Report on the GIANTS Run 2019

Cerne Abbas Giant
Cerne Abbas Giant
  • thank you and all the organisers for a wonderful event. Same time next year then?
  • thoroughly enjoying myself
  • already in our calendar for next year

Just a few of the comments passed to me yesterday during and after our inaugural GIANTS Run, an event for girder fork bikes.  I’m sure Paul Miles has received many more.

 

Saturday Late Afternoon and Evening Meal:

It kicked off with a late Saturday afternoon gathering at Henstridge Golf and Leisure to meet riders who were camping overnight.  At 5:15pm, led by Gabby Hunt, we all headed off on our bikes to Sherborne Golf Course for an early evening supper.  Two course meal for £10; what’s not to like!  We had 22 at this gathering, which was more than expected, so many thanks to all those who came to welcome our visitors.  It was a great way to meet new girder fork enthusiasts, so the scene was set for the following day…

Sunday Morning Line-Up:

And what a day it was!  Fantastic turnout!  80 pre-registered for the event, with 10 signing up on the day.  Nine were pillion riders, so 71 machines, plus at least 4 of the usual hangers on, too mean to register 🙁 .  At least 11 no-shows on the day, without notice, plus a couple of cancellations prior, usually due to ill health or mechanical issues, so we think about 60 rode on the day.  Rod and Sandy at Henstridge Golf and Leisure did an excellent job of providing breakfast and the “pie and pint” lunch — it’s worth mentioning that we decided that cancellations and no-shows would not be eligible for refunds, and this helped ensure that- Rod and Sandy’s catering plans would not be upset at short notice.

Professional Photos with kind permission from Andrew Butler Photography:

Andrew, a friend of Paul Miles, shows how photographs should be taken.  Some brilliant photos here — many thanks Andrew.

Other Photos taken on route:
Postscript:

Signing-on was administered by Cressy Miles, Philippa Wirdnam and Marie McGladdery.  Plus, we had a number of fluorescent jacket marshals helping with parking,  and Andy Grew & Pete Dungey offering a breakdown service for the long and short routes respectively.  Many thanks to all of you; it all worked very smoothly.

The only thing we lost control of was the weather. Beautiful start to the day but by 1:30pm, the heavens had opened and several of us were caught in torrential rain.  Simon Dillon’s Sarolea magneto was overwhelmed by water as was the magneto on your Secretary’s (me!) Ariel Sloper.  Both of us were about 62 miles into our 67 long route — so close yet so far.  I did eventually get back to Henstridge by car but by then it was 3:45pm and there were only a few people left…although Sandy still managed to produce a pie!

Final Thoughts From Paul Miles:

There was a will in the section to try and offer an event purely for girder fork bikes and to include the 1930s machines- so often the bridesmaids in that they are too new for established events such as Banbury yet find themselves slightly overwhelmed in general runs as the majority of riders choose 70/80s bikes for them now.

A turnout such as this vindicates the decision and really shows a desire to keep these fine old bikes on the road where they belong. The carefully curated routes by Paul Wirdnam played to the strengths of these machines, avoiding faster roads, or the goat tracks we’re sometimes subjected to; especially difficult on bikes with no suspension!

Dozens of these machines going off together and mostly riding at similar speeds made for a tremendous feeling of camaraderie and it seemed to be so much more than ‘just another ride’ to me, at least. Girder fork enthusiasts are the beating heart of vintage motorcycling and long may it continue. I loaned out three of my bikes, all to ‘vintage virgins’. Everyone survived and loved the day. One even asked me how much a ‘GIANTS eligible’ bike might cost as he intends to come again next year with his own machine. Another tried to buy the Duggie off me there and then! I’d really love to see us getting more enthusiasts out on our bikes.

Roll on GIANTS 2!

Author: Paul Wirdnam

Strangely addicted to Ariel motorcycles from the '20s, 30s and 40s.

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