And so it begins...
The preparation is over. It’s too late to chicken out. I’ve dropped the bike off with Moto Freight at Heathrow, paid the money and it‘s ready to go. It’s really happening: I’m off on the Big Stupid Trip of a Lifetime.
This bit of the process couldn’t be easier, frankly. Not because it’s necessarily easy but because Moto Freight make it simple - they ship more than 600 bikes a year, all over the world. I simply rode into their warehouse where the bike was inspected and I took out all the things I shouldn‘t have packed - bug spray and the compressed-air cylinders in my puncture-repair kit. Now it will be crated, inspected, x-rayed and swabbed to check it isn’t a bomb. Then it’ll be flown to Canada, for me to collect in a few days’ time.
That means I have just over a week to sort my life out - to tidy up my affairs, pack my possessions into storage and say goodbye to my family... and my girlfriend. It’s a good job I’ll be busy with redirect post, cancelling direct debits, SORNing my battered old car and moving out of my flat as hopefully doing all that distract from the more difficult aspect of the trip.
You see, now the moment has come, I have huge mixed emotions. On the one hand, I’m super-excited and mad keen to get going, fidgeting like a Labrador waiting for a tennis ball to be thrown. On the other, I’m dragging my feet like a teenager trying to miss the school bus, because the prospect of being away from my kids and from my girlfriend for so long leaves a sour taste in my mouth. I don’t want to leave them... but I’m desperate to go...
Oh, you want to know about the bike? It’s my Kawasaki Z1000SX, suitability adapted. I have a Givi V56 Maxia topbox that was the devil’s own job to fit and - contrary to the misleading pictures on the website - can’t be fitted with the bike’s hard panniers. This first stumped me, then enraged me... then actually relieved me. The weak point of the SX is the crappy capacity of the luggage. I’ve fitted a set of huge Oxford R60 soft panniers instead, giving me space to take everything I need (ahem... apart from the puncture-repair kit...)
I‘ve also fitted a Givi ST602B tankbag that clips to a ring mounted on the filler ring of the tank. That was a doddle to fit. And an adjustable screen extender I pinched from the RiDE office (see next month’s issue for their full screen test). I had hoped to fit my camping gear into my excellent Givi UT803 rollbag, but there’s still just a bit too much of it, so I’m using my Sea to Summit 65L bag on the back seat.
So that’s my bike and luggage, my home for the next three months. And as hard as it will be to leave everyone, it’s going to be great.