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Enjoying life on the road…

Spring is officially in the air and up and down the country, motorcycling enthusiasts are dusting off their bikes ahead of drier, warmer conditions in which to enjoy the open roads. One such biker is our very own Marika Nicholson, Nikwax Export Sales Account Manager, who will soon be making the most of the sunshine and longer days on her HD Sport Glide…

How long have you been motorbiking and what inspired you to take it up?
I really got into it by accident. My husband kept going on about wanting a motorbike until one day I said, “If you are having one, I am having one”, and that was it, I had no way out and got my license and my first motorbike!

What is your favourite model of motorbike and why?
I started with a Kawasaki ZXR 400, after that a Vulkan S and then a Sportster 1200. I most definitely prefer the cruiser. I like the relaxed riding style and the possibility of loading it with gear for further afield touring. I recently acquired a HD Sport Glide, which I customised to suit my requirements.

What has been your most memorable motorbiking adventure so far and what ones are still on your bucket list?
I have been on quite a few touring holidays in the UK and abroad, and I enjoyed all of them, even those where it rained so much the roads became rivers! The Hardknott pass in the Lake District was a bit tricky. A tour through the Alpine region is on the cards for next year, I think. I have not done the Stelvio Pass in northern Italy, bordering Switzerland, yet, so that will need to be done at some point. A touring holiday in the USA needs to be arranged too! Still so many roads to ride….

How do you stay safe on the roads?
By looking ahead, being aware of my surroundings, always anticipating what other road users might do, and riding within my own capabilities.

 

Why is it important to look after your motorbike kit and what products do you use to keep your leathers, gloves and helmet consistently performing?
Good motorcycle clothing does not come cheap, so it is important to take good care of it. If you look after your gear, it will last and look good for much longer. For my all-season synthetic gear I use Nikwax Tech Wash® for cleaning and TX.Direct® for reproofing. For my leather clothing I use Nikwax Leather Cleaner and Leather Restorer, and for my boots Waterproofing Wax for Leather. For my visor I use Visor Proof and for my gloves, Glove Proof.

What advice would you give to those who are keen to take up motorbiking?
Just give it a go! It is a liberating feeling being out on the open road. You can ride alone or join other bikers. Whatever type of riding you prefer, it is up to you – just always be alert and ride safe.

Motorbike camping is now a popular way to immerse yourself in two great passions – motorbikes and nature. What packing advice would you give to people planning a trip, and what key items should they not leave home without?Make sure your insurance and breakdown cover is up to date, fit for purpose and you have the correct documentation with you when going abroad. Always pack as light as possible, as you do not want to add too much weight to your bike (don’t forget your security devices, which are heavy but necessary). A travel tube of BaseWash® or Wool Wash may help with this, as you can quickly hand wash some items of clothing rather than packing too much if away for longer. Pack evenly to keep the balance of your bike. I always have rain gear, an extra layer of clothing and a tool pouch, including zip ties and tape, in my saddle bag.

Being outdoors is beneficial for all of us. What physical and/or mental benefits do you personally get from motorcycling?
Because I need to be aware of what is going on around and ahead of me on the road I enjoy being in the moment, the countryside and the scenery of where I am at that point in time. It is great for switching off from work and the worries of everyday life.

 

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Hit the slopes with confidence when you use Nikwax on your gear

Summer is becoming a distant memory, but is replaced with new excitement as the winter sports season is almost upon us. So many of us now like to turn our hand to snowboarding, skiing, or other snow-based activities during this time of the year and now is the time to check out your kit and get it ready before you head off to your mountain chalet.

Some of the key items you will need:

Helmet: if it is more than 5 seasons old then the chances are you should look to replace it. The inner supportive lining can wear down over time and you definitely want to ensure your head is protected as strongly as possible.

Skis: if they have been stored away for quite some time, then they will need to be waxed ready for use. Also, take this opportunity to check all the bindings still work appropriately.

Goggles: to help with ensuring clear vision when on the slopes, protect your goggles with Nikwax Visor Proof. This spray-on rain repellent is made specifically for visors and goggles, and will improve the vision by shedding water. 

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Base & Mid Layers: layering is key when doing winter sports activities. You want your base/mid layers to be breathable, to wick away sweat and be fast drying, to ensure that you don’t start to feel clammy or uncomfortable, especially when out in the glare of the mountain sun. Base layers can accumulate body oils over time, leading to them smelling. Use Nikwax BaseFresh, with your household detergent, to rid your base layers of bacteria and deodorise them so that you smell fresh! Mid layers, such as fleeces will provide great insulation – you need to keep warm as weather conditions can change quickly. Nikwax PolarProof will protect your mid layer fleece from absorbing water, as it coats the fabric in a water repellent formula. It also prevents pilling on the fabric, so your item stays looking as good as new.

Ski Jackets & Salopettes: the key outerwear, which will protect you against the elements, be it rain, snow, sleet or wind. Combined with your layers, you will be able to add and remove garments as required, to maximise your comfort when being active. If you have not cleaned the items in a while, then we recommend you wash them in Nikwax Tech Wash – the number 1 high performance cleaner for technical clothing. Safe and easy to use in a washing machine, Tech Wash will remove all dirt and contaminants from the garments, whilst reviving the durable water repellent (DWR) coating.

When reproofing is required then look no further than Nikwax TX.Direct. Another innovative Nikwax water-based product, TX.Direct will add DWR to your water repellent ski gear, whilst revitalising the breathability. The partnership of Tech Wash and TX. Direct ensures that the performance of your gear is optimised, preventing you getting cold and wet in winter conditions. You can focus on the thrill of the snow and stay warm, dry and comfortable.

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Gloves: we lose a lot of heat from our head and our hands, so make sure you have your winter season gloves ready. Try and get a pair that are insulated – your hands can lose body heat very quickly when out in extreme cold conditions. Because you want to keep your hands toasty and dry, use sponge-on Nikwax Glove Proof to add water repellency. Glove Proof will also help maintain palm grip on gloves and is easy to apply. For leather gloves, Glove Proof will also condition the tanning agents. You can clean them first with Tech Wash to remove any dirt, but leather gloves should be cleaned with Nikwax Leather Cleaner before applying Glove Proof.

Go out and enjoy the thrill of the season. Just remember, when it is over and you want to store your gear away until the next time, clean the items first with Tech Wash! By cleaning away the dirt you will be maintaining the lifespan of your gear and it will be ready for your next adventure!

Photos: iStock / Shutterstock

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