Sunday, 31 October 2010

Fall back

This week marked the end of British summer time as the clocks went back one hour, representing for some an extra hour in bed. The practice of changing our clocks back in autumn and forward in spring dates back to 1916 at the suggestion of William Willet, an English builder and tireless promoter of British Summer Time.

This week also marked the farewell to Trigger, my trusty steed, the Suzuki Intruder motorcycle.

I only took possession of the bike in February 2009 but for a number of months now I have considered selling it, mainly because I wasn’t riding it and it is definitely a machine that should be ridden. The summer had not lived up to its title and high winds combined with rain virtually every day meant the bike remained in it’s garage.

At the end of my Scottish west coast tour in July 2009, as you will know from my daily travel blog at the time, I crashed the machine in the town of Stonehaven. I recall at the time being surprised at the extent of damage resulting from the 5mph crash, and wondered what would have happened at ten times that speed! That thought never really left my head.

But I couldn’t decide. Then a few weeks ago an opportunity arose for a new travel adventure next summer. This raised two questions: how to fund it and what to do with the motorbike while I would be away. At the end of October it always goes into winter storage until April, but next May I would be beginning this new adventure and by the time of my return we would be once again on the cusp of winter. Therefore the bike was about to be stored for over a year and a half, dropping its value dramatically.

So decision made. Adventure funding raised and bike now in the hands of someone who will appreciate and ride it. But it was still a wrench. Friends were mostly supportive and understood what the bike meant to me and how difficult it was to let it go. It is after all, just a machine and at the end of the day it was my decision. Nevertheless, it was sad to see it drive away.

I’m sure you are asking the question: what is this new adventure next summer I speak of? For that, you will have to wait until nearer the time.

Trigger and I parted on Thursday just gone and today I was out in glorious autumn sunshine on my pedal powered bike. It was a joy to be passing underneath canopies of red, orange and yellow leaves as I powered along the cycle path called the Innocent Railway. The air was cool and fresh and there was a faint scent in the air of damp decaying leaves, a very recognisable autumnal smell. I changed my normal route and cycled round the lower road of Arthurs Seat, as on a Sunday the park is closed to motor vehicles. It was so beautiful. Blue sky above, not a breath of wind and everyone out enjoying a brisk walk, a smile on their faces. An early morning cycle has become my daily routine, mostly in order to improve and maintain my fitness, something that motorcycling does not do, but beautiful days like today make it very special.

I’m sure one day I’ll buy another motorbike, maybe even my dream machine of a Harley Davidson. I have enjoyed owning the bike, but for now Trigger has helped me achieve a new adventure.

Thanks Trigger.

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