Richard's Farewell Ride
Saturday, 17 April, 2021, marked the second ride for the group and the theme day was “first time” as there were many for the day, but also there was a “last time” as well. The day began with all the riders meeting at the McDonald’s in Gouda. The route for the day was designed and led by George, the first time he had done both for the group. Ray and Bryan were making their first ride for the year with the Club, and Grant was riding his BMW 850 Cruiser for the first time in 18 months.
We also welcomed Louis, our newest member, for his first ride and his first extended ride on his brand new BMW F900XR. The only individual that did not have a “first time” was Richard, the final rider for the day.
The day began with us gathering for greetings, coffee, and general conversation, and introducing ourselves to Louis. A short time after all members had arrived and greeted one another, Grant presented each rider with a coffee mug and stickers with the newly design club logo that was developed earlier this year. After doing so, Richard presented each rider with small gifts as a token of appreciation for all of the previous rides shared with the group as this would be his “last time” riding with the group before returning to the United States in a few weeks. Once this was complete, all riders put on their helmets and headed out for the day.
A second stop was made so that Louis and Grant could purchase some fuel for their bikes and soon thereafter, we were on our way again. 160 kilometers and a few great photos from where we began, we arrived at the end of the route for a brief stop before heading back to our homes. In all, a great ride on a pleasant but cool day!
We must take a moment to extend our warmest congratulations to Joost and Tjarda who welcomed Lucas, their first child, on 15 April! We hope mom, dad, and son are doing well and looking forward to having the chance to meet him in the near future!
The route first took the group along the banks of the Amstel river, towards Utrecht, and along some great roads with a few tight corners along the way. About two hours and 73 kilometers later, the group paused for a break to stretch our legs and eat lunch. A short time later, we returned to the route which was a bit more challenging due to the fact the some of the smaller roadways were busy with cars, bicyclists, and others enjoying a fine afternoon outdoors.
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War Graves Route - February 2021
21 February 2021 marked a few “first time” for the year’s riding season: it was the first “in-person” meeting of the group in many months; the first ride of the new year; the first time Arend and Wendy rode with their new motorcycle; and the first time George, the newest addition to the group, rode with us. The day began with a cool start, light winds, and high clouds as Grant, Arend and Wendy, George, and Richard gathered at our usual spot – the McDonalds in Charlois. We were also joined by Marc, Arend’s son who was riding Arend’s “old” motorcycle, and also by Joost and Tjarda.
Although Joost and Tjarda were unable to join us for the day’s ride, they shared coffee with all once they arrived. Approximately 25 minutes later, those heading out for the ride parted ways with Joost and Tjarda and started out on the day’s route.
Arend and Wendy rode up front across a fine route around the Zeeland area. Approximately two hours later, we paused for a few minutes for a quick break to get off our motorcycles and stretch our legs. Marc decided to return home at that time as we resumed our route to the first stop - a visit to the Allied War Cemetery in Bergen op Zoom. After a nice stop to visit the cemetery and eat lunch, we resumed our route with Grant leading the way. By this time, the high clouds of the morning had mostly cleared, and the sun’s rays had become stronger and had warmed the day by 7 degrees since we started our route.
We eventually made our way to Steenbergen in order to visit the grave site of British Wing Commander and war hero Guy Gibson. Wing Commander Gibson is best remembered for leading the “Dam Busters” mission in May, 1943, which destroyed two dams in the Ruhr river industrial area of northwestern Germany during WWII. Following our brief visit to Wing Commander Gibsons’ grave, we made one final stop at a rest area near the autoroute about 130 km from where we started our route and a few minutes later after few photographs, we all departed ways back to our homes. The ride was truly enjoyable, and we observed many other motorcycle groups and those riding bicycles taking advantage of the early warmth. Hopefully, we will have the opportunity for another ride in the coming weeks. Richard