Back Street Heroes
AFB CHARITY NIGHT – BOSUN’S EVENTFUL NIGHT OUT
I BELIEVE THERE’S A PROGRAMME ON THE MAGIC LANTERN ENTITLED ‘A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS’ – A NAME WHICH COULD VERY MUCH BE THE TITLE OF MY ADVENTURE INTO KENT TO THE ARMED FORCES BIKERS’ CHARITY NIGHT.
Sneaking off the day job early’s always good and, I thought, would give me plenty of time to scoot around the nastiness of the M25, but the best laid plans of mice and prune sandwiches… It didn’t take long before I encountered stationery traffic – the joys of a rolling roadblock, and miles and miles of filtering. My faithful companion, Doris, decided then that, after all that filtering in the heat, she needed a rest, and picked the side of a main road through Maidstone
(in rush hour) to have it. After fending off big lorries to give me time to push her to the side of the road, and a long head-scratching moment, with tools everywhere, I sorted her, and we were back on the way. Slightly flustered, I then took the wrong turn and, once back on the main road, sailed right past the pub, much to the amusement of a mate and the crowd.
The Knoxbridge is a fairly typical roadside pub, with a very warm welcome (and newly-laid gravel in the car park to trip up the unwary). For me it was great as it’s not an area I’ve been to for a while, and amongst the steady stream of bikes there was always something new to see. The bikes ranged from BSA flat-tankers; and scooters; to brand new Harleys only bought that week; a Vincent Comet café racer; a superb Triumph/Ford diesel hybrid (my personal favourite of the night); and plenty of usable street chops and trikes. The official bike of the night was a spotless, one owner Kawasaki Z1000 which, next to the café racer, was a cracking tool.
Tins were rattled to collect pennies, but you didn’t feel pressured, and the queue for the BBQ seemed never ending, but the smiles and banter of a warm summer’s evening are what it’s all about. The Knoxbridge holds a couple of these nights a year, and the Armed Forces Bikers have several charity events dotted around, all of which seem to bring out a different mix. They’re great nights, and you don’t have to be Armed Forces, current or ex, to attend.
In contrast to the ‘interesting’ start to the evening, the ride home was totally unremarkable... still, it’s these series of unfortunate events that make memories, isn’t it?