Meet the member – Nigel Richardson

My background
Age 67, ex-military, then a consultant and manager in the financial services sector. Retired from full time employment in 2009. I live in Oxford with a very understanding wife and demanding black Labrador.

Day jobs
If you can call them that! Albeit part time. First of all, I am a volunteer rider for SERV OBN aka Blood Bikers. We are one of 30 Member Groups of the UK National Association of Blood Bikers UK. I can often be seen fundraising at everything from major bike shows (NEC), to local events, to shaking a bucket outside a supermarket. Having met my local group at a show, I decided to gain an advanced riding qualification (RoSPA) in order to join, then passed the mandatory training, and carried out my first duty on a Honda Pan European on 27 October 2012. It was transporting blood from the Oxford Blood Bank to the pathology lab in Milton Keynes GH. In addition to transporting Blood Products, I also collect and deliver donated breast milk from mums and deliver to the JR and other hospital neonatal units. To date, I’ve carried out around 300 duties riding approx. 22,000 duty miles.

Secondly, in early 2014, I became a motorcycle Tour Leader for Motorrad Tours Ltd. Since then I have ridden over 58,000 miles, on 31 tours, in approx. the same number of different countries. All on various BMW models! Unfortunately, Covid-19 has put the kybosh on most of this year’s tours, although we are hopeful some will go ahead towards the latter end of 2020.

How long have I been riding?
Surprisingly, not as long as you may think as I was a late starter at age 43.  A mid-life crisis according to the missus.  Older members will recall that in Jan ‘97 the government introduced new additional licence categories and tests for learners aged over 21 years, riding larger motorcycles. I guess back then I was looking for a new challenge etc, so took and passed the test on 21 Nov 1996 to avoid the new rules and become eligible to ride any size of bike immediately! Not very romantic I’m afraid!  Never looked back since and I reckon I have clocked up well over 120,000 miles abroad with motorbike groups, friends and as a Tour Leader.

First and subsequent bikes
Embarrassingly, for me anyway, the first was a Yamaha 650 Virago. I was only allowed to buy it as my wife thought “it looks safe” and is a “rather pretty mauve colour with all that shiny chrome” Hah! Little did she know it wasn’t the end of my bike purchases, but the beginning. A Honda Pan European quickly replaced it, then seeing the light, a BMW R1150RS. Nice bike the RS but not really suitable for long distance, remote country and off-road travel. So, in 2009, I up-scaled to an R1200GS for a 23,000 mile, five month Trans-Am trip. The bike survived this, plus various other trips, but in 2012, I ‘upgraded’ to the GSA model for a return to South America and then a ride from London to Beijing in 2013. Currently, I have a 16 plate R1200GSA LC, which despite a 5k trip around Indochina in 2018, has relatively low mileage. This is mainly because I get to ride multiple variants of the BMW brand when touring, plus the Blood Bike Yamaha FJRs’ for my day ‘jobs’. Not that I’m complaining.

Favourite/most memorable trips
Very difficult to choose as so many factors prevail on bike trips that it’s difficult to decide on one that stands out above the others. So, to give some kind of answer:

Remoteness: Alaska, Yukon, Namibia, Argentina.

Dramatic landscapes: Patagonia & Northern Vietnam.

Friendly, welcoming locals: Western China including Tibet.

Off road passes: Bolivia (death road), South Africa.

History, culture and food: Spain, Indochina.

Just to mention a few.

Future plans and motorcycling in general
I really don’t see any downsides to motorbiking. Yes, I will get wet and tired and sometimes wonder ‘why?’ but then a quick look at my surroundings and the knowledge that the journey can only get better will always perk me up. Even crowded roads are no barrier to enjoyment as we can generally travel quicker than our four wheeled co-road users and there are still many quieter roads to discover and ride. I would like to ride Northern India into the Himalayan foothills one day and closer to home circumnavigate Iceland. Possibly New Zealand and Australia too, although I’m not really allowed to visit places my wife wants to go to and where there are no ‘creepy crawlies’. Hey ho, a small sacrifice to make me thinks.

P.S. Some of you will know that in the past I have already given three talks to the club and have been pencilled in for one in December 2020. If anyone has any suggestions/requests for this year’s subject, please let me know. Thanks.

Nigel Richardson


Author: Nigel richardson