Picture the scene folks…..Its 0700 hrs on a quiet Keighley hillside, Barry and I stood on the clubhouse veranda hand in hand…..No I’m just kidding guys honest…we looked intently far across the mist laden valley trying to assess Mother Nature’s intentions for the day. It felt quite mild in the air a mixture of light and grey tops hung over some darker wispy smudges that smeared across over the hills, though the far off Ingleton top had a brighter look to it. “I think it’s going to brighten up later mate” says Barry. I frowned and shrugged replying “ It’s fekkin fleeces then mate” There endeth today’s weather report!

Snowflake and Mistress Mable sat side by side throbbing gently warming up, Barry and I were warming too and getting excited about the run today as Tina and Julie finally slipped behind us onto their seats. Snicking into first we rolled away from the kerb and down the hill, (Barry) “Testing testing 1-2-3-4”…(Dave)” 5-6-7-8, yeah, CB sounds loud and clear ” We rode the short distance to the shop and the meeting point for the day’s run. We turned the corner and there they all waited.

We cruised slowly through the thirty three parked bikes to a spot at the head. Wow THIRTY THREE!! That means there was over sixty people here today.Familiar faces waved and threw friendly insults at me, (why do we men do that then girls)? Geoff Smith and Derek Thornton greeted us and looked up for the challenge, both had agreed to help us this year and today was going to be our first rideout as a team. I bet it would be astounding to tot up the total miles we have done on bikes collectively!

I greeted all the men and kissed all the ladies, I remember a while ago at a Yorkshire “Meet and Greet” my wife turned up in the afternoon and was welcomed by NOBODY even though she parked up in front of the event organisers, I’m sure many have similar stories? It’s important to make everybody feel welcome especially on their first time don’t you agree guys? People looked really happy and were up for today, the guys happy to be out on the bikes and girls looked forward to the visit to GRANADA STUDIOS especially.

Peter Armitage was amongst us today on a rented 1800 and key to today’s event. Peter is a biker and an engineer…in his own words he says that he also does a bit of acting. Peter is a down to earth bloke and full of funny stories from his years on planet Earth, we have spent a few occasions supping ale and musing over worldly stuff and swapping stories! Peter plays Bill Webster in Coronation Street. It is through him that today’s unique experience was possible. Granada Studios does not let the general public in any longer so today was a special occasion, also we would make a large donation to The Help for Heroes charity, something close to Peter and more than a few Wanderers. Peter looks a bit of a “rough arsed old Greebo” in his seasoned leathers, no poncy gortex bike kit for our Peter! He fitted amongst us very well.

A good rideout dictates a few ground rules to complement the rules of the road. we had talked it over the previous evening about what we might expect. Then crapped ourselves at the prospect!! (kidding kidding) Barry gathered everyone for the “team talk” of do’s and don’ts for today, speaking especially about closing up close at traffic lights and junctions with solos in pairs at such locations. We would see a few in Manchester city centre! We used our trusted trike formula, that is.. All the trikes and the sidecar outfit would form up behind Barry and the solos would offset in pairs behind, so then the solos dare not lag and create gaps for fear being accused of not being able to keep up with the trikes! Geoff and Big D would be around the middle working as the situations developed. Me? Well I’m at the back with Julie giving Barry a constant picture as to what’s happening, on more than one occasion folk thought I was talking to myself, especially the good folk of Manchester as they stood and gawped from the pavement. “Why is he shouting at me that he’s stood at the lights with six bikes…and who the F*** is Derek?

Ok it was time to go, everyone was buzzing with excitement, Peter paddles his way to the front just behind Barry, some Appy Wanderers have taken to calling this “The naughty spot” I can’t think why! Barry nods to me, I pull out and pause in the road the oncoming cars stopped, I mouthed “thank you” to the lead driver as over 30 bikes spilled out of the side road and zoom off west towards Haworth. Julie waved them on urgently then waves a big thank you to the patient Sunday morning traffic.

Folk often ask me and Barry why we do the Appy Wanderers thing, well firstly we are both in love with motorbikes! then of course there is the feelings of excitement, anticipation, the thrill of the spectacle, the occasion and the old feeling in the belly of the “Collywobbles” the sheer presence that a large group of beautifully turned out motorbikes has on all around and in spite of our differences we all become one of the same for the day and the satisfaction at the end of the day of knowing we had organised something well, and of course we are promoting motorbikes in a positive light. THIS is why we do it!

Our first film location we come upon is from THE RAILWAY CHILDREN, Barry tries to point out some features and houses on the opposite hill side. Unfortunately Mother Nature stuck her oar in and covered us in that shitty “mizzley” damp stuff that you can’t actually see or feel but wets you all the same and all we can pick out are vague square grey shapes. I wonder if maybe we are getting in the Manchester weather mode? Barry went a bit quiet,…”ah Bliss”….said the Mashalls! Barry had flipped a switch by mistake but was soon back with us loud and proud…”bugger said the Marshalls! Our Barry’s is getting on so its to be expected, wait while he tries his left and rights!

This is a nice road all the same, it’s the A6033 and goes through wonderful sounding place names like Flappit Spring, Oxenhope and Pecket Well, riding high over damp Wadsworth Moor, this is all Bronte country, how the hell Heathcliffe ever found Cathy on the moors in this muck is nothing short of a miracle! Down we descended into Todmorden town winding slowly through, people stood and starred, children waved as the rolling jukeboxes passed by, finally some bloke at the back on a silver bike with an orange vest on who kept shouting to himself “Yeah, all together at the back no problems Derek” The APPY WANDERERS rolling jukebox just keeps on rolling. Can you imagine this lot at night it would be like Close Encounters of The Third Kind…on speed! We rode through Littleborough town before riding close by Hollingworth Lake.

The car park was fairly empty so was one problem less for Barry and Geoff as we swooped in and parked. The drizzle was still with us as we visited the ablutions, the sound of ripping Velcro echoed out of the loos for the next fifteen minutes! The café and the water side and over the road did some brisk business, tea coffee and hot snacks were sampled, Hazel offered me some chocolate from her cake tin, thank you mum! The few visitors were treated to a free bike show and showed curious interest taking photographs with their mobile phones. Others asked what was going on and who we were. Thirty minutes later we moved off, once again I asked the traffic to wait a moment as Barry and Peter followed by thirty other motorbikes rode carefully up and out of the car park.

We thought it would be a good idea to adjust our marshalling as Manchester came closer, this is called thinking on the hoof! We adjusted slightly Barry would still lead with Geoff as his back man, D would now become my lead for when we got split with the plethora of traffic lights that one finds in cities. But first we had a bit of motorway work to do.

The drizzle splurged down as we hit the M62 and cranked up the speed, filtering into the traffic and heavy spray, we had just a few miles to do then we would be turning off again, my group of back markers were going a tad slow, we were spread out a long distance and I was losing radio contact so passed and urged the guys on a bit quicker, soon I was at the slip road and slowed to let the Hull contingent see our mass of tail lights, they joined us safely and we were all as one again and ready to hit Manchester.

We rode through Prestwich, an area our politicians would probably describe as “a colourful thread of our modern society” I can see a little more from the back compared to you guys in the pack, we were riding through a poor grey district of “Run-down-villa” not a white face in sight, the roadside was dotted with stalls selling drab looking clothes, it looked really dirty and run down compared to the mixed and vibrant colourful Southall I remember from my recent years in London. As if by a miracle the rain stopped as we headed into Manchester city centre the clouds stayed on the M62.

The traffic lights mauled our convoy severely but not as bad as the infamously quick traffic lights of Zurich city on the 2006 European tour! I remember Barrys fading voice calling CHUR Dave just take the sign for Churrrr…… Id got cut aff from the trikes at the lights and took the lead with all the solos but didn’t have Mistress Garmin in those days, so was stumped as the CHUR sign up ahead pointed in both directions on the next junction, so I took the LEFT had turned right and just caught sight and shouted “Wrong CHUR Dave!” I quickley called the then back man came to the front and readjusted his Mistress Garmin and we eventually rejoined with Barry and the trikes some miles down the road, all very exciting stuff! Hence we were a little nervous today.

We managed to stay together as two groups now and crept slowly towards the centre, passing the now revamped area of Strangeways and the railway station. Tina stood at the obscure Granada Studios side gate corner like a splendid little orange traffic cone, so easy to spot and home in onto, bless you little woman! Peter mentioned the cobbles, they were real enough in “Corrie” wise passengers dismounted as firm hands wrestled the wings up and onto the set, I sat back and waited, then shot around the back of Websters garage, up a back street around the top and parked up on the corner of the pub. Oh how lucky was that! Everyone else was still buggering about, it took a few minutes but eventually everyone was happy and we set about exploring the famous street with the famous pub, shop and cafe that are part of our lives..like it or not! A door was open to a building, a few of us ambled in and found ourselves on the nightclub set, stepping carefully around the camera equipment I made for the bar and posed for the camera, through another door we found a long hall with a dozen more smaller sets, they were the kitchens and living room sets and the inside of Roys café. I have to admit I didn’t know whose house I was in, I only used to watch it with my mum when I was a teenager, so no I couldn’t find Hilda Ogdens ducks on the wall! It was very interesting all the same. We left as a security guard locked the set behind us! I thought they had left it open for us but seems it was out of bounds. We had ambled onto hallowed ground as far as “Corrie” fans were concerned I guess. We met up with everyone at the bikes and donated £10 per bike to Peter to be presented later to the Help for Heroes Charity, posed for photographs with the flag brought by Phil and Pam Bowker on their black trike. The Granada management were a bit slow and kind of forgot we were coming (hence the studio doors being left ajar) But eventually a reporter and film guy came round and interviewed for Granada local news..they presented it as “Peter and his bike group”… Charming thought I, oh well that’s show business!Coronation Street was 50 yrs old in 2010 and for me the most iconic shot qas of the back alley and the cat sleeping on the roof. I went exploring with Mark around the very ally’s, we found the remains of Jack Duckworths pigeon shed with the chicken wire pulled open but no sign of the pigeons. Peter told us the set had moved around quite a bit and the alley had moved three times to his knowledge which was amazing as it was all real bricks and mortar.

The most amazing is the scene looking through the railway bridge with the other street going off into the distance. This is actually a huge photograph hung on a wall thirty feet back from the bridge. The illusion is very convincing, you only know it’s a picture when you go right up to the bridge and look around the corner to spot the edge of the photo hung on the wall, it really is that convincing.John and Lynne tried a house door, it opened to show tins of paint and named racks containing wallpaper one rack had the name of Emily Bishop, “Hey I know her!” I blurted out, “She was the quiet one”! We stood for a moment in a piece of TV history before quietly backing out and smiling.Just about everyone had their photo taken in front of the Rovers pub, Chris Smith produced a questionnaire for people to do, twenty questions of “Corrie” for folk with a prize for the winner. Julie and I declined, We didn’t know anybody after 1970 for gods sake! The winners were Tony and Hazel Walton, Hazel I might add was a child actress in her youth so no surprise that she won! Peter presented the prize and we all booed..I mean cheered, also today it was Evelyn’s birthday so she got a hearty rendition of “Happy Birthday” on the street a personalized birthday card from APPY WANDERERS and a snog from the men. Yeah go girl! Peter was interviewed for 5 minutes by GRANADA NEWS and we lounged around a bit more eating and drinking our packed lunches, except me thanks to Peter who ate my sandwiches..thanks you fat bs’atrd! I made do with an apple and a cup of tea. All too soon it was time to leave and continue on to part two of this extraordinary rideout.

Waving goodbye to the solitary and overworked security guard we gathered at the exit, got ourselves sorted into the appropriate running order through the centre of Manchester, trikes at the front. 22 glittering jukeboxes two by two behind them and this solitary idiot at the back! Mark and Chrissy said goodbye here and took Phil and Pam Bowker towards Blackburn, we on the other hand headed back towards the right side of the Pennines.

I thought the centre of Manchester affluent, clean, open and roomy but dotted with piggin red traffic lights! More than once pedestrians looked at me as I shouted “Yeah, stood at traffic lights with six bikes Derek!” Mistress Garmin led Barry and Geoff way ahead of us, big D picked his way after them getting a helping pointer from Geoff now and again about following signs for Ashton.

One has to get to grips with Mistress Garmin because she has a naughty habit of telling you literal and plainly wrong instructions has she never heard of road works and stuff for gods sake! So sometimes you have to remind her who is actually in charge! It takes a while but once you both reach this mutual understanding Mistress Garmin is good to have along, mine is a mature buxom brunette in latex and six inch heels, what’s yours? The long road east out of Manchester was long and slow for a while due to lights and road works, crawling by Romley the road went quicker and got empty around Staleybridge, I remember some dirty dull grey speed cameras hidden in the tree line just Manchester side of the zebra crossings, so underhanded they are that I’m surprised they haven’t been torched yet. Soon we passed by Wooley and got some speed up, by now I could pick up both Barry and Geoff on the CB just about a mile in front of our group. At Hollingworth we peeled left and climbed up into the Peak National Park.

The low cloud had long gone it was now a very pleasant ride along the narrow stonewalled roads gently I rolled Mistress Mable to the left and right through long and short corners, I glanced at a small dam or two away down to our right. I had spent 16 years living in London, and Manchester just reminded me how boxed in it left me feeling. I loved it for what it was but I love the countryside more, I seemed to relax a bit more.

After Tintwistle we turned left onto the road to Holmfirth, we climbed high and went into a flock of damp grey clouds, at the top everyone stopped at the radio transmitter and the Holme Moss summit sign, it stated we were at 1719 feet above sea level. It didn’t state the bleak grey mistl wet conditions nor did it warn of the cold wind that shot through ones very bones!

We stayed here a few minutes only, the clouds stayed behind as we began the descent into Holmfirth and the location of LAST of THE SUMMER WINE and SID’s CAFE in particular. It warmed up quickly as we negotiated the tiny road, cars waited as we streamed past, as last man I shouted “THANK YOU” as usual and offered a thumbs up, most drivers waved back and smiled.

This is where we ended todays rideout, some went on with Barry to Huddersfield, some split here including us but not before we caused a bit of mayhem in the Café. This series I do know and can happily recognise Me and Barry in some parts of the characters! No comments thank you girls please! The young girls asked us last time to go into the garden round the back as we were frightening the hikers and ramblers, so today we went without prompting to the tables round the back as the girls brought out our cream teas.

The W.O.T (Welfare Officer Tina) got a bit agitated when I got my scone before hers and didn’t know what “We will bring them out and put them on the top table” meant…this is where her cream scones were sat waiting! Naturally I took the rise out W.O.T and yes I got a thump for that, at least we didn’t end up wrestling on the floor on this rideout! We ambled back to the car park where we all kissed and said our goodbyes before splitting to the four corners of Yorkshire. I think today went as well as it was extraordinary, unusual too that the rideout was only 70 miles. Today was a far shorter ride than we normally do. I was really happy to see so many new faces join us, some from well established circles who fancied a change of scene and hopefully enjoyed their day,

I’d like to send regards to Neville and silky scarfed Jill. The Hull gang came today again cheers Chris, Brian and the girls and of course the ex Harley folk Kev and lovely Kim. The trike gang managed to keep up with Alan (Rossi) Penrose and Chris of the Pudsey trike, he is sooo damn nippy! Small world it is too, because along came Mark and Lynne of the huge smile on the other Zanussi Fridge (White 1800cc) Mark I found out services my dads fire! I’d like to say hello and goodbye to my extended family members it’s always nice to see you all again and see you both Mark and Chrissy at the wedding, it will be OK mate don’t be nervous there is nothing to it I’ve done it three times! Holly was todays newest and youngest Wanderer and brought mum and dad in their Zanussi white sidecar outfit, she laughed a lot enjoyed her day and the silly frolics of the old ones! In the car park too I joined the WMC club at Guiseley where a growing number of Yorkshire Wing members are now getting together, organised by Derek and Heather Thornton today so there is now another watering hole to explore in the summer months as well as the many park benches Barry me old mate!

Don’t forget to left click on the photographs to show then larger, there are more photos than usual to go with this write up and I wanted to show you how beautiful you all really are!

TILLATERONTHEN

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