Today was one of those warm days, with just enough heat in the sunshine to make it perfect for riding, well perfect for me anyway. Carol was at work today, leaving me at home with a heart full of adventure and a tank full of unleaded. So after a morning of dealing with the officious bureaucracy that makes up the local Government there was nothing more appealing than a trip out.
Riding a sports bike is an art form and I am still only a learner, I may not be showing that big red L on the bottom of my number plate anymore, but these days I am more of a learner than I ever was. I am learning how to ride a 650 CC performance motorcycle smoothly and efficiently and it has it's moments that make my heart flutter with either fear or love.
The fear comes when the bike surges forwards, which is odd because the love comes when the bike surges forwards. Cruising through Weston today I discovered that a third gear roll on is an awesome feeling, although cruising is not the true word, I was heading up the A370, to the motorway when a chap in a red car decides to undertake me in the fifty zone. Ahead of him was a van and I knew that he would have to pull out to get past the van, but at our current speed, that would mean pushing me out of the way. Not being keen on the idea of being a road Pizza, I gave the throttle a gentle twist. Fifty miles an hour to sixty five and back down to fifty. The car and the van now far behind me, the smile on my face and that indefinable feeling in my heart. For that brief moment, I was speeding, but the guy about to undertake me was driving badly and putting me in danger. Back at the speed limit, I was pootling along nicely.
The drop on to the motorway involves another moment when the throttle is slowly opened and that exhaust note changes from a growl to a roar to a howl. Damn, I love the howl from my beautiful SV engine and to hold that note, I have to keep the throttle nicely open, the speedo reads between 68 and 71 and the traffic is sparse enough that I can just ride. The road to day soon started to fill with trucks and that just leaves the outside lane, the traffic blasting past is doing 85, I am happy to pootle at 70. The noise from my exhaust is a scream that rivals any of the darkest black metal I have, who needs music when you have a Sports V-Twin.
Clevedon is a quiet place, although the quiet was shattered by the roar of me turning up and heading for the sea front. Here once again came that gentle moment of the roll on, when the engine just pulls and screams its joyous heart out. Today I was heading along and the speed limit changed, however I was in slow traffic that suddenly cleared, the roll on from under twenty to forty in third gear is a gentle exercise in power and exhilaration. From a slow speed trundle to a blast in only a few metres and the pull from the bike pushing me into the foam of the saddle, the pegs into my boots and the feeling in my stomach that says I am doing something I truly love.
The Surge of power and the Swell in my heart are twins and when there is one, the other is the right there too. They are inseparable. With that gentle twist of the throttle, the power just builds, tsunami like, from deep with in and the bike feels like it wants to gallop, but if the bike gallops, so does my heart. It is not the speed that makes it. You can do this and maintain the speed limit, it is the surge I am looking for here, that feeling of the bike getting ready to unleash the gallop.
Carol was just about to finish work and I met her on the sea front, we parked up and watched the waves surge and swell back and forth. Even the sea knows what it feels like to gallop occasionally. Meeting Carol is a real pleasure, especially when she is about to finish work and we can head home together, she drives and I just hang back and follow on the SV. Once again we find a place where the traffic is suddenly light and the roll on comes out again and before we know it, we are rolling onto the motorway. This time the traffic was some what heavier and we spent a lot of time in the third lane before the sudden slow down for standing still traffic on the Weston turn off. I filter clear and head home, knowing that Carol was sat in traffic. Pulling up outside our flat, she is already parked up. She knows the back way home.
A quick change of clothes for Carol and I resume my place on the pillion pad, she rides that bike like it is a gentle pony, yet to me it feels like a stallion. We roll on down the hill and pull out onto the sea front, the traffic is light and we make it through to the lights. A familiar Scottish accent shouts out to me that I am being rather naughty, I should be riding on the front. This from the gentleman I met while out riding a while back. I know I laughed and there is why I love bikes. They make me smile, they bring me joy and us bikers, with our friendly nod to bikes going the other way, have out own club with it's own rules. Carol parked up on the Sea front in Weston, once again there were several hundred other bikers here and two we were sort of looking for. Another couple of lads from the SV forum came to say hello. These days on the sea front, it is just as likely that I am going to know some one as it is for Carol, all thanks to the Internet.
Rick and Dan were good lads and no one had a ticket today. Dan rode up from Plymouth just for the pleasure of Weston Sea Front, not sure that he will do that again after the rain, but there you go. Rick was a local and the four of us wandered along and chatted, Carol snapping photos when she could, holding my hand when she could. Was it really so recently that two women holding hands in that loving way were considered wrong? If anyone today thought it odd, they never said. I just held my girls hand and felt her love.
The ride back was a laugh, the guy on the Ducati that wanted a race was a bit silly to cut across the sand blown onto the road. With his full power crotch rocket, he pulled ahead and left us behind, only to promptly get stuck in traffic. Carol eased passed and with her usual grace eased her way to the front with no fuss. The looks on the faces of the Sports bike brigade was a mixture of cross indignation and the realisation that a girl had just shown them how to ride properly, my girl in fact. With a smile, we were gone, leaving Dan to head back to Plymouth and Rick following us for a cuppa.
Another wonderful day...