I realise that I’m a lucky girl getting a shiny new red bike as an early birthday present. Picking her up on the day and riding her out from Alba Customs, it was like putting on an old, comfy glove. We fitted together. I was so glad to have ridden 2,500 miles of smiles in California, otherwise, it would have been an odd sensation getting on a bike that was so different to Smoggy and Ruby.
I was accompanied by Ed and Ronnie, first destination, Aberdeen. I was under strict instructions to bed the 1130 cc v-twin engine in gradually. Treat her like the virgin she is. Nice and gently does it….It’ll probably be the only time you would catch me bimbling along at 55mph on the motorway. It was marginally frustrating. I can imagine Ed’s delight riding behind me! Every 100 miles, I was able to give Indy a few more beans. By the time we got to Aberdeen, we had reached the not so dizzy heights of 65 mph. I was itching to give her a handful as you can imagine.
She was parked up over the weekend, as Annie and I spent some time having a quality blether over a couple of bottles of wine!
Back on to the bike on the Monday, after a slight ‘moment’ thinking I was locked in the house! Then I remembered where the key was hidden. That was after I had sent the ‘where’s the key?’ text!
It was lashing with rain, the entire journey home. I have to say without heated grips, I was cold. More to do with my leaking gloves though. Damn it. I got pretty chilled, and had planned to go to Edinburgh after I’d repacked my tiny panniers with clothes for Edinburgh. Shower and a coffee to heat me up. Stayed put and went down the following morning, sadly for my great uncle’s funeral.
After that, I headed to Motorrad to moan about my leaking gloves. What a fanny. I’d picked up my out of warranty old pair. No wonder they were leaking. No wonder Tony was confused. They were still soaking from the day before, so they got tossed in the bin. I am an idiot. Sorry Tony!!
In the meantime, Martin was in the showroom planning a tour for a group of Indians that were coming over hiring bikes and being led by Martin. I casually asked if he fancied a run out. The words were barely out my mouth. After he scoffed a sandwich, on with his helmet, he took me around some of the most lovely single track roads outside Dalkeith. We were both running bikes in, so it worked well. I was shown roads that I’ve never been on before, and to be honest if I tried to find them again, I’d probably get hideously lost!
Going down a gravel covered road, I found him stopped in front of a ford. The wee shite had positioned himself beautifully for going through this innocent looking trickle. I wasn’t in such a good place. “Make sure you go through straight, it’s going to be skittery,” he said. Uh, ok. The issue was, the ‘road’ up from it was completely covered in gravel. Did I mention that he had stolen the best line in? Keep straight, keep straight. Did I hell. I kind of forgot just how long Indy is. Oops. It was a rather spectacular slither. Nae bother though, I stayed upright. Just. He did say that he wished he’d been filming me. Rat fink that he is!
It was a great bumble round the countryside, and just the exercise that Indy needed, working through the gears, bedding in the rather grunty engine. The next day, I had to put more mileage on. What a bummer. Down to Jedburgh, across to Kelso for a lovely lunch and blether with the lovely Lizzie. Back up to Edinburgh, and dropped the bike off for her first service.
Still under strict instructions from Ed to continue to break the ‘wee’ girl in gently, it’s been a joy learning about her. She’s nimble and really good to manoeuvre at low speeds. My ample bum in California suffered a bit, however, good old ‘muscle memory’ has meant I’ve been pretty comfy. I particularly like the position of the rear brake. So far, fuel consumption has been varied. On an observed run, with Steve, I got to about 115 miles before the fuel light came on. Giving it beans going down to Edinburgh, doing some ‘progressive’ overtakes, the fuel light came on at 95 miles. Oops.
So, there was only one thing for it. Holiday time. What better place to go? Ireland. Ok, so, Ed going on the Harley (Scoot) and me going on Indy might not be the most perfect choice for the Irish roads, however, it seems Smoggy is in small pieces at the moment getting some loving from Calum at Motorrad in Edinburgh.
So, off we trundled to Cairnryan for the ferry. It was pretty damp and BERY windy to say the least. My new gloves leak too. FFS. We had allowed plenty time. One pee stop in Dumbarton and chose a picnic for the ferry. Whilst I was there, I topped the fuel up. Just as well really. Further down the road, we both needed a coffee. Stopped at a wee restaurant in Minishant. Wouldn’t mind stopping there for lunch at some point, it looked lovely and the staff were super friendly. Fanny the sat nav was telling us to get a bend on, we would get there with 10 minutes to spare. At some traffic lights, Ed asked what my fuel situation was. Enough to get to the ferry. The last check in was at 3pm, we got there at 2:58!
It was a surprisingly calm crossing. We were expecting the worst. Just before docking at Belafast, we went on to the deck for a ciggy. I know, I still haven’t stopped. Anyway, there above us was a plane descending towards Belfast airport. I looked up and followed the flight path. We are both still fascinated at how a plane can fly at all. At that point, I think I turned a slight shade of puce green. Not to be recommended. Plane spotting from a ship. Boke. A bit of tummy chundering, but managed not to puke.
Neil and Jenny rode out to the terminal to meet us, and before we knew it, we had drinks in hand after the bikes were tucked safely in the garage. Dinner, blether and a wee watch of the TT on the telly. Bed.
Sadly, Neil had to work the next day, however, Jenny joined us for the majority of the day, it was great. One memorable moment on the run – well, for me, that is, was olfactory senses. On the bike, it’s vital to pay attention to smells. Cow shit? Farmer spreading on the fields? Where’s the gate? The shit’s going to be over the road. Fresh cut grass? Where’s the tractor? Diesel? Well, that’s the worst one of the lot. Where’s the slick? What’s the best, safest part of the road? What did I smell? Custard. Yes CUSTARD!! For about a mile, I was sniffing away, dreaming of a big blob of mars crispy covered in custard. Then it got stronger. Round the corner there was a place called Abbotts. It seems it’s a factory that specialises in milk products, that makes sense! Ed and Jenny didn’t smell it. How they missed that, I have no idea!
Name of the day? Killywilly.
Lovely quiet roads a coffee stop followed later with a bite of lunch. Sorted. Jenny then headed back home and we ended up in a wee village called Balcoo. I sat outside, wrote this whilst Ed did his Map Man bit. Dinner was good, an early night beckoned. Just as well!
We headed off at about 10am, well and truly full of coffee. Destination, Galway. Aye, right. Here I am, at wine o’clock and we are about 3 hours short. We headed towards the coast. It’s not called the Wild Atlantic Way for nothing. It started off fairly calmly, then all hell broke loose! Literally! That wasn’t before Ed pulling into a left hand junction…….. it was well hidden and I had to quickly send a fax, hit the front brakes, apply rear and steer towards Ed – on the wrong side of the road. Hey, I’m here, aren’t I?
Pulling away on Indy there was a low thumping grunty throb. The bike was lugging….. Holy crap, I’m in 4th gear….. I had released the clutch very gently, she coped. What an amazing bike, able to deal with user error! Well, in fairness, I wasn’t expecting to turn that quickly! That was the point we went onto the teeny-weeny roads. Ed headed off down the road after a short discussion that involved me saying, “let’s just get on with it!” FFS. The road had a strip of grass up the middle. Gravel too. In fairness, there were a few times that was the best part of the road. Ed did head down a road and I didn’t. *smug moment*. I knew that wasn’t the route. I sat on Indy and watched Ed doing a 36 point turn on Scoot. *snigger*. Learning point for today was astonishing. Crappy road, grass and gravel in the sump.
Right, what can this v-twin do? 2nd gear, down hill and all I had to do was steer, it was fab. I have to say I’m well impressed with the wee bike. Smoggy would have been a bit reluctant to do that, he would have been off romping down the hill!
To say the roads are bumpy is an understatement. There were a lot of OUCH YA! OH MY GOD! OOPS, SORRY INDY, OW! FECK! It was so bad that I realised I was going to have to adopt a different technique. It involved a bit of concentration and lifting my bum off the seat; kind of like riding a horse, getting ready to jump! It worked. There was one bump though that was by far the worst of the day. Approaching a right hand bend, the offending lump was right on my line and there was no escaping it. Steering input, ass out seat….. DON’T LOOK AT THE GORSE!!! There was some serious requirements to look where you want to go and further steering input needed. Indy was very generous and pulled like a tractor. Atta girl.
The heavens opened just at the end of the day. They do really good quality rain in Ireland. We ended in in Clifden for the night, Ed got his Guinness, his first of the holiday, amazingly enough. Good supper and nice wine. Bed was calling again. I passed out and woke at 8:45am.
Look out for the next instalment.