Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Interview An interview with Kneedragon

Discussion in 'Site Announcements' started by Mouth, Feb 8, 2016.

  1. kneedragonkneedragon has kindly agreed to share his story with us all. Many thanks for participating and giving us a very enjoyable story.

    Give us a brief bio (name, where do you live, what do you ride, partner, children ....)
    Ok, Name Michael Thompson. Live in Woodridge, Brisbane South side. A Bogan from Logan. I have a wife, married 19 Sept 1987 and I have three children and 5 grandchildren.

    When did you first straddle a motorbike?
    It would have been 1970. It was a pretty standard small wheel minibike of the time and it belonged to my mate the Mariot boy, and I got on it and did not want to get off. I loved it! When I was 11, in Canberra, my mate Kevin had an Honda XL70, which was a minibike in scale but a full conventional motorbike, with standard controls, and I rode that around and was doing donuts and slides in about 10 minutes. I had a Dragster pushie by then which I used to ride down flights of steps and do big 40 ~ 50 km/h slides on, jumps, and to my delight I found the skills transferred quite well.

    ... How long until you owned one?
    So I leaned on my poor long suffering grandmother to buy me a bike, which she did (the first of several) and that was a 120cc Suzuki commuter. (If it had a model designation, I am not aware of it.) It lived on the farm, in Kempsey, where I did most of my school holidays. It was joined when I was 16 by a KE175, and I traded that for a CB400/4 on my 17th birthday.

    How many bikes have you owned?
    God! ...
    Suz 120.
    Ke 175
    CB 400/4
    GS 750
    GSX 1100
    GS 1000
    GSX 1100 + GSX 1100 (Same time, I bough one for a mate...)
    CB 900 Bol D'or
    ... ( break for a while)
    GSX1100 (stock, quite cheap, a bit ratty)
    GSX1100 (after market frame, not cheap...)
    ... (break for a while, a spell in jail...)
    Oh yeah, a GT380 smoker in there some place.
    Z1000J, which belonged to my neighbour, for a while...
    Aprilia RST1000 Futura, which belonged to my mate, for about two or three years... (the bike in my avatar shot.)
    XT600 which belonged to the same mate, after he sold the Aprilia.
    Stacked the XT, (not my fault), got a fair sized cheque for that. Paid Doug off, and bought a ZX14. Soon after that, also bought an R6 race bike (well, track bike, I don't think it had been raced until I started) and a Honda 954 'blade for my son.
    And a PeeWee 50 for the grand daughters! Must remember that one.
    So that's about 14 or 15 or something, plus a couple that I looked after or baby-sat.
    So let's see - three of those were not mine. I cared for them and rode them, but I did not own them.
    There was a Yamaha 2-smoke 100 commuter in there for about 3 weeks as well…

    .... Which was your favourite?
    Oh gosh! That's a big question. I particularly loved the GS750 and the first GSX11. I wish even now I had either of those back in the condition I first bought them, along with the ZX14. Favourite would be one of those 3…

    [edit] The Magnum, I've got to mention the Magnum. My one of a kind, only one ever made in the world GSX1100 Harris (replica) Magnum, made in 1984 / 5 by Dave McGlurg at Albion Bikes. Picture a Harris kit bike, with a Honda CB1100R replica fairing, (the Z-1J also had a CB11R fairing) painted Suzuki blue and white ... I put that bike up as collateral on a loan, from a pawnbroker, and then couldn't pay him. I jumped a bank counter with a plastic replica pistol to (a) feed my family and try and get the phone and the power back on, and (b) to try and get the Magnum back. I wanted that bike back real bad...

    When and where was your most satisfying ride?
    Gosh, there've been a few of them. I got on the first GSX in Kempsey, about two or three days after I got it, (200km on the odo) and by the time I looked around I was in Sydney. So I kept going, and saw the bloke in Melbourne (Melton actually) I'd sold the GS750 to, and then I went GOR to see how that went and wound up in Adelaide, so I came back along the GOR and back to Canberra, where my dopey mate wanted to come too, so I bought another GSX (I had just inherited some money) and he came with me, at least back to Kempsey. Then he decided he missed regular sex so he went back to Canberra, and I continued on as far as Cairns. That was good ride, but it ended in the Cairns base hospital ... I watched the first ever State of Origin game while I was in there, so use that to date it.

    More recently, er... After I got the ZX14 I had promised the wife we could go Brisbane to Cairns and see her best mate, who'd moved up there, so we headed off for the Great North, and rode straight into Cyclone Yatze. That was also quite a good trip. ... I enjoyed all my races enormously. For a bloke who waited until he was 49 to start road racing, I didn't do too bad. I started back of the grid, 19th or so, for all 6 heats at my first meet, and I came forward to finish 6-5-4-5-4-4. I was stoked. And at least 2 of the ones who finished ahead of me each time, were much MUCH faster bikes.

    What's your funniest riding tale?
    There are many of them. I wouldn't like to guess which was the funniest. ... 2nd trip to Bathurst, I hitch-hiked to get there. I was one of 6 people on a GSX11 that was dragging in the dirt (because more weight equals better grip) and we flipped the bugger and took out about 17 tents... I tried to talk a bloke (another teenager) who had an XS650 chop, to take it in the bull-ring, but he wouldn't be in it. Then the damn fool said I could do it if I wanted... so I did donuts on an XS650 hardtail with 2 foot overs. And I got towed around on an FJ Holden bonnet, on the gravel, by a roadracing outfit... Bathurst was fun. Even the piggyback fights were fun. And Cold Chisel at the amphitheatre was awesome. The batton charges that night night were not quite so much fun though... I have issues with the Tampon Removal Group, and I have not forgiven them. Then a couple of days later I got home and saw George Negus stand with the “Thin Blue Line”, on 60 minutes, and show the country what raping rampaging monsters we are. I didn't quite see my face in the crowd, but I was sure as hell there.

    Tell us about your accident and rehab/recovery.
    er... How much do you want to know? Recovery is ongoing. Rehab has more or less finished. I am broken, and I will never be quite what I was. What happened? Well I went to a meet-up of the mcnewsers, at Ginger's Creek, which is on the Oxley Highway, about half way between Port Macquarie and Tamworth. I had been chatting with these folks for years, online, and I had gone to the WSBK meet at Philip Island in Feb, and met up with them for the first time. So I got invited to one of their regular mid-winter get-togethers at Ginger's Creek, and I had no excuse so I went. We met on the Friday, booked in, had a few drinks, dinner, agreed to go out riding the next day, did that, same the Sunday. I can remember getting up, having breakfast, going out to find the bikes all covered in frost. I can remember laughing and chatting about what we were going to do, and I remember heading off, riding down onto the road.

    The next thing I remember is about 6 weeks later. Story I was told, we came to a straight where there was roadwork, and we slowed down and rode along the gravel, and then the tar started again and we went up and over to the left, sweeping blind bend with a crest. Half way around the bend, strips of gravel appeared on the road, from out of the wheels of the trucks. I backed off, placed the bike and went around, and then a wallaby jumped down onto the road in front of me, and I had to turn or hit him, so I turned and crossed the gravel strip and the front washed out, and down I went. Then the bike tumbled, and then I was on top and then it was on top and so on, and then I went into the earthen bank to the right, and the bike followed me in.

    ... How has it impacted your life?
    Well … I have not driven or ridden or worked since, and I have some doubt I will ever do any of those again.

    ... How has it impacted your outlook on riding?
    Depends when you ask. I miss it. I used to love bikes and riding them more than life itself, and that is sort of no longer true. I miss my love of bikes like I would miss one of my children, deeply and bitterly and with a passion. That love has defined my life, and now it's mostly just an empty space. Doug thinks I've got FEAR, but it's not quite that simple. I admit, I do feel a little edgy about it, but I've felt a lot more edgy than this and gone ahead with things. I still follow the sport, because … how do you stop? It's a life long habit. It's one of my primary interests. I'm like an old footballer, I may not be able to hooker or 5/8th any more, but I know the bloke at inside centre – I was on the team with his father…

    Repairs and servicing at home, or strictly a mechanic?
    I did what I felt competent to do. I tended to hand off things that I might not be skilled enough for, or that might have a big impact on warranty or something. The ZX14 mostly went to the shop. The Aprilia mostly went to the shop. The XT600 I mostly worked on. The Z-one-J I entirely worked on. The Magnum (GSX Harris replica) I entirely worked on. I handed off what I did not feel competent to do, or what might have a large negative effect on the warranty.

    What's your greatest fear?
    On bikes? I had a big high speed weave and off, on the 400/4, on Christmas Eve 1979 and I had nightmares about that for years… I am not a fighter. I get really frightened of physical violence. I have had a few blues and handle myself moderately well, (spent 5 years in a boys boarding school and two and a half in prison, I've had to fight a bit) but fights always frighten the shit out me. Yet I am quite happy to do 299km/h on a ZX14, or get my knee down at 180+, or race an R6 for the first time at 50 years old. Fear is a funny thing. For a long time I feared I'd have an accident which would leave me paralysed or something, unable to be useful any more. That is sort of what has happened to me. Was I right to be frightened of it? Well, yes, a bit. It's a tiny bit hard to justify my existence. And nobody did this to me, I did it entirely on my own. I know where the fault lays.

    What's your 'bucket list' riding adventure?
    I wish I could have started racing a lot earlier. I loved my racing. I fantasised as a child, 7 and up, of flying a Spitfire and racing at the Isle of Mann. I got to fly a little bit but it took me 42 years to get on a racetrack and actually compete. And I wasn't anywhere near as bad at it as I feared I might be. I wish like Hell I'd started doing it when I was 18.

    What's your primary employment?
    Well, since about 2010 I haven't really had one. I've been a factory worker of one kind or another, I spent 84 ~ 88 driving a cab, and then again from 2000 until 2008. I studied computers, after I got out of jail. I spent '95 to '97 at TAFE, and then '99 at QUT, which I quit for financial reasons, not academic. Socially, I am at home with white collar people, but professionally I don't fit in that world. I've spent too long digging ditches and robbing banks and driving taxis full of drunks.

    Your education background?
    Five years at Trinity Grammar School in Prospect Rd, Summer Hill, as a boarder, under a house master called Milton Cujes, (Pronounced Chew-ez) who is now the Head Master. That took me to the end of year 10. Then I ran away from home, which rather stopped that for a while. Then I went to jail in '88 and got out in 91, and went back to TAFE (Southbank) in '95. I had to do a bridging course including senior level maths and physics in 3 months, (calculus) and if I could get through that with a pass, they'd accept me to study computers. I did.

    Describe your typical half/full day ride. Where do you go? Any habits before leaving home?
    I don't ride any more. One rather nice ride I went on before I came off, was up to Montville, with the wife on back. I can point you at some rather nice pics from the last time I did that, they're on photobucket.
    [edit] The same run is recorded and the YouTube links are below.
    Habits… just try and get ready. Need hat and gear, phone and GoPro need to be charged, check tyre pressures and cash in pocket… um… Discuss with the wife what will go in which backpack and whether to take the tank bag… I can also point you at some GoPro footage from the Montville trip.

    What's the thing you enjoy most about Netrider?
    Well, I used to really like that I could provide information and guidance to the young and starting-out. I quite enjoyed that. I'm not entirely sure I qualify there any more. I still enjoy the company of my peers, people with some experience like mine and the love of bikes that seems to have gone on holiday for me.

    • Like Like x 38
    • Winner Winner x 21
  2. Fantastic story kneedragonkneedragon, thanks for sharing.
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Brave, fascinating, inspiring and funny (y) Very nice to meet you Mr kneedragonkneedragon!
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Wow, fantastic. Don't leave the forums mate, you have a wealth of not only bike knowledge but life experience :D
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Fantastic story thanks for sharing kneedragonkneedragon
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Thanks mate, you came first in this one and I'm chuffed.
    • Like Like x 2
  7. Honest, open, well written and interesting (y)
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself kneedragonkneedragon
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. Great Story Kneedragon, thanks for your honesty and openness. An enjoyable read, I hope you can find some way of continuing to ride.
    • Like Like x 4
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. Good stuff kneedragonkneedragon thankyou for sharing an interesting story. Sorry to hear of the accident you had mate.......

    The 'younger' ones (not sure at 34 I fit in that category, but definitely noobish to the game) certainly appreciate you input when you give it. You know a heck of a lot about the sport in particular of which I like reading.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. What a great thing this interview is to find upon logging into Netrider today. Thanks kneedragonkneedragon. :]
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Like Like x 2
  12. Thanks for sharing. Obviously a long history of life on two wheels and in spite of the big "off", you still share your passion and tons of advice for less seasoned riders. Thanks again
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Thanks for sharing Kneedragon. A very interesting read!
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Awesome stuff, very interesting. Thanks.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. kneedragonkneedragon thank you for sharing your amazing story.
    I will make sure that when I ride I think of you, so you come for a wobbly old ride along with me and Zeddee in spirit.
    Your valuable posts, along with your sage advice for us noobs, has already pushed so many of us along in the right direction. Please don't dismiss your years of great riding experience- it hasn't gone anywhere has it???? :notworthy:
    And sadly, loss of something that you love, whilst an abstract emotion, is a very tangible, soul-deep wound to carry around but it really is a part of the fabric of what makes you an interesting person!
    That's why we wanted to hear about YOU :)
    You have shared some amazing bikes, some amazing rides you had with mates and with your wife, and your accident will never ever erase those memories nor stop you legitimately sharing such a fantastic life experience on bikes with all of us here on NR.
    Thank you:happy:
    • Like Like x 5
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. ... Thank you all... I don't quite know what to say. LOL. I usually don't, but that doesn't stop me...
    • Like Like x 9
  17. Great reading mate. Didn't realize you were a blogan boy.
  18. Wow what an awesome interview. I loved reading every line. I'm lucky to have NEVER come off a bike in all my years, and reading the part about Michaels accident has only made me thankful that I haven't had my date with destiny yet. Michael that was a very good interview, and I am so sorry to hear that you won't be riding any time soon. I'm in Townsville and if you're ever up this way pal, let me know. I could certainly learn a lot from you.. You still have a lot to share with us all.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. You are a one special kind of raconteur kneedragonkneedragon.

    Awesome read. Awesome stories. Awesome bloke.
    • Agree Agree x 4
  20. You set the bar very high, old mate. Thanks for your honest and entertaining life story!!!!
    • Agree Agree x 1