Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

Yesterday we rode from Italy to Slovenia via Austria, with Peter introducing me to “The Dolomites” – a smaller range of mountains than the Alps but in my opinion these provided the perfect roads to ride a motorbike on. Yesterday was intense and extreme, amplified by the terrible weather and resulting personal discomfort so perhaps I didn’t appreciate the mountain passes that much – they demanded your full concentration or you would die – simples. Today however was effortless riding over the passes – the roads were dry (thankfully the rain stayed away almost in its entirety – to the degree where what little we had isn’t worth mentioning) and the corners just flowed endlessly – sharp hairpins and switchbacks that willed the bike over at angles I’ve not got it to before – and the roads were mostly devoid of traffic to boot. We went more between the mountains than over them and I between the passes were little villages like the one above.

So all in all a good day, marred only slightly by Lucy …………..

Lucy is the sat-nav (GPS) on my bike. Lucy has an older sibling (Sonya) who stays in the car, but today is about Lucy.

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Lucy right from the start. You see, the thing that I love about Lucy is that she lets me get lost. I can simply ride out of our place on a weekend and follow any road that looks interesting. Once I’ve had my fun and I know that I need to start heading back I can wake up Lucy and simply press the “take me home” button – no thought required.

The hate side of the relationship is due to Lucy’s fickle nature ………. Lucy has a mind of her own and for starters she frequently refuses to load up her maps. This results in me spending time pressing buttons and removing the battery and holding the reset button in repeatedly (and I do mean repeatedly – between 1 and 15 times on occasion!!!) until for no reason at all she wakes up and functions normally – but you never know for how long. At random points during the day, Lucy might suddenly go into a sulk and freeze up – when this happens in the middle of a town, at rush hour, when I have no idea what the next turning to take is, it’s potentially life threatening as I need to get out of the traffic to give her some attention before we can be off on our way again. At other times (like yesterday) its just bl@@dy annoying – Peter was leading the way so all I had to do was follow, but it’s always good to know in advance what the “shape” of the road ahead is on unknown roads as you can plan to overtake slow moving traffic (like farm tractors, of which there are many) and you don’t end up accelerating madly just before a junction. So when Lucy froze up every 10 to 15 minutes constantly for the first 120 miles of the journey yesterday and I couldn’t stop but needed her to behave I alternated between flying around corners and fielding with buttons for over 3 hours until suddenly, out of the blue, she behaved perfectly for the entire remainder of the trip. I have no idea if me threatening to throw her in the bin at the next petrol stop had any influence on her decision but at least I could enjoy the ride to the full from that point on.

By now, those of you that were at school with me might have figured out how Lucy got her name but for the rest of you, the clue is in the title of this post – the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” is (allegedly) about LSD – and like LSD, with Lucy, you never know when you are going to end up having a bad trip ……..