Biking gets better and better

Getting a motorbike was one of the best things I’ve done. Every journey becomes an enjoyable adventure. And with the fabulous summer weather, I can enjoy the sunshine with a steady, cooling breeze and smell new-mown grass and fragrant oilseed rape as I thrumble along.

PampicLast week, I went out for a ride with Pam Tod (pictured left) who inspired me to get a bike, and Chris Williams, the bloke who told me about the Enfield for sale. When it’s sunny, Wales is such a brilliant country for motorcycling.

Two milestones since the last blog have been:

1) Taking Charlotte as a pillion passenger on a proper trip. She got togged up in her very attractive black-and-olive outfit with black Arai helmet. We crossed the Severn and went to visit friends in Somerset. They didn’t know we had a motorbike so it was a surprise for them when we rumbled up their drive!

Enfield. FromeNow don’t get the idea that I rode there in brown canvas trousers. I simply took them along to wear while we had lunch. For riding, I wore proper, matching kit.

That was a great day and Charlotte enjoyed the ride. And there was that deeply satisfying moment when you get to the toll booth at the Severn bridge and you don’t have to pay!

2) The next big event was riding with my son, Joseph, over the Black Mountain to Llandovery and back, via the A40 and A470, to Bikers’ Corner at Storey Arms.

Storey Arms +2As you can see, he hired a Harley for the day and we started off with breakfast at Franklin’s Cafe at Ogmore by Sea (the place where Pam is chef de cuisine).

Lovely weather, wonderful ride, beautiful scenery and fabulous views from the mountain heights. If you have a son who can ride a motorbike, definitely do this!

Right, gotta dash!

Franklin's 13.07.13

Being a biker – my first week

So, I passed my final test on Monday, 15th April. The next day was the first proper spring day of the year. Daffodils, blue sky, gambolling lambs; it was even a bit warm. My wife got home from work a bit early so she could drive me out to a shed on an industrial estate in rural Vale of Glamorgan to collect the Royal Enfield which you can see on the header bar. It’s the black one on the left. 

As we stepped out of the house, me in my full motorbike outfit, we waved to our next-door neighbours before getting into my wife’s Nissan Micra. Well, gives ’em something to think about.

We arrived a bit early, about 5.20pm, This was the scrubby end of the estate where it almost crumbled away into nearby fields. All was quiet. We could hear blackbirds singing and lambs bleating. Then, the cheerful sound of an easy-going, twin-cylinder engine. Along the track came a three-wheel car that looked like a little aeroplane without wings. At the front, you could see the polished cylinder heads and cooling fins of a Citroen 2CV engine. At the wheel, wearing leather jacket and goggles, was Barry, the aircraft engineer who was about to release the motorbike into my possession. 

The handover was brisk and cheery. A handshake and a wave and, within a few minutes, I was chugging along narrow, country lanes with my wife’s little red car in the rear-view mirrors. Once on the A48, we stopped at a filling station and she bought me my first tank of petrol. 

And here I am, back home, safe and sound after my first ride on the Enfield. It was a glorious ride. The following day, I had to be out in the car all day so Thursday was the day 

Enfield home

of my first real trip as a street-legal, qualified biker. There was only one possible destination – Franklin’s Cafe at Ogmore on Sea. This is where Pam the cook introduced me to Chris, the man who knew Barry who had this perfectly maintained Royal Enfield for sale. Pam was a bit of a late convert to motorcycling (but not as late as I was) and had got an Enfield as her first full-size bike. It was Pam, back in January, who said I should spend my newly-found free time and redundancy money on taking up motorcycling. 

And so it was quite an occasion when I rode back into the Vale of Glamorgan and thrumbled onto the seaside cafe’s forecourt. 

Fish and chips and a pot of tea, please Pam!

It's all her fault!  Pam and Nicholas with the Enfield at Franklin's Cafe.

It’s all her fault!
Pam and Nicholas with the Enfield at Franklin’s Cafe.