This is a route I rode in May 2019, back then I could not have imagined what is happening now one year on. I find myself now looking back at the freedom we had to ride where ever we liked. Enjoy my reminiscing and stick this route on your to-do list for when lockdown restrictions are eased.
This route offers a short loop of mid Wales beginning and finishing in Newtown (because I was staying with family in Welshpool, the next town North, and using this as my base). All in it’s about 130 miles and about 3.5 – 4 hours of riding time, factor in a couple of coffee and food stops and you have a chilled out day on the bike.
I think I’m almost as passionate about Scotland as I am about motorcycles, scotch and good coffee (which means it’s significant). I first travelled to Scotland in 2017 for our NC500 Adventure. I fell in love with the scenery, the roads and the people. I knew I would be heading back.
In August 2019 I set off on tour to explore the West Coast of Scotland and, more importantly, the Isle of Mull and the Isle of Skye. I decided to call this adventure the “Western Isles Tour”. Now, I must put my hand up and admit that I have made a mistake. I have been advised by several followers that the Isle of Mull and Skye are not part of the Western Isles. Please accept my apologies for this error! (But to me, Mull and Skye were the Western Isles, for this adventure at least!)
The tour itself took place over five days and was designed to take in key parts of the Scottish Highlands, the West coast as well as the Isles of Mull and Skye. In total, the adventure covered over 1,300 miles, starting and ending in Manchester. AKA Team Mapped Base Camp. Although, the true start point is Loch Lomond.
Having rented big Hog’s on two prior work trips to San Jose, I opted for something a little different on my last visit. For this San Francisco motorcycle rental I went for a Triumph Bonneville T100 is perhaps an unlikely choice, but was surprisingly capable and comfortable to explore the Bay area from Santa Cruz up to to Petaluma in the North, whilst still being a lot of fun to fling round the bends. Check out the highlights from my weekend adventure to cruise the best San Francisco motorcycle roads.
I wanted to try something a bit different which I could fling around the bends without grinding foot boards
June saw me back in California for another two week work trip in Silicon Valley, and again stuck out there over the weekend with nowt to do – what a drag. The last couple of trips I had a couple of Harley Davidson rentals, a Dyna 103 Low Rider and a Road King; so this time I wanted to try something a bit different which I could fling around the bends without grinding foot boards. This is when I found Dubbelju (pronounced double-you), who are also based in the Mission district of San Francisco, but offer a much wider selection of bikes, from adventure and touring to custom, cafe racers and street bikes. Read on for the full low down on my bike San Francisco motorcycle rental.
A couple of weeks ago I was asked to lead a ride for the ELAM group. A bit of a double edged sword, a great chance to pick a route via my favourite roads, but also somewhat nerve wracking – you don’t want to miss a turning, lose anyone and so on. For the ride I choose a popular loop around Essex, starting in Harlow, then taking in Finchingfield, Halstead, Mersea Island, Maldon, Burnham-on-Crouch then returning to Harlow.
The first leg starts at Harlow McD’s just off M11 Junction 7, takes a number of rural and twisty roads up through Ongar, Hatfield Heath, Standstead airport, Thaxted and then Finchingfield. These back roads twist and turn and are great to throw your bike left then right, and almost all have great condition tarmac. With the weather warming up a much needed ice cream was had in Finchingfield as we checked out all the bikes on show.
Back in February I was posted out to California again for a three week work trip, spending time in San Jose and San Diego. During me free weekend I rented a Harley Davidson Road King from EagleRider similar to last September when I rented a Harley Dyna 103. Not my usual kind of bike, but certainly a good laugh and a great way to explore the Bay area, see the sights and occupy a weekend. Sit back and watch my antics on this San Francisco motorcycle rental.
This month I was posted to San Jose for work, but unlike most work trips this one included a stay over the weekend. So, stuck on my tod in California I decided to rent a Harley to explore the area as it’s not often you get chance to cruise down the West Coast freeways on a big hog, definitely on many bikers bucket lists and too good a chance to miss. I hired my bike from EagleRider in San Francisco, who had a wide selection of Harley’s to choose from (but also have others). I initially booked a Sportster 1200, but due to unavailability was given a Dyna Low Rider 103 as an upgrade – nice one!
It was a bank holiday, the sun was shining and the rest of the family were out of town – such a perfect day teat up Essex on the bike. Be rude not to take advantage.
I struck North out of Romford, up to Ongar, West a bit to Stansted, up through Thaxted and then my first stop was Finchingfield – all roads lead to Finchingfield, you can’t have an Essex ride out not going there… Though surprisingly quiet today, not like most weekends. A quick cuppa in Bosworth’s, then back on the road.
Heading Eastbound to Sible Hedingham, Sudbury, Manningtree before finally hitting the coast in Walton-on-the-Naze for lunch. Parked on the seafront by Revved Up, a friendly little biker shop selling clothes and a modest brew. With sea, sand, surf and the chippie next door it ticked all the boxes for a quintessential British seaside jaunt.
“Lest we forget
What they were dying for
Lest we forget
What they were killing for
Lest we forget
What the hell it was for”
This remembrance Sunday I joined an ELAM ride out to Duxford War Museum, which had free entry for the weekend and many remembrance activities organised. The weather had brightened up, but the morning roads were wet and slippery with leaves and crud, so pace was conservative.