It’s been quite a few months since my last blog entry as I’ve had nothing to write about. Having been in COVID lockdowns of various varieties since November 2020, we’re now half way through March 2021 and still in lockdown, unable to leave our homes yet alone travel.
For months now I’ve been watching other peoples travels on YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime to help keep my sanity. I think I have now watched just about every travel video there is to see.
Today I came across a video on Youtube that peaked my interest, not the normal kind of thing that attracts my attention as it doesn’t involve motorcycles, but very interesting none the less.
This video was all about a couple of chaps who dared to travel across the Sahara Desert on an Iron Ore train. Not the most comfortable method of transport as it involves sitting in an open ballast wagon for 20 hours or more whilst the train trundles across the desert.
Now I’m not a train spotter or have any interest in trains however, this trip really interests me and I’m now looking into how feasible it would be to try the same trip once we’re allowed out again.
Take look at the video and see if it appeals to you!
With winter now approaching in the U.K. and the COVID19 figures starting to climb dramatically once more, local lockdowns are becoming the norm with large parts of the country becoming no go zones on a daily basis. The laws dictating what we can and can’t do appear to change on a daily basis and I’m convinced no one really knows what we can or can’t do anymore. I certainly can’t keep up with the daily threats of fines from the government if we dare to go out and get things wrong. With different parts of the U.K. coming up with their own versions of each law it’s pretty much incomprehensible as to what we can or can’t do!
Freedom is certainly a thing of the past, but it’s for our safety … apparently.
To add to this, Azerbaijan and Armenia seem to be at war with each other and protests against the government in Kyrgyzstan seem to be flaring up on a regular basis. Mongolia has an emerging bubonic plague problem that is also making an appearance in Siberia. Can it get any worse?
With all that is going on I’m pretty certain that traveling through Central Asia in 2021 isn’t going to be possible, hopefully this will all improve and make travel possible in 2022. We can but hope!
Meanwhile, since purchasing my new Yamaha Tenere 700 Rally Edition I’ve not really ridden it that much and also not done a lot to it either. I seem to have lost my enthusiasm for it all at the moment.
I’ve got the centre stand fitted to the bike which makes chain adjustment and lubrication much easier. I’ve ordered the crash bars and am waiting for them to arrive and have pretty much decided on which pannier rack I’m going to purchase.
The Outback MotorTek 2.0 pannier rack looks like it will be ideal for mounting the Givi GRT709 soft panniers that I have, unfortunately the rack isn’t available in the U.K. yet and so I have to wait for it to become a stock item. The great thing about it is that it’s fairly light and very easy to fit/remove as can be seen in the video below.
There are some great after market parts now available for the Tenere 700 including some really nice looking decal kits.
There are some heavy duty skid plates now being produced for the Tenere 700, this one from GP Mucci in Italy looks like it would make the bike very adventure proof albeit a bit on the ugly side.
So that’s where I am at the moment, not a lot going on whilst we sit out the zombie apocalypse that seems to be gripping the world at present.
Now that the UK is starting to relax the COVID19 restrictions it’s been possible to get out on the bike more. Not being able to leave the country and head into Europe has meant that local rides are the only thing available at the moment, especially with Wales and Scotland keeping their lockdown in place and not allowing the English to visit.
I’ve been riding on my own on the little Honda CRF2510 Rally and really enjoying it. It’s the perfect bike for riding around the tiny B roads in Suffolk and Norfolk enjoying the countryside. Only problem has been not being able to get a drink very often as there is nowhere open for food or drink.
I’ve been using the Calimoto app to generate loop rides starting and ending at home. It really is superb for this and created some really interesting rides. The photo above is from an 80 mile loop ride automagically generated by Calimoto.
Being just just 15mins from the coast is handy to pickup the tiny coast roads and head north up through Suffolk and into Norfolk taking in Orford, Aldeburgh, Thorpeness and Sizewell to mention few eventually arriving at Walcott.
I’ve also been stretching the legs of my Kawasaki Versys 1000 riding out with my good mate Phil who lives a couple of doors down from me. The weather has been superb and the riding has been great. The roads are getting a lot busier now which is a shame but to be expected. It’s been great to get out and about again for sure.
I’d really like to take the CRF250 Rally down to the Pyrenees this summer if at all possible and do the coast to coast route through the mountain trails. Whether this will be possible or not is still too hard to predict but we can but hope!
The UK government has started to relax the U.K. wide lockdown and it’s now possible for us to ride our motorcycles to and from a place of exercise.
So without delay, I got the bikes out and headed out into the wilds of Suffolk. The weather has been splendid for this time of year. Normally it’s rainy and miserable in Spring but, since the COVID19 pandemic hit and the planes have all been grounded the weather has been spectacular! With temperatures hitting the dizzy highs of 20c it’s been like summer here in the U.K. for a couple of weeks now.
First trip out was on the Kawasaki Versys 1000cc, my wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a bike I’ve owned from new in 2016 and one that I dearly love. Heading north up the Suffolk coast I dropped into the lovely seaside town of Southwold. Not far up the road in real terms but since it was my first ride out in quite a while I wanted to break myself in gently.
The ride was glorious albeit a tad windy as I got closer to the coast. Getting the tyres warmed up on the bike for the first time in ages was a great feeling and I was soon back in the swing of things.
The very next day it was the turn of the Honda CRF250 Rally to get out onto the road. I love this little bike and it just loves tootling around the back lanes and byways, together we make a great team.
Heading out into the sticks not really having a preplanned route I just explored lanes and byways that I’d not ridden before, most of the time not having any real idea of where I was.
Stopping here and there to take photos, take in the scenery and enjoy the sun on my face it was heavenly to enjoy the silence of the countryside. At times it felt as if I was the only one on the planet, a wonderful feeling to be had.
Passing through tiny villages that I’d never heard of before I found my self arriving on the outskirts of the town of Felixstowe on a back lane that I didn’t know existed. Eventually I came out near the golf course in the old part of the town and continued on until I reached the dead end at the Felixstowe Ferry opposite Bawdsey on the river Deben.
Heading out of Felixstowe I decided to ride around the river Deben to the other side and follow the road to its natural end at Bawdsey. Once again heading out into the sticks and not having any real route in mind I passed through a completely different set of little villages until I arrived in Newbourne, a village I know. Passing the Newbourne Fox Pub that was closed like all the other pubs at the moment, the village seemed dead compared to normal. Heading north through Waldringfield Heath round the back of Adastral park where all the tech companies live I was soon in the town of Woodbridge. A lovely old market town with many fine public establishments. I followed the road round past the marina, through Melton and headed out into the sticks once more.
I somehow found myself on the Ramsholt road and decided to head up onto the top of the hill overlooking the river Deben near the Ramsholt Arms pub. Stopping at the top of the hill I sat in the sun for a while enjoying the view over the river whilst listening to the birds chattering away. This was becoming a very relaxing and enjoyable second ride out!
Leaving Ramsholt along the sandy lanes I managed to find myself on the back lane heading in the direction of Bawdsey.
Passing Bawdsey Manor where the radar research took place in the early part of World War II I soon arrived at Bawdsey Quay, directly opposite Felixstowe Ferry where I had been an hour or so earlier. 25 miles of riding to end up no more than 150 metres from where I started!
Wanting to stay within the law, I took my exercise and walked over to the cobbled beach to take a photo of Felixstowe. Exercise over, I headed back to the quay.
Sitting on an old wooden bench with my back up against an old brick building in the sun, I watched the world go by for what seemed an age. Fishing boats came and went, sail boats slipped by silently all whilst the tide gradually came in. It was heaven!
Soon it was time for me to start heading home again. Getting my crash helmet on, biking gear zipped up and the bike fired up I headed back out into the countryside winding my way around little back lanes enjoying every moment of my new found freedom.
The little Honda buzzed excitedly as we progressed past the lush green fields and derelict farm buildings that litter the landscape. I’d forgotten how much fun it is to ride little bikes, it was like being a boy again except it was totally legal this time!
Ten or so miles later going through one village twice somehow I was soon back home and putting the bike away ready for another day.