Did the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs, doing a wheelie

I am in hell. I should have expected this but it’s still mind numbing. Sitting in a certain biker cafe listening to some spod bragging about how he ripped up some circuit on his first try, backwards on one wheel. And probably won the Grand National to boot. Go George.
His mate has just mentioned a make of bike that he likes. Our hero is not impressed. “They’re fucking shit, mun. The nanothrusters only do 10 parsecs to the kiloton. Couldn’t even do the fucking Kessel Run on one of them things” or something like that. I must admit the technical terms are beyond my butterfly brain… No seriously, I have a butterfly brain and no, it’s not because I’m a girl, it’s because I’m me and there are certain software issues.
To return to our sheep, while it’s fun to roll the eyes and tut at young men being young men, (and I’ve known some young women like that mentioning no names younger self…) this kind of macho competitiveness does worry me. This need to be better, faster, madder is almost certainly the reason a biker was killed a few weeks ago on the A470; on the wrong side of the road head on into an oncoming lorry. Such a death is unnecessary and almost certainly avoidable in most situations. I’ve no way of knowing if young Evel Kneivel is a sensible chap who does save it for the track, he may be a paragon of virtue on the road or he may be a bit bat-out-of-hell like the adorable but mad youngster who caught us up on his twist-and-go above Penderyn and claimed he’d had 80 out of it. Both these young men are clearly natural and talented riders and I sincerely wish them all the fun in the world, but lads, really do save it for the track. You’ll live longer and are less likely to face a future on 4 wheels, 2 big ones and 2 small ones, pushed by someone else.

Oh and if anyone did see a Vulcan rider apparently doing kettlebell exercises on the hard shoulder of the M4, there was a bastard spider in my helmet. I saw it crawl across the visor. I’m an arachnophobe and allergic to some spider bites. The potential carnage was unthinkable so I considered it an emergency.

[Also much thanks to the guys at M&P Swansea for adjusting the footbrake. Hopefully LTG will now be able to brake without cocking his leg like an incontinent spaniel]

The Unnatural Bikers join the club

The Vulcan Riders Association club that is. Yes, I’ve got a patch 😀 LTG hasn’t yet because he’s only an associate member, HA!

We joined up coincidentally just days before the Welsh monthly meeting in Port Talbot so were able to pop along and meet the gang quickly enough. Neither of us are very good with strangers but we were made very welcome and I’m looking forward to doing a load of Vulcan related things over the summer.

It’s amazing how one simple (yeah, dead simple…) lifestyle choice opens up such a big and complex world. We’ve plugged into the global Biker World and it’s stunning. We go out for the day and random people come and talk about bikes, rallies, dogs on bikes, just how tall is LTG anyway, (6’4″ FYI), bikes they used to own, bikes they want to own the list is endless. When I’m out alone fewer people approach me, but that may be down to wariness in approaching a lone female, but if I make the first move most bikers are quite happy to chat.

Now we just have to try and decide who to go out with each weekend, and in particular which one of 4 clubs/groups we intend to do Hoggin’ The Bridge with… Oh the drama…

What the…

We’ve only been and gone and done it! One minor each for myself and Long Tall Gary but otherwise straightforward Mod 1 passes!

Success

It’s taken me a few days to post because I’m still slightly in shock. Living as I do with near permanent anxiety, the added stress of testing did something odd to my brain. Ever since the theory test back in May I’ve had Mod 1 hanging over me like a big crashable cloud. Failing the first attempt didn’t help the nerves even though it didn’t really upset me all that much.

Unlike the first attempt we didn’t have to ride the test bikes all the way to Newport (in the rain), so we went in pretty much cold, just 4 quick slalom and figure of 8s in the car park then off to the test centre. I don’t remember what I’d said but the lovely J who books the tests had very kindly put me in first “by special request” so I didn’t have to wait around panicking . In spite of that by the time we were sitting in the test centre I was on the point of vomiting with nerves, hyperventilating and shking. Is this normal? Probably not but for me it is and I hate it it. No amount of deep breathing, visualising, pain distraction or wood touching makes any difference. As soon as I stop doing those things I can almost feel my adrenal glands squirting their little guts out, squeaking delightedly as they do. Little bastards…

I’m not so good at recognising my own achievements but I am trying hard with this one because it’s probably the hardest thing I’ve done in a very long time, certainly the hardest thing I’ve ever done voluntarily. Bearing in mind I am “not a natural biker”, let us count the ways:

  1. Going into the test pretty much cold, 10 minutes prep immediately before the test. Usually it takes me longer than that to settle onto the bike
  2. The bikes used in training are supposedly identical, but in fact they’re not. I’m sure a more natural biker would barely register the differences and just adapt but I’m still clunky enough for it to make a difference. The bike we ended up using for the test wasn’t the “best” bike… The throttle is less smooth, and it needs slightly more revs to stay upright, the handlebars are fractionally further forward and the rear brake ABS kicks in more forcefully
  3. The weather was foul…

But i coped. We both did. That we did so in spite of difficulties speak volumes for the amount of work we’ve put in, and the fantastic training we’ve had from Vale Moto.

We start our official Mod 2 training on Friday, will the L-plates come off before Xmas? Watch this space xx