So I went off for 10 days' R&R with family outside Toronto to catch the last of the Canadian fall weather and colours. And I could catch up with Steve, a friend whom I met through the RC Facebook group (you meet the nicest people etc.) who lives a few miles away.
The contents of Steve's garage had grown since I last met him 18 months ago, and as I was admiring his bikes, he said: "hang on, I'll get a helmet and jacket out for you." I was feeling more than a bit apprehensive, but what could I do?
In order, I rode the '73 Laverda 750 SF1, the '76 1000 3CL, the '74 Ducati 750GT, the '82 Mike Hailwood Replica, the '87 750 Paso, late '80s Cagiva Allazura (650 Ducati engine) and the '87 Benelli 750 Sei.
Jeez, what a day! The apprehension vanished within 100 yards and I could concentrate on the different bikes: gearchange on left or right? one up-four down; one down-five up etc. and the very different characteristics. I feel honoured that Steve gave me such an experience, and I tried to nick the Ducati 750GT, but it wouldn't fit into the car's boot.
Motorcyclists are some of the best people.