I am going, as always, to the Motorcycle Show at the NEC in Birmingham in a few days.
And, as always, I will be going in the car.
Now, this may seem strange for someone who professes to love bikes and for whom paying for parking is an irritation at best and anathema at worst. However, there is method to my madness, over and above a less than passionate love of the M6 on a winter's night and this is best explained by a post on the Motorcycle News forum after my last foray to the, much more convenient, London Show in February of this year:
"How the HELL....?
Ok, here's the thing.
I'm thinking of doing a bit of green-laning, partly as I may be going on a bike holiday that involves some off-roadish stuff, partly to improve my skills. So I thought I'd invest in some proper kit - nothing too expensive, until I know I like it, but enough to at least LOOK the part!
So, as I found myself with a few hours to spare unexpectedly this afternoon, I took myself off to the Excel show, see if I could pick up a bargain.
And I did, sort of.
I managed to get a nice Shark MX helmet quite cheap (although did rather fall in love with the new Arai Tour-X3, but couldn't justify the cost) and a pair of Oxtar MX boots.
However, when I got back to the bike, having congratulated myself for having the foresight to bring the Dulls, with it's panniers and top box, I made some interesting discoveries.
MX helmets are a different shape and take up a lot more room in a top box.
MX helmets don't fit into the pull out helmet section of an Oxford rucksack
You should always carry a cargo net or bungees
MX boots are bloody HUGE and don't bend. This means that they don't fit in a top box full of MX helmet
They also don't fit into the side panniers of a Dulls. To be honest, not much does.
So, bright idea time - put the Oxtars ON, and squeeze my ordinary, well worn and therefore flexible road boots into the top box.
Next interesting discovery. Trying to put on brand new and stiff MX boots, in a dark car park is a new meaning for the word 'fun'.
Finally, I managed to get everything squashed in, by which time it was completely dark and they were gritting the acccess roads.
So, off I went, out of the car park, onto the slip... or rather, as it's now gritted with appears to be fine sand.... slippery road, which is where I made my most interesting discovery.
MX boots are so big and clumpy, you cant' get your toes under the gear shift to change up.
No matter what I did, I couldn't change gear. Nor, for that matter, could I feel a bloody thing.
So, I have no idea whether this a feature of the Dullsville or whether I'm doing something wrong, but I rode home with two huge MX boots strapped to my back with a mixture of my back protector and the braces that hold my strides up.
If I'd come off, I would not only have hurt my back, but would have mooned the Emergency services.
How the HELL are you supposed to ride in these things??????"
So, shopping or riding. Those who know me will understand............ no competition.