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Fred Hill Run 2007Report and pictures supplied by Vic- and very promptly!
There was some doubt as to if this run would take place, as yesterday there was still blizzard conditions and plenty of snow on the ground. Thankfully the day dawned bright, with no sign of the white stuff anywhere. No doubt the previous day's weather still put some people off, but they missed out on a great day with the sun high in the sky (if a little chilly, but it wouldn't be a Fred Hill run without that would it?).
On a personal note I do like to attend a memorial to this truly inspiring man, whether you agree with the helmet law or not is missing the point. I believe in freedom of choice, even more so in this age of laws for everything and the 'cotton wool' culture we are developing into. Fred Hill stood for just this, the freedom to choose how you live your life. Unfortunately he paid a high price for his beliefs; I just hope that I have the conviction to stand up for my beliefs as well as he did.
When I got to the Park Inn, Woodsetton (home to Black Country MAG) there was only 1 other bike on the car park. Thankfully within minutes the bikes started to roll in, one even coming over from Lichfield and another from Tenbury Wells just to ride in with us all. Nigel was late as usual, but luckily one of us (mentioning no names!!) got a bit lost so arranged to meet us at the M5 junction.
We set off at about 11:30 (picking up the wayward rider) and headed down to the West Mids meeting place at Bewell Head, Bromsgrove. There were a few other bikes here, with the riders partaking in a well received cup of tea or coffee (thanks very much). There was only time for a swift drink before we all headed off for the M42 and the Motorcycle Museum.
It's always a nice feeling riding in a large group, and this group grew larger with every minute as riders from Gloucester and all over tagged on the back of us. We were double the size when we reached the museum, already the sectioned off bit of car park was inhabited by other groups who had come in from all points of the compass. After wandering around the car park having a look at the bikes I went into the arranged conference room where MAG officer Trevor Baird was already into his chat about MAG, Fred Hill and what it all means. Once he had finished a bit of mingling was called for before heading up to the café for a coffee.
The sun was still out (and the wind still chilly) when I left for home. A very nice ride and good to see so many people paying their respects to this great man. With so many bikes turning up for the run it is developing into a sizeable ride. I think in future, decisions need to be made about the organisation of the run, as although it is fine for a few bikes, it needs to be reviewed in light of its growing popularity.
See you there next year (snow permitting!!)
West Midlands rep
O.k., so I can't resist adding my threepenn'orth.
Like Vic, we thought that the snow arriving at the end of the week would put paid to the ride, and that would have been a pity. I was receiving phone calls on Saturday afternoon and evening that seemed to support this fear, but when Sunday dawned bright and clear, and the snow had all been washed away during the night,we decided that we would get the clobber on and ride up to the Park to see what happened. It isn't far from us and we had a back-up plan - if no-one turned up, we would ride over to Cosford to the new Cold War exhibition hall. A win/win situation, then.
As we approached the Park I held my breath, but there were several bikes there already (before 11 a.m., the departure time). Rob had made it over from Cleobury Mortimer, Vic and Simon were there, and a rider now living in Sedgley who has promised to join us on a Monday evening (sorry I don't have a name yet).
We had no idea whether anyone else was coming, but gradually others rode in - Phil on his scooter, Bod on his trike (complete with movie equipment), another Simon, then Nigel and Pauline. In the end, 10 bikes and 1 trike set off from the Park and we collected number 12 at the motorway island. A respectable group to make its way over to Bewell Head and link up with the rest of the West Midlands Region contingent, but there were a number of Black Country MAG stalwarts missing from the group this year.
As Vic said, a number of other bikes/trikes/a chop helped to swell our number by the time we reached Meriden. JJ had happily agreed to cover the back of the column, but about halfway through this part of the journey another headlight appeared in our wing mirror. The 'newcomer' tailed us all the way to the Museum, where the mystery was solved - Steve and Debs, on a bike that does not yet feature on the members' bikes page! I did not think to take a photo of it; hopefully Steve will forward one (unless Pauline or someone else on the Run has one?) then we will know who is sneaking up on us next time.
The marshalling was well organised at the entrance to the Museum, and we were waved straight through to the section of car park set aside for us. We occupied a space less than half the size needed last year, and this was echoed in the Assembly Hall, where there were a lot of empty seats. I guess this was down to the weather, especially further North where it was still snowing on Saturday afternoon.
We did not stay long once the formal part of the Meet finished (this also seemed shorter than last year). John, Nigel, Pauline and myself accompanied Rob back to Cleobury Mortimer then headed for Clee Hill cafe and hot drinks/food. There was more snow still lying there, even in the valley. The fields were white over, and it was still piled on the verges (no doubt by snow ploughs clearing the main roads). This made the air much colder as you rode, even though the roads themselves were clear. Rob, and the riders from Tenbury, did well to come over earlier in the morning.