“No good deed ever goes unpunished”

This was the motto of a former boss of mine: a successful marine arbitrator with fingers in all sorts of other business pies, whose dubious associates and disastrous home life never failed to add a touch of levity to a dull day in the office.

Over the next few months, I expect this site might take on a new usefulness to Roynie and myself – as a pressure valve! Comment if you like, but sometimes it is just helpful to have a place to say the things you want to but, for one reason or another, cannot. The elephant in the room, if you like.

We  have become involved in a charity ride next summer.  There are, presently, just three riders and we each have a personal involvement with the charity, through a friend or family member. We also have the potential participation of a certain VIP, about whom I can say little (mainly because he may yet decide not to ride with us), but for whom Roynie and Jim (not “our” Jim, before you ask) are having to dust off their Sunday suits for a posh meeting in London.

The VIP – and the ride – are my fault.  The result of fools rushing in where angels fear to tread.  One day I got an email from my cousin suggesting that we might like to participate in a 6,500 mile round trip from Scotland to Russia and back and, without giving it much further thought, I said “yes”.  Potential costly mistake one. Then I mentioned it to a fellow motorcycle fanatic at our local sailing club and he suggested that said personality enjoys the odd boys’ bike trip.  Anyway, having sent him an email via a mutual friend, we were slightly relieved when he said “no”, and then slightly worried to receive a second email response, a few days later, saying “may be”. Potential mistake two. He doesn’t have a bike of his own so, while making sponsorship overtures to a well-known British manufacturer, in the meantime I have acquired an extra bike: a bright yellow, 2002, BMW R1150GS. Costly mistake three? I truly hope not.

The organiser, Jim, is a great guy.  He is a retired engineer with absolutely no experience of motorcycle touring at all and his longest ride to date has been about 400 miles from his Berkshire village to Scotland.  His chosen bike is a BMW F800ST (a sports bike). But, as John and I well know, lack of experience and unsuitable bikes are no barrier to adventure.  (Those of you who rode with us in 2001 will remember that the Triumph Tiger was John’s first bike, and previously he had only ridden about 300 miles in total on mine.) Unfortunately, having no experience of a ride of this distance/duration, and clearly having been watching too much TV, he decided we needed a support vehicle: a mobile “garage” in the form of a modified horse box.

Thankfully, I doubt there will ever be any need to vent about interpersonal issues on this trip.  However, the horse box is a different matter. And it is precisely because Jim has taken such a pride in doing it up and finding a driver to accompany us across fourteen international borders, that we find ourselves unable to suggest that his mobile garage might be a teensy-weensy bit of a liability.

The makings of a book?  May be.  Anyway, if you are of a masochistic nature and have a hankering to visit Europe, you could always link up with us (as Len has promised to do) somewhere along the trail. It might be a laugh.

If you want to know more about the mission or even donate to the cause, click here to have a look at our official website.

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