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We have a lot to thank Jim Henson for. The American puppeteer who created the much-loved Muppets characters also coined a new word, which, in my case, seems quite appropriate at this time.

‘Muppet’ meaning:

  • An incompetent or ineffectual person; an idiot. Tick.
  • Someone who is enthusiastic but inept. Tick.
  • A person prone to mishaps through naivety (OED). Well, not really, so I’ll leave that one.

Before I completely lose you, I am talking about stalling, which occurs when the angle of attack of an aerofoil exceeds the value which creates maximum lift as a consequence of airflow across it. Eh? No, I’m talking motorbikes. According to the Cambridge dictionary, if an engine stalls, or if you stall it, it stops working suddenly. Pretty obvious/logical really. And that’s exactly what happened to me on a Live To Ride outing with dozens of other bikers. It’s an annual ride and meet which this year set off from Lincoln Bikes, a family-run motorcycle gear and clothing store in Lincoln. 

Split into groups, bikers set off from the store Saturday morning en route to Willingham Woods, east of Market Rasen, in Lincolnshire, a popular biker haunt. Rather than heading to the start point and then following a pre-determined route back through my village, I decided to join the first group as it passed by my local village hall. Riding at the back of the group, all was well until we approached a set of traffic lights at a bridge over the River Witham at Bardney. Yep, you guessed it, I stalled the Ducati. Left stranded at the lights, a second group of riders rolled up behind me. With the lights still at red, a guy on a sports bike came to the head of the pack and, once the lights had turned green, we rolled through the village and into the countryside.

Now, you can imagine that there is not a lot of competition between a sports bike and a muscle cruiser, and the leader soon disappeared into the distance, so it was a good job I knew where I was heading because I was now leader of the pack. As we arrived in Market Rasen, and another set of traffic lights, I stalled the bike again. WTF. One rider passed me before I set off once again, arriving at Willingham Woods with no more mishaps.

I joined my friend Taff in the queue at the café, who had been in the first group of riders. “I was expecting to see you pushing your bike into the car park!” he quipped.

He was standing next to another biker, who then said: “I was behind you when you stalled.”

Well, methinks, thanks for leaving me behind, guys.

Live to Ride

As a gesture of goodwill, I bought Taff a coffee and wandered off to look around the bikes. Lo and behold, I bumped into another friend, Gaz who, like Taff and myself, is a  member of Lindum Colonia Chapter UK (HOG). Gaz was with two members of RoSPA. Introducing me, he said: “This is Mike, a motorcycle journalist who, would you believe it, manages to stall bikes!” Well, thanks for passing that on, Taff!

They then went to check over my Ducati XDiavel S, and said how nice it was. Thanks to you both, but I still hope you got caught in the hailstorm on the ride home.

Live to Ride

I decided on a diversionary route back myself, calling in at Wickenby Aerodrome. Cafe12 is based in the Control Tower, and offers a full menu including light bites and homemade cakes . With a new curatorial staff, the Wickenby Memorial Museum upstairs tells the story of RAF Wickenby during the Second World War.

If you happen to be adventurous of spirit, super-athletic, plain stupid or braindead, you can participate in future charity wing walking sessions. Fuck that.

Live to Ride

Munching my way through a rather delicious warm baked ciabatta bun rammed with bacon, and a cup of tea (not in the bun), suddenly I heard the wind pick up and that hailstorm I mentioned earlier started hammering against the windows, rain bouncing off the concrete in the courtyard.

Live to Ride

Looks like it’s going to be a wet ride home judging by those inbound nimbostratus clouds…

As I waited out the sudden storm, the chef walked by my table. “Nice bike you’ve got there,” he said pleasantly.

“Nice ciabatta,” I responded.

See, there are some nice people in this world.

Gonzo

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