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

Live unlike the others

“Life on the road is hard. I talked to my bike. It’s a bit crazy, but I talked to it every day, not to abandon me, not to let me down, not to break down, my motorcycle represents my life, more than just a bike”. I though it was just me but this quote is from Cyril Neveu so I guess its normal behaviour from a solo motorcyclist in a strange far away land. If you are planing a trip, long or short my advice is just do it… you will remember the sites you saw and the things you did, they will travel with you forever and if you go… I promise you this… you will not come back the same.Live unlike the others

Photographs with no credits

Its one of those random odd photographs, riding for a few hours and stopping to tumble off the bike into the meadow grass and flowers, kicking back to take of my jacket and boots in the strong alpine sunshine, rehydrating from a bottle of water and eating a snack when I hear the shutter of the Nikon clicking away – turns out the weight of my Hein Gericke jacket has pushed down the release and taken a series of random images – this one just captures the whole day for me, all that’s missing is the smell of the grass and wild flowers and the continual drone of insects as they forage for pollen.Photographs with no credits

Might have left it a bit late…

Might have left my departure a bit late – got about 1750km to do to make the train on Sunday – the bike has been faultless and I trust her to continue the be the same – new set of tires will be required and an oil change for a treat, gearbox still rattling away but lets just call that characterful…Workhorse

By si niečo na pitie

Going to have to leave the east shortly – these 17 days have raced by with a series of multi lingual exchanges and gesticulations bound by the common thread of an old man riding an old motorcycle – lasting memories will be the torrential rain and the stunning vistas for wherever you look in eastern Europe the people are friendly and welcome you into their homes – the number of times I have been offered a drink when asking for directions – like the two go hand in hand…Eastern Europe Forest

View from the bunker

The deeper I go into Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary the more old cold war bunkers and military outposts I find. Wish I had more time to explore some of the remnants which are both fascinating but also exceptionally “creepy”. Without exception they seem to be in excellent preserved condition with little signs of vandalism and just succumbing to the ravages of nature with tree roots growing through feet think concrete walls enhancing the dereliction. I could spend weeks in these areas alone, just meandering through the countryside and borders, looking at these historic sites but sadly time in limited – and the west is calling me again.View from the bunker

Jungfernsprung

The story goes that a young maiden ventured into the Forest of Dahn to pick berries when a man with ‘dishonourable intent’ thought to be Hans Trap from Berwartstein Castle chased her down to take her ‘innocence’. The young maiden gathered up her skirts and took to flight but in her panic she did not watch where she was going and found herself at a cliff edge – without stopping to think, the young maiden fell over the cliff and because her skirts ballooned out she floated down gently and survived the leap unhurt – ever since at the spot of her leap a spring has flowed. All I know is that stumbling across this set of waterfalls on a bimble around the Austrian and German border was amazing.Jungfernsprung

Goat in the road

Riding the Grossglockner enthused me to try the Nockalmstrasse in the pouring rain… this is a ‘lower alpine pass’ which turned out to be a good move as it was a quieter yet much more technical ride and apart from the usual cattle and horse hazards new ones on me were little tubby Marmots and these youngsters oblivious to the traffic…Goat in the road