Sunday, 9 October 2016

So, why a motorbike?

Why a motorbike? It's a fair enough question. After all, I'm a middle aged woman who no doubt would ordinarily prefer the benefits of a comfortable car and possibly would rather sleep in a hotel room rather than roughing it by camping. But then, I'm not your average woman!

My personal history is well documented elsewhere. While I hide nothing I'm also tired about talking about it, so forgive me if I breeze over it. I'd rather talk in this posts about motorbikes.

Like a lot of my friends as we grew up we were obsessed with getting our driving licences, getting our first cars and gaining our independence, But I was also fascinated by motorbikes as well! I started riding bikes later than many of my friends - money was a huge factor - and in turn passed my car licence later as well. But I was proud of myself at the time that I paid my own way to get both motorbike licence and car licence at near enough the same time. To do this I worked way too many part-time hours behind a garage kiosk when I should have been studying for my A levels, but that alas is another story......

My first bike - Suzuki GP100. A real pig of a bike, I was conned! But I was only 17!!

My second bike, a big improvement! Suzuki GS125. I passed my test on this bike and developed my wander-lust as well! Found myself at Land's End one day when I was due home for a family meal! Happy days - I was 18

Anyway, at the age of 19 I passed my bike licence in the February 1988 (just before my Dad died, I was so pleased he saw me do that) and passed my car licence a couple of months later. I was at the tender age of 19 and that year was a year of so many changes, many I would rather not put in print after all these years!

My third, and until recently my best bike. Suzuki GSX550EF, seen here with my business partner's car a Renault 17TS (when was the last time you saw one of them on the road??)

Together at the young age of 19 (both of us) we started a courier business in Cornwall - MERCURY COURIERS. Please excuse the red noses - it was for Red Nose Day 1989 from memory!!

Mercury Couriers was a mixed time for me. For a start at times it put a friendship with Neil - that had started at the age of 11 - to the test totally; although fortunately 30 odd years later we remain close friends. It also taught me possibly I wasn't cut out for business no matter how skilled I thought I was on a bike.

Nevertheless I traveled miles while we had the business. I also took to riding to London and back to see my brother who was then living in Wimbledon. It was a great time - I was unstoppable, at least until I hit the back of a stationary car.

On the old A39 that passed through Carnon Downs there was an infamous junction. More than one accident happened there (including my step-father twice; neither were his fault either). However, this accident was my fault totally; I assumed the car in front had pulled away, I looked down the road, saw my gap and pulled away. However, that car in front had decided otherwise and I had no space to stop - I just remember pulling on the brakes (to no avail) and thinking calmly "oh no". I'd never been so calm oddly and even as I was thrown over my handlebars and onto the roof of this stationary car I was strangely calm.

As said, it was utterly my fault. I'd failed to see the road conditions properly and the accident shook me. I was lucky, not only was I able to walk away, amazingly the bike was able to be rode away, the only damage was to the front mud guard from memory. But I was shaken badly and I began to drive far more ignoring the bike. I eventually left Mercury Couriers and got into a relationship. Despite this person advising me not to sell the bike, I did and it went to a friend who was a policeman in the London Met. I lost contact with it then but about ten years ago it appeared in eBay on the midlands. I was tempted.....

But by then I was married and had children. I was in a marriage where my partner had an irrational fear of many things, including motorbikes. I tried to resume my riding but my efforts were short-lived.

First bike after getting married. Yamaha VT250

It was soon clear my partner would only be happy(ish) if I rode just to commute to work and back, pleasure riding was nagged away.

Similar to my bike when I did my nurse training. I never took to this bike and so never took a photo of my own Suzuki GS500.

Often called mid first mid-life crisis, I bought this bike when I turned 40. A Chinese bike - A Kymco I think 250 - another pig of a bike. Sure it had the looks and was fairly new, but the petrol tank needed replacing, the chrome was cheap and rusted quickly and the thing broke down so often!

At the age of 43 my marriage collapsed thank goodness and of course life changed totally. I had to rent for the first time in two decades and had to find a place for my children who were then at college still. We found a lovely pace close to a river, I down-sized my previously huge car for a little hatchback and thoughts of bike ownership were forgotten. Until this year anyway.

I have a really good friend - Steve - also a school friend and my only close friend as mad about bikes as I am. Despite his love of bikes he'd finally got around to passing his bike test in 2016 and he began badgering me to buy a bike once again. To be honest, I couldn't afford one but after my car broke down and was off the road for a week I realised how isolated I was where I live. It was apparent I needed another form of transport.

 After a quick search of local dealers and waiting for a loan application I finally settled for my latest bike, I say settled, I fell for it! The bike was parked at the back of a crowded show room yet even Steve agreed that bike was the only one that was the one to buy. Odd how you gell with a machine instantly isn't it?

Kawasaki ER-6F. 650cc. My latest! 

I've been held back by recent surgery sadly, as such my mileage on this bike still remains low. But I've began to regain my confidence and my love of riding for sheer pleasure! Finally freedom I'd missed since I was 19!

So, to answer the opening question - why use a bike - why not? I've always wanted to do an end-to-end adventure from Land's End to John O'Groats by any means, a bike seems the ultimate in freedom!!

Life after all, is for living.........

At Perranporth

Riding through the woods at Gweek

Pasty time at the Lizard

All text and images that appear on this Blog (and other blogs / websites associated with Claire Stocker) are owned under copyright by Claire Stocker 2016

No comments:

Post a Comment