The Oude Klepper Parade in De Haan, Belgium - August 2010
(Click any photo to see a larger picture - then just follow the slide show.)

We were all travelling on the 7am ferry from Ramsgate to Ostend. So as soon as Josie arrived on the Thursday evening we set off. Terry and Dilys had left earlier in the day with the intention of getting to Ramsgate early enough to book onto a local campsite for the night. Jean, Josie and I arrived in Ramsgate at around 2pm and put our heads down for a few hours. We'd had a rather scary moment when heading downwards towards the half mile long tunnel to the ferry that by-passed Ramsgate. Coming out of the tunnel on our side of the road were the headlights of an articulated lorry. I flashed my main beam and the driver moved over to the other side of the road - thank goodness. A minute earlier and we'd have met him in the tunnel and due to the bends in that we would probably not have stood a chance.

Anyway, at 6am the ferry office opened and we checked in just as Terry and Dilys arrived. The crossing was quite calm and we were soon in Ostend. After filling up our vehicles at a garage on the main coast road, we stopped at a cafe to sample a nice cold beer. Josie, Jean and I were staying in one of the hotels in town this year as Bart, the owner of the campsite which Terry was on, wasn't prepared to rent his cabin for the weekend and we couldn't stay for a week as usual, due to Presidential duties etc.
We had been invited to Pierre's for an evening meal so all piled into our Rover and set off with Josie driving. Jean and I were to meet Stacey from the USA as he was there and we were bringing him back with us to the UK after the Klepper so as to take him to the Manx GP with us - but that's another story. Stacey was a life long motorcyclist and an email friend of Pierres and mine and had been for some years. When I told him that I was going to the IOM for the Manx Grand Prix, he asked if he could tag along as it was a place that he'd always wanted to visit. It was nice to help him achieve a lifelong ambition to visit the IOM. The photo was taken by Stacey and shows Josie, Jean, Terry, Dilys and myself with Pierre's family.

Saturday - the day of the social run. Meet behind the town hall at 2pm. All went well, from what I can recall, but for the life of me I can't remember where we went.

On Saturday evening there was an official reception laid on for all those who had entered the Klepper. Drinks and nibbles provided and also a showing of the DVD from the previous years event.

Sunday - the day of the Klepper and the weather looked good as we rode the '08 outfit down to the start outside the town hall. Paul and Dorette were there as was Ronny Geldhof from Ostend.

Two nice period accessories that I spotted attached to two of the entered machines.

Richard Mummery, dressed as a WW1 dispatch rider carried a replica pigeon basket on his model H Triumph. All part of what was done during the first world war. Pigeons were used extensively to carry messages back to HQ. Richards basket was made to as near original as could be and - believe it or not - he also had some pigeons in it.

All the smoke in the one photo was most certainly not from my bike - can't say that I noticed which machine was the culprit. Is Jean really asleep in the other picture? Gosh, the excitement of it all!!

From the start we had to do a loop around the town so as to get onto the coast road towards Ostend. Part way along the road and the front wheel of the Triumph decided that it's wheel bearings were going to try and escape. This meant a stop to take the wheel out and screw the bearing holder back into the hub. Having done this several times over the years we completed the exercise fairly quickly and were soon on our way. Basically a Veteran Triumph front hub has cup and cone bearings and the cones are part of the spindle. The cups then screw each side into the hub and are locked up with a locking ring. Years ago, during the restoration, I decided to improve things and fit 'proper' ball races. It seemed like the thing to do at the time, but has since proved to be a mistake - well, not really!!. Ball races are obviously a better idea but I didn't account for the worn threads in the hub that allowed the lateral stresses of cornering with a sidecar to allow the bearing cups to pop out. It had happened over the years a few times and normally it was just a case of screwing the bearing cup back in and tapping up tight the lock ring. All fixed - on we went, out into the countryside.
It wasn't long before we came across Richard Mummery with a broken belt. I stopped and offered some help, which was turned down rather curtly. It was obvious that Richard was not a happy chappy, so I took a few quick photos and we carried on.

Another mile or two and the front wheel bearing made for an escape again. After putting it back in I made a mental note to corner more slowly in future. We hadn't gone very far when it happened again. Jeannie and I were getting good at screwing the bearing cup back into the wheel hub by now and I made a mental note to sort the problem once and for all when I got home. After our stoppages, we were a little late when we limped slowly into the lunch stop. These are some photos taken by Pierre, whilst waiting for us to arrive:

Final photo above shows Terry and Stacey at the lunch stop. 

Jean and I grabbed a quick lunch and decided to miss the afternoon run to Ettlegem and Wenduine due to the wheel bearing problems. We left the lunch stop and after a few miles turned left along the canal only to find several other riders just following us and not the official route. I stopped and told them that we were heading straight back to the finish and that they were now well off course. We had to stop further along the road and turned back two more riders who were still following us. The front wheel behaved itself all the way back to the finish, I'm pleased to say - that's sod's law, of course. Meanwhile Terry and the Beardmore continued and these next two photos were taken by Ralph Boreham during the stop at Wenduine:
Richard did have some pigeons in his basket and they were ceremoniously released to fly home. I should add that they didn't have far to go. Richard had made arrangements to borrow the pigeons from a Belgian pigeon fancier in Ostend. So the birds only had an eight mile flight down along the coast, back to home.

All in all not too successful an event for us but Terry had no trouble - mind you I'm not sure about that if he keeps riding his latest acquisition.

It's a Bickerton folding bicycle, bought on impulse on Ebay. Very light and made of all aluminium. I had a wobbly ride on it and must say that it's not for me.