Friday, 26 September 2014

Finally Doing it!

So, I'm finally hitting the road tomorrow for the UK coast leaving from Hertfordshire after much deliberating and wishful thinking about taking very long travels via scooter.

I've wanted a motored bike ever since I mounted my grand-uncle's Honda CB back in the rural hills of Kilmarnock, Jamaica when I was circa eight or nine years old. It was sitting at the back of one of his shops along the parochial road.

The shop was typically filled with men and boys, seldom females. Most came to buy a shot of overproof white rum chased with pure Jamaican rainwater, usually collected and stored in a cleaned oil barrel. Boys would come to the shop to buy Jamaican bulla, and other times, females would sheepishly stroll in for a bag of sugar or rice. I loved the shops, and would help my uncle with the sales. Occasionally, I would sit and munch on Jamaican 'busta' or 'icy-mints' which was also for sale. My grandad also had a shop: he lived above it and I would be sent there to spend most of my summertime holidays from St. Andrew.

My grand-uncle also had a trailer head or lorry head, as it's called here, and so he rode the Honda bike only occasionally. It humoured the men that I, the little girl from 'town', was interested in the bike. I guess they let me sit on it because it was parked, off, and it must've tickled them to see my delight and pretend-to-be-a-badass-rider posture and face. Ugh. Jamaican male culture for you. They had no idea how I envied their privilege to openly enjoy the outdoors, cars, trucks, bikes, and sports. These were not appropriate pastimes for little girls.  But that's another blog for another time.

Anyway, never kept a diary nor journal before, let alone blog. But I strangely have the very strong urge to pen my excitement and just now set this one up. Looks like I'm really excited!

As a bit of a car enthusiast, I've owned three Honda preludes, a BMW 5-series, a drop-top Volvo, a Jaguar, and a Lexus 4 by 4 ... the latter has different names for different parts of the world. Here in the UK, it's called a Toyota Land Cruiser. So yeah, been there, done all that. Bored with driving now, and so I quit four years ago.

Last year I bought a brand new white Peugeot Tweet 125 after taking my CBT.

Riding it is all I thought it would be and more. Can travel be this much fun? OMG! I've got a 47L Givi topbox on it, plus side bags, handlebar muffs, and a windshield. I use CoPilot GPS on my iPhone mounted to the left rearview angle bar. I also added two 12v chargers near the handlebars so I can charge up my electronics on the run. I ride it everywhere and it's my main mode of transportation. I have no plans for a car. My other half has one but I never drive it. I just get driven around in it when the family needs to ride together.

So here I am today a few thousand miles later on the odo. I feel like I need a bigger bike. I have dreams of touring the UK and mainland Europe slowly on a bike and backpack, hotelling it here and there. No camping. I'm now torn between buying a Honda Silverwing or a Suzuki Burgman. Lusted the Burgman since my college days in Florida.

That I only have a CBT at the moment has not curbed my enthusiasm. As I'm prone to be compulsive, I've promised myself to first make an overnighter trip with the 125, minimum 3 hours to destination, then assess how I feel about upgrading. This is where I am right now. I leave for my first solo tour tomorrow morning for the coast 4.5 hours away and return the following day.

Done my oil and tyre pressure checks. Chatted with pros about advice for the trip. Packed my backpack and all. I have, however, bought a few extras for the trip, namely a solar flashlight which doubles as a phone charger, a Bluetooth headset so I can Spotify (makes good use of my Premium account), and a 1 litre Sigg flask.

I'll tell you more about the trip tomorrow when I arrive at my destination hotel room, complete with balcony overlooking the English Channel ocean.

See here for Part 2, Part 3.  More blogs also found via the top right hand of this page (well, should be there).  Feel free to leave a comment.  Thanks.

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