The aim is to be able to fully evaluate my bike whilst also learning some new stuff about riding i.e different weather techniques or changing lines in different situations etc. I am still quite a novice compared to some of the hardcore bikers I see on my travels (who seem to live on their bikes with tents and panniers). I have changed my riding style almost completely to keep both myself and other road users safe, this is magnified when the weather is bad. An aggressive riding style with peaky two-stroke engine on wet, contaminated roads is playing with fire, however small the engine is. I chose my route, looking online for good biking roads near my home and also the worst biking roads. I will first ride the bad roads, the other way round could leave me in trouble at the worst time and who doesn’t like to finish a day of riding with the fattest grin instead of wishing you stayed at home watching the Antiques Roadshow.
My Kit is not the best around and for my usage the best would be too good. Every single biker in the whole world must expect to come off at some time. I accepted it the day I almost fell off whilst I did my CBT. I don’t want fully fledged Rossi-rep leathers and boots, I have the basic essentials, Low priced RST boots (£80.00), AGV K-Series (Rossi rep approx £130.00), budget gloves (£75.00). And low priced matching jacket and trousers (£150.00 for pair). They WILL get torn and scratched one day but they will also provide enough protection to perhaps save my life.
Its 9AM on Sunday morning, the roads are dry but the air is cold and clouds are everywhere, its like a ghost town as I leave me tired little street behind and set off in an analytical mood thinking about everything I could use for my final evaluation. By the time I’ve come to the 3rd junction I am greeted with the site of a Ford Mondeo pulling out right in front of me forcing me to grab a whole load of front brake and already I’m changing lines. As I'm only riding a 125 the change in line is not as hard as it would be on a big R1. I get onto the bumpy bypass only minutes from where I live, Within 3 miles I decide this road is bad enough for my worst roads due to 1.)the amount of work needed on the surfacing, 2.)the amount of smashed lenses, bumpers and wheel trims strewn across the road makes me cringe at the thought of having to anywhere near them or simply 3.) the massive pretty rainbow coloured diesel spill that looks like some kind of sabotage to kill at least one biker on this very road. Anyway this road runs for about 25 miles passing many villages and towns. My arms were a wreck at the half day interval; I’m checking my bike for any scuffs from the gravel they put down, or chunks missing from my tyre by passing the potholes at 80mph, A sports bike (type) does not get on well with damaged, bumpy roads, I can feel every bump and hole I pass and the seating position could make life unbearable. The weather protection is probably all this bike has going for it now, I look at my tiny Italian Stallion with sheer regret all over my face. I start asking myself just how practical this bike can be….. It can’t!!!
The bacon & egg sarny goes down with a nasty cup of what they told me was tea but that’s another story and I again strap up to head off to the good roads I’ve planned, just as I’m ready to push the start button the mobile rings, so its gloves off, helmet off, ignition off, just to be asked if I want onion gravy and Yorkshire pudding with my dinner or just the normal gravy and stuffing. Anyway within an hour and a half and a re-fill I arrive at the road I found on the net the “A6 from Kendal to Carlisle”, I decide to go until I reach Shap summit, so I pull into a petrol station just to do some final checks before the long ride I’ve been waiting for all day, I set off and as soon as I can see the road I get butterflies in my stomach, I drop a gear and let the two stroke engine scream with delight all the way to the top end of 5th and then at some 75mph the bike starts spluttering so I let off, try the throttle again to find no response and decide to pull in. Immediately I know what the problem is........... the Spark Plug, again!!!! This bike eats them for fun and I am only staying calm thanks to a gorgeous young lady offering assistance from her green Citroen Saxo, assistance being the use of her mobile if needed or a lift to the garage. I call my friend who has a van and ratchet straps, this is the 2nd time in 3 months I have called him (with the same problem) when I’ve been out on an expedition and after 1/2 an hour of talking pure kack describing farmhouses and pubs he knows my location, so its just a case of waiting for the transport to move my bike and me back home, The one positives to come out of the whole day was I got to stay with the Saxo Girl while I waited, she wants to meet me again, and maybe also I learned that an Aprilia RS125 that’s been ragged to death by some 17year old Scally has no touring capabilities whatsoever. If anyone can offer advice on my spark plug problem my email is: firstname.lastname@example.org