Ride Free

This weekend was incredibly busy for me, going up to Stafford for the Stafford Classic Bike Show, down to Orpington, Kent for a motorcycle club reunion and then back up to Bedfordshire for a local motorcycle event in Ampthill called Ride Free.

Ride Free is an annual event organised by Motorcycling Matters in support of the East Anglian Air Ambulance and offers a variety of attractions to check out during the day.

Held on the grounds of a local school, the show isn’t huge but there’s plenty to see and plenty to do. The main attractions include Steve Colley’s stunt show, Ken Fox’s Wall of Death, local traders and retailers and motorcycle clubs and groups. Alongside that, there are also plenty of other things you can get involved with such as the National ‘Get-on’ Scheme for first-time riders, Bikesafe assessed rides, motorcyclist first-aid courses and slow riding skills sessions.

After a 2 hour ride home from Kent mid morning, I had a tight turnaround with 30 minutes to shower and meet at a friend’s house to ride to the show. We arrived relatively early as I recall last year the car park filled up pretty quickly.

Like last year, it was a warm dry day so both car parks were heaving with motorcycles after a couple of hours. I had a quick scoot around to check out other people’s motorcycles and my favourite by far was a pristine CB 750 Four with only around 13,000 miles on the clock.

My friends and I wandered around the main part of the show, looking at trade stands and motorcycle club stalls and most important of all, there was affordable on-site catering with super tasty chips! Yum!

Later on, we stopped by to see Steve Colley's stunt show. Steve is an incredibly talented trials rider with numerous achievements including 3 Times British Solo Trials Champion, 4 Time Winner at Scottish Six Days Trials and 11 Times Winner of Manx National Two Day Trial.

As accurately said on Steve’s website; ‘The skills of motorcycle trials riders like Steve Colley have to be seen to be believed.’ Many of the stunts performed during the show I would have otherwise thought were impossible - I have since been theorising that perhaps Steve has super powers...

At one point, Steve removed the front wheel and forks, rested the motorcycle on its sump guard on a trials stand and said, “I'm looking for a female volunteer from the crowd!” at which point I looked straight at the ground (you will understand if you also don’t like being picked out for these things haha!) As luck would have it, I was chosen. Luckily, in contradiction to my initial thoughts, the stunt in which I had to take part wasn't a death-defying, life-flashing-before-my-eyes manoeuvre; I only had to remove the trials stand from beneath Steve’s motorcycle (thank god - a simple task for a simple person)

Credit goes to John Prater for these photos!

All in all it was a great performance and Motorcycling Matters made a fantastic choice inviting Mr Colley to  the show. I certainly wouldn't pass up the opportunity to meet him again!

Shortly after the stunt show, I decided to take advantage of the dry weather and go for a ride with some mates in the local area before setting off home. 

Today, the East Anglia Air Ambulance confirmed that a total of £740.18 was raised through Ride Free. Thanks to everyone who donated and contributed their time to making this event a success!