Sunday, 13 July 2014

Henshaws Sausage Run 2014

Yesterday I took part in the Henshaws Sausage Run 2014, travelling 73.7 miles from the Manchester Resource Centre in Old Trafford to the Arts & Crafts Centre in Knaresborough, Harrogate (150 miles there and back altogether!), to help raise awareness and funds for the charity. Over 25 motorbike riders took part in the event, raising more than £1,000 to support Henshaws in the work that they do for blind, visually impaired and disabled people all over the North of England.

As I blogged previously, I had my practice run last month and also had a visit from Chris, my motorbike partner, this Sunday to test the bluetooth helmets so that we could communicate en route meaning that I was well prepared for the event and very excited to get back on the bike!

The day began by being picked up by Chris on his motorbike and travelling to the Manchester Resource Centre to register to the event. After registering, having refreshments, picking up a special commemorative Sausage Run 2014 pin and claiming the tickets for our sausage butties that would be collected upon arrival to the Arts & Crafts Centre in Harrogate - it was time to set off! It must have been quite an amazing sight yesterday morning to see such a huge pack of riders all travelling together!

Using the bluetooth helmets and microphones, Chris was able to audio describe the journey for me; letting me know which towns and villages we were passing through, picking out landmarks and buildings of interest and describing them in detail and providing some backstory and facts about the places we were driving past. It was wonderful to have that extra dimension to the journey on top of having the smells of plants, flowers and food, sounds of engines roaring and birds tweeting and the feel of the wind against my face as well as the gentle vibration of the bike - painting a vibrant palette and a 360° sensory experience.

As with my two practice runs, I adapted straight away to riding pillion on the back of the blue Triumph 2012 and each movement around curved roads and roundabouts felt fluid and natural, and I felt like an extension of the bike itself. The weather was scorchingly hot, the journey to the centre was lovely and I couldn't have asked for a nicer experience!

Upon arrival at the Arts & Crafts Centre in Knaresborough, Harrogate, we were greeted by Lisa Sherratt, Fundraiser at Henshaws Society for Blind People, and Anthony Farrimond who photographed the riders as they entered the car parking space, took group shots in front of the bikes and continued to take photos throughout the day to document the event.

We were invited to the cafe to claim our sausage butties and have refreshments after our 2 hour journey. As I'm a vegetarian, the staff kindly provided me with a Quorn sausage butty! After our lunch, Lisa then invited us to have a tour of the centre and have a look at some of the work that the service users produce in the various workshops on site, as well as showcasing the sensory garden which is home to a variety of flowers and vegetables that the service users plant and grow.

Lisa showed us around the four main workshops which included textiles, ceramics and woodwork. The tactile creations were amazingly beautiful and intricate and really exhibited the art makers' creativity, skills, talents, and flexibility using a whole range of mediums and base objects.

Our tour continued on from the workshops into the sensory garden, where the service users plant and grow a variety of flowers and vegetables which are then sold in the shop and cafe on-site to the general public. The garden was absolutely gorgeous featuring a spectrum of colours, sounds and smells!  

After the tour came to an end, we made our way back through the cafe to our bikes for some final photographs. After thanking Lisa for a wonderful tour, Anthony for the photos and Glen for the fantastic opportunity to be a part of the Sausage Run - it was then time for Chris and I to make our way back home!

You can read more about the Henshaws Sausage Run 2014 through the press releases on the website here and here. An extended gallery of images from the day, photographed by Anthony Farrimond, can be viewed at his website here.

I want to say a big thank you to Lisa Sherratt and Glen Lockett for organising the event and kindly inviting me along, to Anthony Farrimond for the fantastic photographs from the day and a special thank you to Chris Goodwin for being such a wonderful biking partner and for being so accommodating!