“Me” time

I got a bit bored with the duck theme and thought the site could do with a bit of a makeover. I’ve gone back to the original theme, but let me know if you want your duck back. LOL. I felt we’d got a bit stale, so I thought I’d start this year’s riding season with a blog entry. But don’t feel obliged to follow suit. Some ride reports would be nice, but feel free to keep things going with the odd joke, or anything else really …

After a couple of months of nursing and housekeeping for mum, I was, in John’s words, becoming a “right moody bint”! I certainly felt overdue for some “me” time, so John and I caught an early ferry over to the mainland and went for a bike ride. The excuse, as if I needed one, was that we needed to flick the duster over our London house and collect the post. John generally goes up once a week, but our joint absence gave Mum the opportunity to “manage” on her own for the day for the first time in nine months. Anyway, I had booked a test ride …

Since our last American trip, John has been on about buying a Triumph Thunderbird for the next one. The Thunderbird does nothing for me, and John knows it. But he is determined to “buy British” and I suppose I ought to salute his patriotism – even if it does mean another trip punctuated with detours to uncooperative Triumph dealers. Talking to Willie over Skype a few weeks back, I said if John went ahead and bought a Triumph cruiser, I would be tempted to buy a well-known American marque.  I could then be sure of finding a dealer when I (inevitably) needed one and it would, after all these years, make sense of all those T-shirts! Willie didn’t take me seriously and, to be fair, I was half joking. But, as luck would have it, a couple of days later my copy of Bike Magazine dropped through the letter box … with a full page ad encouraging folks to test ride a Harley. Must be fate, me thinks. So I entered my vital statistics(!) on the Harley site and let it choose a suitable bike for me. And that, my friends, is how I ended up riding a Road King Classic … amongst other things.

The dealer is located in Guildford, so we were close to both highway and some really lovely country roads … and the weather was gorgeous. I only had the Road King for an hour, but I discovered plenty that I wouldn’t have guessed by looking at it – not all of it, I have to say, good. The bike got some admiring glances out on the A3 … and I got some bemused ones. Luckily, at 80mph (I didn’t know Harleys went that fast LOL), I didn’t have time to explain that the bike wasn’t mine. Like the Queen, simply smile and wave, smile and wave … Then again, if I’d thought about all those leafy lanes and picturesque Surrey villages, I probably wouldn’t have booked the ride at all. The first junction we came across was a mini-roundabout. Eek! Mercifully, the bike turned out to be a lot nimbler than the supertanker I had feared it might be. Suffice to say, I delivered the bike back to the dealer unblemished, with a numb butt and a very big grin on my face. May be, just may be …

Talking about our plans back at the showroom, John mentioned the Thunderbird (he couldn’t be tempted to try the Road King). All credit to him, the nerdy salesman (much more interested in promoting his own custom bikes than selling a stock model) directed us down the road to Bramley, where there is a very amenable Triumph dealer. And that, my friends, is how I ended up riding a 2300cc (140 in³) Rocket III!

I’m glad I pushed John into riding the Thunderbird. It was such a nice day and we were having fun. We rocked up at the Triumph dealer on spec and asked if he happened to have a Thunderbird demo that we could test.

He did, and we could.

Parked next to the Thunderbird, there was a Rocket III. “Now that’s a cool bike”, I said, “why not go for one of those.” “Too big”, said John, “and for France we would have to detune it to 106 bhp.” “Shame”, says I, “sounds plenty to me.” Seeing that John wasn’t interested in the Rocket, the salesman asked if I’d like to take it out. Is the Pope a catholic?! (On second thoughts, please don’t answer that. But you know what I mean.)

In the end, I rode both the Rocket and the Thunderbird, but I’ll stick with my opinion that the Rocket is a better bike. Mad, of course. But better. The (non-stock) gel seat and riding position were more comfortable for me than the Road King. My only quibble was that it felt heavy on the roundabouts (we have lots of “circles” in England), which seemed odd for something so powerful. Surprisingly, the Road King handled better. I wondered whether the tyre pressures weren’t a little low. The only thing I could compare the Rocket with was Doug’s Valkyrie, and there really isn’t much similarity. I remember the Honda as being much lighter and easier to ride. Even so, I think John may be a convert. We both agreed that, while the Thunderbird was more stable at slow speeds, it seemed a bit light at the front end. Odd. Skittish almost.

It is all rather academic anyway as, until we sell our London house, we can’t afford to buy anything. The dealers didn’t seem to mind, though we conveniently forgot to tell them that we would likely buy our next bikes in the States.

9 thoughts on ““Me” time”

  1. A Harley, eh? Wow, are you listening, Chris? And the new ones will do 80 mph!? Mine won’t — at least not while you’re sleeping at the handlebars. LOL. A word of advice though: don’t have the oil changed at any dealerships in Canada. Just ask Jim.

    Chris and I are planning a trip to Alabama to see Windcloud in a couple of weeks. Hope it warms up some before then. The weather here in Michigan has been sunny, but a bit too cool to really enjoy riding for long periods of time. I’ll have Chris write reports as we ride. (He’s bringing his laptop.)

    I had a note from Lew Bellinger that Doug Kenyon is putting together some sort of pictorial memorial for those of our “66” friends whom we’ve lost. So if you have digital pictures of Ed York (I think he has several, but if you have a special one …), Mike Kelm, or Kirk Woodward (these are the really rare ones), we are encouraged to send them to Doug.

    Ta ta,

    — john

  2. I was surprised how much I enjoyed the ride – especially around the little country lanes! John laughed when we got back to the dealer, as there were things that I would change right away … the seat (ouch!), the boards (probably work great for guys with size 9 feet, but not so great for me with my size 5’s – I think I’d do better with pegs), the luggage, the screen … I am sure I could clock up two or three grand’s worth of accessories without trying LOL!!!

    Sent Doug a copy of a picture of Kirk with me, John and Pat, from 2001.

    Enjoy Alabama and send our best to Windcloud.

  3. Half the fun of owning a motorcycle (well, a Harley anyway) is making changes! I’ve never ridden a Road King, but I’ve always been reasonably happy with the stock seat on my Ultra Classic. Maybe I’m just too dumb to realize that there is something much more comfortable out there. Both Willie and Jim have been pretty happy with a $20 gel seat “add on” that (I think) they picked up at a Walmart.

    And of course we will be honored to carry your greetings to Windcloud. He is always genuinely delighted to hear from his Route 66 friends.

    — john

  4. ” I CAN HARLEY HER MY GOLDWING RUN” what’s wrong with you people?? and I can’t harley believe, the Brigid going American. If Queen Elizabeth hears about this you may be extridited out of the country, banned to the USA forever. PITY .
    I was growing fond of the accent. At least John is patriotic. (and no jokes why am I not riding a Ducati)
    Yours Truly (honda boy)
    chris sanfilippo

  5. A Ducati?? What’s that? Oh, wait; I remember — that’s the one that sounds like it’s got a flat tire: “wop, wop, wop, wop, …” LOL.

  6. Chris, hadn’t you heard? We have left the country! (Or, at least, we will do as soon as our London house sells.) And I’m not sure about John being patriotic, as his Irish passport arrived this morning. So you can’t even call us “the Brits” any more as there is only one of me!

  7. Humph, “can’t even call us “the Brits” any more”? I am still British, I also happen to be Irish. Dual nationality is great, you get the best of both – Irish Guiness and British Triumphs, what can be better LOL. Oh and as for leaving the country, will the last one to leave please turn the light out!

  8. ths is the BLOGGER we aare in the centre of the Unirse Piqua Ohio just got in and chris Willcox is meeting us for supper, (because Greg papa is lost out there with Poorboy) Brigid I hate blooging so we just add on as we go. over and out
    chris

  9. Bridgid I wrote a 2 paraagraph blog and Stoughton is a witness, when I pressed submit it went into never never land. where is it? Today we rode to the real centre of the Universe, where Windcloud lives BF Alabama, and the highlite was his neighbour Ed. Stoughton brought the Michigan weather (it’s Fecken Raining) Stoughton says Willie sent that Fecken Irish shit here.
    sanfilippo here from red neck alabama

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