Setting off to meet up with a group of strangers for a motorcycling weekend isn't on everyone's "To Do" list but it should be. I have to confess that I have been a member of Teapotone's Clan for a few years and had actually met a few of the members at another event in 2022 but the rest were new faces including the big man himself.
As soon as the Isle of Man event was announced I had my name down and the hotel booked, it would be my first event with the Clan and also my first visit to the IOM so how could I say no?
Then I had to sort a bike out, it's no good being on a biking trip without one. To my surprise and consternation, there are only 2 proper bike rental places on the island, there are a few holiday scooter rental places but a proper bike would be needed. I even looked into hiring one from the mainland and taking it across on the ferry but that would prove difficult, expensive, and time-consuming.
The big problem would be the flight though as there are no direct flights to the IOM from either Alicante or Valencia, it was all starting to look like too much hassle to organize and I contemplated giving up and canceling the trip, but sometimes you just have to throw yourself in at the deep and "Live Your Life" as Bruce says.
Setting off on a Friday morning first to drive the hour to Alicante, then a flight to Bristol, then a few hours wait before the flight to Ronaldsway IOM, and finally a 30 min bus ride to the hotel, I was hoping for no delays, unfortunately, there was about 2 hours worth, but I knew there was a pint waiting at the end for me, thank you, Peter.
Once in the designated bar for the evening, I chatted with those that I knew and those that I had just met and had a great time. There were a few weary faces as people had traveled from all corners of the UK, with some arriving on the ferry as early as 6 am.
After a good night's sleep and an early breakfast, I was picked up at the hotel by taxi to be taken to Jason Griffiths Motorcycles Ltd to collect my bike for 2 days. Jason arrived bang on time, I was a little early. He was great to deal with and had a Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ready for me to play with, it was prepared impeccably and I actually felt a bit guilty taking it out into the gloom and rain but our big ride was still going ahead despite the weather. After a quick top-up of fuel I headed for the TT start line to rendezvous with the Clan and begin our ride.
With 50 bikes and around 56 people it would be like herding cats keeping the group together, especially with the inclement weather doing its best to interfere, but "Larmer Farmer" Ben and his wife Trudie had other plans. After a quick explanation of the "Drop Off, Marker System" we headed off as a group down Bray Hill and onto the island's fantastic roads. The planned route took us from one end of the island to the other crisscrossing from side to side to take in some great views and most of the TT circuit, unfortunately, some of it was closed for re-surfacing in readiness for the 2023 TT. Watch Teapotone's videos at the bottom to see what went on and try to spot me, having a chat about the IOM weather.
A coffee stop had been organized in the morning at Laxey Beach Cafe lunch at The Victory Cafe 31st Milestone and an afternoon brew at The Sound Cafe & Visitor Centre, all were a welcome break from the weather, which started to clear as we headed back to Douglas and the Sefton Hotel for another evening. We all headed to the Creg-Ny-Baa pub for a well-deserved dinner and beers with taxis back to the hotel to ensure that a good time was had by all.
After another restful night, I headed out again on the V-Strom to explore the island solo in the now blazing sunshine. Some of the others had the same idea, others, formed small groups but most headed to enjoy a second day exploring. As it is only a relatively small place so I kept bumping into clan members as we all headed around the tourist attractions and viewpoints, many visiting the same places as the day before but in better weather.
After another great evening at Jak's Bar & Smokehouse, we all headed back to the hotel bar for beers and banter, including some awards for people who "performed" well over the weekend.
Monday morning came around all too soon and I rode the trusty V-Strom, for the last time, back to Jason Griffiths, it was the perfect bike for the trip, enough power when it was needed, but not so much you would get into trouble on the rain-drenched roads, I had a blast riding it and would highly recommend Jason for any bike hire on the island.
I then explored Douglas for a few hours on foot before heading to the airport to start my journey home, finally arriving after delays at around 2.30 am.
It was a thoroughly awesome trip and well worth doing, the Teapotone Clan is an awesome group of people and friends and I would encourage everyone to join and most importantly join in. A special thanks must go to Ben & Trudie for the organization and for putting up with us all.