Me and My Bike: Saying oui to the motorbike
FRENCH-BORN PHILIPPE MENEUT RUNS BUSINESSES HELPING FRENCH-SPEAKING FOREIGNERS STUDY, INVEST OR LIVE IN NEW ZEALAND
So you ride a 1200cc BMW motorbike?
Yes, it’s 2008, RT silver green — the exact colour is Ostra Grey Metallic Matt — and it has top and side cases.
What do you like about this bike?
You know exactly how long does it take to go to A to B with very little time difference, no getting stuck with traffic jams. You breathe the fresh air, smell the nature and get a good feeling when you are riding even at low speed. There is a feeling of freedom and it is a pleasure every day even when the weather is not so good. It is very economical, I spend $40 on petrol every three weeks.
How long have you been riding? And what other bikes have your owned?
Forty years. My first bike, when I was 16 years old, was a Honda 125cc and after that a Yamaha 600cc, then 650cc, then 900cc. And then a BMW 1100 GS. My first bike in New Zealand was a 650 GS and then a BMW 1100 RT, 1150 RT and now a 1200 RT.
Any disadvantages of riding a bike in Auckland?
Yes, sometimes the car drivers do not realise that you there. I have been knocked over already three times at low speed, fortunately with no injuries.
How is riding in New Zealand different to riding overseas?
In Paris, the other drivers know that you are there and take care of you and give you some space.
Only when it is raining. My motorbike has a windscreen and is very efficient in the rain. When I am riding long distance I wear full equipment, otherwise I ride my motorbike in suit and tie.
Your dream bike?
The actual new BMW 1200 RT with all the new technology.
Who taught you to ride?
I started on a bicycle at 5, moped at 14, and then motorbike at 16. I learned to ride bigger motorbikes in the army at 18 and had my licence after.
Any tips for young, new bike riders?
Any riders of motorbikes need to consider what the car will do and anticipate that people can make mistakes. And as you are not protected, you will be injured even if it is not your fault. So look at people, to see if they see you... and warn them.
Do you also drive?
I hardly ever drive, sometimes my wife’s car, an eight-seater Mazda MPV.
Most memorable road trip?
In the French Alps at Col du Galibier, where you can ride a BMW 1100 GS within fantastic scenery in warm weather with all the smell of the nature. You have really the feeling of freedom and wellbeing.
Do you take a passenger on your bike?
Yes, my wife. And sometime clients when they are not scared...
Favourite bike scene from a movie?
The movie The World’s Fastest Indian here in New Zealand with Anthony Hopkins.
What’s a great day trip out of Auckland?
Go down to Beachlands and follow the coast to Thames and come back by Pokeno.