Time plays it’s usual tricks. Less than one week after the 49 Mile ride, we were back on the road for the BSA Owner’s Club of North America (BSAOCNC) All-British Ride. But in six days the weather had changed, the season had turned. Instead of glorious sunshine, the threat of rain followed us most of the day. It cut the lunch festivities short and caught up with us on the final leg home.
This ride was also marked two other anniversaries, the end of major motorcycle events of the year and the birthday of Don Danmeier. Danmeier founded the BSA OCNC many years ago and he started this particular ride as a celebration of his 50th birthday. For many years it was called the XXX anniversary of Don’s 50th birthday ride. While the accounting of Danmeier’s age has eroded over time, the ride is still popular. For an interview with Danmeier, see Pete Young’s blog, Occhio Lungo
In earlier years this ride was only for a certain elite group. To go on this ride you had to ride the route on a British motorcycle. Party crashers who turned up on other kinds of bikes were subject to all sorts of abuse. People who owned British bikes but turned up on something else were turned away. Although, neither ride leader nor peer pressure was inclined to enforce this rule this year, I chose to leave my American built motorcycle behind and ride on the back of a Velocette Endurance.
On Saturday morning, Fred, Jeff and I rode to Novato where over a hundred British motorcycles were gathering. Here I ditched my JezeBuell, we drank coffee and greeted old friends. Although predominately a BSA ride, all sorts of British bikes were present. Ariels, Greeves, Matchless, Nortons, a Panther, Triumphs, Velocettes and Vincents had also been prepped for this ride.
The route was similar to previous years, except that we went in the opposite direction. The ride went through Fairfax and west up the Fairfax Bolinas road into Mount Tamalpais and then north to Point Reyes, finally stopping at the Cheese Factory for a bbq lunch.
On the way to Farifax, a few of us stopped to admire Paul’s new property.
I renewed my respect for the people who ride as passengers on motorcycles. It is easier in that you don’t have to concentrate on the road, but you still have to pay attention to what is going on around you and try to keep some sense of balance. In addition riding on the back is significantly more frightening. There was red sawdust all over the slightly damp Fairfax Bolinas road, which made this twisty road appear more treacherous than usual. However the sun was out as we came over Mount Tam and there was an amazing view of the city in the distance that I, as a passenger, was able to enjoy.
Unfortunately we got lost at the end and arrived late for lunch. There was plenty of food, though. BBQ chicken and ribs, a sauté of vegetables and tofu, salad, garlic bread, cookies and plenty of hot coffee.
While I ate, Don gave out awards. This year many Velo-folk were recipients of these coveted plaques.
Most people had left by the time, I realized that George Shoblo was pulling out his tools. The Thruxton Velocette that he’d loaned Blaise had lost timing screws. Blaise realized this when his boot responded to the oil leaking out and slipped off the footpeg. George sat with the bike while Blaise rode George’s modern Matchless to Paul Z’s home to beg, borrow or steal screws of a certain size.
By the time Blaise had returned with the screws those of us who were nonchalant about riding in the rain had gathered around George’s bike to give him advise, discuss worse case scenarios (losing the prime on the oil), and generally give support.
Fortunately Blaise managed to get enough screws to hold the bike together, the oil returned and it looked like everyone was going to be able to make it home on the vehicle they came on.
Thanks to Don and Shirley and BSAOCNC who helped put this ride together. It is amazing to see the fabulous countryside of Marin from rolling hills to redwood forests and magical beach towns. Every year I promise to return and do the ride on my own bike. Of course this ride often signals the start of the rainy season and I postpone optional rides until the sun comes out. By then, I’ve forgotten how beautiful these nearby country roads are.