From Leather to Lycra

I hate the label “mid life crisis”!

The Leather
The Leather

I don’t think I was having one when I bought the Harley at age 45, but I was probably a perfect fit for the stereo typical label. It was just a time in my life when it was what I wanted and could afford it. Did it matter that I didn’t even have a motor bike licence? Not to me it didn’t.

Hang on…..before you get all righteous, let me explain.

When I returned from Papua New Guinea in 2000, I was fortunate to get in early on the Peter Lik train………destination, world domination. I was employed by Peter as his group CEO at the time when Peter had one small photographic Gallery in Cairns, North Queensland. Within four years, Peter and I had started to build his world class photographic reputation, opening another 6 Galleries in Port Douglas, Noosa Heads, Sydney, San Francisco, Monterey & Maui. Peter has since taken his business a whole lot further, but that’s his story to tell.

What’s this got to do with the Leather to Lycra story, and the small issue of no licence you might ask? Everything! Life on the payroll with Peter Lik, was life in the fast lane. Long hours, lots of travel, extended periods away from home and business success, all rewarded with a commensurate salary. It was Peter who introduced me to Harley’s. He was really keen to get himself a Custom bike, which he did, and I thought I’d do similar.

The Harley
The Harley

It was late 2002, just heading into Harley’s 100th anniversary year. What better time to buy your first Harley – a 100 year anniversary Heritage Softail Classic, but I did need a licence, because I’m not a law breaker. Thank heavens for the Q-Ride system, which allowed me to take a half day lesson, impress the instructor and be issued with a full open licence on the same day. I travelled straight from the lesson to the bike shop and ordered the Harley. I had to wait a few months for the anniversary edition bike to be delivered, so I rode out of the dealership that day on a 883 Harley Sportster – a little something to build my on-road experience.

Big powerful motorbikes are great fun if you have the skill and courage to ride them safely, good weather to enjoy getting out on them, and easy access to windy back roads where you don’t have to compete for space with those other things on the road that are bigger than you, like cars and trucks. I really enjoyed the Harley whilst we lived in Cairns, but having a big fast bike in a city like Brisbane is different. The Harley was great, but I think I lost the edge. I no longer felt safe out there on the road, straddled over a 315kg machine with a 1450cc engine, with all those drivers of cars and trucks being distracted by others and not noticing me. It was time for a change, and I transitioned to Lycra.

The Lycra
The Lycra

Yes, I’m now a MAMIL – a middle aged man in lycra. I downsized from the Harley to a Giant Road Bike. I’m still out on the road with those distracted car and truck drivers, but I feel safer and more in control. I no longer have the responsibility of a powerful 1450cc engine on board to get me into trouble – I can only ever go as fast as my legs can drive me, except of course free wheeling downhill.

I must say, I have amazed myself with this transition, and don’t miss the Harley. The benefits from the exercise on board the Giant is obvious, and I have found myself a new group of friends who share the same passion. I wouldn’t call myself obsessed, but I did manage to cover 168km on the bike last week. I commute each day to work on the bike which gives me a 20km round trip, and take a 65-70km ride with my mates each Saturday morning.

The most inspiring part of all of this is one of my weekend riding buddies. He’s in his 70’s and shows no signs of slowing down. We average a speed of 27-28 km/hr on our weekend ride, and he has no problems with that. He told me last Saturday that he’s back in training to run a marathon this year…..WOW. I want to be as fit as him when I grow up.

See what Lycra can do for you! What a find.

4 thoughts on “From Leather to Lycra

  1. 22/01/2015 / 3:02 am

    I got my open motorbike license through Q-Ride too. Crazy going from very little riding experience to having a full open license in only two days worth of instruction. Welcome now to the highly addictive world of carbon and lycra! 😀

    • Steve 22/01/2015 / 6:44 am

      Thanks for the welcome – I must agree that there is an addiction to carbon and Lycra – I’m loving my Giant Defy Advanced with Di Ultegra’s

  2. Christine 04/02/2015 / 8:54 am

    Have to say I find the leather photo a little disturbing 🙂 🙂 :-). Incredible that you were able to work with Peter Lik – an amazing talent – did it create a passion for photography within you?

    • Steve 04/02/2015 / 9:03 am

      The leather photo is a classic….what was I thinking? Working with Peter Lik was an amazing ride. On many occasions I was out with him on photo shoots, including the Olga’s in the Australian outback and San Francisco. I guess on reflection, the experience did stoke the creative side of me and I continue to look for that great shot.

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