Discovery, adventure + community
Any rider knows that when you get your first ride the community comes hand in hand. The Mutt community is a wild bunch, filled with folks from all walks of...READ THE STORY
This is someone who not only knows everything about Mutts, but is also a fountain of knowledge when it comes to the London bike scene, female cycling movements, local East London haunts and everything you’ll need to know to hit the road in safety and style, no matter what experience you already have under your belt. So we grabbed a stool at the Bethnal Green Store and had a good old chin-wag with the lady in charge herself.
How's everything going at MUTT London Store?
I think many people decided to get a motorbike to avoid using public transport, so Mutts have been in high demand, which is great.
I've really enjoyed helping set the shop up and running it. There's something really joyful about seeing new riders collecting their bikes, they are filled with excitement to be on two wheels, it really does make me smile.
I love working at Mutt because it's not like working for a company, it's like working with friends. Everyone is super cool and gets on, we are a family.
How long have you been riding motorcycles for and what first got you interested in them?
I did my CBT September 2016 and got my full licence in April 2017.
My father was a mod in his youth and both my grandfather and great grandfather rode motorbikes so maybe it has always been in my blood. It wasn't until I rode pillion on a Harley with an ex-boyfriend that I thought about learning to ride myself. I enjoyed the feeling of being on the bike, that combination of fear and excitement was addictive, plus I don't have a car licence so the thought of being able to finally go where I wanted was really appealing.
Learning to ride myself has given me so much freedom and opened up my life in ways I'd never have imagined. I've made really good friends, done some really cool stuff, travelled and met my husband.
"A Mutt is a great first bike for anyone starting out or getting back into bikes after some time off, as they are lightweight and not intimidating at all."
What was the first bike you owned? And what is your current collection like?
My first bike was a 1979 Honda CG with a kickstart, which I got because it was all I could afford at the time, and I didn't know what was really available to me.
The Honda was a pain in the bum, one day it was refusing to start so I posted on a facebook group asking if anyone knew a decent mechanic in my area as I couldn't get it going. I got some ridiculous comments asking if I had petrol in it and so on… A very kind man offered to come and help me bumpstart the bike and let me know where to take it to get looked at, and that's how I met my husband!
When I passed my test I got a 1989 Kawasaki GT550, it was beautiful, big and heavy and taught me to ride properly. I sold this after two years.
My current collection is a Honda Hornet 600c, a CBR900rr FireBlade, a Suzuki SV650s track bike and we recently bought a Kawasaki Ninja ZXR4 400cc which my husband and I are doing up. We have seven motorbikes all together between us!
Motorcycling is quite male-dominated at the moment. Why do you think this is and how can we get more women interested?
Motorcycling has been male dominated for a long time, but there is a growing trend in women learning to ride. I think this rise in women getting a motorbike has been helped by social media posts from other women, showing how accessible it is and how many women are actually into motorbikes. There are women only events happening, women's motorcycle groups on Facebook where you can ask for advice and give each other encouragement to learn or progress.
There are also some amazing women out there that race on track and off road who compete against men, showing that anything is possible.
I think a lot of women may find it daunting to go into a bike shop as usually it’s men that work in them. Running the Mutt London store puts me in a good position to be able to help and give advice to any females looking to get into riding or buying their first motorcycle.
Personally, I never felt it was an obstacle or that it was a "man thing" I wanted to ride so I went out and did it. I also haven't experienced any negativity to being a woman riding a motorbike.
What advice would you give people who want to start out riding a motorcycle?
Getting a 125cc bike after completing your CBT is a good way to start, it enables you the time to learn, gain confidence and experience before thinking about going for your full test. I would say take your time and don't try to rush it, enjoy the experience.
It's also beneficial to learn some basic maintenance and how to care for your bike, it's quite fulfilling to know how your bike works and what to do if you have a simple issue.
There is a really good online Mutt community and in London there is a riders group that organises ride outs and meet ups, going for rides with others will help boost your confidence.
What is it you love most about MUTT bikes?
I love the simplicity and un-fussy beauty of a Mutt. They are easy to clean, maintain and fun to ride! A Mutt is a great first bike for anyone starting out or getting back into bikes after some time off, as they are lightweight and not intimidating at all. Whenever I take a Mutt out I have a real blast, they are just so much fun!
When we’re next down visiting the Bethnal Green MUTT store where else should we check out? Any good boozers, pizzas, London ride-outs?
Ooooh did you say pizza!! I love pizza. There is Yard Sale Pizza on Hackney Road which does the best pizza, they also do an amazing Marmite and cheese garlic bread. Just behind the shop in the railway arches is Sodo Pizza which is also really good and very close.
Booze wise, we have Satan's Whiskers cocktail bar along the street and The Hare is further along towards Hackney, this is a proper old boozer.
My favourite pub is the Lord Morpeth which is a 20-minute walk from the shop, in Bow. They do really good sourdough pizza, so you can get beer and pizza in one place which is always a winner in my book. I often go there on summer evenings after work.
I tend not to ride in London only out of it as traffic is hideous. The roads out around Essex and Sussex are lovely, I'm quite partial to stopping at the Tea Hut in Epping Forest for a sausage sandwich, it's been there for years and years and you can always find loads of bikes there.
"I have already done so many things in the years I've been riding so it's hard to pick a favourite, but riding in France through the Pyrenees mountains while at Wheels and Waves was pretty amazing"
What have been some of your favourite road trips/motorbike experiences?
I have already done so many things in the years I've been riding so it's hard to pick a favourite, but riding in France through the Pyrenees mountains while at Wheels and Waves was pretty amazing, The scenery was spectacular and we encountered mountain bulls and cows that were just in the road and we had to go around them. It was a bit terrifying as I had only had my full licence for about a month, but it was an unforgettable experience.
Doing my first track day last year on my own bike is pretty high on my list as well, learning what my bike is capable of in a safe environment and being able to push myself that little bit further along my motorcycle journey. It's safe to say I've now got the track bug doing five days last year and in April I finished building my own track bike which will be used this year.
I'm looking forward to more track days and some longer trips including riding around Spain.
Where's the first place you're jumping on a MUTT and riding off to?
The first place I'd love to go to is to see our friends in Bruges who run a really cool restaurant and shop called Hermanus. We've not been able to see them for so long as we had to cancel our visit we had planned last March. We ride to Dover and get the ferry to Dunkirk then ride through France into Belgium, it's always a great ride on large open roads and people are so respectful to motorbike riders. It's just a pleasure riding there.
Which Mutt would I take on this trip, hmmm, I think the Akita is probably my favourite at the moment, so it would be the 250cc version in black!
If you find yourself in the bike smoke, pop in and say hey to Saffron and the crew:
📍 399 Cambridge Heath Rd, London. E2 9RA
⏱ Open Tuesday - Saturday 10:00am - 6:00pm