Back To Back Bikes

Back To Back Bikes

It’s been ‘back to back bikes’ over the last three weekends as fate contrives to get me learning again would seem.


I’ve done everything about learning to ride a motorbike backwards. Except for the first flush of love at age 10 this little lad above.. when a relative parked his large bike (cant remember make/model) outside my house – having called in to watch the ’66 cup final en-route Yorkshire to Cornwall ..and my sister and I were foolish enough to try sitting on it – when he wasn’t looking. Oops.

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Heading home early from a stay in Somerset – I was passed on the motorway by three riders – including this lovely lady – whose riding style was so great – it’ll remain in my memory throughout my own training to come. We had a great chat .. and I know, if she can, she’ll be supportive – as she only started riding four years ago. Even tho’ she is half my age.


I set up a last minute catch up with some old biking pals, in Broadway in Worcestershire (a favourite pit-stop) where I worked in the 70’s and 80’s. Theirs weren’t the only bikes there, on such a gorgeous day. Fish Hill gleamed enticingly in the hot sunshine.

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It seems that more than just the waistlines got upgraded over the years.

At a diminutive size 8 and all of 5 feet 1 and 3/4 inches tall – I’ve had many a larger rider try to dissuade me. But: although the accident to my hand set me back and had me revise my already modest ambitions (for now) .. it’s time to get back on the bike.

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No – not this one – but I wish.

My cousin Martin (I thought they were all called Rachel?) remembers ‘blasting through Evesham and Broadway with you’  – me –  on the back of his Yamaha 1100:  pic’ below. Never thought I’d utter these words.. but those were the days. It’s probably his fault I like trad’ bikes. I’ll try and improve my edit of his photo.

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I’m glad to have learnt at small cost so far – more getting up close and personal with the tarmac will no doubt ensue – and I’ll be happy to be a learner for as long as it takes to get roadworthy. First off is dealing with overall fitness; particularly upper body strength. My legs have always been strong.

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But not this strong..

The only photograph of me on the Honda CB125 I bought shortly after the accident to make sure I didn’t give up.. shows me looking ridiculously tense – and small. This is partly because the bike – even this one – is too big for me. Something folk didn’t waste time telling me when they saw it – even people who had previously been supportive jumped on (or should I say off) the bandwagon.

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Since then I’ve joined a very supportive ladies riding club. Plus – I’m subscribed to the UK’s first ever magazine purely for lady riders- which arrived today. The lead article (first issue) deals with tiny lady riders –  with legs that manufacturers ignore. Except when they want to use us to sell the bikes!

It lists suitable bikes for all lady riders – starting at 4ft tall. Wow .. for the first time ever – I’m in a survey where I come in at ‘medium’ height 🙂 Maybe, eventually, I can upgrade my ambitions to ‘medium’ too.  There’s even a useful article by a lady rider whose husband has a workshop where he customises bikes to be suitable for us midgets. No hurry tho’ – getting there is half the fun. I don’t care how long it takes.

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So – click your sparkly heels together Helen (eyes on the road please) and maybe that long ago 21 year old – with the help of a new lady instructor – will, finally, get her dearest wish.

Back To Back Bikes


About largelyhelen

Designer, photographer, writer.
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