A former Motoring Editor at the Telegraph, Erin combines a bike licence and race licence with a love of high-speed cars and penchant for embarrassingly low-speed crashes. Now she has two sons, she’s largely put her leathers to one side, preferring the cut and thrust of automotive industry debates and wondering which cars have Isofix…
Is it time to get back on a motorbike? I last rode one properly, with any frequency, six years ago, before the birth of my two sons. Then a number of things happened, including the death on a bike launch of my good friend and colleague, Kevin Ash, the Telegraph’s Motorcycling Correspondent. He was an adored husband and father of three brilliant girls, who were left naturally devastated.
But his wonderful wife, Caroline, got herself back on a bike, having only ridden pillion with Kevin for years, because it had become her way of life and she missed the community, her friends and the bike tours abroad. She took a refresher course, dropped the bike a few times, but soldiered on and is now firmly ensconced back in that way of life, going to bike shows and thinking about a US road trip.
So I was in two minds… half of me just yearned to filter through the traffic again, while the other half baulked at putting myself unnecessarily at risk. Travelling up to Kevin’s memorial ride-out at Silverstone last summer, I found myself riding pillion at, erm, quite high speeds on the motorway, and suddenly wondered what the hell I was doing, with two children at home, relying on me staying alive with all four limbs intact.
But finally I cracked, and took a Honda CBR500R out a few months ago, just along the perimeter road at Silverstone, where I was at a Honda drive-it day. Up and down I went, in the sunshine, and it felt great, all 47bhp of it, with a sexy sports fairing that completely belies the small power output but is lovely anyway.
So it’s been preying on my mind ever since. My boyfriend used to ride Triumph Speed Triples and is looking at a Tiger, and my fingers are twitching. Not that we could share a bike – he’s 6ft 2in and I’m 5ft 5in.
What to do? I think I could satisfy my need for some excitement now and then with a Caterham Roadsport instead, and that would probably do it – it wouldn’t ease my frustration when I’m stuck in traffic, but it would provide the nearest thrill to being on two wheels that four can provide. But, like so many living in towns and cities, I’ve got nowhere to keep a Caterham, whereas a bike is so easy. And all the time, my horribly expensive Dainese leathers and Alpinestars boots are gathering dust…
Something tells me that in six months time I’ll still be deliberating, and am never going to take the plunge. And my boyfriend refuses to carry anyone pillion so I can’t even quench my biking thirst that way.
It’s a cruel world.