Trike 16

Trike 16
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So I’m wobbling down the A31 near Ringwood the other day, frozen to the core after a 230 trip from me native Suffolk, the trusty (but not yet rusty) old work bike covered in an accumulation of road crud that’s getting on for being about an inch deep in places, wondering exactly what the hell I’m doing traipsing round the country in November, when I spot a bloke on a trike coming the other way.

He’s riding something rear-engined, probably a Vee-Dub of sorts, with monstrous apes and huge rear wheels with no mudguards so there’s a fountain of shite spraying off each side as the road’s still wet from earlier rain, he’s got an old leather jacket on and no waterproofs, no lid, no goggles, nowt. What he has got, though, is a big, shit-eating grin on his face and the wind in his hair and, despite the fact that the A31 is full of nose-to-tail retards on my side, his is empty and he’s obviously thoroughly enjoying himself. As he passes me as I’m just about to start threading my way between the slow-moving cars, he takes his left hand off the ‘bars and gives me a cheery wave – all I can manage in return, though, is a sort o’ nod as I need both hands to cover the clutch and front brake in case some numpty in a car in front of me does summat stupid. I did see you, mate, if you’re reading this, sorry I didn’t wave back.

A few minutes later, I’d made me way through the stationary masses and made it to the exit I wanted and, once out of the herd of traffic, I had time to think. Most of my journeys on the bike are usually in excess of 100 miles and so tend to be a bit of a chore. It’s not that I don’t enjoy riding, don’t get me wrong, it’s just that it’s generally purely a way of getting from A to B – I don’t often just go out for a ride, if you see what I mean? Since I picked up the ZXR for work back in July, I’ve done nearly 8000 miles on it, plus the 3.5k I did on the Spyder and the few thousand I did on a friend’s Fazer Six prior to that, so 15,000 this year doesn’t seem unreasonable. And that’s without any commuting mileage as I work from home and only have to walk downstairs to my office in the morning …

It was the big smile on the trike rider’s face that got me thinking, I think. He seemed to be really enjoying what he was doing – really enjoying it in an active way, rather than in a passive way as perhaps I do. Okay, so he probably wasn’t riding anywhere near the distance that I was and that kind o’ contributed to it but, I have to admit, I was a little jealous of the fact that he was so obviously genuinely having a good time. And it made me think about what I use the bike, and to a lesser extent the trike too, for – perhaps I should take more pleasure in the sheer act of riding and not just view journeys as a means to an end. Dunno, it’ll take some thinking about, but for making me prod my grey cells in a manner that I probably wouldn’t have, I salute you, sir, whoever you were. Long may you continue to enjoy your triking!