Earlier this year we caught up with Clive Barber!
Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Clive Barber, I live between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales National Parks. I have been riding motorbikes since I was 12, and I co-host The Trail and Adventure Motorbike Podcast, which I started 4 years ago. I have been passionate about motorbikes for as long as I can remember. I started racing ‘scramblers’ when I was 12 (it was a long time ago), and after a long layoff started trail riding, along with a few low level enduro and rally races. I also toured Europe as a 13 year old, on the back of my dad’s Honda 400/4. I think that left an indelible mark. I love all forms of motorcycling, but all 5 of my current motorcycles have knobblie tyres on!
How and when did you get into riding?
It took several years of whining to get my parents to buy me a bike. It was a secondhand 1975 Honda CB125S that was converted into a schoolboy scrambler, which I raced with the Warley Wasps Scrambling Club. I think they call it motocross these days. I was fairly rubbish, but boy did I love that bike! It was followed by a proper 2 stroke Kawasaki KX125, which absolutely terrified me initially. I was still a bit rubbish on that.
What are the best and worst things about riding?
Worst things! There are no worst things! The best things are mates and places. The real beauty of motorcycling is the journey itself, the crack you have along the way and the amazing places you get to see. (You need to get all your mates connected on mesh intercom systems, gaming changing!)
Riding a bike is like meditation for me. It requires so much concentration, you forget everything else going on in your otherwise hum-drum, or stressful life. Combine that with the buzz of adrenaline and you have a heady mixture for 2-wheeled joy!
Tell us about your most memorable ride to date?
A couple of things spring to mind. The first time I rode a motorbike, It was a Honda Dax in Micky Pugh’s aunties field when I was 11. After that I think my first trip to Morocco is probably the most memorable. 1000 miles offroad in 5 days following some Dakar tracks. (And yes I know actual Dakar riders cover that in a single day!) I was relatively fresh to riding after a long layoff, and it was designed to be fairly challenging. 13 hour days, running out of water and learning to ride in sand. Utterly brilliant. There was a support truck, so we were never in any real danger, but 20 years later I am still good friends with many of the people on that trip and have been back to Morocco 5 times. If you haven’t been, you should add it to your list.
What's the best piece of riding advice you've ever been given?
When I raced as a kid I remember my dad telling me “any idiot can go fast in a straight line, it’s what happens in between that counts”. He also said ‘if you’re not falling off, you aren’t trying hard enough.’ I remember thinking at the time that that was terrible advice!
But I guess for trail riding it would be to get used to standing up. Stand up all the time. Also, keep your momentum going, even if it’s ugly and you end up paddling up a steep rocky climb. Momentum will get you over nearly everything. If it doesn’t, roll backwards to somewhere with better traction.
Other stuff… get a trials bike, it WILL make you a better rider. And probably the best piece of advice I give myself every time I ride is ‘don’t be a dick, you have a family that quite likes you.’ Also, watch the excellent videos by Chris Birch and Llel Pavey.
What do you take with you on every ride?
Tools, nuts and bolts, spare levers and gear pedal, spare tube, levers and a pump, credit card and phone, ‘and my good mate Noel Thom.’
How do you keep your bikes secure at home and on the go? Share your best tips to help others keep their bikes safe.
I live in a very remote area, in the middle of nowhere, on a farm, so for years my security has been very poor. That changed when a friend had both of his bikes stolen from the garage attached to his house, in the middle of the night. We did a bit of research on security and found Litelok. We interviewed Neil on the podcast!
I now have 2 Liteloks and several other lesser locks, including alarmed disc locks, fixed to concreted steel loops.
When someone asks what kit you recommend, you say?
I have a good relationship with the chaps at Adventure Spec, and I am in the fortunate position that they give me new kit when they are promoting it. That said, we are not obliged to say nice things about it. But, it is very good stuff. It’s all about layering. Their approach is to create outdoor gear you can wear on your bike, with all the protection you need, but it won’t look out of place in the pub. Their Supershirt is a game changer. It is mostly AAA rated, but AA in parts. You can confidently wear the Supershirt with very little else needed, depending on the weather. I usually wear Adventure Spec Mongolia pants, Linesman jacket, and the Supershirt, with waterproofs in reserve, if needed. I favour merino base layers. I wear the excellent waterproof Sidi Adventure II’s and the flip up Caberg Tourmax helmet. I got fed up of destroying expensive helmets, and the Caberg is a good value 5 star SHARP rated lid.
What’s on your riding bucket list?
India, and South America
You can watch Clive's Bikes in Barns here!