The Cusp of Antithesis

Once again I find I’ve lived long enough to become what I previously despised.

I’ve got my new bike as a toy. My main mode of transport is my pushbike, the motorbike is just for having fun. For going fast into corners, leaning right over. It follows, therefore, that I want optimum riding conditions. If it’s raining, and when it gets around to snow and ice, there would be no point in taking it out.

I’ve become a Fair Weather Biker! The shame!

I’ve also realised that the loud “race” (exhaust) pipes are exactly that. For racing. I’ve always loathed the numpties who have hideous screaming pipes, thinking it was ‘look at me, look at me!’, noise for noises sake. It’s not. With no baffles the exhaust gases blow out the back in the most efficient manner possible, allowing the engine to perform to it’s maximum capacity. Yes, it’s totally anti-socially loud, but that’s the by-product, not the goal.

I’m still in two minds about the latter, to be honest. I don’t need the extra few horse power, and I don’t like the racket. I might put the legal baffle back in. It’s a compromise. Not the strangled and heavy original exhaust, but not the ear ringing race can that it’s running now. If I put it back in I’ll have to take it to the Triumph garage to have the engine mapping (fuel computer) reset.

Another thing I’ve never realised, being a year round, mode of transport, biker is how much you can specialise your kit if you’re a Fair Weather. I won’t be thrashing around in the snow or rain, it’ll be mostly bone dry, warm days. Up until a few days ago I thought that meant you had to sweat buckets in your leathers. It always has in the past. Nope. That what race leathers are for. Really safe in case of crashes, but with vents and such to keep you cool. All my kit is for trying to stave off hypothermia in winter.

I’ve treated myself to a new set of leathers. I was vacillating over many options. A cheap set that had been crashed and had bust bits, other second hand stuff, or new. I was nearly swayed to buying this:

It’s a second hand set of trousers and jacket, by a good make, branded Triumph. I looked and the sizing is wrong on the trousers. I’m too short. On normal trousers you can just chop the bottom off, but bike trousers have knee armour and knee sliders so you can prop the bike up on your knee if you go in to corners really hot. This was what stopped me from getting second hand in the end, I need short leg, in a world of freakishly tall people.

I was tempted by the brand buy-in. Look at me, I’ve got a Triumph. (Sad.) Which is why every single item a Harley rider owns has the words Harley and Davidson on it. The other thing is they are old leathers, and he wanted £400 for them. You can get a brand new set of trousers and jacket for less.

I had already ordered some short leg trousers by a quality, cheap (er) brand (RST).

I primarily wanted them for the knee sliders. I’ve got leather jeans, but you don’t want to stick your knee out and risk going too low if you’ve not got the the sliders. Now I can slowly work up to the bike’s phenomenal handling potential. Next year, when I’m used to the handling, I want to do some track days. You can book lessons on a race track. An ex racer teaches you the theory, then takes you round and shows you the racing lines, braking points, etc.

I wanted to do this years ago, but one of the rules was you had to have either a one piece leather suit, or leather trousers and jacket that zip together all the way round, effectively a one piece suit. At the time I wasn’t willing to pay for new leathers just for that. Now I’ve got a brilliant bike, that’s sole purpose it to go fast around corners, and I’m upgrading my kit anyway, I might as well. I got the short leg RST trousers. After much vacillation, -should I get second hand, or Triumph full set, or get new- I plumped for a new RST jacket.

The beauty of keeping it a single brand is 1: RST are about the best bang for buck brand, and 2: the trousers and jacket have corresponding zips, so I’m good for track days (and 3: the set of brand new, properly fitting kit, is still cheaper than the 10 year old Triumph set).

As you can see, there is a shedload of armour in the jacket. It even has a spine saving hump on the back.

It’s perforated to keep you cool, and by the look of it, if you tire of motorcycling you can always turn to American football.

So that’s me a happy bunny.

Some other good news is that some guy wanted to buy my bike. He’d just passed his test. His first bike then is a 1000cc with enough grunt to pull your arms out of their sockets. Good luck with that, lad. Who am I to argue? Give me the money and be on your jolly way. This meant I could go into the bank today and pay off the loan I got out for my new bike. It said on my ‘phone banking app that if I paid it off in 30 days I wouldn’t have any charges. They still charged me £120. For a couple of days loan. Ho hum. It’s still a lot better than the £750+ they were going to charge if we’d kept the loan. And the agency are giving me work every day I say I’m available (6/ 5, legal max) and sending out begging texts to try to cover several days a week. So we don’t have to worry about me buying leathers, which is really nice.

I didn’t do Endure 24 today, because of reasons, so I was looking forward to the 4 days I’ve booked off (2 days rest, 2 holiday), nipping out on the bike to have motorcycley fun, going out with Wendy, etc. It’s set to chuck it down the whole time. Super. Supposed to be thunderstorms today, but not so far.

As I was focusing on Endure 24, the only runs I’ve done in the last month are two 50K’s and a marathon. Go long, wreck my foot, rest and heal. Terrible way to train. The consequence is I put a pair of jeans on tonight and they are really uncomfortable because my gut has grown so much. Tomorrow I stop being lazy and get back to it. As many shorter runs per week as I can fit in around work. The lorry driver physique is catching up with me.

It’s all about regrouping and getting back into good habits tomorrow. As soon as I get up I’ll get a run, then start on my sax practice while Wendy’s at church. There is supposed to be a dry hour in the afternoon, but it depends on if the roads dry out. If so, I can squeeze in a short blast. Also I have to start back on my Duolingo (language learning app.) I’ve lost my streak so I’ve skipped two days. I need to do a little bit each day and keep chipping away at it.

Right, to bed. I had a 12 hours 50 shift yesterday, running to London on a Friday afternoon (total nightmare) and didn’t get to bed until 01.30, I was a awake for half an hour in the night, and still ended up getting up at 08.00. I’m a bit tired, me.