The bucket list. Things you’ve got to do before you kick the bucket. It’s something a lot of people put a lot of thought into, and I’m one of those people. In fact I’ll often daydream about what I want to do, the things I want to make happen and whether or not I can do it. When I’ve discussed my ‘bucket list’ with friends, some have regarded many of the items on there as overly ambitious. But I think that’s the point, isn’t it? Aim high, and all that.
Now, I’ve already ticked off a few things on my motorcycling bucket list (race at the Isle of Man TT, finish a Le Mans 24hr race, ride 1,000 miles in a day), but there are still a few to get through. So to give you some inspiration to set yourself a few goals and to aim high, I thought I’d share a few of the bits left on my biking bucket list.
If I’m being perfectly honest, I don’t know if I’ve ever done 200mph on a bike before. I know I’ll have been close, but that’s not good enough. I’m sure I’ll have ridden some bikes that would have been capable of it, and I’ve definitely ridden some that, according to their speedos, have managed 200mph with me onboard. But we all know how unreliable most factory fitted speedos are, so until I’ve officially done 200mph, it’s staying on the list.
The worry is this though. I know full well that the day I do officially travel at 200mph on a motorbike, all I’ll be doing is shifting the goalposts. I’ll want to do 210mph, then 220mph. Before you know it it’ll start to get pretty dangerous. But at least it’ll be a laugh.
Round the world
Ever since I was a nipper, I’ve been desperate to pack a bag, jump on a bike and ride it all the way around the world. The problem is, you can’t exactly ride all the way round, can you? But if you’re happy to get the odd ferry, you can get most of the way round, and even a trip from London to New York, via Eastern Europe, Russia, Alaska and Canada would be quite cool.
Not only would it be a massive challenge, it would be an incredible experience, too. I’ve always said one of the best ways to see the world is on a motorbike, so what better way to see the whole world! Perhaps one day, when I’ve got too much time on my hands, and a big pot of money, I’ll make it happen. Who wants to come with me?
I can remember the first time I ever saw Travis Pastrana do a backflip on a motocross bike. I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen, and decided there and then that one day, I’m going to do one too. Nowadays, backflips are ten-a-penny. You’re not a freestyle MX rider if you can’t do a backflip. Some are doing double backflips. Josh Sheehan’s done a triple backflip for Christ’s sake! No, I’m not planning on attempting a double, never mind a triple. But I will, one day, have a go at a single backflip.
I’ve got a few mates that have done one, with whom I’ve discussed the topic at length. So I’ve got a loose plan which involves a bit of practice on a BMX into a foam pit, and a day with a digger building myself a jump. Now I just need to find the time to do it, and find someone to hold my beer.
I never got infected with the TT bug as a kid, but when I was about 20, it finally bit me. I simply had to make it happen. And back in 2016 I did make it happen. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life, and I think about it every day. And I haven’t finished racing there yet, because I’d absolutely love to clock a 130mph lap. Up to now, after three TTs I’m up to 126mph – and I’m alright with that, I feel as though I’m on track. My plan was always to spend five years learning my way round, building my speed, circuit knowledge and confidence, and then in year six, have a really good go and see if I had a 130mph lap in me.
This is probably one of the most ambitious things on my bucket list because, even though it wouldn’t win you a TT these days, 130mph round the Isle of Man TT course is still really bloody fast. I’ll have had to have had my Weetabix that morning.
The Dakar Rally, on the other hand, was something I dreamed of doing as a kid. I grew up racing motocross and riding off-road bikes so to me the Dakar Rally was the biggest, most exciting off-road race and adventure in the world. In fact that’s exactly how I see it, now. Riding through the desert as fast as you can, for hours on end, probably sounds like hell to some people, and I’m sure that’s what it feels like occasionally when you’re doing it, especially when you’re ten days in, but there’s something about it that’s drawing me in.
And I plan on getting there, too. In fact both Fagan and I both do, in less than a year’s time. The wheels are already in motion for us to compete at the 2023 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia. There’s lots to do and a ton of cash to find, we’re both going to have to get fit and brush up on our off-road riding skills. But we’re committed, and we’re going to do everything we can to make it happen. Hopefully this time next year I’ll have (at least) one more thing ticked off the bucket list.