Afternoon Rich, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed. Could you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m originally from Lichfield, Staffordshire but now live in Crystal Palace, having moved to London around ten years ago. I work in tech/product and my main interests are motorbikes, cryptocurrency and music.
And what were your reasons for joining LAM?
I’ve been riding for four years, having taken the direct access route, and have had a few close calls. I enjoy riding sports bikes in a progressive way and wanted a better understanding of the relationship between “safe” and “fun”. I’d been given ‘Roadcraft’ by a friend and as I’m also a driver and cyclist I felt I had a pretty good idea about the basics of positioning and road manners but wanted to take it further. I now ride a Honda CBR 600RR and have had a VFR 800F, a CBR 650F and a CBR 125R previously. Bikes are purely for leisure use on evenings and weekends, as well as track days when I can!
So what do you think of it so far?
I’ve really enjoyed it and have been impressed by the Observers’ skill and level of attention. I particularly enjoyed a recent ride where the focus was on overtakes that really tested my anticipation, which is definitely improving and close calls are becoming quite rare.
Have you been able to participate in events other than OR's?
The Wales weekend was brilliant! Hats off to everyone involved in organising it. The ride I joined followed a long loop of A and B roads up through Snowdonia. The smooth surfaces, minimal traffic and great visibility made for a fun and progressive ride. Unfortunately, the fuel shortage and the 600rr’s short range meant I had to take motorways most of the way back to avoid getting stuck somewhere remote — but I didn’t let it dampen my spirits.
You’ve mentioned that you enjoy sporty riding, but have you done any tours?
There was a memorable trip up to Manchester on my first bike, a CBR 125R, which was hard work but a great adventure. Most of my friends and family live in the Midlands and the North so if the weather’s good I’ll go by bike and work out a twisty (non-motorway!) route for the return. Also, I look forward to more LAM events including Germany and Norfolk.
Only one, on a track day at Brands when I low-sided on the final bend. Fortunately, I only had a few bruises but there was a lot of damage to the bike. Things I learnt the hard way: don’t push your luck; if you’re going to push your luck, do it on the track; if you go down, let yourself slide and don’t try to control it.
How do you keep your bike in good condition?
I do regular POWDERS, routine adjustments and lubes, keep it clean and generally look after it. I’d never overlook something and say ‘it’ll be fine’ as then it probably won’t. I’m aware that I’m not the greatest mechanic and can recommend FWR in Kennington and LV Custom for anything cosmetic.
Any favourite meal or snack when you’re out for a ride?
I tend to stop for coffee and cake and like to find somewhere new every time I’m out. A surprising find was at Thurrock services where there’s an unexpected view of a lake, but I also like Ryka’s and Ide Hill.
What do your family and friends think about you riding?
My mum has been nervous but my step-dad rides and my partner’s dad used to, so that’s helped. Friends are split between those who think I’m mad and those who think it’s cool.
Any general feedback to LAM, particularly as you’re probably younger than many?
I’m naturally on the shy side and it can be difficult to get to know people, particularly when everyone else seems to know each other. Perhaps more could be done to help new Associates feel at home. Maybe some way of notifying others that you’re planning a ride so people of similar skill can come along? Also it’s not completely clear what’s being sold. Is it: road safety training to pass a specific test; ongoing training as long as you’re a member; or a motorcycle-based social group? Either way, it’s definitely far more than the IAM advertises and I think there might be more interest if people knew how much they’d get out of it.
Thanks Rich, that’s really helpful. I hope to see you on rides in the future.
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