The very first bike I rode was the next-door-neighbours’ when I was about 15 or so. It was a Suzuki road/trail and was a bit of fun although I never really got into riding back then.
Fast-forward a couple of years and I’m commuting to and from work every day (round-trip of ~80km) in Brisbane by car. This usually involved getting stuck in the daily rush-hour traffic jams and pretty soon I was well and truly sick of it – especially when I watched the bikers just scooting past. So I decided to get a bike license as well…
I took riding lessons before work for a couple of weeks and then went for my test. Soon afterwards I bought my much loved first bike, a Yamaha XS250SK. A couple of years later I was in Darwin and got a ‘free’ upgrade on my license (Australian bike licenses are restricted to 250cc and in most states you have to go for your open license before you’re allowed to ride bigger bikes, but in the N.T. you automatically get your open license after 2 years, handy that…
From my daily commute grew a passion for riding bikes – while I don’t have the mad desire to customise my ride or know every bike produced in the last 200 years I can’t do without getting on 2 wheels from time to time. I love going on motorbike trips either alone, with my girlfriend, or with a group of fellow bikers. There’s few things better than a nice stretch of road, a beautiful summer afternoon, and a purring beast between your legs.
I haven’t owned many bikes and coincidentally they were all made by Yamaha – this was not a conscious choice, it just so happened that what I wanted in a bike at the time ended up being a Yammy-made machine..
So here’s the rather short list:
- 2003 – now : Yamaha Dragstar Classic XVS1100a [more]
- 1998 – 2002 : Yamaha XJ900 [more]
- 1996 – 1998 : Yamaha XS250SK [more]
I’ve never really been one for Motorbike clubs, preferring to do my own thing, but in England I joined the Great Bears. They’re a really cool group of guys and gals and run a very relaxed Owners Association. Perfect. They were actually partially the reason I chose my Dragstar in favour of some other options.
The Great Bears are a constellation of ISRA – the International Star Riders Association. Everyone can join for free simply by filling out the online registration form. The club is run very informally and mostly via the online Forums which are a very friendly place to start.
There’s also VSOC – the Virago Star Owners Club, a wholly UK-based MCC. These guys are a bit more organised and hence charge an annual membership fee.
For more Information, see the Links.
I love travelling and if the conditions are favourable I like nothing better than to go by bike. My first longer trip was on my XS250 when I went camping with my Astronomy club in Australia. Since then I’ve taken the XJ900 to Sydney and back, hired a bike to go from Melbourne to Adelaide and back, and of course, my beloved Draggie around the British Isles.
Here is a selection of actual trip writeups with some pics.
- 2006.08 – Lake Constance
- 2006.05 – CANCELLED Euro Star Days 2006
- 2005.09 – Great Bears Wales Weekend and Orkneys Trip with Stu [Pics]
- 2005.05 – Great Bears Dent Weekend [Pics]
- 2005.05 – Exmoor with my girlfriend
- 2004.12 – Bike trip with my Stepsister Angie from Melbourne to Adelaide and back
- 2004.09 – Great Bears Wales Weekend
- 2004.08 – Cornwall
Here’s a list of my biker buddies who are also on the Web. Check out their homepages:
- Steve English [Website]
Steve races sidecars and has a forum plus lots of info on his pages
- WildStarStu [Website]
Stu keeps some nice pics and a list of mods to his Wildstar
Here are some relevant biking links which I’ve found useful.
- Yamaha UK
- Rex Judd
- My bike at CruiserCustomizing.com
- Wemoto – Online Motorcycle parts.
- Clubs and Venues
- Great Bears
- International Star Riders Association (ISRA)
- Virago Star Owners Club (VSOC)
- Ace Cafe London
- Box Hill Biker Cafe
- Jack’s Hill Transport Cafe
- Web Resources
- Hawg Graphics – free bike-related web-design resources.
- Fuelly – an online gas mileage tracker.