by Jill Boulton
I MET an extraordinary motorcycling couple at the Adventure Bike Rider Festival last weekend, while working in the Visorcat trade tent.
The unassuming pair told me they had recently sold their house to spend their lives motorcycling around the UK and, when restrictions were lifted, further afield.
They said they were still working, while staying in bed and breakfast accommodation.
After discussing Visorcat for a while (they had a Visorcat and were considering a second purchase) and telling me about their plans, they wandered off.
Normally, I ask customers what bike and kit they use, and we chat about riding and bikes. But this time I didn’t even get as far as asking what machines they had chosen for their adventures – because that particular piece of information didn’t seem to matter.
And the truth is, it doesn’t.
While Steph Jeavons and Nick Sanders (I spotted both around the stands at the ABR Festival) chose “adventure-style” bikes for their world record-beating trips, many intrepid motorcyclists have ridden less obvious machines on their extended journeys.
David Stokes is a good example. In 2010, two years after passing his test in his 60s, he rode a 50cc moped 5,500 miles across Europe, negotiating the Atlas Mountains before arriving in Marrakesh. David’s bikes have grown in cc over the years, but his highest miles were achieved on a trusty Honda CD250u, which happens to be the same bike I bought after passing my L-test, (see picture above) and was described by my brother as “the sort of bike people go fishing on” (see https://www.visorcat.com/gone-fishing-the-character-deficient-honda-cd250u/ ).
Mr Stokes wisely avoided using it for fishing, and instead rode the bullet-proof but boring little Honda 50,000 miles across several countries over a number of years.
I didn’t go fishing on mine either, but instead thrashed it around the roads of North Yorkshire, County Durham and Tyneside, even (ad)venturing up the A1 from Darlington to Ikea, Newcastle, in the pouring rain.
Bruce Smart, aka Teapot One on You Tube, piloted his 2011 Suzuki GSX-R1000 sportsbike around the world.
And The Sidecar Guys, as their name suggests, chose a scooter and sidecar for their globetrotting trip. Some would say “why”? And others would say … “why not?”
Back at the ABR Festival, the dusty trails around the magnificent grounds of Ragley Hall were often akin to a motorcycle M25, which demanded a sixth sense to cross the road – or sometimes, to even venture out of the Visorcat trade tent. But this PTW overload, after so many months of motorcycle emptiness, has had a very positive effect on me.
A day after the ABR fest and with a few hours to spare, I decided to dust off my own “adventure bike” (a Kawasaki Ninja 650) and ride it for only the second time this year!
I’ve not had the best of relationships with my bike since I bought it – not just due to the pandemic, but also because I dropped it (twice) and then had to fight something I’ll call “rider’s block” (see …. https://www.visorcat.com/motorcycle-emptiness-the-psychology-of-motorcycling-or-how-to-get-your-brain-into-gear/)
After I got over that, I developed a back problem which had severely affected the strength in my left leg, further denting my enthusiasm for throwing my right leg over and riding the thing.
So, climbing aboard and even taking it a few miles down the road, these days, is an adventure for me. Off I went, a few miles down the road, and then back again. I enjoyed it so much I went out for a second time, and then a third, the following day.
It feels great to be riding again.
Whatever you ride, your bike is an adventure bike – because every ride is an adventure.
(With thanks to all the adventurous motorcyclists out there for inspiring me to ride, including the couple I met at the ABR Festival who sold their house to go riding).