In contrast to the news last week that more 55-year-olds than ever are taking their test, our #ride5000miles members are proving that motorcycling is a long way from just being an old man’s game.
One prominent, high-mileage member of the R5K group is 19-year-old Sam Wicks. The student and kennel-worker has already completed over 10,000 miles on his A2-spec Triumph Street Triple since he bought it in August last year.
“I just love riding,” he says. “Before the Triumph I had a Yamaha YZF-R125, which I did 25,000 miles on. I ride my bike everywhere, for fun, to bike meets, over to the British GP and with a pillion, too.”
Being a biker if you are under 23 requires serious commitment. From the ages of 17 to 19, new riders are restricted to 125cc even if you pass a test, then from 19 to 23, they can only ride a bike under 47bhp and to do that you have to pass another test. Then, yet another test is needed after two years to enable riders to own a full-power bike. It’s expensive, confusing and time-consuming.
“The biggest obstacles are the multiple-stage tests and insurance costs,” says Sam. “I paid £850 to insure my 50cc at 16, £1250 for my 125 and I pay £1917 for the Street Triple. I’m insured through Bikesure – they’re the only ones who understood the A2 model and would actually cover me.”
“But there is no way I’m ever going to give up my two-wheeled life, not unless I physically unable to ride any more. Going for a ride never ceases to clear my mind, and de-stress me.
“My advice to all young riders is to stick at it, despite the complications. This applies to young 125 riders the most if you’re out accelerated by a granny in her car, or when you’re being judged by the guys on ‘big bikes’ when you ride to your local meet. People tend to see young bikers as hooligans or nuisances who always ride dangerously or take risks, and that’s definitely not always the case.”
What is #ride5000miles?
MCN's campaign aims to encourage riders to cover 5000 miles in a year.
How do I do it?
Make a note of your mileage at the start of your biking year. Take a photo at the start and end of the challenge.
Five reasons to sign up
1. It’ll make you a better rider.
2. You’ll know your bike better than ever, and enjoy it more.
3. It’ll make you ride to places you’ve never been before.
4. Be part of a top biking community.
5. Share tips on where to ride and what kit can go the distance.
How to sign up: www.facebook.com/ groups/ride5000miles