Who’d Be A Biker? …on to part 12

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    Who’d Be A Biker?

    Part 1.

    Until just lately I thought bikes were a pretty new thing in my life, but casting my mind back over the years, I can recall occasions when bikes have figured in my life before. From the earliest memory of sitting on the back of my dads Ariel Square Four when I was four years old (tearing up his maps for some reason), my older brothers quest to rebuild a BSA Bantam, a failed attempt to learn to ride a mate’s CB250 on the trot (jetty) beside where the boat I served on was tied up, the five years of riding a Hercules and then a Zundapp moped around Germany after leaving the Navy and onto more recent times where two years ago I took a CBT, rode 125 for a year, then last year took the DAS and now ride a 600.

    The one image I had of dad on his bike, as I remember, was in green overalls and an old US Army bomber jacket. All he needed was the flying cap and goggles and he would have made a passing resemblance to Biggles. Quite as to why I was sitting on the back of his bike tearing up his maps escapes me. Dad had giving me a pillion ride to corner shop just up from the cottage where we lived in Norfolk. I suppose while waiting, I decided to look at his maps and they just came apart in my hands as things are apt to do at that age. The only other memory from that era, recounted to me later, was when dad was giving mum a pillion ride home one night from the Air Force club and dad motored off across the airfield at RAF West Raynham before mum could sit down on the back.

    The next memory of bikes was my older brothers eventually abortive attempt at cleaning up a BSA Bantam, which seem to have a differing multitude of colours overtime. I did here it start once but Andy my brother, never actually got ride before leaving for the RAF.

    On to the disastrous attempt at learning to ride in the Navy then. This was on one of the trots, a type of jetty where submarines are tied up alongside, at HMS Dolphin. My mate and me were both on duty watch that evening, so I had this bright idea of learning to ride his CB250. On his agreement. I sat on his bike, started it, put it into first and moved off as instructed. Unfortunately I accidentally kicked it into second and the end of the trot was approaching at a great rate of knots. I made things slightly worse, if ever they could be, by braking hard with the front brake and having the bike tuck in under me. The end of the trot problem was solved by the front wheel sliding into a cable channel that the cranes use and me being lobbed off to one side. Amazingly the bike and me were undamaged, but I thought it best to leave off learning to ride for a bit. Looking back though I wish I had actually carried on to learn properly then. It would have been easier to do it then rather than now and would have given me some mobility without relying on the Royal Navy.

    My pathetic attempts at a career in biking was put on hold for a couple of years, until I went from the Navy to work for the Army and was based in West Germany. Here is where I actually bought my first motorbike, if you could call it that. It was actually a side valve single cylinder 2 stroke moped that could only do 25Kph. It was the first of two that I bought, the first one being a Hercules HR2
    and the second a Zundapp CS20.

    I rode everywhere on these things, far and wide in the time I had off. They were even taken off road where they proved a huge amount of fun. Low sided them lots of times on wet roads and severe German winters but as they were slow it got to be an inconsequential experience after a while. I would wait till me and the bike came to a graceful stop, pick it up, climb back on and be off again, not thinking anymore of it. One time I was coming around a sharp bend huddled against some stormy weather and happened upon to German Army motorcyclists park two abreast on the apex of the bend. These guys were built like Everest. The one on the inside, the one that I err#133; bumped into, I would say that the cheeks of his backside were vying for the job of panniers on his bike. This guy never flinched when my bike impacted against his blubbery butt. The bike bounced off him and went over as did I. I rolled into a ditch however. The guys said nothing but looked at me rather bemused as I climbed out of the ditch, pick up the bike, apologized and rode off. Another time after a dinnertime (and afternoon) session, I was bet by the guys in the team that I couldn#146;t ride the bike while inebriated. I agreed, but they all wanted to be scientific about it so absolute and empirical proof was required. Dubiously, (very!), we went down to the parade ground, which we only used as a car park incidentally, and put it to the test. We all pretty soon agreed I couldn#146;t, but it was enlightening experience I remember to this day. The longest ride was an 18 hour (25kph remember) loop around Northern Germany. Something that was going to prepare me for another epic ride later on. The headlight gave out on the way back and I had to finished the ride holding a torch over the handle bars. A while later on I eventually got try out a CB250 again, more successfully this time, on the Hohne training range area. A great experience, but alas, I got my German licence to drive afterwards and that was that for another 26 years.


    Excellent info mate. Didn’t realise you had such a biking background! Bet you wish you still had the Herc and Zundapp, they could fetch quite a price now I guess.




    its an R1!!! [:o)]


    2007 model ! [:D]


    As you liked part 1, ID, here’s another bit and yes I wished still had those bikes. Got a lot of memories associated with those.

    Part 2.

    1988 and 10 Years later on, I had left the Army and had returned to the UK. The opportunities in the job were beginning to get a bit limited by that time After a particular incident and a long period of hospitalisation, I finally decided to leave, come back to the UK to start a probably more civilised and safer career in IT. It wasn’t until about another 14 years later though that I thought about seriously riding a bike again. One of the guys I worked with then had a Bandit and he used to speak about bike riding and motorbikes quite a bit. I asked him about getting a licence and what is involved these days. What he said I found confusing,… 125cc, CBT, A1, A2, DAS, etc. It wasn’t the provisional license, 250cc, L plates and then test process that I seemed to remember. So it wasn’t for another couple of years that I finally did something about riding again. Up until this point I used to say I would get a motorbike, but didn’t want people to think I was going through a mid-life crisis. It wouldn’t have been much point getting a 125cc then anyway as I was working south of Stratford and it was a thirty-six mile commute along the Motorways. The firm later moved to Birmingham though, which made the idea of commuting by a 125cc more practical and driving was definitely not getting to be any fun anymore.

    So it happened that we were driving past Streetbike in Halesowen one Saturday and Sandra said why not go in and have a look around. We went in and I was like a kid in a sweet shop. What is it about motorbikes that make them look so good? Saw a nice Fireblade which really captured the imagination. Then a CBR 125 Repsol that looked rather nice and was a bit more of a realistic idea. I hadn’t seen the light and thought about a Suzuki yet, but that was for later. Then I got talking to the guy about licenses and the process of getting one. Actually Sandra started chatting to him (can#146;t take her anywhere!) and called me over to join in. I would probably of just left the shop later and carried on with what had been planned for that day. I’m really an idle git who never gets around to doing anything I want to do. Tearing myself away from one particular bike I went over. The guy explained things clearly about bike licenses and after talking a lot more over coffee with the guy, it appeared that suddenly I was going to be doing a CBT the following Saturday. It beats me how that one happened. I think he must have spiked my coffee or something.

    After an anxious week, the following Saturday, I turned up at Streetbike wearing as requested what I thought were the safest garments I had. This included my old hiking boots, Berghaus, very comfy. Three other would be bikers were also there One was a young lad in a light jacket, T-shirt and training shoes. We were to be loaned the helmet and gloves. During a lengthy classroom chat in the Café, the young lad was demonstrated a salient point about his footwear and the fact that they weren’t even tied up. For some reason he had the laces just tucked behind the tongue of the trainers. Having got him to put his leg out, the instructor quickly whisked the trainer off with his hand. We all watched as it arced over to the other end of the shop. After the lad sheepishly went to retrieve it, the instructor requested that if he must wear them to do them up properly. The instructor said to me later on that he was in two minds whether to let him continue or not.

    After the classroom phase, we were then ferried by mini-van to the practice site. It was a large trucking area behind a factory building. We were going to be on Suzuki Van Vans, kind of like two wheeled tractors or so I thought. When it came to get on the bikes, start them up and move off a short distance, I was very wobbly…, very very wobbly. This ain’t going to work I thought to myself but after a while and much expert guidance I was looping around the area pretty much OK. We practised moving off, slow bike control, controlled stops, figure 8s, junction drills and U turns all the rest of the morning. Managed to the U-turn perfectly first time, but not the second or third… go figure! Then after some questions from the Highway Code and an eye test, we were let loose on the roads under the watchful eye of the instructors, two of us to each instructor. After a successful; test of the U-turn and controlled stop, there then followed a pretty exhausting, but very enjoyable, couple of hours of going over almost every type of junction and roundabout possible. My observations were Ok and still holding up from the mornings practice but I did have a problem with the indicators. I kept leaving them on. It took me a while to get out of that habit, but eventually the instructor thought I was safe to be let out on my own in the future. I thought he must be insane, but he was the expert. I do have to say though that I thought the service provided by Streetbike was very much and still is excellent in every facet.

    The following day Sunday, still knackered from the previous day, I returned to Streetbike and bought the CBR125. Then went upstairs to the clothing department to buy the helmet, jacket, gloves and boots. Now I was all set. Beware Birmingham, Born2BMild was born! Actually It should have been, Beware B2BM, Birmingham is out there!


    Good stuff Born2Bmild. You seem to need some Yamaha action in your biking life!


    My daughter has an Yamaha electric organ. Does that count?[:D]

    Part 3
    The original plan was to ride around on the 125 for a couple of years, then do a DAS course to get a full licence. It didn’t work out that way though. To tell the truth after I had the bike delivered a week later, it just sat there for a week with me wimpily wondering if I’ll ever be brave enough to ride it. It looked good sitting outside though. Then I finally took it out for a practise session. I used a five mile stretch of dual carriageway peppered with three unevenly spaced out roundabouts and went up and down all down all day alternating between each roundabout. All seemed OK, so the following day on Monday, I decided to ride across Birmingham to where I worked near Birmingham Airport, about 18 miles. Having got to work and found I was still alive, I used it for commuting from then on. For two weeks that is until when I had my first accident.
    I was coming down the second lane of a dual carriage way. The inside lane was full of stationary traffic. A car pulled out between two stationary cars, from a left side road and then in front of me. I hit the car, a blue mini, amidships, at 40 mph.


    My chin hit the roof and I went over the bonnet to land in the road some distance away, pan caking flat on my back. I only remember a blue blur, a loud thump (don’t you just hate that sound?) and then being on my back in the road. The police filled in the rest for me. I was taken to hospital on a spinal board and after x-rays, CAT scans, a night under observation; they let me out next morning. Just had whiplash, cuts and bruises, and general stiffness. Apparently I did a perfect back breakfall which the doctors said saved me from more serious damage or even being killed. Thirty years of Martial Arts had not been wasted then. The driver, a woman, was a driving instructor funnily enough. She was crying, “I just did not see him!” and I thought that phrase was a bikers myth until then. She even denied liability. It was poor observation and road sense on my part though. The bike was written off. It had bent forks, bent clipons, all fairings cracked or broken and smashed headlight etc.

    BikeCrash017.jpg BikeCrash009.jpg

    Sandra was not too impressed when I sat down and switch on the Isle of Man TT on the box, as soon as I got back home from the hospital. The bike was only 2 weeks old with 164 miles on the clock. I ordered a replacement from Streetbike that afternoon, which made her even more unimpressed.


    A few weeks later and I’m back on the bike, the new one that is. My confidence was a bit shot, so Streetbike gave me a free afternoons practice under tuition. I was getting on fine until I low sided the bike going round a roundabout. It was a combination of new tyres, cold tyres, reverse camber and too much throttle to early. There was no damage to the bike so we carried on for the rest of the day.
    Then it was back to commuting by bike again. I had to wear a surgical collar though as the pain from the whiplash hurt quite a bit and a heavy helmet didn’t help. Also had to strap my wrist up as that started to give me problems as well. Started to filtering through traffic and got used to it pretty quickly. This is fun I thought. Then later I got my first speeding fine on a bike. Some guy came out of a side road. I accelerated out of his way and got flashed by a speed camera.
    I had another accident a few months later. I was sideswiped by Van at a roundabout. I was in the middle lane wanting to go straight on. He was in the left hand lane wanting to go straight on or so I thought. He changed his mind apparently and aimed for the third exit straight across my path. I had to swerve right and blip the throttle to get in front of him or be squashed. I made it but his bumper caught my boot and ripped it. He didn’t stop of course. Again poor observation though.


    I went for a couple of long rides on the 125. One to Wales and the other in the Peak District, but I was finding it a bit slow when riding out of town. Then a few months later the bike got pinched while visiting a friend. So rather and get another 125, I decided to use the money I got back from the insurers and the injury payment from the first accident to the DAS and get a bigger bike. In the meantime I purloined Sandra’s scooter to get back and forwards to work. Death before four wheels! was my motto.


    Part 4.

    Back to Streetbike and in with the DAS then. The weather was very scorching hot and turned out to be all week. I sweated buckets and having only textiles I got very dehydrated. This happened every day and it was a problem throughout the DAS course. When I took off my gloves after a ride, Niagara Falls would run out of my sleeves.

    The first day was just like another CBT as we had another guy there doing his CBT. That was handy as it let me get used to riding a bike again after being on the scooter. After the normal exercises on the training area and a road briefing, we were out on to the road. The guy that was with us immediately ran into confidence problems as he had only just recovered from a nasty pillion accident and so had to stop. So that left me and the instructor riding here, there and mostly anywhere for the rest of the day. Mostly with me getting us lost as I kept taking the wrong turning. I had no problems other than that I was on a Honda CG 125. It’s a crap bike with an awful gearbox and slow even for a 125. At one point the thing cut out and wouldn’t start. When it did, it kept cutting out again when I went into first. The Suzuki VanVan would have been better.

    The second day, I was again on the CG125, was with the DAS instructor who was an ex DSA examiner. Along with another guy who was also doing the DAS, we spent the whole day riding around the roads in Gornal, an area of Birmingham. The bike problems got worse throughout the day, affecting my slow bike control. I felt I was fighting the thing all day. One time I stalled it in the middle of the Cinder Bank roundabout in Birmingham or Hell Fire Corner as that was what it seemed like. My U-turns were crap. Hill starts also. I kept getting the gears wrong and starting off in second. On my CBR125, I could tell when I was in first as the gear lever would not descend any more, likewise with the VanVan, but with the CG125 in first, there was a lot of downwards slack. Had to keep flicking up in neutral to be sure of first. If I was a better rider though, I probably could have kept track of the gears through the engine sound, torque and also going down the box better when coming to a stop. All this left the instructor wondering if I was ready to ride a 500cc bike. That was scary, because I knew once I got off that piece of junk and onto a 500cc, I would be fine. At the end of the day it was decision time and it was very borderline, but the instructor decided to let me loose on the 500cc to see how I got on. I finished this day with morale on the floor.

    On day three, I was on the GS500. Fantastic!. More like my old CBR125 with a more power. We went through the CBT exercises again and some others to practice slow bike control. Everything was spot on. I had no problems at all on the bike. Then it was out on the road again. This time we went to Wolverhampton where the test was going to be taken. The instructor took us on the scenic route and we had a nice blast out in the country. I was up front and the instructor was talking me through positioning going round bends and giving lots of other valuable advice. This was great. I even started hanging off the bike slightly in the corners. Not something I consciously intended, but found myself doing anyway.

    I was riding with my visor open due to it being hot. A wasp settled on my eyebrow and kept me company for a bit. I had to a quick look over right shoulder to get rid of him. Soon though the fun was over and it was onto the serious stuff preparing for the test. We spent the rest of the day riding round the test routes, practicing controlled stops and U-turns. All our U-turns though that were great on the car park, went tits up. It was fixation on the kerbs that was the problem. I dropped the bike doing one, breaking the right brake lever. It was still serviceable, if a bit shorter, so we were ok to continue.

    It was a very tiring stressful day and concentration was starting to fail towards the end. This lead me to punt the instructor’s bike up the rear at a junction when I thought he’d had gone. The most heinous bike crime of all, hitting another biker and even worse the instructor as well. When we were err… discussing the incident, I wondered why the instructor was waving his hand about as if to emphasize some points. Then I realised he’d hurt his wrist and was just exercising it. It started to get a bit hypnotic after a while. I felt bad about the accident, but we put it behind us and carried on. I finished this day on much higher note and at least knew I had the potential to pass the test. If not this time, then at least eventually. That is, if I didn’t kill the instructor first. Had an oops getting off the bike at the end the day back at Streetbike. My left leg cramped up, collapsed and the bike toppled over, falling on top of it. My leg hurt like hell but didn’t say anything as I wanted to finished off the week.

    Day four started with a brief spell at my request on the training area getting the U-turns sorted out. Again they went fine, until the instructor put a plank down to represent the kerb. Again they went out the window, but it was a valuable exercise in getting us to ignore the kerb and look where we wanted the bike to go. When we got back to Wolverhampton, the U-turns were, if not perfect, at least acceptable. This was another tiring day of practice where our faults were identified and worked on. Mine were observations, lifesavers too late at junctions and rear observations not emphatic enough to be noticed, and leaving my indicator on when I got distracted by something at a junction.

    Day five was the day of the much feared test. The test was at 2pm, so that left us the morning for the instructor to put us though some mock tests. Being an ex examiner, nothing but perfection would satisfy him and thus were picked up on lots of minors. The Streetbike philosophy is to get you to level beyond what the examiners would expect. This meant that the actual test was less stressful than the instructors mock tests. I did fail the test however with 2 minors and a serious error. The minors were; too many lifesavers at one junction and one a little late at another. The serious fault was pure stupidity.


    There was no excuse and the examiner called it exactly right. I was not expecting to pass first time anyway, but having got so close accept for one stupid mistake was pretty gutting. Next time should be a OK though… but with me you never know!

    By the end of the week the leg injury had gotten worse and I spent the following week with it bandaged from knee to toe and on crutches. Nothing broken though, just severely swollen and bruised.


    Just had to rest it and keep it raised. Doctor was worried about DVT setting in and blood clots as the swelling was restricting the veins.


    good write ups B2bm!


    Thanks Gix, I was beginning to think I was boring everybody.


    not at all B2bm, keep em coming!


    Part 5

    Three weeks later and the day of the retest had arrived. The test was at 2:30 PM and as we started at 8:00 AM, I had until then to get reacquainted with the GS500. Not being on a bike for three weeks, my slow control had suffered somewhat and at the start, I was again taking corners wide into junctions. After a while it improved though. Maybe the instructors threat of taking the keys off me and me having to wheel it back 17 miles to the training centre had some effect after all. That morning we spent riding around the Wolverhampton test routes again, practicing U-turns and controlled stops. The stops were fine, but the on the first U-turn I messed up. I had gotten out of the practice of using the rear break to control the speed. After more practice though, got back to the standard I had before such as it was.

    Onto the test then. After a while, we pulled up into a side street for the U-turn and the control stop, The controlled stop came first which went fine. Next came the U-turn. I started fine, with good observations, looking into the turn and ignoring the kerb etc, but for some reason I dabbed my foot down. Totally stupid and no reason for it whatsoever. The test continued however and we eventually finished up at the test centre. There I was told I had failed again. I thought it was just for the dab, but it was also for something else. On a roundabout, I indicated too early before the intended exit road before going past a driveway. Two serious errors, though no minors.



    The examiner did make a point, however, of saying that the two errors were completely out of character from the rest of the test. when I got back to Streetbike I booked to take the test again in a month. I was going to crack this thing or die of old age trying.

    I was thinking that swopping between a twist and go scooter and back to a bike was causing problems, so I had decided to get another bike to practice on before the next test.


    I had bought it from a guy in Telford. A friend gave me a pillion ride up there to fetch it and she followed me back to make sure the bike didn’t break down. I was on a GS125 with a top speed of 45mph, and she was on a GSXR 1000, loves to and can ride very fast. She had a hell of a time riding at my speed on the way back. Kept up with me though. I used this for commuting over the following month and let the missus have her scooter back.
    The day came for yet another attempt to pass the test. This time I was with, the head instructor, who was “sick of me not passing and going to sort things out once and for all”… Hey ho.

    I thought this one was going to be the worst attempt of all. The bike I had been training on before, the GS500, had been pensioned off and I was to ride a CBF500. Never been on one before and I was hoping it wouldn’t be that different to the GS500. I knew the GS500 quite well and was very comfortable on it. The CBF500 was a different matter. I just couldn’t get the hang of it. That and the fact that I had not been on a 500cc for 5 weeks, had made my slow bike control terrible. My U-turns had gone tits up too which was surprising as they had been perfect on the GS125. I could only manage two out of every ten in the morning pre-test practice. I even dropped the bike twice, once banging my head on the road. We also seemed to do very little riding in the morning which was worrying and a little puzzling. This was never going to work, I thought
    The test came around, at 1:30PM, and I particularly had no confidence with this one at all. After we set off, the bike control seemed not too bad though. Then we arrived at the place of the dreaded U-turns, (Venture not here, traveller, for there be dragons!) Got off the bike, wheeled it around in the road. Then it was back on the bike and he asked me to box around the streets to come back for the controlled stop. Great, I thought, he’s forgotten about the U-turn. The controlled stop went fine, though the bike had ABS and I felt like I was cheating a bit. He then asked me for the U-turn. Rats! I thought, but I managed to scrape a half decent one surprisingly. Back onto the roads again and towards the end of the test, I had done something I felt was dangerous afterwards when my concentration slipped a bit. I had joined a right filter lane a little too early, venturing slightly into an oncoming right filter lane behind it and which a transit van was just about to enter. Bugger, that’s failed me, I thought. After a few more miles of twists and turns, we arrived back at the test centre and I waited for the bad news. I had passed though ending up with three minors. One was going slightly wide at a junction. Another was where I could have positioned myself better when turning right once. The other was when I left an indicator on longer than that was necessary. I asked the examiner about the filter thing and he said it was so minute an incident, it wasn’t worth mentioning. He was probably sick and tired of seeing me.

    Only thing to do now was to get back to Streetbike, with out getting killed and spoiling everything. Which one driver tried to do as he dived out from behind a container lorry. He had been waiting there in the queue that had built up and decided to do a u-turn in front of me. I managed to stop in time though.

    When we got back to Streetbike, the last thing the instructor did was to take my helmet off me, throw it the skip and send me to the clothing department to buy another as he had been swearing to all day. They gave me ten percent discount though. Very impressive I thought.

    Oh and they lack of practice? That was the instructor’s cunning plan to not have me burned out before the test… which was nice!

    The next day I bought this.



    Great stuff B2BM, good to have somebody else doing long posts!

    Is this your favourite film?


    You are one determined bloke!


    Part 6.

    So then, after a year, how have I got on? It took me a while to get used to the GSXR600 but when I did, I found I could ride it like the CBR125, but just had to be aware of the power and sensitive throttle. I found it a bit scary at first, but keeping all the gear changes below about 5000rpm, it seemed quite tame. The beauty of it is, is that I can either do all my gear changes in the lower rev band, in the middle rev band or the high rev band. Haven’t tried that one yet though. After passing the test I rode the GS125 for a few more days, then used the GSXR for commuting from then on. I now feel like I’m actually riding it. Up until now I felt that the bike was just letting me ride it as long as I didn’t do anything stupid and it wouldn’t have had to throw me off. I sold the GS125 a month later.

    I’d only ever liked faired bikes and the bike I was going to buy was one that I would have for a long time. I thought of a GS500F, but was warned way from it because after a few years I would want to change up. As for a new rider on a sports bike and the risk of dropping it, my feeling is if you want to ride one, you have to prepare to pay the price, whatever it is, and this suited me fine. I feel it’s bike that will grow with me as I gain more experience and I’ll never outgrow it.

    I am not saying that I haven’t had a few incidents while riding the bike though. The fifth day I rode it, I let my concentration lapse and bumped into the back of car at a roundabout albeit at a very slow walking pace. No damage to the car or the bike, so It was no big thing. A couple of months later I was waiting the lights at the front of a traffic queue, just having filtered to the front, and felt something nudging the back of my left leg. Some idiot was edging his car forward to get away first. It was just that my leg was in the way. The bike got bumped from behind by some other inattentive guy in a car at roundabout. Only a slight bump. The idiot had the nerve to sound his horn as I took the first exit and he went straight on. Probably the two major incidents was though was once when I put the bike into a ditch on a ride out with a friend and the other was when I went into the back of a car at a roundabout when I thought he had gone. I can hear all the ‘I told you so’s echoing through the cyberspace right now.

    The accident with the ditch was on a Sunday when I was following a friend to meet some others. I came round this bend, which was not much of bend really, and I don’t know if it was fixation or what, but found myself going wide towards the grass. I left the road and went on the gravely bit between grass and road, braked and the front tucked in underneath. By this time the bike was on the grass. It spat me off the high side and when I went tumbling up the road, the bike went into the ditch. The nose fairing was scratched and cracked, the fairing bracket was bent in and the right fairing was scratched and slightly cracked in the middle, but otherwise there was no major damage and the bike was still ride-able. Sourced a new nose cowling and fairing bracket of eBay and replaced them. Although I got a replacement fairing later, the old one can wait awhile on the bike. While the bike was off the road for the short while it took me to repair it, I used the missus scooter again for commuting. Actually I used it after the bike was back on road when I felt lazy. It was good fun riding it through the rush hour traffic.

    The other one was on a morning going to work. I had filtered to one car from the front at a roundabout. Waited until the guy started to move off, check the roundabout was clear, started to go and then the sickening crunch. The guy had changed his mind a bit suddenly and decided not to go after all. His damage was a broken rear right light cluster and mine was a fractured nose cowling, broken air duct and broken top of the left fairing. This I put through the insurance. The other guy wanted to settle without the insurance and said to forget it when I refused. Something tells me he wasn’t insured.

    In both incidents, my mind was on the pressures of work and not on riding the bike. I should have realised by then that riding means complete and total concentration to the matter in hand. I do now though. Now when I find my concentration is lapsing, I start talking through my riding to myself to keep me focused. Another thing I learnt from the accident in the ditch was to think about staying on the road and not think about staying out of the ditch. In the former, your focus is on the road and in the latter your focus is on the ditch.

    Some more embarrassing moments occurred. Like the time when I was dropping something off to the wife’s friend. Lots of neighbours stood around admiring the bike when I went to leave. There was me, full matching leathers and helmet sitting astride a then pristine bike. Started the engine, went to put it gear, applied front brake, put my right leg down and felt nothing but space. I hadn’t noticed a pothole next to the bike. The bike toppled over, I toppled over and my right leg was pinned beneath the bike. I tried not to look at the faces of people with the helpful hands who picked the bike up for me. Bike was OK though. Another embarrassing moment was when I left work to go home and found I had a flat battery. I had turned the switch to far in the morning and left the parking lights on. I had to wander round the office asking everybody if they had a pair of jump leads. With no luck there, I tried bump starting it and got tired very quickly and stopped. I didn’t want to drop it again. Eventually got the train and bus home. I drove the four-wheeled-motorcycle-battery-charging-machine into work the next morning to start it.

    Then I got into to the missus bad books by getting her scooter nicked…..


    Part 7.

    I bought the wife the Honda SCV Lead 102cc so she could practice for her CBT. She had already attempted it twice already, but had to stop because of confidence problems. I had started to give her a pillion
    rides up to the car park where I work, got some traffic cones out and let her practice there. I’ll never forget the one time when I heard an exclamation of eek! and turned around to see Sandra playing scooter hockey with a traffic cone. She looked to be doing quite well on these sessions, but it seems she cannot get passed the lack of confidence thing while doing a CBT.


    I used to use the scooter for commuting when I was too lazy to get the GSXR out. The time it got stolen, I had ridden the scooter up to a mate’s house. I parked it up outside the front door. I came out thirty minutes later and there is was, gone. It was the exact same place where I had my CBR125 nicked. The insurance wouldn’t pay out though as the security device I had stated when applying for the insurance was not being used at the time it was nicked. The device was a Xena chain and alarm lock that could be used as a disc lock. Trouble is though that the chain and lock was used for all the bikes and there was not way I was leaving the GSXR unchained. The scooter wasn’t even a year old.

    So I needed to get her another. This time I bought one off EBay. An 03 Suzuki Katana 50cc. The only problem was, was that the guy I bought it off lived in Braintree in Essex and I lived on the Western edge of Birmingham. I had the bright idea of riding it back. The journey as it turned out was 9 hours at speeds between 25 and 30 mph in a thunderstorm.

    Having been given a pillion ride down from a mate to Braintree, I set off back about 2pm for the return journey. My mate followed me for a bit to make sure I didn’t get lost on the way back to the road westwards. Then after a wave, she was gone and soon no more than a dot on the horizon. I was alone in the wilderness of Essex with many miles ahead of me. The dual carriageway fast turned out to be a bad idea, (though I did get up to the amazing speed of 40mph), after one guy in a Subaru, whose observational skills were seemingly nonexistent, pulled up sharply behind me with a lot of screeching and smoking of tyres. So it was on to the back roads. Having no maps, but knowing the approximate relative positions of towns and cities between me and Birmingham, I chose the waypoints of Cambridge, Bedford and Northampton where I could pick up the A45, which would get me to Birmingham. I even got to drive past a place where I used to live in Bedford. I was surprised how much the city had changed. It has been 40 years though. I nearly had a oops on one bend later on, where the rear wheel slid outwards for some reason. I got away with it though. It did make me forget all the cars numbers I had mentally stored for possible future retribution though. Even Mr Subaru’s. I was a bit gutted about that. At around 8 pm, boredom set in badly. Then it poured down with rain and I was soon battered by stormy winds. The rain had soaked through the textiles I wore, chilling me to the bone and had gotten into my mobile phone, so I could not phone home and allay the wife’s fears about the safety of her scooter. I could have stopped at a phone box, but that would have meant stopping at a phone box. If I got off the thing, I might have not wanted to get back on it again. Hypothermia was getting to be a serious consideration by then. A while later I heard a worrying rattling sound and thought it was from the bike. Then found out it was only my teeth chattering, so that was alright. I was struck by how neat the rain looked bouncing off the headlight though. It looked like sparklers on bonfire night. There ware a few dodgy moments when lorries thundered narrowly passed with me awash in the spray from the wheels. One time one artic forced me off the road and onto the grass. I wobbled for a bit, but managed to get the scooter back on the road without coming off. Still I plodded on, eating the yards (miles seemed a bit optimistic). I eventually got back round 11 pm, freezing cold, tired and drenched.

    The scooter was in pretty good condition except for the exhaust which was badly rusted. A few days later I moved the scooter into the wife’s brand new kitchen to change the exhaust for a new one (haven’t got around to it yet). Somehow I can never forget that her kitchen cost the same as a Fireblade would have.


    I think the Dyson has the edge on power though!

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