Photo: Straw field near Geseke, Germany
A brief introduction
Welcome to my landing page
I am a graphic designer for communications, dual sport motorcyclist and avid cook living in Battersea—an area of London UK.
When I'm not out and about, I run a blog which focuses on my experiences with BMW GS motorbikes as well as topics in the wider motorcycle industry and beyond.
I am in the process of writing a cookbook which focuses on dinners for two on a budget of £40 per week.
Photo: R1200GS at Sheepwalk Lane, Surrey UK
Trips • Reviews • Test Rides
My main blog about owning and travelling on a BMW R1200GS and a BMW F800GS—plus a few other bits and pieces from my life and topics which interest me.
The entries are not just about motorcycling—they include other trips, reviews on gear, electronics, cameras, wineries and food, plus general thoughts about the world.
I love to hear from readers, so why not have a look and leave a comment or two?
Visit my blog:
Photo: R1200GS on a Byway near Tollard Royal, Wiltshire UK
Heading off road
Making the most of the GS
People purchase bikes in the BMW GS range for a variety of reasons—they are engineered to perform well both on and off paved roads. This makes them exceptionally versatile for everything from transcontinental touring to the weekly grocery run in the city. Some have even been known to make appearances on race tracks where they can give all-out sport bikes a good run for the money.
Sadly, many rarely (if ever) leave the tarmac, as many owners are not comfortable playing in the dirt with such large, comparatively heavy and expensive bikes. I say these owners are missing out—as well as these bike do on road, with the right tyres for the conditions, they perform just as well off road.
I live within 20 miles of a good selection of BOATs, or byways open to all traffic—the British classification for public trails which can be used by motorised vehcles. I try to make a point of getting out at the weekends to explore and have some fun. Riding motorbikes on mixed surfaces also has the benefit of refining and improving my skills on regular roads.
• Good Friday on the Surrey byways
• Offroad in Surrey
• Quick day trip to the Lambourn Valley, Oxfordshire
• Salisbury Plain
• Byways March 2013 (video)
• In photos: Byways 2012
• Ride report: Wiltshire
• In photos: The Devil's Punchbowl
Photo: R1200GS on a French lane near the Luxembourg border
OFF TO EASTERN EUROPE AND BACK
My goal when planning my 2014 trip was to visit at least one country I’d not seen before. The Czech Republic—with its beautiful cities, towns and scenery—called out to me, also marking my first journey into Eastern Europe.
With my then nine-month-old R1200GS gagging to go for a proper run, Germany, with its fast autobahn network, was definitely in the list as well—plus I wanted to visit Berlin again, not having been there since 1999. I plotted a tentative route and let fate determine how far we’d go.
Fate, as it happens, was not on our side when we encountered an unseen slick of oil on a rural road near Prague which promptly sent the bike flying down the road on its side after ejecting us unceremoniously onto the tarmac. Brushing ourselves off, we carried on, cutting out a significant part of our original route in order to spend a few extra days in the Alsace with our friends to relax and recouperate.
Despite the abbreviated route, we went through some amazing places on an incredibly competent bike. I look forward to the next trip—next time with, perhaps, a touch less excitement.
Read about the trip:
Photo: With Laure at Vins Jean-Baptiste Adam, Ammerschwihr, France
A private wine tasting at the Adam winery
To drink wine is to live—I’m certain someone, somewhere has already coined that phrase... After the amazing generosity of my friends in the Alsace following the Czech incident I wanted to write about my experiences tasting the wine produced at their family winery since 1614.
It is clear that 400 years of experience has refined their techniques to perfection, as this was the first white wine I have truly enjoyed. I am normally a red wine drinker as I prefer the dark, rich complexity of red to the crisp brightness of white.
I make no claims of being a wine reviewer and have written about my exerience from my own humble point of view—but not before departing my friends’ winery with the most expensive bottle they sell.
Photo: F800GS in the Vosges mountains, France
To the Alps
In June 2013 I loaded up my F800GS and pointed the GPS to the Eurotunnel terminal in Folkstone on what was my first proper long distance journey by motorbike. In 2012 I’d had a taster when I rode to the north of the Netherlands to visit family and then to Cornwall to go camping—one-day trips each way—but this trip was to last 13 days and cover nine countries in a loop around Europe, with a focus on the Alps.
As we planned to stay in small, local hotels and B&Bs, we packed as lightly as possible to ensure everything fit within the panniers and tankbag.
Starting in France, we visited a friend in Lille before carrying on through Luxembourg and back into France to stay with friends in the beautiful Alsace region. We carried on through Switzerland, stopping briefly in Liechtenstein before carrying on to Flachau, Austria to stay with more friends—it’s great to know people dotted around Europe when travelling! We then pointed the bike towards Munich to visit BMW Welt and began making our way home, travelling through Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.
Read about the trip:
Photo: Smelling the roses at Berlin's Botanical Gardens
Taking time out
An afternoon at Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum Berlin-Dahlem
During my visit to Berlin I took time out to visit the amazing Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum—or Berlin Botanical Garden and Museum. What a beautiful oasis in the middle of the busy city, teleporting visitors to a place of quiet contemplation.
The garden is vast, home to some 22,000 species of plants, covering an area of 43 hectares. I loved that the grounds were freely open for visitors to wander where they wished—so refreshing in our over-regulated world.
See the photo gallery:
Photo: R1200GS at the Crash site, Czech Republic
When it all goes wrong
Sometimes the best option is to pick yourself up and keep on going
Motorcycling is not without risk—bikes are great at avoiding hazards due to their small size, performance and agility, but not so good when encountering something which compromises the gyroscopic stability of single track vehicles.
While touring the Czech Republic we hit a slick of oil on a country road which instantly caused the bike to go onto its side, leaving us to slide to a stop on the roadway. We were exceptionally lucky that there were no other vehicles present and that we were wearing appropriate protective gear—we escaped the incident unscathed with not so much as a scratch or bruise.
The bike suffered some minor damage, having turned 180° while it slid and then flipping over onto its other side when the wheels reached the grass on the opposite side of the road. Fortunately the damage was cosmetic. After calling the police to file a report, we decided the best course of action was to brush ourselves off and carry on.
If we hadn’t, I may have never had the nerve to get on a bike again.
Photo: R1200GS in the Vosges Mountains, France
Get in touch
Got a question? Let me know!
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