Although keen motorcyclists for some years, my brother H. and I had never attempted a motorcycling summer holiday until last August, which happened to be the best month of weather we had in 1909. Our intention was to get over to Ireland, stop a few days with friends at Fermoy, and ride on through south-west Kerry to a little place called Derrynane, which we already knew from a summer holiday spent there nine years ago. We had sent on a couple of small portmanteaux in advance, and carried small luggage for two or three days, together with a good supply of oilskins of our 3 1/2 h.p. Triumph and Chater Lea-Jap machines.
    The morning of the Bank Holiday saw us on the road, and by lunch time we had run through Kingston, Maidenhead, Henley and Wallingford to Wantage. Our road from there lay through Faringdon and Cirencester and down Birdlip. This was our first sight of this well-known hill, and we were surprised at its length and steepness.
    Instead of stopping for the night at Gloucester, as we had planned, we moved on after tea, and were delighted at the unusual (to our eyes) intermingling of lovely wooded hills and numerous grimy collieries, but the latter did not spoil the glorious scenery at such places as Symonds Yat. This name and "Solomons Tump" were both on a signpost we passed, and they struck us as being very quaint. Shortly before reaching Monmouth (137 miles), where we put up for the night, the back tube of the Triumph gave way at a weak spot, and the repair aroused no small interest among

the young natives from the cottages near. By ten o'clock next morning we were en route for Abergavenny and Brecon, passing along the beautiful valley of the Usk, where we much enjoyed the fine surface of the road and the delightful way in which the latter enabled us to see the mountains on either side - the Brecon Beacons rising to 2,900 ft.- without encountering any bad hills.
    At Llandovery a sudden desire for something cooling overcame me, so, seeing some melons in a fruiterer's shop, I bought one, but the difficulty was how to carry it out of the town for demolition. Taking it under one's arm, strapping it to the carrier, or any of the usual methods were impossible. However we were determined to have it, and equally determined not to eat it in the middle of a crowded town, so I overcame matters by stuffing it up under my waistcoat, where it was held tight! My ample dust coat gracefully falling over this protuberance gave me an appearance of extreme corpulence! Except for two more weak places in the inner tube, we had another day's faultless running to Haverfordwest, in Pembrokeshire (117 miles), having after Llandovery, passed through Llandilo and Carmarthen. Before leaving the next morning we went up to see the interesting old castle, which is now the headquarters of the Shire police, and over which we were conducted by the chief, a very different man to the

"trapping" individuals one meets round London. The view from the castle top over the town and surrounding country is well worth a visit, and we were up here over an hour.
    We had plenty of time for the 13 mile spin to Fishguard, as the boat was not due to leave till well after mid-day, and on arrival here we spent some time removing sundry small parts likely to be damaged in crossing, but this afterward seemed almost unnecessary, owing to the extreme care taken by the G.W.R. people in slinging the machines on board and off again the other side. We found, on consulting our map, that the nearest "first-class" road westwards started from Wexford, five miles from Rosslare, so we did this short journey by train. After getting the machines ready, filling up with petrol and having some tea, we tried to leave the town, but as everyone we asked gave us different directions, it took us some time to get on what proved to be the vilest surface we had ever struck. Thinking it impossible that this kind of road could last for long, we inquired if it improved further on, but were told it got worse; this we believed to be equally impossible. Naturally we made very slow progress, as we could scarcely stand the the awful shaking up. In order to keep the engines going at a very slow speed, H., being on a pedalless machine, was often obliged to kick on the ground to help things along, while I pedalled steadily, with the engine just firing. Later on, there was an awful crashing, in the neighbourhood of my back wheel, and I thought there was a bad breakage and got off gingerly,


The Wye - Monmouth
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