I truly love motorcycles and everything about them. I bought my first bike at 14 (a Honda 50 C100, for a few quid) and I have never lived without one since, today I have five bikes (I just sold my Quad, because I never used her) and I love them all!!! For me bikes represent freedom and always have, I managed to break my left collar bone at 14 in the fields and then the same one again at 50ish but hey, what’s a broken shoulder between mates??? They mend…..
Of course riding a bike on the road can be very dangerous. None of we normal folks can ride a bike safely without some training plus loads of experience as well as luck. Caution is good but not enough, in my view training is the way to go. When I took my UK motorbike test many moons ago it consisted of riding round the block several times and the instructor then stepped out or held up his marker board and you had to do an emergency stop without falling off. Then 3 simple questions about the Highway Code and thank you, have a nice life!!
Like most of my mates I started road riding at 18 (I took my car test first, at 17) on my beloved 2 stroke Suzuki GT185 and having passed my bike test I moved up to a new Yamaha RD400 and then to a Honda 750 Four. My bike training consisted in staying on the bike and remembering that ALL of my money was in the Honda so I could not afford any offs for sure. Luckily, when I had progressed to a Honda CBR1000 and then to a Yamaha R6 I decided that the Yamaha was sooooo quick that it was time to learn something so I went to the wonderful race circuit Vallelunga (which is only 20km north of Roma) and took a full day bike course run my Moto Sprint magazine and goodness did I have fun!!!
I can honestly say that my first training course and track experience changed (and perhaps saved) my life!! Within a few weeks I had fitted a tow bar to my old car and purchased a bike trailer as I decided that the R6 was a track bike, which it was! I then swapped her for a stunning R1 and found a smaller and less expensive track near to Perugia and fell in love with the place and the track!! The circuit is called Magione and goodness WHAT a place! Umbria is next to Tuscany and is kind of the poor sister BUT in my opinion Umbria is equally beautiful and much less snob and thus less expensive. The town of Magione is situated on Lake Trasimeno and the food and wine are AMAZING (like almost all regions of Italy) and the cost of living is very reasonable too.
I soon took another bike course with a group of nutters called Run x Fun and I eventually joined them as an assistant and then an instructor!! You cannot believe what these guys can do with a motorbike, I met guys like Paolo Kastikini, Max Zeraftis and racers like Alessia and Alex Polita as well as Fabio Massei and Gian Luca Nannini. Only when you get up close and see these guys riding can you start to understand just how much they can do and how little you can do!! Which is good, as we must all know our limits in order to stay within them.
The race circuit is fantastic NOT for speed but simply cos there are no lamp posts nor buses not obstacles so if you make a mistake then you run onto the grass and the marshalls help you and don’t wanna arrest you!!! You can learn at your own pace with a minimum of danger so the atmosphere is simply great!!! The single most important phase would perhaps be “stay within your comfort zone” so NEVER follow a mate who rides faster than you and assume that you can keep up, instead always go at yer own pace!!