... freedom on two wheels

I didn't want to be a biker. As a spotty faced teenager I was mad on cars, just waiting for my 17th birthday, so that I could get behind the wheel. With a month to go my father bought an old BSA Bantam, sat me on it and pushed me off up the road ! Not the usual story, I know. I don't know if he realised the path that he was setting me off along. 

Eventually, with over 40 years of biking behind me I decided in 2010 that the time had come to hang up my helmet. With family and work stuff I didn't get out anything like I used to (and having become a fair weather biker the weather often intervened on the days I could) and it had been drifting away from me. 

One fine spring day that March I had to go over to Harrogate. I got the bike (BMW then) out and had a good ride there & back. When I got home I thought "I'd have enjoyed that just as much in a car" and I never rode the bike again.

It may not be all gone. I still look at bikes, I do still have a dust covered MZ 250 in the garage that Karen has never seen go, and Triumph certainly make some models I fancy. But for now fresh air motoring is via 4 wheels (I didn't totally abandon that) and this page has become a record of a long life (if not life long) passion of mine.

Over those years I've been lucky enough to get around a bit (after a relatively slow start). I've visited Ireland (many times), France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Canada and the USA (from Niagara to New Orleans via Philadephia and Iowa City - the tale of that trip is now here) on my bike.

Of course in that time I've had a few bikes, sometimes more than one. My long standing love was my Laverda - we were together for 24 years until, in a moment of (in)sanity I sold it in 2005. We had been together to all the places listed above, but it is true that all things must pass.

To the right, it is pictured along with my friend Mike's Ducati when both our bikes were going strong and we had time to ride them. 

Photo of Laverda
                        Mirage and Ducati Darmah in upper Wharfedale
In July '99 the Laverda Owners Club held a major rally to celebrate 25 years of the club and 50 years of Laverda.  It was a great event, at which I recorded quite a number of the bikes present. I have created a special area of the site for this.
Photograph of very
                        red Triumph Daytona 1200 in green countryside
                        nerar Pateley Bridge For my fortieth year I decided to go for something sensible, a nice new Triumph. After all, to be dragged kicking and screaming past that milestone on the most powerful British production bike ever must have some merits... It was a great machine, especially after it had been Dyna-jetted, increasing power all the way, up 14bhp to 128bhp the back wheel. It used to motor. I parted with it with a real tear in my eye, and still think Triumph offers the best pride of ownership available today (especially if you're a middle aged Brit !). 

Pictured up near Pateley Bridge, Nidderdale - a lovely area about 20 miles north of here. 

However. I didn't need something that fast, and BMW had produced the bike that I WANTED. The R1100GS. I believe in big trail bikes, this is the biggest and was awesomely good. The further I went, the more I did with it, the better it got. I personally do not believe that there was a more widely and completely accomplished bike on the market today. And I loved the Mad Max styling (mine was black with a black seat - what else). And yes. it too is gone now, a victim of common sense, married life and an income not high enough to be totally indulgent. 

So I came back down closer to earth and the BMW was replaced in March '96 by a Yamaha XT600E. A light, fun machine for blatting around on. 

However, summer 96 passed and a friend of Karen's seemed interested in the Yamaha. I thought I had an Aprilia Pegaso lined up, so waved the Yam goodbye... then discovered the Pegaso was not quite as close to my grasp as it had seemed. 

But all was not lost, as this opened up the opportunity of going for the one bike that that I really fancied at the time - an MZ Skorpion Sport. I had one major disappointment, travelling 250 miles to see a "*****, mint condition" one which turned out to be an absolute dog.  Hopefully that dealer will think twice before trying it on  again, as I successfully sued him to recover my costs !  If you see an advert for 'Motorcycle Trade Sales' of Aldershot, walk away !!!! 
Green MuZ MZ
                        Skorpion Sport offside view But luckily not all dealers are in the same and I rapidly found a new pride & joy down in Birmingham. 

One previous owner, very low mileage and in beautiful condition it was a fun machine for sunny days that seem all too few and far between.  You could hardly describe it as fast, but on the local Dales roads it was fine. 

As the first step on expanding the biking section of these pages, the Skorpion got its own page.  This was a "for sale" page, then I decided to keep it, but when I realised in 2001 that it had only done 100 miles in 18 months common sense had to prevail.

That was the end of one chapter but another started a couple of years later. When I visited friend Tim for his 50th he let me have a spin on his Triumph Sprint. Very enjoyable, and getting the ideas going again. Karen said "if you really want another one...". So I set off looking for my own Triumph (after all, 3 is definitely the right number of cylinders for a bike).

So what did I end up with ? Another BMW, that's what. I was looking around, considering my options, when I dropped in on my old friends at Allan Jefferies in Shipley. They had this clean, blue R1100RS. Not my beloved GS, but I gave it a go. It felt like coming home. Something weird, but right. And definitely speedier than I remember the GS being. It came home with me and stayed until that fateful day in 2010.

What it did do, however, was act as the catalyst that broke my tie to the Laverda and so perhaps led to my giving up biking. After I'd had the BMW a few years I was taking the Laverda for it's MOT are realised that I had done only a tiny mileage on it. Just about every time there'd been an opportunity to take out a bike I'd picked the BMW.

Because I believe bikes exist to be ridden I decided one of them had to go and - because the BMW was the one I was using most - I made the hard decision that it was time to part with the Mirage. It readily found a buyer who appreciated both its originality and the ways I had fettled it over the years and it headed off to a new home down south. I do hope it is still giving good service and being well treated.

But after that I still did not do many miles until the fateful day arrived that I mentioned above.  With hindsight I believe I should have sold the BMW, kept the Laverda and I think I'd still be a biker if I had done that.

But I didn't, I'm not currently a biker, and life goes on.

My additional biking pages:

Laverda Space - section of my site given over to things Laverda
it includes:
5,000 miles around the USA & Canada on my Mirage
International Laverda Owners Club 25th anniversary rally

The Skorpion page

 Some WWW biking links that you might find useful or interesting: The International Laverda Owners Club.  Mandatory.
RichTea's Laverda site - a great Laverda location !
The Laverda Factory Site
Italian Connections in the UK
BikeNet UK - UK central site, but currently under reconstruction
Motorcycle Online - a really good & wide ranging magazine
"Thumper Net" - a wonderful gallery of singles
Yorkshire's classic bike - where else could it have come from
Virtual Rally site - stories of great biking trips

Some fun stuff to do - have you seen ? It takes text and makes word clouds out of it.
So I've made a wordle of this page:

Wordle: My Biking Page -

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