If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Thursday, 23 June 2011

A pillion in a million

Posed by models. Honest.

Earlier in the year, I had mentioned to my younger daughter (D2) that I was hoping to get over to Europe for a bit of riding in the summer. The conversation went something like:

- That sounds really fantastic, Dad!

- Well, you're always welcome to come along, har har.

- Seriously?

- You interested?

- You bet!

- You're on!

I was a bit stunned, frankly, because she had never expressed any interest before. (I ought to explain that her Mum and I split up when she was quite young, and we have missed a lot of that daily-routine stuff, so the topic had never really come up.) We did a bit of blue-sky planning and some rough estimates of time and cost, but didn't get any further. Then she learned that her studies meant she would be working on her dissertation through the summer months and the idea was quietly dropped.

Last weekend, I went up to see her for the day, to find her feeling very low. She has spent the year living alone in a big city, and I think the experience has got her down a bit. So I suggested that she come down to see me next weekend to have a bit of rural R&R and a couple of days' pampering. She jumped at the offer. I then suggested that, weather permitting, we could have a few hours out on the bike to make up for the missed Euro trip. That went down well, too.

Well, it turns out that the forecast is good, and the Triumph Club are having a rideout on the Sunday, complete with lots of coffee/ice-cream stops and a pub lunch in a real-ale pub, so that sealed the deal. D2 has suddenly lost 15 years and it's Christmas again.

She will be able to wear some of Anna's riding kit (with Anna's permission, although asking was a tough one). I am going to try out Anna's helmet on her as soon as she arrives, so that if it isn't a good fit I have time to get her a new one. Helmet fit is absolutely crucial, and that's an area I won't take risks with. As Woody Allen said, "The brain? That's my second-favourite organ!" And I will need to take it steady for the first few miles, as a) she hasn't ever ridden on the back of a bike, apart from little spins up and down the drive when she was much younger, and b) I haven't taken anyone on the back of the Bonnie yet, so the handling of the bike will be an unknown quantity. I'll increase the rear spring preload a bit and take it from there. But she will be an ideal pillion if she learns to sit still: she's petite and blonde, and I doubt if she will upset the bike at all.

She has been very open about how excited she is. I have hidden my excitement well.

I think.


  1. l know what you're feeling my friend ... really, l know. Enjoy every moment.

  2. Have to just say: best wishes for a really enjoyable weekend, then!

    Nice of the dog to volunteer to help get the suspension set up in advance, too.

  3. Great post mate, I love taking my kids out on the bike and having some quality time. Have a great time, yake it easy, and talk a lot.

  4. Thank you all for the good wishes. Yup, I am looking forward to it with uncharacteristic glee. It will be a day of moderate riding, soft drinks and conversation, and she gets to meet some of my riding mates too. Wins all round.

    Crashing is not part of the plan.

  5. Oh, and apparently you can get 'doggles'. Really.

  6. Excellent news! I bet she loves it :)

  7. Thanks Julia! I hope she will.

  8. Father-daughter bonding on a motorcycle trip. Doesn't get much better than that. Enjoy.

  9. Hope the weather's warm & dry.

    I realise 'cold & wet' won't affect your enjoyment Richard, but no point in deterring "D2" so early in the adventure.

  10. @ Canajun - agreed. I've been waiting for something like this for a loong time.

    @ Joe - agreed as well. I'll ride anytime and anywhere, but drowning an inexperienced pillion is not recommended.

  11. That's fantastic, here's to a great ride.

  12. Thanks to all for the good wishes. It seems to have struck a chord with some Dads. It was a great day (and the next day too). Follow-up post just done.


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