My adventure with two wheels began quite early in my life, when I was maybe 23 years old and my parents got me a Vespa to help me become more independent. Back then I couldn’t afford a car, more importantly, because of my age, I couldn’t afford insurance. It was just the beginning of the holiday, in late June and the weather was just perfect for scooter rides.
Those two-wheeled cute creatures were always the objects of admiration for me. Seeing all kinds of people wearing matching helmets and elegant biker coats while riding Vespas looked like a very exciting way of commuting to me.
I didn’t know one day I would be one of them, a member of a Vespa gang, which no matter what, would meet up on Wednesday evening to have a ride around the town, with up to 40 scooters buzzing through the streets.
I went from having a cream ET2, through a failed resurrection project with Vespa PK and finally my red cherry – a shiny LX. Thanks to these legendary machines I made many friends and had the happiest times.
My life was rerouted from Poland to London and due to a very tough beginning, I got separated from my favorite scooter. With my first earned money I decided to pay a transport company to bring it to me and so I would be able to ride again.
I wasn’t aware of how different riding on the other side of the road is and how the beast of a city is London.
Regardless, I have been positive and ready to try. Soon after we got reunited and I was overly happy to ride again.
Sweating of excitement, I had a little ride around South Ealing’s side streets, and felt this freedom and happiness again, from back home.
It was very usual that people were leaving their scooters parked freely in my hometown, without chain, disc locks, and covers.
So it had not crossed my mind, that such a great city as London would be any danger.
How much I was mistaken, turned out 2 weeks later.
I just came back from work one day and it wasn’t there anymore.
My heart was shattered and I felt very angry and helpless.
Calling the police ended up with creating a case, with a promise that they will look for it.
Surprisingly, they called me after a few weeks to tell me that it’s been found!
I went to the vehicle pound to claim it back, but it was a nerve-wracking experience as I wasn’t sure about the condition of the stolen motorbike.
For me at that time buying back a bike for £300 was outrageous and I couldn’t afford it.
I started asking questions to get an understanding if it’s worth the hassle (also, you can’t see it beforehand).
Then a funny thing happened because I found out it’s black.
My Vespa was red.
Well, as you might think, I didn’t bother to claim it back.
It must have been some other moped with my Polish number plate.
For the next 3 years almost I have not thought about getting any other means of transport of my own.
I bought a kick scooter, but I wouldn’t count it as a proper way of travelling around!
And then I met Mandell, motorbikes were one of the first topics which made us click.
The next thing was, as you might guess, travel.
I told him my favorite Vespa stories in only those couple of minutes we had the first time we had seen each other.
He told me about his bike adventures, and I was so hooked.
‘What a brave man’, I thought.
I was really excited to see his bike and maybe go on a ride in London with him one day.
There’s something very special about being on a bike, balancing between cars and feeling everything around you. I wanted to be in this different world again, smelling like petrol and having a wind hairdo.
We really liked riding together and it was always causing so much excitement for both of us.
After that humble beginnings, we went on a 2,300 miles adventure together after two and a half months of knowing each other, but that’s another story.
He knew how much I loved my Vespa, so when we went to Tuscany in Italy, I was the designated driver for the trip.
We picked up neon-green helmets and buzzed our way out of Florence and explored a few picturesque towns like Greve, Panzano, Radda in Chianti and San Gimigiano.
It was over 200 km worth of a round trip and I got the bug again.
A bug to ride, be independent and be on two wheels. Again.
Right after we came back I started looking for mopeds.
I wanted an affordable way of getting to work, so it seemed like a very modest decision.
The plan was that I will get a geared bike once I will learn how to ride a geared bike.
That would be so straightforward, right?
I found a potential moto, that seemed to be able to serve its purpose and not need much maintenance for as long as I will own it.
It wasn’t great looking or stylish, like Vespa.
But I just wanted to play it safe.
While randomly checking my driver’s license to get insurance, and be able to ride it straight away, I decided to finally check what are those strange codes on my Polish swapped driving license.
I went on the DVLA website to decode what’s actually saying and I died inside a little bit.
79 (3) – restricted to tricycles
I was nowhere near to decide to get a tricycle instead!
I mean, why do those even exist?
After a quick research, I found out that I have to do a CBT training and I will be fine.
In Poland, if you have a car license for over 2 years, you can ride up to 125 cc motorbikes without any additional training.
So had to book it straight away to be able to ride a scooter I put a deposit for (I was really excited for saving almost 2 hours a day on the commute – and money!).
There are two kinds of CBT you can do in the UK – for automatic and manual gearbox motorcycles up to 125cc.
My straight thinking was to go for a manual one – that’s exactly what I needed.
I spoke to Mandell about all these crazy arrangements I put myself into and he suggested that if I’m doing this training anyway, I could do it for a geared motorbike and have some practice to see if I like it or not.
That was a great piece of advice, my love.
I changed my booked training, spend the day on the seat of a modern 125cc Honda and passed it!
It was one of the most rewarding days I had in a very long time, learning something I always thought won’t be within my reach.
I got my deposit for a scooter back.
I found a bike which I fell in love with every day once again.
Meet Roxy, my first motorcycle.
We did over 1000 miles together already, on the hectic streets of London.
This time, I’m not letting anyone take my bike.
Every night, it’s chained, disc-locked and covered.
This story is the life-changing beginning of something very, very special. I hope everyone will be able to find their truest passion and stick to it whatever it takes. I am grateful for every day I get to sit on this little bike and have adventures coming at a pace I can only try to keep up with!