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Jeremy Clarkson after being caught on Vespa

Discussion in 'Scooters' started by POPEYE, Apr 4, 2014.

  1. "Recently, various newspapers ran a photograph of me on a small motorcycle. They all pointed out that I hate motorbikes and that by riding one I had exposed myself as a hypocrite who should commit suicide immediately.

    Hmmm. Had I been photographed riding the local postmistress, then, yes, I’d have been shamed into making some kind of apology. But it was a motorcycle. And I don’t think it even remotely peculiar that a motoring journalist should ride such a thing. Not when there is a problem with the economy and many people are wondering if they should make a switch from four wheels to two.

    Unfortunately, you cannot make this switch on a whim, because this is Britain and there are rules. Which means that before climbing on board you must go to a car park, put on a high-visibility jacket and spend the morning driving round some cones while a man called Dave — all motorcycle instructors are called Dave — explains which lever does what.

    Afterwards, you will be taken on the road, where you will drive about for several hours in a state of abject fear and misery, and then you will go home and vow never to get on a motorcycle ever again.

    This is called compulsory basic training and it allows you to ride any bike up to 125cc. If you want to ride something bigger, you must take a proper test. But, of course, being human, you will not want a bigger bike, because then you will be killed immediately while wearing clothing from the Ann Summers “Dungeon” range.

    Right, first things first. The motorbike is not like a car. It will not stand up when left to its own devices. So, when you are not riding it, it must be leant against a wall or a fence. I’m told some bikes come with footstools which can be lowered to keep them upright. But then you have to lift the bike onto this footstool, and that’s like trying to lift up an American.

    Next: the controls. Unlike with a car, there seems to be no standardisation in the world of motorcycling. Some have gearlevers on the steering wheel. Some have them on the floor, which means you have to shift with your feet — how stupid is that? — and some are automatic.

    Then we get to the brakes. Because bikes are designed by bikers — and bikers, as we all know, are extremely dim — they haven’t worked out how the front and back brake can be applied at the same time. So, to stop the front wheel, you pull a lever on the steering wheel, and to stop the one at the back, you press on a lever with one of your feet.

    A word of warning, though. If you use only the front brake, you will fly over the steering wheel and be killed. If you try to use the back one, you will use the wrong foot and change into third gear instead of stopping. So you’ll hit the obstacle you were trying to avoid, and you’ll be killed.

    Then there is the steering. The steering wheel comes in the shape of what can only be described as handlebars, but if you turn them — even slightly — while riding along, you will fall off and be killed. What you have to do is lean into the corner, fix your gaze on the course you wish to follow, and then you will fall off and be killed.

    As far as the minor controls are concerned, well . . . you get a horn and lights and indicators, all of which are operated by various switches and buttons on the steering wheel, but if you look down to see which one does what, a truck will hit you and you will be killed. Oh, and for some extraordinary reason, the indicators do not self-cancel, which means you will drive with one of them on permanently, which will lead following traffic to think you are turning right. It will then undertake just as you turn left, and you will be killed.

    What I’m trying to say here is that, yes, bikes and cars are both forms of transport, but they have nothing in common. Imagining that you can ride a bike because you can drive a car is like imagining you can swallow-dive off a 90ft cliff because you can play table tennis.

    However, many people are making the switch because they imagine that having a small motorcycle will be cheap. It isn’t. Sure, the 125cc Vespa I tried can be bought for £3,499, but then you will need a helmet (£300), a jacket (£500), some Freddie Mercury trousers (£100), shoes (£130), a pair of Kevlar gloves (£90), a coffin (£1,000), a headstone (£750), a cremation (£380) and flowers in the church (£200).

    In other words, your small 125cc motorcycle, which has no boot, no electric windows, no stereo and no bloody heater even, will end up costing more than a Volkswagen Golf. That said, a bike is much cheaper to run than a car. In fact, it takes only half a litre of fuel to get from your house to the scene of your first fatal accident. Which means that the lifetime cost of running your new bike is just 50p.

    So, once you have decided that you would like a bike, the next problem is choosing which one. And the simple answer is that, whatever you select, you will be a laughing stock. Motorbiking has always been a hobby rather than an alternative to proper transport, and as with all hobbies, the people who partake are extremely knowledgeable. It often amazes me that in their short lives bikers manage to learn as much about biking as people who angle, or those who watch trains pull into railway stations.

    Whatever. Because they are so knowledgeable, they will know precisely why the bike you select is rubbish and why theirs is superb. Mostly, this has something to do with “getting your knee down”, which is a practice undertaken by bikers moments before the crash that ends their life.

    You, of course, being normal, will not be interested in getting your knee down; only in getting to work and most of the way home again before you die. That’s why I chose to test the Vespa, which is much loathed by trainspotting bikers because they say it is a scooter. This is racism. Picking on a machine because it has no crossbar is like picking on a person because he has slitty eyes or brown skin. Frankly, I liked the idea of a bike that has no crossbar, because you can simply walk up to the seat and sit down. Useful if you are Scottish and go about your daily business in a skirt.

    I also liked the idea of a Vespa because most bikes are Japanese. This means they are extremely reliable so you cannot avoid a fatal crash by simply breaking down. This is entirely possible on a Vespa because it is made in Italy.

    Mind you, there are some drawbacks you might like to consider. The Vespa is not driven by a chain. Instead, the engine is mounted to the side of the rear wheel for reasons that are lost in the mists of time and unimportant anyway. However, it means the bike is wider and fitted with bodywork like a car, to shroud the moving hot bits. That makes it extremely heavy. Trying to pick it up after you’ve fallen off it is impossible.

    What’s more, because the heavy engine is on the right, the bike likes turning right much more than it likes turning left. This means that in all left-handed bends, you will be killed.

    Unless you’ve been blown off by the sheer speed of the thing. At one point I hit 40mph and it was as though my chest was being battered by a freezing-cold hurricane. It was all I could do to keep a grip on the steering wheel with my frostbitten fingers.

    I therefore hated my experience of motorcycling and would not recommend it to anyone."

    • Funny Funny x 10
  2. he's a funny fellow :LOL:
  3. 90 quid for gloves? for a vespa?
  4. Damn funny
  5. And people wonder why the Scots are so against the english?

    The guy is a complete wanker, and people actually pay money to watch him stroking his own ego on TV.

    Strange people, the Poms.
  6. Top Gear UK rates quite highly here as well. Certainly a better show than the crap we tried to produce TOP Gear Auswesucktralia.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. to be fair i understand why Clarkson pretends to hate bikes. All his colleagues are more interested in bikes then cars ha! & probably because Clarkson loves himself so much is probably why his too scared to join the club:

    "Clarkson on: motorbikes
    If you're one of our more level-headed readers, you might think that when it comes to no-go areas of office conversation, cars top the list here at Top Gear magazine.

    I mean, for 16 hours a day, these guys drive cars, and in the remaining eight, write about them. The last thing they want to do over a beer or in sub-zero fag breaks is to discuss the merits of a Proton over an Escort.

    Well I'm going to tell you a little secret. They don't talk about cars very much but it has nothing to do with overkill. They don't talk about cars because they are too busy talking about bloody motorbikes.

    The Editor rides bikes. The Assistant Editor rides bikes. The Art Director rides bikes. So does the Art Editor - and she's a girl. I've just been to Barbados with the Road Test Editor and he sat on the beach every day reading Bike magazine.

    I've given up calling in because if I do, I always forget the rules and mention the ‘c' word. I mean, it is a car magazine; maybe the people who work on it would be interested to hear that I've just driven a turbo-charged Ferrari F50.

    So I'll say "Hey everyone, I drove a turbocharged F50 yesterday," and, guess what... nothing happens. So I'll tell them again, and if I'm very lucky, one will stick his head up and mumble something about it not being as fast as the Triumph T595.

    Then they're off. "Yeah, but the chassis on a 'Blade is better." "Oh sure, but I prefer the 43mm Showa usd teles on a 916." And me, I'm the pork chop in a synagogue.

    I've given up arguing. Yes, yes, yes, bikes are cheaper than cars, more fun and, providing you never encounter a corner, they're faster too.

    I've tried pointing out that round a track, where there are bends, a car will set faster lap times; but a deathly hush descends over the office as everyone sets to work with slide rules and calculators. Three minutes later, the Managing Editor will announce that, at Thruxton, his calculations have shown a T595 would, in fact, be faster than an F50.

    Well, I can now shut them up for good because I've just flown an F-15E, and no bike on Earth even gets close. Oh, and you'll note I said ‘flown' and not ‘flown in'. Even though I've never even held the stick in a Cessna, the US Air Force let me take the controls of a plane which cost $50 million and, in 90 minutes, used $7,000 worth of fuel.

    "I can now shut them up for good because I've just flown an F-15E, and no bike on Earth even gets close"

    You might guess that once you're airborne there is no real sensation of speed - but this is simply not the case, a point the pilot was keen to prove. So, at 1,000 feet he hit everything to slow the plane down to something like 150mph.

    And then, after asking me if I was ready, he lit the afterburners. And let me tell you this, Mr Sheene and Mr Fogarty: You know nothing. I wasn't timing it but would guess that in ten seconds, we were nudging 700mph.

    And then, just to show what an F-15 is all about, he stuck the plane on its tail and did a vertical climb from 1,000 to 18,000 feet in exactly 11 seconds.

    You've all been in lifts which make you feel funny if they're fast, but just think what it feels like to do a 17,000 foot vertical climb in the time it takes a Mondeo to get from 0 to 60.

    There was no let up, either, because having shown me how fast an F-15 accelerates, I was then introduced to its manoeuvrability. Put it like this - in a gentle Sunday afternoon turn it'll dole out 10g, and I don't know of any bike which can do that.

    And nor can a bike post a 1,000lb bomb through your letterbox. What's more, in a battle between a MiG-29 and a Ducati 916, the Italian motorcycle would lose. Whereas no-one has ever shot an F-15 down. Ever.

    But the best bit was when the pilot said "you have the plane". I did a roll and a loop, flew in tight formation with another F-15, went for a peek at BMW's new factory, flew over Kitty Hawk and got within a fraction of going supersonic. It can do Mach Two, but only over water, and my ejection training had not covered survival in such conditions.

    I really didn't mind, though. I honestly believe I've now experienced the ultimate; from this point on, everything will be a little bit tame.

    As I see it, a bike only has one advantage over a fighter-bomber. On a bike you don't get sick. In the plane, you do. Twice."
    • Like Like x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
  8. Yeah, well, maybe there are quite a lot of Poms here in Oz?
  9. He is a bit of a wanker, but don't you love the way he writes.
  10. He is damn good at what he does.....
  11. Im not a pom and I am a clarkson fan, so there:wtf:
  12. I hate Clarkson.......but not as much as I love him.....

    Funny farker - a wanker - but good value
    • Agree Agree x 2
  13. I clicked to write some form of rant as to why Clarkson is wrong. But, after reading, wow. This was one the funniest anti-motorcycling articles I've read. I can't be sure if he's serious.
  14. And that's just the thing. If I took Clarkson seriously, I would likely hate him. However I recognise his carrying on as the pageantry it is and find it immensely entertaining.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  15. Because they don't have to wear skirts, eat haggis and play the retarded love child of the bellows and a young deer impaled on a fence.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. So they ride sco(o)ters?
  17. Yep, he's a complete and utter wanker ... and a bloody funny one at that!
  18. Genius.
  19. You guys obviously haven't seen the Top Gear episode from a few years ago where they all rode scooters around Vietnam. I suspect Clarkson may be a regular rider.
    • Disagree Disagree x 1