To quote Monty Python what have the romans ever done for us? apart from the sanitation,
the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-
Well here in the UK and the south particularly the romans did create some fab roads, pretty straight and level and often heading in the way we want with if you are of an archaeological leaning some cool palaces and stuff.
After the romans left it was years before there was any major investment in roads, and many will say even that is debatable.
Many were used as coaching routes and so refreshment stops were created along the way and as more cars came along and they started to be metallised they became part of the UK road network. Many of these cafes then became the haunts of motorcyclists as well or truckers.
As the trend for going for a jaunt and afternoon tea wained so sadly many tea stops closed, but thankfully there are still some cafes and the like along the way.
One of the best roman roads for me locally is Stane Street now the A29 heading south to Chichester where it connected London at Merton Abbey to Chichester and has both Bignor and Fishbourne Palaces (both famous for mosaic floors if ever get so keen to look) on route.
There used to be several cafes on the way, but one which has stood out for years is the Toat Café, not that I know of it ever being a regular biker café of old, but now happily is a popular stop, which would not have been far from Hardham roman compound on the old roman road.
And with the romans love of a good party with wine women and song what better place to have a do.
It was here that the American Motorcycle Owners Club AMOC held their independence day party and custom show, certainly a different venue for a rally but it was cool with café serving food in the day, the AMOC guys and gals BBQing in the evening.
Many local clubs also took the opportunity of the good weather it was blooming hot, and plenty of level camping to join in too and there was a great party feel. With a few stalls, coconut shy (a first for me at a bike rally) and tattooist and bar it kept all happy, shaded spots were at a premium though.
While the custom show was on there was also a chance for silly games, involving biting sausages, which was a great opportunity for some double entendre eventually won by a young lady called blue, no not that one.
Now I cannot remember all the winners of the show, but Tango won the best in show with his ever evolving sportster, Plonk won best Rat and the best chop went to the neat hard tailed sporty.
Music in the evening was supplied by the ever popular Ed Hudson band and a great time was had by all