Before we get on to bikes could you tell us a little about your background?
I’m an actor. You might see me in a TV advertisement for over-50s life insurance but I’ve also done a lot of work at one or two local radio stations including ‘County Sound’ (later renamed as The Eagle) in Guildford and I also host quizzes and compère corporate events. I recall working at the opening of a BMW dealership in north London when overindulgence in the free refreshments led to a nasty mess on the bonnet of a new BM! I live in Surbiton with my wife, we have a daughter who got married in 2019 and lives with her husband in a flat in Ewell Village.
What about your biking background?
I passed my test on a scooter as a teenager, but my first proper bike was a Honda 350 which I bought for £180 in 1984. I soon discovered the convenience of being able to get up to town quickly for jobs and auditions. I’ve since had a number of bikes of which my favourite was a CBR1000. The worst bike I’ve had was a RT1200 (bought new), which suffered constant electrical and mechanical problems and therefore spent a lot of time in the workshop. I’m now on my second Honda Deauville which has around 65k on the clock and suits me in terms of its reliability and ability to carry the things I need for work. I once inadvertently put two litres of diesel in it but it didn’t seem to mind.
So what prompted you to join LAM?
I went to the Bike Show with my wife in 2018 saw the IAM stand and was encouraged to join.
No particular mishaps then?
Not really, I’ve been ‘off’ on three occasions, once due to inattention and twice in icy conditions. I believe that you need to keep on learning.
What do you think of LAM so far?
I can see that arriving at a meeting where people all seem to know each other could be intimidating for some, but I’m always happy to approach people and join in conversations. I’ve only been able to have three OR's and had hoped to complete the training during 2020, but it wasn’t to be. I’ve certainly benefitted from advice around road positioning and from practising slow control.
I realise the importance of concentrating on what you’re doing in the moment. I also have a Pilot’s Licence and know that you have to put all other thoughts and worries out of your mind and to focus completely on the task in hand.
What sort of riding do you do in the main?
Most of it is work related. This can involve longer journeys and I recall once finishing a show in Epsom around 5.30, riding to Bristol to do a corporate quiz, then back home that night as I had a show the following morning. I’ve been tempted to consider a tour of India on a Royal Enfield, though I’m not sure how enjoyable that would be for the pillion.
How do you keep your bike in good condition?
Just regular servicing and cleaning. I leave any mechanical work to the professionals at Tippetts.
What’s your favourite snack when you’re out for a ride?
I’m vegetarian, but I enjoy a tea and cake at Ockham Bites. It’s not really a bikers’ place though you do see the odd bike there.
What do your friends and family think of you riding a bike?
There are no issues really. My daughter suggested she come on the bike with me down to Dorset once when she was a teenager, but after a thorough soaking never wanted to repeat the experience.
I have to ask whether you know any other biking actors?
Not many. I once had a small part in East Enders and parked next to Steve McFadden’s (Phil Mitchell) bike, which I noticed was in a terribly neglected condition.
Thanks for offering to be interviewed at short notice Richard. Hopefully training will resume this year and you’ll be able to take your test as planned.
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