Born Again Bikers - Paul Robinson

Just had a visit from a very good friend, on his way home from a trip to the NEC Motorcycle Show. He's the classic case, had a modest bike in his teens and now at 45 with a bit of money behind him, he's all excited about the idea of buying a super fast bike.

You see so many reports of this all ending in tragic accidents and I don't want him to die! How do I talk him out of it?
Born Again Bikers - Martin Devon
Dear Paul,

Probably isn't possible and you know it. I was on the verge of going back there myself very recently. Lack of time through business held me back. The APPALLING condition of Devons's roads furthered the resistance and then a mates 'clipping' of a b***** tractor who pulled out on him virtually sealed the whole b***** game. (Lost a hand.) I don't know where you are based, but an excess of diesel on the roads here in Devon aint going to help none i'll tell you! Get him to stand back and analyse the whole thing. The roads are just so crowded now, badly maintained and driven on by uneducated k-nob h-eads who have massive bhp and minimal anything and usually accompanied by l o n g peaked caps restricting their view of the road and their lives. A lot of my old biker chums from way back either just do track days or the continent. I wish you luck. Another thought is get him on an off roader. I still do it ocassionaly, (and the biking), and it shows ones limitations and mud is softer.

Very Best Regards,
Born Again Bikers - hillman
Case 1.
My son's neighbour is in his mid 40s and has been a biker since his teens, and has had a superbike since they were invented. He lives near Macclesfield, and did the Macc to Buxton run every weekend that it was possible, along with his biker mates. One weekend last summer, as he was approaching a particular fast bend he thought, "What a lovely day !". As you would expect his lost his concentration for just long enough to miss the turn. He had an extended visit to Macc hospital, and now has a limp.
Case 2.
A family friend had never been allowed a bike in his youth. His mother thought they were too dangerous. When he had disposable income in his mid 30s he bought a superbike over the wishes of his wife. He came off at the underpass below Manchester airport runway. He would probably survived the crash if the car he had overtaken had not run over him. Result one widow and several orphans.
Born Again Bikers - martint123
If you get the bike bug all the tales in the world of other people dying or getting maimed will make not the slightest bit of difference. I know 100's of bikers and they're all still alive (just to put another side to the coin).

Accept that he will get a bike and advise him to get some refresher training - there's lots available. Maybe even try to get him to do a CBT course before he buys the bike to make sure he's happy.

Born Again Bikers - dilbert
You guys make it sound like nobody ever died in a car crash. I know from personal experience that they most certainly do. For goodness sake it's a free country - if your mate wants to get a bike don't try and talk him out of it, but do try to offer him sound advice.

Training is the key here. There is a load of rider training schools out there that will do CBTs, advanced or refresher courses. I do a one day advanced course every year and it really does help keep my riding safe and smooth. Also, track days and off-road days are fun as well as useful experience of bike control in extreme circumstances. I've been riding over five years now, without incident (touching wood as I speak) and I intend to do everything I can to keep it that way. Clearly I can't account for the actions of other road users, but the skills a rider can develop through training can go a long way to avoiding problems caused by others' carelessness and stupidity.

Finally, don't believe what the Daily Mail tells you: just because a bike is fast it doesn't make it inherently dangerous. It's just like a car - it only goes as fast as the rider wants it to.
Born Again Bikers - NitroBurner
Don't be so ridiculous! What right have you to go round preaching to others?

What do you think about people buying ladders, kitchen knives or other potentially 'dangerous' objects?

Born Again Bikers - Clanger
I had a Honda 50 some 30 years ago. Aged 51 passed my DAS in February this year and bought a Suzuki Bandit 600 in March. With 80+ bhp its performance exceeds my abilities at the moment, but it doesn't get ridden at the limit. Next year I hope to do some advanced training. Above all, I have discovered a means of transport that's enjoyable and economical. That may be what your friend is seeking. There's no easy answer; I suspect that your friend will do what he feels he must despite your advice or that of anyone else.

If you doubt his abilities you could recommend a smaller bike or rider training as others suggest, but if biking is in his blood, you will need handcuffs to keep him off 2 wheels.

Stranger in a strange land
Born Again Bikers - A Dent{P}
An interesting thread.
Why did he not get bikes out of his system first time round, or what put him off them?.
Sadly there are regular reports down my way of another one biting the dust, but that has always been so and it never stops anyone from starting up.
Remind him of all the clobber he needs and the cost of it, nowhere to put anything, cost of tyres/chains etc (but then if he is going to be a part time biker that won't count).
If he is running a car and bike, there is double the insurab=nce and only one NCB to claim

Want to ride in the winter?, runny noses, stop every half hour to reclaim your hands and knees?.
Bikes as an only means of transport in the winter are truly uncomfortable.

Ironically, from what I remember about my biking days I found the more you use bikes the more adept you become at handling them and the finer your sixth sense becomes. Part time in that respect is more risky that full time.
Not going anywhere with this really, but loads of people have been tempted.
Born Again Bikers - Nash
Fast bikes don't kill people. Bikes going fast and/or dozy drivers do.

Loads of leisure bikers I know either ride very early in the morning before the roads are busy or go to France where the roads are completely empty and much better surfaced.

Riding a bike is dangerous if it goes wrong and that is part of the attraction. You have to get it right 100% of the time and be 100% alert 100% of the time.

I suggest you don't bother trying to stop him, but advise he has some extra training. He will be safer and also beable to enjoy the bike a lot more. Loads of blokes have powerful bikes that they can't ride properly, if you are going to spend 6-10k you may as well spend another £200 on some training so you can enjoy the thing.

PS I have a car, a bike and a scooter and have NCB on all of them.
Born Again Bikers - THe Growler
The day man gives up risk taking activities will be the day civilisation dies out. With the nannies and the mind police rapidly gaining the ascendant over a largely mute, submissive and complacent populace who are increasingly educated against doing anything short of getting out of bed without a safety helmet and protective gear, let us not deceive ourselves this is not an increasingly likely possibility.

Thus anyone taking up two wheels, mountain climbing, hang-gliding, yachting, climbing up a ladder to change a light bulb or doing anything involving the risk of greater injury than a stubbed toe is to be heartily supported and encouraged. Nobody seems to slag off hang gliders or cavers, but every Nanny wannabee has it in for bikers big-time.

"Born again" is a nonsense term. It might fit if I suddenly awoke one morning with a blinding light in my window and heard a sonorous voice calling on me to attend revival meetings to get baptised in the Mississipi (like those evangelist programmes in Soujetrn motels -- "Call this Toll-Free number and talk to The Lord!" etc), but has no relevance to getting a bit older, having made a few shekels and at last being able to indulge a passion one once enjoyed at a level one can finally afford. The guy wants to do it, let him do it, but make sure he is informed.

Biking 101: If you haven't fallen off yet, you will.

Embrace this article of faith, learn to be comfortable with it and develop the art of motorcycle riding. For it is an art. First your friend should take a basic foundation course. He should wear protective gear. He should join a club so that he rides with the security and comfort of expert riders and learns the protocols and disciplines that come from a managed motorcycle ride.

Being involved in a good deal of rider safety training here in the Philippines I cannot recommend enough the value of riding with a good group. You also have a new social life instantly and access to all kinds of technical knowledge and expertise.

All the riders I know take great pride in developing and honing their riding and traffic skills. They are well aware of the risks they run and they choose to manage them through training and awareness. Show me more than a handful of rice-boys who don't think they're God just because they've got a bit of Meccano on the trunk lid and a fist-sized exhaust trim.

Many more motorcycle accidents are caused by half asleep cagers than by bikers themselves. Pulling out without looking is the classic.

If this friend wants to find out where the horizon is and can't live with being nagged that the chicken strips on the edge of his tires remain unworn then he should take a Keith Code Twist of The Wrist or similar course on a track. (Actually some people take a Black and Decker and grind off their chicken strips but they're the kind who wear pink shirts and exhibit a fondness for Starbucks lattes....).

The track day is where you can find out what your bike can do and that's the only place where your friend should explore his machine's capabilities. He should do so under proper training and supervision and he will have a ball. The highway is not for that.

IMHO I would not go back to motorcycling after 30 years if your friend last rode a BSA Bantam and now has the money for a Yamaha R-1 without some interim progression. He could either buy as someone suggested a very capable bike which will do all you want like a Bandit, or indeed if this friend takes training courses he can explore this kind of bike without having to buy it if he prefers. Thus he can build his skills in a graduated fashion before throwing his leg over something more powerful.

A biker who treats riding as an art is not only a safe and responsible biker per se but will be a far better car driver.
On a fine Sunday morning there are few things more exhilarating I find than rising with the lark, meeting my mates, and blasting up into the mountains for breakfast. On another level few things more satisfying than cracking open the first coldie of the evo in front of the 6 o'clock news on CNN while all those rep-mobiles I passed way way back are still queuing up at the toll booth on the expressway off-ramp.

If your friend is worried about being intimidated by other vehicles while on his bike, I recommend a big cruiser like a Valkyrie, a Fat Boy or a V-Max. They take up enough room in their lane and make enough noise so you get respect!

There are more than enough available resources for an informed rider to lift his game and make a sensible entry to modern motorcycling. He won't regret it.

But then again, if the perceived risk is too much, I understand. Just tell him try not to fall off the couch and twist something while nodding off in front of the tube....
Born Again Bikers - BrianW
I ride 80 miles a day all year round as daily transport and agree with the runny nose and watery eyes bit, but have almost beaten the cold hand syndrome with muffs and heated handlebars.

A keen sense of your own vulnerability is a good defense, but the incidents I have been involved in or seen over the years are mainly down to lack of observation by car drivers.

I am too old to go hankering after a superbike, my 250 will exceed the speed limit, accelerate faster than most cars and will squeeze through the traffic.
OK, it might take me 5 minutes longer to get to work than it would on a 750, but at 90 mpg and £115 to insure a pair of bikes it's cheap motoring and healthier than breathing other people's germs.
Born Again Bikers - smokie
I agree that you should let him do as he likes, but would just remind BrianW and others that it really doesn't matter just whose to blame your first (or last) motorcycle accident - dozy car driver or biker - so as has already been said just insist that your friend is properly equipped and trained.
Born Again Bikers - Leon on Derv
I don't think there is much you can do to persuade your mate to stay off two wheels. Probably your best course of action could be to encourage him to get some good refresher training and invest in some good quality protective kit.

I agree too with the comments about motorists being a serious and often unpredictable threat to perchers. There are way too many "car operators" out there as opposed to drivers. Personally I think if we all had to learn to ride a bike properly before being let loose in a car we would be much more observant, alert and courteous road users.

As I recall Tarmac and Hedges are just as hard when hit at 30Mph as they are at 50, 60, 70+ Mph.

Born Again Bikers - ndbw
Got the bug again after a gap of 43years I first bought a lightweight trail bike in 1990 and had great fun riding the lanes and tracks on Exmoor,found that as I did not ride at breakneck speeds I was able to get away with using bridleways I always hit the cut out button on seeing a horse and did not restart until they were well past,used to meet one woman often and the first time as she passed she said he doesnt like those,I said no I dont blame him and all was well,we always had a brief chat after that and at 70 I could get away with it,I then in 1991 bought a 250cc in addition 4valve 22bhp,as powerful as most of the 500cc bikes I rode in the forties.I used to park this in the summer at a friends garage in Ilfracombe so that when I had my yacht there in the summer I could make use of it,one sight to be seen was me taking my wife shopping to Barnstable a Combined age of 140plus,saved money as she could only buy what would go in the TopBox.Sadly the boat had to go after a back 97 and the last bike April this year,no problem riding it but too decrepit to get it in and out the garage if id have dropped it there was no way I could have picked it up,would not have missed those years for the world so my advice to those out there in Go For It.

Born Again Bikers - NitroBurner
For some tips on how to ride, download (& I'm sure you know which web site), a 2 min movie file called 'Ghost Rider'.


Value my car