Photos from the Blandford Run 2021

Following on from the Informal Good Friday Run, this was our second “Rule of 6” run consisting of 5 groups with 6 riders in each.  But unlike the Good Friday run, the weather was decidedly chilly this morning but it was largely dry for many of us although it looks as though Phil Allen’s group drew the short straw weather-wise.

Despite the low temperatures, everyone seemed to have a good time and its good to see the same new Section members always being the first to reserve their places on the next informal run.  We must be doing something right.

Finally, our Informal Bluebell Run is in two weeks time on the 25th and 23 of the 30 places have already been booked.  So if you want a place, you had better hurry and book one…..

Blandford Group 1

Report from Paul Wirdnam, the group leader:

Quite a range of bikes in our group today: Paul Miles on a 50’s Sunbeam S7, Ken Druce on a 30’s Sunbeam Model 9, Steve Edgington on a very pretty 50’s NG Ariel, Kevin Eddols on his  80’s Yamaha 4, Willian Webb on a Velo and me on a 30’s Ariel VH;  having two Ariels in our group clearly upset our Ariel-hating Chairman 🙂 .

Starting at Lidl in Blandford, we headed off to Ashmore, Berwick St. John, Ebbesbourne Wake, Fovant, Dinton, Wylye and finally stopping at The Ginger Piggery & Ginny’s Cafe for a coffee.  Quite by chance, we bumped into Rich Kinsey here who was out on a ride with his Sunbeam S8.

Then onto Sutton Veny, the Deverills, Mere, Motcombe, Shaftesbury and ending at Hammoon, nr. Sturminster Newton.  68 miles in total and a very pleasant run.

Blandford Group 2

Report from Bernard Jones, the group leader:

A cool but not uncomfortable run. Jim Thornton was unable to make it, trouble with centre piston on his Triple Triumph. So 5 of us met up at Blandford Tesco car park, Kevin Chapman 650 Triumph; Simon Baker, Laverda triple; Mick Sobalak 655 BSA; myself Vincent Rapide and new boy Ian Buckingham 500 Triumph. Ian told me he really enjoy the run, and will join us again, hope he is telling the truth! We headed off up the Tarrant valley to the Shaftsbury top road past Compton Abbas airfield, through the Donheads up to East Knowle. Then trouble hit, Mick’s BSA lost its clutch, not literally, but suspect the shaft nut had come loose, so rescue service for Mick. The rest of us proceeded through East Knowle to Starbucks on the A303. Not my best choice but with Covid rules, not much alternative. Paninis and coffees all round and a good chat then headed home via Gillingham, Sturminster Newton and Winterbourne Stickland. Blandford greeted us with drizzle, and with minor hail at East Knowle, otherwise a dry run.

Blandford Group 3

Report from Phil Allen, the group leader:

We started at the Marsh & Ham car park with 5 bikes and 6 people, headed towards Bryanston, Melbury Hill & Compton Abbas by a very nice narrow road route (gravel and grass in the middle), onto Donhead St Andrew just off the A30 down narrow roads to Hindon where we stopped for a break then on our way for coffee and cake in Shaftesbury. As we arrived at the car park snow or hail or something fell for 10 minutes so as you can see, we sheltered in the toilet block then on for tea and cake. We then lost 3 of the group who either decided enough was enough or had to get off home, the 3 remaining went off to see the Fovant Badges where we lost another member who decided it was nearer to go home so only 2 left for the final leg through Broad Chalk and Bower Chalk, Six Penney Handley and back to Blandford for more tea and biscuits. A very enjoyable day of just over 75 miles through some of Dorset and Wiltshire’s best biking roads!!!. Most of the day was nice weather be it a bit nippy and of course a bit of the white stuff. Incidentally it is a good job me and Dave did not do the full route l had roughly “planned” as it would have been just over 100 miles. (must improve my route planning in future). Oh! the cake in Shaftesbury was excellent.

Henstridge Group

Report from Ray Dickinson, the group leader:

Another good run. We met up at the Virginia Ash where Peter Hallowes came along to see us off. It was good to see him and have a chat.
Our route took us off south to Kings Stag through Minterne Magna and on to Cerne Abbas as no one was serving coffee there we headed for Hamish’s Farm Shop where we felt obliged to eat bacon sarnies and coffee. Returning through Yetminster, Sherborne and back to Henstridge approx 50 miles.
There was a varied selection of bikes, Colin on his 1926 flat tank Norton, Peter on a 1937 250cc Velo with Maurice & Marie BMW sidecar and our BMW R80. In spite of all the differences in bikes we all enjoyed it! no one got left behind. Looking forward to our next run when pubs and farm shop will be able to offer refreshments.

Sparkford Group

Report from Andy Grew, the group leader:

Another excellent run today from Sparkford. Honda was the marque of choice today with 3, plus an Ariel, a BMW and a Moto Morini.

First was a quick stop for photos at Alfreds Tower then on to Nunney, via Witham Friary and Trudoxhill. Bit of a result at Greggs as we all got a free Breakfast Bun – very welcome!

Then onwards to Cranmore, Batcombe and Bruton to finish at Sparkford.

It was a bit cold in places, Tim’s temp gauge showed just 3 degrees at Alfreds Tower and a we had a hail shower in Trudoxhill.

Roll on the next run!!



Photos from the Good Friday Run 2021

It’s difficult to believe but our last run was almost 6 months ago.  But with the easing of the lockdown restrictions, we’re now resuming some of our runs and this was the first of them.

Held in brilliant weather and conforming to the “Rule of 6” guidelines, we had 5 groups, each starting and ending at different locations and each with one leader with 5 riders.  Having spoken to each of the group leaders after the run, it seemed we all had a great time and all felt wonderful to be riding together again.  So, in alphabetical order:

Blandford Group

Report from Ken Druce, the group leader:

The Intrepid 6

All was going so well, I arrived at Stour Meadows Car Park and the rest of my group were already there, a brief chat and we set off, route was in the satnav…what could go wrong ? Well, for some reason my satnav insisted on trying to turn me around and head for Blandford. Various options were tried whilst on the move, including saying ‘No’ to ‘Return to start of route. However , using The Force and some prints of the route that I had done (not readable by me without glasses) we managed to head in roughly the right direction. There were a few deviations and places I had never seen before or likely again. We managed to get to the village shop in Chettle (a planned stop if we were on time) at 12:50 PM and the shop shuts at 1PM… Phew!

In all we covered 60 miles with no problems with the bikes, unfortunately no photo’s were taken as full concentration was required to stay in Dorset and neighbouring counties.

During a stop at the Horton Inn, one or two bikes turned up from another VMCC section run, and they had got separated using the drop off system, when I asked why they were using the drop off system for only 6 bikes, they said there were 18 of them.

Of our group, all were present at the end, which I think is a good result and something I would not have bet money on at the start of the ride.

Below is the route we should have done and to the right is the route we actually did. As you will see its not too bad.

Fiddleford Group

Report from Bernard Jones, the group leader:

Run from Bernard’s, The Old Farmhouse, headed off South through Oakford Fitzpaine up over Bulbarrow to Cheselbourne, then eastward to Maiden Newton. Northwards to Evershot and finally westwards via Lyons Gate and Kings Stag back home. Bernard’s wife Chrissie did us proud with hot soup and bacon rolls, We spent a couple of hours munching and chatting in the afternoon sunshine. It was a trouble free run but Bernard had trouble starting his Vincent. He had recently fitted Makuni carbs and had lost the minute needle clip, and used a concentric clip as a temporary measure, only fitting the correct clip on the day of the run. Unfortunately in screwing the carb top back on, he had raised the screw cable adjusted so the carbs were about 10mm out of sync!. Soon discovered and rectified.

Okeford Fitzpaine Group

Report from Paul Wirdnam, the group leader:

The day started off well with tea & coffee and hot cross buns at my house, kindly provided by Philippa, my wife.

Our Chairman easily won the sweepstake on when the Douglas would expire with an entry of “under ten” miles — poor John Young, that Duggie has been nothing but trouble.  Today it was the throttle twist control falling apart followed by a stuck open exhaust valve.  He called it a day at 10 miles and limped home.

The rest of us continued on our journey: Okeford Fitzpaine, Bullbarrow, Ansty,  Melcombe Bingham , Cheselbourne, Piddletrentide, Cerne Abbas, Batcombe, Evershot and finally to Hamish’s Farm Shop on the A37.  A distance of 30 miles there, and 20 miles back.

Shaftesbury Group

Report from Ray Dickinson, the group leader:

It was good to be out on the bike, we ended up doing 50 miles from Shaftesbury — Motcombe-Hindon through to Dinton then over to Wylye stopping at The Ginger Pig for coffee and a hot cross bun then onto Sutton Veny past Shear Water – Maiden Bradley finishing at Mere.  A great day, good weather, good company, hot cross buns and no noisy old Ariels🏍💐 (I blame the Chairman for the Ariel comment) .

Sparkford Group

Report from Andy Grew, the group leader:

Todays run from Sparkford attracted a very mixed bag of bikes that only the VMCC could attract! Today we had a 1929 Sunbeam, 1947 Ariel, 1978 BMW R80, 1978 Morini 500, Honda Benly and a Hinckley Triumph Trident.

The route was about 45 miles in length with a mixture of roads and landscapes including Hamhill and the Somerset levels. We stopped midway through for Tea and Coffee and Hot Cross Buns in glorious sunshine, although it was a little chilly in the wind.

A very enjoyable run with good weather, good company and interesting bikes – its good to be back!!


Photos from the Autumn Run 2020

Yesterday was our second attempt at running the Autumn Run; we had to cancel the run on the original date (4th October) due to heavy rain and flooding.  Weather was better yesterday and the roads were dry, but there was a little rain 🙁

Not as many photos as normal.  Conforming to the Covid-19 related restrictions means I only have photos from my group of six (11:00 start at Udder Farm).  We certainly had a good time and I hope the other 3 groups enjoyed the run;  we waved to other groups as they headed in the opposite direction 🙂

26 were pre-booked for this run with a couple of no-shows due to breakdowns on route to the start.  Your Committee is still struggling with the best way to conduct these runs in these difficult times, but 24 seems to be the maximum we can handle, so do reserve you place as soon as future runs are announced.

Thorngrove Garden Centre Start

Three photos from the start at Thorngrove Garden Centre; many thanks Maurice!

Udder Farm Start

First 9 photos are those people in the 10:30 group.  The remaining photos are of the 11:00 group; we stopped on the top of Bulbarrow Hill just as it started raining.

Photos from The Last of the Summer Wine Run 2020

Nice day for the Dorset Section’s annual Last of the Summer Wine Run.  We couldn’t meet up at our usual starting / ending venue due to social distancing requirements, so this year there was no tea / coffee, cake or prize giving, but the hot weather more than made up for it.    And Phil gave us a 34 mile route that felt more like 134 miles!

Our Ariel-hating Chairmen couldn’t be with us today, which is just as well as he would have hated it with three vintage Black Ariels taking part (and none of them broke down).

Many thanks to Phil Allen for organising the run and giving us an interesting and unusual route.

The Start at Sturminster Newton Car Park
The End at The Horton Inn
Post Run Meeting at Bakers Folly on Bulbarrow

On the way back home, a few us went looking for an ice-cream first at the top of Bulbarrow Hill if there was an ice cream van there. There wasn’t, so the back-up plan was Bakers Folly halfway down Bulbarrow.  I got there, but I was all on my own…not sure how that happened.


Photos from the Northern Run 2020

Today marked a return to our 2020 Programme of Events with our Northern Run.  Due to Covid-19 restrictions, we limited the numbers to a maximum of 30 riders and all participants had to pre-register, but apart from that, it felt like business as usual.

A great selection of bikes turned up at The Virginia Ash ranging from glorious Ariels to lowly Velocettes.  The pub opened specially for us at 9:30am and it was good to see many of us ordering breakfast, coffees and teas; we need to make it worth their while and I think we did that today.

The first part of the run to the Windwhistle Pub at  Cricket St Thomas was in glorious sunshine, but after that it became overcast and by the time people left Hamish’s Farm Shop & Café to head home, many of us got caught in the odd downpour.

But another very enjoyable run and thanks are due to Bernard for organising it.  Look out for the next Sunday’s run : Last of the Summer Wine Run. A few places are still available but you must pre-book.

Photos from the Mini-GIANTS Run

Wylye Down National Nature Reserve

At the end of July, with 100 registered entrants, we sadly had to cancel our GIANTS Run due to Coronavirus related restrictions.  It should have taken place yesterday 🙁

But with our Informal Runs being such a success, your Chairman and Secretary decided to hold a 66 mile mini-GIANTS Run for 12 section friends who own girder fork bikes.  In glorious weather, it took place yesterday and I believe a great time was had by all.  It was nice of Maurice McGladdery to see us off at the start, and Peter Hallows and Peter Bovenizer be there at the end.

ZigZag not challenging enough for you?

Andrew Rae needs a mention.  While the rest of us struggled up ZigZag Hill on tarmac, Andrew did a bit of green laning on a track that runs parallel to ZigZag.  Should we ban him or give him a prize? The latter in my view 🙂 :).  It’s the red track in the photo on the right; click the image.

Before you view the event photos, please remember that we have our Northern Run on Sunday 6th September and our Last of the Summer Wine Run the following Sunday on the 13th.  Both are limited to 30 riders and require pre-registration. All details can be found in our Events calendar.

The Start at Spire Hill Farm / Thyme after Time Café:
On Route and The Ginger Piggery & Ginny’s Cafe:
End at the Udder Farm Shop and Café:

Photos and Video from the Informal Run 8th August 2020

Our Chairman was dressed as a pirate today. Anyone know why?

What a scorcher it was today — a high of 32°C in North Dorset.  Despite the temperature, we had more people turn up for our run than had booked. In future, to help us plan and keep legal with respect to the current Covid-19 restrictions, please ensure that you have pre-booked with the secretary.  At the moment, we feel we can only support 4 groups, each with 6 riders, so pre-book early to reserve one of the 24 places.

We all assembled at Spire Hill for an initial coffee, tea, cake, natter etc.  But by 11 am, we had rather randomly split into 4 groups and headed off in different directions.

I know many of you don’t read Facebook, but there is a Dorset Section VMCC page that is maintained by our current Chairperson, and I quote from his post about today’s run: “Your correspondent played tail-end Charlie of our six and not only followed an Ariel that smoked like a Soviet Steelworks but had to push start another of the wretched things; there ought to be a law about mass gatherings of Ariels…“.  Now we have a virtual AGM coming up in October and I ask you:  Should we have a Chairperson who is so blatantly anti-Ariel? 🙂

I didn’t hear of any breakdowns or accidents during the run.  We all seemed to arrive at Hamishs in good order.  Another successful, but somewhat hot, Informal Run.  See you in two weeks time, but only if you’ve pre-booked.

BTW: I’ve dropped the numerical reference to the Informal Runs, and the reference to them being Post-Lockdown (but in case you haven’t, this was the Fourth Informal Post-Lockdown Run; what a mouthful!)

Photos from our Third Informal Post-Lockdown Run


Tremendous support for our informal run this morning!

24 riders assembled at Thorngrove Garden Centre in Gillingham.  After a coffee and a bit of a chinwag, we split into four groups of six riders and headed off on north, south, west and east runs, ably led by Bernard Jones, Paul Miles, Ray Dickinson and myself.  About 40 miles later, the four groups arrived at the Udder Farm Shop.  The weather was kind; most of us were still dry.

Another successful informal run; look out for the next one in two weeks time.

At The Start:
At The Udders Farm Shop + Old Clonkers Route

Photos from our Second Informal Post-Lockdown Run

On our first informal post-lockdown run two weeks ago, we had 17 riders.  Today was our second informal run and we had 28, no doubt boosted by the sunny and warm weather.  We had several people join us from far away:  Dave Owen drove down from Swindon and Ian Myers from Torquay!

Today’s run started at Thyme after Time Café at Spire Hill Farm, Stalbridge and ended at the Udder Farm Shop, East Stour.   With 28 riders, we needed 4 separate groups of 7 and I’d like to thank Ray Dickinson, Paul Miles and Bernard Jones in helping me out as the four group leaders. The run was meant to be about 40 mile in length but Ray got carried away with the excellent weather and his group did 55 miles.

Stories I heard:  John Young broke down on his 1938 Douglas with a stuck open exhaust valve, Phil Allen broke down in Durweston, someone’s Lucas Altette horn broke off but thankfully wasn’t lost,  and my group almost ran over an enormous grass snake crossing the road at Stour Row.

The Udder Farm Shop was very well organised in these difficult times, but who expected to have to give their name, phone number, post code and have their temperature take just to use the loo….what a weird period we’re all going through.

Another great ride out. 🙂

At The Start:
At The Udders Farm Shop + Old Clonkers Route

Photos from our First Informal Post-Lockdown Run

As the UK takes small steps coming out of Lockdown, we held our first informal run today and followed all the regulations currently in force in England.  So no signing-on, no route maps, no fee and no indoor gatherings…and riding in groups no bigger than six.

As this was our first attempt at this, we limited the run to a maximum of 18 bikes, arranged in 3 groups of 6 with a route leader in each.  The start of the run was at Thyme after Time Café, Spire Hill Farm near Stalbridge and the end point for all 3 groups was Compton McRae near Semley.  This destination is a new venue for us; my wife and I visited them earlier in the week, and I discussed the possibility of us using them and they were delighted with the idea.  Today they made us feel very welcome and provided an outside table service with some truly excellent food — the sausage rolls were to die for.  I hope we come back here often…

By the way, how do people feel about having runs on a Saturday rather than the traditional Sunday? Both start and end venues would have been closed on Sunday, so holding runs on Saturdays does give us many more options.

The three leaders were Paul Miles, Ray Dickinson and myself.  Paul organised a fast route (50+mph) going north over the Deverills etc, Ray’s route headed towards Stourhead and Shearwater and I took the slower group (40+mph) south via Child Okeford, Tarrant Hinton, Tollard Royal, Ansty and Old Wardour Castle (route in the last photo below).

I’m sure we all felt great to be back on bikes again and riding together.  The 3 group system worked well and we hope to organise another run like this in the very near future.

Oh yes, and it rained a bit.