Do it with passion or not at all

Underhelmet

First motorbike experience

I was 16, and falling in love with one Nenad inevitably meant that I was also to fall in love with his bike, a 125cc black sprint prince. It was impossible not to, given that Nenad spoke so passionately of the motorbike world; only 7 days after we met he took me to a bikers convention. Can you imagine what it seemed like to a small rocker girl like me at the time? It was in 2011.

Riding on your own for the very first time

Shortly after, I wanted to try riding by myself and in July 2012 I found myself at a shop, purchasing a brand new Keeway Superlight 125. Parents can be surprising creatures - they bought it for me, saying “Better ride on your own than with someone reckless“. Between July and the time I got my license, an eternity had passed - which was a single month, in reality. The zeal for riding, conceived through a passenger’s role, became even stronger when I took riding lessons.

 

First riding experiences

That year I didn’t go to any bike events, and my town felt too small. I followed Nenad around, on alternate routes through Serbia. When one starts off having a mentor is crucial, and mine was always within sight. Even today I enjoy being at the end of a group, following those I trust and whose driving style I am familiar with. Being behind another motorbike has helped me all those times my concentration weakened. Until this day, things haven’t changed much - I still prefer back roads to highways. When I come across a chance for a slight off-road, in my books it’s considered a jackpot.

 

Garage time

I used to help Nenad in his garage, and he helped me with my bike as well – just as support, though, as wrenches and screwdrivers quickly became my best friends. In my view, knowing your bike is crucial. Hardly anything feels better than tightening a chain, changing oil or even doing small repairs by yourself. Managing the road is very important too, because just as Murphy’s Law states – stuff happens when there’s no one around. Aside from learning about motorbikes from those around you, internet can be tremendously helpful as well.

 

 

Do it yourself!

Never Ride Alone asked me to share a bit about expenses involved in servicing my bike. The answer is – it wasn’t expensive! Taking something off the bike is free, cutting the seat was only a few thousand Dinars (less than 50 Euros), and I have no idea how much the insulating tape I used on my headlight costs since I found it in the garage. By the way, my seat was made by a fellow guy from Nis – Steve design. But overall, I have invested a lot of money in my Mnement (named after a dragon in a novel „Dragonriders of Pern“). Overall, motorcycling isn’t a cheap hobby, in addition to having the right equipment and protection it also requires buying oil, spark plugs, bulbs and gas regularly.

The future

Buying a cruiser wasn’t a bad choice but I do consider changing it from time to time. I now feel like being a test rider would be an ideal career choice for me. It would enable me to combine this desire to try every motorbike type with constantly having stuff to write about on my blog. I suppose my curiosity way overpowers common sense as sitting comfortably on a safe bike doesn’t satisfy me.

 

Photography & Motorcycling

I knew I wanted to take pictures of motorbikes the very first time my bike was photographed. Learning that I can take photos while in motion happened one time when I was returning from an event and, just for fun, I took a small camera with my left hand, letting go of handlebars. It didn’t take long to do the same thing on a DSL. Right now I am able to frame while riding. Those who ride with me know that I am always at the rear for two reasons – the first one is to catch everyone in the frame, and the second is to avoid them having to go around me in case I fall. No one should get hurt just because I am an adrenaline junkie chasing the perfect angle.

 

 

 

The fall

I had been warned many times that sooner or later I would fall, however I rode for the first 3 years without a single accident which made my ego pretty high. But it all changed in 2015, on a rail bridge outside of Svilajnac. It was a tiny bridge with a railway, a truck was blocking the exit and there was a car whose driver kept honking as he drove. That was a bit too much for me, as I am generally uncomfortable on bridges. Instead of stopping and resorting to swear words in a typical Serbian manner, I opted for crossing anyway and I quickly ended up on roll bars. The nervous driver kept honking even as I lifted and checked the motorbike. Fortunately I was fine; the bike had some minimal damage including a roll bar scratch. I made it to the camp with a distorted stand which we straightened with a hammer, but my fear wasn’t as easy to fix, it had a grip on me for about 10 km. Finally, I ended up sparing my motorbike in curves for months.

 

Women & Motorbikes

It’s so simple, yet complicated! I can’t tell you what a female biker life is all about since I can’t even imagine a different lifestyle. Being a biker lady means going to events for free, making great friends, being surrounded with helpful people. But it all comes down to your behaviour and attitudes, and not what kind of a mean machine you have. People will love and appreciate you for what you are and how you treat them. It is important to be honest, for being fake will show sooner or later. To a girl, riding a motorbike will ensure getting more attraction but will not automatically make her a better person.

 

Never ride alone?

Happiness is meant to be shared, yet not with just anyone. Same goes for riding. Riding alone can suck but it’s even worse to ride with someone you dislike. I choose my fellow riders wisely. I enjoy those who dislike rushing and have the ability to make every break they choose to make from time to time unforgettable.

Underhelmet?

It’s about wishing to share excess adrenaline and creativity with the world. I have channeled my love for motorbikes through journalism and photography experience, and packed it all under one label. Underhelmet was a logical choice, it describes my blog well. We, bikers, tend to clear our heads while riding anyway. I use my time under helmet to dream, sing, talk to myself and scream out loud. Under helmet is a place in which I made all the most important decisions...

 

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Photos by:

Tijana Hrcak

Danijel Nikolic

Nenad

Radule Perisic