London City Bikers take on RBLR 1,000 Mile challenge – part 2
I met up with the London City Bikers group before they set of on a 1,000 mile charity bike ride for the Royal British Legion Riders Branch. You can read about their thoughts on this challenge in part 1 of my interview. I then asked them about how biking in a group is a great way for beginners to get into riding.
Would you say it’s more enjoyable to be part of a meetup group than to do this sort of thing on your own?
Alex: Definitely, when I first started biking, I didn’t have that much confidence, and I didn’t really know where to go, so for the first year I didn’t get much use out of the bike, then I came across the sites, and it starts snowballing, you get ideas from each other, and it’s more enjoyable than riding by yourself. It’s also great to pass ideas and tips onto new comers, as we have quite a few in the group, sometimes we organise nice easy rides down the south, or to Wales. We even went to Iceland not too long ago.
Gareth: Meetups could be anything from a few people in a country pub, to this thousand mile ride or the Iceland trip.
Is this something you’d recommend for new riders?
Gareth: Most of the newcomers we have are new to big bikes, these trips are probably not quite right for 125cc bikes, but once you’ve completed your DAS (Direct Access). But we’ve got a good mix of people, young and old and a really good mix of women, possibly a 50:50 ratio.
Alex: We had more female riders on the Iceland trip.
Phil: On the Wales trip as well.
Alex: We probably have a disproportionate number of female riders compared to bikers as a whole, it’s not too rowdy and boisterous, it’s a friendly environment and newbie friendly as well. We’d recommend anyone to build up your confidence and learn from other people.
Gareth: On the weekend round Wales, when we’ve had new riders with us, you see them at the start of the weekend, and you see how they’re riding at the end of the weekend, it’s a massive improvement.
Any advice for new bikers?
Alex: Build up your road awareness slowly; be careful not to go too fast too soon. Defensive riding is always a good way to go.
Gareth: I’d say get out and talk to other bikers, I spent my first two years riding on my own, I didn’t know anyone, but when you go riding with other bikers, you pick up different skills, and you find out what kit works and what’s useless.
Phil: I think what new riders generally struggle with is the steering, so when you come to groups like ours, you really learn how to see and approach the lines, especially on bendy roads.
Finally, a mush have gadget for our readers?
All: Sat Nav
Gareth: Heated grips, they’ll change your life.
Alex: Ear plugs, if you’re going to be doing a long ride, anything above 60mph, otherwise you literally have rockets in your ears, and it can give you headaches and cause you to fatigue quickly, which can be dangerous.
I’d like to thank Gareth, Alex and Phil for their time and hope their ride went well.
If you would like to see if riding is for you, why not have a free ride with Get On?