Sunday, 13 November 2011

In the beginning there was a 125 a mountain and a trail

I am surrounded by a pile of books and DVLA DVDs and in the presence of these official publications, I feel guilty. It's a bit like when you're little and you're sitting in a classroom full of kids and the pickpocket is asked to come forward. Even though you're totally innocent you feel the pang of some deep seated culpability. It’s the humiliation of the L Plate and I have not felt this for over 30 years. It’s a rare meeting between state and confirmed individualist. I'm not sure I truly belong as I have to admit that I find myself here more by accident than design. A few years ago, I moved to the French Alps to a village where every third person seems to own a Trials bike. The hills in the off-season echo to the sounds of two stoke growling and gunfire and are shared between the wild boar hunters and the riders of the single cylinder blue smoke thumpers.

Opting to join the Gas Gas culture rather than the gun culture, the dividing line between an early morning Pastis or a petit cafĂ©, is an exciting revelation for a once confirmed mountain bike rider and downhiller. But six months into this journey, the 125cc I have been riding is beginning to die under my weight, its high pitching whining (a sound often ignored in other aspects of my life) has to be respected. The owner of a local bar, having chucked himself down a ravine attached to his 300cc machine has decided discretion "is the better part" of something...... His pride and joy, so easily given up, now sits in my shed. It waits for me to be able to (legally) ride across the short stretch of hardtop that annoyingly stands between my house and the mountain trails. Basically anything over 125cc requires me to hold a full motorcycle licence. What started as a simple fulfilment of legal requirements to cross a 200m stretch of frost cracked tar has ended up leading me into the realm of GS’s and GPS's, and onwards into the brave new world of Adventure bike riding.

1 comment:

  1. you should read "The adventure motorcycling handbook" by Chris Scott- it got me stoked when I started, although I ended up doing some Rallye's instead