From pillion to pilot: #R5Ker urges others to ride under their own steam

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A determined member of #ride5000miles has gone from pillion passenger to riding across different continents in just four years and now wants to inspire others.

Bedfordshire-based training consultant, Sue Gibbons, 57, got hooked on biking after travelling on the back of husband Brian’s BMW GS. She completed her Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) at the start of 2017, before spending a few months on a Honda CBF125 and passing her Direct Access test in the March of that year.

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“I actually found it remarkably easy when I started riding and really enjoyed it. I kind of took to it like a duck to water,” Sue explained. “I had a moped when I was 16, which I spent most of the time being knocked off by people who said they couldn’t see me. Other than that, I had only ever ridden horses.”

Sue started riding on a Honda CBF125

Sue jumped onto a BMW F700GS after passing her test and went on to cover around 7000 miles alongside Brian. She then progressed to a Triumph Tiger 800 XRT and brought her total mileage to a very respectable R5K-sating 21,000 across around four years of riding.

Not satisfied with simply racking up distance in the UK, they have now ridden together all over Europe, as well as the North Coast 500 in Scotland, the Isle of Wight and even a stretch of the iconic Route 66 in the USA, on a pair of BMWs.

“Because my husband also rides, I was never in a situation where I had to go and practice on my own,” Sue continued. “Biking means that when we are not working, and we’ve got some free time, we spend it together.”

Sue and Brian also post motorcycle videos to their YouTube channel, Midlife Motorcycle Diaries, and now hope to inspire more couples to enjoy riding together.

“We started recording and making videos because it’s really important to make memories,” Sue added. “It was to get couples to enjoy riding together, or people who might not have a partner but have thought ‘I quite fancy that’.”

Next year, with the vaccine on the way, the duo hope to escape for a three-week getaway in France, with Sue having just put a deposit down on a new Triumph Tiger 900 GT Pro.