It's been an absolute whirlwind of a summer and looking back I’ve had a fabulous time, clocking up the best part of 6000 miles on the Honda CB650F and with a plan to continue to ride through the winter this figure is only set to rise.
The Honda CB650F was late to arrive, it was mid-June before I finally took possession and I had a trip to the Assen MotoGP planned just a week later. I had no option but to get the bike run in over the first the first weekend so it could be serviced prior to departure.
It was definitely a good way to get used to the bike, covering almost 500 miles in two days I soon got to grips and realised how much I was going to enjoy my summer. With the first service sorted and the bike loaded up with a Bags Connection Cargobag Motorcycle Tail bag (£121.91 from www.motohaus.com) and Oxford X20 tank bag (£79.99 from www.oxprod.com) I set off on my first of my trips of the summer.
I was travelling to Assen with my other half on his Ducati Monster 695 and because we’d not ridden on the continent together for a while we stuck mainly to motorways. It made the journey a little dull but to be honest it did wonders for fuel economy, averaging an impressive 60mpg at points. It was a little boring though and as the day wore on my bum began to ache, more a fault of me not being bike fit, rather than the bike being uncomfortable.
We had a cracking time at Assen and once home I was soon planning my next excursion. The next long distance trip was in search of a cream tea in Cornwall. My riding buddy Sue, on her Kawasaki ER-6, and I met with with MCN reader, Mike Baker, for a weekend of riding round the Cornish coast. Mike gave us a great guided tour, culminating in a cracking cream tea, overlooking the sea at St Mawes.
I realised that I spent a lot of time riding in the company of others so set about planning my first solo riding holiday. With my brother and his family living in Southern Ireland I thought it would be a good excuse to tie in a visit with them. Rather than go the easy way I decided to travel from Peterborough to Cairnryan, on the west coast of Scotland, to catch the ferry to Belfast.
From Belfast I struck north to visit Joey Dunlop’s bar and the Dunlop Memorial Garden in Ballymoney. Dropping down to Naas for a couple of days with the family and then back into Holyhead for a final day of riding through Snowdonia. I covered over 900 miles in four days and had a ball. Being able to change my route as and when it suited, stop where I want for a cuppa and just generally be thoroughly selfish was great.
It’s not just been a summer of touring, I’ve also taken the bike on track a couple of times. Once at Rockingham, when we were fortunate enough to have exclusive access, being able to ride round the track on my own was great and a great confidence boost. I’ve also taken part in a Maria Costello Track Day at Silverstone. It was round the Stowe circuit and rather than just being a track day there was an element of tuition included, I learnt lots about body positioning and have been trying to put this into practice on the road.
I’ve not made many modifications but one thing I did fit was an Ermax screen (£69.96 from www.pyramid-plastics.co.uk), I have found on longer trips that my neck can get a little stiff but with the addition of the screen it’s really helped. I’ve also recently changed to a set of Pirelli Angel GT tyres (RRP £240), I’m hoping that they’ll prove to be beneficial on the greasy winter roads.
My next trip is planned for November 29, when I’m taking part in a Santa Ride for Zoe’s Hospice in Stockton-on-Tees. It’s a fair step from home so will give me ample opportunity to test my new heated Keis gloves (£149.99 from http://www.keisapparel.co.uk/) that I’ve just fitted.
Whilst I may have had a late start to the year I’ve definitely made up for it and really hope we have a decent winter so I can keep enjoying the Honda CB650F.