Arctic Ride... and so we meet again
Wow so it’s been 20 months since my last blog, and 20 months since I completed my trip to raise money for the brain injury charity Cerebra. A lot has happened since then; I graduated from university, got a big boy job and, most importantly, got married! Also, I turned from a motorcycle commuter into a boring car owner... work suits and motorbikes don't really mix. This doesn't mean I have lost my bikers spirit, although I certainly haven't been riding as much as I used to. The occasionally trip down to Croft in Yorkshire to see the superbikes and a trip into Northumberland here and there with my buddy Oli have most certainly failed to fulfil my biking needs.
In the past 18 months or so I've toyed with a few different ideas to fulfil the need to be on my bike. Firstly I wanted to go to America and do 'Arctic Ride 2 - New York to Prudoe Bay (Alaska)' and even after some months of planning and a presentation to my new colleagues at work, I came to the realisation that I'm not a student anymore and the 5-6 weeks needed to complete the trip was out of the question thanks to my big boy job and, without the help of a major bike company behind me, trying to get my bike shipped to the states and back was financially unviable considering I was again wanting to raise money for charity. I also looked at the mongal rally, a 10,000 mile trip form London to Mongolia, again the time needed off work was too long and the four figure entrance fee was something that didn't appeal to me as I wanted that money I would raise for my next trip to go straight to the charity I'm raising money for. In addition there is an engine size limit of 125cc for the mongal rally and my days of riding a 125 for 8 hours a day in the rain are long gone. My final idea was a trip to Arctic Russia, Murmansk, 2,000 miles north of St Petersburg. But again the time needed to do this trip was more than I could take off work, and the end goal of just making to a city didn't fill me with passion and the idea just didn't feel right.
That takes us to about the summer of 2012 I think. And even though I'd have the occasional look at google maps I decided to let the bike part of my brain turn from 'adventure mode' to 'finding myself a new bike mode'. Now its not that I don't love my ER-5 because I really do. But after 6 years, 3,000 miles around Europe in 2009 and 6,000 miles to the arctic in 2011, I really felt that it was time for a change. For those of you reading this who arn't bikers, the ER-5 isn't a very powerful or stylish bike. Its a workhorse, a communter, or for me a rather uncomfortable but loveable touring machine. However after my two big trips I realised it had some drawbacks.. first of all its 50bhp can be a bit sluggish when you have all your camping gear, food, and a wash kit bigger than most family bathrooms onboard,essentially I've been filling a round hole with a square peg.
So anyway... I'm not sure what quite happend. In between all the above I've had several conversations with my now wife Kirsty about what it is that I want to do next bike wise. And suddenly, and I'm not sure when, I've decided I want to head back to the Arctic Circle in Norway and finish what an accident and floods prevented last time, riding my motorbike to Nordkapp in Norway, the most northernly point in Europe. You'll probably have noticed by the new logo I'm looking at sumerr 2014 to fo this trip, however the details most certainly aren't finalised. Watch this space for details :)