There’s always a tingle that comes with the thought of riding abroad. And, now the working day is coming to a close, I’m feeling the tingle.
The sun’s shining, the TT commentary is piping out of the computer and I’m headed for Belgium on the Street Triple R. It’s not designed for touring, but you can go anywhere on anything if you’re in the mood. Which I am.
The ride is part of my girlfriend, Charlie’s sponsored ride to Berlin. She’s never ridden solo abroad before, so I’m her chaperone for the first day and then she’ll have to go it alone from Sunday morning onwards, on her 2009 Suzuki Gladius.
She’s raising money for the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance, to make sure it’s funded to look after future patients as well as it looked after me. When I crashed out of a race at Cadwell Park last August the air ambulance flew me to Hull Royal Infirmary, which cost an estimated £4000 that was all raised from charitable donations. Charlie wants to raise that amount so the air ambulance has the money to pay for someone’s future flight.
So tonight, as soon as I’ve finished writing this, we’re heading for a hotel near RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire. Then tomorrow we’re visiting the air ambulance and crew, who are based at Waddington, before heading off to the Channel Tunnel and on to Douai in France. That’s the location of the first recorded helicopter flight and the first stop on Charlie’s helicopter-themed ride.
Tomorrow night we’re staying in Kortrijk, Belgium. Then, Charlie having ditched her continental stabilisers, I’ll be heading back to England to come into the MCN office on Monday. And Charlie will head off to Berlin, where the first instances of controlled helicopter flight occurred.
I’ve packed up my trusty Kriega 20-litre tailpack, so I’m travelling light. And I’ve got to stick a GB label on the bike too. I’m getting excited! We’ll try and post more from the trip if we can find a PC (I did say I was travelling light!)
If you’d like to support Charlie’s ride and help fund the air ambulance, please visit her Just Giving page… http://www.justgiving.com/charliecopter
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