My Creative Outlet - nineT.Dave - Rider Stories
What do you currently ride?
That’s a fluid question for me as, at last count, I’d owned 14 bikes in the last 12 years but as it stands I am the proud owner of two BMWs; a 2018 R1200 GS Rallye and a 2018 R nineT.
The R nineT has been my pride and joy and custom project for the last 3 years and has been a much needed creative outlet. The nineT is an incredible platform to use as a base for customisation and with companies like Pier City Customs in West Sussex stocking a large number of accessory parts you can quickly make the bike your own. It’s a modern retro bike with a whopping 1200cc boxer twin engine at its heart providing a huge amount of character.
The R1200GS is quite simply the best bike I’ve ever owned. I’d been fairly resistant to joining the “GS Crew” as I always saw a lot of pristine examples sitting outside many a biker café not being used for their designed purpose, then I rode one! It’s a do it all bike that can be at home on the tightest of twisting roads or loaded up and blasting you around the highways of Europe. I’ve just returned from 3200 miles of riding around France and Spain on it and it never missed a beat, from the twisty roads of the Route Napoleon in southern France to the high mountain passes of the Pyrenees I was very glad to be on the GS for every mile of it.
Why did you start riding?
Growing up, bikes never really interested me and I was way more into cars and aircraft. My first job in my early 20’s came with a move up to Newcastle and while I was there living away from friends and family I fancied a new challenge out of boredom really. I knew there were some amazing roads around Newcastle and a couple of my work colleagues rode and suggested I do my licence. So I started some enquiries at local riding schools and before I knew it I’d enrolled on a direct access course and a month later it was all done and I’d bought my first bike, a 2000 Honda CBR 600F. That was in 2008, I was 24 and my biking life had begun and I’ve never looked back, it’s genuinely one of the best things I’ve ever done and it’s one of the main things that identifies me.
Why do you enjoy riding?
Riding has filtered into most parts of my life and has become my main passion. It allows me a creative outlet when customising and an adrenaline fix when needed too. There is also something about exploring new places on a motorbike and there is an element of respect earned as a tourist on a motorbike as you’ve had to battle the elements on two wheels to get yourself there.
I’m a Long Haul Airline Pilot and my favourite thing to do is to rent a bike on a stopover and explore the area on two wheels. Some of the best riding I’ve done has been on a rented bike in Arizona and Nevada and I’ve been fortunate to be able to ride in the US, Canada, South Africa and the UAE this way.
In COVID times I’ve also found it a vital way to get out and clear my head and I honestly think it has done a lot for my mental health in the horrible times that we have all lived through recently. There is a huge biking community on social media and I have made so many new friends through my shared love of biking and my Instagram account. In the last twelve months alone I’ve been to countless bike nights, rides and even tours with friends I have met through Instagram.
What’s your go-to outfit?
I recently heard Henry Cole say he’d perfected his riding kit over the last forty years and I can totally understand why. I’m on a constant quest for the perfect gear and the right look for what I’m riding and the conditions I am riding in. Having been in a serious accident in 2017 when a car pulled out in front of me, I know first hand how much the right gear can save your life and that is always at the top of my priorities. A lot of manufacturers will supply their gear with level 1 armour and the first thing I do is upgrade that to Level 2 SAS-TEC armour and add a back protector. It’s relatively inexpensive to do but gives you peace of mind that you’re as protected as you can be if the worst were to happen. I would also say that a good set of waterproofs to go over your normal kit is just as good as spending thousands on touring textiles and is usually way more versatile.
My current kit is as follows:
Bell Bullitt Carbon Roland Sand Design
Bell Moto 3 with 100% Deus Barstow Goggles
Shoei GT Air 2
Oxford Products Heritage 1.0
Bull-it Tactical Titan
Spidi Pathfinder Cargo
TCX Street Ace
What Clothing or Equipment Could You Not Live Without?
I’m a huge fan of the Quad Lock phone mounts and have one on each bike I own. It allows easy and secure storage of your phone whilst riding and means absolutely any bike can have a full-screen Sat Nav! Just remember to add the vibration dampener to each mount as otherwise, the vibrations caused by riding can cause fatal damage to the autofocus on the camera.
I’ve only recently started using a Comms system whilst riding and it has completely transformed my riding experience. Having the ability to chat to other riders in a group or to listen to music on a solo ride is brilliant, my unit is the Cardo Packtalk Bold.
Having been stabbed by my house keys during my accident I now don’t have any items on my person while I ride and therefore always fit a small bag to store my bits and bobs on each bike I own. On the R nineT is an SW Motech Legend Gear tank strap and accessory bag and on the GS it’s a Givi mini tailback that sits under the luggage rack.
What’s your best advice to new riders?
Factor in the cost of buying decent protective gear when looking to make your first bike purchase. I would personally look for bikes £1000 cheaper and use that money to buy myself a really great set of riding gear that can last for many years and look after you if the absolute worst were to happen.
Find an approved rider training centre that suits you and has good reviews from local riders. I chose Newcastle Rider Training (NRT) having been recommended by a work colleague and I had a fantastic experience. The best possible training will set you up to fly through your practical skills test and will stay with you throughout your riding career.
I’ll leave you with some iconic words my instructor left me with having just passed my test:
“…in the near future you’re likely going to scare yourself, just remember, the tyres are better than you will ever be!”