MAX RIKSEN IS HEAD OF CAPITAL PROJECTS AT THE AUCKLAND WAR MEMORIAL MUSEUM
Your everyday bike is a Victory High Ball? Ever since I was a young kid I wanted to ride a “real bike”, not a race bike but a heavy V-twin with lots of grunt. I’m not keen on a Harley, it has too many stigmas attached. When Polaris started making Victory in the States in the late 90s, this was the only choice for me. This is my second High Ball in a row, I bought it from Cyclespot on Barrys Point Rd on the anniversary of my father’s passing. It is black, of course, like all motorbikes should be. Modification, yes, Hacker Zoomies exhaust, Arlen Ness mirrors and grips, MBW rear LED indicators and LED front indicators, 1736cc, 6-speed.
What other bikes have you owned? Honda, Suzuki and BMW. My first was a Suzuki Katana, 250cc.
Bike maintenance? Every 8000km, I bring it to the shop for that, I’m no mechanic.
Any disadvantages of riding a bike in Auckland? It’s the only way to negotiate traffic in Auckland, particularly State Highway 1. I ride around 100km each day, rain or shine. There is never a bad day to ride.
Riding gear? Leather pants, jacket and vest. In summer just my jeans and jackets.
Do you find car drivers relate well to motorbike riders? Most car drivers, 98 per cent, relate well and are aware of bikers. I often think riders feel misunderstood, but then I see them racing in-between traffic at enormous speed. You are simply asking for trouble.
Your dream bike? Riding it, but maybe in the future an Indian Dark Horse, with ape hangers and Dirty Bird exhaust system, all blacked out, of course.
Who taught you to ride? Me, myself and I. I failed my original licence in the Netherlands, driving through a stop sign. I got my licence in Auckland, when I moved here from the Waikato in 1998. I’ve been on a bike since. New Zealand is the best country to ride, the climate is ideal. It’s always warm which means all-year riding conditions, don’t find that everywhere, and the roads are simply fantastic.
Any tips for young, new bike riders? Slow down! That’s my motto, if I have an accident, it is likely going to be fatal for me, so it determines how I ride. If you adjust your speed to the conditions, which includes cars, and show some basic good behaviours, we should all be able to get on just fine.
Do you also drive? I do drive at times, a Ford Fiesta. I prefer my bike any day.
Most memorable road trip? That is yet to come, in the US. Buy a bike in New York and ride it across the country to LA, then ship it back home.
Do you take a passenger on your bike? No, there is no pillion seat. The exception would be if my wife would put on some leathers, I would install a pillion seat, but that will never happen.
Favourite bike scene from a movie or TV show? Any episode from Henry Cole, World’s Greatest Motorcycle Rides from The Travel Channel.
How often do you clean your bike? At least every two weeks, prefer weekly.
What’s a great day trip out of Auckland? State Highway 16 to Wellsford, and then back again. Great road, curves, landscapes and the Kaukapakapa pub, or Puhoi pub I guess. By the way, I don’t drink.
What’s your take on Auckland’s traffic? Create separate bike lanes on the motorway during peak hours and start riding bikes, people! If a third of the users used a bike, I am sure the traffic jam would be more than halved, if not all but gone.