Bitten by the bug: a biker's life (part three)

The third and final installment of Frank Roberts' life and times on two wheels...

Kawasaki 750 turbo (not authors own!)

My Honda was becoming troublesome, along with my wife. The Honda went first and I got a Kawasaki 750 turbo - Jesus Christ, what a machine. Shortly after getting it I was out for a ride down some country lanes that I knew fairly well. Weaving around the bends it was obvious that this bike didn't feel right. It was almost like the bike was trying to throw me off.

After a few more bends something definitely seemed to be wrong, until I glanced at the speedo - 73mph. Ok, so it was me! I assumed that as with my other bikes, you're cornering too fast when your footpegs scrape the ground; not this one baby.

Around then was when I decided to see how fast I could take it. Near where I live a new road had been built, long, smooth, straight, and a curve with a decreasing radius at the end that has now become a black spot with several fatalities. I got up to 135mph on the straight, the fastest I've ever been on a bike. I had to brake carefully to maintain stability but the exhilaration factor was fantastic.

As I mentioned, by now sadly the wife became more troublesome, and when we divorced the Kwakka also went, as once again I needed a car to take the kids out on my access days. Bike-less again; this time I would be for years.

And so we come up to the present day. Two years ago I bought a Suzuki 800 Intruder that my third wife and I had found while browsing in a bike showroom. Despite the fact that the wife had never been on a bike, she liked the look of it. I'd never thought of having a cruiser, and it looked impressive.

Suzuki 800 Intruder (not authors own!)

They gave me a test ride and when I got back the salesman said, "I can see by the smile on your face that you liked it, how would you like to pay?" Bugger - and I thought I was good at poker. The proviso was that the wife was happy on the pillion, so the salesman took her round the town on the back, and she soon gave the nod of approval. It helped that she was able to see so much more than from inside a car - being only 4'11" she can barely see over the dashboard, but on a pillion in an elevated position nothing is out of view.

I now go for rides out from one of our local pubs, and really enjoy being a poser. My wife comes if there is nothing on telly to watch. When she is not there I tend to have a heavy right hand and it ends up in a race, with the underside of my footplates dragging on the road when cornering.

I love the atmosphere in summer when we are going along the sea front; twenty or more bikers, always the thumbs up from kids, admiring glances from young girls who don't realise how old some of us are - not me of course, I'm still a teenager. Strangely I don't feel much affection for my bikes, not even the old moped that got me started. Maybe it's because the feeling of riding a bike is not brand specific.

One day I parked my cruiser outside a town centre biker's pub, and a young tw*t came beside me and parked his little whiny scooter thing with L plates. "Nice bike mate" he said. My temptation was to ignore him, but suddenly I remembered myself on Dad's moped at Rykers.

I just smiled. "I started borrowing my Dad's moped, keep at it, pass your test and you'll get there" I told him. He smiled back and nodded: "Yep, one day." I wonder if anyone who was at Rykers all those years ago ever wonders whatever happened to that tw*t with the wobbly helmet on the moped?

Frank Roberts

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