@montagueandleon - Rider Stories
What Do You Currently Ride?
I’m currently whizzing around on a BMW R1250GS. It spends most of its life covered in mud, jumping in puddles and eating dirt, essentially this bike is the mechanical version of 6-year-old me. On the flipside, the bike does all my grown-up things too, like take me to work, the weekly shop and the odd holiday here and there. I’ve had around 20 or so bikes in the last 13 years of riding and I’m always smitten with the GS. It's like a hug from a loved one every time you switch the ignition.
Why Did You Start Riding?
It was cheap, I was 18, had a crummy part-time job and taking the bus to work took 2 hours and cost almost as much as a deposit on a small house each journey. Getting a bike was a necessity for me, with no glitz or glamour, no childhood memories on the back of a bike. Just cheap. My little Yamaha RXS100 cost me £450, tax was £15, £110 to insure and £9 to fill the tank. The bike was 3 years older than me, with a two-stroke, drum brakes front and a light as bright as a Victorian lamp.
Why Do You Enjoy Riding?
That is a million-dollar question... Riding is just a part of me, I’ve done it nearly every day for the last 13 years. I just adore it. I live for riding to the extent that I left my hotel career back in 2017 to work in the motorcycle industry. I’ve never regretted it, even with the low wages. My bikes have taken me to several countries, kept a long-distance relationship alive, looked after my mental health and helped me make some wonderful friends.
What's Your Go-To Outfit?
It depends... I have an outfit for almost every occasion. I spend a lot of time in the saddle. I average around 15000 miles a year on the bike and I wear gear almost to destruction. I have my Klim Kodiak suit for long-distance and touring, I use a Knox Urban pro and Revit Element trousers for off-roading, my daily jackets are my Ashley Watson Eversholt and my Goldtop Scruftuf. I live in bike jeans... I’ve worn through about 4 pairs and I'm currently working my way through a pair of Resurgence Warrior’s. I’ve got 4 pairs of boots which I rotate often from ankle boots to offroad monsters.
Gear will always be about safety for me, I’ve always bought the best gear I can afford. The market has grown so much these days that your options and budgets can be catered for. I owe my life to my gear and will always value and respect it. Cars can hurt.
What Clothing or Equipment Could You Not Live Without?
I’m going to be a cliché, but my helmet. When you spend as long as I do in a helmet you want something that is comfortable, safe, reliable. My do-everything lid is my Arai Tour X4, it’s a beautiful handmade helmet. It's quiet, balanced, comfortable and interchangeable from adventure riding to trail riding to naked bike riding. It's not garish, it's safe as and tough as nails and paired with a decent comms unit I can sit 12+ hours in the saddle without any issues or fatigue. Only negative is the Pinlock shape isn't the best and can fail in colder climates.
What's Your Best Advice to New Riders?
Practice practice practice - learning is key to being safe on a bike. Your back brake is your best friend in slow manoeuvres. Be dominant - dominance keeps you safe and protects you from road bullies. Your safety is paramount but also have fun, ride everywhere, ride with friends, ride by yourself, explore places you’ve never been. Bikes are great.
Buy what you can afford, the motorcycle world has some many wonderful offerings in bikes and what riders can wear these days. Be prepared to break it and don’t be afraid to learn to fix it. I’m a firm believer of buying an affordable bike when you first start riding. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn your machine and if you do have a spill, it’s a darn site cheaper to repair. I spent hours when I first started riding learning how to change chain and sprockets, levers, lights etc. Don’t scrimp on the chain adjustments and lube.