Brian and Carolyne, aka the Bunny King Hogs, live in the Peak District. They bought their Harley-Davidsons in 2019, and describe messing around on bikes as ‘their midlife crisis’. They started filming during lockdown as a fun hobby and ‘to embarrass the kids’. Their road trips are planned around their day jobs in recruitment and design, and are chronicled on YouTube and Instagram. We caught up with them on their sofa at home, and yes, it was (a bit) like John and Yoko.
When did you get into motorbikes?
Brian: I rode a motorbike when I was 18 years old, in South Africa - a little 50cc, which lasted about four or five months. It broke and I never bought another one. I came to the UK, met Carolyne, we married, and had four children. After watching The Terminator as a teen, I really wanted a Harley-Davidson. That desire never left me but while the kids were young, that dream was put on the shelf. Carolyne, forever teasing me about my driving, said that she didn’t want to be left bringing up four kids on her own.
In 2019, on my 44th birthday, we went to Nice and hired a Harley. Carolyne jumped on the back. I had never taken a passenger or ridden a bike bigger than a 50cc before. That was it. When we got home from that trip, I bought my bike, then Carolyne’s. The kids were older, and she said go for it, and I wasn’t going to wait around! They then sat in the garage until we got our licences that summer. It was real motivation to get our licences quickly! When lockdown lifted in June 2020, we jumped on the bikes and did a 23-day tour around Europe. The longest ride we had ever done in the UK until that point was pottering around the Peak District for as long as the winter weather would allow us.
Which Harleys do you own?
Brian: Matching 2008 Anniversary bikes. Mine is a Road King Classic and Carolyne has a Deluxe.
Carolyne: We didn’t set out to get his’n’her bikes. I call mine Bunny because it looks like the bunny from the Duracell battery ads. And Brian named his King. That’s how we got the channel name.
Brian: I always wanted a Harley, ever since Terminator 2, seeing Arnie sitting on a Fat Boy. The sound, the look, the style - everything about it. I wanted a Road King because of my size. While we were looking for mine, we saw Carolyne’s bike in the showroom, and she said, ‘If I was to get a bike, this is the one I’d get.’
Carolyne: Not thinking I would actually get one, as I had never even thought about riding a bike, let alone owning one.
Brian: That evening, I saw an advert for my Road King in the exact same colour. I bought that and the next week I bought Carolyne’s bike as well, because I knew that if we were to have adventures, it wouldn’t be long before she would want to ride her own.
What do you like about motorcycling?
Carolyne: At first, I knew nothing about bikes. But with our children growing up and leaving home, Brian and I needed a shared hobby. Something that could bring us together and give us what we both needed. He loved bikes and I love adventures. I love bikes now and have great fun on them. Biking has brought us closer, made us rely on each other, laugh at each other and have so many incredible memories, stories and new friends. Biking has been the best thing we have ever done for our relationship.
Brian: When I get on the bike, it’s a thrill. I can feel my heart rate going up. I love sharing the adventures with Carolyne; it’s been a lot of fun.
What do you think people like so much about your videos?
Brian: We just are who we are. There's nothing scripted about it. We can’t do scripted and we don’t plan very much. The raw emotion is what you see. And Carolyne has very few filters so I just strap a camera on to her, feed her sugar and off she goes!
What are your followers like?
Carolyne: Our followers online are really, really lovely. Supportive and funny. We do meet people in real life too, though we don’t tend to go to a lot of bike events. We started biking in covid times so have gotten used to biking being just us. Although, we have now been on a couple of tours and love the fun of sharing our adventures with others. Through our shared adventures and memories we have made lifelong friends around the world. It has truly been incredible. I honestly didn’t expect to meet so many wonderful people.
Brian: A lot of the time, people come up to me and say, ‘Sorry Brian, but I’m here for Carolyne.’ I fully accept that. She is Batman; I’m Robin.
What is your favourite country to tour?
Carolyne: They’re all so different and you can enjoy different things. Sometimes it’s the road, or the food, or the life experience. I love mountains, but I also loved riding through Holland. But yes, mountains… so Italy, Austria and Switzerland.
Brian: The mountain passes, the views, the villages…
Carolyne: …the cheese.
Brian: And cheese, yes. But then, I absolutely loved riding through South Africa this past tour. It was very different, but maybe it was about going back home. It was a totally different experience.
Brian: If I had to pick, I would say Switzerland.
Carolyne: Yes, for pure eye-candy riding, Switzerland.
What camera gear do you take on your trips?
Brian: We’ve got two GoPros, a 360° camera, our phones, plus two audio mics. We also take a drone on every trip; in fact, I crashed one in the Alps on our first tour.
You (almost) always look like you’re having a great time. Do you have any tips for keeping the harmony on the road?
Carolyne: Snacks. And separate bikes, because you can turn off the intercom.
Brian: I’ve never turned off the intercom. Somebody has. I won’t mention names.
Carolyne: We don’t really switch it off as he has the sat nav. Well, maybe once.
Brian: Generally, it’s when we get hungry and thirsty that we get a bit annoyed with each other. On our Swiss tour we had some mechanical issues with the bikes, which created quite a bit of stress because potentially the tour could have been over before it began. We’ve had some occasions when we have ridden through the day in the heat without a break for food and drink, and that’s when the bickering starts.
Carolyne: You rely on each other when you’re out there. That is a comfort, and if something goes wrong, you stick it out and you sort it. But we haven’t had too many things go wrong.
Brian: I also have the patience of the saint.
We’re pleased you like your Roadskin motorcycle gear. Is there anything you rate particularly?
Carolyne: I love the women’s motorcycle leggings because they are really comfortable, all day every day. In South Africa I wore them all the time, from the dirt roads to the mountains. They were cool enough in the heat, but warm enough in the Drakensbergs, when temperatures were below freezing. They suck you in as well, so you can eat, and the band gives you a waist. I just love them.
Brian: The Taranis motorcycle jeans are very comfy and stretchy, which I like, given my size. Compared to my other riding trousers, they are much lighter and cooler to ride in when it’s hot.
What’s up next for the Bunny King Hogs?
The next definite plan is Vietnam in February/March. We are also looking at doing tours – one in Asia, one in Europe and one in Africa. We have a potential opportunity in South Africa, so we might go out again to do the routes and figure out what we want to do. We want to show other riders the places we love to ride, and the things we love to see and do and experience. For non-planners - that’s pretty good for us!