The last 12 days in numbers:-
1133 miles ridden.
36 children prevented from falling into the river getting on or off punts, before and after singing songs about marine biology with a mermaid and an octopus.
15 bikers interviewed for RiDE.
8 events media managed.
4 pints of Boddingtons drunk.
3 football stadiums visited.
2 lovely house guests hosted for the Science Festival.
1 MOT passed.
Now I'm very very tired.
Thursday, 29 March 2012
The last 12 days in numbers:-
Tuesday, 27 March 2012
Tuesday, 20 March 2012
The Moos and I have been in Merseyside today. It is lovely to ride on roads that go up and down as well as along, though I am far too tired to enjoy them. Yesterday I rode the Cat and Fiddle, also known as "the road to my dad's house," at about 35mph. I am not really in the best of mental shape to be riding a bike but Hortense is still bolloxed. "Oh, a Deux Chevaux!" said Patrick, in the sushi bar. He is a proper Frenchman and remembers seeing 2CVs heading in convoy every year to Morocco for a Rally Raid. He does not want to buy her.
I digress. It is peculiar to be riding the roads I grew up on. I did not ride a bike when I lived here, I drove a long low and mean green Ford Capri. But this is the landscape which looks like landscapes should. I have lived in lots of places but there is always that slight dislocation. The flatlands have broad skies and beautiful wind-sculpted waves, but they do not have green fields edged by white metal fences, or semi-derilict mills, or the joyous sound of tyre on M6. Or lots and lots of cows. And trees. I do miss the trees.
Posted by Highwaylass at 20:38 PERMALINK
Friday, 16 March 2012
You know how it is. In the winter you get into your car in the dark, you go and do whatever thing it was that required a roof and 4 wheels instead of 2, you get home in the dark, and you go from the car to the kitchen, in the dark, tripping over the unfortunately-placed clump of ornamental black grass in front of the door, promising that you'll have another go at figuring out how to get the motion sensitive light to work, and feeling grateful for being mostly dry and slightly warm.
Then spring comes, and you start your car in the daylight to get it to its MOT.
And you realise that, absent some sort of stubby baked bean end pipe from the likes of Demon Tweeks, there really shouldn't be a cloud of exhaust emerging from halfway down the side of the car. And you realise that you might as well cancel the MOT again. And you decide to sell the high-maintenance bitch, because I could devote my life to tinkering with my car's undercarriage, but frankly I'd rather be riding my bike.
Monday, 12 March 2012
I take seriously Oscar Wilde's advice that a woman should never travel without her diary, for fear of lacking something scandalous to read on the train. I'm not as consistent as Rio, who I believe has written in her diary every day since childhood, but I have, erratically, kept writing since 1982. Don't worry, I'm not the strange kind of woman who reads through old notes for entertainment - I recognise the wisdom of recent advice that forms the title of this post. But I was looking for two reasons yesterday. I have a commission from Camping magazine, and they like to have memorabilia as well as photos, so I wanted to see what I had kept from my first foray into bike camping in 2004. In passing I was also interested to know what I'd written when I first met someone who started as a fellow London BMF member, turned into a colleague and is now a friend. It turns out that in 2002 we talked about Felix Dennis and the Oz trial. And bikes, of course.
Trying to stuff the box back on the shelf provides a vivid reminder that paper is, essentially, nothing more than a pile of wood shaved thin. I wonder if the weight of the pages is what we mean by baggage. This sort of thing is on my mind at the moment as I am halfway through losing a butt-load of weight. I put on 2 stone in a bad relationship and another stone in a crappy job. It is now coming off again but as it gives up the ghost I find myself suffering echoes of the stress and unhappiness that I had postponed with chocolate. Still, the benefits are worth the pain.
As well as learning that I spent far too much of my time stressed about work and trying to pretend that all was well in my domestic life, I found that I really, really loved my Triumph.
I rode her to the King Bill in Fenstaton yesterday to play some blues and to gossip about Bruce Springsteen with Tony Ginger, who knows more about Bruce than I know about Ayrton Senna and is training me up for the Hyde Park gig in July. Because I'm a lot thinner than I have been for years I dressed for the occasion in Gialis and my Crowtree leather jacket. And everything was perfect. For the last two years riding the Triumph has felt strange. Yesterday she felt like she did when I rode her home from On Yer Triumph in Tring - the perfect bike for me.
This seems very odd, but perhaps it is something to do with being the right size and in the right frame of mind. I bought Ruby because I wanted to ride like my IAM Observer (before he threw himself into the scenery. Twice.) And I bought 2Moos because I wanted to ride like Big Chief Polar Bear.
But all I really need to do is ride like myself. In a leather jacket that was made to fit me and skinny Italian kevlar jeans that are slightly too big. And all shall be well.
Posted by Highwaylass at 22:07 PERMALINK
Saturday, 10 March 2012
Early one morning last week I put the car up on bricks to grease the kingpins in the faint hope this might help us get through the MOT. It's a good job I did, because there it wouldn't have been the kingpins that caused a fail - it would have been the fact that there was a whopping big hole in the driveshaft rubber boot. On both sides. So I put her back down again and went to work.
Last weekend I had to write a feature so was very strong and left the tools in the garage. Today has been set aside for grease and spanners. Strangely it's the only big job on a 2CV I know how to do, because I've done it before, some time around 1995. Only on the one side, that time. I still have the Special Tool, which is a Ligarex Spanner (bloody good job too, I'd forgotten how much it was!). The other Special Tool was the lid off a bottle of Sure deodorent, which I recall was the only way to get a tight fitting rubber boot over a rather large driveshaft.
The whole job is very dubious, there's an awful lot of taking a firm but sensitive hold of shafts, covering them with lubricant and trying to stuff them into small spaces. The nuts holding the driveshaft flanges to the gearbox have been torqued up, the wings put back on and tools cleaned up and put away. A less vain woman would have paid someone else to do the work but this is my car and fixing her is my responsibility. And there's a great satisfaction to be had in it. All the nuts went back in sweetly - no crossthreading here - and I'm slowly clearing up the twenty years of grease and crap that have accumulated in Hortense's lower regions. It turns out that underneath that cultured exterior she is a bit of a dirty girl. But then again, aren't we all?
Saturday, 3 March 2012
I'm writing a feature on motorcycle camping this weekend so this morning's job has been looking though my photos to see if I've got any good ones that can be used by the magazine. If you'd asked me, I would have said with confidence that I've been a regular camper since I started doing the RBR in 2003.
According to my photos I camped in 2004, strapping one small bag on the back of the Triumph with Helen2Wheels tie-down straps, and then didn't go back under canvas for another 4 years until the 2008 Hayfield meet. How very strange.
I don't recognise the woman in the pictures either! I seem to have been a fan of massive t-shirts and big baggy trousers. I'm glad she's gone.
Posted by Highwaylass at 12:28 PERMALINK