Tuesday, 18 May 2010

12 - Motorbike

Motorbikin'. Motorbikin'. Goin' down the Queen's highway lookin' like a streak of lightnin'. Et cetera. Oh yeah, that's me, baby. Pushbikes are for girls: two wheels, good, but two wheels plus a monster engine, better.

A year ago I'd hoped to sneak a ride one day on the back of a colleague's machine. Several weeks and a redundancy round later, his desk was remarkably clean and that chance, like him, had gone out of the door.

Idly working from home last week, an email offer arrived -- can give you a lift and I have a spare helmet. You'll need a windproof jacket and some thick gloves. Well, alrighty. Let's set a date for Tuesday.

When my ride appeared, was only mildly disappointed that there was neither sidecar nor Wash 'N' Go ladder. Today's lift is brought to you by the number 1150 and the letters B, M and W. Wifey had wondered if my M&S cargo trousers would be enough to protect me as I scraped along the tarmac at 50mph. It'll be fine. Gulp.

Izzy introduced herself and swapped my Dell-laden rucksack for a shiny skid lid. As she helped me do up the strap under my chin, I had a 40 year flashback -- after playschool, my mum would pick me up on the family transport, a Honda 70, and the outsize crash helmet would wobble around on my head all the way home.

On she gets, on I clamber, and off we go. Into the stream of traffic and the first bit of acceleration up Valley Road makes me (a) grasp those rear handles and (b) catch my breath. Phew. Trick is to look down, though where's the fun in that.

Ring road is doing its usual rush hour stop-start thing. A-ha, but we're atop the very finest German engineering, meaning we can dive outside then duck back in. Have to confess that this takes some getting used to.

We finally pick up more speed on the short stretch of dual carriageway leading to Adastral -- vroom! -- and Izzy checks that I have my pass about my person. Luckily I have, in we go, and she drops me off on terra firma right outside the office. Cool.

One workday later, we head back, and our driver suggests that we try the A14 instead. Having said that she had no wish to terrify me, this is scary stuff as we cruise at 70mph along the big roads and over the Orwell Bridge (great view). My grip is unrelenting. Not the best time for my hi-vis Peter Storm jacket to pop open.

Off by Tesco, down Crane Hill and I'm enjoying the ride. Izzy, you're a star.

Cost - zero to me
Duration - 20mins (8:35 - 8:55); door to door

Pros - good to share and be a pillion of the community
Cons - planning and a strong stomach required

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