And since then, over four years ago, I’ve ridden just twice.
And now, I write this column from the Isle of Man, where I’m watching the TT as a guest of Honda. I was hoping that watching bikes scream past me on public roads, angels with wings, soaring above the laws of physics, my passion for motorcycling would be reignited. For the liberty it offers, and the new vectors and planes of movement it presents. For the sheer love of the physical and emotional freedom, you are gifted in the saddle of a two-wheeler that you don’t need to pedal. For that singular moment, a bat-squeak in the crack of time, when you twist the throttle and put both feet on the pegs; when you are transported, lifted, presented and guided to the air as it parts around you, a demigod in sexy leathers, grafted in attitude and bravery, in rebellion and the gamble of fate.
But it’s never quite that simple. By the time we landed here, on this rain-swept island, one man had already died and, as I write, two more riders have died today.
Right now, in my hotel room, with not a wheel turned in anger or joy, I have no interest in getting back on a bike. Today seemed too noisy, too cold, too monotonous, as we watched bikes scream past at 180mph from someone’s front lawn on Bray Hill. The whole spectacle seemed sadly just that: a two-dimensional spectacle, performed by loons in leathers. I missed my children.