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We're all doomed...

Wed, 25 Aug 2010

Went to meet Niall Mackenzie at Donington on Saturday. He was doing some one-on-one instruction at a two-day Focused Events track bash, the first to be held at the newly reopened Leicestershire circuit. I was really interested in what they’d done to the track and the new chicane looks the business. I’m sure Niall has a few things to say about the track himself.

We were stood on pitlane with Chris Walker, looking skyward waiting for it to stop raining. It was then, looking up the row of garages that it dawned on me how old we all are. As far as the eye could see it was nothing but a sea of bald or grey heads – ours included.

Niall pointed out that he’d done his part to foster another generation of motorcyclists. He’d helped both his boys to explore and enjoy the biking scene and wee Tarran was there alongside him – RS125 Honda on its stand in the garage beside Niall’s S1000RR BM’.  To a certain extent, I’ve done my bit too, with both my kids more than capable of hustling a bike.

I know it’s no longer a cheap hobby but, as hobbies go, biking has become a very late-forties pastime and I’m seriously worried that we’re eating ourselves. It doesn’t seem sustainable in the long run. Twenty years ago, track days like this were full of young nutters on LC Yamahas and 250 Gammas. Coming to think of it that young nutter was me and the pit lane at Donington was just the same nutters, just twenty years on, greyer, slightly fatter and still doing track days.

A mate stayed at ours on Saturday night and he (nearly 40) said he hadn’t been using his CBR600RR much and struggled to find time to ride it, what with work and family duties, an’ all that. He was thinking of chopping it in for something like a VFR800, something that was comfier, nicer to ride with a pillion and more likely to get used in rain or shine. I’m running a VFR1200 as a long termer – my choice – so his sentiments kind of struck a chord. 

Another alarm bell rang when I caught him doing my Observer crossword on Sunday morning. I had to have a word with myself. This was nothing to be angered by, surely?

Then I clocked the clock. At just gone 9am on a Sunday morning we were both up – even after a fairly thirsty evening in town. Aaaargh! Old people get up early. Old people enjoy crosswords. Aaaargh!Old people want to trade sports bikes in for ‘something a little comfier’.

I realised that this was the moment where I’d probably have to kill myself.

Our (my) only hope is the next generation.

But how do we entice the next generation onto bikes? Any suggestions gratefully received…

By mark forsyth

See also: Front wheel hopping on a 'Blade, South West Motorcycle Show 2010, August 28th & 29th , And it's goodbye from him.