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A Long Ride
A Long Ride
Anybody else accidentally ridden more miles than they planned too?
I decided to head home from Nicks house in Slovenia early on a Sunday morning in July, mainly because they don't run trucks in Germany on the Sabbath. I planned to stay halfway in an Hotel or camp as I felt like at the time. It was bright but cool as I made my way down the mountainside into Smartno and then riding through the town of Kamnik, I soon wished I had put that fleece on under my bike jacket. It was six o clock when I left, traffic was light. The only way to progress on long rides is to keep riding, not stopping, so I opted to man up against the cold and wait until I needed fuel. The Slovenian border with Austria soon came into view and I took the opportunity to fill the Tenere up with fuel in with cheaper(than Austria) fuel. These bikes will do more than 300 miles between fillups with a small modification to the tank breather and that was my next stop if all goes well. It had warmed up by now so no need for the fleece. I didn't have a vignette (road tax) which you should have in Slovenia for motorways, as it had run out while I was in the Balkans. I joined the queue over the border, that didn't look like it had anybody checking the road tax.
I paid the toll for the Karawanken tunnel and plunged into it. I don't like tunnels much so I stick to the speed limit and try and stay in the middle of the lane. Soon we are on the Austrian motorway, again I should really have road tax but I'm only passing through, so being a Yorkshireman I ignore the signs and ride on.
I became aware of a car keeping pace with me for a few miles. It was the Police. Thinking I was going to get pulled I eased off the throttle a bit and plod cruised on by without even a glance!
I stop for fuel near the German border, I forget where, but must have still been Austria as it was expensive. Forced down a motorway sandwich and chatted to a German biker who was returning home after a trip to Italy, I think. I should point out at this stage that I am wearing a camel back, so can constantly drink water. It is very important to keep hydrated while riding and this is the best way to do it.
Germany was supposed to be easy. There had been an explosion at a concert somewhere near my route. The normally fast and I mean frightenly fast traffic, when your on a little single cylinder 660 that will push a ton if your lucky traffic, was grinding along slowly, if at all. I threaded my way between the lanes of often stationary cars for 20 miles until I came to the road block. The three lanes were diverted into two lanes and EVERY car was being checked. They police waved me through, with a pained look of despair, but I was on my way.
Every man and his dog goes out in their car on a Summers day in Germany or so it would seem. By the time I got to Mannheim I had had quite enough of Germany and its traffic. Generally I use a route further North but had noted a lot of roadworks on my way east three weeks earlier, so had decided try a different route home.
I turned South and headed for France, Metz to be exact. I knew there was a main road running all the way to the coast in the North of France. What a revelation, no traffic. By this time it is middle to late afternoon but the sun is shining and the bike is humming away nicely under me. France has great rest stops on motorways, 'Aires de Service' or 'Aire de repos' not all with fuel but all have toilets and picnic areas. I stop at one to use the toilet and grab a sandwich. I have a constant dialogue going on in my head on these long rides. It is a great time to think. This one is going something like. 'When are you going to stop and get a hotel or camp, its getting on you know and you've been riding for nearly 12 hours' 'Ill tell you what Ill burn off the next tank of fuel and then find somewhere' So off we go again. Next fuel stop sees me within 150 miles of the Euro-tunnel. 'I wonder if I could make that? Its still warm and I don't feel too fatigued' The Tenere is a comfortable bike and easy to ride. So I booked the Euro-tunnel on my phone. I arrive at Euro-tunnel after a 900 mile or so ride and was facing a two plus hours wait. I grabbed a coffee and a bun and got my head down in the terminal.
I awoke with a start with headlights shining in through the windows and the noise of vehicles moving. It was time to board. I love the convenience of the Euro-tunnel even though the ride is no t as smooth as it was 25 years ago. I was soon thrust out into the cold and damp air of England. 'Should I find an hotel or ride home?' It was drizzling but what the heck its only 300 miles ish. I had enough fuel to get to Peterborough services. Now I should mention at this point that I only had a scooter helmet that I had bought in Bosnia, after I had my HJC was stolen at the Mostar bridge. I had broken the visor on this, so the rain was painfully pricking my face as I rode along, this hadn't been an issue for the last 4000 miles or so. Never mind home was within grasping distance. I made Peterborough as the sun came up and it stopped raining. One last tank of juice and a coffee and I was soon rolling down my drive in York to a very warm welcome. 1205 miles in 25 hours.
I often get told 'it must be great to work in a bike shop and ride all the different bikes you get in stock'
The reality, however, is quite different. I simply don't get the time to have a jolly good ride out on the latest beauty to come into our possession. I might, on occasion, get a quick flip around the block to make sure a bike functions OK after having its pre sales service, before being picked up by the next lucky owner, but that's hardly a satisfying ride out.
My motorcycling is my holidays, not my work days. I can not sit on a beach for a fortnight, it bores me stupid. So I get the bike out and go for a ride.
So far I have ridden bikes to Norway, Denmark, Sweden, France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Serbia, Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Georgia, Herzegovina,
I have also rented bikes and ridden in Florida(Harley of course!)
Vietnam x 2 (Yamaha YBR AND XT125) Cambodia (Honda XR250)
Thailand x 2 (Honda CRF250 AND CB500X)
Lets Show our support for bike racing
Three-time World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea has been confirmed as a contender for the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year for 2017.
Announced by Gabby Logan on this evening's ""The One Show', Rea will go up against the likes of Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, boxer Anthony Joshua and tennis' Johanna Konta in the vote on Sunday 17th December.
The news will be widely welcomed by the motorcycle community with Rea the first motorcycle racer to be nominated for the award in ten years, the last being James Toseland when he won his second world championship in 2007. A petition calling for Rea's achievements to be recognised by the BBC hit 10,000 signatures earlier this month.
Rea, who collected an MBE from Prince William earlier this week, made history this year as he became the first person ever to win three consecutive World Superbike titles, shattering the record for all-time points in a season in the process.
â€œI'm very excited to be included in the nominations for such a prestigious event and it really is the icing on the cake after a great year in Superbike," Rea said after the nomination.
"Right now, I feel like I'm in a dream, and I never imagined I would have won three World Championships in a row. I'm very happy to represent my sport as it's been a decade since a motorcyclist has been nominated so to be recognised with all other mainstream sports is something I'm so proud of. As a fan of sport, I've grown up watching SPOTY on television and now to be nominated for the main award is pretty awesome! I'm excited to share the room with so many sporting greats and celebrate a fantastic year of sporting success in the UKâ€.
We are extremely pleased to announce that the 0% finance offer has been extended on Yamaha YZFR125 and MT125 until the 22nd December. In addition they have added the D'elight 125 and YS125 on to the 0% offer. Along with an additional support from Yamaha of a £250 deposit contribution towards the YZFR125.