Derek called. He wants to go "road trip" this weekend. We generally head off for West Wales, he lives near Manchester, I live in London, so we meet not far from Worcester and head of West. The roads are well paved, quiet and beautifully curvy. Ideal for biking. So it's a Saturday night stopover and then repeat the process in reverse on Sunday.
Here are some reasons why I should not go. I'm magnetic, I hit things. I once accelerated into a parked car at a T-junction, I thought it was going to turn left, I looked right and there was nothing coming so with 100 yards to go I dropped a gear and gunned the bike. I hit it with such force that I sailed over the car, the road, and into the field opposite. Like a startled superhero I emerged from the hole in the hedge, and apologised to the driver, and his girlfriend who was kissing him goodnight when I hurtled into them. They were very nice, and we all went to look over the hedge at the furrow I'd ploughed in the field.
One frosty morning I simply hit a patch of black ice. I wasn't going particularly quickly, it just happened, I did what every biker will understand, which is to try to get your leg out from under the bike before it lands on it's side, successfully, and we slid along quite sedately until the bike hit the kerb. I catapulted back off into the road, and was promptly run over by a 2CV. Strange, but I've noticed that 2CV's are usually driven by attractive women, hippy chic, but attractive. The car ran over my head, that is to say, the attractive young lady who was driving it saw me sliding, sans transport, towards her, down the white line and applied the brakes (which in a Citroen 2CV is the equivalent of trying to stop a revolving door with two slices of liver) - the car turned sideways and I slid underneath.
I heard the car door open and an incoherent wailing as the young lady discovered my legs sticking out from under the car. It was indeed very icy, and she fell over, clawed her way up the side of the car and instantly fell over again, shireking all the while. I'm afraid I got the giggles, you see my only problem was that my head was firmly wedged under her exhaust, to be honest I was probably in better shape than she was. Even so it occurred to me that my head was getting very warm, so the next time she fell down and my head was close enough to hers for me to make myself heard I asked her politely to switch the engine off. A couple of good natured chaps picked the car up in the end, just enough so that I could slide out.
At least I've learnt to dress for the occasion. A few years ago I had a little pose. Lady's day at Ascot is pure theatre, and I have to say I thought I looked rather dashing in my morning suit perched on top of my R1. The problem is that on the way home, fizzing down a country lane, I found two little old ladies reversing out of their driveway, in a Volvo estate, on a blind bend. I arrived in the back seat, without one of the arms and both trouser legs of the suit. I swear (really), that after a pregnant pause, one of the old ladies said: "oh dear, would you like a cup of tea". I said, "that's jolly decent of you, but could I have an ambulance please". I still keep in touch with the arresting officer.