Otherwise known as Jackie, she has a great love of her Caberg helmet with its tinted inner visor. A one time GTR1000 rider, she now commutes back and forward to work with me on her X9 250.
The Stig can claim a lot of the credit for me commuting on a scooter. When I met her over 20 years ago she rode a Honda Super Dream and I rode a Puch bicycle! She gave up biking in the early 90’s due largely to the huge cost of maintaining the GTR when we were struggling with Norman Lamont’s 15% interest rates. However, back in 2003 she saw the opportunity to get back on two wheels when she saw a good deal on the X9. It made her commute to Kingston much faster and cheaper than before. I took this as a prompt to give up the bus and tube, save money, and bike to Central London where The Stig now works with me.
I have been very lucky. The Stig taught me a lot about safe riding. I had a little bit of experience of motorcycles from my teens, I even owned one of these –
But in those days there was little training as you could hop right onto a 250 with the only competence you needed was the ability to write a cheque and send it off to DVLA. The Stig’s advice has been invaluable, as has watching and learning as I rode pillion with her a lot in the GTR days.
I know she doesn’t really approve of me riding a Vespa having ridden with back patch wannabees before she met me. She likes the fact that the X9 looks more motorcycle than scooter, especially from the front. But she also likes the automatic transmission in London traffic. However, geared machines have their uses. The heavy clutch on the GTR did more to rehabilitate The Stig’s broken hand in a few months than the NHS Physiotherapy service had managed!
Today we were not working and decided that for the second day running I would venture beyond the M25 in the company of an X9. It must be ten years or more since we visited Reigate, so we set off on the assurance from the Reigate and Banstead Borough Council website that there is free motorcycle parking in their car parks. Now don’t get me wrong, I am always grateful when the needs of motorcyclists are taken seriously, but is this the world’s smallest dedicated Solo Motorcycle Bay? I really would like to see pictures of any smaller ones!
We spent a couple of hours in Reigate, other than the bookshop, we didn’t find much of interest in the main streets, but we enjoyed exploring the Castle Gardens and the Priory Park. We left just before the rain, and having travelled the direct route down the A217 we returned via the A25 and round the back side of Box Hill and back to the Kingswood Roundabout as Jim had taken me yesterday. It started to get damp on the way back but we missed most of the downpour that hit just after we got home.