Isle of Wight 2012

Trip Statistics / Costs:

Duration: 2 single days (Saturday & Sunday)

Mileage: 217.8 miles (Door to Door)

Fuel Consumption (UK IMP Litres): unknown

Fuel Cost: £24.25

Food: £11.90

Drink: £20.00

Accommodation: £30.00

TOTAL COST: Circa £86.15

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Friday 14th September 2012

Picking up a ticket last minute from a fellow rider from the Wiltshire Bikers group for the Isle Of Wight Ferry service I scrambled myself together for a quick weekend getaway, so much adrenaline rushing through my head I couldn’t get my thoughts together to write a quick list of essentials, so it went something like this. Panniers open, top box out, loft hatch, camping section, sleeping bag, roll matt, pillow, torch, camping stove… Bombing the items one by one from the loft hatch into the doorway of my room…THUD, the tent finally rests on the floor after making the most noise possible… maybe I should’ve carried that one down with me!

Packing the top box and one pannier full of my stuff and some casual clothes just in case I go out with the group for a meal or drinks, I really don’t know what they have planned, but I’m sure whatever happens I’ll have a good time. Phone on charge for pictures, I still haven’t managed to get around to buying a camera or even researching them for that matter. I’ll have one for next year’s trip(s).

I have no bike right now, so I can’t do that usual walk around tyre kick and luggage loading because it’s getting the 8,000 mile service done tomorrow morning and I’ve left it there over night so they can start on a cold engine.

For mapping I’m just taking my phone and AA A5 size road atlas, however the atlas is a little dated by 6 years approx – doesn’t show all the new roads but it’s a great basis, I don’t need to know exactly where I am going… as it’s all about the adventure?

So my kit list:

– 1 x Coleman Bedrock 2 (Tent)
– 1 x Sleeping bag
– 1 x Roll matt
– 1 x folding camping pillow

– 2 x 1LT Water containers
– 1 x Gas Stove
– 1 x Mess tin for cooking
– 1 x fork set
– 1 x Wind up torch
– 1 x Head torch
– 1 x liquid lighter
– 1 x Anti bacterial hand gel
– 1 x Micro fibre towel
– 1 x Thermometer

– Pair of jeans
– Polo shirt
– Wicking tee
– 100g thermal top and trousers
– 100g fleece to make a 200g top with the thermal 100g top
– Daps
– Underwear
– Socks

So now everything is packed, time to hit the pillow and get some restless sleep. I’m just hoping my bike is ready by 11:00 am so I can get to the ferry for between 1-2.

Saturday 15th September 2012

00:10am…02:00am… 04:54am…05:56am… finally up I can get after a very restless night’s sleep, I’ve never been so excited about such a small trip. Waking up, checking my kit and packing my gas for the stove last minute (never leave it in the house).

Time for a shower, breakfast which consisted of Supernoodles, barbeque flavour of course and now as I write this just slurrrrping down a cup of tea whilst running my eyes back over the map as I’m not familiar with the roads near Lymington where you board the ferry, and I can’t be late!

Camping is booked, I’m staying at a place called mireilleglossop’s place on the IOW for £6.00 per night which is very reasonable and the most I will pay generally for a nights camping. I don’t understand small field campsites that charge up to £15.00 per night per person… It’s very unreasonable and out of principal I stay away from these sites… Wild camping is the way forward if you are travelling in a group of 1 or 2 only. There are a lot of places just use your eyes and stay in an area for a while to get a sense of atmosphere; hopefully you’ve picked a quiet spot!

So packing my net book away now, prepping the last few bits and off to do some other tasks before I head down to Blade Honda for 11:00am.

Lymington Ferry Terminal

So, after a long slog from Blade Honda to Lymington with the panniers on and the unappreciated extra width, I came across camper vans by the lorry load, slow cars by the van load and a whole bunch of traffic queues. Squeezing down the middle of the traffic in a hope not to hit the oncoming and stationary cars I just begged there would be enough room, picking up that I saw a 125cc scrambler on my tail I started to take bigger risks over taking as he just slithered up behind me.

This was all after I’d felt like I’d ridden around the New Forest twice after taking a wrong turn and not being bothered to turn around at the time, definitely a regret now!

The time was ticking, the ferry is set to leave from Lymington to Yarmouth at 14:05 however I have to find the ferry port and meet up with a group of people I haven’t yet met, but none of that was really on my mind at the time. I was just strung on getting to the ferry port, if I didn’t it would have all been wasted effort. Pushing on, taking over another 4 cars, listening to the bike roar as I open the throttle one last time.

I made it, there they were a fantastic group of people from the Wiltshire Bikers Forum that I couldn’t wait to go and meet. We boarded the ferry, sat outside on the mezzanine decking with the sun out, clouds at bay and a great sea breeze where, before we even left the port we could already see the Isle of Wight.

Heading to Yarmouth

…In the mean time….Zzzzz Zzzzzz Zzzzzz

So here we are as the Harleys fire up beside me, the main group in front of them start riding off the ferry, beaming smiles on everyone’s face as we depart for a spot of lunch near the Needles on the North West of the island.

The roads over here are not great but they do for my style of bike, I think sports bike at some points are slightly disadvantaged but everyone had a good time getting to the cafe.

Freshwater

The fun started after this, leaving the car park of the cafe where we pretty much dominated with our presence, heading on the B4055 to Shanklin where we were staying at the Palmerston hotel for the night at a reasonable £30.00 per night, including a fully fledged fry up! 😉

Palmerston Hotel

Throwing the stuff in our room after being given the key and the hotel receptionist looking at a huge A3 room planner… they need to upgrade to a computer system! We threw off our bike gear, waited for the group and headed for a meal. We chose the Steamer Inn for our meal, very well priced considering the north of the island, here I picked up a Lasagne dish for £8.95, a serving of garlic bread for £2.95 but unfortunately the cider was around £3.70 a pint…Still didn’t deter me!

Leaving the restaurant, heading to the beach, only one thing was on my mind, JUMPING IN THE SEA, that’s what every 19 year old dreams of right? I was full on alcohol, buzzing with adrenaline. Here I go, stripping off, semi naked… I ran down the wooden steps, hit the sand and bay watched my way into the sea… bliss!

Sunday 16th September 2012

Waking up after a rather hard night’s sleep, on a mattress that dates back to the pre historic ages… a super breakfast was dished up, fully fried, loads of salt… PERFECT! Grazy golf was on the agenda today before we departed the island so I needed to be on form because I am particularly crap at the game, but to my surprise and everyone else’s I was with, I won!

So, after playing golf in my bike gear as my clothes were still wet form the night before I was really ready to hop back on the bike and munch up some miles, after all that’s what I enjoy!

We left Shanklin, headed straight for the ferry port at Yarmouth, what a splendid ride, many over takes and traffic free roads to really open up and have a great blast!

It was pretty boring after here! Left Lymington to head back home and sleep!! 😀

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8,505 Miles and rolling

So the first real service is only a matter of two days away (Saturday 15th September 2012) where the bike will have it’s first overhaul.

I know it’s a few miles out, well 500 almost 600 since I took the picture for the service but as long as the service is booked you are safe with regards to the warranty, just don’t go to stupid with the miles.

8,505 Miles

So far I am rather impressed with the bike but I have found that the fairing, is pretty useless and the extra deflector may well be required to purchase depending on what roads you use the bike on. I have noticed, riding on dual carriageways that the fairing doesn’t deflect the air away very well from my leg so they are sometimes seen flopping about against the utility tank than being flush and well protected. Riding smaller B road, the fairing offers enough to provide some protective comfort.

The fuel economy is very good… so good that I never check what I’m actually getting because I put pennies into the tank not pounds and you don’t feel a hit on your wallet whatsoever, which is nice.

I had replaced the rear BT023R at 7,545 miles as it was very square, I hope to get more out of the next tyre as I wont be riding on motorways so much doing 450 miles round trips every weekend, which like fueling up, will be nice 🙂

I’ll update this a little more when I get the service cost for the 8,000 mile service – Very tempted to do the next one myself!

Givi E45 Panniers

So, having taken delivery on my new Givi E45 panniers just over two weeks ago now, despite not having that much use out of them I’ve done 1,000 or so miles with them attached and here is what I think.

They certainly improve the stability of the bike despite the big increase in surface area, I feel more planted and ‘in control’ as so to speak. They look great, from the back only, slightly dated side on. The capacity is fantastic for general luggage, however I chose the 45’s over the 37’s purely for the fact they stated they took two helmets, however they don’t take my AGV K4 or K3 due to the slight lip on the back of the helmets, fortunately I have the utility trunk and the Givi E52 top box that happily accepts my helmet style.

The panniers, as comments and reviews state have a very durable and robust touch to them, the plastic doesn’t seem like it’s going to fade anytime soon and the handles are ergonomic enough to carry 10 KG worth of weight inside a fair distance.

I’ll be giving them a run for their money when I pop to Wales during October. I’m sure they will perform outstandingly, taking the kitchen sink and the other mandatory supplies.

NC700X E45

NC700X Givi E45

NC700X Givi E45

NC700X Givi E45

7 Weeks, 50 Days & 5,000 Miles

Trip Statistics / Costs:

Duration: 2 days

Mileage: 386.7 Miles

Fuel Consumption (UK IMP Litres): 23.06L

Fuel Cost: £31.01

Food: 2 x English Breakfast £7.70 Ea.
– Bag of Sweets £4.44
– Drinks £2.04
– Tesco Food £6.78

Accommodation: N/A

TOTAL COST: £59.67

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Here we go

It’s just clicked 05:10, my phone mysteriously sets of it’s alarm, my lousy arm attempts to reach over to try and grasp what feels like a phone, no wait, that’s the TV remote, wait, yes got it, raising up out of bed like a zombie endlessly trying to figure out how this alarm works on my new phone. Peeling my eyes open after 5 hours sleep, peering at the curtains trying to get a feel for what the weather is like outside.

Jumping out of bed, full of adrenaline the other half asks “can we wait until 0700?” I laughed, said no, especially after I’d seen the crystal blue dawn skies out of the window seconds before, I knew this would be a little adventure that wouldn’t be forgotten easily. Jumping, quite literally into our textiles, hearing zips firing off all over, eyes still waking up and stomach rumbling with hunger for excitement, we headed out, breathing in the fresh, crisp country air as we opened the back door looking over the hills to the rear.

Peeling the cover off the bike, it’s damp, but underneath was the NCX ready and waiting to get unleashed. Throwing the cover onto the floor (like I had time to pack it away) we were chasing the sunrise, Leaving at 05:24 the sky had already become brighter, the sun coming ever closer to raising into full view, we were off!!

legs over-hands gripped-ignition on-starter pressed-clutch in-gear down-clunk as it plops into first and we are off, the bike gives out an almighty whine as we make way down the driveway. It’s responsive, almost perfectly designed and agile, these are only a fraction of the words I could use to describe this frill seeker. Ever since rolling off the dealers forecourt and off down the water logged road, I can do nothing but praise the NCX.

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Country roads are always fun around Dorchester, hilly, blind corners and various debris scattered over the roads. We left the house, with 20 miles ahead of us, it was 05:24 when we left and 05:46 when we arrived, I call that ultrasonic space travel. The bike felt planted, didn’t wobble once, even two up and we got there in one piece. The rear position for the pillion is top notch, me and May have done several long hauls on this bike now and neither of us complain!

Lulworth at 5am

After we reached Lulworth for the sunrise we decided to head home around 06:30 by now, well that’s what May thought anyway, but I decided to go for Breakfast at either Poole or Swanage. Once the roundabout was fast approaching we decided on Swanage, a familiar spot for us. Shooting down the A351, we caught a glimpse of Corfe Castle, on through the village, back on to the twisty’s, over taking the car in front as I see two bikes approach my rear, the petrol gauge now hitting reserve. Slotting the indicator over to the left as I approach a petrol I didn’t even knew existed and I’m familiar to this road to! I hear the down shift shortly after climbing off the bike only to find two older, experienced motorcyclist on a BMW K1300 and a Suzuki GSXR 750 follow us in, them giving the ‘nod’ of approval.

Filling my tank to the brim… a whole £12.00 later after 160 miles…this bike has economical written all over it! We mount the bike and chase after the other bikes who left moments in front. Coming up over the brow of the hill in Swanage we get an ever enlarging glimpse of the sea… calm, blue and reflecting the sun’s rays just shimmering off the surface.  Heading down the nothing but deserted Swanage high street we see the same bikers parking up, must be a good place for breakfast! We ended up parking up and following them in. The cafe was called: La Trattoria, it was good, over priced slightly I think but it wouldn’t stop me from going back as it was clean, well presented and the staff were very quick to get everything organised. Just the service I expect.

Leaving full with a good ‘ol’ English inside us, we headed off for a ride of Swanage down to Studland, popping into the National Trust shop on the beach and taking in some more sea air, feeling tired just thinking about it. It’s now 11am, we’ve been on the road for 6 hours, with a final one hour leg from Swanage the scenic way back to our starting point making the whole morning a 7 hour action packed adventure, one I’m sure, I’ll remember forever.

NCX at 5,000 in 50 Days

The BMW & Suzuki I was talking about!

From the rear-right

My personal bug collection… not too bad.

The Coastal Road…

Trip Statistics / Costs:

Duration: 2 single days (Saturday & Sunday)

Mileage: 438.00 miles (Door to Door)

Fuel Consumption (UK IMP Litres): unknown

Fuel Cost: unknown

Food: £0.00

Accommodation: £0.00

TOTAL COST: Circa £40.00

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FRIDAY 20th July 2012.

Leaving Swindon for Dorchester on Friday  for another long Coastal weekend. Prepping the bike the night before, the ritual goes something like this.

Getting out the old red Jerry can full of Paraffin, so old and rusty every part of it you touch the paint flakes away the the palm of your hand, the hardened plastic cap so distorted and experienced it get’s stuck every 1/4 turn in any direction and the pouring spout, dented and bashed you never know where or how far the Paraffin will pour. Tipping the can up, rag at the ready to absorb it as it pours in a bidirectional flow, I already have the bike upon the paddock stand and apply the cloth directly onto the chain at the sprocket and slow but surely work around until the near side of the links are looking as new, then do the same to the offside, dousing the rag once more I work the rag around the sprockets and bolts until a perfectly shiny metal surface appears.

Washing the bike down with a hose on low pressure, clearing the remainder of the loose dirt from the chain and sprockets I start the quick process of washing the small amount of fairings and body work on this epic machine. 10-15 minutes of working on the bike and it looks almost like new considering I’ve put over 4,000 miles on it in the last month since I picked it up from the dealership.

After cleaning the bike down and drying it off (reminds me I must look to buy a rear hugger) I switch on the engine and listen to it roar up and hum away, clunking it into first and letting the excess water spin off the chain and warm up before shaking the can of Wurth Dry Chain Lube for minutes on end before conking out the engine to a stop and spinning the wheel by hand to apply this stuff. Sticking and drying in minutes the bike it now good for a few hundred miles, or a weekend away in my case.

The last and perhaps most important thing is to check the tyre pressure, something I’m particularly OCD about for some reason or another. 36PSI front and 42 back, perfect, I’ve found the pressure barely changes in these BT023R’s!

Leaving the petrol station from Cirencester, heading to Dorchester is probably one of the worst rides I do, it’s a mix of dual carriageway, A roads and B roads. however, Friday afternoon around 17:00 the world comes out in their cars and lorries with minimal places to overtake and a line of traffic, overtaking gets you know where fast. 2 hours of riding down following a Robert Wiseman milk lorry that has to break what feels like 1,000,000 miles before the turn in the road does nothing but frustrate me. It’s a modest ride, 80-85 miles at the most, but just seems so much longer after sitting behind traffic the entire way. I eventually arrived at the house around 19:15 that evening.

SATURDAY 21st July 2012

NCX at the New Forest

 

Setting the alarm for 07:15 this morning the other half wasn’t so happy especially as I hadn’t told her but the weather looked good for today after looking the night before so thought I’d take the risk, setting the alarm early and getting up to enjoy the day!

We started with some good old English sausages, fried of course! Then got ourselves 4 hours later finally onto the bike and heading off east towards Honda Of Bournemouth for the other half to try some new bikes for size and style, coming away quite happily set on the Honda PCX for her first ride, most probably what she’ll go for! It look a nice bike, small, perky and finally you can get many accessories for it to kit her out for longer rides.

So,

Moving on after heading back into Dorchester for some lunch, thankfully filling both our tanks we headed out at 15:30 expecting to be gone for an hour or two but we finally returned 5 1/2 hours later… but man it was an adventure!

We left Dorchester heading for the New Forest, Lyndhurst in particular then down to Milford on Sea  along the coastal road to Barton on Sea then coming back on ourselves towards Beaulieu, Lyndhurst, Christchurch, Bournemouth, Poole and then home, all of which took an awful lot of time including some stops, walks, 10 minutes to capture the essence of the places before jumping back on and moving on! It was fantastic and not one ounce of a sore bum!

There are some picture below for your enjoyment!

A map of my route:

Continue reading

The First Encounter…

Trip Statistics / Costs:

Duration: 2 days

Mileage: 302.7 Miles

Fuel Consumption (UK IMP Litres): 19.95L

Fuel Cost: £26.02

Food: 2 x ‘Look What we found’ food pouches £2.00 Each

Accommodation: £6.00 (I paid £10, had no change)

TOTAL COST: £40.02

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Sat beside a torrent of raging water, I begin to write the story, the unwritten story of Emily, the already beloved 2012 Honda NC700X.

Honda NCX

Sitting here, with her by my side, already having covered 3,887 miles throughout Wiltshire, Cornwall, Gloustershire, and now she has brought me to Cwmnanthir Camping on the edge of the Breacon Beacons.

Navigating west through Welsh villages, lanes where you dread meeting an oncoming vehicles even on a motorbike and then onto the lanes passing through valleys with nothing but almost idealic countryside in either direction you look. Steep banks, wind turbines (People react to them like Marmite – I love it!) Horses, sheep, cows just as far as the eye can see…Purging along, feeling Em wanting to open up and gain some speed for the upcoming corners, passing through like we’re flying, no wind resistance, no cars, dry roads… I almost feel like I’m in heaven.

85 miles ticking over on the odometer, just 20 more miles and I’m there thinking to myself, although I didn’t realise I was going the wrong way at the time, laughing now about how many wrong turns I actually took, but, it adds to the adventure right? Right.

Cwmnanthir Camp, Wales.

Anyway, sat here now, having arrived from home 135 miles later, half a tank of fuel and a free headache I can’t believe where I am, so peaceful yet full of life, green green grass, trees packed full of leaves, the sound of water crashing over century old rocks so rounded and full of history, then you have the smell of waterlogged wood being burnt by a group of people who, quite frankly, have no outdoors experience but we’ll see if they manage the fire ok later on tonight…(reporting back, the fire was horrifically bad).

Looking into the Wye Valley 1 mile from Monmouth, UK.

So, the NCX, I love it if you wondered. I have ridden it on the road, about 20 miles of green lanes (stupidly on Bridgestone BT23R’s – Wouldn’t advise it) I am an experienced Mountain biker so could pre judge what was going to happen, however slippery tyres aside, the bike was compelling, handled remarkably, stood up on the pegs (I’d advise SW Motech aftermarket studded pegs for green lanes) I rode comfortably, as comfortably as that of the GL1600 the only difference being I was where that couldn’t get to but I brought the comfort of it with me.

NCX at Cwmnanthir

Waking up to the birds, as you would on any camping trip, well most. I got packing up my camping gear, using my Givi Tw01 40L holdall and Givi E52 topcase, fitting just about everything back in again with much room to spare. Steep gravel tracks with high ridges made exiting the campsite somewhat difficult, especially with the extra weight and at such an angle where I couldn’t touch the floor whatsoever, something I would have been uneasy doing on another bike but with the NCX, I have no problem putting faith into it. It’s a bike, a soulmate and one I hope to have many more adventurous trips on in the coming year!

Henrhyd Falls, Wales.

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 A map of my route:

Now then, where next…