31 July. Memories of Robert Maxwell ride.

It’s a long story.  It started with a stranger on a bike wandering down Maurice’s driveway at 7.00am looking for a classic motorbike shop specialising in Vincents. He had been sent in Maurice’s direction by Sandra’s husband just down the road who thought correctly that Maurice would be able to help the stranger. Maurice being Maurice gave him a warm welcome and offered him a cup of coffee whilst Lynn was a bit hesitant, not surprisingly at that time in the morning. However the stranger was genuinely interested in buying a Vincent and Maurice was able to guide him to a chap in Buntingford who specialised in these rare beasts. In the course of conversation the stranger said that he lived in Brisbane and was on a cycling holiday around our area staying on camp sites. His name was Doug Whitehead and it turned out that he had worked for the infamous Robert Maxwell for several years. Maurice being Maurice then suggested he met us later that evening in The Pheasant so that we could all hear some of his many Maxwell stories.

So that is just a preamble to this evening’s ride for Maurice, Andrew, Keith, Tom and Martin which took us around 24 miles of familiar lanes, which can be seen at high speed here:

We met up with John B at what has become one of our favourite refreshment stops on a summer’s evening, The Bull at Lower Langley, and then ambled back to The Pheasant watching the GPS antics of a large combine harvester on the way. John decided to take a more vertical off road route back from Little Chishill but appeared later to regret having done so. Here are some pics of the circuit, Martin narrowly escaping cruxifiction at one stage in Rickling:

On returning to The Pheasant, Doug Whitehead was indeed there having dinner with the Vincent chap from Buntingford after which they joined us whilst we tucked into succulent goujons. Doug indeed had many stories to tell about the chaotic Maxwell business in the years just before he disappeared overboard his yacht in the middle of the night, some say whilst having a pee whilst others say he committed suicide and others that he was bumped off by the Israeli secret service. We may never know.

With promises of meeting again either on his next trip, and Keith discussing meeting him in Brisbane when he is there for the cricket in December, we bid Doug farewell. It was not the usual Monday evening ride.

Thanks go to Maurice for introducing us to Doug Whitehead and to Andrew for taking the pics and recording the ride.


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