Are people who ride motorbikes crazy or stupid?! No and No. There are reasons......
People often have serious doubts about motorcyclists. They think it is far too dangerous. We bikers should all just grow up and be sensible. Here's why I ride!
I straddled my first motorcycle and found the thrill of riding a two wheeled mode of transport at some age under 10. But it was not until I had reached the mature age of 11 that I had the thrill of that first ride on my own bike. My mum and sister and brother-in-law had organised my first steed. It was a Suzuki TC 90 Blazer. This was an already a 7 year old power-packed 90cc ag bike.
Of course, I did not treat it like a sedate ag bike made for farm work. For me it was a way to be the crazy daring stunt rider, Evel Keneval, or the very cool a suave, Steve McQueen. That thing got hammered. One of its flaws was that the exhaust pipe was just under the seat. I cant count how many times I came in with a burn wound stinging like heck after another dare-devil stunt ride out in the paddock!
Riding bikes started there and have never really stopped. I have ridden ten or thousands of kilometres across Australia. Mostly alone but in ore recent years with my best mates.
When legal at 17 years old, I rode a flash Yamaha RD 250. It was a two stroke. Nothing much happened before 5000 revs but when you hit that power ban, you were off at the speed of light. Not all that easy to ride round the city. But a lot of fun. And a bit expensive in terms of speeding fines!
In my 20's and 30's I rose to higher places in riding Japanese big bore bikes. The biggest and best was a Suzuki GSX 1150. Big bike, Big power and big miles.
Sometimes over the years, I have not had a bike. Being a student again for five years, having four little children with my lovely wife and moving across state borders and across 'The Ditch' to NZ and back tended to make riding bikes a bit of challenge!
Over the last 15 years, I eventually got back into the bigger bore bikes. It was a great few years with a Yamaha 900cc diversion sports/tourer - more tourer that sport! It was a sedate bike but an extremely versatile bike. Riding through the Pilbara in WA was a highlight. The beautiful South West of this continent is up there too.
Then I made the big switch to a big bore cruiser style bike. The Triumph Thunderbird 1600cc has been a sheer delight to ride. Big power, lots of chrome, time with mates and effortless riding. That bike has taken me across SA, up to the Centre, all over Victoria, into the ACT and over the Hay Plains to Sydney and once to the famous Bathurst 1000 - all with good mates sharing the journey.
Why do I persist in riding bikes? First of all, my mates would give me curry if I ever bailed out on them! But more importantly, riding is good for me.
When you are on a bike, you are just another bloke. In my work with its public profile, it is a delight to be anonymous. Then there is the connection to the country in which you are riding. You are subject to the wind, the heat, the cold, the fall of the road, the sights and the sounds of the place in which you find yourself, more than you can be in a car.
Ted Simons is famous in motorbike circles. He was one of the first people to do epic riding. He rode around the word on a Triumph back in the 70's. He says that travelling by bike puts you more in touch with the environment through which you travel. I agree.
Charlie Boorman and Ewan McGregor are Ted's successors in the media. They would say that travelling by bike somehow opens up the local community to you in a different way than if you were just breezing through their town on a car. They know you are more vulnerable and so, more in need of support and hospitality.
You have to deal with stuff. If it is cold, if it i