Bikers - Prepare To Ride

Very few real bikers choose their machines for transport, a use far more appropriately filled by more mundane devices which will not be dwelt upon. Analysing all the main reasons given by bikers, the most predominant is the search for kicks - thrills. But there is more to it than that. Lots of people get thrills from mucky books or shoplifting but no other activities can compare if you like to be a biker exhibitionist - unless you just want to be an exhibitionist. Biking is a major spectator sport and the maunufacturers have recognised it as such and done their bit to promote it.

Not many machines are fitted with ice-cream van chimes but for creating a suitable crowd pulling noise there are plenty of patent silencers available which can be taken off and thrown away at little extra cost. For the sound aspect the big fourstroke has always been famed for a good healthy roar, accompanied in the rhythm section by a virtuosi of rattles, clunks, grating and occasional backfires guaranteed to shake windows and badly fitting teeth for a half mile radius. Gaining considerable favour over the last few years is the cacophonous two smoke which gives vent to a sound like a fire alarm or knocking off hooter and will have most buildings emptied into the street in no time.

Now you have your audience it would be silly to leave the scene, so performance, petrol consumption and handling are of no importance. Having dispensed with the necessity for these the bike can be prepared for the visual image without worrying about weight, size, safety or anything else - especially cost. The most fashionable optional extra is the cylinder. Motorbike engines are bought by the yard (or metre) and you should get about two cylinders per foot. The complete bike is still sold by the pound.

Having run up a large debt for a machine many bikers make the lamentable mistake of trying to press these devices into service as transport, an action bound to result in deeper debt but not necessarily disaster if the job is tackled right.

Remember that once you start moving on your machine you will lose your audience and biking becomes a personal kick with no more status than a quick James Arthur - unless you happen to be two up! Before you set off adjust the bike to suit your riding position. All modern machines have a seat which is equally comfortable which ever way you are facing which is important because few bikes have reverse gear. Seat height is adjustable on all bikes with pneumatic rear tyres. Adjustable footrest position is taken care of by fitting a soft plastic centre stand but you must be sure to let the bike fall over on both sides. You will need to adjust the handlebars instantly for road burning or manhandling along busy pavements, so when you get your bike slacken off the handlebar clamp screws. Bar width alteration is not catered for and I am surprised no-one has marketed a 12" handlebar grip - think of its novel uses!

All controls should readily fall to hand, particularly gearchange lever and footbrake. The left may be required to work five controls - clutch, ignition advance, valve lifter, headlight flasher and dipswitch. Extra controls may be added if you have enough fingers. The right hand works front brake, throttle, choke lever, indicators, horn and cut out. Fortunately these controls are rarely required so the right arm can be usefully employed flapping about to give rude signals to other road users.



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