Rider Profile: Zoe

Some of my happiest travelling memories are by bike. Some of my favourite stories to tell involve riding. I think any biker will tell you that.

I have always loved the idea of motorcycling. As a child I remember staring at the massive purple custom Harley at the bottom of the street in Devonport, and wishing I could spend my Saturday afternoons off roading with my friend on his little 50cc dirt bike. I am told that my mum was still riding her Honda 90 when she was very pregnant with me. Must be her fault, then.

I finally learnt to ride along with Allister, my husband, and we have shared a bike until very recently. First the little Moto-Roma Virage, then the Suzuki Bandit 600 S, then the SV650S. Being short and wanting to ride doesn’t always go together and I have often had very little confidence in my riding as a result. We had the SV lowered to help, but it was still a shared bike and so it was important Allister was comfortable on it too.

The Harley and it's shadow on Top Down 2009

Whenever we went away I would be the +1 – pillion with either Allister or Rick or Graham. I didn’t mind, I enjoyed being sat on the back, I found it very relaxing and I could take photos as we rode along. But when we were planning our last charity ride back in 2009 I realised it would make such a difference if I had my own bike. We thought about buying me an old runner for the trip, but first I approached a few local dealers to see if they could help me. And to my great surprise, Lincoln Harley-Davidson said yes. So I did that amazing trip on a brand new 100-miles-on-the-clock Harley-Davidson Sportster Nightster 1200. Not only was I able to ride myself but I was doing it on something of a dream bike. It was so heavy, and I got so wet on the naked Harley, but able to put both feet on the ground my riding improved with every mile and I loved it. I will never forget that.

On the F650GS on Inch beach

For our trip to Ireland I hired a BMW F650GS from Celtic Rider in Dublin. I’ve always liked enduro style bikes – rugged and “go anywhere” – and I absolutely fell in love with the GS on that trip. It was nimble, practical, and with the low seat I could reach the ground just about ok. A couple of months after that trip Allister found and bought me my very own F650GS – factory lowered version with a low seat and some added extras like engine bars and a nice tall touring screen. My very own bike, and it’s totally perfect for me, I am comfortable and confident riding it. I still don’t ride much though, I need to rectify that.

Zoe's F650GS in Scotland 2012

I miss Graham a lot. Especially when it comes to biking. Ride outs are simply not the same without him, and this tour will definitely have one bike too few. It was Graham we relied on for maintenance. For routes. For bananas and cereal bars! This ride, while it won’t be the same, is my way of trying to do something positive with my grief. Raising money for Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support means we can at least do something to help protect and support someone else, another family, who may go through something like us.

Published by Splodz

Life is all about the journey.

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