By Ambassasor Jake Hood

A couple of chaps and myself had decided to take a weekend trip away in Nelson, NZ. 

We got to town late Friday and got set up in our accommodation for the weekend. A few of the boys were keen to head out that night but I decided to stay in. I’d had a long day. My body was tired and I was ready to put my feet up and chill out for the evening.  

There was nothing good on TV, so I busted out my phone and got on Tinder to kill 5 minutes of the evening. I swiped away. There was a lot of good looking bikes in the area but matches were few and far between. Jus then an exotic red machine appeared on my screen.

Clean lines. Great spec. Ready for action. A bit of a rig if you asked me.

I had to improve my chances of meeting this exotic machine so it gave it the big old super like and what do you know? We ended up matching. My heartrate started to rise with the excitement of matching with such a beautiful piece of kit. It was gorgeous.

For some unknown reason it made the first move.

We got to chatting. I could tell that it was much wilder than I. More adventurous, way cooler. It was so far out my league but somehow I was holding it together. It was interested in meeting up and showing me a good time.

It was like, “Hey there. You look like you know a thing or two about getting dirty. Wanna take a ride?”

Trying to sound cool and confident I messaged back, “Sure, but fair warning, I like it pretty rough”

ESD responded, “My saddle’s…waiting….come and… jump on it!”

My jaw hit the floor… what is this bike… what am I in for?

I didn’t sleep great that night. The nervous excitement got to me. Restless, brain running simulations of every scenario that might happen. Will it go well? Will it go really badly? Only time will tell.

The evening past and I woke up to a glorious sunny day. Good start.

We decided to meet at the cafe at the bottom of Cable Bay adventure park. I spot it sat inside awaiting my arrival. Walked over and greeted it. We hit it off straight away. We proceed outside. I took a few cheeky squeeze of the tires. Twisted some dials. It was all about it.

I hopped aboard and off we went for a good time.

We got on well on the long climb to the top of the hill. Things were going better than I had expected. We were ready getting along like peas and carrots. It made the killer climb an easy breeze. Obviously I was trying to not show my lack of fitness and tried my best to hide the fact I was dying inside. I couldn’t show it that I was weak. 

The top of the hill finally appeared, thank god. We took a 5 minute rest before it said, “Ready for the ride of your life?” I looked over with a nervous smile. What have I gotten myself into? Maybe I’m out my depth. Was it some kind of psychopathic killer and this is how it kills its victims? Maybe it’s just putting on a front. Maybe it would be the best thing ever.

I threw my leg back over it. Placed my hand over the grips and we set off. The trail was Gnarles Barkley. Full of slippery roots and off-cambers littered with death rocks ready to invite your body into the ground at any moment. We were going faster than I was comfortable going. “We’re going to die, we’re going to die” I scream! ESD wasn’t having any of it. This was its terrain. This is what it lives for. It took me on silly lines, gapping stuff that shouldn’t be gapped, if I had been on a date with any other bike I would have been in a world of unfathomable pain.  

The trail got steeper, looser, tighter. Trees were brushing my hands but I started to trust ESD. I started to listen to all the dumb ideas it had me doing earlier. Full commit. Maximum effort. I was screaming and hollering. I thought to myself, “I love this bike, how do I keep this going? How do I keep it interested in me?”

The twist and steeps started to mellow out but the speeds increased. My eyes were watering. My body was exhausted but the adrenaline and excitement were keeping me going. We carved our way through the last few turns. Man and bicycle in perfect harmony. The trail came to an end. What next…

 I had a plan in mind if things had gone in well. I convinced the ESD to come on one more climb. Away we went. At the top of this climb was an incredible view point and the perfect place to have a fire. What better place to end the day. With the fire lit and the sun going down I made my move. The big yawn arm over the tire move. A classic for any first date. It works 69% of the time every time. We spent the next hour chatting away until the fire turned to embers.

The date had gone much better than I had expected. I couldn’t believe it. This exotic red speed machine was into it. I invited the ESD back to the house. It was keen. “Oh my God is this really happening? I don’t know how I’m pulling this off,” I thought.

We head back to the pad for a long night of servicing. What a day/night.

I awoke in the morning to find that  ESD was nowhere to be seen. I was crushed, but like any heartbroken person I got straight back on Tinder looking for the rebound.

The ESD was the one that got away.

I got out bed and caught up with the rest of the lads in the house. “Lads, have I got a story for you.”