Author Topic: "The Short Way Up"  (Read 1443 times)

Offline Pete Gray

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"The Short Way Up"
« on: 30.11. 2010 11:51 »
I've been persuaded (wrong word really - enticed might be better) to join a very good friend next summer along with 23 other bikers in the company of Charley Boorman riding from Cape Town to The Victoria Falls. 3000 miles in 16 days. We went to the Bike Show at The NEC on Saturday, met Charley and his right hand man Billy "Biketruck" and signed up for this "once in a Lifetime" trip. Really nice guys, very impressed with Charley who is a brilliant ambassador for motorcycling. He was all over the show, for example, running interviews with various Moto GP riders but was clearly enjoying being asked for photos and autographs etc.

They did the same ride last year, comedian Ross Kemp was one of the party, I was (am) concerned about my physical capability but they were just about able to allay my fears and I'm left very excited about the prospect. Sadly it's not a BSA run, instead we'll be mounted on the BMW1200RS Adventurer which looks a right beast but they reckon makes an ideal mount for the trip. A good proportion of the ride is on gravel/dirt roads so I reckon some work on my upper body strength is essential as well as shedding the odd few pounds ! My main offroading experience was gained astride an ex WD B40 which I trialed for several years but that was a long time ago.

The deal includes 2 days off road training at the Mottorad BMW Centre in Wales which will hopefully refresh the memory.
These Youtube clips give some idea of what lies ahead : -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OkxWVjij7g&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuXvooOqTFY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7ePQ3EXy0w&feature=related

My friend is making possible what would be completely beyond my resources, he is a very good friend indeed !

Any advice most welcome particularly if we have any South African members, or experience.

Pete

1961 Swinging arm A7
2000 BMW R1100R

Offline trickytree

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Re: "The Short Way Up"
« Reply #1 on: 30.11. 2010 21:06 »
Pete, all I can say is WOW!!....as you say, trip of  a lifetime!
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Offline jfligg

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Re: "The Short Way Up"
« Reply #2 on: 30.11. 2010 22:51 »
hi Pete What a awesome trip.  Enjoy yourself and take lots of picks for us to see.  I met Charlie at a show in Toronto Ontario Canada.  What a nice guy!  Jeff

Offline NickSR

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Re: "The Short Way Up"
« Reply #3 on: 01.12. 2010 21:23 »
Hi Pete
Have great time, look forward to some photos.

Only advice I can give you and being the wrong side of 60 and owning a BMW R850R when it seems to go wrong at slow speeds you can lay the bike down on its cylinder heads with out putting a big dent in the petrol tank, it works for me.

With advice like that I will be probley be thrown out of the BMW Club?

Regards
Nick
1962 Super Rocket
1955 BSA C11G
1998 BMW R850R

Offline Pete Gray

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Re: "The Short Way Up"
« Reply #4 on: 02.12. 2010 11:50 »
Only advice I can give you and being the wrong side of 60 and owning a BMW R850R when it seems to go wrong at slow speeds you can lay the bike down on its cylinder heads with out putting a big dent in the petrol tank, it works for me.

With advice like that I will be probley be thrown out of the BMW Club?

Regards
Nick
My concern is about health/physical strength and I pointed out my obvious inability to get a fallen Beemer back on it's wheels. They told me not to worry, everyone falls off at some time and that they all muck in to get it sorted. The main man reckons the hardest bit will be at the Off Road School in Wales.
Apparently the drinking can also be a bit hardcore but funnily enough I'm quite practiced at that !

Pete

1961 Swinging arm A7
2000 BMW R1100R

Offline Pete Gray

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Re: "The Short Way Up"
« Reply #5 on: 10.02. 2011 15:41 »
In preperation for the Africa trip I decided to get me a Beemer so I can experience some long rides and get used to the weight and ride qualities of the big boxer. Found a nice R1100R a month ago and despite the cold weather have taken a few rides out including what was a pleasurable run into Derbyshire on Monday night.
Unfortunately having got near home mid evening I inadvertantly happened upon what can only be described as something resembling the contents of a medium sixed gravel pit in various little patches on a downhill adverse camber left hand junction.
Me and the nice Beemer ended up seperated sliding on our respective backsides to a sickening halt.
Fortunatley I was wearing leathers and have only suffered severe bruising on various limbs but not much worse.
The bike has suffered superficial damage to indicators, mirrors, screen and worst the 2 rocker covers have been badly scraped. NickSR's comments on the cylinders taking the strain were very accurate, just wish I hadn't found out so soon !

I went back to check the scene last night finding the junction to be a disgrace with the gravel providing a death trap for any rider.
We'll see what our district council have to say on the matter.

Pete

1961 Swinging arm A7
2000 BMW R1100R

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Re: "The Short Way Up"
« Reply #6 on: 10.02. 2011 17:05 »
Glad you're OK Pete and escaped with relatively few injuries - hopefully the bruises will go in a few weeks. You may well have a case to claim against the local authority or Highways Dept if it is an A road. Road repairers have a nasty habit of just spreading gravel on the top of roads and hoping the cars bed it in. Ok until you get a load of rain and it washes it into piles which it looks like from your pics.
It could have been a lot worse - you could have been riding your A7.

Jim
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Offline jfligg

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Re: "The Short Way Up"
« Reply #7 on: 11.02. 2011 00:31 »
Hi Pete It doesn't look as if you could have avoided it.  I hope you heal OK.  Jeff

Offline iansoady

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Re: "The Short Way Up"
« Reply #8 on: 11.02. 2011 14:53 »
Terrible stuff gravel.

I was in France a couple of years ago on my Hinckley Tiger and some of the roads were inches deep in the stuff. It was bad enough cautiously feeling my way along but then this teenage girl on a scooter came past me on a blind bend, helmet on the back of her head, jumper flapping in the breeze and back end of the bike fishtailing like mad. Made me feel quite inadequate.....
Ian.
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1955 Velo Viper/Venom (departed)
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Offline Pete Gray

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Re: "The Short Way Up"
« Reply #9 on: 28.06. 2011 14:26 »
Not BSA related but I just spent 2 days at Simon Pavey's BMW off road school in Wales in preperation for the Africa trip.
This is a Google gallery of photos from the course, it was areal eye opener discovering what the BMW GS1200 would do !

https://picasaweb.google.com/101068968505591270017/OffRoadSchool?authkey=Gv1sRgCO_iycD_yM6aNA&feat=directlink

Mind you there's a growing school of thought that the new Triumph Tiger XC is almost as versatile so maybe that modified A7 is in with a chance ?

Pete

1961 Swinging arm A7
2000 BMW R1100R

Online Guy Wilson

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Re: "The Short Way Up"
« Reply #10 on: 25.07. 2011 23:27 »
One of my other bikes is a 1983-ish BMW R80G/S. its been up and down Africa a few times and has handled most roads encountered well. Mud is almost always best handled slowly and I'd go as far as to say get off and walk the bike through.
If you have the opportunity to practice in sand, it will help you immensely. Riding a heavy bike in sand is fun and not as frightening as it first feels. Its takes a little practice and a leap of faith to keep the power on, but once you get the hang of it, its exhilarating. It will also build all the upper body strength you need to make the trip.
If you fancy going a little further north and get to Kenya, you're more than welcome at my place.
Have fun,
All the best
Guy

Offline Pete Gray

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Re: "The Short Way Up"
« Reply #11 on: 15.09. 2011 13:08 »
Just got back from the trip which was epic in every way. The riding was incredible with a steep learning curve needed in handling the big Beemer on gravel roads. The adopted style was to achieve a comfotable speed of maybe 120kph at which the bike seems to glide over the rough/loose stuff. The fast boys were taking it beyond 160kph a lot of the time which was, IMHO, crazy. But, for example, when overtaking a truck in the dust the only way was to pray for a clear run and gun it so I did see those speeds on occasion.
3 bikes written off in the first 3 days, no-one badly hurt. One guy took a GS1200 into a wash-out gully at speed and smashed off the entire rear swing arm/drive shaft assembly !
The bikes were BMW Mottorad rental machines, my GS1200 had 85000K on the clock but never missed a beat over 5000K rough riding.
And the lodges most nights could have been straight from National Geographics pages
An unreal experience which has me looking back as if it was a dream !

Pete

1961 Swinging arm A7
2000 BMW R1100R

Offline jfligg

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Re: "The Short Way Up"
« Reply #12 on: 15.09. 2011 23:10 »
Hi Peter
  Looks like you had a fantasitic time.  It must have been a trip of a lifetime.  Jeff