I was asked/blackmailed/threats made to my family to write a “Guide to Biking” for the esteemed periodical that is the “Adrian Flux Newsletter”. No problem I thought, get on Google and do some serious cutting and pasting. Piece of piss! Hmmm, no such luck. I’ve been trawling the net for something suitable for far too long (makes a nice change from porn though) and drawn a blank, so I am actually going to have to try and come up with something. Damn! Still reading? Hopefully not, then I can get away with putting any old rubbish in here, a few pictures of bikes and Bobs yer uncle, down the pub for me… to sit on my own and cry into a pint of piss-weak beer.
Biking is very far from being just a form of transport. It’s about many things, attitude, freedom, style, thrill seeking, therapy, escape, being individual and also being part of something and on top of all that, trying not to fall off whilst doing it. Ouch! It could be one or all of these to or something altogether different. It’s up to you. Before deciding on what bike to get, you need to think about what you want to get out of it. Bikes are very specialised and the many different styles will give you a very, very different experience and will all say something very different about you.
So, are you an adrenalin junkie? Are you a creature of comfort? Do you want to explore on and off road? Do you like to do it on you own or with your chosen partner? Want to get your knee down? Have you just started out and want to dip your toe in the biking water? Do you want to tour in style? Am I talking to myself? Will I, Rob Balls, finally come out of the closet and put an end to years of scurrilous rumours that I might be a bit straight?
Where oh where to start? There is such a huge choice on offer these days, from bikes you can buy on E-bay for a few hundred quid to £50,000 custom cruisers, from 50cc Scooters to an absolutely whopping 2.3 litres engine capacity! That bad boy is called the “Rocket 3” by the way.
Can you imagine Paul Twite getting his kicks riding a “Fat Boy”? – Yes
Can you see Steven Yardley with a “Monster” between his legs? – Maybe
Asking a young lady if: “You want to ride my “Intruder”?”, could land you in hot water, especially if you have failed to gain her written consent first. – Definitely.
They’ve not all got names like that but you can tell that the people who think up some of these names are men with issues in the “trouser” or “science fiction” department. Either that or it’s a woman having the last laugh at us boys expense and our inability to grow up. Hmmm. You cunning ladies!
Having started this I’ve realised that it needs a bleedin’ “Glossary of Terms” so the completely uninitiated don’t get too lost.
Bike – Please visit the service floor.
Helmet – What I’ll need to be wearing at work to avoid serious head injury from the lovely people on the service floor.
Fairing – The fibreglass around sportsbikes to aid aerodynamics, enabling it to slip through time and space and protect the rider from wind buffeting.
Naked Bikes – See service floor Christmas party photos or they could actually be bikes that have no fairing.
Retro – See Elliot Drew’s wardrobe and record collection
Panniers – Luggage space usually on either side and at the back of the bike or is that an Italian sandwich?
I know you’ll be disappointed but I can’t cover the whole range of styles of bike as we’d need a whole newsletter devoted to it, so you’ll get the most popular ones. I’ll not cover scooters because everyone knows what they are and I’ll concentrate on the road bikes forgetting the Trials and Motocross machines. SuperMoto machines can also take a hike for now.
These beasties are for the speed merchants and thrill seekers out there. Sometimes known as “rice burners” and often ridden by people with matching one piece leathers (kinky types) and dark visors (Nighthawk Style). These are serious bits of kit and a few grand will get you a nice bike that will out-accelerate most cars on the road that will cost ten times as much. Most of the features on these bikes come directly from race track development. They’re lightweight, incredibly nimble and are not built for comfort; you’ll need to have a stop off to have a stretch after a while. You’ll even see riders stretching their arms and legs as they go along. Huge fun and an absolutely incredible buzz! If that’s your bag it may take some time to remove the grin off your face after a good blast! Holding on to your licence rather than the bike could prove the biggest challenge as you’ll be doing a “ton up” before you know it. That’s a “ton up” not “two’s up” Jason.
Naked Bikes / Muscle Bikes/ Streetfighters
These have grown in popularity in recent times. Many riders of Sportsbikes have started going over to naked bikes. They have a much more aggressive and “retro” look to them and have no fairing. A man’s-man’s bike. They often have just as much performance and agility as Sportsbikes but, without a fairing travelling over 80 mph can be hard work. The force of the wind (parp!) can be immense so you are much more aware of how fast you are travelling and it is hard work to maintain high speeds for long. As a result they force you to cool it a bit and hopefully keep you’ll your licence for a bit longer. Streetfighters are usually sportsbikes that the rider has modified themselves, removing the fairing, changing the lights and bars and giving it a custom paint job to end up with a really individual and “mean” look. Huuurgh! – imagine a “Mr T” voice.
These bikes are as far away from sportsbikes as Craig Darwin is away from the bar when it’s his round. These bikes are all about getting from A to B in style and comfort. They literally have a very “laid back” riding style. They’re not even about getting from A
to B; they’re about “just going maaan”. It’s about the open road, taking it all in and, well, “cruising”. You hearin’ me sucker? Ridden by cowboys and people with a fondness for beards (that’s just the women) and leather waistcoats. Cruisers are not about “hi tech” and most owners will customise their bike to make an individual statement. It’s often about the lifestyle with these people. The riders of these bikes are usually a very different breed to the sportsbikes owners. Each group often thinks that the others “just don’t get it”. “Custom Built Cruisers” are not about comfort but about a certain image and style. They’re not practical but look amazing, well if you like that sort of thing.
If you want to travel long distances in comfort, then this is the option for you. At the extreme end they can be known as “armchairs on wheels”, with many creature comforts such as heating, a full fairing and a stereo. They often come with panniers for plenty of storage on that long tour. You’ll often see slightly older husband and wife teams on these machines with matching jackets and helmets. How sweet. Superb if you want to go on a trek into Europe and beyond enjoying the sights and the superb roads without feeling like you’ve been given a good going over by a couple of unsavoury types with a taste for torture. Sports Tourers will give you a bike that combines the ability for long distance touring and can still give you that feeling in the pit of your stomach that you only get from some serious hard riding. That’s a good feeling by the way, not like having the shits. If you watched any of Ewan McGregor going round the world on a bike then you’ll also know that you can get Tourers that can also do a good job off road as well as on it.
As well as those mentioned above, you’ve got your bread and butter commuter bikes which is what sensible people will normally start their the riding life on. These bikes do a very good job, offering you a nice introduction to biking but won’t set your pulse racing. As well as Motorbikes we also insure Trikes and Quads in Bikesure which the editor might be able to slip in a couple of nice pictures of to fill the space because I may expire if I do anymore and you probably already have.
If anyone is thinking about getting into it and taking their test then I would say “STOP THINKING AND DO IT!” It really is great fun, a unique experience and opens up a whole new world to you.
That’s it. Can I go to bed now please?