So we’re back out and about, but with limited chat and without the man hugs. There’s definitely no kissing. No one’s told Herbie the Collie this, and my wiry little wingman is still mostly feral when we’re out and about on the bikes. He’s got the best social skills, which is to ignore personal space and assume the only thing around the next (cut) corner is fun. It’s more commonly a horse.
Its fair to say it’s been a funny old year so far! My 9000km January seems a lifetime away. My workshop extension however has gone very well, although I’ve lost a good hammer to a recent tradesman visit and I’m struggling, as with pretty much everything on lockdown, to procure roof tiles. Similar story with new undercrackers from the high street. I happened to witness some of the queues when both Primark and the big takeaways reopened the doors though, so seemingly I’m not as desperate as some for either pants or rubbish chicken. Maybe there’s a link!
In more serious news I’m facing what I believe to be a unique quandary, but what is most likely largely the norm. I am sort of stuck in a between-seasons rut. Having not thought it sensible to buy a new 2020 model enduro bike (with the Dakar bike and my high hours 450 being primary concerns) my plan was to pick up the new whip post Saudi, around March/April as the season starts…. I’d sold the 300 a few months prior (and it subsequently died, low hours – not always low effort). I was a good boy during the lockdown, in fact I sort of totally ignored the motos and got stuck in to my admin and workshop build, as well as a bit of kicking back and just relaxing (eating cake, not training, feeding a baby). And now we’re in a season, model and plan hiatus.
With my fulltime rider head on, I’m scanning the ads for discount 2020 bikes, new 2021 models, weighing up if I should go orange, white, orange and white and just plumbing for four new bikes to scratch all the itches. I’m late to the game, so didn’t cut my teeth on two-strokes but loved my 300. The 450s are mega and I gelled with the silky power, but also love the middle ground of the 350. I built a 350SX into an enduro bike a couple of years back and it was my favourite-ever bike, but it went when I rode a GS as an enduro bike for a year in prep for the GS Trophy. (I was also incredibly busy at this point and was getting a bit too chubby to hang on to it every second or third weekend…).
So what to do, which to get aboard and where to ride it? Or decide where to ride, and let the bike come to it. Some holiday rally? A relaxed event somewhere I can also be a tourist? Take the family in the camper? An assault on some big boys enduro, hoping for a mid pack finish, but knowing I’ve ridden the good stuff? Or some more extreme stuff – really push the limit. I’ve parked another Dakar for 2021 for sure. Although I’d happily jump on again immediately, so will remain ready and with a prepped bike between now and 2022, and see what happens (which autospelled to happiness – make of that what you will…).
The Dakar post-event comedown was amplified somewhat, but I don’t think I’ve ever sat with my feet up for so long. A bit like a dog not looking a ball in the eye, I tried not to notice the unridden bikes moved into the corner whilst I demonstrated that engineers can do anything and put the roof and doors (hand made) on the workshop. Needs must.
JB and myself had a RUST chat or two, though. There was even more dog chat. JB needs maintenance on a dodgy knee, and it’s meant the little Honda 250F hasn’t seen much action. I had a quick blast on it at the Ryedale Rally last year, and it was a little ripper. This also potentially fills my semi-season quandary. In a loosely strung together plan we think it’ll head to mine and I’ll ride everything on it, see what comes up and go for it. So a small capacity red four-stroke? In a world where huge masses seem to be doing some strange stuff, I’m reminded of a philosophy I’ve previously used with success – when everyone else zigs, zag.