It had started with a simple question – are you having a glass of wine with Sunday lunch or are you planning to go out for a ride?
I had chosen the latter and had been only been riding for around twenty minutes when the handling of my bike felt weird! I had just been riding down some country lanes at a fair pace and so now I pulled over to the side of the road to check what I suspected was a flat front tyre. All seemed fine. I felt the tyre surface that was quite warm to the touch and could see that there was plenty of air in the tyre. Somewhat stumped, I jumped back on the bike and carried on for a few more feet. Something was definitely awry so once again I pulled over at the side of road. A typical English countryside road; no pavement and just a small ditch separating the road from a field. This time I realised that I had been looking at the wrong end of the bike. The front tyre was indeed fine but the rear one was flat!
Coming to terms with the fact that I was going nowhere and it was Sunday afternoon, I rang the RAC, grateful that my bike insurance company had texted me earlier in the week with some useful numbers ‘you might want to make a note of’ which included the RAC breakdown number!
I spoke to someone on the line and gave them my insurance details. Two bikers rode past me and waved and tooted at me. I gave them the ‘thumbs up’ despite feeling anything but fine. My motorbike, a Harley Davidson LowRider had got a sodding puncture and I had a feeling that I was going to be spending my Sunday afternoon standing beside my bike, rather than sitting on it and burning up the Berkshire countryside!
What had started out as a Sunday afternoon ride out has stopped rather suddenly. To make matters worse, the RAC voice advised me that the pick up time was likely to be between one hour and one hour and a half.
With something like a rear wheel puncture, there’s not a lot of options available. There won’t be any tyre shops open on a Sunday afternoon so their only option would be to give me and my bike a lift home. Anyway, it could have been worse, if it was simply a blowout as I imagined it was, I had been lucky not to be hurtling down some country road at speed.
As I stood on the pavement waiting, cars were charging up and down the road and when there was some momentary silence, all I could hear was a quiet hissing sound emanating from my rear tyre!
Anyway just when I thought I was going to be for a long wait, I received a phone call from Ray, the RAC driver. ‘Should be with you in about 10 minutes’ Fantastic, I thought. I called my wife to give her the good news only for her to say that both Annie and her were enroute as well with a flask of coffee! Wow! how many wives would do that?!
I was surprised when an orange RAC van pulled up a few minutes later. I had been expecting a low loader! Ray, the RAC man informed me that he was going to see if he could put enough air in the tyre so that I could limp home. Fair enough, let’s give it a go. Ray produced a long cable and started pumping in air to the tyre. By now a loud hiss had developed and you could feel air was escaping from the spokes signifying that the inner tube had gone, evidently!
‘Nothing I can do mate’ said the friendly Ray. ‘I’ll order you a low loader to recover your bike and take you home, should be about an hour to 90 minutes’ and with that, Ray and his shiny orange van were gone.
So, what had started as an emergency callout at 4pm had already dragged on to around 5.30pm and I was starting to get cold. In the bushes I noticed a CD that had been thrown out of a passing car; Julio Iglesias greatest hits! I saw the cd cover in the bushes and around ten feet further up the road, the actual cd was lying there. What had happened, I mused, to make this the perfect place to rid oneself of Julio’s greatest hits!!
I decided to play a version of I Spy. I saw a lot of plain boring cars from all the major manufacturers but outside of the norm, I saw one Ferrari that blipped it’s throttle as it flew by, a Jaguar and Bentley as well as a beautiful Ford Zephyr in dark green that really looked the business and was out for a Sunday drive.
By now, it was 6.15pm and the sun, what there had been of it, was starting to disappear and it was getting cold. I pulled up my hoodie top and had to endure the passing motorists who all felt inclined to slow down and stare at me, as I stood there. Amazing how many cars were driving up this small country lane.
Gone 6.30pm I received a phone call from Grant, who was in charge of the low loader. ‘I’m on the M3 coming up from Hastings and should be with you in around thirty minutes’
So, it was finally gone seven pm that Grant and his low loader arrived and started to tie down my bike to his truck.
Grant immediately told me that he didn’t like motorbikes but that he hadn’t lost one off the back of this low loader …yet!
As soon as we had set off, the Harley alarm system came into full force with ear piercing alarm sounds along with all the indicators flashing in unison. I had read in the manual there was a way of disabling the alarm but could I remember it?!
I was now at the point that I simply wanted to get myself and my bike home and put it all behind me. I could do without any further embarrassment from nosy neighbours looking out of windows.
As we pulled into our cul-de-sac, the alarm of the bike continued to blast out, penetrating neighbours houses and announcing to all and sundry that I was indeed home at last!!
Now how to fix a flat rear tyre for a Harley Davidson? I have a feeling this is going to be expensive!