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]

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You Cataracts and Hurricanoes, Spout

My first actual meeting with the Curvy Riders whilst on a bike! Actually double booked myself but since both meets were in the same place (Owl’s Nest) I just turned up and pointedly introduced myself to people to prove I was there.

I was in two minds whether to go or not, the weather was cold, damp and damn windy. I didn’t realise just how windy until I got on the Briton Ferry bridge on the M4…  I’ve ridden in highish winds before but having to keep up a reasonable motorway speed whilst actively fighting a bike that wants to take a sideways dive into the Tawe was a new experience. Not one I’m keen to repeat soon to be honest. The Vulcan S is lower and heavier and therefore less vulnerable to wind, but then again it’s heavier and therefore a bit harder for me to wrestle when it does decide to take the scenic route. Yes I was going too fast… but then again, it’s one of those lifestyle choices. Keep up the speed and fight the wind, ease off the speed and get rear-ended by Dewi in his race-tuned Impreza. (Yes I saw you, yes you’re a knob.)

I also now have experience of what to do when your back wheel hits a patch of diesel at 70mph at the same time as a gust of wind batters your front one. Scream like a little girl, cling to the bike like a baby monkey and be thankful the bike knows what to do.

Very glad to get off the M4 and potter gently up the A40. Owls Nest not as busy as I’d expected given the Motorcycle Engagement Day on Easter Sunday, but a very impressive turnout of Blood Bikers nonetheless. Probably more of them than actual punters! A small and select gathering of Curvies, Friends and Relations, but it was fantastic to be out with other bikers, shooting the breeze and discussing the best way to restrain someone who is trying to bite your face off. (Basically, dogpile).

Couldn’t face the M4 again, given the Shakespearian weather so decided to follow M and P across the A40 to Brecon and down the A470. They stopped for petrol, I buggered off thinking they’d easily catch up with me but they didn’t and now i feel rude. Only one truly sphincter-tightening moment on the A470 when a gust of wind blew the Vulcan upright again on a 300 degree hairpin, then a 30mph crawl along the side of the mountain while my heartrate went back to normal.

A forced pitstop at Talbot Green for toffee latte and an apple pie, and finally home to a much needed whirlpool bath. I’m sore, I spent most of the day way outside my comfort zone, I bloody nearly bottled it a couple of times, but I’m here and I’ve learned some more about the bike and myself. Keep on buggering on.

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…

Time For A Recap

So it’s been a while. Christmas was … difficult, what with illness, injury and general malaise so I’ve been avoiding blogging.

Both Long Tall Gary and I are now fully qualified and licenced bikers, LTG with slightly more panache than me, which in fact formed part of my problem. The day of my Mod 2 I was already deep in the coils of a nasty respiratory infection and asthma attack. Unable to breathe, unable to talk and with a temperature, I shouldn’t have been out of bed let alone on a bike. I really wasn’t feeling it and being the last of 3 meant hanging around the test centre for 2 hours before I got on the road. In the event I passed by the skin of my teeth, and only because I ‘fessed up to my own shortcomings and vowed to work on them for ever. This left me with a sense of unearned achievement which has taken a couple of months to subside. Still, a pass is a pass and smells as sweet as any rose by another name. Or something.

On top of that LTG was taken off the bike by a senile old fool whose only defence was “there was nothing there”, which is certainly a variation on “SMIDSY”… That “nothing” was in fact 19 stone of hairy Scouser and a bright red lump of metal, who they then left lying in the road while they went into their own house, leaving a kindly neighbour to pick him up out of the gutter. It being Xmas and New Year and New Year aftermath it took 5 weeks for the bike to come back to us (£900 worth of repairs), by which time it had run out of tax and MOT. Once that was sorted out the demonic entity known as Lucky Dave the Black Cat somehow led me to a hairline fracture tripping down the stairs, which led to another 2 weeks bikeless. Aaaand breathe…

Howsomever, as an antidote to all the doom and gloom we have been on a shopping spree. We are now the proud parents of Vanessa the Vulcan S, a symphony in matt black and subtle green trim. Here she is with little brother Mike The Bike at Verdi’s in Mumbles:

2bikes

Our first ever Biking Badgers of Bridgend Ride Out!

I was very nervous about riding the Vulcan at first, the feet-forward position, and the long-reach bars just looked too much, but I have to admit, teething troubles aside she handles like a dream. The low-ride position and low centre of gravity gives an incredible sense of stability, and she corners like silk, even at incompetent badger speeds and handling. It can be hard NOT to corner; I had to restrain myself from swooping joyfully about the M4 like a demented swallow. Running-in is frustrating, the temptation to just let ‘er rip is almost overwhelming, but patience, we are told, is a virtue. My biggest worry is when returning to little Mike the YBR125 Custom, I’ll be trying to corner like I’m on the cruiser and cruise spectacularly sideways into a hedge…

The Unnatural Biker is back on the road.