Loving all the people that you can see taking their first steps to 2 wheeled adventures lately! Your first summer riding is something that stays with you for sure... Whether its full of roadside breakdowns, stalling & running out of petrol or friendships, road trips & ride outs its something you don't forget in a hurry.
Our good friend the lovely Georgia Sherlock just started riding this summer & so we asked her to write all about her tips, road trips, cbt stuff & her first summer on 2 wheels.
This summer I made the massively excited but mildly apprehensive step into the world of motorcycles. At first glance it seemed like an exclusive world, dangerous and arguably aggressive but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only have I learnt a new skill, but Ive also managed to meet some amazing people, all of us connected by an engine and two wheels.
"Whether it’s to clear your head, meet some mates, or just a way to spend your time, the experience is incomparable. "
So what made me want to start riding? When I was little my dad had a bike (he still does) and I always kinda thought he looked quite badass. He also used to race cars so anything with an engine sort of makes sense to me (sort of). By no means am I a mechanic but it isn't a totally alien world in some ways. I must have been about 10 when I had my first memory of being on a bike was clinging onto my dad and he’s very ugly Triumph Tiger.
So with a wobbly start and a couple of very helpful spins around a car park with the lovely Gemma of the VC, I got my act together & managed to pass my CBT in torrential rain with a bunch of aspiring Deliveroo drivers. The prospect of getting on a motorised, two- wheeled machine with minimal practice was a pretty nerve wracking thought but for anyone interested in the idea please don’t be deterred - you can all do it with yer eyes closed! My main advice would be to take it on a scooter, these are automatic and only 50cc. Get legal and then get your ass on a geared bike, there’s no rush with these things but the most important thing is that you can legally cruise the roads!
For my first bike I chose a Yamaha SR 125. I wanted something older and of more vintage style so I trawled through millions of Ebay listings and stumbled across the bike I now own. Luckily the woman selling wasn’t quite aware of the market and the bike was an absolute steal. The appeal of something older was the idea of customising it and the vision of a little cafe racer, however that’s yet to happen (but in the pipeline). After getting my bike I just rode and rode and rode, everywhere, anywhere, nowhere. It didn’t matter the occasion, or why, the liberating feeling of being sat on a motorcycle trumps any other. Whether it’s to clear your head, meet some mates, or just a way to spend your time, the experience is incomparable.
Despite what people might think you can do some serious mileage on a 125 as I did this summer. From Kent to London - Wales & all through the Brecon Beacons Ive made some pretty amazing memories in my first summer on two wheels.
A ride out to Kent with a motley crew. - It was a Sunday, the sun was shining. Rachel Billings and I fancied a BBQ and a river to swim in so a group of about 10 of us rode on down. We cruised along some picturesque A-roads and tried to delay the inevitable Sunday blues as much as humanly possible. We all managed to avoid swallowing rat shit from the dodgy looking river, however we did not manage to avoid partial nudity from some of the guys…
"Asides from the ride itself taking a healthy 10 hours for many of us it was our first time out on the country roads"
Babes Ride Out UK, Wales - Friday 5th August, a group of brave and perhaps slightly mad motorcyclists met at The Bike Shed in Shoreditch. The sun was shining and coffee and croissants were being consumed as we prepared to embark on our ride to Wales for Babes Ride Out UK. Asides from the ride itself taking a healthy 10 hours for many of us it was our first time out on the country roads; hearing your bike, smelling the fresh air and absorbing the scenery was a blessing and the freedom we felt was like no other. When we eventually arrived we were greeted by a group of some of the most awesome women I’ve met. Asides from the cold beer and relief of climbing off our bikes my overwhelming sense of respect for these ladies was very real. It takes a lot of courage and confidence to organise such an amazing event, the girls behind VC London are carving the way for women in a traditionally male world and bringing Babes Ride Out to the UK is just the beginning of a very long legacy.
"We arrived in the pissing rain but our spirits weren't dampened."
The Trip Out, Bedfordshire - Summer was coming to a close but there was time for one final hoorah as a bunch of us descended upon a farm in Bedfordshire. The ride up there was quick and easy…proves what a little practice and experience can do to your riding (confidence had grown since the 10 hour adventure to Wales). We arrived in the pissing rain but our spirits were not dampened. Cracking a beer, ditching the bike and watching the sun go down surrounded by a spectacular array of choppers was certainly a pleasant experience. With a well stocked bar, live music and awesome people there was very little to complain about. Differently to other events this was less about riding and more about displaying. The variety a motorcycles encountered in one weekend was an entire experience in itself and as a newbie to the scene it was quite a spectacle…
So at the end of my first summer riding my best advice to anyone wanting to get on two wheels would be to just do it. If you’re interested and the idea of a bike gets the heart racing then book a CBT and get legal. It would be a lie to say the CBT wasn’t nerve-wracking but take it easy and take your time, anyone can do it and once the certificate is in your hands jump on a bike asap. A big car park, industrial estate or quiet country road, as long as you have space and someone with experience and patience to guide you through the gears and getting your balance you’ll be cruising about in no time.
Anyway enough from me but all I’ll finish on is the totally positive outcome of my fairly impulsive choice to hop on a motorbike. It’s a decision I’ll never regret and if you love it the rest comes naturally.