Jon Palmer, operations director at Linear Recruitment in Leeds, talks about his passion for motorbikes
At an age when most kids get their first bike and start learning to ride without stabilisers, I was already the proud owner of my first motorbike.
My dad co-owned a motorbike dealership for about 15 years when I was growing up and he not only taught me to ride my first motorbike when I was four but he also shared with me his passion for them.
Since then I’ve owned more than 100 motorbikes – not all at the same time – and since I’m still only 32 it doesn’t take a mathematical genius to work out that I’m not a one-bike man.
Unfortunately, my wife doesn’t share my passion; in fact it would be fair to say that she hates motorbikes but she tolerates them because she knows that they’re my first love.
When we met I made it clear that she’d never be able to come between me and my bikes and luckily, she’s never tried.
The only person who has ever come between me and my bikes is my baby daughter, Erin. Until she was born I had seven motorbikes – one for every day of the week.
I kept five in the garage and two in the shed and the car just had to sit outside on the drive.
I sold all seven when she was born but the lure of the open road turned out to be a bit too much so I ended up treating myself to a new bike and then got a bit bored of only having one and got another one to keep it company.
These days I don’t get out on the bikes as often as I’d like.
My wife works weekends so juggling family and work make just taking off whenever I feel like it a bit tricky.
I often use the bike to get into work, though, and I do manage to go out for long rides still.
I especially love taking the bike out round the North Yorkshire Moors – the scenery is amazing and all the twisty A and B roads make for a really challenging ride.
It’s such a great way to clear your head and test your- self.
For me it’s a passion that has always been part of who I am.
It’s helped me make lasting friendships and has given me opportunities to travel to some amazing places – many of which you could only see on a motorbike (or maybe using more traditional horse power).
I’ve been round Europe on my bike, through the Alps using old military passes and round the TT course on the Isle of Man (though not actually in the race itself).
I’d have loved to do the Paris to Dakar rally but that’s no longer running because of the threat of kidnap but I still hope to take the bike to Morocco and Tunisia one of these days.
For me it’s not really about speed it’s all about experiencing new places, just me and the bike.