Down but not out

Rain, rain and yet more rain coupled with black skies. “What are you complaining about” one wag asked, “It’s April you expect rain”. I will concede that it is indeed April and yes I expect the odd shower or two here and there. What I really expect is there to be Bluebirds, Swifts and Swallows all flying carelessly through the Skies. I expect to hear the sound of the Cuckoo in the far distance and gaze in awe at pretty rainbows on the horizon as warm gentle light spring showers cascade through the suns rays. I expect to see postmen in short trousers whistling as they deliver the mail, full of the joys of spring. I do not expect torrential rain, endless grey skies and waterlogged earth too soggy to walk upon.

It is because of this that I am going travelling in search of pastures new. It made logical sense to me that it would be easier to inspect large areas properly if I had my own transport rather than relying on public transport and much cheaper than car hire for prolonged exploration. It crossed my mind to take my own car into Europe but the thought of using a right hand drive vehicle in a mainly left hand continent filed me with dread. I hate driving at the best of times. In a flash of inspiration it hit me, buy a new motorcycle. There will be no problems with left or right hand drive. And so it was that after days spent on the Internet reviewing and comparing motorcycles and a good few hours or so talking to other bikers, I narrowed the choice of machine down to two models. The Honda Transalp or the BMW RG650S.

Both are touring machines and should be more than capable of going for miles along good tarmac and adept at handling off road and green lanes. Now I have not ridden a motorbike for almost 15 years but I still have a valid licence and my enthusiasm for opening a throttle and watching the tarmac whiz by is as strong as ever. Feeling full of youthful optimism I walked into a bike dealers and explained what I wanted and why and he showed me a few different models. Motorbikes have certainly changed a lot in the last 15 years. They certainly do not look like any thing I ever owned or rode in my youth. Undeterred I confidently strode to one particular model just to get the feel of the machine and promptly swung my leg over the saddle. It was at this point that I realised that things were not going to go as smoothly as my research indicated.

Firstly my leg did not want to go over the top of the saddle and when it did I thought I had put my hip out of joint. It went downhill from there. Bikes these days are generally bigger than they used to be in my day and my feet would not even touch the ground when I eventually hauled myself into the saddle. This would be a problem when you stopped the bike at lights or other such places. I realised that even if I managed to lower the seat, a top box on the back of the bike would merely increase the height I had to clear. As Bean counter is actually a midget in high heels the only way she could possibly get onto the back of this bike would be with the aid of a step ladder.

The bike is not out of the question but perhaps the model is. One thing is certain, my youth has gone the same way as my old motorbikes, however I may be down but I am most certainly not out.

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