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Back on the road

Retirement Living Connectedness Positive Ageing

Michael Rayner has always had a passion for motorcycles and his newest ride is a head-turning metallic trike.

02 November 2020
IRT Links Seaside resident Michael Rayner enjoys being on the road on his trike.
“On the bike you are out in the open and you can see all around.”
Michael Rayner
IRT Links Seaside resident

Climbing onto his trike and hitting the open road is a real joy for IRT Links Seaside resident Michael Rayner.

The 84-year-old has always had a passion for motorcycles but only recently decided to get back on the bike, which is a head-turning metallic orange trike.

“When I was 16 years old I met a beautiful young lady and we were keen motorcyclists,” he says. “We rode all over England and Wales. We got married when we were 21 and pregnant at 28 – a reluctant end to motorcycling as the seat became too short.”

Michael and Andrea were married for 60 years, and had two sons, but sadly Andrea was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and developed Parkinson’s disease, so Michael spent some eight years as her carer. “We sold our home in Berry and came to live at Links because I knew Andrea would eventually require 24/7 care.”

After losing Andrea almost four years ago Michael says he “dug a big hole for himself” but finally found a way out, and part of that way included the purchase of a 1330cc, three-cylinder trike. “I bought it last September and by July I’d already done 7000 km on it. That includes the period during the COVID-19 lockdown and not being able to go anywhere.”

Michael in action on his trike.

He briefly owned a motorcycle in 2001 but prior to that had not owned a bike since 1965 – which is before Michael and Andrea migrated to Australia.

Michael’s first motorcycle was a Velocette, which he rebuilt himself. “A friend of my father’s had an old motorcycle in a shed, and he asked my father if I would like it. I was too young to get my licence at the time but it didn’t stop me from rebuilding and repainting it. By the time I got my licence at 17 it was like new and ready to ride.”

Michael and Andrea enjoyed going to bike rallies together, including watching cross-country racing, known as scrambles, and watching road racing at the Silverstone circuit and Brands Hatch.

He says that the experience of riding a motorcycle compared to driving a car is totally different. “On the bike you are out in the open and you can see all around. But being on the trike I do miss being able to lean into the corners.”

The trike is also a good way for Michael to get about and he enjoys doing day trips.

“I go everywhere on the trike. It’s so much easier than walking,” he explains.

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