Friday 30 December 2016
Saturday 24 December 2016
Wednesday 7 December 2016
Sunday 4 December 2016
When I first moved to Edinburgh for work about 25 years ago I didn't know anyone locally, and certainly no one who rode a bike. Not long afterwards, though, I noticed an advert in a bike magazine from a local motorcycle club looking for new members. In the days before the internet this was a fairly common practise. I thought that I'd go along and see what they had to offer.
It was a chilly November evening when I rode out to the pub after which the club were named. On arrival, there wasn't another bike to be seen in the car park, and I wondered if I had the wrong evening. This thought was uppermost in my mind when, on entering the bar all I could see were a couple of old guys nursing their pints.
Obviously seeing my confusion, the barmaid informed me that 'everyone else' was in the back room. Everyone else turned out to be about twenty folk, mostly quite young and dressed in bike jackets, drinking pints and talking about their recent summer trip to the Isle of Man.
On the whole they were harmless enough, but they did go on rather too long about the joys of sports bikes, about speed limits exceeded, and of crashes had and survived. In hindsight, they may have been trying to impress me. It didn't work. One individual even tried to sell me his bike forgetting, obviously, that he had already made mention of the fact that it was a heap of shit half an hour earlier.
I stayed long enough to be polite before making my excuses. They were rather amused that I had actually arrived by bike and streamed out behind me to have a look at it. As I was riding a soviet-built flat twin they felt perfectly comfortable in telling me it was rubbish and that I should buy a proper bike.
Just to annoy them I got on and reversed the bike up the street for a bit just to see the looks on their faces. They didn't disappoint, and I left them with their mouths hanging open as I rode the short distance home.
On reflection, it had been obvious from almost the first moment that I entered the pub's back room that these weren't going to be my new best buddies. I had too little in common with most of them, and what I was looking for in a club differed greatly from what they were offering.
I have subsequently found a home with a number of one-make clubs with whom I was a better fit.