It’s been more than six months since the last update on my bike-based adventures. It seems time flies when you’re having fun on two wheels – it’s safe to say there’s a lot to update you on…
My last ‘Confessions…’ column, back in March of this year, told of the Mash 400cc Scramblers which my wife and I had just ordered. I pondered whether I’d found the solution to enjoyable riding, without the imposing, ballistic performance of the sports bikes I had previously considered.
As it turned out, although our new Scramblers were fantastic machines, they weren’t ideal for the next chapter of this middle-aged biker’s career.
Like most of us, the lockdowns had left me particularly hungry for a holiday. As the weather grew warmer, my wife and I began to discuss the potential of a European motorcycling adventure – but the uncertain travel restrictions made the trip sound like hard work. We settled on Scotland, and the established ‘North Coast 500’ run. It promised the perfect opportunity to blow away the cobwebs and get some proper experience on a motorbike. But which one?
That question was answered one sunny Saturday afternoon, with a trip to our local dealership. Armed with a pair of potential part-exes, and a vague checklist of the requirements, we test drove all manner of machines. The solution? Trading in both Scramblers for a considerably different animal – a BMW R1200 GS Adventure.
The GS completely transformed my experience on two-wheels, armed with all the creature comforts needed to keep a 51-year-old novice biker smiling. Hardcore bikers might scoff at the level of luxury the BMW offers - but the fact is, I don’t mind a machine that makes my life easy. With cruise control, ABS and even heated grips, it seemed purpose built for what we had in store. And what an adventure it was…
Billed as Scotland’s answer to Route 66, the North Coast 500 features the very best Scotland has to offer. The roads were challenging, but we weren’t in a rush. The stunning scenery meant regular stops to soak in the views – and remind ourselves that yes, we really are still in the UK. The GS Adventure certainly proved itself as a proper, all-weather tourer, on what can only be described as a trip of a lifetime.
So much so, I’ve decided to hang up my helmet for a while. The GS will remain, in the hands of my more-experienced wife – and I’m now in the market for a two-seater roadster for our next North Coast run. I’m certainly not against another bike in the future. I am, however, looking forward to being able to raise the roof on a rainy day in Scotland.
More confessions of a middle-aged learner biker