Luckily I won a pair of tickets for this show, otherwise I would have been very disappointed at the lack of bikes to look at and paw. Without a single manufacturer present it was always going to be a bit flat, but they usually get a local dealers to bring along a few bikes for punters to sit on.
Instead it was left to a few clubs and museums to bring along some bikes to look at, plus the Ace Cafe had a display of customs and classics.
The rest of it was like a bring and buy sale and a load of make weights i.e. non-motorcycling stuff, although the watches looked pretty good.
The ride up was okay. I met Graham at the Oakdene, arriving at the same time as a huge group from my local BMW Club Section were preparing to leave on a run. Had I arrived earlier I would have gone across for a chat and showed my face, but they were all togged and helmeted up.
As it was the first run out of the year I was expecting a few problems. I had given it the once over in the week; tyres and oil etc.
The main problem was the ABS wouldn't boot up. The lights staying on and I put this down to not being used for a while and also maybe a low battery. Confident I set off anyway. The blinking of the two red lights is irritating and the more the buggers flash to more paranoid I became.
The only other niggle was a little corrosion in the contacts in the Quest cradle had the power cutting out and its 30 second countdown to power off, and on occasions the dulcet tones of SWMBO cut out or were simply muted.
At the Oakdene I had a fiddle with my fingernail and cleared the corrosion (for now?) and will sort it later. Must get some contact cleaner from work if they have any on the Internal ICT helpdesk! After that all was perfect with GPS.
On starting off the ABS crunched and graunched and the lights went off. All was right with the world.
It was a chilly run up to the Blackwall Tunnel, where a combination of the A2 roadworks at Blackheath and the Rotherhithe Tunnel being shut led to a long tail back of weekenders. Once clear of them we had run up through 'Ackney and Stoke Newington, eventually arriving at the Ally Pally following the AA signs rather than the GPS.
At the show all I bought was a new EDZ Inner Shell jacket. I have one but it is like a sausage skin on me and it isn't very long. The new ones on the Travel Dri stand were much longer; evolution I expect. I enthused so much that Graham bought one too.
To avoid the traffic we encountered on the way in, I chose a more direct route, so I thought. In the end it was heavy traffic out to the North Circular and easy enough all the way to the Dartford
In the end I got home to see the last two minutes of normal time in the Carling Cup Final.
For a first ride of the year it was chilly but enjoyable.