1. What was your first motorcycling experience?
Around the age of 15 my older mates put me on a Suzuki PE250. I opened up the throttle and the bike just flipped me onto my back, quite possibly without moving a single inch forward. I thought they were gonna be pretty angry and I was very worried about the bike, but they just laughed themselves hoarse.

2. What is your current bike?
Having just had my 1983 R100 café racer written-off, with the assistance white-van-man, (angry & gutted) I still have a Ducati Paul Smart 1000LE, and the daily loan of my wife’s Ducati Sport Classic 1000 Biposto.

3. What bike would you most like to ride/own?
It would be a custom build, either a Walt Siegel style Ducati café racer, with a Hypermotard 1100DS engine, or I’d get Spirit of the Seventies to build the perfect weather-proof and bulletproof trellis-framed café racer around a KTM V-twin.

4. What was your hairiest moment on a bike?
Riding smack into the back of a reversing-while-lane-changing white van in Feb is near the top of that list, but most memorable was a deep, long 80mph slide which then found traction and threw me out of the seat at Clearways at Brand Hatch on my Superduke R a couple of years ago. I have no idea how I stayed on or why I didn’t run into the gravel, but it was more down to the bike than any skill on my part. It did make me laugh out loud though – that survival laugh you get after you do something really stupid and survive.

5. What was your most memorable ride?
The Distinguished Gentleman’s ride last September where 70 café racers and brat/street customs were ridden by riders in suits & ties through London, from Camden to the Ship Inn in Wandsworth. It was quite a scene, although being at the front (and without any mirrors) I saw less of it than anyone else.

6. What would be the ideal soundtrack to the above?
London Calling on a loop.

7. What do you think is the best thing about motorcycling?
It’s an even split between the feeling of a really smooth transition from curve to curve during the rush of a fast ride, with the feeling of camaraderie between mates when the riding day is done. Both are needed to complete the experience of being a bike rider.

8. What do you think is the worst thing about motorcycling?
Obviously the risk of pain, damage or death is pretty crap, and I’m glad to have slowed down in recent years, migrating to less powerful bikes and smoother riding, but the daily drudgery of the UK weather is also pretty high up on my biking shit-list.

9. Name an improvement you’d like to see for the next generation?
I’d like to see the mainstream UK bike press get away from being so nerdy and talk more about people and the lifestyle. They seem to be split between an obsession with speed through tiny upgrades on irrelevant machines, and gadgets for touring/adventure bikes. The younger generation can’t afford them and couldn’t give a monkey’s. They just want a cool ride – like we did when we were 17 – and they have limited budget. No wonder mainstream biking is losing a whole generation of youth.

10. How would you like to be remembered?
As one of a growing group of riders who want to see biking pulled-back into being about people, lifestyle and fun – something entertaining for everyone to enjoy – not a high-performance automotive niche for deep-pocketed middle-aged men whose kids have left home. Ditch that R1/Panigale/GSXR and buy something with character and a soul.

6 thoughts on “Riders’ Lives – Anthony “AKA Dutch” van Someren”

  1. Your last comment will probably hit a nerve with a lot of riders of a certain age, it seems one could ride most modern sports bikes ,and be hard pushed to tell them apart..
    As impressive as modern bikes are from a technological viewpoint, they are becoming increasingly irrelevant in my view, oldskool cool is the way forward, let the good times roll !!.

  2. Yep, I have to agree a lot with what Dutch says and where he’s coming from, the fun, the camaraderie to be had in this vein of motorcycling, epsecially the last comment “…Ditch that R1/Panigale/GSXR and buy something with character and a soul.”
    I used to ride sportsbikes on the road and try and keep up with my mates, who were even faster, now I’m having probably the best fun ever on a bike, with a self built custom GS550, SR500 and an XS650 waiting its turn, some mates are turning the same way too and can see the fun in it, soul, thats a great word!

  3. Lots of good points in here and great that Dutch is championing this new wave of motorcycling culture, but the last comment is a bit disappointing. One of the great things about riding bikes is how inclusive it is and how diverse it is – that’s how I’d like to see it represented. I love my home built machines but I have also love hyper sports bikes and motorcyle racing. I’m not middle aged and my kids won’t be leaving home for many a year. Let’s be real – money is irrelevant in this discussion. You can buy a perfectly good 180bhp sports bike for less than a shed built SR or you can buy a brand new S1000rr for less than a Spirit custom build. It’s all just a question of taste.

  4. With our motorcycling heritage and the embryonic custom industry I am hopeful manufacturers will sit up and listen more. For me it was always been about Briitish, Italian or German (non GS). The concept of following a cafe racer build spirit, lighter and more individual using better components is the way to go. I agree about Dutch’s lifestyle comment and this was very much evidenced at Bike Shed. Who cares about wheelies, burn outs, 175 mph impractical superbikes or huge adventure bikes…not me

  5. I think that there are a number of reasons why people go down the specials route.

    Cost – Initially cheaper to buy a project, making it your own is the expensive part but its a cost spread across the length of the build

    I like it but….. – There are some motorcycles which could have been great of the manufacturer just tried a bit more. The SV650 is a case in point, a cracking engine and frame with poor suspension and debatable looks. Stick on GSXR suspension, naked looks, paintjob and custom brackets and its a winner.

    Take an old bike and give it modern handling and brakes for example the many RD 350 LC Hybrids that have been made.

    And just for the hell of it because I can, currently doing one these myself, taking a YZF750 and making an R7.

    At the end of the its a buzz to get a project, to gain experience engineering solutions to problems in the build and that first ride of your new creation

  6. Hand built bikes are beautiful and have tons of soul but they are not the future of biking for young lads. The future of biking lies with Chinese made 125cc supermotos. Cheap, to buy, cheap to fix and easily upgradable to 250cc these are the bikes that the lads of today will remember with the same fondness that men in their 40’s remember AR50’s, RD125’s and RD250’s. Just go to a supermarket car park on a summers evening and you’ll see that the19 year old lad with the supermoto and the energy drink is the one with a giggling crop-top wearing 16 year old girl fawning all over him……

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