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Blog » 2012 » 06 » Back To Basics

Back to basics by Paul Beattie

Hi all

So there I was, king of the road on my Road King, a great brute of a bike wieghing in at several hundred pounds and once down impossible for one person to pick back up, but I cared not a jot as I swept all before me on the fantastic biking roads in Northumberland. Everything was in order, the sun was shining, my leathers were newly waxed as was the bikini line(but that's another story), the boots cleaned and the summer gloves were fresh out of the winter hibernation and I looked coooooooool and felt the part. There was however a proverbial fly in the ointment (I wonder when he first appeared) and it concerned a major part of my anatomy (No not that part, and anyway its all rumour) which was malfunctioning and causing me some discomfort and at times bringing into doubt my ability to perform (On the bike...c'mon keep it out of the gutter) unless I could find a solution.

I have an agressive degenerative disc disease of the spine, and over the past few years the collapse of various parts of my spine has accelerated causing several invasive surgeries and lengthy stays in hospital including breaking my fragile neck in 2004 and two major operations in 2010. After long trips on the bike I was having to spend a day in bed immediately, often followed by several more days in bed if the pain was too much.

Whilst riding I was tending to slump in the seat, sliding backwards because I had no support and any bumps in the road was transmitted through my poor posture and signalled by heaps of pain, often ruining what should have been good rides. I had often thought of buying a new seat, but this was ruled out by the high costs involved so in the end I bought a single back rest. This came with a kit so that the back rest can be slotted into a rigid bracket that you bolt to the rear mudguard by taking the old seat off and then refitting it once the bracket is fixed on. The back rest then slots into the bracket through the machined gap in the seat and can be adjusted to suit you. (Suits you sir Oooooh)

The first ride was very strange and it was a long ride with Adam through t'yorkshire dales bart'at and both my hands went numb at various stages of the ride and I just felt strange as the back rest forced me into a position I wasn't used to. However when I got home, instead of crawling into bed and moaning all night with pain, all I had was a numb bum and two sore wrists. Bargain.....Mega. Next run was up to Edinburgh for their open day and again my hands went numb but only once or twice and by shifting the way I placed them, it soon wore off and again at the end of the day no sore back. Next run was the coalition run to Catterick with a long ride out afterwards and this time nothing was stiff, sore, numb, bent or battered and woke the following day feeling good.

So although the back rest was expensive as its a Harley part, the investment was worth it as it's put me in the correct riding position and saved the car wreck that is my spine, offering great support over the deepest pot holes. In fact sitting where I do now, my legs are in a better position on the touring pegs and where i used to get sore thighs sometimes, now all is good and riding is back as a pleasure. The bike is heavy though and nothing I can do will change that and I am still considering a Switchback as I was impressed on the test run i did sometime ago, so I might have a thunk next year and see what the finances are like as I am getting into my Masters and that will devour a large chunk of money, so lets see what the new year brings?

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