The Breakfast Run

Wozza gets a rude awakening when he joins up for a (very) early morning run

Thanks to millions of years of painstaking evolution, blokes who go riding together a lot will eventually start buying similar bikes. It's called one-upmanship, and man's been at it ever since the chap in the cave next door came home with a bigger stick. It means bike-buying among friends has now become something like an arms race, but with a lot less war and mess involved. So if one of the group buys a faster bike, the rest then have to follow suit or face being left behind, alone in the evolutional wilderness to be prayed upon by marauding wildebeests or something.

Now you could be wondering where the point to all this is, so I'll get to it. Upon meeting Bury's Breakfast Club at stupid o'clock on Sunday morning in a Tesco car park just off the A14, the first thing that struck me was the fine and mighty array of machinery at their disposal. Mostly new, nothing more than four years old, and all supersports kit with at least 998cc (apart from a CBR600RR, but as that's still a bike I'm happy to include in the 'impressive and fast' bracket we'll not quibble here).

There was also a slightly bent trolley. In my barely awake state I initially wondered who was brave enough to be riding this until I realised it had in fact escaped from the nearby trolley corral of its own accord, and would not be joining us for the run after all.

This was to be my first breakfast run. Devotees to the traditional early starter burn-up may be in horror at this but the truth is, having spent my working life riding motorcycles at all hours of the day, all days of the week, and in order to get to all manner of dining engagements, the last thing I've ever really fancied doing on a weekend off is getting up at dawn to ride into the hills in search of tea and sausages.

That's not to say I'm against breakfast runs. Far from it. In fact, I'll say they look like a pretty good idea. Leaving aside the fact they mean tossing away a perfectly good Friday or Saturday night's debauchery in favour of getting up before Children's TV kicks off the following morning, the good old breakfast run has a load of plus points.

First you get clear roads, as in naff-all traffic and naff-all Police interest. Secondly you get to eat disgustingly unhealthy food and feel good about it because you'll easily burn it all off with the exercise of getting up really early and riding in a spirited manner for a couple of hours. And for those with families, lawns to mow, or just Sundays to do other stuff with, you can get a solid riding fix in without arsing up the rest of the day.

But the key to any good breakfast run, like any other ride involving more than one person, is the company. You need people who know how each other ride, people who haven't got chips on their shoulders or points to prove, and people who all stonk along, give or take, at the same pace.

And it soon becomes clear the Bury boys are just this. The banter around the car park when we meet involves plenty of good-natured piss-taking and very little else, which quickly shows they've known each other a long time.

Ringleader Mike, who apparently changes his bikes "about as often as he changes his socks" according to one of the group, is currently astride a GSX-R1000K5 and has been at this breakfast run caper for 15 years. In fact, like those mad folk who insist on jumping in the sea every day even when they have to break the ice to get in, he'll be out on a Sunday morning all year round. As for the rest, they'll all turn up just as much as they can manage.

Much like Clive Woodward's wobbly Lions team these boys have a squad of riders from which a team is formed every weekend. Unlike the Lions though, this lot don't get beaten to hell and back by the Kiwis and nor do they have to fight for selection. A breakfast run is a friendly affair, after all.

Nine is the number of attendees today, and chatting with the lads before setting off I learn far more actually goes into this caper than I thought.

"We always change the routes we take, the places we go, the times we set off and the places we meet up," Mike explains. Which all makes perfect sense, because if the meet becomes too entrenched it becomes an easy target for out-of-town monkeys who could upset the vibe, or laser-wielding plod who'll just spoil it all, period.

With time marching on, and stomachs already rumbling, we saddled up and headed into deepest Suffolk in search of high-speed thrills and a nice mug of tea.

Frankly we couldn't have picked a better morning. The sun was washing its way across the sky, the air was clear and the roads were beautifully dry and quiet. Well, they were until 10 bikes howled past at mach three, but that's another matter.

Not to say the boys were hoodlums, mind. Sure they had fast bikes and there was no doubt they all knew where the loud handles were and how to use them, but they all seemed in favour of 'reasonable force'.

All of which meant derestricted roads were fair game for whatever anyone fancied, but towns and villages were strict speed limit areas which meant pots of thrashing fun, but no irate Daily Mail readers harping on to the local council about Hells Angels doing 200mph through their front gardens afterwards.

Twisting and winding our way across the countryside like a fleet of low-flying jet fighters, the pace picked up as the roads became more remote and everyone started to slip into the groove, although not once did anyone look ragged.

Unlike a lot of group riding I've seen in my time, there was no one dropping off the back then getting all out of kilter trying to catch up again, and nor was there anyone clambering all over the tail light of the bloke in front like a hospital trip looking for a hedge to start in. It was fast, but it was also smooth, safe and a right old relaxed bit of fun.

Rolling into Southwold just as the place began to wake up we burbled through the tiny streets before pulling up on the seafront and piling into the café to order everything they had. Stuffing our faces in the sunshine as the bikes plinked away to themselves and passing tourists gawped at them, the banter ran riot and getting up so early suddenly didn't seem like a such a chore after all.

Heading back in country, now thoroughly stuffed, we needed to grab a few more photos which did somewhat slow our pace down. Every time we stopped for another shot I noticed another bike or two had mysteriously vanished, so much so that by 11 o'clock there were just five of the original nine left. As for the others, they all had to be back for whatever Sunday had in store. Well, it's not called a breakfast run for nothing, is it?

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