1. What was your first motorcycling experience?
Apart from riding pillion with various unsuitable boyfriends when I was a teenager, my first motorcycling experience was wobbling around a cobbled yard in Kennington on a BSA Bantam. I bought it, and it never ran again.
2. What is your current bike?
I currently have a 2004 Yamaha TTR250, which is the bike I just rode across Africa. I also have a 1994 Yamaha Serow (currently recovering from being nicked and hotwired by some scallywags (aka wankers) in Kings Cross, and a 1978 XT500 with which I have the standard love/hate relationship.
3. What bike would you most like to ride/own?
I would love to have a BSA 441 Victor (a tasty 60s scrambler).
4. Hairiest moment on a bike?
My first attempt at off-road riding saw me flying through the air after performing an accidental jump in a Derbyshire quarry. I landed on my right knee and the bike landed on me. The result was bad case of Tourettes followed by a trip to Matlock Hospital.
5. What was your most memorable ride?
Riding across Africa to Cape Town, especially through the Congo (memorable for the wrong reasons) and crossing the Sahara (for the right ones).
6. What would be the ideal soundtrack to the above?
‘We’ve got to get out of this place’ by the Animals (for the Congo). ‘Do you believe in magic’ by the Lovin’ Spoonful for the Sahara – because it’s the most upbeat record ever.
7. What do you think is the best thing about motorcycling?
The feeling of freedom, especially on a dirt bike – you can literally go anywhere. Also, I love the camaraderie that exists between motorcyclists.
8. What do you think is the worst thing about motorcycling?
Putting on all the clobber in the winter.
9. Name an improvement you’d like to see for the next generation?
Less emphasis by the motorcycle media on buying the ‘right’ bike / clothes / kit and more emphasis on just riding for the sheer fun of it – which, surely, is why we all do it in the first place.
10. How would you like to be remembered?
As someone who had a go.
Originally appeared in issue 117, June 2007