I’m not going anywhere, in the sense that the point of this journey is the journey. It’s Sunday morning, the roads are dry, the sky isn’t threatening anything and the worst of the road salt has gone. This is going out for a ride just for the sake of the ride. There is a destination; I’m headed for British Camp on the shoulders of the Malvern Hills. There’s a café up there and I know, just know that heading towards it like migrating birds or butterflies drawn in by a particular flower on a particular day, will be dozens of others of my kind; bikers keen to get out and remember what it is about their expensive, sometimes ridiculous and often dangerous passion that drives them to do it.
I’m lucky and have a choice of bikes at home. I’ve chosen a Kawasaki Z900 from 1976. I needed a Japanese multi-cylinder engine today, something that connects me directly with the big capacity machines I lusted after as a kid. It’s not perfect, my Z900, but then neither am I and we are working together to overcome our respective shortcomings. The bike’s suspension is crude and baggy compared with modern stuff, but then I am far from being a steely-eyed pilot of a this-minute superbike, so we’ll get along fine. Adjusting the bike’s trajectory by moving a shoulder or shifting a hip, I am reconnecting with the business of working as a team, machine and rider, sharing the goal of playing with the road’s curves and straights and dips and stringing them together to form a perfect whole. I’ve ridden bikes through this winter, yes, but only as transport, only as a cheat, a quicker means of getting to where I need to be. This though, is different, this isn’t anything as mundane as transport, this is biking.
by Richard Hammond, Drivetribe | Read more:
Image: Richard Hammond