Sunday, 8 May 2011

Swan Lake

I was going to update you on the latest dramas regarding preparations but they seem insignificant to what followed, so just a quick resume. ’Bobbie’ had more emergency treatment from the ever helpful Phil Hawksley. He dropped everything at a moments notice to sort out a couple of issues. Oil was dripping out of the air intake, a sign of flatulence - excess pressure in the crankcase for the technically minded (Do bikes like curry?) It was discovered too that the rocker arms were worn out which may have been contributing to some odd noises coming from that area. I picked the bike up on Royal Wedding day just six days before it was due to be shipped. It stayed in the garage after that as there wasn’t any time for further investigation and it was going even if I had to push it.

The *0th birthday and leaving celebrations started over the Royal Wedding weekend (I hadn’t realised so many people wanted to get rid of me). I didn’t get the feather pillow or shower gel but had a sore head and some useful pressies. Another big thank you to all that helped make this a reality. I couldn’t have managed it without you.

Fast forward to 2 days before the off. I got on the bike to ride to Bob’s, where we were meeting to go onto Heathrow, only to discover I had no indicators, horn or brake lights (what hope is there). After that matters went from bad to disastrous (there is a reason why only two bikes were being loaded on the plane). Terry, never a shrinking violet, rode onto the M3 followed closely by Anne who was going to bring us all back. In the middle lane of a very busy M3 Terry decided to give a performance of Swan Lake on ice. In the three front seats were a 38 tonne artic, Anne in her Golf and white van man on the wing. Terry’s performance unfolded in front of them as he executed some difficult moves but whilst attempting a double reverse flip he and the bike parted company. Not wishing to end the performance early and disappoint his many fans, he managed to arrange an air display where the star act was the air ambulance landing on the motorway immediately in front of them and closing the whole motorway for an hour or more. This display was so good that it made national radio where Sally Traffic gave regular updates.

On a more serious note Terry suffered a broken collar bone, some broken ribs and a slightly ruptured spleen. He will, hopefully, be home by the time you read this but understandably he is a little sore and any gifts of ‘London Pride’ would be welcome for its pain relieving qualities. The bike also had a few injuries, bent handlebars, crashbars as well as some impressive battle scars to the panniers (no doubt the story of how they occurred will be suitably enhanced as the months go by)

Everyone wishes you a speedy recovery Terry, but Bob and I insist on it and hope to see you in the States, legs across your trusty steed (there may be an element of artistic licence in the trusty bit).

After arriving in Calgary and booking into the local Hostel international we wandered into town and fell into the first available bar for a couple of pints and something to eat. Asleep before it was dark and up again before 4am local time I spent the next few hours chatting to an Egyptian and a guy from La Reunion (a small Island about the size of the Isle of Wight in the middle of the Indian Ocean). Am totally disorganised at the moment (nothing new I know). Went to have a wash only to realise all that stuff is on the bike sitting in Calgary Airport as is my power adapter, however, a West Yorkshire lass has just loaned me one so I can finish this off and post it). If the last few hours proves typical, this is going to an interesting trip.


  1. Poor Terry's 'flight' was not a good start and shattered the remaining nerves that I had been carefully preserving for the first few months of Dave being away. Hope to see you in San Francisco Terry! I expect to weigh a mere 7 stone by the time they come home!

  2. The hardest part of the adventure is getting away from the house. Best wishes on your healing. Give that colarbone the full 6 or 7 weeks. Hope to see you in California.