Tag Archives: motorcycling

Tooty’s Re-appraisal

Whilst out walking recently, I discovered a location that gave me a previously unseen perspective on a section of road that I’ve travelled many times upon a motorcycle since the first time in 1973 aboard my dinky little (and dog-slow) Honda SS50Z. I took a photo of it…

Back in the day, when driven quickly, this was a section of road that could be quite challenging. As the decades have progressed it has become more so. In fact it now has a reputation for being an accident black-spot. Oddly it is easier to negotiate it faster on a motorcycle than in a car. Car drivers, it seems (judging from marks left behind on the bank of the preceding downhill adverse-cambered corner [right of picture] ), lose the rear end in a slide; hit the bank; and are catapaulted across the road – usually to crash into a drainage ditch (or through the hedgerow) just before the gate in the picture. Despite an uneven surface that includes ripples, cracks, potholes, and surface repairs, motorcycles move swiftly without incident (unless they meet an unexpected horse / cyclist / tractor / hedge trimmer of course). Although I must consider myself advancing in years, I still enjoy a quick squirt along this stretch. In fact I wind my Yamaha YBR125 flat out in top gear, which requires some serious leaning to stay on the apex. This is called fun. But then I looked at a second picture…

…and thought: “Flipping heck, there isn’t a whole bunch of room for error! Maybe flat out in top isn’t a good idea – even on a diddy bike like mine: a rider could travel quite a distance through the air at 60 mph.” So, dear reader, you can rest easy in the knowledge that, from now on, the world’s pre-eminent author of earplug stories will take it a little easier. If a bigger bike passes me, I’ll just let it go. Aah…such maturity.

Oh, Tooty: What Have You Done?

Back in the mists of time – or 2001 as it was known then – I won a competition. Actually I won two competions in the same magazine at the same time. One prize was used over and over until I was sick of it. It was a computer game, which I (much) later gave away to charity. The other prize has never been used. But so enamoured with it was I that I kept it and took it with me wherever I lived – where it simply took up space, and in one case went slightly mouldy. It was a genuine Kawasaki motorcycle jacket. Now bear in mind that I had given up motorcycling two years previously, and had promised my wife that those two-wheeled days were in the past. And they were. But I couldn’t let that jacket go. Then today a four-wheel drive Mitsubishi arrived outside my house. It was pulling a trailer. And upon that trailer….

Here’s a clue to the identity of the item that was on the trailer…

Now I finally get to use that jacket. It now has a purpose. It is no longer a waste of space. But I didn’t buy a Kawasaki. Of course I didn’t. I was once (long ago) known as The Yamaha Kid, you know. I couldn’t let the side down, now – could I! Now all I have to do is remember how to ride my Yamaha. It’s been a while. I don’t think muscle memory is gonna cut it this time. As my daughter put it to me: “I was seven when you crashed your yellow bike.” (the day I quit) “Now I’m twenty-eight!”

This is going to be horrible.  I can imagine my wife looking down at me from wherever she is now. “Oh, Tooty,” she’ll say, “what have you done? You silly old bugger.”