Tuesday, 21 February 2012
When Alison first mentioned getting a bike, I thought it was just one of her ideas that would maybe blow over. She was a bit of an adrenaline junkie at times, she loved anything exciting and dangerous, she had a bucket list of things she wanted to do. Learning to sky dive was one, not just parachuting, but free fall sky diving, once she had learnt that, she had plans to do base jumping (jumping of buildings). Bungy jumping was another and she would have chosen the highest. I remember her asking me once if there was an Olympic 10m dive board in this country, I can see her now above the water 10 meters up and she would give no hesitation in jumping.
So the bike was mentioned and to be honest it filled me with fear, I knew how dangerous riding was and how vulnerable riders are on the roads today. But once Alison had made up her mind about something, it was going to happen! She didn't have a full bike license, so she booked a whole lot of lessons and within a few weeks passed her bike test first time. Unknown to me, she had already bought her bike prior to the test, the first I knew about it was when she asked me to go with her to the Honda dealers to look at the bike she wanted, there it was with her name on the ticket!
Alison was always one for achieving, if there were qualifications to be had she would want them, so she joined courses on advance riding, one with the local motorcycle training school and one with the police, she passed both first time. She was brilliant in everything she did and anything she did had to be perfect, including the riding, but it worried me, her bike was a powerful machine, it was basically a race bike for the road.
I worried every time she went out on the bike, but the fact that she had completed all the advance training, gave me assurance that she could safely handle any situation that may face her while riding and over the months, she clocked up a lot of road miles.
One Saturday afternoon she came down stairs from her study and said 'right, I'm riding to London tonight, for a leaving party of a friend, who was moving abroad' now that did worry me! I tried my hardest to stop her going, but there was no stopping Alison once she had made up her mind to do something. She didn't know the route into central London, so she taped a sat nav to her petrol tank and set off at about 7pm in the dark. God! Did I worry that night. She got to the east end of London and then the sat nav worked loose and fell off and then got run over by another vehicle, but she eventually found the pub where the leaving party was. There was no pub car park and she didn't want to park the bike out of her sight, so Alison being Alison persuaded a group of guys to lift her bike down steps into the beer garden. I think her and the bike where center of attention from then on and she would have loved that!
With no sat nav, she then had to find her way out of central London, it took her almost two hours to find the route out, she arrived home at gone 4am absolutely frozen, but on such a high, the highlight of her ride was getting lost , you see she found things like that exciting, a challenge! As was the decision to go in the first place.
Having the bike made her so happy, at times I think she loved it more than me, she adored it and would spend hours cleaning it after rides. Within a month or so of having it, she had the bike apart, everything at some point was taken off the bike, apart from the engine. She had to know how things worked, how things fitted together.
She decided she wanted different colour lighting on the dashboard, so that was dismantled down to the circuit board and modified, she was so bloody clever!
The bike was often in the lounge, as much as I used to moan, an afternoon or evening I could put up with but a week! It made her happy so if she was happy I was happy, what I would give to see that bike in the lounge now.
She was so looking forward to the summer of 2011 and doing lot's of riding, she was also planning a track day, something she really wanted to do. Having good weather in late March and April last year, meant she got a few good rides in before her accident.
I have said before I always feared that knock on the door, at worst being told of a crash with injuries, maybe the bike written off, Alison with a broken leg or arm. You can never prepare yourself for worse than that, the first words from a police officer being ''I'm sorry''
Yes if she had not got the bike she would still be here, then again a few minutes earlier or later, of her going out that Thursday evening, she would still be here, life is for living and getting the most out of it, Alison did that, she lived for now and the bike made her feel alive, she loved the power, the speed, the sound, she adored it.
Tragically something she loved ended her life, I know that she would not have wished to die any other way, she died doing what she loved.