We went to the BMF Show in Peterborough last Sunday and as always we had a great day.
This time was the first time we've actually gone on a bike! Either me or the 600 Bandit I had before the Pan hated wet roads so I always 'bottled out' of long journeys and we went in the car. With the early morning light showing us blue skies and fluffy white clouds we ignored the threat of rain, wrapped up warm and set off at 6:15.
The show opened at nine and the journey should only take two hours (plus breakfast stop). We have a standing bet with Katrine's sister 'last one there buys the bacon buttys'. We had to get there first, we've only beaten them once. Well, despite our best effort they got there first, but in my defence they do live nearer! Actually 'best effort' is a lie. We dawdled, stopped for petrol, stopped for coffee, went the 'long way round' and never exceeded 80mph (the A14 is littered with speed cameras!). I was ready with my excuses!
Four bacon baps, numerous coffees, info on several touring clubs, an excellent (mail order) price for a GIVI top box, research on intercoms completed, tired legs, muddy boots, two new helmets and two new waterproofs suits later we set off home. (There was obviously more to the show, but you you should go yourself, you wouldn't regret it).
Because the car and bike were parked so far apart we decided to meet up at the A1/A605 services to swap the new helmets from the car boot to our heads. When we came out it was pouring down! So, time to test the new waterproofs! Hooray, just what you need after a long day. After a comical double act of acrobatics and contortion we were both in our suits and new helmets.
Off we went into the downpour. The A605 is a slow road in good weather, the A14/A1 route to the showground is much quicker, but since it was pouring down I wasn't too bothered. The wind was a bit gusty too so the sheltered A605 was better than the exposed A1. We finally reached the A605/A14 junction and the rain was easing (a little), behind the fairing I was getting a little too warm, (Katrine can't get 'too warm' on a bike). I thought that my leather jacket/trouser combination was well draught proofed, but with the outer one piece suit and thermals I was too warm. We stopped a Cawley services for food (well Burger King). When we came out the rain had stopped and the sky was clearing a little. I made the executive decision that we'd not need the waterproofs. I didn't fancy trying to fight my way into them again and we'd be home in fourty minutes and it wasn't going to rain again anyway. WRONG!
Ten minutes later the sky was black, the lightening flashed, the hail thrashed and the rain fell in buckets. On a motorway no-one can hear you scream! It wont last long, heavy down pours don't do they? Ten minutes past and it's still coming down. Twenty minutes and it's still coming with no sign of slowing. The damp is penetrating my trousers and my gloves. My new helmet steams up the same as my old one, though the first open position is narrower, so the rain doesn't get in, well not straight in any way, it's slowed a little. We're on the elevated section of the M6 doing fourty five miles an hour (the same as everyone else). The gusty wind tried and fortunately failed to push us into the next lane several times. It's too late to stop and put on the waterproofs now just keep on going. Onto the M54 and the rain finally eased off.
Damp and a bit cold we arrive home at ten fifteen. Did this spoil our day? No not a bit. The weather may have been the worst I've ever ridden in, but the Pan made the situation much easier. There's now doubt that on any other bike (I've had) we'd have had to stop and wait it out.
Next time I say we won't need the waterproofs Katrine is going to ignore me. Probably best.