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Packing & First Leg at Night

The first part of the holiday was actually at home doing the packing. Having finally got my bike back from the garage the night before and a new helmet that lunch time, I was to get away. As this was my first trip on the bike I was surprised by just how much you can pack into the standard BMW panniers. We easily manager to pack clothes for two people for a week and still had room left to spare. If it had been in the summer we could easily have packed enough gear to last us two or more weeks but thick jumpers take up quite a bit of room.

After arriving in Weymouth we had a 65 mile journey ahead of us to Tiverton in Devon. Normally this would be a gentle cruise of about an hour and a half but we arrived at midnight and, after crossing the hill out of Weymouth and into Dorchester, we entered thick fog. What should have been a nice ride turned into a freezing journey into hell and back. The visibility was so bad I had a maximum speed of about 45mph in the clearer bits. As a result of travelling at less than 50mph the fog was sticking to my visor so I had to ride with the visor open.

Put all of that together and you get a very tired, cold and irritable rider. Things took a turn for the worse when I took the wrong exit from a round-about in Honiton and start heading in the wrong direction, towards London. I didn’t notice for a while and, when I finally stopped to check the map, figured it was best to carry on the way I was going and jump onto the motorway at the next junction in Taunton as it would be better than head back along the country roads.

The motorway wasn’t much better as I had to ride dangerously close to the vehicles ahead of me to be able to see where I was going and to try and avoid anyone hitting the back of me – lorries have lots more rear lights than bikes do! Finally we reached Tiverton only 45 minutes later than planned but a lot more cold and tired than expected. I’m sure the only thing that kept me sane that night was the heated grips that I had turned up full!

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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