The plan was simple enough. The reality turned out to be a tiny bit different thanks to the howling gales that affected the North of England courtesy of Hurricane Katia.
It was supposed to be a two-day trip on the MV Agusta Brutale to Moffat in Scotland to stay at the brilliantly biker-friendly Buccleuch Arms Hotel, taking in five National Parks on the way there and back. I loaded up the excellent MV tankbag and a rucksack and headed north.
That meant the North York Moors, Northumberland National Park, Yorkshire Dales, the Lake District and Peak District and all of the beautiful scenery and roads within. In the end my progress was halted some way into Northumberland, as fierce winds and driving rain forced a retreat into the Lake District. Riding was becoming much less fun than it should have been - and much more dangerous. Savage crosswinds made the normally excellent Brutale handle erratically.
For a card-carrying soft southerner seeing so many deserted, beautifully twisty roads was a treat. I loved every mile of the trip. The bike now has almosy 6000 miles on the clock and continues to run perfectly.
It doesn't use a drop of oil, averages 42mpg (nearer 50mpg when plodding), does an easy 200 miles on a 23 litre tank of fuel (including 40 miles on reserve), the chain hardly ever needs adjusting and a new set of tyres has transformed the way it handles.
The previous Dunlop SportSmarts (to replace the original fit Pirelli Angel STs) were great road tyres and lasted 3500 miles before squaring off. A set of Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsas have now gone on.
They are very sporty road tyres that can handle the track, too. They are bloody marvellous and not only offer a confidence-inspiring level of feedback in the dry but also cut through standing water too. It will be interesting to see how long they last.