Camchain and tensioner seen up close in a cutaway bike engine

Home Travel StoriesD-Day And A Bit of Belgium

Easily Into Belgium

Day two Saturday 31 May.

By Bogger

Guines onto Ypres.

On these trips we always seem to 0wake up early. We pack away in the usual fashion with very little chit chat as we concentrate on condensing our kit as small as possible. We trundle down to the reception, Nige pays and we are on our way. We had contemplated a visit to ‘The Bunker’ museum on the way to Ypres but had all decided we would rather set up the tents early and have time to explore Ypres that afternoon and night. 

The town of Poperinge was sort of on the way and some of the lads wanted to buy some tobacco. We skirt Gravelines and at Dunkirk we swing a right onto the E42 towards Poperinge. The traffic into Poperinge was heaving with long queues so we filter through it and onto Tobacco alley where all the cigarette shops are. At this stage we fuel up and just across from the petrol station Pete thinks he has found a Belgium knocking shop. Dirty brummie.

A simple shop window with "Titi's Palace" sign. It appears to sell, amongst other things, gnomes

Ironsides on his streamliner is having a few gearbox issues. At every junction we come to it's wobble, wobble, click crack, kerrrunch and inevitably he has selected the wrong gear. The clutch slips furiously as he tries to gain momentum. There were a few mutterings of ‘get that death  trap off the road’. Oh and half the population of Belgium and France have severe neck disorders as almost everyone who saw Ironside's bike as it went past did a double take and ricked their necks in the process. 

As we were on holiday we stopped at the town of Panne just before Ypres for a nosey round and bought a few provisions from the Spar just off the grand town square.

2 smart enfield bullets in the broad town sware with shops, cafes and bars around the edges

As always on these trips Nige leads and I have to say his sense of direction and map reading skills are brilliant. On the whole eight days I think we took about three wrong turns. Once we get to Ypres Nige finds the campsite straight away. It's on the edge of town and it's only a 400 metre or so walk to the town centre.

Nige does a bit of a reccy and finds an Aldi just up the road. Pete manages to coerce me onto the back of the clown bike (it's called the clown bike as bits keep randomly dropping off it) for truly the last time. Because he's so tall I ended up sitting in the gap between the top box and the seat with my testicles hung on the edge of the back seat. Probably the most uncomfortable five minutes on a bike, ever.

C90s, CD 200 Benly and stream liner, tent and campers at Ypres

We sort the camp area out, have a bite to eat and a few drinks and contemplate what to do that evening. I thought Ironside's death trap needed pimping so I fitted him some go faster Gnome decals.

The streamliner has a huge bulbous aluminium fairing now with a gnone fishing sticker

By consensus we decide to go to the Menin Gate for eight pm and listen to the last post being played.
The Menin Gate at Ypres. A large ornate brick and stone memorial to soldiers of the wars

Apparently this has happened every night since 2 July 1928. Naively I thought (and I mean no disrespect when I say this) that some chosen person or persons would turn up at 8pm every night, bugle in hand, play the last post to one man and his dog, nod his/her head in thanks and go home. How wrong and stupid can I be. I reckon there must have been two thousand or so people there for a full blown ceremony lasting twenty minutes. God it bought a tear to the eye I can say. 

When you look at the thousands of names on every wall of the monument you begin to realise the scale of the war. Then it all kicked off again in 1939. The German nation has a lot to answer for in our recent history. OK political whinge over with. 

It was here we spotted the Honda Novios/Amigos and the riders, the Amigo Pilots. We had a natter to them after the ceremony and pointed out the error of their ways and that Honda Cubs were the way forward.

About 6 or 7 riders all on very small Honda scoots riding down the streets of Ypres

At present no mopeds in Belgium sport a number plate? Very odd. But it does explain why they ride on pavements and cycle paths and just about anywhere else that takes their fancy. No one can trace them I suppose. The Novio Pilots told us the law was changing and soon all motorised vehicles will need a registration plate.

We wandered back into the town square a hundred metres from the Menin Gate and had a look round. There were plenty of watering holes to choose from. After a couple of drinks we make our way back to the campsite. 

Total miles for the day - 58.

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To French France and Guines Perfect planning prevents pee poor performance. Someone should have told these chaps. Throw in some Alchemy and carnage and come up with gold, comedy gold.
Easily Into Belgium Not too much malarkey today, the lads manage to sidle their way into Belgium with minimum shenanigans. There's a moment for reflection betwixt the brews 'n' beers.
Ypres, Museums, Memorials And Muppetry Bogger and co are mixing a heady brew of malarkey and educational museum visits. Hasn't Ypres already suffered enough?
A Crash And Other Antics Bogger and pals have reached the age of maturity and yet maturity seems to have escaped them. More high jinks from those who ought to know better.
Gear Selections in Compiègne It's a lazy day in Northern France for Bogger and pals. Only a short exploratory ride, mostly spent in search of Ironside's elusive gears.
Rain, Misery, Laughter and Puppetry It's not the best start to Bogger and pals' day. And yet a bunch of middle aged men clearly demonstrate they haven't grown up at all.
Arromanche With Some D-Day Thrown In The Motley Crew spend the day enjoying the D-Day events with the weather on their side and only 1 minor mechanical issue. Remarkable!
Dynamic D-Day During the D-Day commemorations Arromanche is bustling and bursting. Bogger and crew do their best to navigate the beach, the town and the machinery on their last full day.
It's Home Time A brief note from Bogger on the last day, the homeward bound leg. Tired little teddies, awwww bless.

Reader's Comments

Ross said :-
I must say, Ironside's stream-liner looks very impressive! It reminds me of, I think it was called, a Quasar (?) by some bloke called Royce Creasy back in the '80's, maybe?
01/05/2020 10:30:11 UTC
Bogger said :-
We call him Ironsides, as when we first saw him on the streamliner, it Pete exclaimed **** ** he looks like Raymond Burr off Ironsides on that thing.Proper funny.
To be fair he's put a lot of work into it and it has evolved over the years. Due to the streamlining it's got a surprisingly high top speed.


01/05/2020 11:38:05 UTC
nab301 said :-
Raymond Burr , damn I've just realised I'm "getting" (aka I am) old.... The detective in a wheel chair , I must have watched every episode multiple times! I can't figure out what the streamliner is based on other than an ATC125 engine , any naked photos please for this old man... please
01/05/2020 01:37:22 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Those of use who are even more mature know him as Perry Mason.....

That fairing is 1950s style and was known as a dustbin. Fitted to many racers till it was banned by the FIM as it chucked some riders off when the wind caught it. Here's one on the fabulous Moto Guzzi V8.

The Quasar was a feet-forward device - these were quite popular amongst some people in the 1970s. It was actually designed by Malcolm Newell and a few were sold - I remember chatting to the rider of one in Yardley one day. But he wouldn't let me have a shot. Royce Creasey was a gifted engineer but reportedly lacked people skills so ended up arguing furiously with everyone. He was an enthusiast for the FF style as was Paul Blezard, a prolific journalist of the time.

Where are they now?
Posted Image
01/05/2020 01:55:30 UTC
Bogger said :-
The streamliner is based on a Honda ZZ cub. Basically a 1970's round headlamp Honda C90. His seating position is in the step thru bit.


01/05/2020 02:38:42 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I must say it's a hell of a thing to look at. Not, erm, not really my style but I can appreciate it.
01/05/2020 05:12:38 UTC

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