This was my very first bike – a Suzuki GSX600R, otherwise known as a teapot. It took me round Scotland and on a couple of track days, and got me introduced to the Suzuki Owners’ Club. I was sorry to part with it, but I needed something with a little more power.
Enter my first Thunderace – that is, a Yamaha YZF1000R. A quoted 145 bhp – quite enough for then.
This is the bike in touring mode. We’ve just come back from a fortnight in the Alps and paid a fleeting visit to my mother’s in the New Forest. She snapped us as we set off back up north.
Our fourth bike was a ZZR1400. Definitely a step above the Thunderaces. We had this for nine years, only changing it for the FJR because we really needed something just a little bit more touring friendly.
I originally joined NAM in order to get the required advanced qualification for NBB. Pat and I both found the social side and the rideouts immensely enjoyable, and I’m now Treasurer and an Observer.
This is our second Thunderace, bought just before they went out of production. It too took us many times to the continent, before being written off on the A1!
I’ve done a few track days, and huge fun they are too. This is me about to be overtaken at Croft. My last track day was at Cadwell Park, where I took the old hairpin too fast, parted company with the bike and managed to break my collar bone.
There is a biking connection here. Pat and I got married in September 2001. We spent our honeymoon with nearly 50 other bikers on a long weekend in Caudebec en Caux on the banks of the Seine. A friend mistook these bucolic expressions for romantic feelings and recorded the evidence.
Over about two years I did 45 shifts for Northumbria Blood Bikes. I eventually found that my body clock is just too hard-wired to allow any sleep following a night shift!
For a talk I gave not long ago I collected in Mapsource all the routes we’ve taken on the bike in Europe up to autumn 2017. This is the result. Still some gaps to fill!