February 27, 2003

I have a tale to tell...

I am 43 years young, 5'8'' and 15 stone (trying desperately to lose weight but resigned that the middle age spread is hear to stay). I passed my motorbike test some 25 years ago and to be honest know very little about the mechanics of either bikes or cars. My first bike was a Yam RD250LC which I bought because I liked the look of it. The bike caused a big stir amongst my friends at the time who were all running round on the old "Fuzz Peds". I did not understand what all the fuss was about until I needed to get across a X roads pre the 30ft juggernaut approaching from my right.I wound the throttle back, let the clutch out and then found myself looking at the sky whilst covering the junction and a further 10 yards up the road as I performed my first, last and only "wheelie". It must have looked spectacular but I absolutely crapped myself, pulled over to the side of the road, and spent the following 15 minutes vomiting and re-living the moment a thousand times. I sold the bike 4 weeks later after deciding that life was too short to end early on a "2 wheel deathtrap".
The years went by and in my early 30s I found myself short of cash with no car and buying a bike was the only financial option. This was some old Kwak 500 something and yes the buzz was soon back. I went from bike to car and back again over the next 10 years and (touch wood) never crashed my Suzzi 750, Guzzi California or BMW 100 (though I did drop the Guzzi one Sunday whilst in Matlock Bath in front of hundreds of other bikers when the side stand decided to slip back up at the last moment. I found unknown strength and lifted the monster up in a record 0.6 secs).
I prided myself at the time in being an all-weather 365 day biker and know all about getting sodden and frozen.
So, the Suzzi was nicked (lifted into the back of a van despite alarm, immobiliser, padlock and chain) the Guzzi was swapped for an old Rover car (I think I cried the day after and have regretted the swap ever since) and the Beemer gave up the ghost 18 months ago ( a few weeks after I tried to trade it in at the local BMW bike dealer and they laughed at me for not scrapping it !!Yes BMW Bikers are snobs).
I first saw the Pan E five or six years ago and have wanted one ever since and a few weeks ago after getting the all clear from the wife I started doing my homework and read every review/website/magazine I could find which all confirmed my thoughts that the Pan appears to be the best bike in the world (well I think so anyway). However, I could not find one for sale within a 50 mile radius of my home in the Midlands. I am hoping it will do everything I want it to do and more, that is weekend riding, riding to and from work sometimes and the odd short tour with the good lady on the back. I say "hoping" because I have not got my dream bike yet and, slap me round the head if you want, I have never even sat on one let alone test ridden the Pan. My heart tells me one thing and my head stays schtum.
Suicidal as it may sound I have now even paid for a Pan that I haven't even seen and hope to take delivery of it tomorrow (Friday). I won't say where I am getting it from or how much I have paid for it just yet in case this totally wreckless purchase backfires on me. (Come on - I am a bloke for Gods sake).
This Pan European site has been an absolute inspiration to me and will be happy to share my experiences with everyone over the forthcoming weeks/months. I am very nervous about the bikes size/weight but having read various stories I believe my 5'8'' frame will just about cope (remember the tale of the Guzzi - and that was no light machine!!).
My new toy will have full luggage and heated grips and a round thing at either end so it fills my requirements in the short term. I have just got my old leathers out the attic and given them a clean (I didn't know leather shrinks!?!?!?
To be continued.............

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