OUR BIKES Setting sail for the south coast
When I think of the perfect conditions for riding the Harley-davidson Street 750, images of cloudless blue skies and golden sunshine pop into my mind. However, I live in Cambridgeshire, not California, and those blue skies were just a dream. Instead I had biblical rain pouring from the sky and felt as though I’d be better placed loading Noah’s Ark with animals than fitting panniers to the Street 750 for a trip to the New Forest.
Fitting my SW Motech soft panniers (www.motohaus.com) for the trip was a fiddly job as I needed to mask the shiny paintwork to avoid scratches before unscrewing the fixings for the seat. The luggage harness slips over the pillion seat and is then tethered with webbing straps. The tubular frame of the Street 750 is rather scaffold-like so it was easy to find anchor points for the pannier straps.
The plan to take a leisurely ride down with a casual lunch en-route was scuppered by the torrential rain. Stopping for a cuppa and dry out, it was an embarrassing sight as a mini waterfall cascaded from the discarded bike kit that I hung on the back of chairs in Starbucks.
Returning to the bike after my stop I almost had a mishap. I regularly leave the bike in first gear when I park, then when I remount I pull the clutch in and start the engine to pull away. I usually remember to kick the sidestand up before hitting the start button. But this time I was preoccupied because it was chucking it down and forgot this so the bike edged forward, knocking the stand up. While most bikes disable the starter motor completely when the sidestand is down and a gear engaged, the Harley allows the starter motor to turn but the engine won’t fire. But there’s a small amount of forward motion while the starter turns, enough to kick the stand back. I’m just glad I’m long-legged and the Street 750 has a low seat, or the holiday could have ended only 80 miles into a 500-mile trip.
Despite replacing the uncomfortable original seat with a more comfortable Mustang Fastback (£337.20, www.mageurope.eu), riding the Harley still makes my coccyx ache on long journeys. Putting an Airhawk Motorcycle Comfort Seat (£ 149.99, www.motohaus.com) on