You might say that motorcycles have been a huge part of my life, but you would be wrong, I would say they have been the story of my life…well the interesting bits of it anyway!
I cannot remember a time when bikes did not feature in my thoughts and dreams and, when my 17th birthday came with a Yamaha RS100, well it was like being born again, halleluiah! In reality it was a piece of crap, but it had a wolf sprayed onto a metal flaked tank and that was reason enough to put up with it cutting out every time there was a hint of moisture in the air.
I think the RS lasted 3 months before I killed it, or it tried to kill me. To be honest I am not sure which, I have no memory of the accident that left me with concussion and a broken wrist that spent 36 weeks in plaster. The 36 weeks might just have been my fault, I bought an RXS 100 to replace the RS and I could not bear to see it sitting there silently waiting, I had to ride it and that is not really the best thing for a plastered wrist!
That was the beginning and now 30 years later I am still riding and still loving every second of it. I have had GPz’s when they were new and cool, then Zxr’s , XT’s , Z’s, CB’s and a CD, a YDS and an AR, every letter of the alphabet. Then there were the Bandits and the Teneres until now, when a Speed Triple takes pride of place in the garage, alongside an old Z1100 and my Zxr750h1 which is halfway to becoming a streetfighter.
I have been across Europe, seen mountains, ice and desert, I have partied with angels and devils, found friendship in the middle of nowhere, repaired a wheel spindle with a woodscrew, adjusted a points gap with an oak leaf (you remember points don’t you?) and painted a new friends grandmothers house because he bought me a beer the night before.
It hasn’t all been a bed of roses, my broken bikes and broken bones pale into insignificance when compared to the broken hearts that have come through friends who have paid with their lives following this obsession of ours. All that can be said is clichés about how they will never be forgotten, clichés yes, but truths none the less.
But still I have kept on riding, grabbing the chance to visit some new muddy field in the middle of nowhere, to mingle with like minded idiots, drink beer and wake up in the morning and swear blind never to do it again….well not until just before lunchtime anyway. I have kept on riding, criss-crossing the continent, meeting new, strange, idiots and making them my friends. I have kept on riding, round and round and round ribbons of tarmac, knee down and brain out, faster and faster…..and not just on the play station.
I have kept on riding because that is what I do, that is what I have always done and that is what I love.