H-D Fat Bob vs. Norfolk

Here’s a bike known in Harley circles as the FXDMLF (the MLF standing for mid-life crisis). Delusional moron Mark Graham rides to Norfolk. Photographs by Sarah

Click to read: Harley Davidson FXDF Fat Bob owners reviews, Harley Davidson FXDF Fat Bob specs and to see the Harley Davidson FXDF Fat Bob image gallery.

The phone rang. It was Sarah. “I’ve dropped my iPhone down the fucking toilet.” This was going to be a good trip – lost in Norfolk off the digital radar. There would be no ‘apps’, no google maps, no nuisance calls. Just the two of us, Fat Bob and the leafy glades.

There would be sunshine and frolics. The sea would give up its riches in the form of scallops, bream and bass. Ale and cider would flow, worldly cares would drift away, curling into the ether with campfire smoke. And that’s almost how it went. Almost.

The A149 (that’s what it’s called) runs along the top of the north Norfolk coast – a tortuous A that feels like a B – it’s not majestic or challenging, or any of those things a road might suppose to be to make anyone remotely interested in it. It is what it is.

It’s mostly thick with traffic, local and blown-in, going slow, stopping frequently, dithering self-consciously, chucking empty Benson packets into tended hedgerows, slithering, mewling, puking, crawling, and having a memorable holiday.

Not a road anyone should tackle on a motorbike. A road to be done with an entirely alternative means of transport – a Harley-Davidson. This trail goes from one place to another, with a few more places dotted in between big get-off points. And recently resurfaced with non-permanent adhesive and random stone chippings.

The big ridges in the middle of the road where those stone fragments were herded by four-wheel traffic would have been a bother on a decent bike. But on two tons of HAWG, two up with two tons of plastic bags and one cheap mobile phone between us, it was fine. And even if it weren’t, it would have been.

Fat Bob cut a swathe through the pebbles, showering the tonsured Hawthorn with spat stones. The emission-strangled 1594cc V-twin, on what looked suspiciously like 16-inch knobblies, didn’t eye a batlid. What a lump. Good for relaxing with. Nailed to the floor. Going nowhere. Except the campsite.

And here it be! Deserted. Hectares of prime arable land unpopulated save for a forlorn log surrounded by a couple of Jap-import MPVs, a generic 1980s scooter and what looked, from a respectable distance, like two lost geography teachers on the periphery of reality.

We fucked about with the tent. Made it harder than it had to be because the sun was still out and we didn’t  see the need to get military about things (yet).

Shot some pool in the local – until the table shat itself and failed to regurgitate the red balls. Got back to the arable pasture to find it had become a car showroom with tented features. Some wankers had even put up a  badminton court. We gave them some tea-bags because we overheard them bleating they didn’t have any. Did we get a word of thanks? Did we fuck. Small-minded? Us? Yes, we’d like to think so.

Anyway, you meet the nicest people on a Harley. We didn’t meet anyone we liked – except the farmer. Can’t remember his name.

The badminton players thanked us in the morning. The morning after the morning they received their free gift. Common courtesy? I ask you! And another thing… we swapped phone numbers with everyone on the campsite. But they probably gave us fake ones. Don’t go on this road. Or any road on that coast. Especially on a bike. Stay at home. Things aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Not in Norfolk leastways.

But we’ll be going back. One day. Soon. On a different road. On a different bike. In another world. We hope.