Riders’ Lives ~ Auk Mitchell

1. What was your first motorcycling experience?

As far as I can remember, my first ride on my own first bike, a Suzuki 250cc Hustler, aged 18. Somehow I’m still here

2. What is your current bike?

A 1976 Honda 750/4 hardtail chop and a 1981 Suzuki GS550

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

Probably an outrageous old 70s style Triumph chop with looong springers. It’s what I was looking for before I bought the Honda… which I still love

4. Hairiest moment on a bike?

A fair few. The most unpleasant was a despatch job at the end of a freezing winter’s day. I hit freezing fog going out of London on my way to Bracknell. Had more than had enough by the time I got there but had another drop-off in Reading. After I’d finally made it there, I considered getting a B&B but went for home instead. The bike was slipping on the M4 and visibility was down to a few yards. I’ve never been that cold in my life. Really didn’t think I was going to make it. I hit Chiswick roundabout and pulled off into a car park where I got off the bike and curled up on the floor trying to make the pain go away. Two blokes came running over to see if I was alright!

5. What was your most memorable ride?

A fair few of those too. One stand out was during a solo trip down the Eastern side of the States. It was like a scene out of a film. I was riding on this long, straight back road… I think it was in South Carolina. I was passing through cotton fields on a cheap Z650 custom, piled up with luggage and for some unfathomable reason, 2 flags fluttering off the back.

I rode past this chain gang digging a ditch. Guards with rifles & mirror shades… the lot! They all stopped what they were doing and watched me ride past. It was quite a poignant moment… I’ve sometimes wondered what they were thinking.

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

Dunno… probably something by Lynyrd Skynyrd!

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

The noise, the feeling. Being connected to the environment you’re riding through

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

Being connected to the bad weather you’re riding through!

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

To stop politicians neutering the Hell out of motorcycling and life in general

10. How would you like to be remembered?

By a hillside full of mysterious weeping women in black veils and inappropriately short skirts as I make my final journey offshore aboard a flaming longboat

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