Sunday, 26 April 2015

History repeating itself

On Thursday the boy passed his motorcycle CBT (compulsory basic training) - a very long day but it did mean that for once he was applying himself to something other than the Playstation controller. His determination to get mobile as soon as possible with the minimum of fuss, coupled with an enthusiasm for bikes that far outweighs his indifference to cars, has made it a logical decision for him to have a motorcycle even if both the wife and I have strong reservations about it due mainly to the injuries I sustained 18 months ago.
Yesterday saw me taking him to look at some bikes at a dealer in Chatteris, with the result that his new bike arrives this coming week, leaving the wife and I to sit biting our nails to the quick whenever he goes out, worrying that he might not come back.

Thinking about it, back when I was 19 it was my own parents that probably sat there fretting, and if I'm honest it was probably with good reason. I passed my bike test about a year after my car test, and the first thing I did was to take a short holiday with a mate involving a couple of days in Blackpool before trickling across to Llandudno via Liverpool, and back across the midlands with a stop in Coventry before heading home. Five days of glorious freedom with my accomplice riding his Yamaha RD350 and me riding a borrowed and somewhat modified BMW R100 with straight-through exhausts. This bugger was so loud that even when he was riding ahead of me on the M1 at a steady 80mph (errm... make that 70mph, officer), he could hear when I opened the throttle, and the noise it made when we rode through the Birkenhead tunnel was absolutely glorious.
After that little jaunt, my life was one of incessant hooliganism on a continuous stream of assorted motorcycles from piddly little fart-sticks to musclebound horizon-seeking missiles. There was the odd close shave, and I did temper my enthusiasm for pushing the limits when I became a father, but until 18 months ago I never had an injury, and when I did get taken out (when a bloke pulled out in front of me) it was as if the motorcycle gene was immediately switched off and I never wanted to even look at another bike.
Yesterday however, I did sit on the machine that the boy was interested in and somehow things started to stir. Sure this was just a wee 125, but it's kinda cool and looks a bit like an old Triumph Bonneville, and it crossed my mind that it would feel quite special to be able to ride with my son.

He's been riding pillion with me since he was was six years old and always loved it, so I suppose him wanting to ride bikes himself was pretty much inevitable.
My only hope is that he hasn't inherited my taste for lunacy and will at least be sensible enough to know that there's a time and a place for the sort of riding that tends to induce a big silly grin.
There's a whole lot more traffic on the overcrowded roads than when I was his age. At that time I'd go out for a ride just for the sheer hell of it; to explore both the roads and the limits of the bike and my own bravery, not caring about the cost because petrol was so cheap.
These days it's harder to find somewhere to really have fun on a bike which is why early Sunday morning rides are so popular - getting your riding fix before all the numpties start blocking up the roads with their tedious wheeled metal boxes.

Hardly seems five minutes since I was saying "You've got a lot of growing to do before you can ride one yourself".