Sunday, 23 May 2010

Faster, faster, faster

Well there is so much to tell you since we last spoke.

First of all, congratulations to our friend Luke who passed his bike test last Thursday. He was finally able to join us on his lovely Honda Hornet for Weston Bike Night, his first as a big bike rider. It was really nice to see him on his bike and enjoying it, although Carol picked us both up for getting excited and forgetting our life saver looks. Oops...

This weeks event started with an argument between Carol and I. Who was going to ride the Honda CG? As a dyed in the wool biker, it would not look good for Carol to turn up to bike night on a ratty training bike, however, whose Suzuki is it? So after a game of paper, scissors, stone, Carol just thumped me and I learned my place! Actually, Carol is my lass and she looks great on the SV. I can hardly show her off if she is on the little bike, it also gives my neck a chance to recover from riding the Suzuki's clip on bars.

As for Bike Night, what an evening out that was. I had heard from a few folks on the SV forum that they were going to take a ride over and come and say hello. Leading the pack would be Gruntygiggles and her other half Stretchie. Not having met these people before, I was a little shy as always, but they were both really lovely people. Tagged along with them were half of the South West area SV owners, ( Squirrel Hunter, Beenz, BaP, BrisRob and a load whose names I can't remember) and old faithfuls Dan, (aka Metalhead), Stu (aka Nemesis) with his new and very noisy can and finally Lloyd, on his lovely Fireblade. After a brief stop on the sea front, we headed over to Scallys and just made it in time for the last of the Hog Roast. Well I say Hog Roast, when we got there, there was a pigs head on the cooker! Being a recent convert back to a carnivore life style, a pigs head was a little too much for me and I settled for a nice burger instead.

For those of you not familiar with Scallys, it is Weston's premier biker friendly pub and on Bike Night it is a great place to sit and chill after the heat and the chaos that is the sea front. It is also a place where Carol can catch up with old mates and swap gossip, the funny thing about a group of bikers like this is that although they look dead hard and a bit scary, in club patches and leathers, they are actually a lot of fun and rather sweet.

Carol deserted me at the pub and wandered off to chat to her mates, but I did not mind because I was with my new friends from the SV forum and we chatted until late into the evening. I was a little sorry to hear that one of the lads had had an off on the way over, but he was OK and the damage was minimal to his bike. Being a new rider myself, I can understand the fear of loose corners while going a touch too fast. After a while though, they all had to head back home to Wiltshire and when Gruntygiggles started her little Blade, there were appreciative comments the locals in the pub. It sounded like a Blade should, a steady growl that you knew would turn into a howl on the faster roads. Having waved them off, I went to find Carol and found her in a gaggle of bikers discussing the merits of a 33BHP restriction, yeah she blew my cover again and had told a load of hard bikers that actually, I am a little girly with a half power bike... Thanks for that Babe!

The trip home was refreshingly cool after the days heat and One of Carol's mates had a lift on the back of Sylvie to enjoy some toasted home made bread and a nice cuppa. It is so nice to see Carol with her old mates, she tends to shine when she is happy, and tonight she was glowing.

Thursday night rolled over into Friday morning and I had long since retired to bed. A bit of bad news dropped through the letter box, but it was nothing that could not be sorted by a ride out on the bikes. I prepped Sylvie and got Henry ready while Carol got the filming equipment sorted out. With one camera mounted on the front of Sylvie and another mounted on the rear of Henry, we could film each other riding to Cheddar and up the gorge. Well, that was the plan.

Henry was poorly. He would cough and splutter and then he cut out. Carol pulled over and gave him a check over and he spluttered back to life. Half a mile down the road, he was poorly again and once again Carol had to pull over. This time she drained the Carb, thinking that there was contaminated fuel. The liquid, splashed out and steamed away on the hot engine. Funny, it did not look too much like petrol to me. After that Henry started, roared and Carol shot off down the road like a race horse at full gallop. Even on Sylvie, I found it hard to catch up. Following Carol is brilliant, even on a 125CC bike, she is fast and smooth. Following her lines on the road makes the bike feel like a thoroughbred and I will admit that I got a little scared. Even at road legal speeds, Sylvie can feel a little too much for me and I had to back off. Yes, I am a wimp for not keeping up with a Honda CG125, but with Carol piloting, Henry is a road racer.

The rest of the trip to Cheddar was smooth and easy, however riding the clip ons was getting to a stage where my right hand went numb, we have a plan to sort this out with a bar conversion, but until we can afford the new brake lines, Sylvie will just have to make do with standard bars. Our arrival in Cheddar took us to the chip shop and we picked up lunch before loading it into Sylvies pack and then riding off up the gorge. Cheddar Gorge is beautiful and as a rider, one really must concentrate on the road and not the surrounding cliffs. As a Climber, all I wanted to do was pull over and get some serious climbing done, but since taking up motorcycling, climbing is on a back burner for me for a while, due to needing hundreds of pounds of new equipment. The quality of the road though more than made up for wanting to go climbing and some of those twisty sections were lovely.

Well pulled off the main drag and headed over to a place called Velvet Bottom, the road looked like it was made of loose gravel, which worried me slightly and I slowed right down again. Sylvie may have big wide tyres, but that is of little use when the surface is moving about. Thankfully, it all seemed to be solid and I was able to find my rhythm again and could get back up to speed. Turning around at the top though was a moment and I had little choice but to mount the grass verge due to a narrow road. Sylvie was impeccably well mannered about it all and showed little signs of slipping on the mud and grass. We parked up in a layby and wandered off to enjoy our chips.

After lunch we pulled our bike gear back on despite the heat and headed back down to Cheddar for a cuppa and an Ice Cream. The road back down was even more fun than riding up it, mainly because I had got used to the strange surface, I could still not keep up with Carol though and eventually we pulled into the Car Park in the village centre. As is the way with Carol, she immediately started chatting to the other bikers parked up and once again started to talk about learner riders. Once again I was outed for being on a half power bike and my street cred and cool oozed away. Thanks again Babe! It is a good job that I don't ride bikes to look cool, I ride bikes because I love to do so. The Scottish couple were on a long tour and loving every moment of the open road and the Guy with the Ducati was a local to Weston. after our Ice cream and cuppa, we decided to head home, both of us tired from the riding and the heat.

After a day out like this, what was required was a nice session of skinny dipping in a nice cool clean river, sadly the River in Cheddar is a little open to public view so we had to make do with going home and having a nice shower instead. What a great couple of days out though, beautiful views, great roads and meeting some really lovely people, I doubt it can get better than that, although a big bike for Carol would be one way. If any friendly Kawasaki Dealers would like to donate a bike to her for our adventures, we would love you forever.