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Top 10 reasons that make riding worth it

Riding bikes is unbelievably dangerous and a confusing to people the reasons behind straddling the two-wheeled time bombs, the omnipotent voice of Visordown collects the top ten reasons why people are passionate about motorcycles


10. Learning the Ropes

Passing my test first time was a challenge and I slowly progressed with my riding to a level I thought was relatively good. But as the months passed, I found I'd barely scratched the two-wheeled surface. Just watching the professional riders showed me how far I could stretch my ability. The more I ride, the more I learn.

09. Motorbikes aren't for everyone

Being into bikes isn't ultimately so different to train-spotting. We have our own jargon; so do they. We can spend all day just looking at the objects of our desires; so can they. We have a shocking anorak knowledge of the subject we love; so do they. The only real difference is that indulging a passion for motorcycles may just earn you a one-way trip to meet the reaper, which, short of tripping on his thermos and plunging headlong underneath the 11.23 to Crewe, is not something your average train-spotter has to contend with. Without this ever-present danger (which, as we all know, is far less than Joe Public imagines it to be), there would be no challenge to riding, no thrill at pushing your abilities, and no reward in getting it right. And without any danger we'd be stuffed because bikes would then be safe and everyone would be at it. Your nan would be popping over on a GSX-R1000, your mum would want a Blade, and we'd be about as cool as, well, train-spotters.

08. Surviving a massive moment

The first heart-skipping moment is immediately followed by a wave of adrenalin surging through your system and an odd metallic taste in your mouth. You made it. Relief turns to hysterical laughter. What is it about surviving a near-death experience on a bike that makes you want to laugh? The split-second after a massive moment when you know you've made it is a rush. Later, thinking yourself back through it gives a tingle of excitement, but tainted with 'what ifs' as you've had more time to consider the consequences. Knowing all is well and you're alive despite nearly not being so, is better than any drug.

Seven to four

07. That brand new bike thing

Ahh, the nostril-twitching waft of brand-spanking paint, fibreglass and aluminium. The gentle squish of the brand new, unused suspension the first time you wheel it off its stand. The crisp click of the switchgear. The firmness of the seat. The fact that nobody else has sullied the beast other than you. New bikes, most definitely, rule...

06. N85 from Grasse to Digne les Bains

Part of the Route Napoleon that runs from Cannes on the Cote d'Azur to Grenoble in the western Alps, this stretch of the N85 is a personal favourite 65-mile-or-so stretch of road. Snaking up hill and mountainsides northwest of Grasse, the road is twisty but fast, wide and flowing. A few miles further on the road drops down and levels out and the turns become faster still as they follow a valley floor, before climbing up again after Castellane (you can turn left here for a detour into the awesome Gorges du Verdon). Through the town and out the other side it's a twisty climb over the Col des Leques before some scarily fast turns and scenic straight bits before the drop down into Dignes, the ideal starting point for a blast into the Alps the following day.

05. Pulling a wheelie

Fear and dread of the unknown before you do your first one, followed by a huge grin coupled with total elation when you get it right.

Read our wheelie guide to perfect the mono-wheel skill

04. A perfect lap

Mallory, 1988. I remember doing a lap there with Mick Grant's F1 bike. It were the British championship and we missed the first two sessions so I got there really keen to get out and catch up. Come set-up time we guessed everything, and everything were right. It just came alive. Everybody had Dunlops, and in those days tyres were shit; even slicks were moving around a lot. But I were that confident with the bike you could get it into the hairpin and open up the throttle, get it sideways and somehow, you're just sliding it every lap. This sounds like I knew exactly what I were doing, but I didn't. It just felt right. After about three or four runs I got it perfect in one lap. I got a perfect line into Gerrards, didn't get held up, drifted right up to the edge of the track and didn't have to shut off. Absolutely perfect. I came in thinking, 'Fucking 'ell, that were the perfect lap'. I were a second quicker than anybody else, and I knew it.

Three to one

03. First time at 100mph

Tucked down, engine screaming, wind dragging you off the back, eyes glued on the clocks. The needle edges nearer the magic three numbers. Come on, just a bit more. Two fingers on the clutch, listening to the straining mechanical bedlam in case the engine's about to throw in the towel. Just a few more mph... You never forget your first kiss, your first shag or your first time to 100mph. Yamaha RD400, August 1995.

02. First time getting your knee down

In 1997 I bought my first brand-new bike, a Suzuki GSX-R600 WV. One Friday night at Chelsea Bridge I met these guys who started telling me about their knee-down antics. I listened in awe, thinking how cool it'd be if I could turn up at a roundabout and casually get my knee down. GSX-R750- riding Dean promised he'd teach me next week, but I couldn't wait. One evening after work I went to the 'Docklands racetrack' - a couple of roundabouts and a straight on a semi-deserted road. I stuck my GSX-R in second and went round and round , leaning further and further and sticking my butt and knee out in a ridiculous fashion. I felt like if I stuck my knee out any further I'd pull a muscle. It was getting dark and I was becoming demoralised when suddenly my slider caught the Tarmac and I heard that unmistakable scrape. It lasted a fraction of a second, I scared myself shitless and almost careered into a lamp post. But that fraction of a second and the elation that followed is engraved in my memory. That Sunday, I met my new mates at a roundabout and casually got my knee down.

01. The sweet smell of freedom

Since the days when men were men and er, girls were girls, riding motorcycles has been associated with freedom. But I never cared much for that kind of nonsense - until I ventured abroad for the first time to the South of France with my biking buddies. The previous day we'd left northern France behind to reach the south, where we'd be spending many more full days' riding. Then yet another winding stretch of smooth tarmac that rivalled the world's best GP tracks sucked us deep into the glorious Alps. It struck me I had no clear destination, no job to go to, no responsibilities, no one to answer to, no weight over my shoulders; all I had was my motorcycle, many roads to ride and all the time in the world. I was free.