Saturday, 23 April 2011

What old bikers/ex cops talk about (occasionally)

Had an email from my old biker pal today. We were cops together, have ridden in America together (where I nudged him off in a very low (walking) speed shunt at a junction in Monterey - pure accident, I insisted) and we share the jolly pleasures of motorcycling. He's ridden from here to Morocco and south into the African boonies, up to the bit in the road where armed men demand bribes to allow you to carry on - he turned for home at that point - pussy. 

I hate seeing the things I love being abused on public roads and pissing people off. We occasionally swap yarns, as we now live 250 miles apart. Thought I'd share:

Hi Hogday,
Out on the bike yesterday afternoon.  Stopped at ******* (you know the cafĂ©!)  Some eejut on a GSXR1000 Looked at my bike then asked me if I ever fell off it!  I told him I had dropped every bike I had ever owned except for the Hondas (don’t ask me why – luck of the draw I suppose).

Next question – when did you drop this one then.  Reply – dropped it twice.  Once taking it off the main-stand having just put 8 gallons of fuel in it.  Forecourt was at a slope so over it went.  Couldn’t you just hold it up, he asked.  Obviously never felt the weight of 8 gallons of fluid – especially with a BMW attached to it.  Next time at a junction.  Woman in front starts to pull out, then stalls.  I slam on the brakes and stop about a foot behind her, just getting my foot down in time.  Bloke behind me in a transit van (red, not white) can’t stop so goes up my outside with wheels locked and gives the offside pannier a little nudge with the van as he slides past.  Down I go on the nearside, very slowly but down nonetheless.  Woman in front starts her engine and drives off, leaving me on the deck and the van sideways across the road.  Helpfully he stays in the van and stares at me because he knows this will help me pick the bike up.  Driver behind him gets out and does help me to pick the bike up.  Damage?  Scratch the nearside crash bar.  Nothing else.

"Have you ever fell off that bike", I ask.

He says ‘Haven’t had it long.  I got it when my Fireblade was written off.’  "How did that happen", I ask.  ‘Motorway slip road,’ he says.  ‘I was having a real positive ride.  I was doing about 140 into the slip road when the traffic lights at the roundabout suddenly went to red.  I tried to stop but the road surface was too rippled by the lorries so I got thrown off and the bike smashed into the back of a car.  I was bloody furious.’

He smiled as he looked at my bike.  ‘I wonder if I’ll want a battle bus like that when I get old.’
‘You won’t’ I reply.
‘You never know, lot’s of old boys like them.’

‘You misunderstand me,’ I say.  ‘What I mean is, you won’t get old.’

He was still looking puzzled when he rode off.

My Reply:
Hi Mate. That made I larrf!
There was a fatal rta half a mile up the road from here on Tuesday afternoon. Curiously, I had been out on the Hog, nearby, at about that time but something clicked in my noggin and i chose to approach home from a back road, so I missed all the fun, although I did see the air ambo's swoop in and out. The road in question  is a 60 limit, undulating and with generally sweeping bends, a couple of which give you no road vis beyond about 50 yards until you pass the apex. If you ride this road at the legal limit (60) you wouldn't spill your Jim Beam on the rocks, let alone get out of shape. I've driven a friend down it, at 60, I was dropping him off at a local council meeting about all the bikes and cars going through the farmers hedges. He'd previously asked me my opinion on the agenda item that was urging a `re-engineering` of the road.  I'd even set the cruise control at 60 to make a point! I then asked him what he thought was dangerous about what we'd just done - there was nothing. I suggested that it was hardly an engineering problem but rather more of a  law enforcement one. I told him that in my opinion there is only one safe overtake spot on the entire 3 mile stretch for a well positioned and set up car, which happens to be on a downhill stretch through a long `S` bend. Yet some ex biker, ex alive person managed to prang with a car in broad daylight at 3pm on a weekday. Judging from the eye-witness report to me later that evening, across a garden fence, the bike was half its size, the rider stuck in the hedge/tree and the car totalled. Mustn't be too judgmental though as I haven't seen the AI report ;)
I wondered if it was the bloke/girl on a Suzuki Bandit that careered up my nearside into a roundabout at the end of said stretch of road last week. Left lane is painted Left turn only, supplemented by a road sign showing, in big black play-school-drawings-for-dummies that the left is left and the right lane is for right or straight on. I'm on the Hog, I roll into the roundabout then signal left as I'm heading straight on. The bandit on the Bandit accelerates past me on the nearside and then continues in a `threepenny bit` wobble turn right around the front of me, just at the point when you roll upright to power out. I had rolled off the gas because my imaginary friend had whispered in my ear that there was a dick about. He was right. I just had time to notice its brand new jacket and brand new boots as it flashed across my bows. No sweat because I'd spotted the antics in time. Another love-child of direct access speeds blindly towards the next world? Or maybe he was just a ***t.
Spent yesterday evening in the garden, sipping a cold vino Rose and listening to the distant howling of Suzuki's, Honda's and Kwaks of the day's, thus-far, survivors who were trying to make it home.
Cheers for now Mate.

I hate it when someone decent meets their maker before their "3 score and 10" although in my case I hope improvements to our diet and healthy living makes this at least `4 score and 20`. I dealt with a lot of death on the roads in my time. I nearly always felt a pang of sorrow for the bereaved, at the very least, especially when it could have all been avoided, but those sort of clocks can't be turned back.


Conan the Librarian™ said...

Sage said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one with an imaginary friend when biking, I call him my guardian angel as on more than one occasion he gives me the heads up on a situation whether it is a prat on the road, or the guy in front who has anti-dazzle indicators and turns in front of you.. ride safe, ride long and live long to tell the tales xx xx

Sage said...

ps Happy Easter to you & Mrs HDA xx xx

Hogdayafternoon said...

Conan: Good link sir, and excellent bit of You Tube. The massive Jethro Tull! Cheers.

Sage: As the bandit crossed my path I was trying to think of a Cornish word for him, but I didn't know any, so Anglo Saxon had to do.And a very Happy Easter to you and yours, too!

powdergirl said...

I saw a guy on a really, really shiny, super-custom, flame and skull painted Hog cut off a 5 ton delivery truck yesterday. He lived to tell the tale, but I doubt he'll make 3 score and 10, never mind 4 score and 20.

Reminded me of a time about a hundred years a ago when I dispatched LTL freight. Got a radio call from a driver who'd just left. Guy on a bike shot through the left turn lane at the intersection where Driver was sat at a red light. Got nailed instantly and bounced across my drivers hood leaving a trail of gore and bits and pieces. Came to rest, for ever, next to drivers passenger side front wheel. Driver had night mares after that, probably still does.

Jeez, d'ya think I should start a blog again? I'm a bit verbose!

Happy Trails!

JuliaM said...

Curiously, most of the bad driving I see locally is from cars, rarely bikes.

Though a couple of Thursday's ago, I had to nip out to Morrisons to get some shopping after work, and as I was turning right at a crossroads, a small red motorbike (not a huge thing, more the smaller 'scooter-style' type) came round me on the inside, across me and around the car in front on the outside, then accelerated away.

A little further on, and there he was, curled up in the road going off to the side on the left, obviously having tried and failed to shoot in front of a car turning right into the side road. Bike looked a write-off, petrol over the road, car was going to need work too.

Oddest thing was, an ambulance was just pulling in! Not a fast-response paramedic, a real ambulance. Yet it could have been no more than 5-6 minutes since he passed me.

That's some response time!

Sage said...

Foxtrot Oscar = Kyj dhe-ves (Pron: kidge the VEAZ)
arse-hole = toll-din (Pron: toll DEEN)
kiss my butt = amm dhe’m gwenn (pron: amm them GWENN)
you idiot = ty wokki (pron: te WOCK-y)
suck my dick = sug ow halgh (pron: seeg o HALH)

There you go Hogday, for future reference lol xx

Hogdayafternoon said...

PG: Write, damn you, write!

JuliaM: I was out in The Lakes yesterday, bloody hundreds of bikers about and, biased though I am, every one (bar 3) I saw was riding beautifully, legally and with excellent road awareness and courtesy. But every tribe has its rogue twats.

Sage: Thanks for the tasty menu. I bet you say that to all the boys (with one notable exception)......:) You should hook up with Powdergirl and write a really really useful phrase book lol

CI-Roller Dude said...

I've been riding since I was 15...and (I get funny looks) but the only time I've ever put a bike down was in the police school and one time the stand broke on my old Suzuki. I've had hundreds of close calls...I'm one lucky SOB I guess.