Saturday, July 16
by Andy on Sat 16 Jul 2011 12:16 BST
It's been a while since my last posting, but that's not because of a lack of biking in my life - quite the opposite, in fact.
I think I've mentioned before that I reduced my working hours (semi retired?!) in January, so now I work three days a week, and I have four days to fill with fun stuff. Obviously this means that my income has reduced too, but with Janet's business thriving, we get by just fine. For the first few months, as we sat through one of the coldest winters on record, the opportunities presented by this change were mainly confined to indoor pursuits, but then came spring ...
As my previous posting, the season started with the Ride of Respect, supporting our troops and troop welfare charities, and paying respects to the town of Wootton Bassett, and its contribution to all of the repatriations of fallen troops.
The RoR got the season off to a good start, and through the months since, we've really enjoyed our biking. Typically, where we're not limited by event schedules, we try to get away on the bikes midweek, and return on Friday, so the roads are relatively clear of tourist traffic, and likewise the destinations have room(s) to spare too.
So, after a return visit to Wootton Bassett, we headed to Tideswell for a week. Although the weather wasn't good, we still had a great biking week. Then we took a weekend in Poole, including a visit to the Tank Museum, when the weather was glorious.
This week, we headed to the Royal International Air Tattoo, at Fairford in Gloucestershire. We haven't been there for a few years, since we last went with Lee, our good friend from the USA. The crowds at weekends are infamous, and so with the opportunity of a couple of sunny days before the weather forecast deteriorated later in the event, we headed up to Gloucester for the night, then made an early start and had a full day at RIAT.
The Thursday of the event is one of the days when aircraft are arriving, and pilots are rehearsing their displays. We parked the bikes on the apron at the western end of the runway, and spent the day in a near-empty crowd area, enjoying the occasion and the summer sunshine, relaxing and taking pictures. The ride home was fast and fun.
In the six months or so that I've owned the Speed Triple, I've done around 2200 miles on it. Not a high mileage by the standards of some seasoned tourist types, but it's probably the most mileage in a short period that I've done in many years. I find the bike comfortable, fast, and easy to ride on British roads, where engine midrange, rather than outright speed, is the main concern (not that it's lacking in outright speed either!). I've really enjoyed riding this bike, and seriously think that, after several years of changing bikes regularly, this one is a "keeper".
The only slight drawbacks compared with, say, the CBF1000 that I traded for it, are lack of luggage space (though that was pretty obvious when I bought it, given the lack of a top box and panniers!), and the slight odour of exhaust that it leaves on whatever luggage can be secured to the rear seat (or to the rider's back). This seems to be a problem that affects some bikes with high level exhausts, and the way I deal with it is to use cheap luggage (which I can throw away after a few uses!), and to wrap the contents in plastic carrier bags (something we always do anyway, to protect against rain penetration). Like I say though, the odour is slight, and we've had worse, on a bike without a catalytic converter fitted. And these are pretty minor gripes, on what I'm finding to be a really great bike.
We've got more biking events planned for the summer, though we'll probably ease back a little over the next few weeks, as the schools break up for their hols, with the traffic turning major roads into car parks!
It's funny though really, being a biker in the UK - two recurring themes keep arising, don't they. The weather and the traffic!