Ladies Only Ride with Elspeth Beard - Sunday 23rd June 2019 (MLEB19)
Last summer, we rode with a group of ladies down to the Loire Valley in the company of the incomparable Elspeth Beard who, at the age of just 23, rode around the world on her trusty BMW R80.
We're not doing another overseas trip this year, but instead we are planning a one-day ride out with Elspeth this June; Sunday 23rd to be precise. We've recently completed a recce of the route. We've found some great roads, and a brilliant lunch venue. We think it's going to be a terrific day.
Here's the SP. We'll meet up at Motolegends at about 8.30am, with a view to saddling up and riding out at 9.00am. We'll head south to Midhurst, and then turn right towards Winchester on the A272, then onwards via Stockbridge, to Andover, Devizes, Westbury, and thence to our lunch venue.
Our first stop, for coffee, will be Stockbridge. Tony at the Lillie Langtry tea house has set aside an area for us, where we'll have our coffee, tea and biscuits. We'll be there by 11.00am, with a view to departing at mid-day.
Our route after the break will take us on some stunning roads across the Salisbury Plains. Our destination is Bruton in Somerset. We'll be there by 2.00pm for a slightly late lunch. The venue we've found is perfect. It's called Hauser & Wirth. It's a converted farm property that's been turned into a restaurant cum art gallery.
The restaurant, the Roth Grill, is very, very nice. They've given us exclusive use of their canvas-covered terrace. They're going to cook lunch outside for us; in essence, a fancy barbecue. There'll be a number of options on the menu, and an array of salads and side dishes. To drink, Hauser & Wirth will be serving us their own home-made lemonade. There’ll be a dessert and coffee.
The location is stunning. If there's time, you can have a quick run around their rather avant-garde art gallery; it's more Tate Modern than the Royal Academy. We went there recently. It was a February day; it was warm enough to eat outside. The food was first class, the service too. It's a lovely destination for a ride out. And it's a cool place.
The thinking is that we'll be on the road by 4.00pm, and although we won't peg it back in the traditional sense, we will take a much more direct route home.
That means up the A303 to the A34, then down to Winchester and home on the A31. We reckon we should be back in Guildford certainly by 6.00pm (ish).
We are going to limit numbers to 50 bikes in total. No guys, no boyfriends, husbands and so on. Nothing against them, but what we found last year is that the dynamic on a ladies-only ride is rather unique. More mutually supportive, and much less competitive. A lot of laughter, and an emphasis on having fun. This is a day you won't want to miss. Get someone else to look after the kids if that's an issue; your other half even! Just find a way.
The only exception, gender-wise, will be Graham, who will be following us in a long wheelbase Sprinter. He will be able to carry extra kit for anybody who wants a change of clothing. He'll also have fuel, jump leads, starter pack and so on. In the unfortunate case of a breakdown, he can load up to three bikes, because we really don't want any of our ladies to be left by the side of the road on a Sunday afternoon.
We'll also be accompanied by a small video crew who will be putting together a short film about the ladies' motorcycle scene.
The cost per rider is £50. And that will include the morning coffee stop, lunch, the cost of the back-up van and so on.
The £50 will be refundable up to a week before the ride itself, but we do suggest you book early, as we're going to be mailing our database, and hitting Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and so on.
The riding will be relaxed; nobody has anything to prove, and if our previous trip was anything to go by, the camaraderie will be amazing.
Elspeth will lead us out, and of course she will be with us throughout the day. She's terrific to ride with, and her story is one of the most interesting in the world of biking. Elspeth's round the world ride puts her in a league of her own when it comes to feats of derring-do. Forget Ted Simons; and of course Charley and Ewan ain't even in it!