Saturday, 19 September 2009

Outside the Social Club. On the way to the Pyrenees. The lads from the Launch.

The Rock. Being presented with a Plaque from the Superintendent. RGP in their finest.

The M25 for Ships and a concert hall inside 'The Rock'

National day in full swing and one of RGP's finest watches on to make sure everyone plays nicely...
That's Africa that is!
'The Rock' from the Police Launch.
Now that is cool! It's Chips!!
The backup vehicle... At least someone knew what they were doing...
Reuben gets to the heart of the matter...

Some pics for you...

Southern France. It was all going so well...

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Now for the full update....

I'm home...

Early. I made it to Gibraltar (but the 90 exploded on the way, so she hitched a lift in a Toyota Landcruiser)... (the piston ate itself)

The 90 is in southern spain (i'm hoping to get it to Gibraltar to get a engine in her...)

It was raining the day I left and rained all the way to Portsmouth.

I fell into a cheap hotel in the middle of france on the first real night. I had been on the bike for about 24hrs, and had been up for about 36 hrs. I had wanted to sleep on the ferry, but the waters were too rough to even walk on the boat, let alone kip...

The bike died near the Pyrenees. She was given a lift by my backup mate. There are no Honda C90's in Spain, or in France. None. We tried every single garage on the way. There was an engine. They wanted 1500 euros. We tried to buy a second hand bike. Too expensive, or utter rubbish. We kept pushing on, stopping at every bike shop. Nothing....

I wanted and needed to finish the trip riding, but it just wasn't happening. Every day seemed to be a national holiday, or 'summer hours' or just generally closed...

I got dropped off on the Border with Gibraltar after a day of searching and severe disappointment. Then the RGP (Royal Gibraltar Police) met me at the border and things started to move in the right direction very quickly.

I rode back on a Daelim 125 custom bike that I bought in Gibraltar. It was massively overloaded. Hated mountain roads and bits of her were held together with tape. She (the Daelim) decked out on a roundabout in northern Spain, ripped the footpeg off and smashed my foot into a roundabout. I broke a few foot bones...

I carried on into France and in the middle of France my mobile and charger packed up. My bank card was refused so I couldn't make any calls (they thought it was being cloned in France, tried to call me to confirm this, but couldn't do so because of my mobile being dead).

So I was short of money, had been riding for 14 hours that day with no break or food or water, with a broken foot, having to lean down and change gear with my hand. I had no communications, no way to communicate or call anyone. I was riding a Gibraltar registered 10yr old Korean 125 Custom bike (with an unknown history) that was doing 43mph on 90+mph dual carriageways.

My backup mate (who has volunteered on the penultimate day to come with me) didn't know where I was, couldn't call me and thought I was dead. By sheer luck (and going down every turnoff of the highway) I found him in hotel in a side road. It was 11:30pm and I had been on the road since 09:30am. He told me enough was enough, and I was in real danger of being stranded forever, or being killed (my trip insurance with the RAC only covered the 90) and he called it a day. He put the bike in a van and drove the last bit of France.

I had made it from my hotel on 'the rock' overlooking Africa, to the middle of France. It took me two and a half days. I slept on petrol station forecourts.

He dropped me off on the M25 in England and I rode the last 80 miles home at night.

20 miles from home my zip broke on my leather jacked and it opened up flapping in the night breeze. I couldn't pull over to sort it out. 10 seconds later it rained.

Apart from that it was fairly uneventful...

Sunday, 6 September 2009

In Spain and well on the way! Run into some problems with the bike which have been a bit difficult to solve on a Sunday but luckily was ahead of time! A full update will follow asap

Thursday, 3 September 2009

First day! Ferry from Portsmouth to Caen and made it through the rain to Laval. Booked into a Hotel Formule One to dry off!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Damn it...

I'm just putting the final bits together.

I'm off in just over an hour.

Its raining. Very hard.

Very hard.

Still, a little water never hurt anyone. laid plans of mice and men...

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

The final countdown...

Right, less than 24hrs to the off.

I have had a test run to work, and good grief what a difference! With all the Guys's work and the new shocks, it actually rides like a bike!... as opposed to a wobbly pogo stick!

How confidence inspiring!

A shakedown ride this evening fully loaded. No probs.

A quick pic and a look at the mileage...

Give it 14 days and there should be over 3000 miles added to that figure...

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Heroes help Heroes!

If I am being honest, I wasn't too sure this week I would actually make my deadline.

The C90 had failed its MOT, and every time I blinked, another problem would appear.

So what do you do in that situation, when something you have been planning for so long is about to go a**e over t*t?

Well what I did was to log onto a few websites that I had found for enthusiasts of this wonderful machine and ask for help. However, I got far more than I bargained for.

A chap and his son (who happened to be fairly local) came and picked the C90 up from the dealer it was sitting in, and then spent the next five or so days fixing everything that was wrong with it. Including things I didn't know about. Then after that and making sure they got it sailing through its MOT, he drove it back to my house and wished me well on my venture.

All he asked for was the money he had spent on a few minor parts and the cost of the MOT. Nothing else. Nothing. To them it was about getting it right and promoting the journey. Raising the money for the charity. Helping those who need help.

In my job, you can at times end up skeptical of the human race , due to the very nature of the work that we do, and the things that we deal with. So to meet somebody so helpful, genuine and unselfish is a real treat and a breath of fresh air and raised optimism!

Strangers helping a complete stranger so that he can raise money for complete strangers.
The human race has never been richer!

Thanks Newt and AG. Proper Gents through and through.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

The momentum is building...

I thankyou!


There has been a surge of interest!

It probably has rather a lot to do with the press release that work have done!

That and me 'auctioning' one of my business cards on Ebay! £21 and still going! People are just being amazing.

Also a FREE NEW pair of rear shock absorbers arrived yesterday evening from "Fuzz" from sadly I was at work when he turned up, which is a genuine shame.

Still only one more set at work and then i'm off!


Saturday, 15 August 2009

Testing, Testing...

Video camera test today.

Erm... well, lets put it this way, there is a bit of 'fiddling' to do before its ok...

It didn't help that the camera was mounted onto the handlebars via a 'Gorilla Pod' tripod, which meant it was a bit shakey to say the least.

Lets put it this way, if you suffer from motion sickness you wouldn't of wanted to see the results...

Trial and error, trial and error...

Ewan and Charlie never seemed to suffer these sorts of problems...

Friday, 31 July 2009

5 Weeks and counting...

The total raised so far is £440 as I type. How cool is that?

Still need more though!

A big genuine thankyou to those of you that have donated though.

Its finally starting to come together, and I have pretty much everything I need, the bike will be serviced shortly, and new tyres, chain and sprockets and brakes will be fitted at the same time. So i'm not leaving much to chance!

Sleeping bag, roll mat, tent etc etc. All ready to go.

I have been pondering the clothing though. Its going to be hot in Spain (it will be early sept after all) and reasonable in France, but the mountains are going to be cold. And windy. And difficult to get up.

I did contact the BBC and ask them if they wanted to send a film crew with me.

Oddly enough they haven't replied...

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Be prepared...

That's the Scouts Motto, or is it the cubs? I can never remember to tell the truth... Anyway, as motto's go its a pretty good one.

I'm having to do a lot of preparation and thinking at the mo, not difficult stuff to be fair, just need to make sure I get it right.

I have already bought the ferry ticket so that's a start. Trouble is the ferry leaves at 8am. So I have to be there for 7am. Portsmouth is 168 miles away. That's going to mean leaving at midnight. (Although I am working till midnight.... err... i'll figure something out)

So I should be nice and tired when I arrive. Luckily the ferry takes 6 hours so hopefully I should be able to get some sleep. Then there is going to be a lot more riding before finding a campsite.
If I find a campsite.
I'll probably end up fast asleep by the bins at a French petrol station.

Aaah... the glamour of the open road...

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Made it to Yarmouth in a good time.
Very overcast though. Shame.


Well that was actually a lot better than I thought.

Also a lot less painful than I thought too...

The whole trip (which I gave a hopeful guess of 4hrs) actually only took me 3hrs and 10 minutes. That included a stop for petrol and a stop for a rest and a drink. So by those calculations I may be able to cover the distance needed in 6 and a half hours on a good day.

I'm sure there will bad days... Mountain days will probably be bad ones.

Anyway back to the figures. I managed 70 miles before needing to fill up, she was going flat out and she did have fuel left in the tank, so I will leave it as 70 miles as a working figure. When I did fill up though, to be honest it was slightly embarrassing.

£2.75... and that was almost overflowing...

So £5.50 will get me 140 miles, I have to do 220 per day. So I figure that the last 80 miles will be about £3. So in essence I am looking at £8.50 per day in fuel. Although to be fair fuel will no doubt be cheaper on the continent, but that's the figure I will stick with at the moment.

So in total for the entire trip I am looking at a ball park figure of £119 for fuel. Not bad for a 3000 mile journey... I knew there was a reason for choosing this bike!

The speed was a lot better than I thought too, I think the speedo may be showing a slower figure than I am actually going, because although people overtook me, there were quite a few to just sit behind at a distance, and they didn't overtake when they had the chance.
At one point I overtook someone else! I was a Tesco lorry, and I did have to use a slipstream manoeuvre, but i'll take them any way I can get them!

Now I have to start testing some other kit. Next in line will be the cameras...

Friday, 26 June 2009

The First Test...

Right, its time to test things out...

I will have to average 220 miles per day, so I need to get some miles under my belt in order to see if everything is working as it should.

So basically I am going to ride from my house to Great Yarmouth and back this weekend. Its a 55 mile trip there, and a 55 mile trip back. That will give me a 110 mile round trip that I will time. All I need to do is double the results and I should be in business.

It will also mean I can calculate fuel bills and fill ups etc...

Hopefully I can get it done in about 4 hours including stops, which should equate to a leisurely 8 hours riding a day...


Sunday, 14 June 2009

Not a great start...

So anyway, there I was in the early hours of this morning.
I was late of work by 4 or so hours, but nevermind, one shift left to go.
Its about 04:30 in the morning and i'm riding my Triumph Motorcycle back home. The sun is rising, its getting light and there is a beautiful mist covering the fields. I come off a major roundabout, accelerate to about 70mph and ride down a dual carriageway heading towards home and bed.
Its a beautiful morning and there is nothing on the roads, its just me, my bike, the odd bunny by the side of the road and a few pigeons enjoying the mornings calm.
Apart from one pigeon. Who decided that life simply wasn't worth living and promptly flew in my chest and right shoulder.
If you have ever wondered what its like to hit a pigeon at 70mph, then stop wondering. It hurts, very much so, and thats all there is to it...
I should have taken the C90 to work, the speed of the impact would have been negligible.

Anyone got an ice pack?...

Saturday, 13 June 2009

In the beginning....


Only eleven weeks and four days to go.

Ferry booked? - Don't be silly.

Bike tested? - Well i've been to the garage and back.

Anything packed or thought about? - Five pairs of boxers should do it.

Accommodation booked? - I'll worry about that when I get there.

Travelling alone? - I'm not too sure I know anyone stupid enough to go with me...

Advertising? - I've done that bit! Emails sent, People Facebooked, Group and now Blog created!

So, i've bought the bike, booked the time off work and i've had my first donation! All's well so far!

So why am I really doing it? Why am I deciding to ride from Suffolk to Gibraltar on a 20 year old 85cc step through motorcycle with a top speed of 45mph?
Well firstly, I was looking at the Help for Heroes website, and there was an article on there about people doing silly things to raise money. So I was looking at the ideas so far, and thought to myself... I could be a lot sillier than that. Secondly I love my bikes, i've had 30 so far in my life and I like riding abroad. So why not combine the two?
Everything to do with the trip is being paid for out of my own back pocket. Every single penny raised will go to Help for Heroes. I guess the motivation for people to sponsor me is to see if I can actually make it. Its a tall order, i'm guessing its about 11hrs riding a day, every day for 14 days. It will be over 3000 miles in total and include crossing the Pyrenees Mountains twice. On a bike that has little more power than a food mixer.

Still, he who dares wins...