Someone once said to me that riding a motorbike is a thrilling way to spend the final five years of your life, and it rather summed up my attitude to motorcycle riding. I'm not exactly a risk-averse person - ask my bank manager - but when I see a motorbike ducking in and out of the traffic at speed, or overtaking me on the motorway, with nothing for protection other than a helmet, a leather jacket and providence, I always wonder about the longevity of the rider.
Conscious of my own mortality, it's something I could never see myself doing. In fact, it's right there at number one on my reverse bucket list - all the things I don't want to do before I die. I'll come back to this list, but, having got to my considerable age without ever sitting astride a motorbike, I was pretty confident I would achieve this particular ambition.
But yesterday changed all that. I'd just had one of those stomach-churning calls to tell me that my car had been impounded: I thought it a prank call at first, but it turned out to be a stupid, administrative oversight on my part regarding a resident's pass. Infuriating though the call was, at least it's better than arriving back at your car, wondering whether you were losing your mind - was this really where I parked it? - then thinking it had been stolen, and finally finding out it had been towed away.
Anyway, I was faced with a miserable, pitiful trek to reunite myself with my car. A kindly disposed young man in my office offered to get me to the pound in a matter of minutes on the back of his motorbike. (A friend of mine, the CEO of a FTSE company, has a chauffeur but eschews a car in favour of a motorbike, and swears it's the best way to get around London.) So I had a difficult psychological balancing act: on the one hand, I never, ever want to go on a motorbike, while on the other, I'd get there quickly and the terror of the journey would take my mind off my fury about the iniquities if the modern world.
And so it was that, a little while later, I was straddling a vintage bike with flames painted on its body, and holding on to the man at the controls like my life depended on it (which, of course, it did). Well, I'm here to tell the story, so it couldn't have gone that bad. In fact, I rather enjoyed the experience, despite the extreme cold.
I didn't exactly get a taste of the freedom that bikers enthuse about - the King's Road at rush hour is not the place for that - but I did understand the convenience and there was just a soupçon of thrill. In any case, it's off my reverse bucket list now. So what's left? What are the things I've never done, and want to die without doing? Eat a McDonalds. Watch an episode of EastEnders. Go to a Starbucks. Learn to ski. Go on an adventure holiday. And, of course, see Star Wars. I'm sure others should be added to the list. Suggestions?Reuse content