I haven't ridden a motorcycle for a long while

Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,203Member
edited August 2016 in Totally Not Guitars
  I haven't ridden a motorcycle for a long while (11 years) but - for much of my life - it was a big thing. I did it for functionality rather than the pleasure of it. For a year I did it for a living as a dispatch rider in London. I used to ride a Kawasaki GT550 for business. I've ridden many others for London commuting - mainly a Suzuki GN 400 and a Honda C90. I've borrowed many more including a Honda Goldwing ! My favourite experience of motorcycling - without any doubt - was riding C90s on various Greek islands sans helmet and protective clothing,  The true and free-wind-in-the hair, care-free experience. It was a C90 that got me out dispatching in a snowy winter when all other riders had cried off. The skinny tyres and slide-ability of the bike was key to getting parcels to destination even if it was sideways, speedway style. (Luckily the roads were empty) I've never understood motorcycling otherwise. I loved it for London commuting - weaving in and out of traffic and getting ahead (I could see its true purpose then) but for pleasure in Britain ? Having to get all leathered up in hot weather to go out for a spin ?  I'd rather a small open top sports car and pick my roads selectively. Now I'm bald I don't suppose image or wind-in-hair is so important ! What say you ?


  • Derek_RDerek_R Posts: 1,713Member

    I have a ZRX1200. I don't get out near as much as I used to because time seems so scarce these days, but when I do I love it!


    My father was a motorcyclist and still rides. Some of my earliest memories are of him working on bikes (I recall a square four engine head being heated up in the oven for an hour to make it expand before my dad carried the red-hot thing through to the garage to fit it on the engine), riding bikes with me on the back, watching motorcycle racings - road racing, grass-tracking, scrambling, trials. A few years back a few of us went to a road race meeting and crowds of Japanese youngsters flocked round my dad's Velocette and totally ignored my Kawasaki and my buddy's Buell.


    It was kind of natural I got a bike as soon as I could. I used to go to band practices on a moped when I was 16. A car was a lot easier so a 72 Hillman Avenger it was a few years later. But bikes were always my first love.


    For years I'd go out with various groups of people evenings and weekends, around Wales, and Devon, and Wiltshire. Most Sundays we'd rack up two or three hundred miles. But the bikes got faster, the riders a little crazier, and I got older and my reactions slowed and I realised I was riding beyond my abilities and my life expectancy warning lights were starting to flicker. So I backed off from that crowd.


    When the recession bit back n 2008 I sold the car and the motorbike was again my only form of travel, and since then I've rarely ridden it for pleasure. I used to go to all gigs, summer and winter on the bike. My drummer had my guitar and amp, and I roll up on the Kawasaki. On reflection it was crazy.


    Few years ago I got a car again and since then the bike riding has been a lot frequent. I do less than a thousand miles a year. I should really sell the bike (SWMBO would be happy) and buy a nice guitar (SWMBO would be less than impressed!) but whenever I ride it I still get that old magic. I occasionally go to work meetings on it (when I don't have to wear a suit) and sneaking through the Birmingham or Bristol rush hour is wonderful!


    Another reason I don't ride it much is we've been housing a couple of folks trying to break out of the rental trap at the moment (i.e. living buck-shee and spending all their money on holidays, festivals, balls, concerts, cars and clothes) and this means to physically get the bike out of the garage usually involving moving three cars (I usually go everywhere on the pushbike which I can lift up and carry between all these cars). When (if) they've gone I might ride a little more. I hope so.


    I wouldn't mind changing the big 1200 for something smaller. Borrowed a lovely 500 earlier this year and it was like riding thin air. But at the moment my mileage doesn't warrant it, and the cost would be prohibitive. Maybe one day...


    This is my old Bandit 600 in front of a loch and some mountains somewhere in Scotland:




    and here's the current steed:




  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,107Member, Moderator

    My father wouldn't allow me to have a bike though my maternal grandfather had bikes into his 60's. I remember his last bike, a red James.

    I was in my 30's before I bought my first bike, a Honda CB100N, which I drove all over Scotland. I used it back and forward to work, summer and winter, sun, rain and snow. It was great fun. I kept it long after I was done with it, finally passing it on to my nephew.

    I have no images of mine but this was the colour of the one I had.

    Among others I rode were Honda 250 Superdream, Honda CB400 Super Sport and Honda 550 4K (I was a Honda man) but my fav was the CB100N.

    1975 - 1977 Honda CB400 Four Supersport

    Images are from Google.  I have no digital images in my collection.


  • dharma66dharma66 Posts: 829Member

    The Greek Island C&0 thing is the only Nike riding I've ever done, though I've wanted one as long as I remember.


    At school my mates brother in law had a 650 BSA that he rode, and variois bits of a Sportster he was chopping. Me and my mate used to spend hours every weekend hanging out at the Harley dealership on Deansgate, annoying the grown-ups and begging to be allowed to sit on the Fat Boy in the showroom.


    When I left school, and before I went back to uni many years later, I was unemployed and flat broke. Every penny I had went into paying for my Gibson and Marshal, and the bike desire faded into the background.


    Funilly enough, a few months ago I started thinking about what I'd like to do to mark my 50th birthday in a couple of years, and my mind went straight back to something I always craved: riding Harley the length of Route 66.


    That gives me two years to achieve four things:


    1. Pass my DA
    2. Ride mid sized bike for a bit to get used to it
    3. Trade up to a Harley and get used to it
    4. Most unlikely of all: convince the wife it's a good idea

    Actually, having done a fair bit of research over the last few months, I'm not sure it's actually a Harley I'd buy and own...Victory motorbikes look much nicer to me, and I really dig the looks of the Highball.


    Anyway, 99% chance it'll come to nothing, and will remain an unfulfilled dream...


  • Derek_RDerek_R Posts: 1,713Member

    Jocko, I love that CB400 Super Sport. I soooo wanted one of those when I was a kid!!   Bit of a classic now, I believe.

  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,203Member

    It seems we all like the unfaired variety of bikes - ergo speed is limited by the strength of one's fingers ! (110 was the max I'd dared to pull on the GT)  I've come to the conclusion that small to mid range is most fun. I like no more than two cylinders (never ridden a triple) for that motorcycle sound and grunt. I don't like speed and the feeling of running out of road. I like straightening out bends and slipping past miles of stationary traffic.


    I also liked pulling up at cafe's and having a sandwich/coffee while admiring my bike and having my gloves/helmet on the table. Nothing better - especially when another member of the fraternity rides up.


    If I were to get back into it 250 to 400 would suit my needs for going to work via the A road. 600 to use the motorway. Having said that my commute has rarely warranted a bike and often needed a car (lashing down)


    I remember one Christmas day I was rounding the M25 on my Kwacker to see my girlfriend when a slushey snow came down. It lasted two hours and there was nothing I could do but sit by the hard shoulder with the collar up on my Belstaff. It was so lonely and there was no end to it. Christmas dinner and my hot babe were waiting for me and I couldn't get to either - no mobile phones then. It was like being stranded at sea. I could have cried !

  • Derek_RDerek_R Posts: 1,713Member

    I recall one weekend during my non-car period I was gigging on the Saturday night in Birmingham and going to watch the MotoGP at Donnington on the Sunday. So I rode the motorbike up to my buddy's house in Birmingham, borrowed a guitar for the gig, stayed at his, and in the morning rode on up to watch the racing. All worked out fine. Except... on the way up to his on the Saturday there was a storm so heavy on the motorway that cars were pulling over onto the hard shoulder and bikes were sheltering below bridges. It was the heaviest rain I can ever recall in this country. Needless to say I was soaked, my stage gear in my bag was soaked, I spent two days soaked...This was in summer, too!

  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,203Member

    Nice. I think that was what made me get rid of my last bike. There was nothing like taking the cover off to guarantee that the storm clouds would gather.


    People in slightly drier climes are blessed - boating, biking, camping ... barbeques...


    Imagine owning a Vespa in Italy. Bliss !

  • manofgresleymanofgresley Posts: 137Member



    You lot have got me all nostalgic, i rode motorcycles for many a year, my first bike was a 350 Royal Enfield "BULLIT" Then came a 650 Triumph "BONNEVILLE" after that i was sold on BMW's, starting with a R100/7, then a K75, followed by a K1200LTse and finally a R1200 GS.

    I only finished motorcycling because of a back injury.

    Her is my K1200 & GS 1200

    Picture 105


  • lancpudnlancpudn Posts: 1,393Member

    I had a 350 Royal Enfield also, Bought from a army depot auction in Bolton 1969 for the grand sum of 11 quid. single coil sprung seat dispatch riders bike from WW2 lol. it was an absolute pig to kickstart but I loved it, after that bit the dust from a long list of repairs for the MOT, I sold it for £30 to the garage so made a rare profit. I bought a Lambretta SX200 to get to work on, for some strange reason I painted it custard yellow & green I have a photo of it somewhere in the house.

  • manofgresleymanofgresley Posts: 137Member
    Originally Posted by lancpudn:

    I had a 350 Royal Enfield also, Bought from a army depot auction in Bolton 1969 for the grand sum of 11 quid. single coil sprung seat dispatch riders bike from WW2 lol. it was an absolute pig to kickstart but I loved it, after that bit the dust from a long list of repairs for the MOT, I sold it for £30 to the garage so made a rare profit. I bought a Lambretta SX200 to get to work on, for some strange reason I painted it custard yellow & green I have a photo of it somewhere in the house.


    Mine cost £7.00, it was in bits, took me a year of saving my apprentice wages to re build it, it was a 1956 model.

  • lancpudnlancpudn Posts: 1,393Member
    Originally Posted by manofgresley:
    Originally Posted by lancpudn:

    I had a 350 Royal Enfield also, Bought from a army depot auction in Bolton 1969 for the grand sum of 11 quid. single coil sprung seat dispatch riders bike from WW2 lol. it was an absolute pig to kickstart but I loved it, after that bit the dust from a long list of repairs for the MOT, I sold it for £30 to the garage so made a rare profit. I bought a Lambretta SX200 to get to work on, for some strange reason I painted it custard yellow & green I have a photo of it somewhere in the house.


    Mine cost £7.00, it was in bits, took me a year of saving my apprentice wages to re build it, it was a 1956 model.

    LOL I thought my was cheap, mine wasn't running and I had to push it home 4 miles. I was an apprentice tool setter at the time and money was really tight, I think it was about 6 months after I bought it that I had the money for spares & get it running, I always stunk of petrol with farting about with that carb every time I started it, happy days though.

  • BryBry Posts: 652Member


    My Suzuki Intruder, I've had three of these, the third of which still sits outside, gradually becoming one solid piece, while a Honda Shadow watches and fears the same grim fate. 


    No bikes were cleaned in the making of this image.


  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,203Member

    I quite liked the Intruder. The Virago, but gone right.

  • Reg SoxReg Sox Posts: 3,121Member

    I've never owned or ridden a motorcycle as I came off my pushbike far too many times.  In fact I've not ridden on two wheels since my last big hospitalisation from my pushbike aged 17.


    However, I spent a lot of time around bikes as I had a good mate who rode and raced bikes.  I used to help him out in the paddock at Bemsee meetings.  The year he won the 125cc championship the presentation night was the day I got married and he chose to pick up his cup!  His racing bike at the time was a Yam works machine previously owned by Barry Sheen although my mate was a privateer.


    My mate was 12 years older than me and when I first knew him he was on his second round of racing when his kids had grown up a bit.  He used to tell stories of when he used to race in his teens on apprentice wages.  He rarely finished a race due to uncompetitive machinery.  His bike either broke down or he tried too hard and crashed.  He used to relate his crash procedure:  Oh crap, here we go again.  Right push the bike away, arse down, feet up, steer with the elbows, oh no, there goes the front forks, theres goes the tank.  By the time he came to a stop he reckoned he'd already totted up the repair bill and worked out how many weeks it'd be before he could afford to race at another meet.  He had a lot more success second time round.  On the road he was one of the safest riders going and was a qualified instructor.


    When he turned 60 he figured he wouldn't be competitive any longer on a bike so he became one of those complete nutters that hang out of a side car.


    Motorcycles were in his blood.  His dad had been a test rider for Vincent.  He always claimed he had to marry his wife, not because of any shotguns involved, but because he wrote off her scooter.


    Dennis died very suddenly in his bed about 18 months ago due to a massive brain hemorrhage that he thankfully knew nothing about.  He donated his body to medical science and as like me he had no superstitious beliefs there was no memorial service.  Typing this out has been quite cathartic for me, so thanks in advance for the indulgence.  So for Dennis (and his dad) here's Richard Thompson:



    Cheers, Reg.

  • Green NinjaGreen Ninja Posts: 412Member

    My bike history goes back to 1987...


    1) Honda MTX 125 Triallie

    2 ) Kawasaki GPX750 - quite leap!  Very Awesome

    3) Yamaha FZR600 - nice, someone stole it.

    Big Gap

    4) Kawasaki GPZ500 - nippy twin ideal way to slip back into it

    5) Kawasaki ZXR600 - 1999 model in Silver

    6) Kawasaki ZXR600 - 2007 - in green


    Currently bikeless, thought I'd retired from two wheels in 2010, but every so often I get this itch.......


    I'll get another soon........it's just a matter of time.

  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,203Member

    Thanks for that post, Reg.

  • BuzzwagonBuzzwagon Posts: 143Member

    I haven't posted in a while but this thread demands a response. I've ridden bikes since 1978 and these days I'm a national observer with the IAM. I've had over 50 bikes over the years and my current bikes are a 2011 BMW R1200GS, (about to be traded in for either a new GS or a Ducati Multistrada), and a 2013 Harley Davidson Switchback. Bikes are my passion, they've been a constant in my life for 36 years and I still get the same buzz out of riding that I got when I first slung a leg over a field bike in Mel Gaynors parents field in 1978.


    I've spent a year despatching in London so I can filter like a demon. Packed it in when I had a near miss in Knightsbridge after I started taking too many liberties. Couriering in London is the hardest job I've ever done, you can spend all day schlepping around the City or the West End, in the rain, earning enough to pay for your petrol and at 5:00pm you'll hear your call sign and, "Do you fancy a Manchester?". You take it as it'll make your day worthwhile but you ain't getting home before midnight at best after a 15 - 16 hour day. I'd never do it again and anyone who can do it and make good money at it has my respect.


    I've ridden all over Europe and twice I've ridden to Valencia in 2 days for MotoGP, that's 2 x 700 mile days to get there and it's a killer but the atmosphere at a Spanish MotoGP meeting is incredible and well worth the trip. Both times funnily enough on Fireblades when I had a GS in the garage as well! I once spent 14 days on the tour from hell that went down to Bosnia. It rained torrentially for pretty much the whole trip, my missus got knocked off her bike, twice, by the same bloke, and eventually had to be airlifted back from Dubrovnik while her Sprint ST came back in a Transit. There were three other accidents, every day was intense technical riding over big miles that most just couldn't do. It was truly awful but we do remember it and laugh about it now!


    As an IAM national observer I get to see both ends of the spectrum. I once had a bloke who been riding 27 years who was out of position 100% of the time. It was amazing that he was actually still alive! I've been out with people who've spent £000's on the latest sportsbike and they can't go round corners, (there are loads like that believe me!), and you wouldn't believe how many suicidal overtakes I've seen.


    At the other end of the spectrum I'm lucky enough to have had training from a guy called Jon Taylor who was a class 1 instructor for the police and a Nurburgring instructor, he could do things with a bike that were incredible. I've done trackdays at Brands, Cadwell and Donnington and one day I'll do one overseas. Trackdays are without doubt the most fun you can have with your clothes on.


    This year I ticked off one of the things on my bucket list when we spent 10 days on the Isle of Man for the TT. It was everything I expected and more, there is nothing on Earth that can prepare you for bikes going past you a metre away at close on 200mph! The roads on the Island are superb, with no limits in the nationals, and the people are terrific. Riding the mountain course is just the best thing ever. The TT is awesome and anyone who likes bikes should make a point of getting over if they can.


    I've got two passions in my life, bikes and guitars and of push came to shove and one of them had to go I'm afraid it would be guitars.


    Some of the bikes I've owned:


    Beta MX5 (First bike and it was crap)

    Honda CD175 (My dad welded a couple of bean tins on the end of the exhausts when they rotted)

    Suzuki GT250X7 (The first genuine 100mph 250)

    Kawasaki Z650 (Wish I still had it, my first bike after passing my test)

    Kawasaki Zephyr 550

    Triumph Street Triple R (The most fun bike I've ever ridden but not much fun when you're in the pouring rain with a couple of hundred miles to do)

    CCM R30 (Mad as a box of frogs 600 Supermoto, completely impractical)

    Honda Fireblade x 3 (The 954 was better than the early 1000's and I so regretted trading mine in. Japanese sportsbikes at their very best).

    Yamaha XJR1300 (Big old softy but a real nice bike to ride)

    Ducati ST3 (Brilliant bike, I put 26000 miles on mine in about 3 years and it didn't miss a beat)

    Ducati 900ss (Tiny bike, not easy to ride and hugely uncomfortable, regretted buying it and sold it at a huge loss)

    BMW F800ST (The bike that took me to Bosnia, brilliant but a little dull).

    BMW R1200RT (Fully loaded, even had a CD player on it which I loved, like riding an armchair)

    BMW R1200GS (Best bike I've ever owned and the longest I've owned a bike at 3 years, 30 years of development and it shows. Brilliant.)

    Harley Davidson Switchback (Purely for high days and holidays and lives at our cottage in Wales)


    Me and my GS on the Black Mountain in the Brecon Beacons



    And on a trackday at Brands on my second Blade




    And on my Ducati ST3 at the first Afghan Heroes ride through Wooten Bassett, 15000 bikes turned out that day.





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