Visiting Places I'd Never Thought I'd Go - Rider Stories
Matt Sheppard Photography (@matt.captures)
What Do You Currently Ride?
I have the pleasure and privilege of owning a 2019 Triumph Street Scrambler. She's super torquey, has that beautiful air cooled-esque waffles sound, and turns heads everywhere she goes. She's nimble, comfortable (not a single numb bum at any point during the NC500!) and, most of all, so much fun to ride along meandering lanes, up adrenaline-inducing switchbacks, and along dusty dirt tracks. She's a keeper!
Why Did You Start Riding?
I was my Dad's pillion on his '79 Suzuki GS850 (which he still owns) as soon as my feet could reach the pegs. I remember him taking me to school or swimming and just having this overwhelming sense of thrill pour over me as the throttle opened up. We grew up surrounded by bikers - uncles, godfathers, family friends - and had little dirt bikes we'd whizz around fields on at our local summer club. It was only a matter of time before I did my full licence.
Why Do You Enjoy Riding?
Nothing connects you to the elements like riding. Riding is the remedy to the chaos of our modern lives. I'm forced to think about nothing else but what my hands, feet, and body are doing when I'm on the bike. It's like a sensory, out-of-body experience and everything always seems better after a ride, no matter what's happened that day. It's also opened up a whole new world of opportunities, from meeting amazing people and meeting life-long friends to visiting places I'd never thought I'd go. I have a lot to thank riding for!
What's Your Go-To Outfit?
Naturally, it depends upon the weather! At the moment, my bike is my daily transport, so it's a case of preparing for all seasons! For commuting purposes, I usually wear my HJC F70 lid, Spada Rushwick waterproof jacket, Triumph lightweight gloves, Oxford kevlar leggings (ridiculously comfortable!), and Oxford Magdalene boots. On high days and holidays, I'll opt for my Biltwell Gringo helmet with an outrageous mirrored bubble visor, my Tucano quilted leather gloves, my gorgeous Black Arrow Nighthawk leather jacket (which I also wear out out!), and swap the leggings for the super-cool (and safe!) Bull-it Fury V jeans.
What Clothing or Equipment Could You Not Live Without?
I feel the cold really quickly, so my Keis heated gilet is an absolute lifesaver and really easy to use. It gives that instant toast factor on chilly mornings and long rides. I'm also a huge fan of my Oxford Magdalene boots - they're impressively water and windproof, whilst being comfortable enough to stroll around a city or hike up a to a scenic spot on days out.
What's Your Best Advice to New Riders?
Clue yourself up on your Highway Code and do some advanced riding training as soon as you can. I was fortunate my DAS instructor was an ex-police rider and IAM National Observer. He introduced me to Motorcycle Roadcraft and I learned heaps from it. It also made me realise how much there is still to learn and how quickly terrible, even unsafe, habits can bed in. Sadly, those of us on two wheels have to assume everyone is out to get us, so the more we can arm ourselves with knowledge around safe riding, the better!