I’ve just tucked into a complimentary cuppa and settled into my luxurious seat aboard the Jonathan Swift, Irish Ferries fast service to Dublin.
It’s a welcome break from, what can only be described as, a fantastic day of riding. I’ve covered almost 300 miles, across the width of the country to Holyhead. I’m enroute to Killarney for Ireland Bikefest on the Honda X-ADV. It’s a free annual event where tens of thousands of bikers make the journey to South West Ireland.
With top box fully laden I’d set off from home, my route securely taped to the inside of my screen. With nowhere to fit a tank bag I couldn’t think of where else I could fix my handwritten route. About a mile up the road the, less than securely taped, route made a bid for freedom. Luckily I’d memorised the first half of the journey.
I knew the first 100 miles would be dull, the easiest and most direct route was to take a combination of busy A roads and motorways to the Welsh Border. I was pleasantly surprised how comfortable the X-ADV sat at motorway speeds and soon saw the ‘Welcome to Wales’ sign.
I’d kept tabs on my fuel consumption, the dash has a great ‘live’ readout, which tells me exactly what I’m using per litre. From this I’d calculated I should get 200 miles to the tank, with the bike being new I’m nervous the information may not be accurate. So, when the fuel gauge suddenly dropped from one bar to a red warning light and the word FUEL flashing with just 170 miles on the tripometer, I did have one of those awful twitchy bum moments. I jumped off the motorway at the next exit and found a petrol station, it took just 11 litres, which meant in real terms I’d still got about 30 miles left in the tank, so my mental maths had been right and I’d really no need to worry!!
With bike and I both refreshed and fully fuelled I clambered back on board and struck out to Llangollen on the A5. From here I’d decided to take the scenic route through the Horseshoe Pass. I’m so glad I did, it’s a fantastic mix of undulating bends and stunning scenery. At the top is the biker’s haunt, Ponderosa Cafe, where I stopped for lunch. Even mid-week there were a good couple of dozen bikes parked up.
As soon as I parked up a Harley rider popped over to talk to me. This is one thing I find with the unusual looking Honda, it’s a real conversation starter. They all have the same question, what is it? So far I can’t really tell them but am having a great time finding out.
A lazy lunch was followed by a final play on the very quiet route up to the A55 and on to Holyhead to catch the ferry. After a full day in the saddle I was a little achy but I put this down to not being bike fit rather than the X-ADV being uncomfortable.
It really had been a great day’s ride and a great way to start my Irish adventure.