Spring is officially in the air and up and down the country, motorcycling enthusiasts are dusting off their bikes ahead of drier, warmer conditions in which to enjoy the open roads. One such biker is our very own Marika Nicholson, Nikwax Export Sales Account Manager, who will soon be making the most of the sunshine and longer days on her HD Sport Glide…
How long have you been motorbiking and what inspired you to take it up?
I really got into it by accident. My husband kept going on about wanting a motorbike until one day I said, “If you are having one, I am having one”, and that was it, I had no way out and got my license and my first motorbike!
What is your favourite model of motorbike and why?
I started with a Kawasaki ZXR 400, after that a Vulkan S and then a Sportster 1200. I most definitely prefer the cruiser. I like the relaxed riding style and the possibility of loading it with gear for further afield touring. I recently acquired a HD Sport Glide, which I customised to suit my requirements.
What has been your most memorable motorbiking adventure so far and what ones are still on your bucket list?
I have been on quite a few touring holidays in the UK and abroad, and I enjoyed all of them, even those where it rained so much the roads became rivers! The Hardknott pass in the Lake District was a bit tricky. A tour through the Alpine region is on the cards for next year, I think. I have not done the Stelvio Pass in northern Italy, bordering Switzerland, yet, so that will need to be done at some point. A touring holiday in the USA needs to be arranged too! Still so many roads to ride….
How do you stay safe on the roads?
By looking ahead, being aware of my surroundings, always anticipating what other road users might do, and riding within my own capabilities.
Why is it important to look after your motorbike kit and what products do you use to keep your leathers, gloves and helmet consistently performing?
Good motorcycle clothing does not come cheap, so it is important to take good care of it. If you look after your gear, it will last and look good for much longer. For my all-season synthetic gear I use Nikwax Tech Wash® for cleaning and TX.Direct® for reproofing. For my leather clothing I use Nikwax Leather Cleaner and Leather Restorer, and for my boots Waterproofing Wax for Leather. For my visor I use Visor Proof and for my gloves, Glove Proof.
What advice would you give to those who are keen to take up motorbiking?
Just give it a go! It is a liberating feeling being out on the open road. You can ride alone or join other bikers. Whatever type of riding you prefer, it is up to you – just always be alert and ride safe.
Motorbike camping is now a popular way to immerse yourself in two great passions – motorbikes and nature. What packing advice would you give to people planning a trip, and what key items should they not leave home without?Make sure your insurance and breakdown cover is up to date, fit for purpose and you have the correct documentation with you when going abroad. Always pack as light as possible, as you do not want to add too much weight to your bike (don’t forget your security devices, which are heavy but necessary). A travel tube of BaseWash® or Wool Wash may help with this, as you can quickly hand wash some items of clothing rather than packing too much if away for longer. Pack evenly to keep the balance of your bike. I always have rain gear, an extra layer of clothing and a tool pouch, including zip ties and tape, in my saddle bag.
Being outdoors is beneficial for all of us. What physical and/or mental benefits do you personally get from motorcycling?
Because I need to be aware of what is going on around and ahead of me on the road I enjoy being in the moment, the countryside and the scenery of where I am at that point in time. It is great for switching off from work and the worries of everyday life.