I had taken the plunge, bitten the bullet and convinced myself that motor cycling couldn't have changed that much in 20 years, could it ? The long haired Colonel had given her consent, (no doubt swayed by my £350,000 life policy and the hopeful possibility that I would make a prat of myself in public). My shortlist had been whittled down to either a naked 500 or 600 machine from one of the big four. However, knowing that at 5'6" in height my choice of bike would be limited to those that were designed for normal people and not some freak of nature I was prepared to compromise further.
I had wanted a brightly coloured bike (can you say green) having vague recollections of blind or errant car drivers in the 80's and it also had to have a have a nice comfy rear seat, as one of my bargaining stances was that having a bike would enable us to spend more time together. After 18 years of marriage I could tell that she knew this was a blatant lie and that we were both aware it was to be another toy along the lines of the Plasma TV, a running machine and countless other (in her mind) unnecessary expenses.
A simple task, it had to be bright in colour, naked, fitted with a comfy pillion seat and be low enough so I could reach the floor. So how the heck did I end up with a dark blue CBR600 ? The salesman must have seen me coming. Mid 40's guy, no trade in, all limbs intact and no hint of a limp, yes I was a returning biker. The first time I sat astride the CBR it felt perfect, I was Kenny Roberts, Barry Sheene or even Mick Grant. I just had to have it and did so there and then. 4 days later I am riding a bike for the first time since 1982. My previous bike had been a T250 Hustler that had a penchant for burning holes in pistons and forever refusing to start, with a holed piston or not. This was so different, press the button and the engine fires up and continues to run ! I was impressed.
In the preceeding 20 years I had owned some of the quickest cars on the road, a 911 Turbo, an Audi UR Quattro and a brace of Porsche 928's to name a few, I was not a newcomer to quick modes of personal transport or so I thought. I was so wrong, the CBR600 accelerated and then accelerated some more, I was wearing a grin so wide my jaw ached. Of course the colonel wasn't impressed with my purchase but who cared, with a bike like this I could live alone and forget family life. With what was about to happen that scenario nearly became a reality in the months ahead.
I had a bike, a helmet and some summer gloves, now the spending started to take over, 2 piece leathers were next, then a couple of security chains and locks, a disk lock, a grab rail, a rucksack, some leather boots. I didn't have a garage at home so I proceeded to dig up part of the Victorian courtyard that my wife was so proud of and concreted a ground anchor in place. Next I fitted a security light that overlooked where I stored the bike, the first time the dog tripped the light it suffered temporary blindness, maybe 200 watts was a tad too much. By now I was obsessed with security and constantly worrying that some toe rag would steal my pride and joy. My wife and kids were constantly referring to the bike as "my precious" as taken from the movie lord of the rings.
There was only one solution to the security problem, I had to have a garage. The location was easy, right on top of the cherished Victorian courtyard. It would cause a few rows sure, but by now I wasn't acting rationally. Paying for it was easy too, simply use the savings put by for the
fitted wardrobes in my daughters and sons rooms. They would understand wouldn't they ?
1 month later I have a garage, precious has a home, my wife doesn't have a Victorian courtyard and the kids clothes are in piles on the floor. All that mattered was that precious was safe, well not safe enough obviously because I then fitted an alarm to the garage and another security light at the front of the house just to be on the safe side.
It's now around 3 years since I started biking again, I have spent over 10k and upset my nearest and dearest on many occasions with my obsession. Has it been worth it ? Of course it has, my 12 year old son is the coolest guy at his school now that he travels to school on the pillion and dad drops him off at the gate with his mini leathers on, my 18 year old daughter has a constant source of amusement and anecdotes related to her 40 something dad who wears leather, and my dear long suffering wife just takes it in her stride and knows that it will take over three years of good solid clothes shopping to even get near what I have spent on precious. I wish I hadn't left it so long.
In January of 2006 I upgraded to an R1 but have been unable to ride it for six months after an accident. I was in Holland walking in a wood at night and slipped and fell down an embankment detaching a tendon from my humerus.