I do like a bike

Contrary to its usual image, motorbiking for me was a happy accident.

For a long time I was one of its critics. I mocked and laughed at guys in their fifties wobbling along on their shiny new Harleys covered from head to toe in spotlesss Harley uniforms, like big kids playing at being outlaws.

I also grumbled and moaned as my peace was disturbed each summer by the Formula 1 wail of a steady stream of boy racers trying not to die on one of the best stretches of motorbiking road in the region that passed close to my house. At least five of them would fail at that objective each year.

And then I bought myself a scooter. A 250cc Vespa to be used to whizz about taking photos. Unfortunately, a spanner got lodged in its works in the form of needing a full motorbike license to ride it, which was a lot more involved than I had imagined.

After signing up for a course, I found myself paying obscene amounts of money to ride the clutch of a 650cc Yamaha around an un-air conditioned indoor go-kart track at 4 km/h for a large chunk of an unusally hot summer. Why a big Yamaha rather than my scoot? Because that’s what you have to take your test on in Sweden even if you eventually just want to zip around on a 250cc Vespa.

It soon struck me that it would be cheaper to buy my own 650cc bike, a few plastic cones, and ride around local car parks at 4 km/h until I stopped tipping over. So, a few short months after scoffing at the Hardely Rideable jockeys as they emerged from their winter hibernation, my workshop was housing both a Vespa and a bright orange Kawasaki. During my training rides it didn’t take very long to realise that the Kawasaki was a LOT more fun than the Vespa. So, when the nice man at the driving test centre told me I’d passed my test, I took the Kawasaki out, promptly got myself a speeding ticket, and then started looking for something faster.

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