Welsh Drive Out

Bike culture and café culture are so deeply intertwined that the latter lends its name to an entire genre of the former – the café racer. The biker café is an institution, a social hub in which to bond over the shared love of oil, grease, rubber and leather. But there’s no denying that some of them can feel a bit… old-fashioned. This is where Baffle Haus comes in. Lying in the Welsh countryside between the rolling Wye Valley and the dramatic Brecon Beacons, it’s the physical manifestation of an idea that began as an online community hub for likeminded bike enthusiasts.

Set in a former storage unit, with some of Britain’s best riding and driving roads radiating out in every direction, it’s a slick, minimalist backdrop for conversation, coffee and cake, and one of its central tenets is to help break down the perceived barriers of the traditional roadside biker halt, opening up the two-wheeled community to anyone who’s interested, regardless of mode of transport. This means that the team at Baffle Haus are as enthusiastic about four wheels as two, which was helpful when a group of 313 members set off from the Yard, headed west for the Monmouthshire hills on the inaugural 313 Drive Out.

Celebrating diversity amongst machinery is a key philosophy of the #CultOfMachine, and the cars accompanying us on this trip were no exception – from the agility of a Lotus Elise, to the sharp-suited brutality of a Mercedes C63 S, to the sheer turbocharged bonkers-ness of a 450bhp Subaru Forester, it was a wonderfully varied group of machines that congregated in Baffle Haus’s courtyard for a lunch stop, caffeine boost and a chance to take in the setting and the range of bikes and cars on display.

This was a precursor to the afternoon’s activities, as the group continued to push west for a tour of some of the region’s very best roads – the B4560 that snakes across open moorland above the Usk Valley; the wide, flowing A40 and A470 that scythe through the wooded valleys of the Brecon Beacons; and the iconic Black Mountain Pass, 12 glorious miles of near-constant hairpins and S-bends that wind their way between rocky outcrops and industrial scars atop the eponymous mountain range, before cascading through a lush, wooded valley.

We brought a little slice of Baffle Haus with us from their base too, in the form of another 313 member atop his gorgeous Ducati Scrambler, bedecked in retro stripes; and petrolhead, Baffle Haus co-founder and occasional Wales international rugby superstar George North, in his Guards Red Porsche 964 Carrera 2.

With wonderful company, some of the most awe-inspiring scenery and roads the UK has to offer, and the Welsh weather even having a rare day of warmth and dryness, it was a perfect way to kick off another #CultOfMachine summer, and the first of what we hope to be many more Drive Outs open exclusively to 313 members. Don’t miss out on the next one.