Thursday, 18 June 2015

From the Amazon to the Isle of Man

Time has flown by since my last blog post. As have I. This leg of my journey has brought me back over the ocean to join the Honda team and a few motorcycle journalists for the Isle of Man TT and Goodwood Festival of Speed.  Ironic really, as I never made it to the TT whilst I was in the UK but now Honda's wings (or British Airways to be precise) have flown me over in 18hrs. A journey which took 14 months on my bike!

I could not refuse such an invite of course and so Rhonda was handed over to Honda Peru in Lima (covered in oil and dirt!) while I prepared myself for a visit back to the UK. Not only would I be watching the oldest road race in the world but this was also a great opportunity to finally meet my granddaughter. The little girl who was born while I was in India back in June last year. It was clear I could not leave Peru without doing a little shopping first and so I boarded the plane armed with a cuddly llama called Larry under one arm and a bag full of dirty washing under the other. It was an exiting time but a little strange too. How would I feel setting foot in the UK again? Was I going to be the same person that left after all those adventures and that helmet time? Would I be desperate to get back to Rhonda or would I find it hard to leave again to continue my journey North? Only time would tell.

The flight home was uncomfortable! I couldn't sleep and I kept spilling my wine with the terrible turbulence over the Andes! Riding THROUGH the Andes was far preferable as was the rest of the journey. I did not see the changing faces, feel the extreme climates or taste the array of foods on offer through each country. This time it was well pruned air hostesses, air conditioning and salted peanuts all the way! 18 hrs of hell!

The Journey was worth it! Meeting my grand daughter was wonderful as was taking my dog for a
walk up in to the mountains again and of course seeing my friends and family. Initially it felt like I hadn't really been away. I was a little disappointed in some ways. Part of me had expected to feel different. Be a different person. Surely all that helmet time alone through 28 countries had to have an effect? Yet everything slipped back so easily in to place. After just 2 days on the roads in the UK I was once again complaining about drivers who didn't indicate or people who drove too close to my rear end. This was ridiculous considering I had just ridden through some of the worst traffic conditions in the world with a smile on my face and the patience of a saint! I laughed at myself and swore I would try to maintain my "on the road" brain in future. When things go wrong on the road it is easy to remain positive and take it as it comes. That's all part of the adventure after all. I realised then, that my biggest challenge when I get home will be to maintain that attitude in my every day life. Either that or just or keep moving!

A few days in and I was back at the airport. No I hadn't decided to run! I was picking up a rather dishy Kiwi who was going to be joining me for the TT. Shane is riding around the world too, only in the opposite direction to me. We had shared overland info online over the months and eventually met up in Australia where he had flown back to arrange his Pakistan visa. I was coming through over the Christmas period and so we spent the holidays together. Mostly on the beach or riding the back roads! He had been a great host in Australia and as he was now in Bulgaria with his DR650 named Donkey,  I decided to invite him to join me for the TT. Something I know he had always wanted to see. It was also a perfect opportunity to catch up again and share more road stories over a few beers!

The TT was of course a wonderful weekend. We were taken under the Honda wing and enjoyed first class hospitality with more food than we knew what to do with! Shane and I felt sick through most of it having decided we should stock pile, ready to hit the road again on our tiny budgets!

The racing was unreal and we had some great view points along with perfect weather conditions.

The TT has been going since 1907. Only a few years after bikes went in to production. It was first set
up to give the British manufacturers somewhere to test their bikes as the UK would not allow them to test on the mainland roads. It's been going ever since and with over 200 rider deaths in it's epic history, it is not for the faint hearted!

The Isle of Man is a very sleepy island on the whole with possibly more sheep inhabitants than people. However during this 2 week period, it is transformed in to one big race track, attracting riders and supporters from all over the world. Name a bike and you will find it here
at the TT. The 38 miles of track is all public road and is open between races. This can allow for delays as you can imagine how many bikes ride the circuit between race times. There are often incidents but the whole event is managed with expertise and the inevitable delays are taken as par for the course. Everyone is just happy to be there and soak up the atmosphere. Rain or shine! Happy to be witnessing another little piece of biking history in the making.

During our time there we met up with some fellow riders. Charley Boorman interviewed me for a new documentary he is doing about "people who do crazy things on bikes"! We also met up with motocross legend Dave Thorpe and joined him for a day playing on a sand track with his crew from the DT Honda Off Road School! Last time I had ridden in sand I was was heavily laden with luggage and wearing not so knobbly tires! This was a real treat!

I would have loved to do a lap on Rhonda -luggage and all, but she was stuck in Peru for this bit, getting serviced and spruced up ready for our next leg in to Equador and Colombia.  Soon I will be flying back to meet her, but not before I join the Honda crew one last time and pay a visit to Goodwood Festival of Speed!

I am already getting itchy feet!

Just 5 weeks left before we draw the raffle to win a Brand new Honda CRF250L as well as some off road days with Dave Thorpe, biking holidays with MotoBreaks in France and lots of other biker booty! ENTER HERE!


  1. She is a beautiful girl and she looks like you!

  2. Si is not impressed with your comments about your flight with BA!! ;)

  3. Remarkable blog! I have no words to praise, it has really allured me.wwde

  4. Dear Steph,I have the same motorbike as you : the CFR250L with the windscreen from TCI products. I worry about terrific buffeting / turbulences created by this windscreen which hit my Face/helmet. Do you have the same problem as me ? Maybe your front rack decrease these turbulences ? I'm thinking about buying a spoiler like Givi S180t ... but not sure it will work. Thanks for your feedback. Thomas from Belgium

    1. Hi Thomas
      I have not had an issue with my screen. Thats about all I can tell you. It really helped with the wind pressure on my back. I have always used the rack with it so it may have helped! Sorry I cant be any more use.