With it being the summer holiday weekend I decided to take a 3-day ride taking in some bike and car-related events. Itinarary prepared and bike packed (2 pairs of underpants and a toothbrush as per Affers instructions) I set off early Saturday morning for the New Forest* and Sammy Miller's Motorcycle museum.
Out of London, riding south on the A3 it was chillier than I anticipated, and pretty heavy traffic. As I got to Guildford it started raining so I pulled into a petrol station, topped-up the tank and changed gloves from the thin summer ones I started off with to the winter ones I put in the pannier just in case. Just past Guildford I turned off onto the A31, much less traffic now and nicer scenery, I enjoyed riding up and over the Hogs Back with tremendous views in all directions. In no time I reached Winchester, where I stopped to take a couple of photos.
Riding on, I stopped somwhere around Romsey for a cup of coffee and a cake in a "Wild Bean Cafe"; sat on the kerb outside the petrol station watching the traffic whizz by I thought "this is the life". Enjoying now the quiet country roads and country smells I rode down through the forest to New Milton and the museum; 100 miles thats the longest trip for me and the Triumph so far.
Outside and inside the museum
Sammy Millers museum was excellent, great bikes well prepared and presented; friendly, knowledgable staff AND a restaurant that served an all-day breakfast with mugs of tea and young waitresses in mini skirts - biker heaven!
All aluminium frame and engine - look at the quality of the welding
Love the back-end
After a good couple of hours taking it all in I was ready to set off for Bristol and on into Wales.
Unfortunately, that's when it all went wrong - when I got back to the bike it was sitting with a flat front tyre. I borrowed a pump and pumped it up - it went flat immediately. I've got AA breakdown so phoned them; after an hour a guy turned up and said " OK sir, I'll just pull the wheel off and we'll get this fixed in no time"; well that's what I thought would happen, what actually happened was he put some air in the tyre, it went down, he pursed his lips and said "I can't fix it, we'll recover the bike back to your house". I was incredulous to say the least, come-on, its just a flat tyre, but Mr. Negative was adamant " it's holiday weekend, everywhere is shut until next Tuesday, nothing I can do".
We ain't going nowhere
By now the museum was shut, the AA man cleared off saying he'd called for a recovery van that would be there in an hour, then it started raining. Then the rain developed into a tropical downpour. To say I was pissed-off would be putting it lightly. Two-and-a-half hours later the recovery van turned up, only the staff of the museum had, unknown to me, padlocked the gate at the car park entrance. Panic! I finally rode the bike gingerly down a little dirt track that went behind the buildings, past a private house and down their drive. The lady of the house was bit suprised to see me, but let me out their gate; I then rode very slowly back up the road with the front tyre now completely destroyed and got the bike onto the recovery truck. Oh yeah, by law these trucks are restricted to 56 mph, so it was 11.45 pm when the driver dropped me and the Triumph off at home.
So this morning I went round to the coffee shop for breakfast (did I mention that LF packed her bags and left a week ago?) to reflect what to do for the rest of this weekend; hearing that bloody song by Adele "I'm gonna slash my wrists" or whatever its called didn't lift my mood much, nor did a walk down by the river where all of a sudden the weather has transitioned from summer to winter in a couple of days; then it started raining.
Have a great weekend!
* The New Forest created in 1079 by William the conqueror from the existing Roman Forest of Spinaii, created in turn from an existing Bronze age forest - so not very "new" then.
What a bummer! There I was, looking forward to constantly admiring my new (expensive) Hagon shock, complete with red spring and shiny body, when I realised it's hidden away in the bowels of the bike and will never be seen again. The attached poor-excuse-of a photo shows a final glimpse of it. On the positive side, the bike now goes over bumps with a gentle rising motion rather than the shuddering crash of before.
Thanks must go to young Nick of Revolution Bike Tech in Kingston, who not only fitted it in double-quick time, but bled the front brake, cleaned up the pads and brought the braking up to an almost adequate standard. We'll be back there for more improvements quite soon.
For me, one of the best bits of riding a bike is that feeling that you're part of a small select group of 'different' people; for example, I recently started a new job, most of my new work collegues are fairly unfriendly except for the small group of guys who ride bikes, we've all become 'instant friends'. Of these, I like Dennis the most. Partly because he calls me 'young man', which gives you an idea of his age, but mostly because he's always got time to talk about motorbikes. He doesn't ride any more, but always has a wistful look in his eye when he talks about his old bikes, both racing and road. He recently brought in some photos of one of his more unusual bikes - 'Shifty'. He bought it after being impressed by an article in Motorcycle Sport April 1980, the idea of a Laverda frame and parts mated to a Fiat 127 engine and gearbox proving irresistable. One of only 3 imported from Italy, he reports it went well in a straight line and was OK around town but a bit of a pig on faster twisty-bits, but due to its rarity always attracted a crowd of interested onlookers.
I tried to upload the photos he gave me but without any luck - here are some of the same bike I downloaded from the web. I can't imagine riding the thing, but am glad I know someone who did.
If you look very closely you can see a pannier – a very small pannier
I’m suffering from a case of penis-envy. In preparation for my upcoming European tour I decided to buy some panniers for the bike. The e-bay vendors’ photos were skilfully taken with no other objects in view; this meant that I had no way of judging their size. Of course dimensions were provided, but I convinced myself they were wrong as the bags would be unfeasibly small. As you can see, they are unfeasibly small. In fact, they’re about the size of a 5 year-olds’ lunch box. Oh well, guess I’ll be packing light, then.