as we  had to nip back to the bike as I’d left my mobile on still plugged into the charger! 

The first thing that struck us both was how well organised all the stalls and displays were. What made me feel really good was the security on the bike park & inside the show ground.

This was just one half of the parking area

Now rather than rattle on about how we took a steady walk around the displays, stalls and the bike club just take a look at Bens adventure by photograph.

Ben just loves Harleys! 

My head says this....

But my hearts wants this!

Brilliant bikes built by Kid's
Just don't ask where they got the frame!

That's better
Like father like son

Brilliant showing by the 

Are we there yet Dad?

Out of this World Artwork

The finish is amazing!

After a ride on the Carl Fogerty Experience Ride (a simulator which threw you about quite vigorously) we had a good look around the bike club area. We came across the RBLR stand where we had a chat, turning down the kind offer of a brew. We then wandered back towards the entrance having not come across the Adventure & Overlanders Touring Area. 

Ben had spotted a t-shirt stall where you could have anything you wanted printed either on a t-shirt or hoody. He then spent the next hour trying to come up with of a good slogan. Meanwhile my resolve was tested  to the very max when I discovered the bar which just so happened to be in the middle of the BMF Real Ale Festival. The BMF Real Ale menu available made choosing a pint a real tough call. It was just at that minute I was gutted that we were not camping in one of the the three separate camping areas available. Being a ‘sensible’ Dad, self control won out and I just had the one pint but ‘by-eck’ it was a cracker!

Whilst  enjoying my choice of ale sat outside the bar I got chatting to a guy (much to Ben’s impatient dismay) who was kind enough to point us in the right direction to the Adventure & Overlanders Touring Area which was housed in the barns on the right of the entrance. Ben perked up as he had a good look at all the best in show bikes on display. 

It's just as well Ben was enjoying this area of the show as he’d not really enjoyed the overcast weather and the huge bike club area which took us a good hour and half to walk around. Even at that we had only just skimmed the vast amount of clubs, secondhand bike parts and food stalls. 

Here’s Ben’s walk about the Adventure & Overlanders Touring Area.

The big grin says it all!

Loving the lights

One of Ben's favourites

Spot the Tractor Seat

Norman Magowan's Bike of
Leprechauns in Latin America

It's was really nice to meet up with Sam & Birgit again. Sitting with them as they both beavered away selling Sam's books, Into Africa, Unders Asian Skies, Distants Suns & my favourite Tortillas to Totems,  gave Ben & I a chance to absorb the whole atmosphere of the show. Sadly I was so chilled out that I forgot to take a photo of Sam & Birgit in action, sorry you two it won't happen again I promise. We were introduced to a lady who was concerned about her young son riding pillion behind his Dad. It was really heart warming to hear Ben tell them about his adventures over the last 6 years, especially the big miles he has covered in the last 3 years. Not shabby to say he is still only 11 years old.

I will be writing a separate Blog about that particular encounter and subsequent conversation as I feel so strongly about Ben riding pillion & it warrants further explanation.

He's behind you.....

One very happy chappie

And so with a heavy plastic bag full of author signed books, suitably printed t-shirt & hoody plus a somewhat lighter yet happier wallet, we returned to the much depleted car park. 

Should keep me quite for while!

Grabbed this photo on way out
'Respect the Sacrifie"

The ride home just flew by with Ben & I chatting away all the way up the A1 and across "George Orwell Strasse" without incident. I can most defiantly confirm,we had a very enjoyable day and the Adventure & Overlanders Touring area saved the day as far as Ben was concerned. Its a huge site and full to the rafters, it’s defiantly a weekend event if you want to take it all in. I think next year we’ll be doing an overnighter on the Saturday at least if not the Friday as well as there are so many bands on it would be a shame to miss out. 

Now it's just a case of getting ready for our next adventure, 4 days camping at the Horizons Unlimited HUBB UK Meeting in the all new location of  Donington Park Farm House Hotel near Castle Donington on the Leicestershire / Derbyshire border. Roll on a week on Thursday 30th May to 2nd June. 

If you are there please keep an eye out for us and say hello, we’d be delighted to meet and chat with you all. 

So until the next time ‘Ride Safe’ & be happy.

Last word goes to Ben!
'Nuff said'


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