Annual Review 2015
2015 has been a lively year in terms of the scooter scene and scooter riding in general but it also saw the birth of L.O.S.T as a real and active concern.
Set up to deliver a series of enduro camping events throughout the year to ‘mad in the head’ souls with geared scooters.
The introduction of something new such as L.O.S.T into an already well established, relatively close and seemingly unchanging scene will always cause a ripple of confusion and an inevitable flurry of derisory viewpoints. This is a natural effect as people wrestle with the threat of a new or alien concept, its conceived simplicity, what it is and why it has to exist at all?. In this respect, L.O.S.T has certainly upset a few and even dented a few egos along the way but this has never been its intention. Independant of ay one club, It exists to encourage and cajole riders of classic scooters to go explore and experience the more off the beaten track roads of the UK and abroad but also promote and support good riding technique and encourage self maintenance and repairs. What has been encouraging thoughout this year is the strong sense of commitment by the riders to contribute to each event and of those who have attended, their want for more of the same in the future.
The first piece in the L.O.S.T jigsaw was to establish its logo and choose an operating model for going forward. This relatively simple step took some time as different operating models were considered and thrown away. How can it work in a complimentary manner to exisitng scooter clubs, What will it offer? How does it attract new attendees? etc. etc.
Throughout these early discussions it was clear that a decent means of communication was required so a new Facebook ‘closed’ group was created to provide a place where the key contributors could add their input without the risk of interjection. Normal FB pages with large audiences are a useless medium for organising stuff so ‘closed’ meant control. This action alone caused some consternation in the wider fraternity as ‘closed’ means ’covert’ in some quarters and therefore definitely doing something sinister. The FB group continues to operate and now in a much more conventional FB page manner but it remains the primary mechanism for planning and so therefore has remained closed.
The L.O.S.T insignia was chosen (the meaning will remain a mystery) and the Website quickly started to take shape and published to the World Wide Web. These would be important factors in providing visibility of the completed events themselves, help publicise future planned travels and provide contributors a portal for event planning and management. Improvements to the website content are ever involving and welcome new submissions from riders.
Event merchandise or ‘Badges’ of achievement has always been part of the scootering and certainly a big part of the early days of Endurance eventing in the 60’s and 70’s and L.O.S.T is no different in this respect. Hoodies, hats, badges, stickers etc. were procured so that attendees would have something to take away with them for their success. It also helps to promote the name, attract new blood and provide a sense of achievement for riders. We all love a badge!
The Enduro Challenges
The events calendar for 2015 was put together to continue in the same vein as and compliment the 2014 set. A mixture of 2, 3 and 4 day duration Enduro-camping events was planned with primarily ‘B’ road navigation thrown into the mix and a splash of wild camping as this always throws up a bit of something a little different. We would over the year re-visit some of the classic routes of the previous year but firmly integrate some more serious challenges to test rider and machine. With a packed National and local rally calendar already in place, holding more L.O.S.T events would not be an option as riders were committed elsewhere so it was therefore decided pretty early on to hold just the three major events in 2015. All three events attracted good numbers with the longer multi-day events having approximately 10 riders on each. This is significant as taking 4 days out of peoples busy life’s is difficult so hats off to those who committed and made it happen. 2016 will include three major events with a number of weekend only events thrown in.
The following is a summary of the key events completed this year. Full write ups can be found on the Enduro blog page on the L.O.S.T website.
The Icicles Challenge
Now established as an annual pilgrimage in the snow, the Icicles was the first and hardiest of weekend trips to date, It had been snowing all week prior to our off and South Wales had been given a significant ‘dump’ of the white stuff so we knew the fun that awaited. Four hardy souls (Marc Gouldsworthy, Malcolm Elmer, Steve Moody and Stephen Green) set off for the Brecon Beacons via the Golden Valley and Hay on Wye.
The big highlights being; Steve Moody’s sense and sensibility rant in Hay on Wye (legendary dummy out moment), the snow covered road from Chepstow to Usk, a whopping -7’c at 05:30hrs in the morning and frozen gas canisters, The warmest pub fire known to man and Tailgating grit wagons on the climb to the Dragons Inn. The guys loved it so much we are off again in February 2016
The Circuit of Wales (Long un!)
The first full length (4 day) Enduro event of the year was an absolute classic. Weather was perfect, roads and routes amazing but we did however encounter a few breakdown issues. The word ‘Maidment’ would soon become synominous with the terms ‘fettling, fiddling and fecking up’. Clutch repairs in Tesco’s, bungee strapped exhausts and broken mounts all round. That said we all (except for Malcolm) finished the 650 mile trip with huge smiles and considering the route did include some pretty rugged and tough terrain at times, this isn’t bad. This event was my highlight of the year just because of the roads and views
Key highlights: Bishops Castle campsite, The Lake Vrynwy Pass and drop to Bala in Snowdonia. Portmeirion and singing on the grass. The round trip of the Snowdon massif was inspiring and the resultant ‘wrong’ campsite saga quite funny. Portmeirion walkabout, The Élan valleys glorious road and the crazy pub we ate at in Rhayader where we ended up. This was classic Enduro stuff.
The Run to the Point
The journey south to Lands End
is for many riders is a kind of must do thing. Elements of the route to the Point are great but Cornwall does not make for overall good scootering due to the lack and scale of road on offer. Initial interest from potential riders was high but as is always the case number dwindled as the event approached. 10 riders finally made the trip south including a couple of new peeps.
3 very long days and some challenging roads in the mix across Exmoor made the event fun for all. Again the ‘Maidment’ effect was in full attendance as we stopped and started repeatedly all the way down and back. The weather was again kind with rain happening overnight leaving us to ride in ry and warm conditions on all 3 days. Camping at night was still a bit cold for some but nothing a good few beers couldn’t wash away.
Lands End was made by all and photos taken for prosperity and the last night’s camp in the wilds on Dartmoor awaited. This was a fantastic spot with some truly stupendous views in the morning mist.
Key highlights: Exmoor grass tracking, Weatherspoon pubs. Ice creams with a view, The ‘B’ road to the point, Lands end itself, Dartmoor campsite and the craic.
The prominent scooter of choice between riders has been the Lambretta and considering the miles travelled, they have behaved mostly very well. The normal spread of punctures and fuel issues abound but mixed in were a number of larger failures. Russell and Malcolm both experienced significant clutch failures. Close behind was Mr Moody's centre stand which could have been catastropic and Mr G's requirement for a complete engine rebuild after suffering a drive side oil seal failure. It happens. Nothing that stopped us meeting our daily objectives though.. Vespa once again proved its value as a reliable and fully proven road rallying machine. I think the most significant Vespa failure was Baz leaving his petrol tap on overnight and flooding the campsite and his engine....
Nearly all riders improved their machines through the introduction of upgrades or modifications and nearly all for the better. Malcolm needs a special mention here as his upgrades often fall off.
In conclusion, it has been a fantastic year. Some 2500 odd miles of the best regional B roads have been completed together. Along the way we have laughed hysterically, consumed copious amounts of dubious alcohol, visited and viewed some awesome places and suffered some real pain at times. A lot has been done to establish L.O.S.T as a viable riding alternative for those who want it but there is also so much more to do.....
As for riders, each of you has made the events so much of a laugh and without you this just wouldn’t work. To the following however a special mention is required;
Marc Gouldsworthy. – My road trip anchor man and always just willing to ride at a snails pace for mile after mile. Legend.
Steve Moody. Arranging and sorting our merchandise and other paraphernalia.
Malcolm Elmer. Providing an unlimited supply of Alcohol and our Website provision.
Russell Maidment. Making us feel a whole lot better on the inside and in our own lives in general.
A big thank you to all the L.O.S.T riders in 2015 – roll on 2016, pass on the tales and lets do more of the same next year (just longer and tougher).