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Rider Stories: Aled Jones' Lifechanging Journey

Rider Stories: Aled Jones' Lifechanging Journey

Since soaring to fame with his iconic cover of "Walking in the Air" at just 14-years-old, Aled Jones has spent his life travelling around the world singing, broadcasting and presenting.

From having an album second to only Bruce Springsteen in the UK pop charts and touring the USA, Japan and Australia, to presenting some of the country's most-loved television programmes including Songs of Praise, his career has taken him far and wide.

Now aged 52, he is cruising to the stage doors of the Royal Albert Hall on his Maeving Blue RM1.

We caught up with Aled to discuss the early days of his career, how a last minute flight to the Caribbean kickstarted his motorbiking journey, his love affair with Maeving and how his RM1 has helped his "life changing" voyage into sobriety. Here's what he had to say:

You achieved international stardom so young, what are your lasting memories of your childhood success?

I was really lucky. You know, my whole career with my record label Sain was only four years long, yet we released 16 albums which is unheard of now. It was crazy being one of the first classical musicians ever to be in the pop chart. I remember being number two in the charts, one place behind Bruce Springsteen and Born in the USA. That's an unheard of number of sales in my genre.

Before one of my first big TV shows, the BBC rang my father saying they had pressed 4,000 copies of my album and that, although they did not expect it to sell, it would be a nice memento for people if they enjoyed the programme. The same producer then rang my dad a week later to tell him it sold over a quarter of a million copies in a week.

I was traveling all over the world. I did a lot of programmes from Israel because of the type of music I sang. Lots of concerts in Rome and Paris, too. One of my biggest disappointments was taking part in a TV show in Paris as a kid where I got to sing a duet with my hero, Pavarotti. Off I flew to Paris only to realise he was singing his bit from Italy! So, technically I did get to sing with him but I never met him. I still claim it, though.

Singing in the Hollywood Bowl was amazing although, being truthful with you, I was more excited about going to Disneyland. It was just a crazy time.

How has your relationship with travel changed over the years?

Not so brilliant memories were always being on a train from North Wales to London, it seemed every weekend. My father tried to "keep it real" by making me go standard class which was a nightmare because every single person on the train would just be staring at me.

I also hated the journey from North to South Wales because it was such a long one. However, I did it with my tour manager recently and it was just so lovely. The sun was shining and we had the whole day to do it. But as a kid I remember just being in the back of a car willing myself to get there. I am not a very good passenger, to be honest with you. I don't really enjoy being in the back of a car.

I did a concert in the Sydney Opera House and there was a very, very old lady who came up to me afterwards and told me she'd travelled seven hours to see me. I stupidly said, "next time I'll come to you," and decided to do a month long regional tour of Australia, traveling 1000s of miles in a bloody van. Actually, it was incredible. I took my son out of school for a month and it was just phenomenal. We saw places that we're unlikely to see again, and that journey was one of my happiest times.

When and how did you first become interested in motorcycles?

I had to catch a 10:30 flight from Gatwick to the Carribean after getting off air at 09:00, and someone told me about these things called Virgin Limobikes that would be the only way I'd make it on time.

I did my radio show and, having never been on a motorbike before, jumped on the back of a massive, fully specced Yamaha, put my helmet on, and got to the airport in about 35 minutes.

That moment changed everything, really. I'm a singer and a presenter on radio and TV so at one point I was going from place to place in London four or five times a day. The Limobike became my only mode of transport. I was on the motorbike probably four or five times a day, being their best customer and continuing to be so up until COVID.

What first drew you to Maeving?

When the Maeving RM1 came along, a friend of mine enthusiastically said, 'have you seen these bikes,' and so I took a look at it. I just loved the whole design; it looks very much like a Triumph.

For many years I've always thought about buying my own bike. The whole idea that this was electric, but it didn't look like a scooter, appealed because I don't like scooters. It just felt like a proper bike. So it was the right time to go for it.

It really feels like you're on the road which is how I felt when I was on the back of a massive Yamaha. So for me, it's been a really beautiful transition from being on the back to having my own.

How has the Maeving RM1 impacted your life?

For me, it's come at a time where it's given me a real different stage of life. While I didn't drink a lot, I enjoyed a glass of wine, but since January 2023 I haven't drank anything.

The way I see it, if I want to be on a motorbike, I need to be compos mentis. I've really enjoyed it, it's just so great. I ride into London every day and, even when it's raining, you just kind of appreciate everything more.

It's beautiful, it's literally been life changing. I love being on the bike. It's made my life so much easier and seems to save me an absolute bloody fortune.

Did you have any concerns about getting onto a motorcycle for the first time? 

I think, even if you cycle in London, there is always an element of risk. But I'm 52 years old, and my days of pushing it to the limit are not as to the fore as they were when I was younger.

I like that Maeving allows you to be quite leisurely and the nature of being on a bike is that you don't really have to rush that much.

The good thing with the Maeving is that there's only a seat for one. It's mine and I don't take anyone else on it, although everyone wants to sit on it. If they do, the first thing they say is always that it's really comfortable, as if it's not going to be, of course. It's your own armchair.

Has the Maeving RM1 helped with your busy work schedule?

I don't use any other mode of transport at all. I use the bike everyday. On Saturday and Sunday I have a radio show on Classic FM and I can park it underneath Global in Leicester Square. It's brilliant. I ride straight into the building, present the show, then drive home.

I had a gig at the Royal Albert Hall a month ago and I decided that I was going to turn up in my dinner jacket. They told me there is a car park underneath which only has four spaces for cars but does have room for bikes. So, for the first time in my life, I drove into the Albert Hall on my Maeving, with it only being a 10 minute journey from where I live.

I rode down underneath the Hall, the doors opened, I parked the bike, walked up a flight of stairs to my dressing room, took my helmet off and walked onstage to do the gig.

Then afterwards, put my helmet back on, walked downstairs, and rode the bike straight out. I didn't see anyone. It was amazing. You can only do that on a motorcycle.

What has surprised you the most about the Maeving RM1?

The thing that has surprised me most is that everyone wants to talk to you about it. Everyone thinks it looks amazing. I'm proud to own one, really, because I love that it's still the early days for the company. 

Has riding a motorcycle through London changed your perception on the city itself?

It has because you see things differently. There's a horrible expression that you've got the wind in your hair and all that business. But I get it now. I get that exact feeling every morning. I come out of my house, drive down my road, and then I'm on my way to London. When I reach the dreaded Hammersmith flyover, I literally feel grateful to be on it. Not many can say that.

Lastly, sum up the feeling of riding the Maeving RM1 in three words:

Free, unique, majestic.