Starcat 1 by my favourite artist

Sunday, 7 April 2013

One for Prospective Bikers

At last, it seems that winter has finished. Here in Andalusia it is never really Spring until the dread day when the students in your class, be they High School or University students, become totally unmanageable and the class is given over to youtube videos, games or simply telling them silly stories. Obviously such external factors in no way affect we professionals who labour under the onerous task of teaching them!

I of course do not indulge in such silliness. The fact that I have fun classes - if my students want them or not - does not mean that in the back of my mind professional foresight is not at work. Perish the thought that I too am affected by such sap-rising factors as the weather and temperature!

April, as my uncle TS would say, is definitely the cruellest month. Seville's April Fair falls, naturally enough, in April - except next year when it is in May and gives me a huge holiday two weeks after Easter. But I digress. There is a saying in Spanish - No te quites el sayo hasta el 40 de mayo which in English is: cast not a clout till May is out. This is also true of motorcycle clouts. 

I have been happily casting clouts for the past few weeks, but now it is the turn of my biking clouts to be washed and prepped in preparation for the motorbiking season. Such preparations are not however the only ones needed. My [t]rusty old steed needs a thorough overhaul after the recent winter rains that filled the petrol tank with water - and yet still it fired up!!!  

Luckily, after the donkey-work of removing and cleaning the easy bits, my son, a fully-qualified mechanic of high-performance bikes, will do the rest and resuscitate my zombie-bike in time for my April excursions far and wide as I escape, briefly, the purgatory that is Seville for more pleasant places and, dare I say it, less obnoxious people.


  1. My father, who was a motor mechanic by profession, always had motorbikes, never a car. He died when I was very young, so I never knew him, but my mother told me tales of their outings - and accidents - and his enthusiasm for speed.

    Perhaps I would have following in his footsteps, or rather, tyre tracks, but my mother was adamant in not allowing me to have a bike of my own, even when a secondhand bargain turned up at the garage where I worked during the vacations. It was hard enough getting her to allow me a push bike.

    I was therefore never to know the thrills of motorcycling though I often fantasized about getting my own bike and going travelling like a knight errant looking for adventure.

    Today's roads are too congested for motoring in any form to be enjoyable as I remember that it used to be. Perhaps, though, there are still places where the motorcyclist, alone or with others, can surf the tarmac and perhaps explore the lanes and back roads to enjoy the quieter places and, here and there perhaps, the thrill of speed.

  2. My parents too had a bike, well a scooter, an NSU Prima or Lambretta built by NSU under licence. Apparently, I spent my first post-conception hours outside Tewksbury on the way to Gloucester. My first bike? A Lambretta!

    Here in Andalusia, there are many B-roads that swarm with bikes in Spring with the attendant accidents and fatalities. When I sally forth I tend to do so alone or with my pillion. Group outings tend to turn into pissing contests - who can take that corner the fastest; mini-races between bends etc. On my journeys over the last few years I have seen at least 3 fatalities.

    Unfortunately we humans tend to forget that we are mortal and very fragile - especially when we have a rush of adrenaline pumping through us and I am as guilty as the rest. Indeed, as Aldous Huxley remarked "Speed is the only truly modern sensation".