I have been keen on mountain biking since the late 1980s.
My first proper mountain bike was Marin Bear Valley that I had between 1989 and 1995. Following that in April 1995 I purchased a 19" Orange Vit T2 titanium hardtail. I kept the bike until August 2009 when it went to a new loving home via retrobike.co.uk.
2008 saw a major updating of my biking with the purchase of a Scott Spark Ltd. This is/was the world's lightest full suspension production mountain bike and it is a truly exceptional machine.
I've used the Spark to complete the South Downs Way in a day a number of times and it is the perfect bike for epic all-day summer rides.
For the first winter that I owned the Spark I rode it through all conditions. Mud clearnance is actually very good but the level of wear and tear on the top level components and the fact that all the pivot bearings have required replacing twice in two years makes it obvious that it is only sensible to think of the Spark as a summer race-only machine.
Therefore in August 2009 I purchased a Charge Duster Eight to use as a winter/training bike as it will hopefully require minimal maintenance.
The social network I started for riders in my local area is www.petersfieldmountainbikers.org.uk
My preferred choice of motorised transport is motorbike. I guess this is because I do not have the patience to sit in traffic and don't like to be dependant upon unreliable public transport. I passed my full motorcycle test in 1992 and have owned four different bikes since then. In April 2004 I passed the Institute of Advanced Motorists motorcycle test.
I currently own a 2005 BMW R 1200 GS — a large capacity touring/enduro bike built to be as good off-road as it is on road (GS stands for ‘gelande/strasse’ which translates as ‘off-road/street’).
The engine is the latest in the long-line of ‘Boxer’ opposed twins that BMW have used since 1923 (see specials.bmw-motorrad.com/com/en/fascination/history/history_main.html for the history of BMW motorcycles). This latest engine, one of the so-called “hex-head” series, has lots of low-down torque (85lbft or 115Nm) and a power output of 100bhp (at 7000rpm). The bike also benefits from comparatively low weight (199Kg), servo-assisted ABS brakes and BMW's unique approach to suspension.
I am interested in, but not that knowledgeable about, historic motorcycles. Museums that have interesting collections can be found on my ‘Places to Visit’ page.
In early August 2004 I spotted this collection of Indian motorcycles parked outside a local pub. I stopped and took the following shots but did not speak to the German owners. I have later been informed that the guys who rode these Indians are members of the German Indian Motorcycle Club – www.indianclub.de (site is in German) – and on their way to the international Indian Rally which took place in Britain that year. The styling of Indian motorcycles has long appealed to me and I have number of books on them, but before the day of seeing this collection I don't think I had ever seen one example ‘in the flesh’ so was quite surprised to spot twelve of them together. I really admired the fact that these bikes were being ridden overseas, were not ‘over-restored’ and were reliant on improvised luggage.
This museum, near New Milton in the New Forest contains an interesting collection of motorcycles. Many of the machines are from long-gone British manufacturers and all the bikes on display are immaculate.