Riders’ Lives ~ Iain Banks

1.What was your first motorcycling experience?

Discounting Honda 50s and 90s, a Suzi GT185 that I was loaned for a few months back in 1976. Electric start, let me tell you.

2.What is your current bike?

Honda VFR 800 with ABS. I ordered the version without ABS but when it was de-crated it had the system fitted. Despite being an evangelical atheist, I took this as a Sign, and decided to keep it. Just had an Important Recall Information letter from Honda about Brake System Proportional Control Valve, funnily enough.

2.What bike would you most like to ride/own?

Harley D. V-Rod. Just because it looks fabulous. I’d have one by now, however I’m boycotting US goods while the current gang of war criminals remain in charge. (NB: this boycott obviously does not apply to Apple products; they’re Californian.)

4.What was your hairiest moment on a bike?

A couple of wet weather skids. I have a fabulous sense of balance and extraordinary luck, so I’ve actually yet to fall off…

5.What was your most memorable ride?

Driving through an abandoned railway tunnel near Glenfarg, south of Perth.

6.What would be the ideal soundtrack to the above?

Tunnel of Love? Going Underground?

7.What do you think is the best thing about motorcycling?

Ah, just that feeling of freedom, of being on the outside of the machine, exposed, connected, alive.

8.What do you think is the worst thing about motorcycling?

Ah, just that feeling of exposure, wrapped round the outside of the machine, exposed, vulnerable, a single mistake away from death… Well, that and idiot car drivers seemingly congenitally incapable of being able to see anything narrower than a 2CV, even if it has got its headlight on. Obviously.

9.Name an improvement you’d like to see for the next generation?

Lots more speed cameras. But they only photograph from the front! Huzzah!

10.How would you like to be remembered?

Eventually. No rush.

R.I.P. Iain Banks
16th February 1954 – 9th June 2013


(Iain answered the Rider’s Lives questions in July 2005 and they subsequently appeared in issue 96 a couple of months later – Ed)

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