5th Re-incarnation

... feel like an 18 year old - wife said I wouldn't know what to do with one ...

- Bob

August 1999 - After 15 bikeless years thoughts increasingly turn to biking - start buying bike magazines - buyers guides and brochures - leave them around house for wife to find - laying groundwork for possible return to biking. - Magazines and subject ignored by wife.

September/October 1999 - Continue this strategy without any success - resort to deep sighs - wistful looks - right hand twisting on steering wheel when bikes overtake car - convince wife that the farting noises are from my mouth and actual impressions of bike's exhausts as they pass by - Success!!! - green light to look at bikes.

November/December 1999 - Started visiting bike dealers - drooling over bikes and specifications - boring the sales persons with tales of past experiences - realisation slowly dawns that in their view I'm considered past it for a return to modern superbikes - one commenting 'would sir be more suited to a scooter' What a DRATSAB.

January 2000 - Continued to view various used bikes - decided to be cautious and ease my way into biking again - bike spec narrowed down to a 250cc single cylinder 4stroke - visit Chris Sharpe at Oadby. Chris had a black Yamaha SR 250 custom - HOOKED - impetuously bought bike on looks without road testing - clear and tidy up garage in readiness - wife's amazed, been asking me to tidy it up for months.

February 2000 - Bike delivered on trailer- insurance/tax /mot sorted - buy new helmet and gloves - still had 25 year old serviceable Belstaff jacket and over trousers that fit!! - first ride started apprehensively but soon get used to riding again - feel like an 18 year old - wife said I wouldn't know what to do with one - bike used selectively throughout the year - had a great time - probably due to wife's refusal to ride pillion.

February 2001 - MOT due - Returned bike to Chris Sharpe - Chris had a black Yamaha 550 Virago - HOOKED - road tested bike and purchased - took wife a few days to realise something was different about the bike - managed to blagg my way out of trouble - great riding throughout year - even through the winter.

February 2002 - MOT due - Returned bike to Chris Sharpe - Chris had a burgundy red 750 Virago. HOOKED - road tested bike and purchased - wife instantly recognises differences between the bikes - manage to blagg my way out of trouble again with difficulty.

May 2002 - DISASTER - prepared for day out resplendent in new leathers, helmet and boots - started out 0700 hrs ended 0702hrs - rider error!! - didn't let engine warm up - choke still out - engine revs high - too fast into sharp bend - dropped bike to avoided parked car - 'OUCH' - damage sustained to nearside of bike - considerable damage to ego, left ankle and knee - managed to drag myself from beneath bike - limp home under power on bike - saved from 'road rash' by leathers.

Wife initially sympathetic - attitude changed when she realised my intention to repair bike and continue riding - suggested applying to get me 'sectioned' - '********' I replied.

June 2002 - Sufficiently recovered to repair bike - too embarrassed to make insurance claim - repairs a mixture of new and used parts from Yamaha and bike breakers - leathers returned to supplier for repairs - overall an expensive exercise - wife suggests fitting stabilisers and taking Viagra to keep me upright.

July 2002 - Damaged body parts feel OK - return to riding - take it easy for a few weeks - manage to survive summer and autumn without further mishaps - lay bike up for winter. 3 months of cleaning ahead.

March 2003 - MOT due - Returned bike to Chris Sharpe - Chris had a metallic grey Yamaha 1100 Dragstar Classic - immaculate condition - fully loaded with extras - HOOKED - road tested bike - superb - warned wife of imminent new bike - Chris saved the day by under invoicing value of bike for spouse purposes - customised Dragster to single seat - great summer and autumn of solo riding - no incidents - lay bike up for winter - 3 months of cleaning ahead.

February 2004 - DISASTER - juggled with circular power saw whilst cutting MDF boarding - 3 digits on left hand badly lacerated - one digit almost severed - OUCH - surprisingly little blood or pain - wrapped hand in tea towels - decided not to call ambulance thought it would be quicker to drive from Thurmaston to the Royal A&E under own steam - just made it OK - wasn't easy driving/steering and gear changing car through centre of Leicester with one good hand - hospital security parked car up - emergency staff superb - soon had morphine jab to ease the pain - morphined up to the hilt throughout night - next day surgeons try to sew sinew, bone & nerve endings back in the correct order as best they could - morphined up to the hilt again - beginning to see the attractions of drug abuse. Months of physiotherapy ahead.

March 2004 - Due to severity of damage to the digits decided to sell Dragstar - sad day when buyer collects - wife relieved biking days over - decided to store leathers etc - could not bear to admit biking days actually over.

April 2004 - Returned to work - reduced working days down to Saturday and Sunday to assist in recovery - light duties only but it's better than sick pay.

May 2004 - Hand and fingers respond well to physio except for index finger which had been pinned and fixed in a user friendly position - looks almost natural - still little feeling in fingers - relieved can still do two fingered left hand salute to other road users - fortunately ambidextrous for real ale drinking purposes.

June 2004 - Discharged from out patients - neither physio nor further surgery could do any more to regain further movement or feeling into index finger - happy to accept their decision - relieved that still have all digits working reasonably well.

Resigned to a boring bikeless existence.

July 2004 - Wife tries to convince me that good rehabilitation and therapy would be to decorate daughters house - refit the bathroom - gardening etc - feed the cats (preferably to next doors dog) remind them both that accident happened when fitting bedroom furniture at daughters house - response was that it would not be necessary to use a circular saw on these projects and would be a good opportunity to 'BOND' with my son in law whilst he watched and learnt how to do DIY badly - run out of excuses and delaying tactics - no escape route planned.

DIY projects keep me occupied for months.

Good finger movement and stronger grip with left hand probably due to therapeutic DIY projects undertaken at daughters house over the past months - continue ' therapy' into 2005.

April 2005 - Holiday in USA - hectic 10 day west coast tour - usual tourist traps - Harley Davidson's in abundance - en-route to Grand Canyon, coach detours onto historic Route 66 - stopped at the 'Rusty Bolt' in Seligman, Arizona - fantastic Harley Davidson memorabilia store - short stopover only due to other tourists eagerness to visit Grand Canyon - sadly only purchased a Route 66 vehicle license plate.

May 2005 - Returned home with camcorder and head full of Harley Davidson images - wondered if a return to biking a possibility.

Visit motorcycle dealers testing clutch action of various bikes - most actions too heavy - read article about Harley Davidson's clutch 'Lite' conversion - hide magazines and buyers guides out of wife's sight.

June 2005 - Visit Sycamore Harley at Uppingham - sales persons used to Born again Bikers strange requests - confirm Harley offer Clutch Lite conversion mainly for the weak and infirm who havn't the grip of a gorilla - arrange to test ride Sportster and Dyna models the next week.

Road testing goes well - apart from a few twinges hand seems to stand up to operating clutch lever - returned bikes intact much to the relief of the salesman - regrettably couldn't justify purchase of used bike due to high dealer prices - escape with credit card intact.

July 2005 - Scoured E-bay and buyer's guides for used Harley's - informed wife of my intention to 'possibly' consider a return to biking now that DIY projects had been completed and have spare time for a hobby.

Didn't realise how much her Anglo Saxon vocabulary & linguistic skills had improved - cussed for 5 minutes without repeating herself.

Located Harley 1200 S Sportster -100 year anniversary model - Black and Silver - HOOKED - Seller in Shrewsbury - viewed bike - immaculate - loads of extras - after test ride negotiated better price - purchased on the spot - bike to be collected after cheque clears - Informed wife of bike purchase - showed camcorder shots of bike - harsh words were exchanged - wife asked bike cost - truthful on bike price due to cheque book stub evidence - her reply of 'HOW MUCH' delivered in a far higher pitch than normal broke beer glass I was holding - fortunately glass nearly empty - stay out wife's way - clear out garage for remainder of the week.

August 2005 - collected bike from Shrewsbury - return journey via M6 toll - wow what a beast - so different to Jap cruisers - reminiscent of Brit bikes - vibration etc but good feedback - returned home grinning from ear to ear - wife did not welcome either of us - relationship a little frosty - thaw sets in when agree to buy new lounge furniture - didn't realise Harleys could be so expensive!!!

Searched E-bay for items to customise bike - purchased single seat for solo riding - neighbourhood friendly standard mufflers as precaution against possible noise complaints of screaming eagle pipes - rear fender rack - lay back number plate - locking petrol cap - used bike sparingly through remainder of year due to spouse 'ear-ache'- Lay bike up for winter - 3 months of cleaning ahead.

February 2006 - MOT due - booked in at Chris Sharpe's - 3 months of polishing - bike looks the DB's. Surprise - Surprise - returned home with same bike - continue to scour E-bay for items of interest - look forward to this years riding.

March 2006 - log onto LPMCC website - catch up on latest news - notice May 1st pub run being planned - weather & wife permitting will participate.

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