Sunday 21 July 2013

Two-post Sunday

Well, friend Barry was surprisingly supportive too - no one has yet come out with anything startled about my hitherto completely hidden yen to be a bike rider.  He's suggested I go round to see his bikes - he has three on the road of various sizes and types and another which is currently off-road, and told me about the training and tests I would need.  I've also read about it, thanks to Sir Bruin, because verbal explanations don't stick in my mind as reading them do.

I've mostly got the bungalow ready, though I still haven't made the bed and I need to take a fridge through there - we have two.  I'll have to empty one of them into the other, which will be a bit like Roses moving from a three-bedroomed house into a two-bedroomed flat and hoping everything will fit in.  Oh, and the china that I found (I wondered where I'd put all that blue and white stuff) is now in the dishwasher.  I also managed to find the extra keys that I'd had cut and then put rather too safely away.

The autumn is going to be pretty busy because I've got two holidays booked and, because my sister is expecting to have an operation, I'm also planning to spend quite some time with her, very likely travelling up and down to catch up with things at home.  I'll probably not mention dates or tell you when I'm away because, although family will be here with Russell some of the time, he may be alone at others.  Blogging may be spasmodic or on general topics and I'll tell you about the holidays later.

I was talking to Rupert the spaniel's owner today and she says he now sleeps on the bed with her and her husband.  Actually, it may be simplest if that's what he does while he's here too.  When he was little (he's now eleven months old) he slept in a dog-cage, but that hasn't been the situation for a while and I've a feeling that he and Ben would play half the night and keep waking us up.  If Ben is downstairs and Rupert is upstairs, it should be better, especially if he frets without them.  I don't mind, when I was in my teens I slept with three large dogs on my (double, fortunately) bed.  My dogs have always slept downstairs, though Tilly used to come in the bed for a cuddle first thing.

You can tell, can't you, that I have work to do?  It'll get done, though possibly not until midnight.  


Indigo Roth said...

Hey Z! It's sounding increasingly certain that you're getting a bike? Sounds superb fun! As for pooches on the bed, we had a wonderful mongrel when I was a kid, and he always snuck under the corner of the duvet and warmed my feet before morning =) I miss him, even now. Indigo x

Z said...

It does, doesn't it? - rather to my surprise. And I know, I miss the best dogs still too. I'd meant my retriever pup to be another Huckleberry, but that will have to wait until Ben is rather older as I can't manage two of them at the moment.

Blue Witch said...

Some questions before you consider doing CBT/DAS/getting a bike:

1. Who will you ride with (you'll quickly get bored riding on your own, trust me). Most clubs go out on Sundays and summer evenings, not in the day.

2. Could you cope if you had an accident and ended up paralysed? Accidents to experienced motorist bikers are often others' fault.

3. Could those who depend on you manage without you/with you badly incapacitated?

4. Are you strong enough to pick up a bike if you drop it? (ie fall off) If not, don't do it, because you *will* drop it in your first few months (if not sooner).

5. Will your artifical hip cope?

Yes, it's fun - I did it at age 35 until today (sold bike in 3 hours). And it will improve your car driving skills too. But, it's not your road sense/riding you need to worry about, it's others on the road.

You're looking around £150 to do CBT and around another £1K to do a 5-day Direct Access course and take the test. Then, if you're sensible, you need to do advanced training - another few hundred. Cost of gear - well, best part of a grand easily, if you buy reasonable quality, and then there's the bike and tax and insurance...

Personally I'd speak nicely to Sir Bruin and get him to give you a few more pillion expereinces. Get it out of your system.

But, from one who's done it and seen quite a few of my previous bike buddies end up in hospital/dead, I don't honestly recommend it these days. Even in your rural area (especially given the driving we saw last time we came over).

Not trying to piss on your parade, just trying to get you to see beyond the adrenaline rush.

Z said...

A club? I'm wanting to get places I need to be, not go for joy-rides.

Well, with any luck the accident will kill me rather than leave me paralysed. But I've friends in wheelchairs for various reasons: illness, car accidents, age - and one who broke a hip stepping off a pavement. There are risks in everything, though I agree I'd be courting them.

Without me, yes - well, not Russell, but there we go. One of us has to die first, he loves life more than I do, he'd mostly miss me in practical ways. Incapacitated - well, at least the children won't have to pay death duties, it'll have been spent on topping up state benefits.

Good point I've already thought of. I'd have to be sure I could.

Yes, though there might be a period when the deteriorating one wouldn't.

I'm too sensible to be reckless, but not too old to take risks. And no one really needs me, I'm as free as I'll ever be. From the age of twenty, I had children who relied on me, I've enjoyed life overall but not had a lot of fun. I still don't. It's time. Yet, I still may not do it, I haven't fully decided. And I may take the test and then feel it isn't really for me.

Zig said...

you're a long time dead Z and just think you could die of some painful debillitating disease instead. Go for it, life is nothing without some risks. I have a full bike licence from my misspent youth and I never tired of riding alone, but perhaps I shall get a little bike and we can raise hell together!

Blue Witch said...

Ah - not recommended for daily transport. Just not practical. It takes *ages* to get a bike out, ready, and get dressed up to go. Moving a bike on gravel is a nightmare unless you are a beefy bloke. And the cost per mile of running a bike is way more than running a car (even yours!!!).

And then there is the problem of helmet-hair. And the cleaning it when you get back.

And then rural lanes in winter... ice or wet. Hit a drain cover or a pothole and you're off before you know what's happened. And you'll need to wash the salt (from the roads) off the bike every time you go out or it will deteriorate really quickly.

That said, the best thing I ever did was ride down Death Valley in a borrowed Moto Gucci, a few months after I passed my test.

Do CBT and do a DAS course (some centres do them end-on in 5 days), as you'll get a lot from them, I'm sure. Including a much greater appreciation of young men's minds/death wishes. Then decide whether you want to join the advanced organ donor register (as my IAM advanced trainer referred to it) fraternity.

Z said...

That really is a date, Zig!

I absolutely take all your points, BW, thank you. And btw, I reluctantly decided the Landrover was too big, or rather that the visibility when parking and getting out of tight spots was too poor in view of my stumpy lack of height. I have a Focus now.

And I'd certainly only go out in good weather. Ice? No thanks. But anyone can have my bits and pieces, they're more than welcome.

Rog said...

You need to experience the discovery before getting things into focus.
A bike is not a brain decision but a heart decision .

Blue Witch said...

"in view of my stumpy lack of height"

Just thinking, will you be able to put (at least) the balls of your feet firmly on the floor when seated? Perhaps they make 3/4 size bikes like they make 3/4 size violins?

All the women bikers I know are all at least as tall as me. Strange, I'd never thought of this before...

Roses said...

If a bike is what your heart desires, you go for it!

There is nothing certain in Life; it doesn't work that way (apart from death and taxes of course).

I think it's a great idea for you to get as much time as you can on a bike with a friend; do the all the tests etc and see how you feel after your birthday.

I think we're going to have to club together to get you some awesome leathers!


Z said...

Indeed it is, Rog!

Z said...

Barry and I talked about that too, as well as the matter of climbing on it. In fact, he suggested a scooter might be more of a practical proposition; he has a 250cc one to let show me.

That reminds me, Roses, I'm due to pay more tax this week. Damn. And yes, I need to know more before making my mind up.

And now I'm going to go and climb a ladder because there's nowhere near enough risk in my life.

Blue Witch said...

"he suggested a scooter might be more of a practical proposition"

Snap! Just thinking some more earlier, I concluded that was a better idea for you and your purposes. Or an electric bicycle. The modern ones are great I'm told.

Don't walk under the ladder before you climb it.

Z said...

Well, you should know me by now, love - I'm really not foolhardy and I don't set myself up to fail. Or fall - Russell is out at present, so no more ladder-climbing until he's back to hold it.

Sir Bruin said...

The risks involved with motorcycling are obvious. If you have decided that this is something that you want to do, then do it. I do admit to being somewhat biased though.

BW - Glad you sold the bike ok. Hope you got what you wanted for it.

Z said...

Well, using anything unprotected on the road is more hazardous than being in a car. Driver error is more likely to be a factor in motorcycling than cycling or horse riding, but one is at a disadvantage with all of them. I've got the feeling it would encourage me to be more spontaneous and have more fun - possibly wishful thinking, of course.

Anonymous said...

You could have a look at Royal Enfield; the 350 is nice, relatively light (180 kg), not owerpowered. As I understand you are not too tall, sorry, so something with a low centre of gravity would be good. It's nothing for the autobahn of course.
I personally would go for a BMW, an old R 500, they are seemingly indestructable and built for eternity.
There are new scooters around by Suzuki, Yamaha and of course Piaggio (the x-series was well reviewed). They use an automatic and most have a well laied out braking system that brakes both wheels - like Moto Guzzi introduced years ago. Weak point is mainly the battery. Rolling sofas, very comfortable and fuss-free; also usable for touring.
If you are adventurous and want to drive all year, go for a sidecar. I'd prefer Ural. They look like hammered together in Nowosibirsk by a tank crew but have state of the art technical parts - it's not everybody's taste. :)