I decided that I was fed up with getting stuck in traffic jams on dual carriageways while motorbikes were able to filter through. So I decided to join them. I took my Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) in October and book the biggest bike I was allowed to ride - a 125! It was a Honda CG125 with 430 miles on the clock - see right.
I rode that pretty much every day through the winter - 100 mpg really makes for cheap motoring. However, I was really looking to get something with a top speed a bit higher than 60 mph, so I decided to take my Direct Access Scheme test. This requires you to take the test on a bike of at least 500cc, which, of course, you can only ride while supervised. So it was off to lessons and practising riding on a Kawasaki ER5. 2 hours practice in a school playground, then another session of 2 hours on road, and then the serious practice - of which I found the hardest to master being the requirement to U-turn the bike without putting a foot down. I also started to think what sort of bike I should buy, and an article in a bike mag convinced me a Triumph Tiger was the thing. About 3 weeks before my test one came up for sale so I bought it and decided I'd do my test on it. The thing is - they're pretty big. I'm 6'3" tall and only just put my feet flat on the floor. Anyway, the examiner obviously took pity and got me to do my U turn in what must be one of the widest roads in Ipswich. To cut a long story short, I passed my test on April 27, 2004 and became the proud driver of Tiger Tim.
Most of my miles used to be either from home to work, 3.5 miles away, or using it to go London way and avoid the railways. It's also an excellent way to travel to Stansted, providing you don't fly with too much luggage. Bike parking in the short stay car-park there is free. Following my move to Motorola, I now use it to travel from Ipswich to Basingstoke about once a week. To make that a little more safe and comfortable, I used my leaving money from BT to buy:
I've also bought some mead-to-measure Crowtree leathers. These are fantastic quality and fit. I've so far (December 2005) only worn them under my waterproofs, since it gets a bit chilly on the long trip otherwise. Looking forward to next summer to get the wind into them.