Author Topic: story  (Read 536 times)

Offline bollard

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story
« on: April 13, 2017, 12:09:44 PM »
i wrote an item intended for the vintage motorbike club magazine in due course about born again bikers, i'd be grateful for any constructive comments on this draft please if you have the time/inclination, it's 750 words which is just over a side of A4

Back Again Biker

Things aren't the same these days and times have changed. The trouble is that it takes a while for this to sink in. People who return to biking frequently retain images of the fun motorcycling was in their past life. Often it's been quite a while but if remembering good days, and the motorbikes that one owned then, makes people nostalgic, then why not buy another machine?

I'm near a Triumph dealer, on one visit I watched a beaming older guy take delivery of a new Thruxton, which, at 95 bhp it is more powerful than our family car. After the new owner roared off I asked the salesman whether they advised customers to re-train given the potency of today's bikes. He shrugged politely and said, 'well, we offer the training if they want it'.

No wonder the police have become concerned, as part of a relatively recent safety campaign, they point out that at  the age of 55 reaction times are almost one third slower than that of a 25 year old. The police call them born again middle-aged bikers. One policemen commented that  "The problem is that people come back to bikes after driving cars and they `drive' their bikes rather than ride them”.

Some returners, like me, go for earlier models that are less hairy to ride, it's great to find those familiar bikes are still out there and obtainable too albeit sometimes at a price. Although considerably out of date and 'middle of the road', I found even well superseded bikes are really quite fast. In fact, I was astounded at how well they went, much more zing than the bikes I had owned. In those days you had to work at getting them to charge along.
 
Another route back into the fold is finding or being offered a project. That's what influenced me, on a work site visit I came across a neglected Kawasaki 750 and spoke to the owner about it. Although nothing subsequently happened it fired me up to find something suitable. I tried a Royal Enfield  but it sounded like a can of nails. Then I had a go on one of their cafe racers, however, the tendency for it to backfire on the overrun wouldn't be acceptable back home.

Finally, I heard about a reasonably priced 1990 Japanese bike and that was that. I have gone on to own similar models since. Modern tyres have more grip and it's great to have help via a mobile 'phone but I still haven't adopted 'sat nav' technology as I don't mind getting pleasantly lost. Taking care to avoid the most heavily used highways and having waited for reasonable weather conditions I'm ready for a ride. Happy days are here again!

Off to a good start then. Maybe visit a few old haunts to see what they are like today and a couple of mates that I knocked around with all those years ago. It's not quite the same though, there is that familiar thrill of being out on a bike, leaning into bends and powering out but this is a fresh old/new experience, nice but different. I'm older now, not quite so pliable for one thing, I am also less trusting of other road users which is good.

Our strongest memories are laid down between the ages of 15 to 25. This explains why we return to them later. It's to do with experiencing stuff for the first time and the vibrancy of youth when later life, by comparison, can seem drab. Motorbikes are a tonic but there's no need to go mad. I stay clear of bigger and faster bikes (tempting as they are) as I prefer lighter machines and twisty roads, while it is handy to have that extra ooph for overtaking, I'd rather stay within my limits.   

I not sure that things were actually that wonderful in the past, biking is pretty much what it always was, a rush that puts a huge smile on your face, I haven't enjoyed myself so much for ages. What's more, there is less hassle. It's easy getting around, going back to those carefree outings of years ago. I like some TV, the garden and holidays but bike outings are nice too. I'm currently paying for the lessons that a new rider has and I'm taken aback at how different things are now, I'm ditching my bad habits for today's way of doing things and I feel much safer for it.

Offline mini-me

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Re: story
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2017, 02:13:22 PM »
Reads more like  a lecture or homily than a story, to me anyway.

I am still riding[but less often] the same bike I rode at 18, 52 years ago, or my old mans bike, a Piaggo scooter; speed does not enter into it any more, I just try to be as aware as possible of the increased number of plonkers about.

I suppose I get your point though; too many unskilled middle aged returners on bikes a lot different to the jap 125 they started out on.

Offline bollard

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Re: story
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2017, 07:14:16 PM »
Thanks for reply mini, can you give me a clue how to change it to make it more read friendly in your view please?

I'm nearly 67 and recently started bike training for the test they do today, I passed my motorbike test 50 years ago nearly. I have only had two 1 to 1 sessions but feel safer for it.

Offline mini-me

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Re: story
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2017, 08:42:16 PM »
I dunno mate, send it to the magazine and see what they say.

I have a very jaundiced view of born agains. Great to see folk back on two wheels, not great to see some of those folk back.

Some of the blokes buying these bikes have been successfull in many areas of life and are not used to being told what to do or take advice.

Little you can do in my view. Such things are one reason I quit all bike clubs.
Let them learn the hard way.

Offline bollard

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Re: story
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2017, 11:09:23 PM »
Thanks  :)

Offline iansoady

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Re: story
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2017, 10:17:19 AM »
I thought it was an interesting read and I'm sure the VMCC will print it.

But the style isn't really what some of the other mags like as it's not full of yoofish expressions........

BTW I do agree about learning "new tricks". Unlike you, I've been riding without a break (I'm a similar age to you) but when I bought a modern bike a few years ago I was astonished how much I had to learn. Things like slipping the clutch and dragging the back brake for slow speed manoeuvring - try that on most of my old Brits and the clutch wouldn't last 100 miles.
Ian
1952 Norton ES2
1962 Ariel Arrow
1982 Moto Guzzi V50

Offline bollard

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Re: story
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2017, 11:38:38 AM »
Thanks Ian

I was knocked off my 1990 600 last year, the insurance people let me have a newish bike while it was being sorted. Same size but much faster, before I knew it I was rocketing along, too much for me. If I had a new version of mine I would lose my licence for sure haha.

Offline Rex

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Re: story
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2017, 12:56:24 PM »
- try that on most of my old Brits and the clutch wouldn't last 100 miles.

Yebbut "old Brits" clutches weren't designed to be used like that, and I must admit having commuted every day for decades on everything from a D10 Bantam to a GPz I never felt the urge to do it, either.
My Chief has a pedal which "stays where it's put" for slow-speed riding including clutch slipping, but then that's a massive assembly designed for just this use.
I think that's where the Yanks got their funny ideas about "old Brit" clutches from.
 

Offline iansoady

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Re: story
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2017, 02:37:17 PM »
- try that on most of my old Brits and the clutch wouldn't last 100 miles.

Yebbut "old Brits" clutches weren't designed to be used like that,

I agree, and the Sunbeam's corks would be smoking......

However, when I was introduced to that technique and practised a bit I was amazed how controllable my then 955i Hinckley Tiger was. This was after dropping it twice at walking pace in my first couple of weeks through not understanding it.
Ian
1952 Norton ES2
1962 Ariel Arrow
1982 Moto Guzzi V50

Offline mini-me

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Re: story
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2017, 04:19:39 PM »
Its all right for some, Thanks to my athritic knees and stiff hip I can't even get a leg over a modern bike.

Thankfully my rigid frame bike allows me to do that still.  Getting on and off my old farts Piaggio is like a tart in a short skirt, when I first had it I tried to get off it like a proper bike and ended up flat on my back :-[

Oh well, it amused someone.

Offline iansoady

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Re: story
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2017, 10:32:00 AM »
Its all right for some, Thanks to my athritic knees and stiff hip I can't even get a leg over a modern bike.


Hence the 400 Honda Super Four I'm now using as my modern machine. Although it's so low I've had to raise the seat height a couple of inches to allow my knees to flex.
Ian
1952 Norton ES2
1962 Ariel Arrow
1982 Moto Guzzi V50

Offline bollard

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Re: story
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2017, 11:11:27 AM »
even though i did two hundred miles y/day i am beginning to get a slight hip ache so i'm going to raise the seat too, it would look strange if i did it mechanically so l'm getting it re padded but taller.

Offline mini-me

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Re: story
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2017, 02:04:02 PM »
Thats the joy of rigid frame bikes so easy to modify such things, saddle position can be altered, footrests moved, handle bars moved. I have an inch of memory foam under the cover of my Lycett saddle.
Funnily enough my knees and hip feel better after a run possibly because years ago I was taught to ride a rigid frame bike  by raising my backside and letting the bike pivot around the footrests instead of sitting on it like a bag of spuds feeling every bump.

Offline Rex

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Re: story
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2017, 02:14:11 PM »
That's the only way to ride 'em over bumps. ;)
I get hip-ache too on a couple of my bikes, and the Scott makes my coccyx hurt for days afterwards.
The latest recruit (an RE WD/CO in real oily rag condition) has an old and scruffy Lycett fitted; might even be comfortable it's so worn!

Offline iansoady

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Re: story
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2017, 04:45:16 PM »
even though i did two hundred miles y/day i am beginning to get a slight hip ache so i'm going to raise the seat too, it would look strange if i did it mechanically so l'm getting it re padded but taller.

I repadded my own with what's known as rebond - foam made out of little chips glued together. That, careful use of an electric carving knife and some headliner material and stretch vinyl from a local supplier has made a presentable job.

Ian
1952 Norton ES2
1962 Ariel Arrow
1982 Moto Guzzi V50