Despite me having the Ducati GT1000 for over 6 months I’ve not previously posted a pic of my summer cruise machine. So, here it is.
I’m not a hardened biker by any stretch of the imagination and how I ended up on a bike after many years of being a car only person is a bit of a story.
My only real experience of being on a bike came in my mid-late teens when I was a passenger on a friends bike a few times (a 250cc) and also had a go on another friends 50cc. To be honest I preferred having a car as I enjoyed comfort and music to the elements.
Fast forward to around 2002. As a one car family I was getting fed up walking and cycling around Maidstone where I lived at the time as Lesley used the car for work. Chatting with a friend brought up the idea of investing in a scooter for running around locally. Great idea! I decided to go for it and after some cursory research knew that the Peugeot Speedflight was the scooter for me. What I didn’t do was investigate the restrictions placed upon ‘new’ riders. As an existing car license holder I was able to ride a 50cc scooter around without taking a test, however I’d decided to go for the 100cc version of the scooter and this meant passing my provisional bike license theory test and taking compulsory training before I could even ride the bike and then, horror of horrors I had to run around with an ‘L’ plate.
I dutifully passed my theory and CBT and was able to buzz around Maidstone, and very enjoyable it was too. One nagging thought remained though. I was far too old to have ‘L’ plates. I would have to pass my full bike test to rid myself of the offending big red letter, but how?
I discovered CSN motorcycle training in Rochester and booked on to a short course on geared bikes to avoid being restricted to scooters (just in case). I decided to take the short course which would restrict me to a 33bhp machine for 2 years which wasn’t an issue as I was only riding a scooter. So, after a couple of challenging days on a geared 125cc I passed my bike test – the red L was no more.
It turned out to be a good decision to go for a geared bike test as less than a year later I needed to take the cheap commuting option which meant investing in a bike that would take for over 40 mph. I ended up with a Yamaha Diversion, a classic commuter bike. However, it was a 600cc machine packing somewhat more than the 33bhp restriction. The nice guys where I bought the bike provided me with a certificate of restriction, although the bike was left as was. This wasn’t due to me setting out to flaunt the law, the dealer simply thought that I’d be a careful rider as I wasn’t exactly in my youth. Correct. I am not a big risk taker on a bike. The bike eventually went after I changed jobs and went back to car ownership, but I have to admit that I enjoyed the fresh air freedom (in good weather) that bike ownership offered.
Fast forward to 2007 and I became a bike owner again. Yes, I had to retake my bike license again which meant theory, practical training and a full road test for a second time, just like with the car license. It was worth it as the summer was pretty good which gave me the chance to get out and reacquaint myself with biking. Why? Well, I have an aim to ride the west coast from Vancouver to, probably, San Diego within a couple of years and the Ducati is the bike for me to do it on. Okay, it’ll not be a Long Way Round or Long Way Down adventure, but it’ll be my adventure.
Watch this space.