GBBO’s Selasi Gbormittah talks motorbikes

We talk two wheels, cakes and what’s next for Britain’s latest biking baker, Selasi Gbormittah, who shot to fame on this year’s Great British Bake Off.

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If you mention baking to most bikers they’ll probably wonder why you’re asking them about flour, eggs and whisks rather than engines, leathers and grease.

But the link between baking, cooking and motorbikes is one that happens more often than you’d expect.

Paul Hollywood rides a Ninja H2R while the Hairy Bikers are hardly seen without a Harley or adventure tourer between their legs.

James Martin has owned more Ducatis than most bikers, Gordon Ramsay grew up around motorcycles and Jamie Oliver used to nip about on a Vespa to get his fruit and veg.

They’re some of the most high profile chefs and bakers in the UK but for 11 weeks this year, it was another baking biker that grabbed the headlines.

Another biking baker

Selasi Gbormittah finished fourth in this year’s Great British Bake Off, the last on the BBC, and charmed the nation with his laidback attitude to baking.

While his skill in the kitchen shone through, it was his love of biking that grabbed our attention and after chatting with him last week, it’s clear that Selasi enjoys his time on two wheels just as much as he loves his time in the kitchen.

Selasi’s education in baking kicked off during university but it was after his graduation that a love of biking took hold.

“I’ve got family in Switzerland and they’re massively into motorbikes. I used to visit them every summer and they had lots of different bikes there, including a scooter.

“I used to get out on the scooter and that’s what kicked it off for me. From there I got my CBT and bought myself a Vespa to get used to the roads, then I worked my way up and got my full licence.”

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All about riding not driving

Selasi rides a Kawasaki Ninja ZX6R and his dream bike’s either a Honda CBR 1000 RR or a BMW S1000RR. He still returns to Switzerland to hone his skills through the mountains. He’s a serious biker.

“I’m not the biggest car fan, I don’t really like them. I’m happy that I don’t have a driving licence and I don’t own a car, especially living in London. On my bike I don’t have to worry about traffic because you can filter, which is the whole point of the bike. It’s cooler too.”

But that doesn’t mean Selasi’s happiest filtering through traffic in the city. Like most bikers, it’s the open road and a little bit of speed that provides the attraction.

“I like speed when and where I can get some – within the speed limit obviously. I ride a sportsbike and with London traffic always being heavy, you don’t get chance to open it out, test its limits and have some fun. That’s why I head out on the motorway and country roads when I can.

“I’d love to get along to a couple of track days too. I spoke about it with Paul Hollywood and we’re planning on sorting one for next summer when everything’s calmed down a bit. I feel like I’d learn a lot more about cornering and positioning.”

With all that, it may not come as a complete surprise to hear that Selasi’s perfect road trip would see him jump on a CBR 1000 RR or the S1000RR and head to the Nurburgring in Germany, just don’t expect him to take a pillion.

“As far as pillions go I don’t really like riding with them! I do it but I’ve had a few pillions who ignore what I’ve told them. We’ll start riding and they’ll start moving round, so I’m not their biggest fan!

“I’d take cake instead; a lemon loaf. That would stay in tact on the road!”

Why do bakers bike?

The opportunity to combine baking with biking seems to be the dream and when we asked if he’d rather have a TV show about baking or one about biking, Selasi’s answer was both, but he’s not the first person with a passion for fast bikes and food.

So why do so many famous chefs and celebrity bakers enjoy life behind the handlebars as much as being stood in front of an oven?

For Selasi, it’s the freedom biking provides and simply, how different it is to being in the kitchen.

“For me, working in a kitchen can be quite high pressure and I guess riding a motorbike helps you release that built up adrenaline in a way that you can’t in the kitchen; there’s more freedom on the bike and I’m much more relaxed.”

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Selasi’s Sunday Bike Club

While that may seem physically impossible for anyone that watched Bake Off (Selasi was arguably the most chilled out baker ever to enter the competition), food and biking seems heavily linked, not just for Selasi, but for his Sunday Bike Club too.

“The Sunday Bike Club is me and my mates. When it started there were four of us but we’ve been doing it for a while and we’re up to seven now – we just need matching jackets and badges now!

“Depending on whether we’ve got a hangover or not, we’ll meet up early, get breakfast at Bike Shed in Shoreditch and then head out to Surrey or Tonbridge Wells where one of the gang lives. We’ll get some lunch there, ride for a few hours then head back to London for more food.”

“The routes we take depend on the weather but we don’t usually have one in mind, we just pick a lead rider and follow them.”

What’s in the pipeline?

With the conversation looping back to food; GBBO rears its head again. It’s where Selasi came to public attention and why we’re talking to him but it could also be a life changer for the London banker.

A number of manufacturers are sniffing around the Ghanaian 30 year old and with appearances on TV in the aftermath of the BBC show already in the bag, a career on TV and on two wheels could be on the horizon.

It’s no wonder Selasi summed up his Bake Off experience in three words:

“Best decision ever!”

Selasi takes our quiz

As well as interviewing Selasi, we also asked the baking biker to take our ‘What kind of biker are you?’ quiz.

It didn’t come as too much of a surprise for us to learn that Selasi is a bit of a Speed Demon.

Next page: What Kind of Biker Are You?