We've always been up for an adventure on Bike. And a good story. Two years ago it was Bike to Japan, riding a Suzuki V-Strom 1000 from Peterborough, back to the factory where it was made, 16,000 miles across Europe and Asia, through Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and Mongolia to Vladivostok, then to Suzuki’s plant in Hamamatsu.
Last year we attempted Bike to South Africa, but only achieved Bike to mid-Africa. Our £1000 Kawasaki Tengai, bought unseen on eBay, smoked its way down through Morocco, Senegal and Nigeria before we abandoned it in Cameroon. Anyone want a used Tengai? Buyer collects.
So what to do this year? As always, the best ideas come about in the pub where, after a couple of pints of Old Brewery bitter, someone realised that Suzuki make the perfect touring motorcycle. Not because it is equipped with panniers and satellite navigation, but because the name tells you exactly where to go; Hayabusa became Hayab-USA and it seemed essential to ride a 180bhp, 180mph motorcycle across a country where they’re quite officious about speed limits and the Police carry big guns. What could possibly go wrong?
The United States of America seems familiar. Easy almost. They speak English, it’s in films and they’ve got Disneyland. But it’s big and in places it is deeply inhospitable. It’s a compelling place that’s capable of delivering great motorcycling adventure and is on everyone’s bucket list. It’s certainly on ours.
The plan is simple: John Westlake will ride the bike coast-to-coast, from East to West, taking in some of the USA’s greatest roads along the way. Through canyons, mountains and deserts, along highways and boulevards. And maybe a bayou too. Along the way we’ll stop off to meet people and take part in amazing events. Does anyone know anything about sand drag racing?
It turns out that shipping the bike (or more likely air freighting it) 3500 miles across an ocean requires more planning than nipping down to Dover and putting it onto the Eurostar train to Calais. Nothing complicated. Just awkward. Especially for us. The logistics are, at the moment, sketchy. Though it would appear inevitable that they will include aeroplanes and boats.
By the next issue we should have organised shipping, made a definite route, and taken the bike out for a spin. And in two months time we’ll be in America. Yeehaw.