I remember that fateful day when I bought my first motorbike, a Yamaha RS 100 with a wolf on the tank, it was a piece of crap! The years passed, more bikes came and went, girlfriends came and went until one came and didn’t go. Then some other things came into my life, pink and screaming and time eating. They forced me to buy my first car; they made me take that car on holidays and even just down town, they took away motorcycling hours….but I kept the bikes and I still rode them, everyday, into work, rain and shine, unlike some of my friends.
I really do understand the pressures put on you by family. It is not at all surprising that when wife, kids and a mortgage come along the bike is one of the things at the top of the list that has to go. It is sad but understandable, sometimes life gets in the way, but when the kids leave home and the mortgage is not so crippling, what then?
Some call them Born Again Bikers, BABS, the police call them BAMBIS, Born Again Middle aged BIkerS, but I find that a little bit insulting. Yes they have returned to biking, but I don’t think it ever left their blood, it was forced onto them. As for middle aged, what has age got to do with anything, just because you are over 45 is there a rule that says you have to wear taupe and carpet slippers? Even us fellow bikers, the ones that never did stop, are guilty of looking at them in a less than favorable manner. We tend to regard them as wannabees , or part-timers as if the fact that we never stopped riding bikes gives us some right to look down on those that had to. We should in fact be the opposite, we should admire them because they have had the courage and drive to go out and get on a bike again, to come back to chase a feeling that they were forced to leave but never left them.
There are many who say that these “Born Agains” are a liability on the road, and I am sure some of them are. Bike technology has moved on so much in the past 20 to 30 years and the power and handling that used to be reserved for the very pinnacles of motorcycling sport is now available to those of us with enough money…such as middle aged men at the height of their earning potential. That is where the problems start, someone going in and buying the latest tricked out sports bike and expecting to get on it and ride like they did 25 years ago. That is an accident waiting to happen. We all know the anticipation, reactions and spatial awareness that is needed to survive on the roads comes from experience and practice. The guy buying the new flash bike probably knows this to, in his heart, but he probably doesn’t think it should apply to him; after all he has always been a biker!
Guys buying a new bike after years off should be careful, they should be aware of the changes, but they should also be made welcome. If you know of someone thinking about doing this, why not give them a helping hand; get them to go on a track day before they get their new bike on the road so that they can really experience the changes. It is after all in your best interests, the more bikes these guys buy, the more good, low mileage second hand ones there will be for us in a couple of years time!!