Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Fear and Loathing in St Reathham

The air was cold, not as cold as a few weeks ago with the snow and biting wind, but still cold enough to add a bite to my lungs, especially after the warm air from the central heating, I had been using the tube to get to work in Kings Cross but I hate the tube and most of the people who use it.

I manoeuvred the bike backwards out if the front drive and started to warm her up, her being my ratted out ZZR1100, 20 years old and nearly 50k on the clock but still going well, she needs a new exhaust at present as there is a little hole in the collector... well when I say little, its about 2 inches across, so, a tad noisy then, but sounds great!

Feeling like I had half my wardrobe wrapped around my body, I climbed on and eased out the clutch, by the time I had gone half a mile I was cold, but feeling good, for the first time in ages the roads were clear and dry, ok some big potholes had appeared after all that snow and freezing, thawing and freezing again, but I could deal with that, or so I thought.

I started getting a move on once the tyres had warmed up, I have some mid-ranged priced tyres that were a bargain from FWR in South London (plug plug), and warming them up before you gun it is pretty essential, after a few miles the tyres were working and I was enjoying a bit of bend swinging and extreme filtering, getting up to Streatham I reached the bend by the church and found the road empty, I have never seen it this empty, so gunned the bike in second and held it as I passed the apex of the bend, I was quite a way over on the bike when the front suddenly went light, as I watched the front started to come up higher and higher and this while leaned over at about 45 degrees, the throttle just would not close, then it did, much quicker than I wanted and threw the front back at the ground, I blipped the throttle whilst slipping the clutch, to try and get control without losing traction or power at the back wheel. As the front end dropped back onto the road I saw with horror a pothole about 3-4 inches deep, right where the front wheel was heading for, there was nothing I could do, the crunch as it hit jerked my whole body, the front wheel bounced into the air again as I tried to wrestle back control, without the front wheel on the ground I was using my body weight to control the crazily bucking bike. As I threw my weight over to lift the back of the bike, the back wheel hit the pothole and tried to go in the opposite direction, I got a glimpse of people standing at the bus stop as I careered towards them, I think they thought they were going to die, I leaned forward hard and the front tyre bit into the road, then started a tank slapper that threatened to rip out my arms, I blipped the throttle to get the wheel off the ground again so I could straighten the bars without fighting against the weight of the bike. This worked, I eased off on the throttle and dabbed the back brake which brought the front end back down under my control and the bike settled down again.

I pulled over and found I had been holding my breath, I let in out in long drawn out sigh, then as I composed myself, a Jamaican with phenomenal dreads wandered over and said "Mon, you's going to need new underwear now!" before walking away with a big grin, and do you know, he was right!