Current Bike(s): Fireblade, VFR750 & R1150GS
Fantasy Bike: Vincent Rapide (a Britten V1000 would also be great for track days).
Preferred road/area to ride in the UK and Overseas: Any quiet country road with a National limit and plenty of bends. I am trying to make the most of the Essex based ones before they all become urbanised. Isle of Man (does that count?).
Age when you first rode a bike and what bike was it: 16 years old. Honda C90 (off road)
When and why did you develop an interest in riding a bike: Migrating from a push bike to a motorcycle seemed like a logical progression from an early age - faster, able to travel further what was there not to like? These thoughts were reinforced by my paternal grandparents living adjacent to Monty's Motorcycles in Edenbridge, Kent. There were always a mouth watering selection of 'proper' British bikes in the showroom window and invariably whenever I walked past the open workshop door there was at least one Triumph/Norton/BSA being kick-started or revved-up. A bike offers a sense of freedom, fun and involvement that many car drivers would struggle to comprehend.
Aside family members, who would you like as a riding companion: Not an easy decision but Guy Martin would be near the top of my list, not least for the way in which his infectious enthusiasm can generate interest in a subject that you didn't previously know you cared about. No doubt he would lose me pretty quickly on the road but hopefully I could keep up when it came to drinking tea.
Reasons behind becoming an EAMG Observer: Having had 30 years riding experience before joining the Group I was really surprised at how enjoyable the training provided by EAMG's Observers was and how much I had to learn! I like a challenge and decided from a very early stage that I would like to try and develop the skills needed to become an Observer. I was very fortunate to have Clive Tooby as my 1-to-1 Observer for my tests and then Senior Observer during my observer training. Benefits of becoming an Observer include: being able to assist other Group members during their training; the chance to participate in peer-to-peer rides with other observers; and always having an excuse to get out for a ride (e.g. to check out a new route or work on improving a particular aspect of your own riding, etc.).
Scariest or most embarrassing moment on your bike: Not long after buying my new 1978 Triumph Bonneville I was riding back home from Southend on the A127 when the bike ground to a halt with an electrical fault (another burnt out bullet connector!). I was just contemplating my next move when another bonnie rider pulled into the lay-by to offer assistance. He volunteered to go home and get a towrope. True to his word about 30 minutes later the rider returned and tied one end of the rope to his rack. We wrapped the other end round my forks and under my left hand - the idea being that if I had a problem I would just let go. As we pulled away this seemed like a great solution but within 100 yards I changed my mind as we reached the 70 limit. Suddenly the rope seemed incredibly short. Amazingly I made it home in one piece without incident, despite the complications I had in providing directions (with no working indicators and the need to keep hold of the rope).
I resolved that bike-to-bike towing should be a one-off experience, but then experienced my second most scary moment when being recovered back from the 1979 TT after another breakdown - but that is another story!