I started riding when I turned 16 (1978), a brand new DT50 followed 6 months later by a brand new Honda CB250N Superdream, it didn’t take me long to add fairing, top box and panniers and I was heading off exploring the UK with my girlfriend, 2 years and 34,000 miles later it gave up the ghost and I realised I needed something that would carry me and a passenger to pastures new in comfort. So in 1982 the Superdream went to auction and with the proceeds together with my life savings, I purchased a gleaming CB750FB.
7 days later, yes 7, I was heading off to the Bol D’or at the Paul Ricard Circuit, not much spending money and no breakdown or travel insurance. What was I thinking. Little did I realise that the experience of that ‘holiday’ was to prove the catalyst to future adventures.
Work, House, Family and other finance commitments saw me back on an old CB250N, which brought the memories flooding back.
In 1994, my newly arrived next door neighbour had a rusty Yamaha XJ600 for sale, I wasn’t on it long as I was knocked off by a young lady who ‘didn’t see me’. The bike wasn’t a right-off and it went off for repair, I got the call to say it was ready but they also had a customer in the shop who wanted to buy it …. SOLD, I screamed over the phone.
The next day I went bike shopping and fell in love with a 1996 Yamaha Thundercat, the first ride out was so exciting that it took me a couple of days to stop shaking, this bike was awesome!
Another ‘incident’ meant I was looking for another bike, it was quickly replaced with a newer Thundercat, the years rolled by and the bikes were replaced, a Yamaha R6 was followed by an ’03 R1 and then an ’05 R1.
The R1 was a superb motorcycle, touring was hard work but I was very happy to continue with it, however, in 2007 all this changed, I was visiting my local motorcycle dealers and stood in the centre of the showroom was a new model FJR1300.
Aged 45 and not getting any younger, it didn’t take me long to come to my senses and agree a deal, so 7 days later I was the proud owner of my first FJR. In the 7 years I have had her, she has never once let me down, even when riding hard over the Pyrenees or even on the odd track day.
She’s a bit overweight, the bike I mean, but on the open road with full luggage and a passenger on the back it all makes perfect sense. I have learnt to handle and respect the weight especially at low speed, I hardly think about it now.
A visit to the Birmingham Bike Show in 2013 and then again in 2014, convinced me that my next bike was going to be the new model FJR, so, by juggling my finances, I managed to scrape enough together to p/x my 2007 FJR for a 2013 Model.
It is sat in the garage right now, unfortunately the weather here at the moment is awful and I just haven’t got the heart to take her out in this until the gritters have stopped putting salt on the roads.
A trip to Germany in April is already booked with some good friends and so is a 2 week trip to the South of France to take in the Bol D’Or at the Paul Ricard Circuit in September, so you see folks at the age of 52 I will have come full circle, even though it has taken me 33 years.
Hopefully there are many more to come.