One of the many Sherwood events
2004 turned out to be a year of incredible highs and also terrible lows. The Portugal trip was at the end of May and Nick was disappointed that it was looking unlikely that Grin would be up to the trip. He had spent a fortune on ongoing repairs and modifications but each time he solved one problem another reared its ugly head. In February the headstock was broken and needed lots of work plus some repairs to the paint job - and the painter had gone to ground for months, it seemed. He also had concerns about his Dyna so we decided to do what we probably should have done years before, which is simply to walk into Robin Hood Harley Davidson and just buy a Harley "off the shelf". This we did on 14th February and whilst Nick was spending forever choosing bits and pieces for his new Harley, I wandered over to the new Custom Sportser that was on display and said to the salesman "what are these new ones like, then?" The deal was struck and on that day we ordered 2 Harleys, different models but both in red. We were so excited - a trip to Portugal on brand new bikes - a Valentine's Day to remember and an unbelievable high point.
My new 1200 custom sportster
Many people believe motorcycling is inherantly dangerous but I have always thought that there are things you can do to make sure you stay safe. Not loading the odds against yourself by riding like an idiot for starters. However, I always felt that somewhere out there, for each one of us, there is a guided missile with our name on it, in the form of some dozy car driver.
On 04.04.04 we met.
We were out on our brand new Harleys, running them in carefully. Mine had 120 miles on the clock. As we passed a t-junction, Nick in front, a scumbag in an old Rover saw him go by and then pulled out. I had enough time to think "this is going to hurt" but no time at all to get out of his way. The car hit the front wheel and the bike went down with me underneath it. The car driver tried to drive away but his path was blocked by Nick's bike. He was then reluctant to get out of his car, which is just as well, for as soon as I was back on my feet, I just wanted to kill him. I reached in and grabbed his car keys and handed them to the very large passing motorist who had stopped to help Nick get the bike off me. This man had LOVE tattooed on one hand and HATE on the other and had seen the crash. He was exactly the sort of person you need in a crisis and said "don't worry love, if he tries to run off I'll deck him for you". Scumbag had no tax, insurance or MOT, was of no fixed abode and was driving whilst disqualified. As far as I was concerned he didn't deserve to breathe the same air as me. The police carted him off and I was left with some horrible bumps and bruises, a completely destroyed bike and nothing to ride on our holiday of a lifetime in only 7 weeks' time.
That was a really low point in the year.