A free weekend — wall-to-wall sunshine — if I wasn’t such a pussy I would get the Tenere out. I was sorely tempted but with morning temperetures loitering around freezing I decided to leave her in the shed and use the comfort of Big Foot instead.
An email from KC Superbikes to say that having mopped up they were re-opening after the floods set the direction and I headed over the border to Carlisle.
KC deal in Triumphs and Suzukis. Like many riders my age with the long European trips done and dusted – we like the thought of having a Triumph twin in the shed ready for that daytrip to the coast when the sun comes out.
Road Test reporters in the biker comics rate the simple Triumph Bonneville Speed Twin as the ‘Best Buy’ when compared to it’s numerous rivals headed by the popular Ducati Scrambler.
Triumph’s latest twin looked ok in the showroom but the proof is on the road and with a seat that feels like a board I wasn’t in a hurry to try her out. That was Saturday taken care of.
Sunday was another bright day and I had put myself forward to bring home the booty from Edinburgh. With time on my hands I took the long way round by Moffat and the Grey Mare’s Tail —
on the road to St Mary’s Loch —
It was marvellous being out and about on a day like this and I didn’t miss the bike at all – in fact if I’d had the ‘barbie’ in the back I would have fired her up right there on the bank. But not today – with a last lingering look across St Mary’s Loch it was time to get back on track and over the hills to Peebles for the road to Edinburgh —
Booty plus baggage duly collected from the city outskirts at Currie we continued west on the A70 which runs to the north of the Pentland Hills and after a bit of interesting skullduggery on the back lanes near Quothquorn and Thankerton we met the M74 at Abingdon Services.
For once I found a piece of road in Scotland that didn’t jog the memory banks although it’s local name ‘the lang whang’ rings a bell somewhere. The term dates back to pre-blanket speed limit days when a rider would aim to ‘do a ton’ with his big Beezer – Dommie or Trumpet on the long straights without fear of retribution from the boys in blue hiding behind a hedge with their speed cameras.
A furtive look at the map tells me that this is an iced over Harperrig Reservoir with the Pentlands beyond – the catchment area for the Water of Leith which tumbles back through Currie from here before wending it’s way across Edinburgh city to join the Forth at Leith Docks —
The moors are bleak out this way. Electric power companies and their wind turbines rule this desolate area which still shows the scars of shale mining in the past. It was a quite surprise to spot a sign pinned to a roadside hoarding a few miles before Cathcart claiming that a ‘Resort for the 21st Century’ was in the proccess of being built out there – perhaps a theme park of derelict wind turbines in years to come.
Good luck to them but I much prefer the natural sights such as rivers – trees – hills and glens so when we spotted a tired looking Clydesdale horse and young rider making their way home from the fields on the far side of the River Clyde we quickly found a handy farm track to stop in. It all reminded me of my dad heading for the stable after a hard day in the fields.
Cameras came out in jigtime —
What is it with water —
I can’t resist pointing a lens at it —
And — what of the Triumph Bonneville Speed Twin – available for a number a smidgin south of £7,500?
In the unlikely event that I did have seven and half grand to spend on a motorbike right now I would go to the other end of the KC Superbikes showroom and buy the new 650XT V-Strom from Suzuki. A civilised alternative to my Tall Tenere – she comes with a smooth v-twin power plant and a comfy seat to ease the pain over the long continental miles on those trips that still figure in my dreams for the future —
Photo courtesy of Suzuki advertising.
I guess I’m just not ready to join the pipe and slippers brigade who buy a Triumph twin to polish out in the shed in their dotage 🙂