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Motorways, Cotswolds & Mendips

Wednesday to Thursday we took a trip up to Cheltenham to visit my Aunt & Uncle. This was my first test of riding the bike for any distance on a motorway. Not knowing how long it would take to get from Tiverton to Cheltenham I decided to stick on the motorway for most of the journey. Before setting off I wondered if the lack of fairing on the 1200GS might result in me getting battered by the wind, but as it turns out I was more sheltered on the 1200GS than I was on my old Bandit 600 with a screen on it. The 1200GS just eat up the miles although it was happiest when cruising at around 70-75mph (fuel wise), it was very nippy when it needed to be. With rider, pillion and luggage it would quickly accelerate from 75mp up to 90mph (and no doubt beyond) whilst remaining in 6th gear.

Whilst it was not uncomfortable riding on the motorway, it’s not really that interesting either. So, after a two hour lunch at the Bristol IKEA, we decided to do the rest of the miles on the minor roads over the Cotswold.

For the return journey we had already been planning on taking the scenic route which, as it turns out, was fortunate planning on our part. In the morning a lorry carrying hay on the M5 had caught fire, closing the motorway and causing damage to the surface of the road. Thankfully, my Uncle is very knowledgeable about the local roads and was able to direct us along some small B roads, meaning we missed most of the traffic jams.

We meandered down the Cotswolds to Bath, over the Mendips to Wells where we stopped for Lunch, along the bottom of the Mendips to Cheddar and then back down to Tiverton. From filling up with petrol at IKEA on the way up to Cheltenham to returning to Tiverton I managed to squeeze 220 miles out the tank, with the display saying I had 8 miles left before I ran dry. I’m sure I could do better as this included some fast motorway riding but it’s better than the 170 miles I got out of my Bandit 600, not that you’re ever that far from a petrol station in Europe.

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About The Author

Adrian Ritchie

Aidy has been riding motorbikes since just after he left university in 2003. His first bike was a 1988 Suzuki GSX-R750 bought for £1000. His second bike was a Suzuki GSF600 Bandit, bought for his adventure to Norway in 2005. Two years later he sold the Bandit to Shane (for him to learn on) and upgrade to a BMW R1200GS... which was promptly trashed one month later by a SMIDSY. Having had the R1200GS repaired, Aidy has spent the next three years giving it a damn good thrashing off-road. 2011 saw the R1200GS take to the remote tracks and desert pistes of Morocco... it managed to keep up with the 650 enduro bikes that make up the rest of the group and made it back to Guernsey in (mostly) one piece. In January 2012, he traded in the R1200GS for a new R1200GS Adventure, planning to use the Pegaso 650 for off-road racing. However, the lure of smaller enduro bikes proved too strong and in April 2012 purchased a BMS G450X