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March 07, 2023 3 min read
Good morning Alan and thanks for volunteering to be interviewed. I normally have to browbeat people. Could we start by you just telling me a bit about yourself.
I was born in Montréal, Canada but moved to the UK in 2014 after seven years in Santa Cruz, California. I work for Google as and am a Site Reliability Engineering Manager. I live in Catford with my wife and kids, daughter, age nine and son, age ten, and ride a V4 Multistrada.
And what was your motivation to join LAM?
I had been volunteering for SERV so knew a few LAM members through this. I also have a general principle of life around having a learning mindset, which fits in with the LAM philosophy of continuous learning. There’s no analogue to LAM in North America as far as I know. I joined in 2015 or 16 but unfortunately due to a job change I had to take a step back from LAM. Shortly before the pandemic I decided to take it more seriously and I’ve been able to balance my riding with the demands of family life and feel that the training has helped to keep me safe and my skills refreshed.
Have you been able to participate in any events other than the ORs?
I’ve been to Wales, Norfolk and done five days at Thruxton and a machine control day. I have enjoyed social rides and the day-trip to France and am looking forward to more now that I have passed my test.
What other bikes have you had?
I started on an RZ350 and progressed through a series of Honda 600cc super sports bikes including a F3 and 600RR. My wife also rides and when I tried her Ducati Monster I realised that I’d spent twenty years on the wrong type of bike. The twin was just way more enjoyable and being more upright felt like I had more vision and connection to the world going by. I’m now on my second Multistrada and I thoroughly recommend the service and support I’ve received from Pro-Twins, although it’s a long way from home.
What type of riding do you do in the main?
I commute on the bike around twice a month and take rides whenever the opportunity arises. I do between five and ten thousand miles a year.
How do you keep your bike in good condition?
At the moment I’m just keeping it clear and adjusting the chain as it’s under warranty. I know my way reasonably well around a bike’s electrical system and have done jobs like changing brake pads and balancing carbs back when carbs were a thing.
Any favourite snack when you’re out on the bike?
I’m a self-confessed coffee snob and will sometimes bring my own! I also really enjoy the social aspect of being able to interact with other riders when we stop for a refreshment break, I also still get a real kick out of the amazing old pubs and inns that dot the countryside. There is nothing like that back in North America.
What do your family and friends think about you riding?
They have all known me to ride for long enough and recognise my commitment to a safety culture. My wife has a full licence, though doesn’t have a bike currently; and I take my children on the pillion now that they are old enough to fit protective wear. We have quite a few visitors from North America and I offer them a night-time bike tour of the main tourist sights of London, which always goes down well.
Any thoughts about how LAM could broaden its appeal to include younger riders.
I think we have to recognise that motorcycling is now rather a luxury, which is going to make it harder to reach people with less disposable income. However; perhaps more could be done to emphasise the fun element which comes with being able to actively plan your ride. I’m certainly planning to remain a LAM member and look forward to improving my skills.
Thanks Alan, hope to see you on a Members’ ride.
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