Category Archives: crash test dummies

bark holiday

I really can’t believe I’m back in the fucking office already. The past few days have passed in the blinking of a bloody eye and I’m staring back into the chasm of another fistful of work.

The best day by far was Sunday. Being able to have one without the whole sardines on toast tea-time feeling of school the next the day was superlative, especially from the point of view of a clear hot sunny day sat in the middle of my black bitch with Myfwt hanging off the back.

From the outset the ride was going to be good, approaching the A3 from Raynes Park I caught up with a chap on the same bike as I. Triumph Speed Triple riders are always jolly pleased to receive other riders on the same or similar metal, we sat at the lights eyeing up the bolt-on goodies on each others bike after nodding at one another and being careful not to burn the other off after the lights went green.

Protocol is everything when it comes to a Sunday afternoon spin. It’s not necessarily the done thing to go screaming past a fellow biker as, a. it can make one look like a frustrated ego manic with delusions of Valentino Rossi besides, b. they may catch you up and humiliate you with some trick riding making you feel like an utter tit and subject to the mocking face of your pillion as you attempt to make excuses for being fucking shit after boasting about how you’re actually championship material if only you’d had the funding…

So there we three were, me, Myfwt and our new pal pootling down the A3 heading towards Guildford. I like to hang back when riding with someone else, I don’t like to feel the pressure of a person behind me (that I may be holding them up) and it gives me a chance to measure up their skills, or lack thereof. My new pal was riding much more slowly than I do, after 5 minutes of it I got bored and gave the bike a handful. I flew passed my ex-pal with a wave (protocol in my book) and hit a record-breaking 140mph, two up, nearly severing my head in the process. The air can be as calm and quiet as a millpond when strolling about the place but at those speeds, without anything more than a flyscreen to keep the wind off, nature and gravity conspire against you to rip the jacket from your shoulders via the collar and to push your helmeted chin into your neck. At 120 things levelled out and we flew through the Guildford by-pass before dismounting in a little place called Compton.

There is a gallery here, it has a large collection of paintings by George Frederick Watt, a pretty ropey Victorian artist who seemed to have got worse with age, despite quite a good reputation during his lifetime. Myfwt and I made some disparaging comments in the guest book prior to getting straight outta Compton (a weh a weh a waaa) and taking some gorgeous winding b roads into West Sussex that snaked through woods, rolling hills and chocolate box villages. We caught up with another Speed Triple; this was a machine almost identical to mine, black and scary, the sound of our modified exhaust systems converged at points making the most incredible noise, the roaring oscillated into a penetrating hum that shuddered through my spine, it was enough to roll the eyes in my sockets which I exchanged, sensibly, for a broad grin. He was also riding too slow for my tastes so after a while we lost him far behind, though weirdly found ourselves behind him again an hour after stopping for petrol and Pepperami.

All the while signals of approval were being transmitted to me by Myfwt on the back of the bike. Having a pillion can be a hindrance; they can disrupt the balance and airflow of the bike thus causing serious problems to the rider, not to mention being headbutted from the rear under heavy breaking or even falling off the back on hard acceleration. Myfwt, however, has experience; essentially I can forget she’s there and ride as I wish safe in the knowledge that if I do err she won’t shift her weight in panic causing us to all end up in a heap.

We shot through Ockley, then Horsham before locating the A24 from Dorking and passing Box-Hill. Squadrons of bikes passed in the other direction, all of us nodding at each other as if our neck muscles had been exchanged for chewing gum. It was fucking lovely. By now I, rather, we were in the zone. This is where things can get silly; ones concept of speed has been shot to pieces and the adrenalin derived euphoria demands feeding, combine this with an increasing familiarity of the bikes ability and by now ones over stretched confidence, it’s wise to be aware that tiredness and over enthusiasm can lead to serious mistakes. Fuck that I thought, undertaking a bloke in full racing clobber on an R1 on a roundabout, he didn’t like that one bit. We shot back down the A3 towards Tooting and arrived home in one piece and, more importantly in the world of unreality, with my licence.

Apart from the Sunday the bank holiday was spent with Myfwt in pubs, restaurants, on sofas and watching Scrapheap Challenge back to back on More4 in bed. Just sad it’s all over really. Still not heard anything from Jack regarding the trip across the States, I daren’t look ahead to it in case it doesn’t happen so for now it’s a question of taking each day as it comes.

The end of this song was going round my head on Sunday’s ride; I’m going to give it to you.