While I was at RoSPA I was invited to road test a BMW K100 for a couple of weeks. I rode down to Bracknell on my Trident and it was left in their workshops when I took the BMW.
Sitting on it after the Trident it seemed so different I thought "This will take more than two weeks to get used to". By the time I reached the Motorway I was completely at ease with it.
The BMW had a seductive nature; I could too easily ride it faster than I should. I took it up to the training centres in Fife for a spin over the A68 through Jedburgh. This has the wonderful wavey road with "Blind Summits" that beats any ride at Alton Towers. If I saw a car away in the distance ahead I'd start planning my overtake immediately and none too soon!
When I reached Tom McGowan's training centre at Glenrothes I swanked in on the BMW making a big, slow arc round the training ground towards Tom's office caravan. On the way the front wheel hit a sheet of wet corrugated cardboard and the whole plot went down in a heap. God bless Tom's lads, they didn't laugh at me for breaking off an indicator.
On the way back I wound the BMW up on the A1. Because the height of the fairing sent the wind straight into my face I was using a full face helmet. At a speed I wouldn't want my bosses to know about the wind turbulance caught a wasp and shot it under my chin and into the helmet. I went cross eyed watching the wasp crawl angrily up the inside of my visor. I put the bike onto the hard shoulder and hit both brakes with everything I had. The ABS brakes worked a treat and brought the bike to a stop without any burnt rubber. The helmet came off almost before I stopped and I avoided a sting.
I took one of the girls in the office for a ride to see what her first ever impression of pillion riding was. We took one of my favourite rides past Lake Vyrnwy into Snowdonia. It's one way to get a girl to hold on very tight! On the way back I was leathering it on the main roads when I noticed a Jaguar up ahead was ... er ... "making progress" through the traffic. As I went past I noticed that the four occupants had epulets. I was working on the assumption that they were training outside of their patch. When we arrived back at work the girl rather breathlessly declare "Wow, it's like sex isn't it!" Er, yes - I don't do it just to get cold and wet!
I wasn't looking for the same response the next weekend when I took Pilot Officer Rachel Harris for a ride from Hullavington RAF Base. Good job really because when we returned I made a U-turn, lost my footing and had visions of the other indicator detatching itself. As we slowly toppled over I turned to yell. "OK, you can put your foot down!"
The only thing I was never happy with was the indicators that were on a timer. They were pressed to turn on and then went off after a few seconds. I didn't check the manual to see if they could be adjusted but they never seemed to be on long enough for others to react to them.
When I returned the BMW to Bracknell with apologies for the scratches they wheeled my loyal Trident back out and it was sparkling. "We steam cleaned it" they smiled. I thanked them and set off for home. At the first roundabout the Trident gave up the ghost. The battery was completely flat so I trudged round to a phone box and called the RAC then sat down on the verge to wait for them. An hour later the BMW offices knocked off and the guy from the test shop saw me sitting at the side of the road as he drove home. He pulled up and wound the window down "Having problems?" he asked.
"No!" I responded defensively, "Just having a break." [down]
With a new battery in place I resumed my journey home and I have to confess it took me a lot longer to get used to being back on my own beloved Trident than it took to feel at home on the K100.