“So John, why do they want me in this TV feature?” I asked the Vic Biker’s Pub owner. Was it, I wondered, because of my superior riding skills, gripping intellect or astonishing knowledge? No, “It’s because your middle-aged,” he answered.
The Mecca of the Midlands biker’s pubs has to be The Vic Biker’s Pub in Coalville. John, the landlord, was invited by the BBC to participate in future programme that will present some of the positives of motorcycling, a welcome change from the hooligan biker gang member mutilated in crash stereotype. For this short feature they required two middle-aged and over weight bikers to accompany their slightly younger looking interviewer, so I got the job! I guess I’m too old to die young and too fat to look like I’d ever be capable of any hooliganism, yet somehow that didn’t make me feel any better at all. The presenter, Ben Jackson of BBC East Midlands, rides old classic British bikes himself, so who better? As the three of us rode off to tour the beautiful Leicestershire runs we must have looked more like Last of the Summer Wine on bikes than the Wild Ones.
In the real world bikers take disabled children out in sidecars on The Jumbo Run, raise money for hospices and help thousands who are disadvantaged, but so little of this ever makes the news. In contrast a few years ago one well respected biker was murdered and suddenly motorbike rallies were closed down and we were all subjected to stop and search, even strip searches. When children are killed by maniacs in schools the press don’t blame the other pupils, they go after the perpetrator, but when a biker is killed the journalists go after the other bikers! With all this in the background it is good to see the regional TV make an effort even if they do class me as fat and middle-aged, so well done East Midlands BBC.