As I anticipated, the weather predicted by the BBC weather man, was nothing like the weather man predicted for my ride down to the south coast and back yesterday. OK, it was dull, grey and cool in East Anglia like he said when I set off at 8am and it was still dull, dark and even cooler when I got home at 10.15pm, 390 miles later. But the thunder and lightning I was expecting didn't happen and at the halfway point spent with son, daughter and the grandchildren, it was too hot to stay out in their unshaded garden for long. It was heartening to see them all. I love them dearly as does Mrs Hogday, who couldn't come as she had to go to work to continue financing my indulgences. I'll make her a cup of tea when she gets in.
The new bike is a real mile mucher and is starting to fit me. I ache a bit today but a walk with the dawg soon fixed that. My helmet visor and leather jacket was spattered with flattened former flying objects. I averaged 58 mph on the way down and according to its clever trip computer I averaged 61mpg which, for a big, powerful motorcycle is pdg. The return journey started at 7pm which, on a Tuesday in the UK, tends to mean that the main roads are almost at their quietest, allowing me to maintain a legal top speed most of the way (including the 10% + a couple of mph) - Ok I was cruising at 76 for miles and miles (whistles a tune - a nervous reaction when fibbing a bit). The return 195 miles was completed in 3hrs 15 including a 10 minute fuel and empty stop. I don't watch the clock normally but its good to know what the big beast does. The mid range torque is massive and tweaking open the throttle at 70 in 6th results in a giant invisible hand shoving you forwards as if you'd dropped down two gears - whoosh, gone, just like that. I can really appreciate the LED gear indicator showing me a big number of the selected cog. On this bike, that is a very useful item. Engine braking is equally powerful.
I encountered the usual variety of dickwads with the majority being the premature exitulators, that's those that cut across from the outside lane, just ahead of your front wheel, then brake and wiggle across the hatchings as they try to squeeze themselves off at that exit ramp they should have prepared for about half a mile back. In equal first place were the `thumbs up the arse` disassociated passives cruising along at 55 like the dumb muts they are, in the middle and occasionally outside lane, and who are a major contribution to frustration and death threats. The M25 was actually a doddle.
Got a text from an old pal this morning telling me that an old friend and former colleague was out jogging last week when he collapsed and died. He was 61. I've been reading his blog with envy for what seems like an age. It's link is on the right or here: Gran Fuga. Dave and two mates motorcycled from the northern wastes of North America and then into and across South America. They got back in February. What a ride. The blog is worthy of your time, although it is really a diary with pics. I commend it to you as an example of what you can do if you have the motivation and can decide to devote the life-time to do it.
People say motorcycling is dangerous. Well it is, a bit, sometimes, if you let it. At least Dave did the ride and then conked out jogging. The real tragedy would have been conking out a month before he was due to start the ride. I'm still stunned and saddened at his passing.
Ride free Dave. I wish you dry roads and a following breeze old chum.