Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Passed!...

What a great day. Passed Mod2 and collected my new (second hand) bike, the lovely black Triumph Sprint Sport.

I can't pretend I wasn't nervous before the test, in fact I slept very badly last night. But a good ride around for an hour in the morning made me feel better.

My riding companion from a training session on Saturday had her test  just before me. Came back with a clean sheet. That set the bar pretty high. The examiner had travelled across from Hull and because no bikes were available he followed in a car during the test. He was a really nice bloke and made me feel relaxed as we did the pre-test paperwork and the safety questions.

I had informed him that I wear hearing aids but that I could not wear them while wearing a helmet. Radio volume was set high and it was agreed that if I couldn't hear I should give a signal and we would stop to sort it out. All went well at first but then I heard two beeps and the volume dropped. I think I made up part of the test route. Anyhow it got sorted and the test went well. I cannot put into words how happy I was when he told me that I'd passed. Hoo-bloody-rah!

I am so impressed by the instruction I have received from Ride-4-Life in Strensall York. Great bunch of guys. It's no wonder people travel distances to come and learn with them. Their success rate is pretty impressive. Special thanks to Bomber.

Late afternoon drive out to pick up the Triumph and a really enjoyable ride home. It's a big powerful bike and will be good experience before getting the Harley. Looking forward to showing it off to my best mate and my Dad in the morning.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Rain stops play.....

I was due out for my last half day training before Mod2 test today but a deep depression sitting over the North Sea to the east of the British Isles put paid to that. Heavy rain and winds gusting to gale force. I was actually already donning wet weather gear when I switched on my mobile and there was the message postponing until tomorrow morning. Forecast for tomorrow is warm and sunny, so it should be a pleasant session.

However, five day Met Office forecast shows rain on Tuesday which is test day. I don't mind the wet, I just don't want the test cancelled. It would also be nice to bring the Triumph home in the dry.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

My new ride...

There can't be many 55 year old blokes who can say that their Dad has just bought them a motorcycle. But this one can.

I had been half-heartedly looking through on-line bike ads when I found a nice looking 1996 Triumph Sprint Sport with low mileage being sold by someone in the locale. Yesterday I mentioned to my Dad that it would be nice to have a bike to ride once I've got my Mod2 out of the way, and I mentioned that I had seen this particular bike advertised on good old Gumtree.

A few minutes later he calls up to me (I have an office in the upstairs of his house) that he would like a word. 'Why not go and have a look at the bike and if you like it I'll put the money in your account' says he. My protests are ignored and it is agreed.

A call to the vendor is made and this afternoon I drove the few miles to his place to look said bike over. What a beaut! Gleaming black, low mileage and full service history. Minor and very polite haggle and the bike is mine. Collect next Tuesday. Best mate, who has full bike licence, on stand by in case I flunk the test.

And here it is..........






This lovely, almost classic, British bike will see me through until I get my Harley Davidson. 

Sunday, 19 May 2013

A cheap bike to tide me over?...

There are many things that have, since having that ramp dropped into my head, made my life very diffcult. One of those things is the on-going legal stuff. Even though liability was relatively quickly admitted the case has dragged on through medical/psychological examination and reports, much correspondence and filling in of forms. It all helps to keep what I clearly want to forget somewhere close to the forefront of my dented mind.

The end result will be some compensatory payment coming my way. I know not how much. I rather like to think it will be a not insubstantial sum. Rightly so given the way my life has been so altered, all for the worse.

I had hoped, as we fast approach the two and a half year point since it happened, that things would be soon concluded. Unfortunately not so. Now, as I have made abundantly clear, I intend to buy a Harley Davidson and a new one at that. One thing I don't have currently is the odd £17K or so lying around. So, purchasing my dream bike is rather dependant on receiving compensation. It has given me something wonderful and important to aim for. It gives me a point of focus when everything becomes just about completely unbearable, as it often does.

As a result of this painfully slow moving litigation I am going to be left in the frustrating position of passing my Mod2 test, hopefully at the first attempt on the 28th of this month, and not being able to buy required dream machine. I know that pulling on my helmet and climbing on a bike, even if it isn't a Harley Davidson, makes everything seem so very much better. So, do I buy a cheap second hand bike to tide me over? There are some pretty tidy low mileage older bikes out there. One that has caught my eye and is local is a 1996 Triumph Sprint which, according to the description, is in excellent nick. 13K miles on the clock and it's up for £1350.

Unless there's anyone out there who has a half decent bike they want to lend (or even gift) me, I guess I might just have to do this. I wonder if I could get a bike on prescription?    

Thursday, 16 May 2013

A reminder of how quickly things can go horribly wrong...

When I arrived for training today it had been sunny all morning. As I relaxed with a coffee cutting the chase with a couple of the instructors and a couple of my fellow learners I noticed a few grey clouds gathering. It was a bit of a toss-up as to whether or not I'd pull on the waterproof over trousers. In the event I'm glad I did as the last half an hour or so of the afternoon's ride was in the rain. I'll come back to that.

Two of us went out with one instructor. For my fellow learner it was his first road ride, his previous session had been practicing for Mod1. As we were preparing to set off I pointed out to the instructor that my bike's fuel guage was showing almost empty. So, first stop was the garage for some juice.

Coming off the forecourt we were turning right onto the road. I was last off and after checking the traffic I was about to move off when I saw my fellow learner lying in the road with his right leg trapped under the bike. It happened so quickly that I didn't even see it happen.

Fortunately he was OK but the right boot of his brand new and expensive pair of motorcycle boots had taken a battering (thereby saving him from a broken toe at the very least). His bike was quickly checked over and then it was a steady ride of a couple of miles to the workshop where the bikes are serviced and repaired.

While bent brake pedal and loose mirror were fixed I chatted to my unfortunate riding companion, whose main injury, thankfully, was his pride. Even he didn't really know what had happened. He said that he felt the back wheel slide and then he was off.

Repairs done and we were off. Thankfully the next two hours or so were without any trauma. As my test is forthcoming I took the lead for most of the way. I'm pleased to say I rode well and even more pleasingly the instructor concurred.

Back to the rain; We had stopped for a quick break and a chat just next to the test centre, which is logical as we were riding test routes, and the rain started. Apart from discovering that my cordura jacket is not 100% waterproof (but my £7.90 over trousers are), I also discovered how different riding on newly wetted roads can be. Felt the back tyre slip once or twice.

On the final stages of the ride as we came back in to Strensall, where Ride-4-Life is based, we approached a rather nasty junction, something of a staggered crossroads. As I live nearby I know the junction well and approach with caution on four wheels. Fortunately that knowledge and a little bit of presience made me ease off a little. That was a good thing as a van pulled out from my right when I was much too close.

Into the village and a woman in a car played a similar trick from my left. They were those sort of incidents where half a second could have made a great deal of difference.

A lesson learned today: If you're not absolutely on top of your game things can very quickly go horribly wrong. 

Monday, 13 May 2013

A windy training session...

This afternoon I had a great session training both in and around town and out on the country roads. I did think though, for a few moments as a hail shower came sweeping in just as I parked my car up as I arrived for training, that it might be an uncomfortable session.

I was well geared up for the weather with cordura jacket and newly bought waterproof over trousers. Fortunately, not a single drop of rain fell during the ride. The wind though, that was a different matter, especially on those open country roads. No mishaps to report, unless you count stalling twice while doing a hill start!

I'm back out this Thursday afternoon and can't wait.   

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Mod1 passed!...

It is with not a little relief that I can report having passed the Mod1 test. I can't believe how nervous I was. So nervous in fact that I stalled twice thereby incurring two minor faults. Still, it's done now and I can move on to the business of getting Mod2 passed.

With the weather improving as it has this last couple of days it just makes me want to get out there even more. As if to reinforce that, as I was waiting for my turn a guy who had passed his Mod2 just a couple of weeks ago arrived at the test centre to show our instructor his new bike; a Harley Davidson softail Screamin' Eagle on a 10 plate. Sweet!

My turn soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Mod1 training done...

After a few weeks away from bikes due to that rotten bad back, which is not completely sorted, I went for a couple of hours training for tomorrow's Mod1 test. It all went really well so I'm hoping tomorrow will be the same.

Here's some photos from today's session. Obviously I'm not in them as I was taking the piccies, but you can get the general flavour. The silver bikes are CB600Fs and the red one is a 500.