Iron and Air

After a long wet winter, I have been grabbing sunshine and spending much less time at the keyboard.  This can only be a good thing.  My daily images on Blipfoto tell a story of warm weather and escape: on canals, on two wheels, on golf courses – some might say an unlikely combination but the stereotypical biker is a myth.  We are all differently made but we ride for the same reasons.

My good lady recently bought me a digital subscription to Iron and Air, an American bike magazine which combines images and words verging on the poetic. In my usual compulsive manner, I am working my way through every back copy – this from Dave Karlotski, Season of the Bike, in Issue 1:

“At 30 miles an hour and up, smells become uncannily vivid.  All the individual tree-smells and flower-smells flit by like chemical notes in a great plant symphony.  Sometimes the smells evoke memories so strongly that it’s as though the past hangs invisible in the air around me … “

Riding the arrow-straight Military Road that runs parallel to Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland you cross paths with heavily laden lumber lorries carrying timber south from the forests at Kielder.  At 60mph they create a bow wave, an invisible wake of air that unsettles the bike at a combined speed in excess of 100mph.  For a very brief moment in time the air turns warm and heavy with the scent of diesel – it is an oddly intimate and uplifting experience.

... not into temptation. The dark side of Japan - Yamaha MT09 Tracer

“Cars lie to us and tell us we’re safe, powerful and in control.  The air-conditioning fans murmur empty assurances and whisper, “Sleep, sleep.”  Motorcycles tell us a more useful truth:  we are small and exposed and probably moving too fast for our own good, but that’s no reason not to enjoy every minute of the ride.”

Wark ...

This post dedicated to Ian Bell, supplier of this Yamaha.


  1. greenmackenzie · June 16, 2016

    Sounds like some wonderful adventures!

    • northumbrianlight · June 17, 2016

      It has been a good year so far – and of course the highlight I have not mentioned was the trip to the Outer Hebrides. My ideal would be to repeat the trip on the bike somehow carrying golf clubs 🙂

      • greenmackenzie · June 17, 2016

        You picked a great Spring for visiting up there….they are stunning at that time of year….we plan a late summer trip this year 🙂
        Look forward to seeing your images…and I’m currently trying to imagine you on a bike with golf clubs….and yes I’m laughing!!

      • northumbrianlight · June 17, 2016

        The Hebrides images/stories are on the blog starting here:
        Wish I could solve the bike/golf clubs combination – perhaps a sidecar in the style of Wallace and Gromit 😀

  2. Cate Franklyn · June 16, 2016

    Great shots. You should submit some of your “bike” writings that you’ve submitted on this blog to the editors and Iron and Air.

    • northumbrianlight · June 17, 2016

      Many thanks Cate – I may follow up your generous suggestion re Iron & Air. Certainly Golf in the Wild II will have a motorcycle theme running through it.

  3. easyweimaraner · June 16, 2016

    I agree bikes never lie… I was the only one who ended lying as I overestimated my biker skills :o)

    • northumbrianlight · June 17, 2016

      Remember, a moving bike is easy to ride and a fast moving bike even easier (in a straight line). The problems start when they stop 🙂

      • easyweimaraner · June 17, 2016

        or when a coward like me rides on it and tries to brake with its feet (one of the worst bad ideas I ever had)

  4. LaVagabonde · June 16, 2016

    It’s always fabulous to read accounts from other passionate enthusiasts. Makes you feel like you’re part of a tribe. Happy reading, Robin.

    • LaVagabonde · June 16, 2016

      p.s. your blipphoto page is superb. The one of the sheep – Wow!!

      • northumbrianlight · June 17, 2016

        Re the PS – thanks – another reason I spend less time on WordPress – I think those sheep are all called Dolly 😉

      • LaVagabonde · June 17, 2016

        I’ve also started to branch out from WP, for various reasons. I’m testing out smaller/newer/less obnoxious and invasive networks like Ello and Telegram (channels).

    • northumbrianlight · June 17, 2016

      Thanks Julie – the stereotypical biker may be a myth but there is a sense of community – they never ride by when another is in trouble.

  5. restlessjo · June 16, 2016

    Less keyboard time and breakfast in the garden with a book is my ideal of Summer, Robin. I think I’ve managed it 3 times so far. Living in hope 🙂 Good to have a passion.

    • northumbrianlight · June 17, 2016

      Sounds like a scene from Summer’s Lease which “hath all too short a date” – let’s hope for more sunshine, Jo – breakfasts in the garden, rides on the bike and thrashing on the golf course 🙂

  6. Photobooth Journal · June 18, 2016

    Great read,including the comments. Have fun and stop carefully! 😊

    • northumbrianlight · June 18, 2016

      Many thanks – there is poetry in everything if you look hard enough 😉

  7. Karen Thorburn · June 30, 2016

    I’m glad you’ve been getting out and about and capturing some great photographs too. I can only imagine that it must be exhilarating to travel by motorbike. Have fun and take care!

  8. litadoolan · June 30, 2016

    Looks an amazing machine. Beautiful colours, textures and details in the photos. The motorbike gleams that glorious red.

    • northumbrianlight · July 1, 2016

      It’s a fabulous machine which is comfortable enough to ride very long distances – and one day I will.

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