Bec’s mesh jacket doesn’t fit. This doesn’t come as a surprise to me – she’s about 5 10 with a small waist, I’m 6 foot and go straight up and down, except on bad days when I go out in the middle – but men seem to see a smaller version of me than the one that exists in reality. I have a small pile of unworn t-shirts bought for me by the ex, who thought I was about a size 10. I think his subconscious was buying them for his lost love, who was tiny and half Chinese. But I digress.
My Triumph jacket with the liner out has been too hot on, I think, one day in 15 years of riding in Blighty. I though it would do fine for Australia. What it actually did was boil me in the bag like Batchelor’s Savoury Rice. On safety grounds alone I persuade myself that I ought to buy a new jacket and gloves, for dehydration and thermal overload proved just as distracting and unpleasant as being too cold. Adrian and Becs take me to their favourite gear shop on the way to Innaloo to collect the GS.
The Motorcycle Pit Stop is in North Perth. It looks reassuringly like a bike shop in Blighty, with the used bikes lined up in a row out front, the dayglo colours of dirtbike polyester to one side and the road-riding gear to the other. If this was a shop in England most of the gear would be about keeping warm. Here it’s the opposite problem – there’s perforated gear, thin gear and gear with integral Camelbaks. But wouldn’t that get really hot really quickly? Maybe you stick a teabag in there too and brew up on the move.
The girls’ gear is pink and has butterflies on it. The jacket I end up with, on the grounds that it fits and is affordable, is manly blue with white flashes. I remind myself that, if I want to wear a jacket that fits where it touches, then lurking in a cupboard at home I have a made-to measure jacket with a purple dragon on the back. And when I’ve lost the next 2 stone I’ll measure the same as I did when it was made and can start wearing it again. Though not in Australia. I think half-inch thick cowhide really wouldn’t be very practical in 42 degrees.
Adrian introduces me to Karen, who owns the Pit Stop and is struggling with a EPOS card reader which is dialling her fax machine in preference to the bank. This sounds like a good plan to me. I could fax her a picture of 200 dollars. How do I know Adrian and Becs, she wants to know. I am not sure where to start the story, and am distracted by the realisation that the shaggy cushion on the counter next to the card reader is in fact a small hairy dog. It sleeps peacefully until Adrian mentions that Becs, who has done her time on a 250, might be in the market for something bigger. The words “new bike?” wake it up in the same way that “brew?” galvanises a lethargic Yorkshireman. When it realises that a sale is not in prospect today it goes back to sleep in disgust.
I have a Dri Rider jacket and summer gloves. All I need now is a bike and I’m sorted.