The Ancient Greeks believed that every now and again, when the Gods got bored, they adopted human form and walked the earth in search of entertainment. Now, my knowledge of Greek myths came from this:
so it was a bit of a surprise when I found out later that Enid had omitted quite a lot of details about the kind of entertainment they were looking for.
After today’s experience I can tell you with some certainty that this is still going on, but in the 21st century it amuses Hephaestos to come to earth and take the form of mechanics called Steve.
Back in the days when I drove a series of ropey 2CVs, they used to love visiting Steve Hill, so that he could lay hands on them and get them back on the road. Hannibal liked to spit spark plugs and lose synchronisation on his points, while Baldwin (OK, so I named my 2CVs. I’m a girl, it’s allowed) worshipped him so much that he used to drop something vital off his running parts about once a fortnight – fan off the front of the engine; gearbox cogs…nothing important. I was on the verge of setting up a standing order for a hundred quid once a fortnight when I passed my bike test and sent Baldwin off to a new life in Greenwich.
Anyway… today, the bike was booked back in to Raceways to have the front wheel straightened up (after 3 hours of theory class). I’ve always understood counter-steering (as much as anyone does) and I try to do it, but I’ve always had to correct the bike mid-corner. I assumed this was because I’m not very good at it (like Dr Strangelove, my left arm is not entirely subscribed to the plot and likes to try and hold the bike up. One of these days I’m going to try riding one-handed to see if it helps), so I paid special attention today during the theory class – look where you want to go; drop shoulder; ride with forearms parallel to the road.
All of these things helped.
But not as much as 2 hours with Steve at Raceways.
I don’t know what he did (apart from straightening up the bolt which holds the back brake pedal and the subframe together, as he was still working on that when I came back to pick the bike up – not sure how I bent that, but if it was from dropping the bike, the last time it went down on that side was 2002. Maybe I can blame this scooter boy) but it was magic. The bike now soars. Riding the A507 for one last go before heading back to London, on a couple of corners we even approached a state of grace.
Tony, giving the theory course, says that I am wrong. He says that, in fact, my instructor is God. Now I’m willing to believe this is true, and if it is, I hope that cheese and pickle sandwiches are an acceptable oblation. Because there’s one in the right hand pannier of his BMW…