Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Christmas Blog - Feels like the first time.

Seasons greetings all, welcome to the Two Wheeled Ronin Christmas Special. It's not that Christmassy and pretty much only special to me but I hope you enjoy it none the less. 

They say everyone remembers their first time. She was tall, blonde and pretty comfortable to ride. I am, of course, talking about my first time on a motorcycle. (I say blonde, it was more of a yellow colour). As regular readers will know, I’m a bit of a novice when it comes to actually riding a motorbike but like every biker, I had to start somewhere. My journey begins at the NEC in Birmingham. I was there for Motorcycle Live (Read my highlights here).

As I said in that post, I visited the guys at “Get On”, who give the opportunity for non-riders to have go at riding a motorcycle for the very first time. So I thought I’d tell you a bit more about my experience. I arrived at my agreed time slot and get kitted out with a jacket that was slightly too small, a helmet that was slightly too big and gloves, that fit…the way gloves are supposed to fit.
I joined one of the instructors there and five other non-riders. I was clearly the oldest person there, but I try not to let this bother me. The instructor asked if anyone had ridden a motorbike before. We all shook our heads.

“Has anyone ridden a push bike?” A question I was surprised by. I happily said yes. I guess the basic foundations between bicycles and motorbikes are still there after all. He then asked if there was a particular model we would like to try. I had my eye on a bike from the new company, Herald. The Herald Motor Company are a relatively new company and I really like their bikes (check their site here). They have a vintage style with all the modern elements that you need. Unfortunately, the model I wanted to ride, Classic 125, was already taken. But they very kindly brought out another model for me to try, The Maverick 125. As I said, she was pretty tall, probably too tall for me, to be honest but a beauty none the less.

First lesson, if you wear glasses (like me), take them off before you put your helmet on. Perhaps the most important lesson I will take away from today!
As for the actual lesson, I really enjoyed it. The instructor went through a few of the basics, starting the engine, controlling the clutch and using the brakes. As it was the first lesson we only used the first gear. To begin with I just rode a few feet, without lifting my feet up (as instructed). But soon enough I was actually riding. Granted, it was only about 30ft, a couple of times up and down the hall and all in first gear, but it felt amazing.

I would certainly recommend “Get On” to anyone who is curious about riding a motorcycle for the first time or even for people who have ridden before and are looking to get back into it.
So where do I go from here? I honestly don’t know. Maybe a DSA next year…maybe. But one thing I do know is that this year I rode a motorcycle for the first time and I loved it.

Thanks for reading.

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Christmas and a wonderful 2018

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Motorcycle Live 2017 (18th – 26th November)

Last Saturday (25th of November) I visited the Motorcycle Live show at the NEC in Birmingham. It was my first time visiting the show so I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised at what a great time I had.

For those of you who read my first blog post, you will both remember I mentioned I was a bit of a novice when it comes to motorcycles and that is mostly still the case. So I saw this as an opportunity for a bit of education and boy did I learn a lot.
So if you’re here for technical information and an in-depth look at the latest models, I’m afraid you’re in the wrong place. But what I can offer you is a few highlights of a wonderful event.
The first booth I visited was a company called “Get On”. Link to their website here. They are a fantastic bunch, who give non-riders (or returning riders) an opportunity to ride a motorcycle for the first time. This was exactly what I did. Yes, ladies and gents I have officially now ridden a motorbike! It was an amazing way to kick off the event and I am going to write up this experience in a separate blog post, later this month. Let’s call it my Christmas special, so keep an eye out for that.

Earlier this year I was at the NEC for “The Cycle Show”. Whilst that event wasn’t all that great, on the way back I visited the National Motorcycle Museum. And I was pleased to see they had a presence at Motorcycle Live. Obviously this was a particular highlight for me as I prefer the vintage stuff, especially this green 1950 Royal Enfield in the centre.

And speaking of Royal Enfield, I also got to sit on this amazing silver “classic”. No chance to ride this one unfortunately.

There was a rather large Isle of Man TT stand, with talks throughout the event from famous riders. But what really interested me was the new Isle of Man TT game, that is being released on consoles next year. Being an avid gamer this was pretty exciting. The graphics look incredible, and I’m sure will stand shoulder to shoulder with other big name racing games like Forza or Gran Turismo. Unfortunately, the booth was so busy I didn’t get a chance to actually play it, guess I’ll have to wait until March 2018 when it’s finally released.

One person who has really inspired me when it comes to motorcycles is Henry Cole. It started with watching “Shed and Buried” repeats on the Travel channel, then the discovery of “The Motorbike Show” and “World’s Greatest Motorcycle Rides”. These aren’t just programmes for me, they are lessons and Henry is my new favourite teacher. So when I found out he was going to be there, I was pretty much first in line to meet him. We had a quick chat and he very kindly took a picture with me and signed my programme, it was great to meet one of my heroes.

And I finished off the day with a ride on a Harley Davidson. Their “Jumpstart” rolling road is a great opportunity to non-riders to have a go on a bike from this legendary company. It was loads of fun, but apparently I was a bit throttle happy. I was told “if you did that on a real road, your front wheel would be in the air!”
I’m still not sure if it was praise or criticism.

All in all, it was a brilliant event and I am definitely going back next year!

Thanks again for reading folks.
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