I’ve been a bike rider for many years – just short of 20 – but I started to cast about for another driving experience on the road with just as much fun but perhaps with a reduced level of risk. Having also become a bit of a fair weather biker, I wanted some additional weather protection too. I looked for a car solution that could suit me and came up with quite a short list.
- Caterham 7
- Ariel Atom
- Zenos E10
The Ariel Atom was similarly priced but completely impractical off the track. Similarly, the Zenos E10 is roofless, and not suitable for touring. Other options like kit cars requiring donor vehicles did not inspire me; too many potential problems hidden at the start of the process that only become obvious later. Larger production cars like a 911 or fast Audi, although fantastic machines, did not offer me the level of engagement of the bike.
I could not find anything else that was road legal, at least a little bit practical (weekends away and longer touring trips need to be possible) and which still gave me the excitement and level of control of a bike. Perhaps another bike is what I needed? Or perhaps I should get into a Caterham to drive it and see what it is all about.
I decided to hire one for a day. In Scotland, currently the nearest dealer is in Northwich in Cheshire, some 240 miles away, so test drives are out and I don’t have connections to anyone currently driving a Caterham apart from a work colleague in London…who was selling his.
We drove through rotten weather around Loch Ness – the Cairngorms were out due to snow – but still had an absolute blast. The level of feel, connection to the road, being “in” the car rather than “on” it. This was what I was looking for.
I had to have one.