And it’s done!

After move from hell we’re finally in. It’s taken us over 9 months from first seeing the house to getting through the door. But I now have a garage.

We moved in on the Monday, and by Saturday afternoon a BMW R1150GS Adventure was sat in the garage and I was looking chuffed.

I won’t bore you with the intricacies of the move, but let me bore you with the intricacies of the bike purchase.

I’d joined the UKGSER forum (www.ukgser.com) and found an advert for a 2003 GSA with 47K miles and a healthy service book. First registered in Cardiff, the bike was actually imported as new from BMW, as the dealer had recently lost their BMW franchise (apparently a lot had in 2002 when BMW restructured the business). The seller wasn’t sure if it was an original UK bike, or an import as he wasn’t the first owner, so I called the dealer and they confirmed it had come via ‘Herman the German’; their contact on Cologne.

Still happy with the history, I explained my position (about to move and nowhere to store the bike) and he was happy to hold onto it until we’d completed – we had exchanged by this point so I wasn’t worried about another bike purchase falling through due to the purchase of the house taking so long.

Exchange date set, I arranged to get the bike on the weekend after we moved in – nothing like getting your priorities right! Only downside was the bike was in Gloucester – 200 miles away.

A plan took form. Hire car from home to Gloucester, then picked up by the seller and taken to the bank to get the money – he didn’t want a cheque, bankers draft or for me to arrive with the cash – he wanted to watch me withdraw it from the bank! Back to his house to look over the bike. 2 hours later, he was very, very thorough going through the service file and as the dark clouds started to role in, I headed for home.

It’s a big bastard, taller than the 1200GSA which I’d test ridden so it was a little daunting at first, but became very quick to get used to. Before I know it I was on the M5 and then the heavens opened and did so for the next 190 miles. I’d not ridden in 5 years, but here I was filtering through slow traffic on the M6 on a bike as wide as a small country, but it was just like riding a bike! – Pun intended.

It took me about 4 hours to get home, though thankfully my new kit and the bike performed flawlessly. I had a 1150GS Adventure! I was Charlie Boorman, and I could take on a round-the-world trip in the morning if I so wanted!

At home following an interesting ride home.

Decision made

Well, we’re a couple of months on and we’ve not yet moved. We’ve sold (twice), but not moved; though I have brought a bike – well put a deposit down anyway!!!

I’ve decided not to go with the brand new R1200GS Adventure – I just couldn’t justify the price, so instead I’ve gone proper old school and opted for the R1150GS Adventure.

The one I’ve brought is a red and silver 2005 model with 46,000 miles. Comes with original BMW aluminium panniers, heated grips but without the troublesome ABS.

It’s currently still in Leads as I’ve nowhere to put it and the seller has agreed to hold on to it for a month or so until I’m ready.

In honesty, the R1150GS Adventure was the original reason I wanted an adventure bike. I, like many many others, got hooked on Long Way Round. The idea of getting on your bike and riding to these places you normally sit on a plane for half a day or more to reach. Riding to the European mainland is great, but it’s still the same as being back in the UK – the language may be different, but it’s still a western culture. Riding to a country that is so different makes the journey feel so much more.

So all being well, the move should be done by the end of August and the bike will be in the new garage!

A little history

So we’re moving house and this one will have a garage… That can mean only one thing. Bike!

I got my first bike when I was twenty one. A Kawasaki 550 Zypher. A great bike. Well, a great first bike. It was brand new and shiny and I rode it all year round commuting to work in London, and then up to Norfolk at weekends (that was where the woman was).

I clocked up about 25,000 miles in the 3 years I had the Zypher, then it was time for something with a little more protection for the winter.

I chose the Zypher as my brother had the 750 version and a mutual friend of ours had started out on a 550 Zypher and I ridden it a few times and liked the way it felt like a proper big bike. Here’s a pic of the three of us, fondly called the 3 Amigos, in Aberystwyth.

A ZZR600 it was and that was a big step up from the Zypher. Not only did it provide so much wind protection (the Zypher didn’t even have a bikini screen) it was double the horsepower – up from 50 to 100. The ZZR got me to work day in day out, whatever the weather and then was an absolute blast on the twisty roads up to Norfolk. I remember one sunny summers evening, it was about 7:00pm and I was almost home – just past Swaffham on the A1065 which is a great road, though it does encourage you to twist the throttle a little too much – this was one such evening. As I came around the sweeping left hander I saw the rozzas at the bottom of the hill and they had a speed camera. Well, all I could think was ‘bye bye license’ and biking had been fun while it lasted. I started to slow down and as I passed them they waved me back. It took me another 200 yards to slow enough to do a U-turn and I worked my way back to the two officers, head hung low.

“Thank you for coming back” was the first thing they said. “I didn’t know it was optional” was my reply. This was thankfully met with a smile. There was the usual statement of “if you saw some of the thing we saw”, which I honestly can’t  imagine. Soon conversation turned back to my exuberance. The started by saying they needed to track the vehicle for 3 seconds with the radar gun to get an accurate speed reading, but… I was past them in a second and a half. Nothing more they could do, but give me some more harsh words and send me on my way. One very big bullet dodged.

Shortly after this, I moved up to Norfolk full time, got a job in Peterborough, which came with a car and the bike was put in the garage for sunny days. Things happened on weekends, as they do when you’re living with someone – long lunches and days spent outside pubs, so the bike didn’t get much use and so it was sold.

Several years went by, a baby came along and a few more years before I was out with my brother (who has a small collection of bikes) and saw a Honda CBR600F4 for sale on the side of the road. Very good condition, and a very good price. Seems too good to pass by – so I didn’t. Although was great to be back on a bike – the missus was not as happy, as we now lived in a Victorian terrace house with no garage and no way of getting the bike around the back of the house – a rental garage was needed and soon found. I had the CBR for a couple of years before finances meant it had to go. This was about 6 years ago and I’ve been bike-less ever since.

It’s now 2017 and we’re house hunting. A house with a garage no less and I need something to put in it!

Like a lot of middle-aged guys, we watched Long Way Round and dreamt of circumnavigating the globe. Ever since I’ve lusted after the GS Adventure. That’s what needs to be in my garage (the one I don’t own yet) – the garage that is. Hang on – the garage I don’t own for the bike I don’t own – we’ll you’ve got to dream!