Friday, 10 June 2011

ABC Tour – Classic Bike Rally, Crazy Purple Helmets


Mad Sunday was traditionally the one non-racing day that the mountain section of the circuit was set as one way and all the boy racers went out and dreamt of being TT racers.  Now that the mountain section is one way for the full fortnight the impact has been somewhat reduced.

We went to the opposite end of the spectrum and joined in the VMCC TT Vintage Rally.  We decided in 2009 that we would like to enter this year.

Today was the first day and registration took place at the A.R.E. Classic Bike Museum at Kirk Michael. There are some beautiful bikes on display.

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There were a good number of bikes entered and plenty of people came along to have a look as well.

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It was nice to see some other old sidecars.

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We expected to just go on a very short ride, but we ended up going for about 30 odd miles.  We followed this outfit for quite a bit of the way.  The weather was supposed to be a bit inclement, but it ended up being a beautiful, warm day.

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The road started to climb, and it kept on climbing.

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We followed the little narrow road until it felt like we were on top of the world.

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But, you know what?  Whatever goes up must go down.

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And down.

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Until we finally arrived at Tynwald Mill, where we received a huge packed lunch.  It was another chance to have a look at all the beautiful bikes.

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After lunch we all headed into Peel, where there was a special place for the old bikes to go on display.  We followed this Calthorpe Junior in.  It went so well.  Notice the tiny exhaust pipe.

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Here it is on display.

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There was a lot of interest in the oldies.

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Peel is the main event for the day with the street closed off and plenty of entertainment.

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I just loved these hand paddle boats for the littlies.

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After we finished at Peel we headed into Douglas to attempt to access the internet.  You see, we have a few issues at present.  We wanted to get a SIM  card from here, but we needed to get our UK dongle unlocked.  We took it to a store to be done, had to leave it till the next day, pay quite a bit for the pleasure and then went to have the SIM all set up, only to find that they couldn’t get it to work.  Maybe the dongle hadn’t been unlocked properly, we don’t know, but we couldn’t be going back and forwards chasing it up.  We then heard that our UK provider should work over here, so just topped up our dongle.  Yes it worked, we posted two blog post and sent two quick emails. We were connected for maybe 20 minutes.  Next time I went to use it the message saying that it needed topping up came up again.  A very expensive exercise.  So, today we went to McDonalds in Douglas, only to find that they don’t have free Wi-Fi.  We don’t know where we can get it, so at the moment we are just writing draft posts and will post them online when we get back to the UK.  We will have to try to get to a library to check emails, but they are not open all the time and we are out and about every day.  The hassles of technology.  Anyway, that is only a minor glitch, as we are having such fun being out and about.

Which brings us to this evening.  One institution of the TT that we have not had a chance to see before is “The Purple Helmets".  They are Manxmen that put on a hilarious show riding small, rough looking bikes wearing daggy ex army great coats and purple helmets.  Their stunts are hard to describe.  They just ham it up for the crowd so much. 

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This year for the first time they were teamed up with “The White Helmets”, which are a display team of riders from the Army Signals Corp.  They have been going since the 1920s.  Where the Purple Helmets are ship shod, the White Helmets and precise and very orderly.  They were both spectacular to watch and we laughed till our sides ached.

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Racing is on again tomorrow.  However, as we got home tonight there was a very fine mizzle.  Hopefully it will have cleared away for tomorrow.

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