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A guy setting out on his old Shovel at 4 am on a pitch black morning to check out a bunch of way cool choppers in mid England, listen to a handful of obscure bands and spend the night in his flimsy one-man-tent can only have one destination: The TripOut. But, if that weren’t tough enough, England has more to offer, like its traditional rain. Woe to the man who forgot his rain gear. Like the nice bloke on a rigid Sportster we met outside London at a petrol station. His smart phone had predicted a pause in the rain that had been drizzling away all day, so from his several bikes he had picked the fenderless Sporty for the ride to the TripOut. Big mistake: the drizzle didn’t care what the smart phone said, it went into overdrive. I almost felt guilty in my waterproofs when I saw him slip-sliding around the roundabouts in my rear view mirror, getting sprayed all over and soaked to the bone. Bummer! Double bummer was, when he had set up his tent, to his horror he discovered that his sleeping bag was drenched too.
The good news was, as soon as we had slithered our way into the by now somewhat muddy grounds and set up our clammy tents, the sun came out again for a glorious evening, and a brilliant sunset. Bikes of all makes (OK, so there was a certain Harley bias) and ages sparkled with raindrops clinging to them. The sound of open pipes and coughing carburetters filled the air, and it was, as usual, a bike lover’s heaven. No trailer queens, just down to earth, daily rider customs to break your heart. A bunch of local builders had outdone each other with really neat creations in the Bike Build Off. Our favourite was the white Knuckle by Tom Paterson. Incredible detail!

For his efforts he picked up a well deserved W&W parts voucher for his next project. On the car side the Trip Out had actually put an amazing Chevy van (done by Andy) in the raffle to be given away on Sunday!

But by then the old Shovel was long on its way to the ferry, loaded with memories of another enchanted weekend, conjured into the English countryside by master magicians Anna and Andy. We just hope they had as much fun as the people who came from miles around, and that next year there will be another TripOut, rain or no rain. Bring your rain gear, dude!