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  1. #1
    Poser Emeritus Array bill's Avatar
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    The Sunday Times - Top Gear

    Those of you fans of Top Gear - knowing of Jeremy's "love" for
    motorcycles - will get a good chuckle out of his article.

    From The Sunday Times

    October 19, 2008

    Vespa GTV Navy 125

    Jeremy Clarkson

    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.

    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

    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

    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

    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.

    The Clarksometer

    If you like misery, climb aboard
    BCSB had mountains of experience with a lot of things. #1 on that list is pouring out bullshit to dumb questions by the Gigabyte. (TripleTime, 12-10-2014 03:19 PM)

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  3. #2
    Not wearing pants. Array klutch's Avatar
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    Schwinn with tassles

    Check out the latest Top Gear if you want to see them on bikes; they do a "special" and head to Vietnam for a road-trip.

  4. #3
    Swivel on it Array SkydiveSonic's Avatar
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    Cheers Bill. Good readin' !!
    If you wanna say something, speak into the mic. It's right above my balls.

  5. #4
    Registered User Array
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    Clarkson is hilarious!

  6. #5
    BCSB Public Relations Array kerunt's Avatar
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    Starbucks in turn 2.
    Haha, that's awesome. Clarkson strikes gold
    "Yamaha" - it's Japanese for "fuck your sports car."

  7. #6
    truth seeker Array NAGA's Avatar
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  8. #7
    Mortgage Pimp Array J_Scott's Avatar
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    I'm just here for the intelligent conversation.
    He really is an amazing writer. It's funny how the British people hate him so much, if you check out complaints and controversies for Clarkson you can see just how pathetic people can be. They treat him like a politician.

    We think we live in a Nanny state?

  9. #8
    Registered Abuser Array IllA4-1.8T's Avatar
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    Jeremy Clarkson is very funny but watch an even funnier Brit royally take the p*ss out of him and you get a whole new perspective.

    Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse taking the mickey out of Clarkson here:

    only watch if you're a Top Gear fan.

    I'll have to look up the Vietnamese bike segment.
    Quote Originally Posted by bandito View Post
    Fallen Comrades?

    Some random twat who binned his bike is a "fallen comrade?"

  10. #9
    Swivel on it Array SkydiveSonic's Avatar
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    If you wanna say something, speak into the mic. It's right above my balls.

  11. #10
    Flieger sind Sieger! Array
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    Thanks for that, Bill, some humor is always welcome this time of year, and Clarkson and his program are the best things to come out of England since the longbow.

  12. #11
    Registered User Array
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    wow, that article was just Epic.

    laffed my pants off

  13. #12
    Registered User Array Steve G.'s Avatar
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    Down here
    I dare you to not laugh after watching this video of Clarkson:


  14. #13
    Registered User Array Steve G.'s Avatar
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    Down here

  15. #14
    Registered User Array Steve G.'s Avatar
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    Down here

  16. #15
    Registered User Array svanyone?'s Avatar
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    island life
    Just watched the vietnam special the other day, is quite funny and well-done.. you can stream it here

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