All fun and games…
Recently I have been trying desperately to ride in a manner that doesn’t attract unwanted police attention, that doesn’t cause car drivers to get angry or to get scared, and that stands me in with a chance of passing my practical test! It’s not that I run unsafely. Safety is always top priority, I don’t try to scare car drivers and it’s not often that I feel like having a good ol’ chinwag with her majesty’s finest. It just seems to happen before I know it!
Me ol’ mother has always said that in the brain of teenagers, particularly males, the decision making centre isn’t fully formed. As cavemen this meant we made faster ‘fight or flight’ decisions than our elders, sometimes giving us the edge. Fast-forward a few thousand years, and with all our modern distractions, an under developed decision centre makes us total liabilities on the road.
On a familiar road (I never get silly on foreign ground) I spot a chance, our lane is slow moving and cars are few and far between on the opposite side, quick check over my shoulder and I’m out, change down, give it some welly and tear past a few cars. A car approaches at a fair old lick, I decide that that was enough progress, slow right down to the speed of my lane and sit in behind a flash motor to allow free movement in the opposite lane. I measured the risk, my limited experience told me it was safe to make the move, and my danger receptors kicked in in time to get me back into lane in a safe position.
Pah! What does mother know? Un-developed danger centre my arse. Four more similar overtakes later and I’m getting big headed. “Fuck me I must have a sixth sense today,” I utter under my lid, feeling like nothing can take me by surprise and I can predict the future with split second accuracy. I can see car drivers making mistakes before they do; I squeeze the brakes for no apparent reason, only to have a pedestrian step out. I shave off a few mph before even seeing the police car and I speed up at green lights before they start flashing orange.
I feel on top of the world, my brain is firing on all cylinders and it feels as if they have all just had a big bore kit fitted, the air filter has been washed and I’m even using branded oil! Healthy body, healthy brain!
Information is being sucked in at a rapid rate, it’s being compressed with experience and ignited by youthful quick reactions. The end result is a cacophony of sins, me at my peak; faster, smoother, lower in the corner, making safe but progressive decisions and analysing other road users in a split second. I’m enjoying what I’m doing but I daren’t smile as this distracts valuable brain cells, I daren’t ponder life and the universe as I may on another ride, everything is fine tuned for survival.
I know this seems moronic. I’m still a pipsqueak with limited experience and it can all go so wrong so quickly on a bike. I know from past collisions that pride comes before a fall. Just when you think you’re on top of it all some greater force finds a way to remind you just how fragile and disposable a life is, just how badly it hurts and exactly how much there still is to learn.
Towards the end of this ‘King of the Road’ ride, I hear a slight change in engine sound, louder and rattlier than usual, the power in low revs is atrocious and once they slowly climb higher the power is better than usual. Strange this… I pull in back home and give the bike a visual once over, and spot the problem. I reach out with a hand gloved in stupidly thin gents’ leather and shake the exhaust to see if I was right.
Yes it’s loose, it is also fucking hot! Maybe there is some sense in this risk assessment centre stuff after all!
Keep having fun and nod back at me once in a while!