Richard Hammond has ridden a bike for the first time since the 288mph jetcar crash that almost killed him – and MCN was there with him all the way.
Just days after doctors gave the all-clear to ride again, MCN columnist Hammond fired up a bike and headed out onto the streets of London near to do something he feared he may never do again.
As he lifted off his Arai just seconds after shutting off the engine, an ecstatic and beaming Hammond said: “It felt like a fantastic connection straight back to a time when I hadn’t suffered a brain injury and life was a lot simpler. “That’s why I ride a bike. I can come out of a TV studio or the big meeting doing grown up stuff but the moment I get on a bike I’m exactly the same person I was 15 or 20 years ago. “I just can’t believe how good that was. Even though I haven’t been on a bike since before my accident, it’s a bit of a grim wet day and I feel really out of practice it just makes perfect sense.
“That ride, the quick wobbly ride with me looking like a nobber just made me realise why I love bikes and just what I started riding for all those years ago.
“Every ride I have ever done, all those rides in the pissing rain on a 50 back when I was 16, the commutes on a GSX-R750, chugging around on my Harley, stringing loads of miles together on my BMW R1150GS – they all make sense and came back to me in a split second.
“I’m finding it fairly hard to work out how I feel because just getting back on a bike has been incredible.
“It’s not like I had forgotten how to ride but I did have to really think about what I was doing. It still felt perfectly natural just my naturally cautious riding temperament has perhaps gone up a notch or two.”
You can see a full length feature of Hamster’s return on a bike in this week’s issue of MCN out Thursday, December 28, 2006.