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Old 05-25-2005, 08:02 AM   #21
Joined: May 2005
Oddometer: 2
I started riding in early 2000 when I was 33. When I stopped cycling everywhere several years previously I had ruled out a motorbike because you could never account for all the other idiots, but when I moved south (in the UK) it eventually dawned on me that all those other idiots - myself included - were permanently stuck in traffic jams. My principle reason for not biking thus evaporated, and after a friend in Birmingham said how much fun he'd had on a scooter was all set to follow in his tyretracks. Mentioned this to my Dad, who said that a bike was better than a scoot because the larger wheels make them more stable. I'd already decided a decent size scoot would have required a full bike licence anyway, so thought what the heck and went all the way up to a motorbike.

This decision did worry my Mum, but this worry was averted on two counts - firstly that I said I would get all the training I could (and in fact have now passed my Advanced Riding test), and secondly because it turns out she used to ride everywhere as well and also has a full bike licence, much to my surprise. She even said she'd been riding several months into her pregnancy with me! So maybe riding reminds me of the womb, or something daft like that.

2. What was your first bike?

What happened to 1? Anyway, my first bike was a dual purpose 125 (can't remember the make;Honda or Yamaha) so I could practice riding off-road. By the time I found out that this was in fact just as illegal as riding on-road I'd done over 100 miles and was well and truly ready for my CBT*, then after getting through that I could ride the bike on the road.

For my bike test* in Nov-2000 I got a Honda CB750 which I practiced riding in car parks; passed the test on the 3rd attempt and got a full Category A licence as opposed to the silly A1 restricted you get if you only pass on a bike that outputs less than 46bhp (the 125 was 11bhp. Wow, I still remember getting on it the first few times thinking "this is way too powerful...")

(* Getting a bike licence in the UK is complicated business.)

3. How do you feel about starting so late?

It's probably just as well; I've had several accidents in the cars I've had over the years, and if those had been on a bike I'd have been in much worse shape than I am now, and as a result I'm much more tolerant of other drivers' errors. But I guess you mean "do you wish you'd started sooner", to which the answer would be "Don't know; everything considered, probably not." Riding is definitely the best fun I've had with my clothes on.

4. What bikes have you progressed to / thru?

Traded in the 125 and the 750 about a year after my test for a Fazer 600. Traded that in in March for my current bike, a BMW R1200GS. The 125 and 750 were both second hand, and the Fazer and Beemer were both new.
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