When you write a blog like TwoMenAboutTown, after a while companies sometimes ask you to talk about their stuff. Over the past 5 years of blogging, I’ve had the odd nice dinner out here, perhaps a drink or two there, maybe even some surprisingly nice socks. But never in my most cheese fuelled dreams did I think I would be writing about motorbikes with BikeBandit.com. To be fair, I’m not even supposed be writing this post, BikeBandit originally got in touch with SuburbanGent who leapt at the chance to talk bikes but subsequently due to circumstances outside of his control, wasn’t able to pick it up again and so he asked me to catch it for him. No problem buddy. I’ve got your back and I’m all over it like a Tramp on chips. Motorbikes? Me? What could possibly go wrong?
What could go wrong?? Well, let’s come back to that.
Let’s start though, with an acknowledgement of the fact that I am not exactly a bike aficionado but, lucky for me I do have a bike-mad brother and some equally bike-crazy friends so I made a couple of calls to ask about bikes and BikeBandit. They were, as I was afraid of, frighteningly enthusiastic about the subject but also amused as to why I was asking for more detail on things like: what’s the basic stuff I need to buy for my first bike? Do the leather trousers come with built in colostomy bags for long journeys? Do I need to change my will and/or life insurance to cover temporary insanity? You know, the usual stuff.
As I dived deeper into this world, I collected a couple of photos for inspiration on the post, chatted to a few people about tyres, oil and premium petrol, I also went through the guides that BikeBandit have posted up. For example, all the essential stuff that you need and safety info about riding with a passenger (that would be useful later). Bike Bandit, I soon learned, is a serious online one-stop-shop for anything you could come to think of to do with bikes and armed with all the info I could ever need as well as a wish list of essentials for my first bike, I re-approached my friends. It didn’t take them long to get me kitted out with a borrowed helmet and leather jacket which mostly fitted. Both of which, I had been sensibly advised were ‘must-haves’; good motorcycling tip there.
I’ll fully admit that trying them on did make me feel epic. I used to own a leather jacket back in the day and I loved it more than most things in my life at the time. However, after Mrs P arrived on the scene she rightly pointed out that 10 years later, just because I still felt like Steve McQueen, that didn’t actually make me Steve McQueen. Alas, I may no longer be a teenager but thankfully modern motorcycle jackets are significantly better quality than they used to be. They are also much better at not just making you look awesome, but doing their actual job of keeping your insides, inside.
So I was fully geared up and I found myself spending some considerable time on Bikebandit.com just looking through some of the stuff they have there. It’s incredible the different things you can connect to, bolt on, hang off or stick on you or your bike. I mean there is a whole section on armour. Armour?! This is some serious full-on Batman Cosplay situation here people.
We should also talk about the parts for the bikes themselves, it seems that people who own bikes also are far more willing and able to fix them than your average car owner. Yamaha seems to be the most popular brand around my acquaintances and a quick check on Bikebandit.com for Yamaha motorcycle parts brings back more than enough results for any self respecting petrol head. Actually trusting yourself to fit it to a machine that is potentially capable of taking itself and you from 0 to 60 miles per hour in under 2 seconds is another matter entirely however.
Finally, after a few days of immersing myself in all things biking and trying to regain my mis-spent youth by wearing my biker jacket for eighteen hours a day, my time had come. I found myself sat on the back of a Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa with my brother revving the handlebars at an alarming volume. I wouldn’t say I was frightened exactly but I was clinging to that man’s back tighter than a baby chimpanzee. The ride started and the first few minutes were filled with emotion and sound, mainly the emotion of abject horror and the sound of my desperate screaming. Bejesus those things are fast. I learned later that it was capable of 300 miles per hour and I was very grateful I had thought to take that second pair of pants.
We went out on the road for a while and thankfully the compulsion to jump off the back only lasted for the first 20 minutes or so. The trip was, of course, without incident and I hope that I learned to, if not love the sensation of becoming a far more connected part of the road, at least I started to appreciate it. I’m still not sure how comfortable I’ll ever be knowing that I am only one bad driver away from certain death, but others have given me the same argument about car drivers. Going out on a bike is a very unique experience, it’s more exposed, more vulnerable than a car. For me, I think it still may be a push too far to jump on anything faster than a Segway but perhaps the feeling of freedom is exactly why people adore their bikes so much? Let us know how and why you love your bike in the comments, we would love to hear from you.
BikeBandit.com may have sponsored this post but the opinions and descriptions of utter terror are genuinely mine and wholly independent.