Fail. So much fail.

I did that 20 mile run last weekend. That was quite good. In the teeth of the gales that were battering us I went out and tried to run 20 miles at a good pace. I wanted 7.30, but the wind was atrocious, so I settled for keeping it under 8 m/m.

So that was a good effort. Then nothing. Work are still battering me with hours, then Luke, Wendy’s son, had a really evil bug, he was bored with being ill on his own so came around and gave it to me and Wendy. Super. Wendy’s been off work, rough as a rat’s arse, since Tuesday, I’ve just been feeling week and horrible. I had a patch, lay in bed last night, where I thought that I was actually OK, and could probably manage a run. I got up this morning grotty again. I’m missing valuable training and I’ve got the Manc marathon in a fortnight. I don’t have the time to be ill.

However, I thought I’d make the most of my down time by finally selling my kit. I put it off, not because I want to keep the kit, but because of all the hassle trying to sell stuff.

I decided to put my FireBlade up for sale as it’s ridiculously fast and it’s only a matter of time before I get caught and banned. Losing my license costs me my job. I can’t risk it.

I put it on Gumtree for £2,800, a fair price, I got it cheap at £3,000 (or was it £3,100? I forget.) I said “This is the price I want for it. If you want to haggle imagine I put it up for £3K and you’ve beaten me down.”

I put it on eBay at the same time, for £2,500 opening bid on the auction, or £2,800 “buy it now”. Amazingly, before I’d had chance to be bombarded by questions and scams, someone bought it.  Within 2 hours!

I took the advert down off Gumtree prompting one of the Gumtree denizens to text me, “I’ve got £1,800 for the FireBlade now”

That is more the calibre of abuse I was expecting.

I’ve checked the buyer’s feedback, he’s been on eBay for 9 years, 100% positive feedback, lots of “Paid full amount. No hassle. Great eBayer.”

I think it’s a done deal. That was easy.

Also I’ve decided to sell my saxes. The thing is, truth be told, I’m crap. I just can’t do it. While I have saxes about the place I’m always tempted to go back and try again. I really want to be able to play, but I just can’t. I can’t get the hang of counting time. Without that it’s all meaningless. Even typing that has made me think I should give it one more go. NO! Focus on triathlon!

I listed them yesterday. Within hours I got an email about the soprano. The guy came around tonight, played it like I would never be able, and paid me the full amount. I was happy to get shut, and his playing convinced me I was right to quit, but so gutted. It sounded like a different instrument. It sounded tuneful and lovely. It sounded like a duck being poked with an electric cattle prod when I was blowing.

Positives. Sold it hassle free. It was the right thing to do.

Also, I’ve been struggling with my other bike, the ratty old VFR750 I use for winter. Since I crashed it I’ve had nothing but problems. The fairing was smashed, I got an aftermarket replacement.


Then I had to spray it up. Then fit all the clocks and lights and such. Put it back on only to discover the frame that holds that bit of the fairing was badly bent and the clock mounts were all snapped.


I got a second hand subframe and a cheap set of clocks, stripped the clocks and assembled one good set out of the two. Then I realised it was only running on 3 cylinders. I changed the plugs, air filter and sprayed carb cleaner into the carbs. Still not having it. Yesterday I had to take the tank, air filter housing, and the whole of the carbs off to get at the jets.


One was blocked. I cleaned it, reassembled the bike, and balanced the carbs. It works! Finally, I’m getting there!

Also I had to reattach the hugger and take up the tension in the chain.

Lucky I had set my mind to doing it, as I realised afterwards the MOT is due in two weeks. The last three obvious faults are the exhaust is blowing badly. That’s just a joint that come undone. It’s just a matter of tightening three bolts, but they are inaccessible to a normal spanner or socket set. I’ve ordered some long reach sockets. That should be an easy fix. The rev counter works intermittently. I don’t think it’s an MOT fail and I’m not that bothered. I’ll wait until I have to take the fairing off for some other job, then do it. The third job is minor again. The holes in the top of the replacement fairing don’t line up with the screw holes in the frame. I need to drill two holes in the fairing and screw it on properly.

I’ll book it in for an MOT for next Friday and see how it goes. If it passes, or it’s quite cheap/ easy to fix, I’ll keep it. I took it for a spin to test it after I’d done the carbs, it’s quite lively when you open it up. It seem it likes running on 4 cylinders. Who knew?

If it’s going to be expensive or major hassle I’ll sell it. It’s been irritating me ever since I crashed. If only there were some sort of lesson to be learned.

I was talking to a New Zealand biker on Twitter who’s just bought a Harley Davidson and I started really hankering for a HD.

On the one hand they are ideal: Slow, cool, sound great, and are fun. On the other they are massively expensive for what they are, thief magnets, and would lose all their prettiness and a lot of their value after one winter of English salted roads.

I was searching eBay and Gumtree for one anyway. Stupid money. £4k upwards. £5K for something half desirable.

No then.

But then I was thinking along those lines. A naked (no fairing to protect you from the wind and weather), slow, nice, fun bike. That would tick all my boxes. I could use it all year round, I wouldn’t need to insure and tax two bikes, and it would protect my license. (Wendy, and lots of others, say ‘it’s up to you how fast you go’, but when you nip a few hundred yards, between a roundabout and a bridge, overtaking 3 cars, look down and you are doing 104, without even trying, that’s too damn fast to retain a license.)

I was looking at “best cheap, used bikes” when I came across something I’ve read about before. The Suzuki SV650, naked.


OK, I’ll own it’s not best pretty. And the V twin engine leaves the front pot right in the way of road grit and abrasion. But it ticks every box. Nippy, fun, handles really well (they’ve set up a category of racing around this bike) has a slow top end (123 mph) that is supposed to be a bit buzzy and unpleasant, and is naked.

In other words you could ride it as a practical workhorse or for distance, have fun chucking it into corners and have to really work to lose your license. You would have to thrash it a bit to go over the ton (automatic ban). On the Fireblade that’s barely out of second gear (of 6).

That exact bike in the picture is currently for sale in Warrington for £2,100. 10K miles. Immaculate, fully original condition.

If the VFR750 doesn’t start working sharpish, that’s what I’m looking at.

Super. Just realised, it’s 22.43 hours and I’ve just started feeling OK again. Marvellous.

Right. That can only mean it’s bedtime.