Sunday, May 07, 2006

Blowing away the cobwebs 

Who’d have believed it? That neural pathways which had been neglected for a quarter of a century, left to become choked with mental garbage and lost in the ever thickening undergrowth of abandoned thought-patterns could have been cleared so easily of all the cobwebs and relics and brought back into life; that once more the synapses would fire, instinctively routing from senses to brain to muscles message patterns that hadn’t been carried in all those intervening years. I imagined flashes of electrical energy, flickering and faint at first then stronger and brighter, as those long-dormant synapses awoke from their slumbers, like someone throwing a switch on the bridge of some derelict starship, watching darkened control panels spring into life, hearing the hum as energy flowed once more in control circuits as they got on with a job they once knew so well, but hadn’t practiced for half a lifetime.

I’m hatching a plan, and part of that plan involves resurrecting skills that were discarded twenty four years ago, six months after our first child was born. In short, I intend to get another motorcycle.

I went for an afternoon’s refresher training on Friday, four hours on a bike rather bigger and faster than anything I’d ever ridden before. I hadn’t a clue how well I’d take to it after all those years away so the natural excitement was tempered by a fair degree of apprehension. And what would some big hairy biker make of li’l ol’ me trying to act out some mid-life fantasy, which doubtless involved dreams of shiny black leather and knee-down cornering on a race replica machine?

I wont bore you with a blow-by-blow account. Well, not that there were any blows, other than those of the wind roaring past my helmet. Suffice it to say that we covered around sixty miles in glorious sunshine on all kinds of roads, from suburban side-streets to busy town centres to twisty lanes to motorways – and I came back grinning from ear to ear. Sure, I still have a lot to learn, but the basic mechanics of control are all there still, and of course road-sense is pretty common across all modes of transport. My instructor seemed genuinely pleased too and said some quite complimentary things. Good job he waited until after I’d got my helmet off, otherwise my head might have swelled so much it’d have got stuck.

I had never amassed a huge amount of experience in those earlier years – I was only riding on and off for about seven years and much of that was on much smaller bikes – but it’s remarkable how the software stays stored, uncorrupted so it would seem in the memory banks, just waiting for the call to execute the code. Goodness only knows what other bits of programming are tucked away in quiet dusty corners of my mind, waiting patiently for a chance to be loaded and run.

As to that Grand Master Plan I referred to, I’ll leave the explanation of that for another time.

Oh, and for anyone who is interested, the bike is a Honda CBF500.

Back to current posts