As a child, I was obsessed by cars, I yearned to drive so badly that I would go and sit in my older brothers Ford Escort and pretend to drive. I subscribed to Fast Lane magazine and had the obligatory Countach poster on my wall.
When I turned 16 I got my first 50cc motorbike, in that year, I bought and sold 7 mopeds, my last being a Yamaha YSR50, which was a Japanese imported gag bike, it looked like a race bike which was 2/3rds the size, after tuning it, it was quicker than my mates 100cc bike.
At 17, I bought a 125cc and then when I passed my car test, I bought my first car. I regret that I did not take my bike test, it was much easier then compared to now, basically you rode around the block and as long as you did not run over the instructor, you passed. I never wanted a high powered bike as I did not trust myself to not become a statistic.
Years later, I got back into bikes, I fell in love with the BMW C1, a quirky scooter with a roof, a real marmite vehicle, it rode like being inside a Star Wars pod racer and was plenty fast with it's Rotax 4 valve engine. I went through a phase of buying them broken, repairing them and sellling them for a profit. I owned three of them at one time, yes, I am obsessive, I admitted that in the first line. I still have a bike, its a Piaggio MP3, yes the quirky scooter with three wheels. It looks nice parked next to my Smart Fourtwo. OK, I have issues, we will leave it there.
I gave up riding my bike 18 months ago and now it simply sits under cover and unloved. I came to the conclusion that driving it was more dangerous that ever before. Road users have increased in recent years, which in some way makes more sense to use a bike. I live next to a city centre, so I can get into town much quicker and park for free. But, I also realise that people drive differently these days. No one has a patience any more, road manners are all but extinct, it is literally like survival of the fittest out there. Any tiny gap and bam, someone changes lane to jump into it. People cut you up, give you hand gestures and the like, its become the norm.
Perhaps I am being nostalgic of the days when you could go for a drive for fun, swapping cogs and feeling the sense of freedom, today, its one big procession of vehicles following each other. Yes, you can still have fun, you have to find roads that are not congested, but, like others, I don't have the time to do this as much as I would like.
I have owned a few fast mercs, big 4x4 SUV's and other interesting vehicles in my time and part of me wants to buy another, for now, I will stick with my Fiesta as transport and use the Smart car as a replacement to my scooter for fun.
Do you think driving standards here in the UK have deteriorated? Please, feel free to comment below and thanks for reading.