In the summer of 2007 having just learned to ride a motorcycle I bought my first bike a Suzuki Bandit 600. I bought it from a woman who worked in a tattoo parlour in Peterborough, from Coates. I remember collecting it from their house one morning and riding back to Cambridge through the Fens.
Here’s my son, Dante and I soon after I bought this first bike. I bought lots of stuff: a jacket, boots, gloves etc. cheaply on Ebay. Most of it either fell apart or looked dreadful – or both.
In May 2008 I bought a blue Triumph Sprint ST from Ebay to move me one step closer to my planned journey to Europe later that Summer. Here it is parked next to my nice Bandit which I sold earlier this week. It was sad to see it being ridden off but the Sprint is a real bike – it makes a humming sound when you turn the ignition on (because it had fuel injection….)
In August 2009 I found myself buying the bike I had imagined that I would have to wait for an inheritance before affording. Luckily a cheque from some journal work for a publisher coincided with the appearance on ebay of a locally placed 1200GS Adventure – with, crucially, a low seat and at an affordable price – and aluminium adventure panniers. Here it is just after I arrived home with the other seat strapped to the back. It felt agricultural compared to the Triumph. It needed a new clutch (it was nearly impossible to put it in neutral) which BMW paid for even though it was out of warranty. Ah, happy days.
After six happy years, in March 2015 I traded it in for the new, liquid cooled(!) boxer engined version. …this (below), a 2014 R1200GS TE, liquid cooled and super agile and slim compared to Bertha above (you can see her deposited at SBW Motorrad in the background next to the white van). I got £5000 for Bertha which I was pleased with. They are selling it for £7995. Whenever I am not on it, I wish I was. As I drift off to sleep most nights, I imagine riding it. I remember going to SBW Motorrad to try an F800gs but that wasn’t available so I tried this ex-demo and loved it immediately. Even the seat was comfortable… but great as it was and is to ride, it seemed to lack character and I never deeply bonded with it. Maybe one day I will return to this type of bike. I kitted it out with some huge Touratech panniers and topbox and a few other adventurising bits and pieces. Memorable journeys on this bike are to France and to Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the Baltic countries.
July 2021: after two or three trips (one to Spain and a couple in the UK) wanting a lighter slightly less popular bike, here it is finally: a KTM790 Adventure. I spent nearly a year planning to buy a 690 Enduro but finally twigged that it would not be that great on road where I spend most of my time. I’ve been part of the BMW ecosphere for twelve years so this is a new start. (It felt odd deleting the BMW dealer from my speed dials on my phone.) In the tradition of the earlier trade in photo you can see my sold BMW in the background, behind the learners setting off from outside Orwell Motorcycles in Ipswich. (They’re selling it for £9650)
And here it is (below) paying a visit to London to make a few electrical changes before heading back to Cambridge where it will live.