IT’S nearly ten years since I sold my last motorcycle. “She” was a pretty Irish-green BMW R60/6, a 1974 classic Boxer-engine, smooth-talking banger with a rumble in her heart and a crisp throttle.
That was 2006. I have been bikeless ever since. I thought I was done with motorbikes. After all, the traffic in Johannesburg these days is an unfiltered, fumigating evil of aggression, lawlessness and loathing.
I still have the kit though – Italian all-weather jacket, naff helmet, a really decent pair of gloves, Smith goggles encrusted with dust and long-ago smacked insects. I have the same steel-toe boots that have kick-started more bikes than I can remember.
And now, I find myself in the potentially happy position of testing bikes for the Sunday Times. I like to think that’s because I can write (a little) and I have a bike licence. The fact that no-one else in this newsroom does is neither here nor there.
A couple of early morning burns later, and I can hear the siren song of the road again. I defy anyone to resist that call.
This year, I am on a quest to find the perfect ride. It’s going to be quite a search because everything in this world is about compromise. Or so the engineers tell me. The perfect bike may be the next bike I ride. Or it may be a mirage, as tricky as a runaway dust devil on a desert afternoon. As the picture shows, I’m not prejudiced and not fussy. I’ll try anything from a 125cc scoot to a café racer. We shall see.
Ride along. If nothing else, we’ll sure go some places.