Resident motorbike enthusiast Olivia, shares her thoughts on fuelling her creativity at Brandwave HQ by hitting the open road in search of adventure…
I recently realised that having a passion for the outdoors was hugely beneficial to both my lifestyle and my career. Dabbling in hockey, rowing, surfing, paragliding amongst others has led me to what is arguably one of the best graphic design jobs out there for a sports lover.
Not only is it fantastic to work within an industry I am passionate about, another big perk is having the beach right on the doorstep the the office. All this should contribute to my overall contentment… Not so, there was still one box to tick. (Mum, this is probably the bit where you should stop reading)…
I arrived in West Sussex riding an underpowered Yamaha SR125. Being my only mode of transport, it didn’t take many journeys through wind, rain and snow across the countryside to realise this was less than ideal. I was going to need a machine that sounded more impressive than a hairdryer. Consequently, additional motorcycle tests were taken and I was then officially on the hunt for a ‘big’ bike. Within days, my search led me to a gleaming, ivy green and chrome Suzuki Bandit.
125 massively overloaded, on route to Dorset from Sussex.
Three years on from my first road bike and I still find it hard to articulate to people the sensation of riding a bike vs. driving a car. Fortunately, Charles Yerkow and Co. sums it up pretty well in his book ‘Motorcycles, How They Work’:
“Regardless of the size of the machine and the power of its engine, all riders agree about one factor, and that is that the motorcycle provides a thrill – the challenge of being in control of a lively engine in a machine that responds instantly to the slightest lean of the body or touch of lever and throttle. An airline pilot whose hobby is motorcycling said, ‘I get a bigger thrill out of my bike than from flying a big jet’…. ‘The whole machine is in my mind from the moment I start the engine and shift it into gear. I visualize the shafts turning, the clutch plates grabbing, the gears meshing-I can see everything exactly as it’s happening, and when the tire bites into the dirt and I surge forward, well, all the money in the world can’t buy that feeling of power.”
Given that I’ve always been hooked on traveling, the Bandit was naturally only going to further fuel my craving for adventure. I instantly wanted to go everywhere on this bike, so with friends, we decided to tackle the Alps to begin with. Mountainous ascents, brake-burning descents, wild camping, mountains, lakes and waterfalls… the freedom was inconceivable.
Later that year, and on the greatest office Christmas trip ever, we went to Morocco for a Brandwave surf trip in Taghazout. After an incredible four days by the beach, I waved goodbye to the team and ventured inland to bomb it around the Atlas Mountains and Marrakech on a Yamaha Dragstar.
Breakfast on Bracklesham Beach before work
Massively underestimated the temperature in the Atlas Mountains from Taghazhout beach
Protection from sand storms in the Atlas Mountains
More recently this year myself and some friends set off to Tuscany in May, passing back through the Alps, Lake Como, The Black Forest, Belgium, Luxemburg, Lichtenstein to name a few. Wild camping near glacial rivers, hot springs, derelict mines and snow peaked mountains. Braving it through lightening storms, snow, sun and the bloody rain (thanks again Overboard for helping keep my clothes dry). Although the lows (mostly induced by weather) were more than a challenge at times, the contrast between that and the highs made it more than worthwhile.
Stop off in the French Alps
Tyres nicely warmed up after a sprint through the black Forest, Germany
Throughout all the trips to date there were significant problems along the way. Whether they were mechanical, logistical, spiritual etc. they were combated every time with laughter, music, culture and beer. Off the back of these motorcycle adventures, I’ve also discovered a sense of perspective and the rational problem solving skills that inevitably occur whilst travelling on bikes are transferable to other areas of life.
Quick pool side chain cleaning operation in Tuscany
For me, being able to jump from the bike to be back in Brandwave HQ and continue design work for global sports brands is a dream. It soon became apparent to see just how much each trip inspired my creative work, whether it’s a weekend in Wales or navigating through Europe. Biking helps to fuel my enthusiasm for everyday projects and the fresh eyes needed for creative design. I find that the more I ride, the more I learn, and all the learning can be carried with me back to Brandwave to enhance my creative work and everything else I do in life. Travel expands the creative mind and I recommend that all creatives (or non creatives) doing computer-based work should somehow manifest the outdoors into their career & free time (the bike part is optional).