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Annual review 2016

2016 has been another vintage year for L.O.S.T and the riders. We have completed a good mixture of local, UK challenges and even a European marathon to Northern Spain. If you had attended and completed all events this year you would have clocked up just over 2500 miles across 8 events. Of course, there has been many smaller one day adventures and Wednesday ride-outs to add into the mix so a Total mileage as a committed L.O.S.T rider would be around the 3000 mile mark. Not a small amount considering the roads / routes we take

2016 statistics

Total Number of events 8

Total Miles completed 2505

Total Number of nights under canvas 14

Total days riding 23

Average no of riders / event 4.25 Average no of miles / event 178.9

Average no of miles / day 108.9 Average no of tank refills / rider for year 50 Approximate cost of fuel @ £1.20 / litre £301 Average rolling speed (mph) 26 No of Major breakdowns / event 0.375 No of spills 1 No of miles per Major breakdown 835

Throughout the year we have regrettably seen some riders leave but equally some new blood join the group and the hope being that in 2017 we will see a few more new riders take up the challenge.

This year there have been so many high and low points and the following is just a small sample of some of the mad things we have encountered on our travels and represent my own personal favourites in the form of a top 10. For me, the Picos was always going to be a highlight but sure you all have an equally personal and valid set of your own

1. Picos De Europa - The first mile on foreign shores and the headache of getting out of Santander and into the hills with an almighty (Gin based) hangover. Steve Moody and his newly found Gin habit was to blame and carried on throughout the tour.

2. Picos De Europa - The Day 3 route across the Central Massif and down into Riajo in Central Picos. An absolute cracker of a day with the highest road journeyed as L.O.S.T. Gravel tracks, Killer hairpins and animals a plenty to avoid. If I had the chance I would spend a week traversing this route over and over again - stupendous but scary at times.

3. Picos De Europa - Steve Moody's fall from grace and his argument with a stopped caravan. How he never hit me is remarkable but good on him for soldiering on with a busted knee ,foot and jacket. The golden rule is never take a new jacket out on a scoot as it is nearly always doomed. Luckily he has now sort of recovered but this could 'off' have been a whole lot worse.

4. Picos De Europa - My major engine failure and the 48 hours of subsequent hell that followed. Engine failures are never a good thing but suffering one in a foreign country and Spain in particular is a harsh experience. Be warned, the AA do not operate effectively in Spain irrespective of the bull they give you when they sell you their 'Platinum' European cover. It simply does not work. It was however particularly pleasing to know that the lads that ventured onward to the port area also had a similarly miserable time in the hands of the Spanish gypsies. If nothing more, this pitiful episode (and fully my fault!) has taught me a lot more about foreign travel and the whole recovery process. Always carry a book to read...

5. Dartmoor - A one-nighter with Pompey Dave to explore a little further into Dartmoor. The Sunday morning dawned with beautiful sunshine and desolate roads. The route across the tops at a steady nip (over 50 honest!) was really one of the standout rides of the year for me. Simply amazing stuff.

6. Offa's Dyke around - The wild camp on a grassy knoll above the clouds and in a 12 hour storm. Wild camping is my favourite even though we have found some cracker sites over the years, nothing beats the remoteness of location, back to nature feel and the hardships that need to be endured at a wild camp spot. This one was particularly good and we need as a group to explore more of the wilds of mid wales. Being tent bound with a storm outside has taught us to always take a book. There are only so many times you can read a pot noodle label.

7. Beaches are Bastards - Our Autumn Tour was a classic this year and was an opportunity to introduce a lot of new roads and venues for us to explore in the far west of Wales. The highlight for me was definitely the Wild Camp site near St Davids and the ensuing Jagerbombing session. The very same night where both Malcolm and Marc sustained some form of injury through a case of severe insobriety. True to form Malcolm lost his phone / charger and pretty much everything else as he stumbled and fell around the site. Marc decided to jump the fire pit, missed and landed with a hefty thud on the rock fire surround. It even sounded nasty at the time and still giving him problems today.

8. Beaches are Bastards - As always with every tour there is a low-light and this one was the mess that is Swansea and the Gower approaches. We made the mistake of using the Gower as a jump off point into Pembroke-shire but this failed miserably as we hit evening rush hour on the way in and morning rush hour on the way out. I certainly learned an important lesson here that Towns / Cities are to be missed at all costs when travelling as a group with luggage in tow. It especially doesn't work when a certain (un-named) rider had a scoot that knew no other rev range than maximum. In standing traffic I have no idea how the 'old fella' stayed upright or even on the damn thing?? He definitely scared the Mothers with Children on the school run at traffic lights.....

9. Beaches are Bastards - The Third day - A wonderful route that was so good that it needs to be repeated in part or in whole in the future. The Prescilli and Cambrian mountain ranges traversed in a day was the challenge and pretty tough stuff on both rider and scooter and certainly enough to take out Russell's gearbox and render him a recovery victim around midday. The weather was glorious for the entire route as we traversed the small lanes and B roads through to our final stop of the tour in Mid Wales. Probably our coldest night of the year awaited as we drowned our sorrows with the final bottles of beer. What a day.

10. Porlock - The Route down - Cloutsham in Exmoor just had to be tried and this year was our chance to give it a go. What the riders did not appreciate was the first (of many to come) river crossing was included as part of the route. The sight of poor Daygan on a cut-down Lammy with his feet stuck out trying not to fall off was priceless especially as the bike was cabled poorly and had Michelin S1's - a brave soul!!! Snow awaited the other side of the hill and to many riding with snow around was a totally new experience. Lets hope that this winter we have another dump of the stuff for us to go explore.

In conclusion, a great year! What has made it great more than anything else has been the riders and the laughs you make.. The banter and abuse as always have been at extraordinarily high levels this year with Pompey being the prime offline abuser and Mr Moody still king of the Online killer quote.

I hope however beyond anything that each of you at least come away again this year with a head full of experiences that are unique and memorable in some way., If only to be used as tales to tell. So, thank you for your support and for keeping the brand and experience alive. A big thank you to : Marc G for his work on the Picos De Europa Trip planning and anchor support Pompey Dave for policing the riders and keeping us happy with his miserable demeaner. Malcolm for plentiful amounts of alcohol Steve Moody for just making us laugh (off or on the bike) Colin for being an absolute star in terms of support and help Russell for not wavering on his self imposed and widely shared woes. Daygan for keeping me herbal and widening my mind. Barry for turning up to one Wednesday night and a trip to Sherborne in a whole year!!! Ricky Freeman for signing up and giving it a go. The Crown Inn, Churchill for adopting us as a group and staying open late when we need it. Here's to 2017 and another packed year of challenges.

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