The commitment to myself to seek what I have left behind in the time and be myself is back. I want to do what I love and live doing what I love. There will always be challenging along the way but that is what we all have in our lives. We love to live these challenges and challenge ourselves to the goals we want to achieve.
As in my last blog post, I mentioned the about the XC Adv. The story begins – I don’t know how far, how exciting and how boring this will get but this has begun. My long wish to prepare a motorcycle meant for my needs has started its beginning. It has been long search to get started with it in first place. I am athletic build with 1.78m and 70kgs that needs something light to take me across places fast, light and easy to handle. My choice between the motorcycles has been based on lots of help from Walter Colebatch and the likes of other adventure motorcyclist including the rally and world touring peeps.
A very interesting point of view was what I used to have in my life about a decade ago – the lighter you go – the faster you will be. This is not just applicable in one respect of weight but overall planning of your trip. Everything adds up from one to another to the next. The weight of the bike should be something that is reasonably manageable by you in any or most of the conditions you are in without the help of anyone in miles of no human reach. The big adventure bikes never were in my league with pure reason being they are not manageable at any extent in a solo long ride if the terrain is more than rough surface. I wanted a bike to meet my demands that fulfill my needs in terms of weight, reliability and capability of going beyond European tarmac. The list was pretty neat with what my options are – 650cc or 690cc.
The reliability being a big concern with travelling to the far away regions becomes a big issue if your motorcycle is little more than simple and more complicated with advanced technology. They do not make life easier rather hellish if you are stuck in middle of nowhere. KTM690 is an ideal bike but the reliability and few other concerns puts me off where as BMW 650 is tested for its reliability and comparably lot lighter than 690 in long run solo terminology of adventure travels. Although BMW 650 strikes each to each variants available. You can get the F650Gs, Sertao, Fundro 650 and the limited few which were produced as X-series. In the very obvious between the 650cc – the search has been for the lightest and that was none other than G650 Cross Country rather the name came up as XC. With a dry weight of just around 150kgs I know it would be ideal as pointed out the expert Walter himself.
It was not an easy one to begin with. On the first search that is the end of December 2014, I found no XC available in whole of UK be it a dealer or be it a private seller. The search moved on to the next available market – the EU Continent. The search was not an easier one as most common online platforms returned nothing and then few local searches from a help of Austrian friend and Belgian friend pointed me to German\Austria\NL market with few to look at. They all wanted an excess of £3000/- which sure was not my range to begin with. I was looking for a bike that is probably as old as 2007 and not a whole lot of mileage in between all these 7years. None to the point that would interest me as most were over in excess of 30,000kms. I found one in north of Italy with a private seller asking about 3800Eu. with 500kms but he never responded back to the emails or the calls hence it was over.
Two weeks in the hunt, 2015 has clocked itself in the new dates. Happy New Year, the search is still on and not a single one selling in UK. The limited production of these bikes was an interesting point that BMW never focussed on the sales of X series as these were not the market sellers for BMW potential adventure aimed buyers. BMW has made its name for selling the big boxers and not really the low spec 650’s. 650’s have been there since long time and have made its market in lower numbers compared to the 1200’s of big twin boxers. Rather I call them big boobs of BMW in the bike porno language. The first week went on and I was closing on the European market but kept myself on the hold. Not to jump the gun of crossing into the Continent as it would mean more expenses – bringing the bike, changing the currency, transporting the bike and all the paperwork to follow.
Second week on – the casual search back on online platforms – Ebay – None, Gumtree – Hey Hey (someone is selling one). I have located the first BMW G650 X Country in the UK. The seller was asking about the price I was looking for and it was 12000miles on the odometer so it would have equated to the lowest kind of mileage I was able to get compared to EU sellers. I weighed in my options to compare the other and I was well in my reach to find the bike I wanted. This just was the beginning of the whole XC Adv Story now.
I contacted the seller, tried to see if we can reach a lower price than the asking but it was more or less the same as I would have not realised it until late that I ended up buying a bike which added a nearly £450 in terms of the van hire, diesel and simple transfer from A to B. I found the bike in South Devon, Somerset. I gave in the deposit to the guy to ensure that it was already locked to my name before anyone else points a finger on it. It was a long journey to begin with and added to that was the 100mph+ winds. I decided to stop in at Bristol to use it as split stop instead of doing a long 500miles in a single day.
10.01.15 – Hiring an Enterprise Van was not big deal but I must advice every one of checking the windscreen as I feel I have cheated. Anyways more on that later. I hired the van as they offered to pick me up from the home. It was nearly 10.30am by the time I reached home from sorting out all the paperwork at van hire and I had to take a small bicycle to be offered to a little girl who I knew would love it in her coming years.
It was nearly 1100hrs by the time I could hit the road and the scare of 100mph+ winds was slowly calming down. I was all set ready to leave and resetting the trip meter on the van was the first thing that was on my mind to keep the distance tracked.
A boring drive basically between A1M, M25, M4 upto Bristol where my first stop came as I have some family so I could have used it to my advantage. Driving a van is no wonder lot more relaxed than riding a small car for longer distances. The sitting posture really defines your change of comfort and alertness level at all times. 140miles – 2hour15mins. Not too bad considering that driving a van is lot relaxed.
Destination was still another 110miles or so miles away. The weather was bit calm and the long empty stretches of M5 was like driving into the endless road that won’t come to an end. It was boring as well which eventually led us to A38 and into the South Brent from where the first glimpse of the XC was becoming more and more visible in my mind.
Finally, we reached the destination and the first view of the XC was captured. It wasn’t a clear first view but there was not much to it. It has been in the garage for a while and something to do with battery was mentioned. I didn’t took a big note on it but it started so I counted on it at that time.
It was a very kind and a warm welcome from Peter, who has kept the bike since number of years and was not very first owner. He had some very interesting bikes for anyone keen on the history of two strokes. I have not seen so many two strokes in the same garage as many he had to share. There was an enthusiasm and the wonderful biker brotherhood going on. He was eager to know what all I am planning to do with the bike. The idea of knowing that an XC can go lot more farther is just a spark for the excitement.
There were few that I would have liked to share here a quick note and it was just amazing fun to see them in full working conditions. Impressed is just a small word but the interest that we had in common was a good factor for making this XC story even more exciting – the story from the beginning is a fun if it was more than just a buy and sell deal.
Few more wonderful bikes to look at. There is another amazing Yamaha 125 LC two-stroke which was a gem in its wonderful condition. Although I loved the small 50cc Honda which was used by his son when he was learning two wheels.
I did find myself excited meeting Peter and no wonder it has a perfect recipe for the excitement. A lot of time spent in talks and sharing what XC is capable of with its power range. Ah well we shall get loading the bike into the van and strapping it down. Peter was really kind in his welcome and his passion is reflected in his love for his wheels.
At 12226miles, it has had a new life embedded into its new making. XC that shall see the light of the world from the shades of the garage. This should move itself into a new category among the few others known for what they are.
All strapped and ready to go.
I was glad to have not attempted this within a day as it would have been a good 24hours through the day making it back to base. Tonight it is a halt in Bristol with a last 140miles to base next morning.
11.01.15 Making it to the base, I rested long as I slept like a baby last night. Morning was an easy one and still lazy to do get back on the road but I knew it was to be done before it gets dark as I rather should make the most of the daylight. Days aren’t long in January added with the bad weather not a good idea. In all this while, I have been in contact with Erik(Expert at its trade) from NL -to update that I have been on my way.
The interesting long journey with few stops has finally come to the rest. It was now time to make the face to face introduction between the Fz6 Chini and XC Adv on the outside while the Fz6 waits and watches the unloading of the XC Adv.
The power of single 650 vs the inline fours of 600 is pretty much incomparable. The 650 shall set an example of unseen and unknown while the 600 has been ruling the roads for the last 63000miles of European smooth terrains.
This marks the base to base journey of making the XC Adv limelight of the stories ahead.
Interestingly, as I previously mentioned about the van rentals – I was quite stunned when a chap at the rental mentioned about the chip. It was barely 2cms with a slight 2cm line appearing near the base of the windshield. It just took me by surprise because I am quite sure when the van was given to me – the lady who let it rent to me didn’t check the screen and neither did I – so validly I was at the fault but gobsmacked me doesn’t believe it was me. It became a well in excess of £400 for the van hire and the fuel in total amounting to lot more than expected. There was no fun part in the end as it left me bitter!
Just a learning, that rentals should be more carefully sought out in future if you are to take one. It just was no fun that you return it as you got it and took the hit of more than you expected it to be. Rant over.
Story continues …..
Love life, love yourself to experience what you can do. The more we grow the more our power of brain becomes susceptible to the changes around us. We tend to lose that adrenalin with our bodies mind and soul that pushes us to the limit but not to forget that we are humans we are like re-chargeable batteries. Regardless you are 20 or 25 or 30 the age barely matters because in the modern world the numbers just don’t count what really counts is what you can do to beat any of those numbers inside your head.
Living is reviving oneself of its own imaginary powers to experience that magic of life that can take us to the new environs and makes us feel come alive again. Whether you work 9hrs shift five days a week you deserve the weekend to be a crack on good to enjoy those well spent 5 days at work. In a way yes we all do that but what really makes you happy you should follow those instincts. I know from myself even a two days break is a way to run away and experience and add on miles to the map of my world. I remember when I was 20, 800kms trip for two days would simply be an easy target to just say I did something which made me feel happy. To follow our hearts it only takes us a little but we must sincerely follow what we like to make sure we breathe in our life that fills us with what we want. Freedom to your serenity is in your hands and head.
One such thing that swing into my head this past weekend was a road trip that was sugar coated with luxury of four wheels instead of two and I was not the one who was going to drive. For a change it makes a whole lot of difference when you are not in the pilot seat but rather a navigator. My friend JM took the charge to drive on this trip and make me her worthy co-pilot. The map was just a rough sketch in the beginning but we knew that we are heading to South-East England trying to cover as much coastline we can with not missing the chances of capturing the beautiful weather, cliffs, coasts and harbours.
Indeed we managed to do it pretty well along with doing some dangerous things which people our age don’t do. Staying awake half the night for not missing a single shot that can become a part of my fame if it reaches that frame in the next exhibition. You may not want to be on the white cliff sitting with your feet hanging down knowing there is no way back to life if we commit a mistake of slipping down from there. Yes, we did sit on the white cliffs of Beachy Head with our feet hanging down till our lust of adventure was satisfied.
Exploring the shores of Bexhill, Hastings and Sandgate was more of a simple eye candy with sun setting and the weather staying well below freezing. At the coldest during the day it was still -3.5C and reaching -1.5C at its best. Standing by the cliffs of Dover watching the sun go down and the ships leave the harbour with time-lapse interval shooting it only adds to the memory of things we did. Heading towards Kent and experiencing our wonderful game of “Banana grams” sitting in Pub till we realize we must go and sleep. The night barely offered any relief with fresh snow sailing like cotton balls we start off to Ramsgate with freezing weather again daring the visit to the harbour allowing us to feel that chilly winds.
It never stops when you are crazy in your head. Walking down the old Marina and sipping hot tea in the sailor shop – worth an experience even though the Tea was not too good but just that location was. All the yachts sitting in the harbour made it look like a holiday for sailors which indeed it was – not many dare to be in the weather of below freezing in the sea. We had to head back without delaying ourselves too much. On the way back we wandered along the coast of Whitstable seeing colourful beach huts that simply change the views compared from summer skies to faded glory in snow covered white flakes. Finding out a place to warm ourselves up sipping hot tea and snapping pictures in the hot corner next to fireplace sitting in age old vanity leather chair.
Amazing how you can explore and what all you can find in this wonderful world in the secret corners of unknown destinations. An old mill on the top of the hill with its wonderful wooden structure did not allow us to pass it without framing it in all possible angles till I gave up because of a full memory card while JM kept snapping and decided to give up knowing the light has gone below our desired needs. Inevitably the hard moments in photographers life is to miss the moments that are only once in that very environment. We chased the first rays of sun in evening on our way to Canterbury, Kent. Temperature was just above freezing as it reached 0.5C and we managed to see the Cathedral of Canterbury in the low light just before the darkness engulfed us. Not willing to let the time run away we simply wanted to go as much more as we can. Tempting desires but we have to live with what we have got. The light has gone off the horizon and the darkness mounted on the skies leaving us not much more but to head back. Driving on the motorways M20, M26, M25, M23 we just about finished another of our road trip.
Time and again, it is not even over yet but we know that the next trip is just around the corner in less than a month’s time. True but hard facts of life, when you know what makes you happy – don’t stop to live in the illusion of what others would want you to live in. You are for yourself and your power is for you to revive and live. The greatest regrets of people is that they spend all their lives living to other expectations and not living their own.
Enjoy life for the fact, you never know your expiry date 🙂 Today Tomorrow Time can’t be accounted for.