Two wheeled magic
This is my page dedicated to that most personal form of transportation, the bike.
Whether powered by the rider's exertions or by some of the most technologically advanced internal combustion engines on the planet, they out-perform, out-economise and out-cool pretty much every other form of transportation yet invented by man.
I've owned around 15 motorbikes and probably a half dozen bicycles, yet only ever two cars. Of all these mechanical wonders its hard to pick a favourite – each had their own irresistible charms, as well as their near-fatal flaws. The jewel-like Honda NC30 for instance – art on wheels and a handling revelation, yet pulled the cops like flies to shit (pardon my French). The Yamaha Passola scooter – runs for weeks on the smell of an oily rag, yet regularly gets out-dragged by tortoises. The Enfield Bullet – so much character you could have a deep and meaningful conversation with it, and still extremely reliable; by which I mean you can rely on it to break down at least once a day.
Ah! Yes! the freedom of the open road, the wind in the hair (when local regulations and/or personal discretion allow), the trickle of cold water down the neck and even the taste of the bugs in the teeth. These are the things that set us bikers apart from cage drivers. There is something immediate about the passing scenery when seen from a bike; without the insulation of a thick layer of metal and glass all the colours and textures seem twice as vivid, twice as memorable.
Of course, there is the danger factor. I, like many other bikers have a roadmap of scar tissue, recording the passage from testosterone-driven youth to mortality-conscious adulthood, via any number of encounters with curbs, gravel and the odd blind, incompetent, or merely sociopathic cage driver. Whilst acknowledging the risks involved in maintaining the balance of a two-wheeled system, I have to say that I consider the car to be a far more dangerous choice of transport. Quite apart from the risk of being trapped inside in the event of a crash, even the safest car is transformed into a lethal killing machine in the hands of a drunk, inexperienced or distracted user, not merely a threat to the driver and passengers, but to all road users and pedestrians.
So my advice to all is to abandon the Audi! Trade the Toyota! Pay a visit to your local bike shop and discover one of the truest forms of freedom left to us in today's over-regulated society. Experience the performance of a Ferrari for the price of a Mini, and get that warm fuzzy feeling from the knowledge that you are no longer squandering our scarce natural resources – oils and metals and breathable air – but are consuming just enough for one.
Long live the bike, and those who ride them!