Camchain and tensioner seen up close in a cutaway bike engine

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Journey Into The Unknown

Blog date April 2017

So my first problem with the luggage for the Kawasaki Z250SL may have been solved - as long as it is still with me at journey's end (Z250SL Luggage Solution - Kriega US Drypack). So now for problem 2, no Ren satnav to get me to my chosen destination.
I do not have a sat nav on my bike so I've had to resort to the old fashioned way...maps. Fortunately the route is fairly simple as I plan to meet Ren at Devil's Bridge. So M62 to junction 10 and on to the M6 northbound. Then junction 36 on to A65. Simple. Well maybe but probably not for me. I try to sear the route into my mind.
I have told Ren I will leave my house at 9am. I then wonder if that may be too optimistic for me and decide to revise that when he telephones me. Unfortunately I miss his call and discover he has no signal at the campsite so revision of time is not an option. 9am it is then.

I get up nice and early, load up the bike and set off. I am nervous but also vaguely excited about finding my own way. I much prefer company on a ride but it will be good to find out if I'm capable of solo. It is a lovely day, clear and sunny, perfect riding weather. I occasionally glance in my mirrors to double check my new Kriega luggage is still attached. So far, so good.
It all goes well and I keep quite relaxed until passing junction 35 on the M6. Where is my needed junction 36? It seems to have disappeared, I begin to panic inside! Have I missed it? If so what to do? Fortunately I eventually see junction 36 and I am relieved to realise I haven't missed the turning, it was just a long gap between junction 35 and 36. 

I miss the turning off on the roundabout for the A65 but Ren has taught me well. I simply sight the turn off, go around again and then come off second time around. On the A65 I pass a sign for Sedburgh and then out of the corner of my eye I pass what may well have been Devil's Bridge. Damn it, but I'm strangely unperturbed. This is a fantastic road and I'm enjoying the ride, I will turn around soon enough. A handy side road appears so I turn around and I head back the way I've just been. Yes - there is Devil's Bridge and there is Ren waving at me. Wahoo!!  I made it and I am somewhat relieved but also very proud of myself.
My first solo trip on the bike where I do not know the route beforehand is in the bag. Another bonus is the Kriega luggage is still with me and therefore this has been a great success.. Bonus!! 

I know I do everything slowly in my life. It took me forever to learn to ride with confidence. It took me a while to gel with my new bike. I do sometimes wish I had learned so many things I have achieved recently when I was younger. But then again would I have appreciated them as much then as I do now?  Besides we can not go back so I will just have to be grateful that I got to do that which I love eventually, right here in the now. The sun is out. I rode my bike without a satnav and I did so with a smile on my face most of the time and enjoyed it.

Ren and Sharon's motorcycles side by side outside the restaurant in the glorious sunTime to relish food and the fact I did my first journey into the unknown.

Ren and I ride to a cafe. It is warm enough to sit outside and as I admire the view and my loaded bike shining in the sun I know that today is a good day to be alive and to ride. I am content, happy and so very grateful for all I have and all I have achieved on my bikes thus far. 

We take the long way round to the campsite at Muker and we find some delightful single tracks. On the 125cc I would be loving these. On the 250cc I am still enjoying them but I am aware I am still a little nervous of cambers and rough ground that would not concern me on the 125. But I know well enough that the only way to conquer a fear and get comfortable with anything is to do it, so I welcome the opportunity to get some well needed practice. Some beautiful roads and stunning views lead us to the campsite where we unload, pitch up and finally relax with good friends.

The teepee tent and the motorcycles at Usha Gap campsite near MukerWig Wam Bam - Green bike, green tent, green very err  ...Green. 

What a wonderful fabulous weekend. What more could you ask for?  Sunshine, blue skies, beautiful surroundings. Motorbikes and good friends and the guy you love right next to you. Yeah this weekend was a special one for the memory bank. Simple but perfect. 

Looking out from the tent we see blue skies, another tent and the delightful Yorkshire DalesThe perfect room with a perfect view. Happiness.

Relevant links:
Z250SL Luggage Solution - Kriega US Drypack
Sharon's Stunning Achievement

We'd love to hear and share your tales about what you've had to overcome to get on two wheels and get out exploring. For some it's second nature for others it's a real challenge. Click Here.

Reader's Comments

Louisa said :-
Brilliant! Who knows where your next solo adventure may be? Your destination looked great too.

My sense of direction is terrible, so I've memorised the unfamiliar route I'm planning to the Honda dealer this weekend. I'll be taking my little street map with me just in case!! :)
4/5//2017 4:18:23 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Now don't be getting lost Louisa. I've had to set off and retrieve Sharon from various places in the past, I'm not riding all the way down south to come and rescue you too.

Anyhow don't think of yourself as being lost, consider it more like an adventure into the unknown.

I've told Sharon many times, the most important thing is not to panic and get stressed. If you get in a flap it makes your riding dangerous so the moment you start to stress - stop! Take stock, have a breather and calm yourself. You have a brain and a tongue and you WILL be fine, just maybe a bit late that's all.
5/5//2017 7:51:36 PM UTC
Louisa said :-
Pleased to say got there and back safely from my latest 20 mile adventure to Honda and didn't get lost - thankfully! (Thank you for your eager offer of help Ren!) 10 miles of a rather scenic bendy country road was covered as well as villages and a couple of towns. Got overtaken on 30mph stretches (I was doing 30!) and had a slightly scary, wobbly moment while going round a bend that tightened up on me. Managed a nice steady 50-60 mph on the straights which felt comfortable.

Sat on Honda's nc700x - lovely bike, but seems huge compared to my little 125 - no clutch on this one - it's automatic, but can override with manual gears by a switch on the left handlebar! Hmm .. not sure about that! Going to Kawasaki, Yamaha and Ducati dealer next week. Like the look of kawasakis's Versys 650, their ER6F (why not?) and Yamaha's v-Strom 650. Having said that, I do love my 125 and would be in no hurry to part with her!!

A 400cc retro bike sounds nice, Borsuk - I'm sure you'll find one :)

6/5//2017 11:14:02 AM UTC
Louisa said :-
Ah, just to avoid confusion - it was 20 miles one way, not there and back!
6/5//2017 11:26:14 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
40 miles round trip, sounds to me like you're rolling these days Louisa.

If like Sharon and I you intend to keep to the speed limits you're going to have to get used to 2 things. Tailgaters and crazy overtakers. While the law and common sense is on your side you will on every ride have motorists behind you that believe the rules do not apply to them. They think that you are stopping them from their god-given-right to exceed the limit.

It is an annoyance and all you can do is keep to the limit and deal with them as professionally as possible.

I take it that unlike Sharon you are not a hobbit. The NC700 (or 750?), the Versys and Suzuki's (not Yamaha's) V-Strom are all big bikes for my average bloke size.
6/5//2017 12:04:44 PM UTC
Louisa said :-
Ah, although I can't remember, there's a possibility I sat on the NC750S. This model has a lower seat height compared to the NS700. I'm 5'6" and could touch the ground with the balls of my feet and it felt ok. So a possibility there, but would feel uncomfortable with a bike bigger than that. The only thing for it is to go and meet the beasts in the flesh as I have no idea of size when gazing lovingly at them on the computer:)
The other model I meant to mention was the Yamaha MT-07.
6/5//2017 5:19:13 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Sharon did her training for her test on an MT07 that had been (severely) lowered. I've test ridden one too - I'll add a link.

Now stop looking longingly at shiny new motorcycles and start focusing on enjoying your 125! While I will actively encourage you to take your test and even move on to bigger machines do not ever think that your 125 with "L" plates is not enough. Sharon had toured Scotland ( and been to Bath, Brighton, Lincolnshire and Wales before she passed her test.

You'll probably know when you're ready for your test, there's no rush.
8/5//2017 9:10:45 AM UTC

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