April Fool (long, long, long)

Discussion in 'UK Motorcycles' started by AndrewR, Apr 6, 2004.

  1. AndrewR

    AndrewR Guest

    Right, I've been on holiday (looking after Emma) for the last few days, so I
    haven't posted here, but I thought you all might enjoy the story of my April
    Fool's day ... packed as it is with opportunities to call me a TC.

    The plan was really very simple; bike to my office in Milton Keynes, have a
    quick meeting with my boss, bike to Pip & Elly's for the night, bike to
    Luton for an all-day team building type thing and then bike home.

    What, to coin a phrase, could go wrong?

    First off the weather had been taunting me for ages, making me wonder if I
    should go with my race leathers and take my waterproof oversuit with me or
    go for the full wet-weather gear.

    Fortunately on the morning in question it was pissing down, so I went for
    the wet-weather look, even though it had stopped raining and the sun was
    shining brightly by the time I left the house at midday. I even had the
    presence of mind to throw in my old Pathan style (but not HG) winter gloves,
    on the off-chance that my Pathans got soaked through.

    Off I set.

    I got less than 10 miles before the heavens opened and verily did it piss
    down mightily. Fortunately it was a fairly short-sharp shower of shit and I
    was soon through it.

    By the time I'd done 30 miles the sun was shining, but the bike was
    carb-icing like a bastard, presumably due to being thoroughly water-logged.
    I stopped to let it thaw and I had a fag and put my sun-glasses on and set
    off again.

    Once I got into North Yorkshire three bad things happened:

    1. It started to rain again, quite a lot. The rain was on/off, but there
    was so much water lying on the road it was really quite hard to tell if it
    was raining or not, not helped by ...

    2. Absolutely appalling traffic. It was flowing well enough, doing 50 to
    60, but there was a lot of it about. I could filter through it but ...

    3. Every single fucking police car in Yorkshire was out on the roads ...
    and I mean _every_ single fucking one. I've done that journey lots of times
    and it's unlucky to see more than 1 cop car for the whole of Yorkshire. I
    was literally seeing one every 5 to 10 miles, which meant that filtering
    through 50mph+ traffic didn't seem like a terribly good idea.

    So my journey down the A1 was lots of sitting in slow traffic, getting
    sprayed by all of the lorries and keeping my eyes peeled for coppers.

    The bike went into reserve just North of the point where the A1 and the M1
    split off, as it always does on this journey and I headed down the A1 leg.

    Now there's a petrol station about 5 miles into the A1 bit, but it is just a
    petrol station without even enough room to get far enough away from the
    pumps to have a quiet fag. From experience I knew there was another
    services about 3 miles further on, complete with proper car park, Little
    Thief and so on.

    With this in mind I sailed past the first petrol station and into the second
    services (noting, on the way in the traffic car parked on the slip road
    opposite on the North-bound side of the A1).

    Once into these services I found out they'd demolished their petrol station.
    I stopped for a fag anyway and wondered what to do about the fact I was 6 or
    7 miles into reserve and there was no petrol to be had.

    Given that I didn't have a fucking clue where the next services South-bound
    were I decided to head back North on the A1 and loop round to the petrol
    station I'd original gone past.

    There services I was in, however, doesn't lead directly back onto the A1 -
    it comes out on some A road where you turn right to get to a bog roundabout
    where you can chose from the North or South bound A1. At the junction out
    of the services the left turn (away from the A1) was signposted "Services".
    I thought it was worth a try.

    Five miles later there had been no sign of services and I'd reached a
    roundabout which had no further services signs and from which all of the
    roads looked pretty fucking minor.

    I was now 12 or so miles into reserve (I don't normally push it more than 15
    miles) and in the middle of fucking nowhere. I decided the only way forward
    was to go back to plan A and get onto the A1 Northbound.

    So back I went, up onto the A1 Northbound, past the copper who was still
    parked up at the end of the slip-road, and I carried on until the first
    junction North of the petrol station I was aiming for and peeled off ...

    .... to discover that coming off at that junction and heading for the A1
    Southbound takes you round in a big loop, behind the petrol station, and
    back onto the A1 South, _just_ South of the petrol station.

    So I went back down to the next services, with the shell of their old petrol
    station laughing at me, and still under the watchful eye of the copper
    parked on the other side of the road. Went back to the A1 roundabout, back
    up the slip-road to the A1 Northbound (again past the copper, who must by
    now have been sure I was taking the piss) and further North.

    The next junction Northwards, after the one I'd already tried, is the big
    one where the A1 and M1 split and the only way off them is to take the A64,
    which I did.

    To discover that the A64 is a bastard big dual carriageway with no sign of
    any services and a long journey to the first slip road off. Actually it
    might not be that long, but I was scared to go over 50 at this point, having
    no idea how close to the bottom of the tank I was.

    So I turned round, got back onto the A1 Southbound, this time most
    definitely North of the petrol station and ...

    .... the engine started to get arsey about accelerating. It might just have
    been carb-icing, but the only way to find out for sure was to give it some
    revs and see what happened which I didn't feel inclined to do. So sticking
    to 50 ,and therefore being overtaken and sprayed by a wide variety of
    lorries, I limped my way towards the salvation of the petrol station that
    was only 5 miles away and closing.

    I was only a few hundred yards away when the engine started to really
    complain, so, remembering Champ's words of wisdom, I pulled the choke out
    and me and the bike cruised into the petrol station, engine still going ...
    although it did stall as soon as I stopped.

    Total distance on reserve = 32 miles.

    Having filled up I decided I was in severe need of another fag and made my
    way to the next services (the ones without petrol, but with copper - still
    watching from the Northbound carriageway).

    I had my fag and steeled myself to continue South. By this time I was
    soaked through, but I still had my lovely warm, dry spare gloves in my

    I decided that they would be all I needed to lift my spirits and quickly dug
    them out ... only to discover that during their long stay in my garage the
    lining had become twisted and tangled way beyond the abilities of my cold
    and wet fingers to sort them out. In short my warm, dry gloves were

    That was the final straw. I phoned my boss to say I wouldn't be making it
    and then Pip and Elly to apologise. The time was 2:15, in the two and a
    quarter hours since leaving home I had covered 150 miles, 30 miles of which
    were going up and down the same bit of the bloody A1.

    I head North again, past the waiting copper for the final time.

    That was the last cop car I saw that day.

    There was no more rain.

    At Scotch Corner I stopped for a burger and left my gloves on the end-can
    while I ate, to find them warm and damp, rather than cold and soaking, when
    I returned.

    I was even in high enough spirits to stop and help a fellow biker who was
    parked up on the hard-shoulder about 15 miles South of Durham.

    It turned out he was checking that he didn't have a flat tyre, as his bike
    had done a couple of vicious wobbles in the past few miles.

    Given that he had just collected the bike and it was a FOAD Harley
    Electra-Glide _and_ there was a vicious cross-wind blowing across the A1 I
    reckoned his tyres were probably OK and everything else was fucked, but I
    followed him up to Durham services so that he could check his tyre

    He actually stopped just short and said that he had felt a gust of wind blow
    him and the bike had wobbled in the same way, so he thought it was OK.

    He was heading for Gateshead and I was half-tempted to say I'd keep on
    following him (at 60mph) until he left the A1, but the desire to get home
    overcame altruism and I wished him luck and was doing a ton back home before
    he'd got back on his bike.

    So, it was a crap day. I cursed all things two-wheeled more than once. The
    copper on the A1 may have heard me yell, "**** motorbikes. **** them right
    between the eyes" at one of my stops there, I even dreamt of being in my SO
    Orion and the bike hasn't been out of the garage since.

    It's a funny old game, innit?

    AndrewR, D.Bot (Celeritas)
    Kawasaki ZX-6R J1
    BOTAFOT#2,ITJWTFO#6,UKRMRM#1/13a,MCT#1,DFV#2,SKoGA#0 (and KotL)
    BotToS#5,SBS#25,IbW#34, TEAR#3 (and KotL), DS#5, COSOC#9, KotTFSTR#
    The speccy Geordie twat.
    AndrewR, Apr 6, 2004
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  2. AndrewR

    AndrewR Guest

    Funnily enough, it was exactly the same petrol station as the one I was
    talking about when you first mentioned this little gem.

    Somebody other than I might have learned their fucking lesson by now.

    AndrewR, D.Bot (Celeritas)
    Kawasaki ZX-6R J1
    BOTAFOT#2,ITJWTFO#6,UKRMRM#1/13a,MCT#1,DFV#2,SKoGA#0 (and KotL)
    BotToS#5,SBS#25,IbW#34, TEAR#3 (and KotL), DS#5, COSOC#9, KotTFSTR#
    The speccy Geordie twat.
    AndrewR, Apr 6, 2004
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  3. AndrewR

    Lucretia Guest

    AndrewR wrote:

    Hilarious. So far I have dodged thunder, hail and heavy rain. The only
    thing that's bugged me is the wind. I feel for that Harley rider from
    the heart of my Avons. Not got to the cursing two wheels stage yet,
    mainly as I have no choice in the matter but it's getting very very close.
    What do you normally do when there's a strong side wind? I'm leaning off
    the windward side a bit to balance the Warthog out, seems to work but it
    still weaves, even at speed, which is scary.
    Hope to see you this weekend?
    Lucretia, Apr 7, 2004
  4. AndrewR

    BRC Guest

    Course, I only live about 5 miles from the A1 and if you'd rung I'd have
    been out there within 15 minutes complete with fuel and coffee........
    There are quite a few petrol stations from where you were & had you carried
    on around 5 miles there were a couple on the Southbound - but as you say,
    there's no way of knowing when the next one is.

    I hafta admit the weather was shite I picked up the R1 the next day -
    Harrogate was drenched for most of the day!

    Pop in anytime you're passing by, I work from home mostly these days and can
    always delay my work until its too dark/wet/any excuse, to come out on the
    bike to play, or stop for coffee :eek:)
    BRC, Apr 7, 2004
  5. AndrewR

    AndrewR Guest

    Oh, right.

    I suspect that, if worst had come to worst, I would have tried the ukrm

    However the mobile phone number I have for you is quite old - do you still
    have the number ending in 1541?
    Well that was the other thing on my mind; having to leave Luton at 4pm on
    Friday and ride home in one hit.
    Sounds like a very good plan, especially if there's a chance to CIHAGM :)

    AndrewR, D.Bot (Celeritas)
    Kawasaki ZX-6R J1
    BOTAFOT#2,ITJWTFO#6,UKRMRM#1/13a,MCT#1,DFV#2,SKoGA#0 (and KotL)
    BotToS#5,SBS#25,IbW#34, TEAR#3 (and KotL), DS#5, COSOC#9, KotTFSTR#
    The speccy Geordie twat.
    AndrewR, Apr 7, 2004
  6. AndrewR

    BRC Guest

    It is yes.
    It is a heck of a way in one go.
    Pop in anytime, it often relieves the tedium of working from home.
    BRC, Apr 8, 2004
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