Right, I've been on holiday (looking after Emma) for the last few days, so I\nhaven't posted here, but I thought you all might enjoy the story of my April\nFool's day ... packed as it is with opportunities to call me a TC.\n\nThe plan was really very simple; bike to my office in Milton Keynes, have a\nquick meeting with my boss, bike to Pip & Elly's for the night, bike to\nLuton for an all-day team building type thing and then bike home.\n\nWhat, to coin a phrase, could go wrong?\n\nFirst off the weather had been taunting me for ages, making me wonder if I\nshould go with my race leathers and take my waterproof oversuit with me or\ngo for the full wet-weather gear.\n\nFortunately on the morning in question it was pissing down, so I went for\nthe wet-weather look, even though it had stopped raining and the sun was\nshining brightly by the time I left the house at midday. I even had the\npresence of mind to throw in my old Pathan style (but not HG) winter gloves,\non the off-chance that my Pathans got soaked through.\n\nOff I set.\n\nI got less than 10 miles before the heavens opened and verily did it piss\ndown mightily. Fortunately it was a fairly short-sharp shower of shit and I\nwas soon through it.\n\nBy the time I'd done 30 miles the sun was shining, but the bike was\ncarb-icing like a bastard, presumably due to being thoroughly water-logged.\nI stopped to let it thaw and I had a fag and put my sun-glasses on and set\noff again.\n\nOnce I got into North Yorkshire three bad things happened:\n\n1. It started to rain again, quite a lot. The rain was on/off, but there\nwas so much water lying on the road it was really quite hard to tell if it\nwas raining or not, not helped by ...\n\n2. Absolutely appalling traffic. It was flowing well enough, doing 50 to\n60, but there was a lot of it about. I could filter through it but ...\n\n3. Every single fucking police car in Yorkshire was out on the roads ...\nand I mean _every_ single fucking one. I've done that journey lots of times\nand it's unlucky to see more than 1 cop car for the whole of Yorkshire. I\nwas literally seeing one every 5 to 10 miles, which meant that filtering\nthrough 50mph+ traffic didn't seem like a terribly good idea.\n\nSo my journey down the A1 was lots of sitting in slow traffic, getting\nsprayed by all of the lorries and keeping my eyes peeled for coppers.\n\nThe bike went into reserve just North of the point where the A1 and the M1\nsplit off, as it always does on this journey and I headed down the A1 leg.\n\nNow there's a petrol station about 5 miles into the A1 bit, but it is just a\npetrol station without even enough room to get far enough away from the\npumps to have a quiet fag. From experience I knew there was another\nservices about 3 miles further on, complete with proper car park, Little\nThief and so on.\n\nWith this in mind I sailed past the first petrol station and into the second\nservices (noting, on the way in the traffic car parked on the slip road\nopposite on the North-bound side of the A1).\n\nOnce into these services I found out they'd demolished their petrol station.\nI stopped for a fag anyway and wondered what to do about the fact I was 6 or\n7 miles into reserve and there was no petrol to be had.\n\nGiven that I didn't have a fucking clue where the next services South-bound\nwere I decided to head back North on the A1 and loop round to the petrol\nstation I'd original gone past.\n\nThere services I was in, however, doesn't lead directly back onto the A1 -\nit comes out on some A road where you turn right to get to a bog roundabout\nwhere you can chose from the North or South bound A1. At the junction out\nof the services the left turn (away from the A1) was signposted "Services".\nI thought it was worth a try.\n\nFive miles later there had been no sign of services and I'd reached a\nroundabout which had no further services signs and from which all of the\nroads looked pretty fucking minor.\n\nI was now 12 or so miles into reserve (I don't normally push it more than 15\nmiles) and in the middle of fucking nowhere. I decided the only way forward\nwas to go back to plan A and get onto the A1 Northbound.\n\nSo back I went, up onto the A1 Northbound, past the copper who was still\nparked up at the end of the slip-road, and I carried on until the first\njunction North of the petrol station I was aiming for and peeled off ...\n\n.... to discover that coming off at that junction and heading for the A1\nSouthbound takes you round in a big loop, behind the petrol station, and\nback onto the A1 South, _just_ South of the petrol station.\n\nSo I went back down to the next services, with the shell of their old petrol\nstation laughing at me, and still under the watchful eye of the copper\nparked on the other side of the road. Went back to the A1 roundabout, back\nup the slip-road to the A1 Northbound (again past the copper, who must by\nnow have been sure I was taking the piss) and further North.\n\nThe next junction Northwards, after the one I'd already tried, is the big\none where the A1 and M1 split and the only way off them is to take the A64,\nwhich I did.\n\nTo discover that the A64 is a bastard big dual carriageway with no sign of\nany services and a long journey to the first slip road off. Actually it\nmight not be that long, but I was scared to go over 50 at this point, having\nno idea how close to the bottom of the tank I was.\n\nSo I turned round, got back onto the A1 Southbound, this time most\ndefinitely North of the petrol station and ...\n\n.... the engine started to get arsey about accelerating. It might just have\nbeen carb-icing, but the only way to find out for sure was to give it some\nrevs and see what happened which I didn't feel inclined to do. So sticking\nto 50 ,and therefore being overtaken and sprayed by a wide variety of\nlorries, I limped my way towards the salvation of the petrol station that\nwas only 5 miles away and closing.\n\nI was only a few hundred yards away when the engine started to really\ncomplain, so, remembering Champ's words of wisdom, I pulled the choke out\nand me and the bike cruised into the petrol station, engine still going ...\nalthough it did stall as soon as I stopped.\n\nTotal distance on reserve = 32 miles.\n\nHaving filled up I decided I was in severe need of another fag and made my\nway to the next services (the ones without petrol, but with copper - still\nwatching from the Northbound carriageway).\n\nI had my fag and steeled myself to continue South. By this time I was\nsoaked through, but I still had my lovely warm, dry spare gloves in my\npanniers.\n\nI decided that they would be all I needed to lift my spirits and quickly dug\nthem out ... only to discover that during their long stay in my garage the\nlining had become twisted and tangled way beyond the abilities of my cold\nand wet fingers to sort them out. In short my warm, dry gloves were\nunusable.\n\nThat was the final straw. I phoned my boss to say I wouldn't be making it\nand then Pip and Elly to apologise. The time was 2:15, in the two and a\nquarter hours since leaving home I had covered 150 miles, 30 miles of which\nwere going up and down the same bit of the bloody A1.\n\nI head North again, past the waiting copper for the final time.\n\nThat was the last cop car I saw that day.\n\nThere was no more rain.\n\nAt Scotch Corner I stopped for a burger and left my gloves on the end-can\nwhile I ate, to find them warm and damp, rather than cold and soaking, when\nI returned.\n\nI was even in high enough spirits to stop and help a fellow biker who was\nparked up on the hard-shoulder about 15 miles South of Durham.\n\nIt turned out he was checking that he didn't have a flat tyre, as his bike\nhad done a couple of vicious wobbles in the past few miles.\n\nGiven that he had just collected the bike and it was a FOAD Harley\nElectra-Glide _and_ there was a vicious cross-wind blowing across the A1 I\nreckoned his tyres were probably OK and everything else was fucked, but I\nfollowed him up to Durham services so that he could check his tyre\npressures.\n\nHe actually stopped just short and said that he had felt a gust of wind blow\nhim and the bike had wobbled in the same way, so he thought it was OK.\n\nHe was heading for Gateshead and I was half-tempted to say I'd keep on\nfollowing him (at 60mph) until he left the A1, but the desire to get home\novercame altruism and I wished him luck and was doing a ton back home before\nhe'd got back on his bike.\n\nSo, it was a crap day. I cursed all things two-wheeled more than once. The\ncopper on the A1 may have heard me yell, "Fuck motorbikes. Fuck them right\nbetween the eyes" at one of my stops there, I even dreamt of being in my SO\nOrion and the bike hasn't been out of the garage since.\n\nIt's a funny old game, innit?\n\n-\-\nAndrewR, D.Bot (Celeritas)\nKawasaki ZX-6R J1\nBOTAFOT#2,ITJWTFO#6,UKRMRM#1/13a,MCT#1,DFV#2,SKoGA#0 (and KotL)\nBotToS#5,SBS#25,IbW#34, TEAR#3 (and KotL), DS#5, COSOC#9, KotTFSTR#\nThe speccy Geordie twat.