My Ducati Monster 696.....for a week

by Caroline Ash

Picking up my Monster from Ducati UK HQPicking up my Monster from Ducati UK HQI had a dream…. Hard to put on paper what it was, but it was very clear to me. I was riding a bike, and I felt comfortable. On waking I still felt at ease. At nine o’clock I would be picked up by Jonathan on his Honda. The sun was shining but the weather has been so changeable over the last few days it was a false security. I found it hard to decide to go for warmth and being dry or using my leathers. I am tough and mean, I thought, I can handle a bit of discomfort. After a delicious large coffee we set off and rode down the M40. The weather changed then and it became overcast and I was wondering of the rest of the day I would suffer for being silly and not going for wet weather clothing. It grew colder and the rain came down. I was perched high up, and there was no getting away from the wind and rain. It had been a long time being pillion and all the feelings of the past came flooding back. I closed my eyes and remembered.

We turned of the M40 and took the A422 to Silverstone, and arrived a little wet and cold at Ducati headquarters. It felt strange being here again. I have been here plenty of times with Kevin picking or dropping of Ducatis. This time I was coming to pick up a bike. We were welcomed and given a lovely coffee, which warmed up my hands again. That is the funny thing with riding bikes; you get cold and wet and still want to ride more! It is like an addiction. Or childbirth, if you are a woman, that is. You have one baby, go through childbirth and forget about the not so nice parts of having one, and still you decide to go through it all over again.

We were taken to the workshop. Wow! Awesome, it was hard to take in. Jonathan spotted Foggy’s bike amongst the sea of beautifully lined up red, black and white.
My (my!) Ducati was sitting as a centrepiece by the large doors.

The bike wasn’t quite ready yet and we were invited in to see Tim Maccabee who is the managing director of Ducati. I chatted about my future plans and he offered to help where he could. So exciting!
Down the stairs again and my bike for the week was ready. A lovely, shiny, black and white Ducati 696!

I'm off for the week!I'm off for the week!The sun was shining and the bike looked so good. Lovely to poke around new bikes, especially when you know you can try it out any time you want.
In front of the building were some benches with a huge oak tree next to it. A unusual place to have a picnic but we tried it out and ate some nibbles from my backpack looking at the Monster and listening to the sounds of the action on the Silverstone circuit. Bliss. Best picnic place for Ducati fanatics.

Apart from lending me the 696, Tim had given advice what route to take back to Stratford-upon-Avon. Time to go and I get on the bike! I get on and I can put my feet down on either side of the bike. So this is what is was like for Kevin who would always have his feet firmly on the floor. It feels very comfortable. The fuel tank looked high before I got on, and I thought it would be a bit in the way, but it wasn’t.

We set off and I feel at easy immediately. It likes to go and I like the feel of the way the tyres are in contact with the road. It feels solid. On the way back we have all the weathers you might not want. Rain, semi wet roads, seriously wet roads, sunshine in your face etc. So a good test.
On arriving back home I did feel like my arms had done some work and I could feel my wrists a little. The bike will be a good way to strengthen up those areas! I adjust the clutch and brake leaver to the nearest setting. I know it would look silly on me, but Kevin had large hands and I envy this, as it is much easier to use the clutch if more than one finger stretches over the edge. Lets hope that riding over the next week will stretch my fingers out a bit!
I back the Monster up into the garage, there is just enough space next to the Yamaha and the Sym and the two huge Dutch bicycles. I loved riding this bike and I am wondering about the difference between the Speed Triple and the monster. Need to find out, I think. It is time to be mummy again and I need to think what I have in the fridge what I can create into a half decent meal, but if possible I want to take out the Ducati tonight and have another ride.
Maybe my dream last night was about riding the Monster as I did feel at ease today. Who knows?

vroum_ninou's picture
Joined: 14/03/2010

Great! Nice pic! Have fun on the Monster! :-)


Navy Boy
Joined: 12/02/2009

Nice to see Ducati helping you out like that Caroline. Enjoy the 696 - They're cracking bikes and I know that Kevin enjoyed them. That much came across loud and clear in his tests of them.

I look forward to hearing how you get on with it.