Month: April 2007

Pass Wide and Slow — Bikes and Horses

Here in the National Park, we’ve got pretty much every category of road user — bikes, bicycles, cars, walkers, horses and the occasional tap-dancing Pine Marten, all trying to do their own thing at their own speed, and often at the same time. While there’s a wider concern about how all of these can share the roads (in like peace, light and harmony, man…) the technique for passing large, hairy quadrupeds does seem to cause some stress amongst all parties. So here, reprinted with the author’s permission from our local community rag is a small plea on behalf of horsey folk everywhere:

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“Honey, I Spent The Aga Budget…”

Time for a new toy. My old faithful STealth — my ST4s — has served me well for four years and it’s a keeper, as a supremely capable all-round machine, so I’m looking for something more specific and more focussed for play on the local roads. Which is where the first of many dilemmas kicks in — which toy for which roads? Around here there are ballistically-fast, sweeping A-roads with sudden sections of tight twisties: that’ll be a Ducati 1098S then. Then there are the smaller glen roads – rising and falling, twisting and turning back on themselves as they follow the edges of the lochs: much more Monster or KTM SuperDuke territory. Finally, there are bikes that seek the best compromise for all of these, plus my kilometre of potholed Belgium-on-a-bad-day drive: possibly a Multistrada 1100S – in fact if the Multistrada had the Testastretta engine, it would have been a shoo-in – I’ve ridden the earlier incarnation enough to know just how good a chassis they’ve got. But hang on, we’re not talking about looking for an all-rounder here: we’re looking for the maximum of engagement, hoot-inducing fun and the ability to get from A to B, usually via C to Z, with as much flair as possible and a decent tank range, given the distance between filling stations hereabouts. So I’m off to Ducati Glasgow to sample a selection of their range.

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