Reflections on solo travel

One of the luxuries of solo travel is not worrying about knowing where you are, I might never be truly lost, I always have the choice of a left or right turn and sometimes stopping and looking back is all that is required to get exceptional clarity on life – being dwarfed by nature often puts things into perspective.Reflections on solo travel

New Workhorse Required

My 15 year old R1150GSA has now taken me on trips covering at least 210,000 km and each year I struggle a little more with insurance, breakdown cover and parts availability. Last year BMW deleted thousands of spares from their catalogue making it more and more difficult for old bike owners to keep their beloved bikes on the road as daily rides. I am not a cynical man but clearly this move was made by BMW Accountants who want riders to buy new bikes every few years rather than keeping models on the road. Even Motorworks and James Sherlock are struggling with some obscure new parts and I keep a good selection of secondhand parts from breakers in stock but it is getting harder…

Now before anyone shouts there is no way I am getting rid of my GSA but I need to be realistic about what I can do on my extended solo trips and have to be self sufficient. For those of you looking at my Overland Motorcycle Workshop resource you will have seen the increasing electrical troubles no doubt caused by older and increasingly brittle wiring and whilst a complete rewire may be the answer perhaps I need to just accept a new bike is required and retire the GSA – she owes me nothing. So the question is what option should I take. I have a refundable deposit on a new Honda Africa Twin but also have my eye on the older technology packaged in the Yamaha SuperTen. Next week sees the launch of the Africa Twin in the UK but I am open to suggestions… anyone…

Africa Twin

The book has left the building…

In the late spring of 2013, I left my home, my wife and my family to complete a solo motorcycle expedition – no substantive planning, just my old BMW R1150 GS Adventure, a tent and sleeping bag, a handful of spares and some cash. I only had one fixed point on my itinerary and that was a return ferry ticket 98 days later. Today I finally managed to upload to my publishers the first draft of my pictorial journey of the expedition – a representation of the challenges, situations, peoples and landscapes I discovered over that inspirational period. I travelled over 24,000 km, exhausted five tyres and only had one puncture… I came back a changed man and for those of you who look at this and wonder if you can complete a similar undertaking, all I can say is ‘do it’ – I promise you will never regret it.

Book Cover

The GS is finally home

So my GS is finally home – been a long time coming with a rebuilt gearbox, new clutch plate and third input drive shaft. Its a real shame that this design fault still remains, its a non service item but really would benefit from routine lubrication but with complete gearbox removal and bike strip down required its a difficult and long job to do. At the same time a new clutch hydraulic slave cylinder has been installed, which I know was leaking. The story is that when BMW introduced the hydraulic clutch design they miscalculated and inadvertently moved the clutch disc 8mm further forward towards the engine and off the transmission splines, this results in the splines of the clutch disc falling short of the input drive shaft hence the wear. Apparently Brunos Machine and Repair have a fix so I am on the case now for the new shaft design.

Return of the GS1150