New Rider Interview: Actor, Alex Walkinshaw
You may recognise Alex from his role as PC Dale Smith aka ‘Smithy’ in The Bill, Holby City or Waterloo Road, but the place you’re likely to see him? Cruising around on two wheels now he’s passed his CBT. He tells us about his journey onto two-wheels…
“I’ve always wanted to get my bike licence. I actually did a CBT nearly 30 years ago but work and life got in the way and I never managed it. I was chatting to some friends about bikes and they shared the link to the Unlock Your Freedom website and it gave me a nudge in the right direction and I’ve decided to give it a go!”
“The UK is such a beautiful place with some fantastic roads and I can’t wait to explore them. There’s something about riding a bike which is just so special – even going to the shops feels completely different. It’s not just the fact that it’s enjoyable either, it’s better for the environment and also congestion – so it’s win-win all round.”
46-year-old Alex completed his Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) at a Honda-approved training school.
“I found the road section of the training easier than in the car park to be honest! It had been a long time since I’d been on a bike so I was a bit wobbly to start with until I got my confidence. The training school and my instructor were great. I think the rapport that you have is really important and gives you confidence. As soon as I got back on, it all came rushing back and so did the buzz and excitement of two wheels.
“I think that a lot of road users are complacent. I think if people who drove cars did some lessons on two-wheels then it would make them better drivers as it would make them more aware of the experience of other road users. In my opinion, it would be good for all road users to be aware of others and experience what it’s like for each other.”
With a lot of friends who ride, Alex plans to head out with them as well as make the most of riding alone and taking time out of his busy filming schedule.
“Now I’ve got my CBT, I’m getting a Honda Monkey bike – even though it’s a 125cc and I’m 6ft, I’ve tried it out for size and riding position is actually more spacious than you may think. I plan to go out and get as much experience on the road as possible until I do the next parts of my test. I’ll be heading out for rides with mates but also it can be nice as a bit of solitary time too.
“When it comes to doing the next bits of my test, I want the riding bit to be second nature so I can just relax and do everything naturally. It’s personal preference really as other people may prefer to go straight in and do it all at once. That’s the thing with riding, you can do the elements however you prefer.”
So, once Alex has his full licence, what are his plans?
“I’ve always fancied heading off to America with a group of friends and hiring some big bikes and touring around the country and riding along those iconic roads you see in films!”
Check out www.unlockyourfreedom.co.uk for more information and to find your local training school. Already ride? Share the link with your non-riding family and friends, you never know, they could be like Alex and need a nudge in the right direction…