Hello internet people. I am back from skiing, in one piece, and now I am in training for the evening of December 31st. Maybe I should have started earlier but there is only so much mulled wine you can drink, I know, I tried! The weather forecast for tomorrow is good, 45°f and sunny, so I reckon I might just roll the bike out of the shed and go for a ride, just to warm it up and check nothing has gone wrong with it in the past couple of weeks. That is in fact a real reason, not just one for her who should be obeyed. Giving your bike a little run out, or at least just starting it and warming it up a few times over the winter really is a good idea, it keeps moving things moving and lubricates parts that need lubrication. Just because it is sitting still doesn’t mean it doesn’t need looking after.
In the meantime I have been thinking about who and what I would honor in the first annual Ratso Motorcycling Awards. It is not easy but I think I have figured it out pretty well.
First up is biker of the year –
Valentino Rossi has this year proved that he is worthy of the title of GOAT. His career has spanned decades and he has won the World Championship 7 times at the top level, including a win on the old 500cc two stroke machines that are regarded by everybody as something a bit special! He is always competitive, always fun and always doing something to keep us entertained, and he is quicker than a quick thing on speed!
Guy Martin has done more to bring motorcycles and motorcycling to the general public than any advertisements or celebrity endorsements. His incomprehensible accent, live life to the full attitude, “interesting” attitude to authority and sideburns might not endear him to everyone but he does show a little of the real biker attitude to those who might never experience it.
However the winner of the first RMA for biker of the year is John or Jane Doe, the guy or girl who lives down the street, rides every day, in all weathers because it is the only way he or she wants to travel and does things the way he or she wants. He or she is not a life style biker or born again, he or she rides because it is what they do not a fashion statement or an effort to shock. So hats off to our winner, they deserve it.
Next up is Bike of the year-
The Honda Africa Twin is a beautiful bike, it always has been. This year’s model has however taken the model to new heights. It has managed to replace the GS BMW as the bike of choice for anyone wanting to do mega mileage in questionable conditions. A great engine, comfort and the ability to go anywhere, what more would you want?
Apart from maybe a Triumph Bonneville T120. Ever since Triumph revamped themselves they have been doing things right, class, performance, heritage and style and a touch of innovation that makes them unique. The T120 is that in a nutshell, it is a bike that takes you back to when bikes were real bikes and yet has the refinement of modern day technology. It is a timeless bike, retro yet ultramodern and a fitting flagship for biking in 2016.
But the winner of the first RMA for bike of the year is...the one you are riding. The bike that you love because it has got you home from wherever, despite fate throwing everything at you. The bike that has made you a god, in your own mind, on the track, the bike that has been your dream ever since it appeared in the show room and that you now own, or the bike that you have owned for years and could never ever contemplate selling. That is the bike of the year!
And then of course there is blog post of the year and there is of course only one possible winner in this category, I wonder who that might be? It is also by complete chance the person who won best overtaking maneuver of the year, a beautiful cut up the inside of a hairpin that took 5 laps to work out and allowed my speed triple to show his speed triple who was boss…it has been a great year so far!