Complete Surprise.

There have been a few things going on lately. One of which is my growing realisation that I bought the wrong bike. I wanted a tourer, something to travel back and to to work on, something to ride to races and have enough space to stash my kit, something I could do all day rides on. I got one. My bike is the perfect beast for doing all of that. But it’s been sat under the bike cover for weeks. I cycle in to work as it’s less than 3 miles away and it’s quicker and less fuss than going on the motorbike. I went to the bottom of Wales to pick up my sax on it, and it just felt like work. Mile after mile of chugging along a motorway. And despite all the work I’ve done to sort the handling out, it’s still too big a bike to be throwing into corners for fun. And Wendy is never going on the back, so what is the point of a tourer? I’m never going to tour.

I expect you can see where this is going.

You’re right!

I was actually at the point of thinking maybe I should give up on motorbikes. But I’m giving it one last shot. I’ve decided to get the bike I was obsessing about, and nearly got, before I got this one. The Triumph Daytona 675 triple. It’s a slim (three cylinder), lightweight, sports bike. The selling points are the engine is more torque-y that the more usual inline 4 configuration, and it has sublime handling.

I had the same engine in the Street Triple, it was amazing, but totally wasted on a naked, sit-up-and-beg bike. Very pretty though.

Actually, that is gorgeous. Wow.

Anyway, since then I’ve fancied the Daytona. And now I’m getting one.


Wow and again wow.

It a 2009 model with 19,000 miles on the clock, full service history, and a grand cheaper than comparable bikes. The last makes me a bit nervous to be honest, but I’ve paid top dollar for a bike in the past, thinking it must be better, and I was basically had off. I’ve run the online checks, the mileage checks out, every MOT was a pass, only ever had two advisories (worn tyres and the shock losing some spring) . It looks immaculate. You never really know until you’ve run it for a bit, by which time it’s too late, but I can’t see anything wrong with it.

I’m picking it up on Monday. And, unheard of in the history of motorbike sales, it’s only 20 miles away! Woo-hoo!

The thing with the Daytona is it’s handling. It’s designed to be laid over in corners while giving it beans. It’s got zero luggage space, has an aggressive and not very comfortable riding position, and is in no way practical.

That’s the realisation I’ve had: I don’t need a motorbike as a practical tool anymore, but I want one as a fun toy.

Which brings me to work.

That’s the reason I no longer need a motorbike as a mode of transport. I’ve come to appreciate my job. Since Wendy said she was going on to half pay I’ve been trying to get the legal maximum of 5 shifts one week, 6 shifts the next. I’ve been at it for 3 weeks and so far I’ve only had one day I didn’t get any work. This is an agency job, it’s not the busy period, and I can smash full time hours whenever I ask for it. (So far.) It’s on my doorstep and they tell me my shifts a week in advance, with start and stop times. That is fantastic in any driving job, let alone agency. I’ve said it before, but at Bookers, which was the best driving job I’d had, you found out your next day’s shifts as you finished the current day, and half the time your run had changed by the time you got in in the morning. And you never, ever, knew what time you were finishing. I hated that. You’d get to nearly finishing time, think you were going home, then they’d give you another run. And there was always the suspicion that some other driver had refused to do it, so they were stitching you up. It was terrible. Some days I’m doing longer shifts now, 12 hours or whatever, but when you know in advance that’s the shift, you can get on with it. At first I didn’t like the job because sometimes I’d get sent out in a rigid, and there are some runs with several drops. Now I’m used to driving rigids I’m over my fear of them and actually don’t mind them. Also I’ve adjusted my mindset to the multiple drop days, I just get on with it now. The money is industry leading. The only other thing I had against it was the fact it was an agency job and I wanted the certainty of a full time gig. That’s still the case, but I reckon I could average more a year on the agency here, with some slack periods, than full time in virtually any other job.

I would never have left Bookers for an agency job, but it turns out it’s the best move I ever made. In short, I ain’t leaving. I still have an eye on Home Bargains, and I’ll compare if ever a job arises, but I just don’t see how it could match this one. In an ideal world the Royal Mail would take me on full time, but if I can get full time hours whenever I need them, it’s not so different.

Now we just need Wendy back to fighting fit and all will be well. She’s been on to the doctor, a different one who seemed to actually care, and they said she was on too low a dose, and her other pills can cause acute anxiety. Well, that’s super.

They’ve upped her dose again, after letting her suffer for the last 16 or so weeks, and hopefully she’ll start to see some improvement now. She’s been doing brave and stressful things to stop it getting any worse. She went to see her church chums for her birthday party. I’m assured it was just communion wine and all the male strippers were saved, so that’s alright.

Another surprise (as well as the motorbike) was a letter I received. My race number for a marathon on Sunday. WHAT? I thought I’d cancelled that when they moved the dates. I did, in point of fact. I was going to do it anyway. I went out for a test run last Sunday, did the 26.2 miles, but I was destroyed by the end. I was so done in. Stubbornness will get you a marathon, but it takes regular training to make it a fast one that isn’t pure hell. I did it in 4 hours 9 minutes. I was so done in afterwards I had to go to bed for a bit to recover. I was still going to do the marathon, but then I looked into it, it’s in Milton Keynes. 3 hours ride away. So I’d have to get up for 03.00 to get there. The final straw was when I noticed my finish time on Saturday: 22.55. At best asleep for midnight, 3 hours sleep, ride 3 hours, kill myself on a sub 4 hour marathon, then ride back for 3 hours in a total state. Nah. That’s stupid even by my standards. I’ll save my hoof for the 24 hour race the weekend after. Sensible, me.

I got my sax back from the repair guy and he’s done a brilliant job. I’ve had to ‘modify’ (saw a bit out of) my brand new sax mute as it was fouling the keywork. Grrrrrr. Anyway, it works really well, the sax in the mute is about as loud as the clarinet, which is not at all offensive. I’ve not actually had any time to play, with work and such, but I’m all set up for when I rest my hoof until it heals at the end of the season.

I’ll have to get some pictures of the garden. I’ve put a bunch of plants in. The shade area is going to be sorted when it all grows in. And I have plans for a cottage garden down the bottom.

Right, that’s enough rambling. Bed.