A hurting unit. That is how I began this day. And no, my liver was angry not with me, as you might suspect. No, I had a head cold and had slept all of one hour and a half the night before. (Okay, I DID stay up until 3:30 but it was Saturday night and as you may have figured by now, that is early for a weekend.) But no, I am back to not being able to sleep well but every third night, the explanation for this being my head is continually occupied with things for which staying awake all night is the only possible solution. Except that doesn’t seem to be working out for me so well.
Anyway, I finally got to ride a proper motorcycle here in BCN, with Susanna to boot.
Because I did not bring one stitch of moto gear back with me at XMAS time from the US, I had to buy a helmet and a jacket. Gah. I had some gloves shipped but no way was I was going to buy new gear here, with prices around 40% higher than the US, and a closet full of gear in California. Even shipping the gloves was far too expensive. What was I thinking? That I wouldn’t be riding over here? Universe, would you please switch my brain back to ON, along with my penchant to enjoy solitude and my general aversion to uneducated men? It would solve a lot of problems, thanks.
With the help of my friend Josep, I found a second hand Dainese womens jacket in my size and a decent AGV helmet in XS (I have a tiny melon) in time for this day, both incredibly cheap. Just needed a new visor – good to go.
We waited for the rest of our friends to arrive and went out in the third group. The weather had gotten better, is wasn’t exactly sunny but the roads were no longer damp. 20 MV Agusta Brutales thundered out into traffic. Our Demo ride guides, being Italian, owned the road: weaving through traffic, passing cars anywhere they could, crowding past trucks and cars and scooters in the roundabouts and signals. The Spanairds had no trouble following suit (nor did Susanna and I), I am just glad we were following because I have no clue what the traffic rules are here, though I suspect we broke a few of them. People are always crying here about the police and how strict they are here now, but I want to know – as compared to what? Total anarchy? Because no one seemed to care about anything except getting there in whatever space was available. Oh that and passing each other in the group. I was like a fucking race to get to the front of the pack.
We took the highway out to one side of “the” local mountain Tibidabo. A dude on a vintage Montessa, vintage helmet, goggles, all of it, tucked in and drafted a car to pass our knot of swerving squids stop on the highway. I didn’t have earplugs and was reminded of the other reason I only use the best helmets (besides how much I value my head) – yeah this helmet wasn’t very wind proof. Eyes tearing, hair tangled (nothing to pull my hair back with either) snot running out of my nose, we raced each other up the mountain. On the mountain it got colder and my visor fogged so completely I had to ride with it open. Yeah this helmet sucks, it will be an “in-town” helmet (its an AGV Airtech if you want to be warned). I didn’t care, this road is seriously awesome. I don’t care if I have to ride a friggin scooter, I will be riding this mountain all summer.
After the ride, we couldn’t help but scheme on how to get hold of a couple of bikes. There just aren’t that many “big” bikes here (read: over 250cc) as the town is best gotten around on a scooter. My friend Simao has a Kawasaki ninja 750R (one or two years old – not imported to the US, correct me if I am wrong) that if he better let me borrow.
So, that was by far the best demo ride ever. To top it off, the whole shindig was run by incredibly hot Italians, who were actually taller than me. Here we are with Fabio, who only spoke Italian. While it would have been nice to chat with him, we could say dirty things to him and then watch him nod and smile. Which made for a pretty good conversation in the end.
The day would have only been made better if we actually had a place to watch the first World Superbike races of the year. Here in moto crazy Spain, there is a bar called the Paddock very near me. Here they have an R6 engine made into a beer tap, a Bultaco in the corner, various bits of crashed bikes and other parts all over the walls and ceiling, and 4 large screens for viewing whatever race is on. And yet it was closed on the day the first WSBK races of 2009 were televised.
With all your good intentions, Spain, you are really lacking in the follow through department.