Riders’ Lives ~ Gary France

Gary France

1. What was your first motorcycling experience?

As a 16 year old, I bought a Honda C90 and rode it year round. As a family, we didn’t have much money, so I rode it without gloves or waterproofs. Some days I was so cold I could hardly move my hands.

2. What is your current bike?

I am very lucky to have four motorcycles. A Harley-Davidson Road King, two Harley custom bikes and a recently bought Triumph Bonneville which I plan to customise into a flat tracker.

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

As a young man, we used to regularly go watch motorcycle racing at Brands Hatch. One of my heroes was Giacomo Agostini riding an MV Augusta. His playboy image and riding ability was something I aspired to. I have always wanted to ride an MV Agusta, but have never had the chance.

 4. What was your hairiest moment on a bike?

I haven’t really had any, at least not recently. I do remember riding a GT750 Suzuki when much younger and hit a brick in the outside lane of the M1 at around 100 mph. That was very scary.

5. What was your most memorable ride?

This is easy to answer. A few years ago, I rode 21,475 miles in one trip around the USA. This took 4months and I managed to see 27 states on a glorious journey that varied from Mountain is to deserts. I liked the ride so much I wrote a book ‘France in America’ about the trip.

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

The sound of other motorcycles riding with me. I enjoy showing other riders great roads and terrific places to ride and that is why I set up Tour1. It is very rewarding seeing the smiles on people’s faces at the end of the great days riding.

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

Driving in a car across spectacular scenery makes you feel as if you’re watching a film. Riding almost anywhere makes you feel you are featuring in that film. You can feel the temperature change, the wind, smells, the warmth of the sun and you can feel changes in the road surface. I love riding motorcycles!

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

I don’t mind riding in rain, providing it starts raining during the ride. I hate starting a ride when it is already raining

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

More freedom for motorcyclists. Compulsory hi-vis, engine size restrictions, compulsory ABS and customising restrictions are all possible in the future. I sincerely hope limitations from the European Union do not spoil the freedom we currently enjoy.

10. How would you like to be remembered?

That bloke who went on some pretty cool motorcycle journeys.

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