Wobbly Skates, Wobbly Wheels

A couple of weekends ago, a group of us met up to celebrate Pervybikers’ birthday, and for what ended up being a great long weekend. The weekend began early, as bleary-eyed and cold, Boots, Rubberwulf and I got up for the 90 minute drive to the “local” ice rink. We were off to have our second ice skating lesson, after we’d managed to survive lesson one the previous month. One day, I hope to be on the ice, in full hockey gear, playing a game with the pervy friends I have here and across the pond – the gear isn’t the only reason, honest (though it can be pretty cool when combined with rubber)!

I’d really enjoyed my first time ice skating when I was really young, I remember being confident and able to keep my balance. A few years later, I fell over when rollerblading, knocking the air out of my lungs and since then, going skating or ice skating has always been a very nervous affair! My first ice skating lesson with the pup and the wulf a month and a half ago started out no differently – legs shaking, no balance or confidence at all. Thanks to a patient teacher, the three of us improved and decided to have a second lesson.

I seemed even more nervous on the way to the second lesson than I had been for the first, as we drove in the cold towards the snowdome. The second lesson was “level 2”, and I hadn’t even mastered most of “level 1”! It wasn’t so bad, though. Managing to stop without crashing into the barrier, or being able to go backwards still seems impossible to me, but at least by the end of the second lesson, I felt a lot more confident about going forwards and straying away from the barrier. Being able to play that ice hockey game is a long way off, but at least we’re improving each time.

The rest of Saturday and Sunday was mainly social, with the exception of me tormenting the wulf in his new leathers, and later in his new drysuit (I couldn’t resist). Monday was something else that was new, something most of the other guys had talked to me about and I had always wished I’d be able to go to one year – Motorcycle Live, a show dedicated to everything biking-related: the latest gear, information for riders, the latest gear, the newest and most drool-worthy bikes…and did I mention the latest gear?

Rubbot and I split off from the group at the start of the show, headed for something I’d been meaning to do for a while. An organisation called Get On lets non-riders in the UK have their first taste of riding a motorbike (for free too, which is always a plus). Both of us nervously waited, before being dragged off to get geared up (in unpervy textile jackets, “average” helmets and gloves), and being stood in front of a line of bikes and being asked to choose which bike we’d like to ride.

I was ready just to point and pick a bike at random at first, and then I saw it, something I knew I had to have a go on – a KTM 125 Duke. I have to admit, I’m drawn to KTMs – I like orange (in case you hadn’t noticed), and Boots’ KTM Superduke (the only bike I’d ever been on) is full of fond memories of me being his pillion pup as he showed me just what biking is like.

The instructor was friendly, if a bit strange. He explained the basics to me, and kept near enough to stop me from dropping the bike (which I was terrified about doing!). As the Get On part of the exhibition area was indoors, we were only able to go forward a short distance, before having to switch the engine off and turn the bike around, before having to come back the other way in a straight line. Even that was a struggle for me! It just seemed like you had to focus on a lot at once – controlling the brakes and clutch and gears and throttle isn’t easy at first, and it surprised me just how hard I found it. I stalled the bike a couple of times, and kept losing my balance, but by the end of the 20 minute session, I felt like I was improving. I wanted to continue, but 20 minutes is all we had.

I found it hard, but I took driving lessons when I was 17, and felt the same way the first time I had all the controls in a car to deal with on my first lesson. It’s made me more determined to take my riding lessons in the New Year – at least now I have more of an idea what to expect. I failed my car driving test, and was stupid enough to give up after one attempt…this time I hope I’ll right that wrong and get my motorbike license (and be able to be geared up outside as I travel in the process).

The rest of the bike show was a lot of fun, if tiring! It made the perfect end to a great weekend with close friends. We stayed for the entire day, splitting off into smaller groups and looking at most of the stands. We watched Boots having what looked like a great experience on the off-road track and bikes, sat on various drool-worthy bikes (the likes of which I can only dream of ever owning and being able to ride at this moment in time), looked at boots, leathers, gloves, helmets and just about everything else.

There was no mannequin stood on a stage wearing black gear with orange details, but seeing the stands, the bikes, the gear, the crowds of people and feeling the atmosphere of the show gave me a clearer picture of what the character in my story would’ve felt, trapped in his rubbery, leathery, pervy world. I’m sure I’ll visit the bike show again in future years – maybe I’ll get to experience even more of what the character endured…I can dream…

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