In the hustle and bustle of contemporary life – with Facebook, BBC News at 10, work colleagues and tax returns – sometimes we forget what really matters during our time on this earth. We forget how much we love the person by our side, the simple pleasure of a rising sun, or the delights of being a yob.
I have been riding my Ten + Leo Vince for over a week now. And boy am I having fun.
It’s not a Ten anymore, it’s a new bike. I don’t care if the exhaust increases the bhp or not, what I know is that, as soon as Fab and I fitted the new pipes on, they spread like a good disease to the entire engine, frame and suspensions. Contaminated them with some miracle cure.
It was a pumpkin. Now it’s Cinderella. All things being equal of course.
It was a coughing old man. Now it’s a yob, out to have fun and wake the dead.
Or to kill the living. The thought sometimes creeps into the back of my mind that, one day, the spitting exhaust will kill an innocent bystander. Not that it shoots actual bullets, but the sound is so close to the real thing someone might have a heart attack as a result of my riding along.
Or a mentally unstable soldier discharged from Afghanistan may be convinced by the furious Leo Vince that he’s back in Peshawar, his unit under fire from blood-thirsty Talebans. Then he’d kill me, mistaking my helmet for a turban, or even a burqa. And I’d be on the 10 o’clock news, and we’d be back to square one.
Ah well, whatever will be will be. In the meantime, I don’t mind the Ten anymore. No: in fact, I am going to have to admit, reluctantly, that I quite like it now. All things being equal of course.
It sounds like I should have sounded in my yoof. It sounds like an insomniac Jeremy Clarkson whipping a psychotic elephant’s bum.
It sounds irritating, brash, useless, proud to be a cunt, like an idiot collecting ASBOs around his neck. All talk, little action.
But hey, I’m not letting everybody else’s impressions spoil my ride. I like my Ten + Leo Vince, I really do. Maybe because, unconsciously, I know it’s very much like me: loud and exuberant to hide poor quality that in fact hides great depth? Could it be?
What does it for me is that, now, the Ten is reminiscent of supermotards. My favourite style of motorbikes. At times, it sounds like one. As a result, I often find myself sticking a leg out in a turn. Not sure it’d do anything more than break in the event of a loss of grip, but it feels natural. And why not? The Ten is tall, narrow at the front, and it’s got a single cylinder.
Just like with the R + Remus without the baffles on, I do watch my wrist when within sight of the police. But I’m not scared: it’s road legal yobbing. Until they ask me where the catalyst is, of course. But hopefully we won’t get there.
Funny how just the sound of a bike changes it so utterly. I now feel good riding it, a thing I frankly thought impossible. I bought the exhaust thinking it would make the sound a bit more enticing, but it’s a revolution, not an evolution, and that’s been a great surprise. And strangely, I don’t mind that much being the street twat with the loudest pipes.
I was a bit embarrassed on Saturday night at 3am though, when I had to switch the bike on in a quiet street near Mile End Climbing Wall after a party.
And I had to warn a girl sitting on a bench just behind the Ten in Greenwich that she’d better move before I start it. She looked at me, puzzled, enable to gather my meaning. She still went. Lucky, because she’d probably have had her head chopped off by the angry yob.
Another reason why our straining relationship is showing signs of improving is that the Yamaha has not crashed or broken down since replacing the rectifier.
Hopefully it’ll keep the good work up, because on Wednesday I’m taking my first trip abroad with it. Abroad here doesn’t mean far, but still, I don’t fancy being stranded without AA cover on my way to Calais.
The bloody DVLA sent me all my documents back and refused to validate my DAS test pass papers and exchange my French driving licence because, they said, the latter was ‘defaced’. I’ve had it for 18 years and it’s been to countless countries, you morons, how can it be other than defaced? It’s still me!
Anyway, because of that, I have to apply for a new French driving licence, and of course the French can’t do things simply and I have to go back in person to the relevant office at least once (either when applying or collecting). You can’t possibly do that at the French consulate in London, oh non non. Even if you live in Melbourne or Patagonia or Vladivostok, you’ve got to show your face in France at least once during the process. How appallingly ridiculous.
The closest French sous-préfecture is Calais. To be honest, being still reluctant to entirely trust the Ten, I first looked into Eurostaring it. But it’s over 250 quid. The Eurotunnel costs 10 times less.
On me bike then.