Alas, the time has come.
My balance problems have got to the point where Rob is terrified to take me pillion on the bike, and I am so leery about getting on and off that I have decided, with great reluctance, to hang up my lid.
I’ve always loved bikes, ever since I saw a picture of the JPS Norton and thought “Ooh, shiny…” Meeting Rob and his beloved Exup made the bug bite hard. I wanted a bike of my own, had it all picked out, and decided I’d take my bike test.
Rob, naturally, was extremely worried but incredibly supportive, and took me pillion a few times on the Exup to get used to the idea. I started giggling dementedly at the first swoopy bend and didn’t stop for the remainder of the journey. I loved it. I wanted to spread out my arms Titanic-style and whoop with delight. It’s true – only bikers understand why dogs love to stick their heads out of car windows.
Lid, gloves, boots and jacket followed. The Exup was not an ideal pillion machine, so I bought us a brand new Yamaha XJR1300. In black, natch – the right and proper colour for a motorcycle. Especially a big old air-cooled musclebike like the XJR. And I loved that too, even if I couldn’t get it off the stand by myself. We went to Holy Island on it, and up to Melrose, and made plans to maybe go down to the MotoGP at Donington, or visit my brother.
Those plans quickly got derailed. Whenever we had the time to go out, the weather was foul. Whenever I had the inclination to book a CBT, there were other things to spend the money on, or I was ill. Before we knew it 18 months had passed and we found ourselves with a bike with only a thousand miles on it, that hadn’t turned a wheel in over a year.
Uh-oh. This was not a good sign. With heavy hearts, we part-exed the bikes in against a nice sensible car. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely car and plenty fun to drive, but I miss gearing up for a ride. I miss earplugs and helmet hair and baked flies on my visor, the feel of the bike’s back end squatting under acceleration and the wind tugging at my jacket. It was the closest thing to flying I have ever experienced.