I fear I am never going to love sportsbikes. Especially not shiny ones covered in fragile carbon fibre bits that cut out if you let the revs fall below 5,000. In my normal life I rarely get above 4 and a half – I have been allowed to fall into bad habits by Ruby, who was willing to go up to at least 7 but would quite happily lump along at half that. This is my excuse for being unreasonably excited on 30th December, which is GS Day.
It starts poorly. I have arranged to get the bus into town to meet Adrian and his girlfriend Becs. Becs will lend me her mesh jacket, if it fits. We’ll get some lunch and then they’ll drop me at Wotan Street, where Big Boys Toyz are. @sharemyoyster, one of the lovely bikers I talk to on Twitter, is going to meet me there and take me up the Swan Valley. (NB This is a wine region, not a position in the Australian Kama Sutra).
As I’m about to leave, my brother offers to drive me over to collect the bike in the afternoon. I didn’t want to impose so I am already sorted. I wonder if this offends him. He doesn’t say.
I’m 30 minutes early at the bus stop, just to be sure. After 30 minutes there is no bus. I check the TransPerth website and the bus is definitely running. Once it is 10 minutes late I call and ask when the next bus is. In 50 minutes, they cheerfully advise. What happened to the one that was supposed to be here 10 minutes ago? It ran as normal, she says. This is why I do not like public transport. If they render the buses invisible, how am I supposed to put my hand out to get one to stop? Still, it was a lovely morning and I watched a postie doing the rounds on his postie bike. He knew I had designs on it, I think – he never got off it, instead giving a splendid demonstration of the art of drive-by delivery.
In the end Adrian and Becs pick me up in a low, loud green sedan. Wotan Street is a dead end and when we get there a very tall black GS Adventure is waiting, accompanied by a very tall Englishman and his wife.
It is just possible that collecting motorcycles from Brian is not normally a group activity.
“Are they making a film?” he asks, while photocopying my driving licence and levying an eye-watering security deposit on my credit card. We spend a few minutes being rude about Ewan and Charlie and their inability to leave home without SAS medics and a support truck. I don’t think I have met any SAS medics yet here in Australia but I am not short of support, which is lovely.
Brian backs the GS out into the road for me. It’s an 800 not the 1200 I booked because there was a screw-up over dates, but it’s tall and squinty-eyed and also rather battered. This is good for two reasons. Because it’s already battered, Brian is happy for me to take it off the tarmac. And because it’s an 800 not a 1200 I might have a fighting chance of picking it up when it falls over.
David and Lynn lead out into the traffic. I follow them. I am sitting upright, the engine sounds like a tractor and all is good.