BMW R1200GSA vs Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Picking up the bike at last.


Well the day has finally arrived, I'm off to pick up the bike and Brian and Julie kindly offered to drive us into London. Now being an Aussie and used to travelling long distances I find it funny that over here people don't travel far from home at all. Julie tells us she just loves going into London but very rarely gets there. The crunch is, they only live about and hour away. Like I said I have trouble getting my head around it.

(A little aside. As I'm typing this the Isle of Man is on TV. I'm really excited knowing I'll be there next week for the Senior TT).

We finally arrived at BMW Park Lane after a bit of running around the back streets like mice in a maze. Park Lane is currently building new showrooms so it's operating out of the Mini showroom for the moment. I must tell you that the attention you get in this dealership is top notch. I was welcomed by a young lady and shown to a seat, then presented with a cup of coffee while I waited for Andrew who was going to look after me as my salesman was away. Here's a bit of info for the Aussies, you can buy a new Mini (on the road) for under 20,000 GBP. After completing the paperwork it was down to the basement to pick up my new toy. It's here I saw a bike I've never seen before, a Husqvarna WR125. Those of you in the know will be saying Husky have made those for years, but this was a FOUR stroke WR125! Pretty cool. With the handover completed I rolled out onto the road with my very tall, huge, heavy bike, complete with 30 litres of fuel. Well, that's how it felt to me.

This is where I get a lesson in English weather. Everyone from Melbourne, Australia can skip this bit. So I head out of the dealership having removed my waterproof and thermal liners from my jacket, and having opened every vent on the jacket. I also don't have any boots or gloves yet so I'm riding gloveless and with sneakers  because it's 30 degrees C. Now remember the dramas I've had with my sat navs? I'm riding blind. All I have to do is head out of the dealership, down to the river, turn left and follow the river till I see an entrance to the M25. After that I can find my way. How hard could it be. Well guess what? London is a little bigger than Perth, and the streets aren't laid out in a grid pattern. Throw in a lot of road closures in preparation for the Diamond Jubilee weekend, along with the fact that I have absolutely no idea where I am (I don't even know which way North is) and you guessed it. I got geographically embarrassed, a few times. I didn't care one little bit. I was riding around with a huge grin inside my helmet thinking "I'm riding my bike around London. How cool is this?" I was like a dog with two tails.

After about an hour and a half of criss crossing the Thames, including riding across Tower bridge which was a buzz, I started to think Suzanne might be getting a bit worried so I decided to concentrate on finding my way home. Surprisingly I found the M25 fairly quickly and I was off felling pretty pleased with myself. After about ten minutes I realised that on either side of me the sky was bright blue and perfect, but, in front of me it was getting dark. Then it was really grey. Then it was black. Then it was black, with thunder, lightening, and of course, RAIN. I got soaked to the skin in a few minutes and just to make sure I was thoroughly saturated I had to ride through some axle deep water across the road a few times. My pristine bike now looked like it was years old and unloved.

The only shot I have of the bike so far.

I finally rolled into the driveway and provided a big laugh for all concerned, except Poppy who barked at me and wanted to kill me. She was OK once I took my helmet off.

Now it's time to start packing the bike.

For all our friends, our UK mobile is now operational: Phone 0792 605 98 18

This page is dedicated to a friend of mine, Andy, who sadly lost his life in London riding a BMW many years ago. He was doing what he loved. Miss you mate.

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