“You’ll never be riding motorbikes when you’re 30”
A simple statement I’ll grant you, but among the endless conversations that spiralled into arguments, the tone of voice, the inflection and the derisory look, all combined to weld that moment into my mind for eternity.
Today I am 50 …… I first rode a motorbike at 7. I’ve had my licence for 34 years and been lucky enough to earn a living from riding one for over 50% of that time. 7 accidents, over 50 bikes, and ridden almost 946,000 miles in all weathers and through many wonderful countries.
Today, I think am a biker.
Yep, who would have believed it … I’m 50. More to the point, I’ve made it to 50! It only seems minutes ago I was sitting at home reading ‘On Two Wheels’, a sweaty-palmed teenager eager for life to get a move on. But it was in my late 20’s that the innocuous statement was made ….. what did she mean? As a full-time dispatch rider I wasn’t going to survive? Or that I had no conviction in anything I did? She certainly didn’t believe I was much good at anything. As a rider I was an accident waiting to happen in her eyes, so I took my ‘Institute of Advanced Motorists’ test and passed first time – but the bar was simply raised in her mind.
I think it’s fair to say that praise didn’t come easily, hell, it never really came at all. But I plodded on. Over the years I became a professional rider, earning a living from the one thing I love doing ……. I was still never good enough though. In the end, we parted our ways and life went on. Our paths haven’t crossed in the past 15 years and it’s now 12 years since I qualified as a motorcycle instructor and 5 years that the Capo and I have worked together.
Mother, you were wrong then, you’re still wrong now …….
I am Karl Robert Bianchini. Today I am 50. Today I am a biker, I always was and always will be. I think I’ve earned that right.