Author: Neale Bayly

Neale Bayly Rides: A Moment of Weightlessness

Paralyzed by perception, the call confirming I would be riding Valentino Rossi’s 2005 MotoGP bike sent seismic waves across the phone lines, rocking and shaking the fabric of my known world. Seconds turned to hours, minutes to days, as every heartbeat began ticking down the time till I would take the ultimate motorcycle challenge. How could one motorcycle strike so much fear in my heart, and so categorically undermine every component of my life that represented stability and security? Not cut from the same cloth as Rossi, nor possessing the heart of a lion or the courage of David, there was no machine I had ridden that could have prepared me to ride Vale’s personal MotoGP bike.

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Neale Bayly Rides: Knickerbockers, Hells Angels, & Two Miss Alaskas

So, dear reader, if you can, cast your mind back to 1986. If you weren’t born yet or were in kindergarten or similar, ignore that bit. At the time, I was living in Fairbanks, Alaska, the town of Ester to be more precise. Some of you might know Ester because of the world famous Malamute Saloon (or at least Kurt said it was famous) and as he was the cook at the restaurant who made sure that my traveling partner Karen and I always had breakfast, so for the sake of this story I’ll believe him.

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Neale Bayly Rides: What Dreams Are Made

It was one of those typical British summer evenings that live in the rose-tinted glass reflections of my life as a young motorcyclist growing up in a seaside town in South Devon, England (home of “Fawlty Towers” for any of you John Cleese fans). Warm, dry, and with the long lingering daylight that wrapped itself around the summer solstice, our small town’s pavements were packed with holidaymakers. As they meandered along the busy streets, the sounds of pinball and slot machines floated through the air, accompanied by the smell of cotton candy and popcorn. In the saddle of a battle-weary Yamaha XT500, on a night like this, my threadbare existence seemed to matter not, as the whole town was alive and I was out on the prowl.

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Neale Bayly Rides: Neale’s Gonzo History Tour

We lived to ride and rode to live. We partied through the night, raging at parties till dawn. At the zenith of our insanity, Wibbly rode a Norton 850 Commando, and I was welded to the seat of a battle-weary 1978 Laverda 1200 Mirage, hopped up with Jota cams, bars, and pegs. Three trashcan-sized pistons sucked 105-octane gas and damp, rain-saturated air through filter-less Dellorto carburetors with the sophistication of a cement mixer, before hurling the exploded remains through a chrome Harris 3-into-1 exhaust.

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Neale Bayly Rides: Addiction

My name is Neale Bayly. I’ve been an addict for more than 40 years now and don’t see any signs that I’ll ever recover. My addiction has driven me to the depths of despair and to levels of euphoria that only other addicts will understand. I’ve missed out on steady employment, making large interest payments, storage sheds full of shit and closets full of expensive clothes. When I go to sleep at night, I’m haunted by the memories that drive me further into my addiction.

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An Englishman In Ukraine, Part 3

Trapped in the city of Mykolaiv, Ukraine as the air-strike warnings howled across the city, we made the decision to move to a nearby park. Out in the open we hoped that we would be as far from any buildings as we could if they got hit. And, if they hit the park we’d be gone quickly.

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An Englishman In Ukraine, Part 2

Setting up camp for a few days in our small, single bedroom apartments, Kiran and I debriefed from the day, both sharing the insane feeling of catching ourselves enjoying the ride and forgetting the war for a while. Any feelings of guilt were soon washed away by the haunting and now familiar sound of the sirens howling out into the night, as we sat discussing our day and the strange intimacy that knowing these could be our last moments induced.

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An Englishman In Ukraine

We’ve followed the travels and writings of motorcycle rider and internationally known writer Neale Bayly for years. The Englishman now residing in America has seen much of the world from the saddle of a motorbike, and has shared the best of humanity in the wonderful people he has met the world over. In this travelogue series from his recent motorcycle trip into war-torn Ukraine, Neale gives us a glimpse from the ground of life under fire in the eastern European nation. With acclaimed photographer Kiran Ridley, Neale pulls back the veil to show the world what a regional superpower is doing to this beautiful nation and its resilient, big-hearted people.

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