This morning I got the park-and-ride in to work. Because I was planning on going to a do in London, and the Triumph doesn’t have anywhere safe to leave a helmet. (I didn’t go in the end, which is interesting in its own right – perhaps I am leaving London behind at last.)
Now, it was all very trouble free, but it was also a rather stony-faced experience. Bus drivers in Cambridge don’t talk, they just nod gnomically and take your money. The other four people on the bus sat in gloomy silence as we travelled a roundabout route to the centre of town. So I had to buy myself a Pain au Chocolate from Christine just to get a smile and a cheeful hello.
Yesterday I rode the Triumph to work. “New bike?” asked the man from the cycle shop, after watching me park up and give the bike a farewell pat. No, I said. Old bike. New tyre.
And we talked for a bit about the unbreakable bonds we have to our first bikes, the horror when they get nicked, and the sense of pride from being able to do work on them. And then I went to work.
On Saturday the Triumph and I went to Cambridge Motorcycles to get the new tyre put on – for I can do some simple things, but I can’t do tyres yet. And when I was walking back to the workshop, having wandered way too far along the river, a car pulled up, and a bald man with tattoos said “are you heading to Cambridge Motorcycles, love? Hop in, I’ll give you a lift. We work just opposite.”
And I got into a car with two strange men. And yes, I did pause to wonder if that was the last the world would see of me.
But on a day when terrible things were happening in another country, sometimes it is necessary to do unwise things in order to prove that the world is, most of the time and for most of us, a good place full of good people. A stranger made a kind offer because he recognised me as a biker. I got a lift down the road, and picked up the bike in time to go to Barney’s graduation party.
And this is why riding motorcycles will always be better than taking the bus. Because I ride a bike, people I don’t know talk to me. And that makes my life more interesting. And for as long as life is interesting, it will be worth living.
“Om én mann kan vise så mye hat, tenk hvor mye kjærlighet vi alle kan vise sammen”. Stine Renate Håheim