One of my little daydreams is that one day I'll find a way to monetise all the blogging I do about motorcycles. Specifically, I'd really like for someone to pay me to ride bikes.
Mostly because I just really like riding motorcycles. Also, getting a chance to test different models is something of a challenge for the layman. More often than not, it requires my going to a dealership and putting on a show of actually wanting to buy a given bike. I've found that having an American accent really helps in this situation because it usually means sales people don't have a pre-conceived notion about my financial status. So, I've never had someone reluctant to hand me the keys. As long as I sign the liability forms...
Such would be the benefit of being a moto-journalist: if I dropped a bike during a ride the cost of fixing it wouldn't be my responsibility. As a regular guy, though, I risk being on the unhappy end of the "You break it, you buy it" stick.
Still, I take that risk as often as time and good weather allow. As I say, I really like riding motorcycles. This is my thing right now. Though, one wonders how long I'll be able to keep it up because there are only so many motorcycle dealerships in South Wales. Eventually, they're going to get wise to the American guy who wants to test every bike and not buy any of them.
Thankfully, summer is the time of demo tours. Manufacturers who don't have bikes that sell themselves (a) trundle from one end of the country to the other with a fleet of bikes, promotional material, skinny girls, and stunt riders hoping to win a portion of your paycheck. Such was the case recently when I rode up to Birmingham to test a few Yamaha bikes. Here's the story of one of them:
(a) Manufacturers like Harley-Davidson don't tend to do demo tours because many people will buy their machines on reputation alone. When I went to test ride two Harleys last summer, the salesperson told me some people will buy the bikes without even sitting on them.