So there I was riding my big motorbike home through my little Norfolk town with panniers full of groceries. It’s one of those rare little towns that has no pedestrian crossings, no traffic lights, no parking charges, a hardware store that sells everything and, furthermore, staff that knows everything about what they sell and it’s opposite an electrical store that is just as good. It is old fashioned England.
I became aware of a `motorcyclist` following me. The first thing I noticed was the short sleeved West Ham United footy shirt the rider was wearing, even though it was starting to drizzle. No problem so far, I’m an East End boy and a lifelong Hammers supporter myself, although clearly not `wellard` like him as I was wearing my winter riding jacket buttoned up to the neck, plus my trusty buff. Maybe he can’t afford a winter jacket? Fair do’s, a good one will set you back at least £180, mine was a lot more. He can wear what he wants as far as I’m concerned. 2nd mirror check and I then spotted the tatty `L` plate and yoof-like face peering out of the helmet as he weaved up behind me, clearly intent on showing me a rusty silencer (did I mention the noise?) so the inbuilt defensive countermeasures suite in my head started to light up.
Speedo check. I’m doing 30, its a 30 limit. I’m in a residential area and we are approaching a 4way cross road junction as he pulls out to pass me, wringing the neck of his 2-stroke whizzer (I happen to have a soft spot for 2-strokes too, so still no prejudice creeping in, just apprehension of potential death or injury). He smokes past me. I’m still doing 30 mph although I’m now rolling off the throttle anticipating trouble as there is a car at the junction wanting to do something. West Ham yoof then anchors on hard right in front of me as he seems to want to see if its true what they say about Harleys and brakes as well as attempting a right turn at the junction. By now my defensive suite has confirmed the original suspicion that he is a dangerous pillock/prat/twat/dickhead. The fact that we were almost upon the junction when he chose to overtake me was lost on him. I brake gently to regain the safety gap that he stole and contemplate a shouted word after him, but choose not to, as I always do. He rode off into the housing estate, doubtless chuffed and smirking at passing `an old wanker on a f`ing slow Harley holding him up at 30mph` - in the 30 limit. No thought about the car waiting at the junction that could have gone for the crossing and `T` boned him. She actually saw us both coming. Top marks lady, for today the pillock was lucky it was you.
As I rode away I pondered how I might have helped this kid. Should I have followed him, engaged him in conversation, encouraged him to get some training, offer him the benefit of some of my 4 decades of biking experience and training and maybe a few tips about joining MAG? Nope. `He’ll be dead soon`, I thought, `or he’ll tell me to `eff off` or worse. Then I wondered how the Eu legislator- zealots will help him. Make him wear high viz? Well I spotted the claret and blue quick enough. Make him have a breath test kit in his back pocket? Make sure he hadn’t tinkered with his stock silencer? Nah, the rusty holes in it were caused by mother nature and neglect. I figured that he was just a pillock. If he’d have been in a car he’d still be a pillock. You can dress up a pillock in an Armani suit but you’d still have a pillock – he’d just be in an Armani suit. He’d be a pillock butt naked. It wasn’t the motorbike that made him a pillock, so what has all this mounting, burgeoning EU sponsored legislative crap gushing out of Brussels got to do with me and the thousands of other bikers who don’t ride like him? Whatever happened to cause and effect or putting the oil where the squeak is?
Maybe if I see him in town without the bike I might try starting that conversation, I’ll be really subtle. Yes, I think I will. I’ve seen too many dead and injured pillocks not to want to try. I hope he made it home OK.