January 01, 2024 3 min read

Evening Steve, what would you like to tell us about your biking ‘backstory’?

The first bike I rode was an Italjet 50cc in a mate’s garden when I was six years old, ending in me crashing into a hedge. The next episode was when I was about fifteen when my brother and I were given Honda SL 125 as a non-runner. We got it going and used to used an area off the ‘mad mile’ as an unofficial dirt track, alleyways and the school field which didn’t go down well.

My parents weren’t too keen on me having a bike but I passed my test in 1992 and got my first ‘proper ‘ bike, a GS500E. I managed to blow up the engine but then rebuilt it with the help of my father-in-law, a precision engineer, in my dining room, eek!.

 

What are the other memorable bikes you’ve had?

A TL1000s, CBR600, Hornet 600 which I loved and particularly a Kawasaki ZX9, which I had for fourteen years and did 50k on, I loved that bike even if the reek of petrol was alarming.

 

Yes, I think I remember you on that giving me an OR on the way up to Norfolk. What about your history with LAM?

I passed my Advanced Test twenty-six years ago with the Kent group, but moved over to LAM a few years later. I became an Observer in 2015 and have been with the Training Team for five years. I genuinely love being part of a group with people from different walks of life with one shared passion: riding motorbikes. I feed on the level of skill it takes to be as safe and smooth as possible.

 

Being able to find time to ride is a perpetual issue. You have a lot of work and family responsibilities – have you got any tips for making time to be able to ride enough to build and maintain our skills?

I struggled when the children were younger, particularly to find a full day during weekends. My recommendation would be to ride little and often. The evenings during the late spring, early summer months are a good opportunity to get out for a couple of hours.

I would also say not to stop riding during the winter as there can be a lot of days when it’s quite feasible to ride despite wet roads, leaves and other hazards, which really sharpen up your riding skills.

 

Any favourite routes?

I like to head towards the south coast and prefer to have a destination in mind. I enjoy the roads around Rye but I like anything quiet, twisty, undulating and challenging.

 

What do you do to keep your own skills up?

I like track days and would particularly recommend the IAM skills days as an introduction to riding on the track which is a safe environment to practice, I teach at these and it’s a good affirmation of how far a bike can lean and how hard can brake.

 

So what’s your number one safety tip?

Even if you think you’re looking and planning far enough ahead, you’re not, plan earlier.

 

And tip for passing the Test – or any test?

Don’t be afraid to try something new, ask questions, revise and practice, ask more questions, revise and………..

 

What led to you accepting a nomination as Chair?

I see it as a natural progression after five years as Training Co-ordinator. I have a bit more time now and feel that I can work well with everyone on the committee.

 

Is there anything you would particularly like to achieve while Chair?

I would like to reinvigorate the social side of the club. Hopefully this process has started and we’ve begun to get the 2024 calendar filled with Members’ Rides and other events.

 

Thanks Steve – we’re all looking forward to an action packed year.

John McNally

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