Anika is a new rider. In October 2019 Getapic.co.uk launched a social media hunt to identify the owner of ”the Best Smile on the day” at a charity bike meet, Brightona 2019. Photographer Carl had snapped the smiling face of Anika but not knowing who she was had to use the power of social media to find her. Social media did its thing, Anika was identified. MAG’s Director of Campaigns and Political Engagement interviewed Anika. Here is her new rider’s perspective on motorcycling.
At the time Coronavirus was not on the horizon.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Anika, I’m a 31-year-old mum of two from Hampshire and currently I work as a flight attendant operating out of Gatwick airport. I’m a complete newbie when it comes to riding and have been learning for 5 months. I ride around on a little Shineray 125cc and I call her Wild-heart.
What sparked your interest in motorbikes?
Back in January I went on an impulsive ride out with my neighbour and his wife to Hayling Island. It was the first-time I’d ever been on a motorbike and I’ve got to say it was what I like to call ‘a kick into discovery’. Its hard to put into words but the whole experience was awesome. I’d always toyed with the idea of learning to ride in my head but after this I just decided to go for it. By June I’d done my CBT and manged to buy a bike.
What plans do you have to become a fully licensed rider?
I will be doing my Direct Access and getting my full licence just before summer 2020.
As a new rider, what impact has riding had on your life?
When I’m out riding it’s just me, my bike and the road. I’m always busy so its good quality time out because I empty everything I don’t need out of my head, put my helmet on and go. Beautifully simple really. It’s a new and very welcome mindset for me and learning to implement into other areas of my life has been life changing.
Does riding a motorcycle bring you any social benefits?
Since I’ve been riding, I’ve been making lots of new friends. Being a newbie means this whole experience is a learning curve and every biker I meet is willing to share a few tips! I thoroughly enjoyed riding out to Brightona and I’m looking forward to attending some of the rallies next year. I don’t think you can beat the feeling of riding around with your friends.
What’s your perspective on the environmental issues – do you consider a motorbike to be environmentally friendly?
In comparison to a car I’d have to say yes. It’s a lot cheaper to run and maintain, it’s much more fuel efficient and its less time sat in traffic. I’ve a new job lined up to start next year and I’m looking forward to the commute as it’ll be at rush hour and Ill be filtering through the traffic on my motorbike.
From a new rider’s perspective, what message would you give to any other people considering taking up motorcycling?
Well I’m a bit biased because of the irrevocable change it’s made to my life, but seeing me blowing around all sparkles on my bike has convinced two of my girly friends to go and do their CBT. I guess I’d have to say you don’t know unless you try and if you want a really nice cake you’ve got to put the effort in to bake it!
What are your motorcycle ambitions?
I have big plans for my biking career, once I’ve got my full licence and a bigger bike I’m looking forward to exploring and finding possible beauty spots to take my kids to see. First little excursion will most likely be Ireland, I’d like to see some of the castles. There’s so much to see and do with in a few hours ride if you look. Later, I plan on going much further afield.
Summarising Anika’s comments then, it would seem that from a new rider’s perspective, motorcycling is “awesome”.
Why not ride to work yourself? Join Anika and many other new riders celebrating Ride To Work Day