another perfectly good motorcycle ruined.......

Sunday, 18 August 2019

escape capsule



 bizzare week. Out Thursday night on the 790 duke, a balmy, late summer ride down to the vic at Coalville, strange, not many folk about for a nice night, it’s usually packed, get chatting with a couple of locals who inform me that everyone is over at the Norton factory for the bike night that is held regularly through the summer. These two lads are hilarious ‘Suspect One’ is a bricklayer who has recently smashed his collarbone to atoms on his ktm    ‘crosser and so cannot work, been signed off for six weeks as he can’t physically pick up the bricks with his damaged arm, self-employed and pissed off but still riding his bang tidy Yamaha R6 carby, he keeps fishing tins of Stella from his bag, ring-pulled, three gulps and ‘pppppssshhh’ another one despatched, the empty tins crushed and tucked back into his bag, ‘Keep Britain Tidy? Nah, none of that old malarkey, he’s skint,  he can get a six pack of out of date wife-beater for a fiver rather than paying pub prices. I don’t for one minute condone drinking alcohol and riding, I like the occasional port and lemon or sweet sherry myself but find the adrenaline rush and subsequent endorphin dump of riding a motorcycle too fast to be an enough stimulant without clouding the experience through imbiding alcoholic beverages and riding, no judgement from me. I don’t agree with it and hopefully he makes it home safely and
without injuring himself or anyone else.

‘Suspect Two’ is another story
altogether, he is riding a 1290 Superduke R, as we chat he is quaffing lager, this time pints of draft lager, his bike is sans rear view mirrors, ‘don’t need ‘em mate, not bothered what’s happening behind me, only what’s happening in front’ his tyres are ragged beyond belief, I enquire if he’s done a trackday recently? ‘Nah mate, used to do them but too many rules, got bollocked last time I did one for forcing someone onto the grass’ he traded the 1290 for a Panigale. ‘I like this better, I can wear my jeans and a hoodie’ indeed, that’s the sum total of his protection, no gloves, trainers but an Arai rx7,with black visor.
‘I felt a bit of a twat in my leathers, looked like a chimp, they were Dainese D-Air’s, cost me two grand, couldn’t walk straight in them, race crouch cut you know?’
‘The 1290 is more ‘stealth’ for on the road, you blend in more’ oh yes, especially with the Austin Racing end can, I’ve heard some loud bikes in my time but whoah! Fruitier than a fruit bat with a hard-on! I was just saying, your motorcycle is a tad loud, ‘sorry, what did you say?’ ‘I was just saying, your two-wheeled, fire-breathing death machine is rather at the higher end of the pain threshold in relation to its decibel output’ ‘sorry, what did you say?’ You get the picture. LOUD.
‘Suspect Two’ skins out, ‘I’m off for a pint, see ‘ya later’ and with that he treats the onlookers to that glorious cacophony that accompanies his first, second and third gear mingers as he disappears up the road. 
It’s still relatively early so I make my way down to the Norton factory in Donington, it’s very busy here and bikes line the picturesque courtyard of the old house which serves as the offices for the Norton concern, I grab a brew and settle down to watch the comings and goings as the bikes continue to roll in. Tea quaffed and a slow lap of the courtyard to check out the machines and I skin out as the sun starts to set, the roads are quiet now, the commuters long gone and I give the KTM it’s head on the way home, I detour onto one of my favourite roads rather than going straight home, the air is cool now, definetly a touch of autumn in the air and I shiver as I’m only wearing a t-shirt under my bike jacket, any thoughts of being cold disappears as I wind the throttle on, there’s nothing like riding a bike, fast on a quiet road and as the darkness falls I kill a million insects as they are drawn to the light.
Saturday comes and an afternoon out on the Moto Guzzi, I head out into the high peak via the Staffordshire moorlands, out over the Roaches, the rocky ridge over Leek and drop down into Buxton, I turn off into the beautiful Goyt Valley, it’s so quiet up here, the roads are awash with the previous days heavy rain and the road is more like a stream bed in places where the,water is coursing down from the peat banks leaving a trail of mud and grit in its wake. I stop a few times to take in the view, the heather on the moorland is just starting to get its purple hue and I watch a pair of Buzzards gliding on the thermals, a Curlews haunting cry ringing out across the desolate moor as it calls to its mate. 
As I ride along on the Guzzi, it’s steady burble my soundtrack and my butt cheeks  slowly succumb to the vibration induced numbness I realise that this is why I ride, my consciousness is raised as I tune into the sights, smells, sounds and senses of moving through the air without encumbrance and as I wend my way home I’m already planning my next escape........