First Proper Ride

My Uncle borrowed our car at the weekend and in return left us with his BMW motorbike. With two bikes on the driveway ready to go Wil and I kitted up and went for a ride.

Wils bike is a Honda CBR600, a rather sporty riding position and not at all like the Kawasaki ER5 I’ve been riding at the training school. I’ve taken it out once since I passed my test for a short wobble around the 7 mile loop of country lanes leading from our house and back. I was terrified. So terrified that my death grip on the bars sent both wrists into spasm making it a bloody good job I arrived back to the house when I did. I reached a top speed of 45mph. It felt like 100.

My Uncles bike is a BMW R1100r. It’s a good sized 1100cc complete with windscreen and heated hand grips like a comfy sofa good for cranking out the miles on. For Wil, leaving his bike and riding this is like stepping out of the hardened uncomfortable racey confines of a Lotus Elise and into the refined leathery splendour of a Jaguar XJ, what some would call an upgrade. An upgrade that is perhaps, if you were 50+ and enjoyed reading your newspaper whilst wafting along the M25 in no particular hurry.

Much more relaxed this time and with a concerted effort not to squeeze the life out of the bars I lead the way to the dual carriageway. Do you know how hard it is to concentrate on your first big ride when your boyfriend is getting his race style crouch on behind the windscreen of “Das Panzer” and passes you in the fast lane with a grimace more suited to if he’d been riding through spray coming off a manure truck? I can tell you, it’s bloody hard.

We pulled off the roundabout at Felixstowe and followed the road down to the beach. At the first set of traffic lights it became apparent what a huge mistake this was. After living within 10 miles of Felixstowe most of my life I’m amazed the combination of it being a BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND,  SUNNY and the PEAK OF THE SUMMER HOLIDAY SEASON – didn’t ring any alarm bells with me to STAY THE HELL AWAY from this grimy little resort.

Every muscle shirt clad, beer drinking, chip scoffing, baseball cap and cheap gold jewelry sporting freak had swarmed the place. If I counted one baseball cap wearing teenage lad with his vest top hanging out of the back of his tracky bottoms swaggering down the road as though one leg was missing a knee joint, I must have counted hundreds only equalled by the copious amounts of wobbly dimpled pasty flesh displayed by their girlfriends and mums.

The Fish & Chip shops had lines of people pouring out of the doors onto the pavements. Kids faces had been replaced by streaks of sticky rock residue, giving them the mouth of The Joker whilst old grannies wedged in wheelchairs sizzled to a crispy red colour in the sun. Riding down the beachfront road was like weaving through the crowd of a Cliff Richard concert where Basehunter was fronting as the support band.

We parked the bikes for about 5 minutes while we discussed where else to escape to. All the coastal towns would be pretty much the same only varying in the degrees of trash to snobby upper crust wankery depending on which town we went. (Not forgetting the time we sat and had a cup of tea at Thorpeness and listened to a polo shirt/chino wearing pompous twat on the next table talk loudly all about buying fine art for his second home in Nicaragua – pronounced ‘Nikka-rar-wah’, and the time he toured around Kenya ‘Keen-yar’)

We ended up at Shotley Gate where we sat in the Bristol Arms Pub eating Fish & Chips and taking in the view of the estuary to a soundtrack of Foreigner ‘I want to know what love is’.

We stayed for about an hour by which time I could tell you exactly what love is. Be it a Lotus Elise or Das Panzer it’s having a set of wheels with which to speedily take you back home where controlling the sights and sounds that hit your eyes and ears are fully within your own remit.



  1. Little Brother said

    That had me laughing a lot. Nikka-rar-wah 🙂 It’s the same everywhere (Felixstowe = Weston Super Mare, polo shirt/chino wearing pompous twat = population of Clifton…)

    So how was going to a sports 600 from your ER5? They look like they’d be a lot more unforgiving in the handling?

    • foxsden said

      I’ll have to credit Wil on that, when it comes to taking the piss out of folk like that he’s in a league of his own.

      Surprisingly it handled brilliantly. On cornering where on the ER5 you put in the effort all the way around the corner, the CBR only requires a little nudge and it seems to do the rest for you. Well it does a lower speeds anyway. I’m sure you’d have to work it a bit if you were flying. I treated it the same as the ER5 on the dockspur roundabout (continued to push to go round) and had to give it a bit of a yank back up to come off at my exit! Great fun.

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