James' Rider Story
"I've lived in the area for well over 10 years, and now that I've got the bike I'm exploring new places I've never seen before."
I’m James and this is my rider story. So I’m a Norfolk boy, born and bred. I moved to London far too long ago now – probably 15 years, which seems like a long time. I am a journalist by trade, covering the automotive sector. I went from a staff member of an online magazine to freelance and that has sorted me. It’s a perfect balance between work and home life. Now, I can more or less choose when I work and when I don’t work – deadlines permitting. When I have free time I need to escape either with the family or by myself on the back of the bike.
I’d always wanted to ride motorbikes. When I was 16 and 17 all my friends had 50 cc’s and 125’s, but I never had the cash to get one myself. I was always incredibly jealous of them. I think one had a DT50, one had a Yamaha, another one had a Yamaha Fizzy which is now worth a lot. I could never afford it so, yeah, 17 then life got in the way. I went to university, then lived abroad, then got married and had a family so it was never possible. Until now – so, I thought well why not strike while the iron’s hot? I’ve got a little bit of money – I can actually pay for a motorbike now, so I’ll jump on the back of it, let’s get going!
I have always loved adventure bikes. I like the idea of them. I think you know they can take you places and you can go exploring and stuff. The terrain is arguably the only adventure-styled 125 that can give you that experience. The styling, I guess, is the biggest thing I like about it if I’m being perfectly honest. For what is a relatively small amount of money you get an awful lot of bike, and added to the fact that it has that styling about it and that ability then that was the thing that attracted me to it. I thought yeah, I’m sold here. The Toro exhaust is a must-have for the Sinnis. I’ve sold myself on the ability that living in South-East London I needed it for safety reasons, so other traffic could hear me coming. Which is, you know, a decent enough reason but also it’s just the sound it gave you, and the feeling as well when you’re riding it. This is all about fun and that’s why I wanted another reason for buying a bike as well and the toro exhaust was just an addition to that, taking it to the next level.
I ride because I need to escape. Everyone’s life is pretty stressful. You go to work, you do a day’s work and thinking things can feel like 100 miles an hour. I need that head-clearing, and I used to do it on my road bike – pedalling along, which was fine, it’s brilliant, but I’d always wanted to have a motorbike. Once I decided that I was going to get one, and then got the Sinnis Terrain, it was another way to detach. Basically, clear your head. Especially here, when you can get very quickly out into the countryside and then there’s just nothing, you know. If you know where you’re going, single-track roads and there’s not a lot of traffic, and you can see deers and birds in the sky – that’s brilliant! It helps clear the cobwebs out and then you can come back and you’re refreshed, and you think yeah, I can get on with the next part of whatever I’ve got to do in my daily life.
Kent’s just one of those places – very historic, because it’s so close to London, there’s a lot of stuff going on – from famous people that wanted to get out into the countryside, so they went straight into Kent. There’s a lot of national trust places about, and there’s one specifically called Toys Hill which is about 20-ish miles maybe from Bromley. And the minute you’re four miles out and you’re outside of Bromley, you’re onto the back roads, you’re into the fields in the countryside and it’s nice winding not very fast, because they’re very small roads. It takes you out straight away into that beautiful countryside, and you go literally up a hill to the top of Toys Hill Woods and it’s just peaceful. There’s not a lot going on – you hear the birds tweeting and that’s about it. And that’s one of the places where you can just sit and collect your thoughts.