Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Piggy Bank Love

This is my bike. I like it. It is a good bike. There have been others. Some were good. Some were not so good. But this one is good. Some people dislike it's quirky styling. I have kind of got used to it. It's quick, reliable, easy to understand, easy to ride and has never really let me down.

Bikers are regular people. On the whole, they're pretty good people. You'll never see a bike broken down by the side of the road for long. Another biker will stop to help. That's what we do. We wave to each other as we pass on the road. In my office there's Jeff who buys a new BMW every other year and pootles around Scandinavia with his wife on the back for his holidays. There's Pete who's had the same old tourer for years. He hardly rides it but when he does there's a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face that tells you that he is a chap who knows how to enjoy himself. There's Richard, one of scariest looking blokes you'll ever see, but dead nice, who has been seen on the M3 going at 100mph in a blizzard on his battered ZX9R. He is surgically attached to his bike and is immune to all weather conditions. There's me. I ride the 90 mile round trip to work as much as I can during the Summer and not so much in the Winter. I ride because I enjoy it. I don't ride to prove I can go out in all weathers. Rain is fine. Cold isn't so bad with the right clothing. But wind - I don't much like that - that's what will keep the bike in the garage and get me in the car instead. I arrive at work with a smile on my face and I leave work with a smile on my face looking forward to the ride home.

But sometimes, other bikes come along that turn your head. You think to yourself, one day I will own a bike like THAT one. Such a bike has just been offered to me. This is it - lovely isn't it? I've wanted one of these for a long time. It's more comfortable than my other bike and I'm getting to the stage where I'd prefer to sit up on my bike as opposed to lie down on it. I need a bit of extra padding for my bony arse. I don't need an engine that revs up to 12,500 rpm and loosens my fillings any more. I'm getting a little tired of strapping my laptop to the back with bungees. This is the quality someone of my discerning maturity demands.

It's been offered to me at a very good price. It's only done 1500 miles in three and a half years and belongs to a millionaire living on the Isle of Man. This bike has the perfect history that says it is the best example of it's kind that is likely to pass under my radar. He wants to sell it for the right price because he's a reasonable man. Could you ask for a better set of reasons to buy something you have coveted for so long? No? Nor can I.

But right now I have to save ALL my money so I can pay to fix up my flat. It is a project I got underway at the start of the year and I had resigned myself to saving every penny I can to have enough money to do what I want to do. Now I have to decide whether to pass this one one and hope another bike like this will come along next year.

What has my life come to that I am even prioritising the ownership of granite worktops and bathroom fittings instead of owning an item of real beauty that will make me smile every day I see it. Godammit, it's even got a radio and heated grips. What fancy toilet seat can ever give you that much comfort and entertainment?

Je suis désolée.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Hello Mabel

In celebration of blog post number 10, a list of 10 things I like about London.....

1. Drinking London Pride beer in The Shooting Star then going across the road to the Dil Chad for a curry.
2. The Hoover Factory on the Great West Road.
3. London Open House weekend where you can visit buildings not normally accessible to Joe Public.
4. Museums and art galleries are mostly free - although you really should make a donation.
5. Listening to Danny Baker on BBC London.
6. The river. Nobody in London ever calls it The Thames.
7. You always see at least one minor celeb. in Crouch End (where I live) on Saturday afternoon. Today I saw John Simm, recent lead in Life on Mars in Woolworths.
8. Everything or anyone of any significance that can move or be moved will come to London if it wants to get noticed.
9. Londoners, whilst being belligerent, self-centred, indifferent to visitors and downright unhelpful will also be tolerant, broad-minded, liberal and somewhat inebriated.
10. Wherever you're from in the world, you'll find someone else in London who shares your beliefs, speaks your language and will help you find your way.