2019 ~ Our 18th Birthday - Coming of Age and Anniversary ~

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Post  0ldcat on Tue Jan 29 2019, 15:27

2019 the year of our 18th Birthday
our Coming of Age
&
18th Anniversary in existance as a group
~ forum & community ~

It all started way back when (que wavey lines), around about March 2001, in the times when t'inter-webby was still comparitively young and dial up was the order of the day. Broadband was the domain of large industry businesses, dot gov or the very wealthy. To have a home broadband connection was a distant dream of "us" the ordinary end user.
Lap-tops were anything but, and wireless connectivity was just a pipe dream and way off in the future.
Many a 'kick-out', 'booting', 'drop-out' or inconvenient cut off occurred from your dial-up connection in those days on far to frequent a basis, hence most of us had "Billy-Baseball-Bat" to hand to meter out a damned good thrashing, born of shear frustration, to the PC tower when it misbehaved.

We started out on MCN when they had motorcycle Message Boards divided up into manufacturer marques and model types, and thus the Thundercat Forum came into existence.
In September of 2001 a few of the first adventurous members from those early days arranged a meeting and a small ride out in and around the Dorset area which ended at Poole Quay.
Also in those heady early months we, (along with the Ninja message board), were the most prolific users of the MCN forums, so much so that a general invite was put out to us by MCN (on the message boards) to attend an owners day at MCN HQ in Peterborough to chat about out beloved bikes for a small article that was to appear in the paper.

The MCN staffers were very surprised when more than just a few rider/owners they were expecting to show up at HQ MCN Peterborough, there were 8 of us in all turned up that day.
We were as far flung apart from across the UK as North Yorkshire, Exeter, London and Wales to name a few.
A great day was had by all of us that were able to make the day which included a tour of the MCN building, the watching of a photo shoot of a bike that was so new on the market it wasn't yet on sale to the public and was only there for one of their preview features.
Lunch, fuel (for the day), a snack/iced cream stop and a cream bun stop in the afternoon all paid for by MCN along with individual interviews and questionnaires and yet another photo shoot of us as a group riding through some twisties somewhere on the back-roads of Peterborough.
The article finished up being a whole three pages the centre spread (fnarfnar fnar) and the page over. They chose not to report on the slightly embarrassing mishap halfway through the brisk before lunch ride  Neutral  Embarassed .

The MCN article was published on Wednesday 10th April 2002. I do believe Topcatbones (Tony) still has his original copy of that issue for posterity at home somewhere.
I've tried back issues at MCN and sadly they don't go back that far, and the old link in the old MSN files to the Pdf no longer works sad   

In those days there seems to have been little in the way of IT management dedicated to the running and maintenance of the MCN forums and as such they started to be fraught with bugs and down time and it became unreliable.
So our then founder Keith (aka Diesel aka No.1) developed his own site and forum. It had a basic chat room, some read only sections and one use-able message board.
If you wanted to post pictures you had to e-mail them to him with a story and or explanation of what and where it was, and where you'd like it to go in the site. Bless him, as he was the only one able to post pictures on his forum, we would then need to wait for him to have the time and get around to posting the picture to go with the story. It was actually the cutting edge of free forums you could get at the time and in those days. Haven't we come far ?!
That early attempt at an independent forum was still floating in the ether-world of cyber-space (read only) for quite some time, but sadly and subsequently has now drifted off somewhere into L-Space and can now no longer be found or viewed.

Anyway . . . On the back of and following the success of that MCN day was born the first Welshpool meeting which in and as of it's own accord took off and became the sites first annual meeting. At it's height of popularity Welshpool had over 50 bikes and riders/pillions in attendance and saw 10 visitors from the Dutch Thundercat site coming over from their home back in Holland join us.
The success of the Welshpool meetings in turn became the basis for the birth of the "Something for the Weekend" rides-out all over the country as more very welcome volunteers took up the gauntlet to organise meetings and rides-out annually in their neck of the woods.

Sadly Welshpool became a victim of it's own success and popularity (it became a bit to big to handle safely) and dropped off the yearly meetings.
At around the same time running his own site became to time consuming for Kieth, (real life getting in the way), so we migrated in late 2002 - early 2003 to MSN forums (now defunct and non existent). From that platform the Thundercat forum went from strength to strength sadly however along the way with the departing of the original founder (Kieth - aka Diesel) for a few reasons, but chiefly above them all the giving up of biking  Shocked I took up the reigns and oversaw the admin of the MSN spaces.

Along comes 2008 and MSN announce to the world of forum founders using their platform that "We're shutting up shop" forums wise, so you'll all have to fend for yourselves or migrate to a blog site set up in partnership for MSN. I duly saved all the 5 years info (including photos) to their 'multiply' blog site but as a user friendly forum it was quite frankly pants. The Multiply Blog Forums are now also defunct and no longer exist. Fortunately not all of the previous 5 years worth of pictures from the MSN platform were lost. Sadly though the vast majority of the written posts were lost. The pictures we were able to salvage, temporarily store and transfer we did at a later date without to much fuss.

So the hunt was on ! Where to look for a new home ? Now I'm not the most savvy IT bod about, but I stumbled upon our current hosts (Forumotion), quite by accident on one of several google searches and quiet honestly it was the only one I understood and of course it was free (sadly no longer the case).
One great bit of news was, that in our first years here on Forumotion, Welshpool was superseded by Bishops Castle (BC), and gained in popularity year on year great

So here we are. The start of year 11 (yes eleven), in this our current and 4th home, born 5 Nov 2008 and about to celebrate our coming of age 18 years as a community and a forum in all it's glory and different forum spaces.

We have seen many a new member come, a few go by the wayside over the years for various reasons . . . and very sadly indeed a few losses to the great bike park in the sky . . . many friendships have been struck and a few relationships too . . . we have even had a wedding or two. Relationships that perhaps were fostered by their membership of this forum.

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many more have seen perhaps a downturn in posting on the forum, however, it has not died on its rear as many other bulletin board forums have and members regular and new continue to post. This perhaps is because of the continued support to the events posted and attended in the "Something for the Weekend" section of this forums membership.

Long may it continue to be here and used by you all. All power to your elbows.

So, Come March 2019 - We shall come of age;

A Very Happy 18th Birthday to us ALL

Ride Clean, Ride Safe, Be Well.

Cheers  clink
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Post  yamahamad on Wed Jan 30 2019, 21:25

wow 18 years thats amazing. I am proud to have been a member for a number of years & long may it continue even though its quieter than it used to be.

Thanks for taking it over & running it so well tel
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Post  SteveCat on Thu Jan 31 2019, 16:06

Thank you Tel, the group is old enough to get a bike license Laughing

I was reminiscing the other day on Social media how we used our dial-up modems prior to the Internet!

Amongst some here, I am a relative newcomer joining the MSN group March 2007.
I saw pictures of the Crusader ride out and thought, that lot look scary  What a Face  Shocked
Ross was offering accommodation at his for Big Mac 4, back then there was only one Mac. If the house was full he was offering space in the garden to pitch a tent, I sent Ross a message asking if there was still room for a tent (not that I had one).

I had only had Stevecat 1 a couple of months and hadn't ventured much beyond the M25, so this was some adventure. I met Catapulted and funderKat around Leicester and we proceeded to Scotch Corner at a faster pace than I had been doing. We met most the group there and Terry Lees, on his first ride out with the group, led the way. By my standards we had turned the wick up to warp 7 and I had wondered what on earth had I let myself in for. Then Terry stops, I'm a bit confused and he points to the sky - wet gear time. Accessory fail [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], I had a one piece rain suit which I had never tried putting on at the side of the road!
funderKat Pete didn't have wet gear and by the time we arrived at Rosco Mansions he had more than a soggy bottom, boy did Scotland lay on a welcome for us - heavens opened.

When I bought the bike I honestly didn't think I'd be keeping it for long, passing whim, after all the weather is, well ...  If it wasn't for this group, I may well have just kept it for that summer. I don't think I would have had the guts at the time to look at a map and think, OK wonder what's there and head off on my own.
Prior to BM4 I had never been any further north than Leicester by road and that was on a coach.

The ride outs have always been very well organised and they gave me a very good reason to explore the country and to put faces to some rather odd site names in the MSN days - mine was stevephi_kzn !

I remember when Tel set up this site, he naturally was the first user, TopcatBones was second and I'm the third. Tel had done a fantastic job of setting up all the areas, only problem was we couldn't migrate the MSN posts, so the place was empty, you could hear the echo Very Happy
The worry was people wouldn't come on board because there was nothing to see, to paraphrase a line from The Field of Dreams - if you build it they will come.
A few nibbles in the beginning, then the day came when Microsoft shut the old place down - were we going to lose contact with friends? We know the answer to that! People found their way here, in the early days here we didn't have the easy to remember domain name. A lot has happened over time.
Thanks Tel great

As well as a big thank you to everyone who uses the site left thumb up

Toff
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Post  robertcains on Thu Jan 31 2019, 18:02

Wow!
Not sure what else to add except for what a fantastic bunch of mates I’ve made along the way in the last ten years, I guess to date that I’m also the only one who gained a wife purely from joining the forum & it’s now six years on (nearly) from the very memorable wedding day, the shoes, one member hurling over the M1 armco after too much Jaipur & whiskey & a severe ear bending from his wife!
One lost iPhone in a taxi & one member having to drive home slightly worse for wear at 1am due to being locked out of his b&b rofl
BC is on a sabbatical in 2019 after a (finally, weather wise & location) successful 2018 as I feel I need a rest (and possibly a regroup) after holding the unenviable record of being the only rideout to be lead by a tricycle Shocked
Not quite sure what the future holds bike wise other than the Spyder is definitely staying put for the foreseeable future.
Thanks to everyone for everything, love you all in some weird & wonderful way
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Post  Radar on Thu Jan 31 2019, 22:32

Happy Birthday, I only joined in 2008 and have enjoyed so many encounters with you all over the years since at BC, Weemac, Tol and OL.

I am working on a little blog of highlights and will put that together over the next week or so

Sorry to hear that the amazing BC is on a break this year, but I might organise a WoW (the Wonder of Worcestershire) in its place if folk want (tricycles welcome)

Looking forward to Weemac and hopefully ToL too this year.

Thanks to Terry and Steve for keeping the forum running when so many have folded

It has been a pleasure to meet you all and look forward to many years of continued friendship ahead

Radar (Tony)....a Thundercat die hard who still runs a Thundercat!
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Post  ellie on Thu Jan 31 2019, 23:12

You joined after me Radar so would have been 2009.

Thanks for the memories Tel - I have many happy memories of being a part of this forum since Feb 2009, and of course gained a husband from here, so I thank/blame you for that Tel :-)


Many happy memories of rideouts with lots of you that have become great mates aswell as fellow riders.

A few motorbikes later and I don’t own one at all at the moment but watch this space...

Thank you for the memories, the laughs, the fun and the piss taking, wouldn’t have changed it for anything.

Here’s to more happy memories and maybe a forum meet at the Bike show this year? X


Clap Can I just add - a GREAT BIG THANK YOU to all the ride out organisers, who put HOURS & DAYS into organising them, I appreciate how much effort you all go to, to ensure we have a fun, safe and memory making ride out  Clap


Last edited by ellie on Mon Feb 04 2019, 13:43; edited 3 times in total
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Post  weasley on Fri Feb 01 2019, 07:09

I joined shortly after the MSN site was set up and quickly got sucked in.  I remember nights when we would use the live chat service, staying up until all hours just chatting about random stuff and laughing so hard it hurt.  Welshpool 2003 was my first face-to-face and I had booked up to go to the 2004 one until my wife reminded me that the dates clashed with our wedding.

I have ridden all over the UK and into Germany as a result of this forum.  I have made some good friends too, the type that you only see once or twice a year but immediately fall back into a familiar banter.  The only common thing is owning a particular bike at one time or other - this means we have a very diverse set of backgrounds; I would never have met a group like this through ‘normal’ social routes and I would have missed out on some of the funniest times of my life, and some great riding to boot.  Oh, the food has been good too - so many varieties of light salad.
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Post  Rosco on Sat Feb 02 2019, 10:57

Happy Birthday indeed. Smile

Great to read the history / stories.

If my memory hasn't completely failed me my first thundercat in glorious B&Q colours was bought in late 2002 and I think I joined MSN  in 2003.

My first group ride was Big Mac one (in 2004) which was a tour rather than basing in one place but due to other commitments I could only make day 1.
Rode like a donkey, hadn't a clue what I was doing but thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I was completely hooked.
I've....
been lucky on my bike
been unlucky on my bike.
made poor decisions.
made great decisions.
fallen off (a few times)
got back on (everyrtime)
been on-road
been off-road
learned a lot from fellow riders (sometimes what to do and sometimes what not to do)
laughed and lived a lot on my thundercat and with this group of amazing people.

Since joining I think I've done just about every group ride out at one point or another (Big Mac, Welshpool, ToL, Crusader, Surf & Turf, Wee Mac, Bishops Castle, Oxon) and a few European trips too.
Thoroughly enjoy being involved in organising the Mac's since 2006
Just checked the archive and I didn't manage the devil's arse rideout.....gutted :(

We've had clingfilm wrapped bikes, communal cooking, duct tape, tie wraps, divorces, marriages, births of thunder kids and thunder grandkids, lock-ins and lock-outs, wildlife and occasionally/regularly some wild nightlife.
We've had every colour of thundercat, every shape, colour, sex and creed of riders and pillions

Sadly some of our members now ride their heavenly bikes in the sky.  Gone but not forgotten.

I've made loads of great friends through this site and have had some of the most memorable experiences, thrills, laughs, tears and everything in between.  

Looking forward to many more birthdays.
Thanks to Yamaha for making such a great bike in the Thundercat.
Thanks to the guys and gals that started and supported the original forum.
Thanks Tel and all the admins for their dedication and hard work on the re-incarnation of it here.
Thanks to all the ride out organisers for all their dedication and hard work too.
Thanks to all our members for contributing to and being part of this amazing group.

Ride safely people and we'll see you at the next rideout Smile

Cheers
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Post  0ldcat on Sun Feb 03 2019, 13:17

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:Thanks for the memories Tel - I have many happy memories of being a part of this forum since Feb 2009, and of course gained a husband from here, so I thank/blame you for that Tel  Smile  
..........................................................................GULP ! Oh dear Shocked  Laughing
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Post  ellie on Mon Feb 04 2019, 13:38

hehe

Of course its the best thing that's ever happened - he keeps telling me what a catch he is  clown

And of course, we're now Grandparents, with another on the way  old  old


And to celebrate 18 years - I've returned to my first avatar lol.
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Post  Wooster on Sat Feb 09 2019, 21:39

That's pretty good going for a forum. Cool Cool Cool

Well done. clappy
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