01 December, 2009

Don't forget the Woodruff Key

Although I spend my spare time riding around on a modern Superbike dressed like an Australian's nightmare I have an abiding fondness for Classic Bike magazine. I suppose it shouldn't be that much of a surprise, the first bike I bought was a 500cc Enfield, and it got right under my skin.

But it was a shock to pick up a copy, as I'm wont to do from time to time, and discover that my first Japanese sportsbike now features amongst it's pages as a long-term bike for one of the contributors... Sic transit gloria mundi.

Does this mean that I've crossed some motorcycling Rubicon? (to maintain the sub-Molesworth classical affectation). I may still fold myself onto rearsets and reach for the clip-ons but there is a presence behind one shoulder, an avuncular reaper ready to draw me into the fold... not so much black robes and a scythe as overalls and a Whitworth spanner.

Perhaps not. Although the singlemost delectable enjoyment that Classic Bike magazine can afford is to lie in a very hot bath, with a beer and a fantasy windfall, scouring the small ads to see where I'd spread my imaginary largesse there is one thing I like even more...

...and that is reading the workshop advice pages. Any danger I may have had of raiding the savings to splurge on some Brit-Iron evaporates as I read gorgeous, inscrutable, impenetrable words of advice on maintenance. Your correspondent will mention in a breezy off-hand manner that "...naturally you'll check the Ruskin flange for excessive play that could lead to glazing on the Frampton bearing face if left unchecked..." whilst I read on agog. Terrified. These are men from a different age, and they are always men, who without pause for reflection will employ the term "...you'll need to fabricate a special tool for this procedure...". Argggh!

I find it oddly reassuring, and it never does one any harm to get a cold hard reminder of how dumb you are. It also serves to remind me that whilst I may think whatever motorcycle related story I'm subjecting my girlfriend to in the pub is as clear as day, that perhaps it's not quite as straightforward as I believe.