I was up on time and after breakfast I finally got away a little earlier than the planned 9am start.
As I was already fuelled up I decided to make my first stop just before the Dartford Tunnel. The traffic was running unusually smoothly. Maintaining 70mph was hampered as north of the tunnel I caught the back end of a rolling road block. The overhead info boards said there were animals on the road.
This lasted until almost to the M11. I chose stay in the left most lane of four for most of the way. Despite costing a £1m a mile to build so few seem to want to use it. Maybe the common term "slow lane" makes them feel inadequate?
It was about 1030am when I pulled into Birchanger Services. The car park was full and there were a few bikes dotted about. I didn't recognise anyone. Jean Sans-Amis again.
By the time I'd got a coffee it was nearly 1100am. I usually reckon 25 minutes to the rendezvous. With holiday traffic it was nearer 40 when I pulled into Cambridge Services behind the police out riders and a support 4WD. They do a great job marshalling us through the city to the cemetery. Such a shame on similar runs that Kent Police can't copy their Cambridgeshire colleagues.
I had time for a chat with a guy with a Suzuki M1800. It's a nice looking bike but maybe too futuristic for me. A walk around the packed parking area revealed a whole load of bikes from race-reps to customs. And a fair few Rockets. I took a few photos of the assembly and they are all on my Flickr photostream.
Then we were off. The bugler played Reveille and we mounted up and gave it a bit of throttle. The "norms" at the services were applauding and taking photos and videos. We left at 1230pm.
As I was right at the back of the third column I somehow managed to get behind the stinkwheels; scooters by any other name. The smell of two-stroke, and after the run, the taste of it on my lips was terrible. I should have brought a drink to clear my throat of it.
As we crossed over the bridge over the A14 we could see to our left that the road was closed by a police car, and to the right the column of bikes stretching two by two into the distance. I have no idea how many bikes and stinkers there were on the day.
We headed it the city. Cambridge is one of the two biggest and more elite of the university cities along with Oxford. So many colleges and so many tourists. I hope the spectacle was recorded by them.
Once at the cemetery we parked up. The overflow car park is not too comfortable being 10 x 8 inch cobble stones with grass growing between them. And it slopes away from the monument.
Once settled everyone set off for the service.
This doesn't take long. Once we had sung both our national anthems and taken the Lord's Prayer we were off.
With 165 miles to ride home I went quickly. The ride home was done only with a stop at Ashford Tesco to fuel up. The odometer showed 181.9 miles with "miles to empty" down to 55. A return of 49 mpg (UK gallon). No bad for legal limit cruising and 11 miles at 20 mph or less!
I seems a long way to go for half an hour. But it is a show of respect to our fallen allies. Those men and women who may have a cross planted here or their name on the wall of the missing.