Bikes are just part of me; they are entwined in everything I do. It is not deliberate, it just happens that way. Through work, play and anything else in between the bikes tend to play a part that other forms of transport seem to find impossible. The greatest of these influences, for me, has to be on my social life. Bikers gather together and talk about everything, but it is not just at social gatherings that bikes work their magic at bringing people together…once I found myself at a party, in Belgium all because of, well let me tell you a story…..
Cornwall, England, the summer
It was a beautiful afternoon, the sun was out, not a cloud in the sky and I was finished for the day. The road was surprisingly free of holiday makers and I was making the most of this rare summer occurrence to stretch the legs of my old Z1100. She is an old lady, but she does like to live the fast life occasionally. Anyway, enjoying the ride I noticed in passing a guy sitting by his bike in a lay-by, I waved cheerfully as I went by and carried on up the road.
About a minute later something started niggling at the back of my mind. I am a great believer in stopping for anyone on a bike in trouble at the side of the road, it is one of the great traditions of motorcycling and it is one that has helped me many times. I reached the round about at the top of the hill, did a 180 and went back down the road. The guy was still sitting there, and as I pulled in I noticed the tool kit spread out in front of the Guzzi, I had made the right decision.
The guy was French, but luckily spoke a fair bit of English. After a quick once over we quickly established that there was no fixing the bike at the side of the road. As luck would have it my mate had a bike shop only a couple of miles away so I went off to get the pickup and trailer. Within an hour or two we were all sitting having a brew (a cup of tea) and getting to know each other, while pulling the bike apart. It turned out to be a fried coil and a new one had to be ordered.
To cut a long story short the guy ended up staying with us while we waited for the part to arrive, and seeing as he was a decent guy continued to stay with us for the rest of his holiday, partying with the club and drawing pictures of the members on the back of beer mats and scraps of paper. It turned out the guy is an artist, in fact a comic book artist and writer and a very good one at that.
The years went by, Christmas cards were exchanged and a few visits made, then one day I was at work on the phone to my lass, who at the time was working in Belgium. She was chatting about what she had been doing the past couple of days and mentioned that she had ended up at a comic expo, dragged there by some of her friends, and that she had bought a comic for me because it had bikes and rats in it. She then mentioned that the author was a guy called Ptiluc and that he was very famous over there. Can you imagine my joy and her surprise when I was able to tell her that I knew the guy, it was brilliant, and even more brilliant were the screams of “he knows Ptiluc?” in the background from her friends.
Of course the next time I visited Brussels I was obliged to go out for the night with four cute young ladies in their very small black dresses and tell the story over and over in great detail, drink , laugh and dance the night away…..and of course I remembered to give thanks to Moto Guzzi and their crap electrics !
I love Guzzis!
Bikes, they never ever fail to make your life so much more interesting…