Well dear reader, I am so sorry to say I lied. There will be no Winchester to Vladivostok trip. Due to work commitments I couldn't actually start the trip…………
…… from Winchester. Instead I had to record the official start of the voyage from Warsash Maritime College. This was due to a calendar mix-up of my own making which resulted in a hastily arrange commitment for me to undertake some lecturing at WMC on Friday morning. I hope you don’t mind I can’t be bothered to re-name the road report et al, so I hope you forgive me for keeping the original moniker. I was going to nod at Winchester as I passed it going up the M3 at full throttle, but the traffic was so busy and time was so tight, that I was concentrating on filtering safely so I missed it. Anyway, Warsash, Winchester, they both begin with a W and are vaguely near each other.
Instead of a photo recording the vista of Winchester I had to make do with a picture of the flag staff at WMC. Not very exciting but I’ll see if I can get something better to record the end at Vladivostok – there’s a challenge.
As you can see, I'm taking massive amounts of luggage. I've decided not to bother with any camping equipment (other than a duvet cover).
The alloted day came around all too quickly. It has been such a hectic week, with so many people wishing me well, I've been surviving on a few hours sleep every day all week. Your kind sentiments are gratefully received. I only hope I can get a reasonable distance.
I even had best wishes posted on the blog from Jackie Stuart – what the legend that is one of the greatest racing drivers of all time you may ask? surely not…….well yes, not, as it turns out, it was Stuart and Jackie from next door, but no less encouraging all the same. Thank you.
Despite a hectic day, the only word I can use to describe the proceedings so far is “clumsy”,
Clumsy goodbyes for loved ones, who I know love unreservedly in return. The girls are clearly not keen for me to do this trip and I struggle to justify undertaking it. Ideally I would like to quote Thucydides funeral oration of Pericles, “The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”
But yes, I would agree that the planning for this trip has hardly given me the clearest vision, and yes, dicking about on a motorbike for a couple of weeks isn’t exactly what Pericles had in mind when he thought about the bravery of mankind, but you you ADVriders out there get my drift? It's our one small step for biker-kind......
So girls, Let that be a lesson to you
(I don’t know, not even 500 miles on a bike and I’m philosophical already).
Other clumsy moments; clumsy, getting the kit on the bike, resulting in me being late and having to rush for the tunnel crossing, pushing the bike faster than I would have liked, and probably faster than what is good for all that old engineering; clumsy, faffing with the tank bag when filling up, resulting in spilling petrol all over the bike, my leathers and bag; clumsy, not being able to find my ticket reference number for the tunnel automatic check in (yes you were right Liz I should have written it down rather than trusting to the iPod); clumsy not having the satnav set up just right and having to watch the picture constantly jumping between landscape and portrait; and clumsy not seeing the tw*t on the autobahn doing about 200 miles an hour as I about to overtake a lorry just before I got to Duisburg (if you are reading Mr Audi, yes my hand signal does transcend any linguistic interpretation and you were indeed driving like a c*ck).
Everything on the bike feels a bit new and unfamiliar. I’m sure it will all settle down over the next few days. Just need to keep putting things in the best place and remembering where they are. It all just feels a bit odd, I’ve not settled into a routine yet.
I’m hoping to post photos of people I meet along the way. I met two chaps on the tunnel train. Jim Cam and Leigh Gosling are lifelong friends who kept me amused the whole crossing with biking stories. Jim and Leigh had done a trip around the west coast of the States on fatboy Harley Davidson’s for Leigh’s 50th. It sounded like they had had a hoot, not least riding through Death Valley with hang-over's and no water. They were going on a touring weekend of France and hoped to include Rouen and Le Mans. They obviously enjoy biking and their enthusiasm struck a chord with me. Although the body may be aging we are all still just 17 years old in our minds. I would say Jim’s recounting of doing 64 mph on his motorbike inside the train whilst disembarking is quite a feat.
On the other side of the Channel it rained, so I spent a few hours in a continuous downpour. Unlike the UK section, at least I didn’t have to hurry and eventually got to Duisburg.
So here I am in Duisburg, just watching the TV with the athletes parading into the Olympic arena. I’ve got a pizza in one hand an Beck’s Gold in the other. What more can a person need after such a day.
Summary: Day 0 – Warsash to Duisburg
No of miles for the day: 432′
Average Speed: 52 mph