Probably the most important question: Which bike?

When I was about 10 years old, I vividly remember the time I met my dream motorbike. My father took me into a motorbike dealership (I think he was getting his bike serviced) and the guy my dad was speaking to ushered us into the back of his shop. He revealed a freshly unboxed Kawasaki ZX-6R. It was a very pretty bike, but I didn’t fall in love with it until he started it and revved it. I was hooked, I wanted that bike.

It took another 20 years before I made that dream come true. Now, I didn’t get a ZX-6R (because I am 6’4″ and not a lightweight) but I got the next best thing: a ZX-9R. Below was the bike.

ZX-9R

Below was my bike on a dyno run during a ZX-9R annual camping meetup. I remember it was still producing 139BHP, and how could you not love that sound?

This was the bike I had back in 2013 when I came up with the idea of the Europe bike trip. Now don’t get me wrong, this was a comfortable bike given that it was a sport bike…but after an hour or so you would start to get some pains in your wrist, and your bum would start feeling a bit numb. Additionally I wouldn’t be happy loading the bike up with luggage for the trip I wanted to do.

It was a sad day when I sold her. Now the decision around what bike I should get next. Not only for my Europe Adventure, but also to take me to the next part of my biking “career”. In all honesty, there wasn’t really a choice. I knew what I wanted. Not only had I just watched The Long Way Round and The Long Way Down…but my father had been a BMW faithful for the last 20 years. I started to look for a good used BMW R1200GS.

I managed to find a 2008 BMW R1200GS in black. The mileage was pretty high (for a bike) but as I keep getting reassured, these boxer engines go on and on. Or as BMW riders like to say, “30,000 miles? You have only just broken it in at that mileage”. I have since found that there are lots of things that BMW bikers uniquely say (“wow, that service was cheap” isn’t one of them)!

Here is my bike.

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In my next post I will talk about my experience with this bike, and how I have adjusted to the change from a sportbike.

2016 Europe Bike Trip: What’s this all about then?

Back in 2013 I started having ideas to have an adventure on my motorbike. My plan was to do a trip around Western Europe passing through as many countries as possible within about a 2 week period. I was thinking of doing it in 2014, however life happened due to my engagement in 2013 and my marriage this year. My wife and I have decided that 2016 is the year!

I will document the lead up to our trip, as well as all our preparations, and of course the trip itself. I will also talk about the bike and do reviews on any kit that is bought (luggage, cameras, audio setup, tools etc). I will be posting up pictures and videos as and when I can.

I am using this site as a kind of diary for ourselves to document this, but am more than happy for others to follow and share with us. I know this isn’t exactly a round the world trip, or anything remotely like what Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman did on The Long Way Round and The Long Way Down, but it will still be an adventure of a lifetime for us. In fact I only wish we were able to spare a few months to do a bigger trip, but like many of you reading this we have full time careers and other responsibilities.