Soak my nuts in petrol
Just had a lovely, fast ride out in the April sunshine, the bike working really well despite needing a service.
On the road in dry and warm weather any shortcomings in the suspension say, can be ridden around.
It's in the cold and wet that you need that finesse of control. That's why the sunny Sunday jockeys will never quite understand what it's all about.
Anyway, full of the joys of Spring, I pull off the dual carriageway for petrol, thinking I probably don't need (but I might still want) that perfect, blue, low mileage Yamaha R1 I've seen on eBay.
Unfortunately it's 200 miles away.
Helmet off so they know I'm less likely to rob the till, I note some unusual signs telling motorcyclists to get off the bike to fill up.
But I think, “Screw that, nobody tells me how to fill my tank”, and “If I want to soak my nuts in petrol (only happened once) who's going to stop me?”
Astride the bike, nozzle in hand, (fnaar!) the pump comes to life.
I'd half expected it not to; instead the tannoy would crackle into life and the voice of God would tell me to get off the bike or I wouldn't get served.
Since I'm not on reserve yet I'd have just pulled my helmet back on and driven to the next purveyor of rocket fuel, but no need. Half way through filling up I notice that unleaded is 96p a litre and I decide I'm not coming back here anyway.
So, job done, I go inside to pay, a John Wayne gait not required.
There, a man who'd make a good Santa asks me, as politely as anyone can who is spending this lovely sunny afternoon on that stool, if I'd read the signs about filling up.
I say yes, but I wanted to brim the tank. He replies that you can do that while standing next to the bike. Momentarily I think about arguing the toss, (and I think about robbing the till, of course), but maybe he's right and anyway, I'm familiar with this confrontational atmosphere in my job, so I apply what I've learned to get me through and I just say a polite, “Okay”.
Basically it's “Yes sir, three bags full sir” that's required.
Anything else doesn't work. “What eva!” Is it me? Am I getting bolshier, more stubborn, more often wrong with age, or is it everybody else? I dunno.
Anyway, appearing to go belly-up whilst thinking, “Get stuffed!” seems to work and I can shrug it all off, so he hasn't taken my joy today.
Now that he has asserted his authority, Santa's mood mellows a little and he tells me that a bloke fell off whilst filling up once. “Once!” I think.
I can imagine it, the forecourt was on a slant and I'd had to hold the bike on the back brake. Add a forecourt of polished tiles, a diesel spill and / or some sand and yes, Santa is right.
Not sure why it's primarily my responsibility though. It's like those government ads warning us to ride responsibly or we'll run into a car door, while the motorist is asked to look out for bikers because we're all flippin' mental.
Funny thing is, when you’ve got a bike none of this sticks, they can’t touch you. Be born again soon.