There have been times in my life when I have been without a motorcycle, sometimes by design and others as a result of circumstance. Whatever the cause, during these times I've never been able to stop thinking about bikes. I didn't have a childhood exposure to bikes, a non-existent father and a mother's natural desire to safeguard her only son meant motorcycles were never mentioned in our house.
At 17 armed with a newly acquired provisional licence and a pressing need to get to my first job I became the proud owner of a 5th hand Honda MT-5, bought off the son of my new boss. Looking back now I really didn't have a clue, I remember flipping the bike onto it's seat because I didn't have any idea about the clutch, pretty impressive for a 50cc!
However that little Honda taught me how to keep a bike upright in thick snow and the importance of trying to maintain some body heat in driving rain. One could easily imagine those experiences putting me off two wheels for life but they somehow served as the catalyst to a life- long obsession with bikes and biking.
Over the following years a succession of different motorcycles entered my life, Yamaha RD 125LC, 350YPVS, 500LC, Kawasaki 750 turbo and Ducati 916. This list is both long and equally without logic, and trust me it does not end with the Ducati!. These bikes weren't just transport but they provided me with some of the richest and most fulfilling life experiences imaginable - riding the high passes in the Peak District, enjoying the sweeping curves of the B500 in the Black forest, rolling onto a Brazilian beach at sunrise and taking a moments reflection in a Belgian WW1 cemetery.
In addition the friendships that have enriched my life through biking are immeasurable. Jonathan the founder of The Revive Club is one of those friends and someone I may never have encountered were it not for our shared passion for motorcycles. That's us in the photo below on an epic trip to Umbria which involved wild camping, campfires and pipe smoking! Recently we were chatting together about what it is that continues this passion and the fact that no matter what interruptions come along we have to have a motorcycle in our lives.
Ted Simon described riding motorcycles as giving you an intimate connection with the very tastes, smells and cultures you are riding through, Valentino Rossi suggested it was the sensation of executing perfectly a series of sweeping curves. It may simply be no more than motorcycling being one of the last vestiges of freedom in this over protective world. Personally my passion never diminishes because I simply never lose the wonder that by a miniscule twist of the wrist I can propel myself over vast distances at sometimes incredible velocity.
So after 37 years of biking I am about to embark on my latest motorcycling odyssey. I have ordered a Royal Enfield Himalayan, a motorcycle which probably produces about the same horse power as that first Honda but the excitement I feel at the prospect of riding is uncontrollable. Maybe you are scoffing at my choice, one or two of you maybe nodding sagely but in truth my choice of motorcycle is irrelevant!. I sense we may be entering the last years of the internal combustion engine and the raw pleasures they bestow, whether the future bears this out we will see.
If you are reading this article as a biker then enjoy every second of this wonderful pastime, if you are reading simply as a follower of the Revive Club I urge you to give motorcycling a go. You never know it could provide you with real life experiences and life long friendships.
Take care though, it may also give you an itch that you may never stop scratching!