I’ve raced bikes in many countries, been model mechanic, light avation pilot, farmer, engineer, bike shop manager, mountain-bike guide and designer.
Despite my very European looks I’m actually African of about seven or eight generations traceable. I grew up during a civil war and had a fantastic childhood in the southern African farms, suburbs and bush.
Completely obsessed with any kind of transport I started my first motorized forays when I was six, on a Honda DAX almost exactly like this one. I was introduced to it by my cousin and was instantly inseperable from it. On the farm I was given strict instruction not to leave the gated farm house compound and, you guessed it, that long dirt straight beckoned from the caged in barn area. I blasted out and hit top gear with my head between the sweep of the bars. I must have been doing at least 300mph… then putt…putt.. put. The engine died. I was left hundreds of kilometres from the farm house. I tried and tried to kick it into life but the adults must have put that fuel leash on me, knowing full well what I’d do. They were probably sipping G&Ts, watching from the veranda as I sobbed, pushing the bike towards the farmhouse. I’ll have to ask Mom if she remembers but I was probably picked up by a tractor driver on his wayback with a load of tobacco to be cured.
Later in life in the UK I went all official. It felt very strange to be going on a week long ‘training course’ to be told how to ride a motorbike on the road because I had been doing it all my life. After chatting to the instructors about bikes I was given the most run down CG125 with no battery and a very floppy kickstart. Great craic. They didn’t even bother to instruct me whilst others sweated about using a clutch with their hand and I buzzed about with a grin trying to make the ancient thing do a stoppie. At the time I was working for a big engineering company in Shropshire, UK so had fantastic countryside to bomb about with the instructors. I don’t think we did any actual training but just went for long sunny blats around the hills on their CB500s.
After that I enjoyed a succession of my own and close friend’s bikes RSV125s, VFR and RVF400s, CBR600, RSV1000R, GS1150 etc etc. But the most intense and scary thing was the Husqvarna NOX that I was custodian of for a dear friend Noah. I have never since seen a bike that could describe circles whilst idling on it’s side stand popping blue flames out of the huge titanium exhaust.
After living in Spain and Switzerland for a while I went back to the UK and bought a VFR800F. I’ll go into huge detail as to why in another page, but did a fair bit of touring and quite a lot of very high speed long distance outings. As a very odd couple Anne and I also meandered around with her riding ‘Cosworth’ the CG125 replete with panniers.
An opportunity that was too good to be true came up and we moved to Thailand. Bikes were sold and gear packed with the idea that we would buy 250cc bikes and head into the forests of Lao and Cambodia. In the mean time we bought a ‘brand new model’ 110cc Honda Super Cub which became our main form of transport around Bangkok and the Thai coast. That whole adventure came to an ubrupt and financially crippling end and we moved to Canada. So here we are.