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Thoughts of a Harley rider…

Live To Ride, Ride To Live...

RTTW 6

Ride To The Wall 2013 This was my first ride out as a Marshall with the members of the Birmingham Chapter.

I suppose that I was nervous, a voluntary organisation which has raised over £250,000.00 in six years for a great cause. The annual ride brings together bikers from near and far together to attend a memorial service at the National Memorial Arboretum on the first Saturday of October every year. Of course you want everyone to have a great day and you do of course feel some pressure to get it right, get everyone moving safely and get everyone to have fun...

The members of Birmingham H.O.G. Chapter mustered at Strensham Services on a cold, damp saturday morning, but as soon as the first bikes arrived, the weather seemed to change... perhaps the sun DOES shine on the righteous!


First arrivals...


My son Rhett and I were a part of the Marshalling team, responsible for organising over 300 bikers into an orderly procession from Strensham Services on the M5 to the NMA at Alrewas. I don’t know who was more excited “Tiger” or I.. he wandered round taking loads of photographs and chatting to people he had never met before, it is something to be said that I as a Father do not worry when my 11 year old son is wandering around unsupervised amongst 300+ bikers.. reassurance that they are people like me.

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RTTW CORE VALUES

  • RTTW is founded on the principles of Remembrance and Respect.
  • To remember those that can no longer ride by our side.
  • To give all motorcyclists an opportunity to pay their respects to the memory of the fallen and express our gratitude for their sacrifice.
  • To show support for the Armed Forces currently serving both at home and abroad.
  • To raise money for the upkeep of the venue that serves to perpetuate the memory of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Well we had a great ride out, we didn’t lose anyone and the support that we received from the thousands of people lining the route, smiling, waving, clapping and cheering made it an AWESOME day.


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For more information see this
link

Chernobyl Children 2013


Chernobyl Children


Chernobyl Children's Lifeline is a charity which brings children to the UK for recuperative breaks of one month. The charity's work is focused in Belarus, which received 70% of the radiation from the world's worst  nuclear disaster in April 1986. Recently the charity has extended its support to the children of the Ukraine.
The after effects of this disaster are still evident in Belarus and  the Ukraine. Children are born with deformities, and cancer rates are high. Many children suffer regularly from headaches, nausea, nose bleeds and other illnesses due to the high levels of radiation in the air, water, and food grown on contaminated land.
The break in the UK allows the children to breath clean air, drink clean water and eat fresh food to boost their immune systems which have been damaged by the radiation. The four week stay in the UK can add two years to a child's life expectancy. Part of this four week stay includes an evening with the Birmingham H.O.G. Chapter.

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The Gathering... of the Men In Black..


The Solihull Group this year decided to invite a group of children in remission from cancer age 13-15 through CIT (Children in Trouble)
Olga (Dr) Aryna, Max, Liza, Vova, Denise, Anya, Fioda.
Sasha Z, Inna (back, interpreter) Nikita, Vika, Yeargor, Sasha K and Liena (interpreter)

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The Line Up of Harley’s


A pack of 20+ Harley-Davidson’s rolled up for the children to look over, including revving them up and playing with the music systems...

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Even my two Norfolk Terriers got in on the action of the evening, meeting the children from Chernobyl.

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Big Brum Bash 4

The Last Big Brum Bash..

Don’t worry... it’s only having a name change..
Well the weather on the Thursday night was horrendous... gale force winds and torrential rain... and my new tent was erected, the first tent that I have ever pitched since leaving the Royal Navy twenty years previously... would it stand the onslaught?
The following day was much kinder and the Harley’s started arriving from lunchtime onwards in glorious sunshine and blue skies.. see, God really does love us Bikers... especially the HD riders.

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This was going to be a great weekend, my first ever H.O.G. Rally, my first camping weekend, my first... yes you get the picture.. a first for me in so many ways.

There was a full weekend of entertainment organised, a dozen live acts covering, acoustics, AC-DC style, Soul, Rock-A-Billy - something for everyone I think. Plus there were plenty of organised ride outs planned by the Birmingham H.O.G. Chapter.

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Our Chapter Director (Ian Brannon) and our Past-Chapter Director (Jason Garey) were both trying their hand or is that hands?? At water skiing to raise money for our chosen charity for the Bank Holiday weekend, which was the Phoenix Project, ever see a bunch of hardened Harley guys and gals with tears in their eyes, have a look at the Phoenix Project... very humbling.

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Some of the customised HOG’s on display at the weekend

One of the organised ride outs over the Bank Holiday weekend was to the NMA, to lay a wreath, we knew that many of us would be back again in October for RTTW6.

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There is nothing better than riding with more than a hundred Harley-Davidson riders.. except maybe riding with a couple of thousand HD riders, as we would do in October every year. We rolled up en masse, the NMA knew that we were arriving and had organised parking for us.. away from everyone else!! Then we had more than an hour to do as we pleased and wander around the NMA viewing the many monuments on display.


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The weekend was all about partying and kicking back and relaxing with my friends and family and I think I achieved that aim EXTREMELY well...

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So a weekend of many firsts for me went really well and we’ll all be gathering at Tamworth Ski Centre again in 2014 for the Big Weekend Bash as it will be known.

Food Bank

Birmingham city centre foodbank was given a boost when the Birmingham H.O.G. Chapter rumbled in to drop off a huge food donation from all of the Chapter members.
Following us was a van brimming with donated tinned and dried food items for
Birmingham Central Foodbank, all collected by the members of the Chapter.
The foodbank volunteers helped the Birmingham H.O.G. Chapter unload the van full of food before taking the exciting opportunity to go for a ride with a few of the Chapter members (I did two runs with a Father and Son), which especially pleased some of the bike lovers on the food bank team.
The donation drop off was arranged by Birmingham H.O.G. Chapter member Richard Burns, see he does have a soft side to him!!

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Richard is also a support worker for the Royal British Legion Birmingham who are one of Birmingham Central Foodbank’s referral agencies and have referred ex-servicemen in need of emergency food.
Ian Brannon, (Director of Birmingham UK Harley Owners Group Chapter) said the group are hoping to support Birmingham Central Foodbank further.

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“We are fortunate in many ways for the things we have and thought it was a good opportunity to give back to the community,” he said.

Patricia Hoskins

Birmingham Central Foodbank manager, Patricia Hoskins sums up the exciting day: “We got so excited when we heard a loud rumble of bikes approaching it was so exhilarating.
“Even though in some ways we may be worlds apart, today we all came together under one cause ‘to help feed our hungry neighbours’.

“Since the start of the welfare reform on April 1
we have seen demands double and we are the busiest we’ve ever been since opening our doors in October 2011.

In the past year our foodbank has provided emergency food for over ‘3,700 adults and children. We are so grateful to the Birmingham Harley Owners Group for the food donation, the team had such an amazing morning with them – it totally rocked”.

CanCervive Riders

Birmingham H.O.G. Chapter were able to support the three guys Richard Miller, Shaun Peaty and Adrian Ashleigh when they started their plans for a Route 66 Ride across the USA.

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They had originally asked Birmingham H.O.G. Chapter is we could loan them 3 Harley-Davidson Motorcycles for a Photo Shoot, they didn’t know of course that Birmingham H.O.G. Chapter that well.. instead of 3 Harley-Davidson Motorcycles they got 30 gleaming Harley-Davidson Motorcycles on a Saturday morning.

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This was a great opportunity for the Birmingham H.O.G. Chapter to perform more charity work, not only supporting the
CanCervive Riders with the Harley-Davidson Motorcycles for the Photo Shoot, but in also supporting the three riders with donations from the Chapter and many individuals.

We even managed to make one of the volunteers Birthday extra special with a ride on a new Harley-Davidson Motorcycle.

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