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-only race machine.
Therefore in August 2009 I purchased a Charge Duster Eight to use as my main ride-all-year machine. It has a Shimano Alfine 8 speed hub gear which, whilst being somewhat inefficient (i.e. harder effort to pedal), has proved ideal for a low maintenance mud machine.
The social network I started for riders in my local area is www.petersfieldmountainbikers.org.uk
For many years my preferred choice of motorised transport has been the motorbike. 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.
From 2005 to 2012 I owned 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’).
I did just over 64,000miles on the GS whilst I owned it and definitely consider it the most capable and comfortable motorbike I have ever ridden. If (when:-) I have the justification to buy another motorbike I won't be considering any other type of bike.
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.