The loneliness of the long-distance motorcyclist

29th November 2015 by  in The Dex Files

I was thinking about this last week as I struggled up the M6 towards Carlisle (yes, in THAT weather).

Normally when I’m doing a trip like this, I try to arrange it so I can have a more leisurely run – maybe stopping off at a client in Birmingham the day before, so I can have a nice non-motorway trip – maybe take the day off after the Carlisle visit to have a leisurely canter back down though the Yorkshire Dales and the Peak District.

Not this time. I’m so busy at the moment that it was just motorway all the way to Carlisle, into the B&B, then on site bright and early next morning so I could be heading straight home at 4pm, head down, on the motorway again.

Of course, it didn’t help that it was dark for practically the entire journey and to make matters worse it rained on me almost solidly all the way back. I was cold, damp and feeling sorry for myself. I stopped much more often than normal at services, trying to warm up a bit.

But what was really chilling seemed to be the attitude of other people at the services. I’d walk in, okay, dripping on the floor a bit, but you’d have thought I was wearing a sandwich board with “I am a plague carrier” painted on the front. Never mind having a pleasant chat to your fellow travellers, I was getting the stare of death from pretty much everyone, as though I had no business bringing my damp textiles inside in search of a hot drink (for me, not the textiles, obviously – they don’t drink).

It was all quite dispiriting. I’ve been riding bikes for a very long time but I’ve never felt quite so separate to the rest of my fellow road users. It was a very humbling and slightly lonely ride.


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