Monday, 21 November 2011

Cool Running

The colder days are with us. Autumn came a little late this year, the sunny week before bonfire night confused the trees, and they kept there leaves for a bit longer.

By the 19th, the Bike ShowLive event at the NEC (National Exhibition Centre) in Birmingham, was underway, and unlike last year, when it was almost snowed off, I rode there. Starting in Manchester about 9.30am, the sun was out and though not warm, my full riding gear list was added. Good job too. around Stafford it was foggy. Not enough to cause any traffic issues, but enough to stop the sun breakinhg through. Temperatures dropped to around 9f , which made my eyes water a bit and the visor steam up if it was completely closed.

Free parking for bikes at the show also meant no major trek from the car parks. 100 yards across the entrance road, and I was in the warmth. With 2 or three events on, the place was buzzing.

I met up with Sam Manicom and Simon Gandolphy, both of whom were very busy selling thier adventure books, and meeting fans (they are both very laid back guys, and most welcoming). I then wandered about looking at new and old bikes, bikers and a plethora of gorgious girls in lycra suits and boots. (always a welcome chore).

The show is made up of sections, and you can target certain genres or like me just wander about with no agenda.

The blast back 85 miles to Manchester, was cooler, but the M6 keeps ones wits on full alert. Weekend drivers have a uncanny ability to do things that profesional drivers don't.

I class any driver to be a pro if they drive a vehicle for a living, or as part of their job. Weekenders are those that hit the roads for one or two days, or less. The motorways are an unusual place for them, and their perceptions are a little worrying.

It must be hard for non bikers to understand why bikes go so fast, overtake at any opportunity, and generally seem to be in a hurry. We are simply trying to get out of your way and into a safer , quieter part of the road. Pootling along with the traffic, is a dangerous place to be. Even more so when Sunday lunches are busy taking their toll on metabloisms and dozy weekenders.

Having said all that, within 1/2 mile of home, I pulled away from a set of lights into a left hand junction, followed the car in front at 10-12 MPH, as he passed an old lady, who was stood by the road, she launched herself across the carrageway in front of me, aiming for the bollard island only 10ft away.

Not even looking right, to see if anything else was coming, she gave me about 4ft in which to stop. The BMW R1200GS Adventure is a big bike, headlight on, it was dusk but not dark, I wear a white helmet and a red and silver jacket.. As the ABS brakes took over, I didn't even have time to sound my horn, I did however shout, but too late. As I came to a stop, so did she. But the shock of me staring at here from 5 inches away was to add to the minimal contact we made, and she fell over.

No major harm done, and both she and the guy from a queing car going the other way, stated that she had not even looked. He watched her as she lept into action and said she was looking at him to acknowledge her crossing.

They say that most accidents happen at the start or more so the end of a journey. In this case, it was a weekend pedestrian. High on meat and two veg, old age or just daft as a brush, she used up one of her 60+ lives. I wish her well and hope she is OK today.

Kawashazy is now painted (see above) in Sharons favorite blue. Despite not even trying to start the bike yet, I am hoping that the rest of the build will see me through the winter. Shaz will need to complete her test in the spring, and with luck getting her on the road (on her own bike), will start that elusive bug that gets to us all.

I am starting a short term job this week. (Thurs), right through till Christmas Eve. Seven days a week, 11 am to 5pm. It involves a red suit and white beard, but more of that later.

Lastly, I am conversing with a new twitter and facebook contact 'Oily Byker' who is planning a round Britain ride, by diesel motorbike...... sound interesting. Find him on facebook or twitter and say hello.

Seasons Greetings if I do not get back to you in December.


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