I must admit, for the first time in my riding life I hit a dark patch over the last few months. It seemed to be a combination of factors, never have I been so unlucky on two wheels then over the last year, never mind the personal trials I have faced.
Starting in May '08 and watching the carnage of my Kawasaki Er-6f being driven over in a petrol station. Followed by the high of purchasing my dream motorcycle the Buell Ulysses XB12XT but that dream soon was blown away as a series of electrical faults culminated in motorcycle and I being unceremoniously dumped mid-turn as motorcycle lost all power. This was just before the onset of a bitter winter and the tender riding skills that keep one upright through those dark months. My confidence never fully returned in the Buell, always fearful when I felt the engine judder or hesitate. Then to put the top-hat on it all, in January a car driver knocked me off the Buell at a junction. If that was not bad enough my insurance company has refused to prosecute as there were no witness's other then the Buell and my own scrapes and bruises.
Needless to say I was an unhappy motorcyclist. In the days following being knocked off the motorcycle I even thought seriously about my future on two wheels. Though that was soon dismissed as the shock cleared from my mind. Some personal issues also came to a head during this period. In this whirlwind of circumstance I stood in the eye realising that stepping out in any direction would mean facing a world that seemed determined to keep me down. So it is in this frame of mind that I started to think long and hard about change. Changing my poor Buell and the very real prospect of losing some of those close to me. Everything changes, I know this better then most. Now seemed a good time for me to make the leap on my own terms.
So a few weeks ago I walked into the Irish motorcycle show with my mind set on picking a new motorcycle and putting the past year behind me. A 'cleansing' of sorts. High on my list were the Moto Guzzi Norge 1200, the Honda VFR, the Suzuki Bandit 1250GT, the KTM SMT 990, the BMW R1200GS and R1200RT. A varied assortment of machinary that all ticked the boxes of having luggage and the potential to haul partner and I to distant destinations, while still being capable daily workhorses. Though while wandering from stand to stand and trying out bike after bike other issues crept into my mind. Research online further went to sideline the options further. In the end I found myself right back at the start...my Buell Ulysses XB12XT was and still is the motorcycle that I not just want and need.
The last few months it feels like I have been riding through a mist with patches of clarity that that would give way to murkier moments. Most of my perceptions regarding motorcycling, relationships, life and death have all been challenged over the last year. They say what does not kill us makes us stronger, that may be true but during my days at sea there was a another saying, "you are only a survivor if you survive".
So this is where I am now, on the other side of what has been a turbulent year. It is not over, it will never be over but I am doing what I must to survive. With this new position I have reignited some old passions, submitted works I have penned into competitions and rekindled my love affair with my Uly... Which involved a night locked away in the garage, just the two of us, I stripped her down and rewired in the Autocom unit that had been removed a few months ago. It should have only taken an hour but I did not leave until the very early hours. It was quality time we have long needed. We also worked out a little list of mods and fixes that I will attempt to get done over the next year to open and close this new chapter.
First off...the front mudguard has got to go. So I have already ordered from Trojan Horse a carbon fibre front fender and upper front fender. That will finally solve that 'itch'.
Then next on the list is to sort the damage done in the RTA. So the bellypan will have to be swapped out, this is where the new Touratech "streetline" of accessories save the day. The following are on my shopping list:
- The Large Engine Guard
- The Small Engine Guard
- The Protector For The Oil Filter
- The Oil Cooler Protector
After all that I am debating what comes next, either I go back to Trojan Horse and get a Remus Powerizer to sort out the little niggles I have with the engine OR I put safety concerns first and go to Motolight and order some spotlights. I think the spotlights will win out but currency conversion rates and personal finances will ultimately decide when these mods are done.
Spring feels like it is being a little lazy in getting going, but I do not mind. Will give me more time to think and enjoy the coming warmth. So yes, everything changes but some things also stay the same. My favorite quote really says it all in the end;
"For the truth is that I already know as much about my fate as I need to know. The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze." - Richard Bode, First you have to row a little boat
After that unprecedented insight there is only one thing left to say... keep the rubber side ;-)