From Alison Hi Kevin
Sometime ago you gave me some good advice about touring for a novice biker.
Well, just to let you know I’ve just returned from a 2000 mile bike trip from the Highlands of Scotland. Pretty wet on parts of the A1, good experience!!! and all sorts of weather in Scotland! Apart from one ‘moment’ everything went well, and the more miles I did on main roads, single tracks and even the ‘Pass of the Cattle’ across the Applecross mountains (the highest road in Scotland) I felt I was gaining in confidence. I’ll never be Rossi round corners but I really tried to put your advice into practice and I’m sure it helped.
My Honda CB 500 was more than up to the task, perfectly adequate for the roads and really, really comfortable, no aches or pains, just a slightly tired brain!!!! Unlike my hubby on his naked 1200 Bandit, sore shoulders and backside, having to hang onto the handlebars!!!!! He must get a better touring bike.
I’m already planning another trip sometime. Thanks for your encouraging words.
I do indeed remember! It’s always really rewarding to get an email back from someone! Glad you had a good time and that the advice helped! Interesting that you got on better on the CB500 than hubby on the 1200 Bandit. Sometimes the lack of weight and the unthreatening power deliver on a smaller bike more than makes up for the lack of ultimate power. I take it you have a screen too.
I hope you enjoy the rest of the summer and have some good riding!
The day in France seems ages ago. 7000 miles and 12 countries later and I’m back home. No mishaps to report. How about a bends course in Norway sometime? 😉 The roads in the fjord area in the west were fantastic e.g. http://www.solvang-camping.com/gfx/turistinfo/trollstigen.jpg
There was a lot to practice after the course. Braking for bends was uppermost.
I’m not sure how much was the bike or its rider. Perhaps you could’ve had a quick go on it to have decided. The Dakar doesn’t really flatter a ride. The soft long front suspension “kangarooing” at anything but the most gentle change of speed and the lightness at the front can make steering imprecise (On the plus side, the front tyre still looks almost new!).
In bends I found it was smoother to brake up to the point of turning, letting the brakes off gently so that they were coming off at the turn point. I’ve done all the free things to improve the handling – internet wisdom is that the only thing to do is change the front fork springs, although I’m worried that might compromise off road stability. I might change the fork oil weight the next time it needs doing as a first step.
Epic trip!! You’ll remember that for a while!! I think Norway would be a great place to run a bends course but for the time being N France will have to suffice – the roads aren’t bad!! And the beer’s a bit cheaper ;o)