Riders’ Lives ~ Des Senior

1. What was your first motorcycling experience?

Had a go on a mate’s C50 at school and was hooked. Within 6 months I’d saved enough from my Saturday job to buy a ratty Honda CD175. Well, it wasn’t ratty when I bought it, it was after I’d fallen off it a few times.

2. What is your current bike?

I’m lucky to have a few in the garage, classics, dirt and track bikes but at the moment I’m loving my Honda Grom. It’s so much fun, you just can’t take it seriously.

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

I’ve actually put down a deposit on a new KTM 790 Adventure. I want to do some serious adventure touring before I get too old (I’m 62 now) and I have a hankering to ride out to Kazakhstan where I used to work and catch up with some old friends.

4. Hairiest moment on a bike?

I’ve had a few over the years, the only one that left any lasting damage was torpedoing another competitor while racing at Mallory Park, when he pulled across as I was about to pass him on a much faster line. That cost me a broken hip, which 25 years later I’ve just had replaced by a steel one.

5. What was your most memorable ride?

Again, many. But the one I remember first of all in my biking life was riding from home back to Uni after Christmas along the A4 in freezing fog on a CB350K4, stopping in Marlborough because the cable brakes had frozen, getting off the bike as a sheet of ice cracked off my front.

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

Years ago I’d have said ‘Jessica’ by the Allman Brothers but then Top Gear came along and ruined it. After that more of my riding was on track and you don’t really have time to think about soundtracks. ‘Rock ‘n Roll’ by Led Zep is always a good head-banging tune though.

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

When it’s all going right it’s like the bike isn’t there and it’s just you, flying. Off the bike I’ve met some of the best people in the world. Some real jerks too, but you can ignore them.

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

I’ve never enjoyed riding in cold and wet weather. Even with the right gear it’s miserable.

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

Bikes need to become a ‘normal thing’ again, or else we’ll become marginalised and eventually extinct. That means we need to look at how to get the cost of riding down and attract more young people to keep us in the mainstream. Electric bikes and congestion busting offer some great opportunities.

10. How would you like to be remembered?

Someone who lived his life to the full, loved his friends, family and bikes, and tried to leave the world a little bit of a better place than he found it.

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