The Ride Stuff

The adventures of a couple of happy bikers


We should have spent the hottest of the day of the year so far enjoying a leisurely bike ride and breakfast-run into Suffolk. Instead we spent most of it at the West Suffolk A&E Department.

My daughter, Niki, and her boyfriend, Jamie, were holidaying in Turkey and I had agreed to collect them on their return at Heathrow airport on Sunday evening.  As I had to head back to London earlier than usual, Jess & I decided that we would make a day of it out on the bikes. The plan was to head for Tubby-T’s for breakfast and then on to Finchingfield. Quite a few friends decided to tag along for the ride where we would then split up after breakfast and all go our separate ways.

Except that we didn’t make breakfast. Whilst riding through Thetford, Jess had a slow-speed spill as a car driver braked without warning (or indication) to turn into a petrol station. She braked hard but lost the front end of her bike and went down heavily on her left knee. Paramedics were called and she was eventually taken to the A&E Department at West Suffolk Hospital. Five hours later – after much waiting, x-rays, prodding, poking and more waiting – she was given the all-clear and deemed fit to go home. [No broken bones – just severe bruising and a twisted knee]

By now it was 4.00pm. Wayne kindly offered to come and fetch Jess and take her home (we were quoted £65.00 for a taxi!), so we said our goodbyes at the Hospital and I set off for London still in good time to get to the airport to collect Niki & Jamie, whose flight was scheduled to land at 7.40pm.

I was about to turn onto the A14 when (luckily?) a thought popped into my head: Keys to the flat? Oh, no! I had changed into a light-weight biking jacket because of the heat and left the flat keys in my other jacket back in Norwich. Damn!

A quick mental calculation: 50-odd miles back home = approx. 1 hour [Should be home by 5.00pm] – pick up keys – mad dash back to flat in London = 2 1/2 hours, which will make it about 7.30pm – quick change out of leathers, grab Niki’s car keys and get to Heathrow T5. Should just about  make it!

Result? I got there just as they made it to the pick-up area and they were none the wiser about the day we’d just had. Phew!

Note: Many thanks to all the friends that helped us out. A special thanks to Nick & Hazel for helping us out at the Hospital, Wayne for getting Jess home and also to Sara & Dennis for fetching Jess’ bike from where we left it in Thetford and also to the Paramedics and Hospital staff who were all very kind.


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