So today was the first opportunity to load the bike up properly. The plan was to do a test run and make sure everything was comfortable, worked properly and didn’t fall off after 10 miles or so. The forecast was not great for the day. Very wet and windy! Perfect…
“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail”
It began dry first thing but the wind was picking up by the minute. Putting all the gear on in the front room was a ball ache. Whilst sweating my tits off I was in a rush to get outside and cool down! I broke my fleece jacket zip too so that was a great start to the day! The first things I noticed were wearing two glove layers was a weird feeling and you lose dexterity. Also getting on the bike was a bit of a mission! I had to step over it like an emu whilst still on the side stand. I am bound to fall over getting on and off of this when in the snow and mud! Oh well, all part of the Elefant fun…
Once I was sat on it the yellow bag provided a nice little bit of back support. All felt sturdy so off we went. It was great to be riding again. Now pleased I cut down on unnecessary stuff and squeezed everything in that yellow bag and lost the bulky panniers as they were more of a pain to fit nicely and just more bulky weight.
First impressions the bike felt alot heavier which you would expect, the Ali box and bag acted like a sail in this wind! Only ever greenlaning in the summer with basic protective clothing and no luggage this felt not that pleasant to me. But this was to be expected with any winter trip on what ever bike so I had to just get on with it.
The gloves were soon back to one layer again as I couldn’t find the indicator switch, it wasn’t that cold today either so I will have to re-evaluate after the ride. I whacked the heated grips up to 100% to test them out. Toasty! With the muffs I might not even need thick gloves…?
“UK Weather Warning. Storm Brenden batters the UK with winds up to 80mph”
Avoiding puddles to begin with, today wasn’t about playing but just testing the gear out. I didn’t realise how much water was about in the countryside. I suppose it’s been miserable weather for a while now.
Then the rain came, along with “Storm Brendan” or what ever it was called. I hadn’t bothered putting my waterproof trousers on as it was dry and too much effort first thing. A few drips in the groin area and I was quickly regretting my decision! That made my decision to wear water proofs all the time on the trip. I won’t have time to stop and put them on and plus I can’t afford to get wet as drying stuff will be a nightmare.
The new helmet pin lock visor was perfect. No fogging and a nice clear lense at all times. Glad I got one of those for the trip. Worth every penny.
The grips were now so hot I was having a job to hold the bars whilst unable to let go of the bike in the gusty wind along the dual carriage way. At this point I did think to myself, I’ve possibly got 1600 odd miles of this… I don’t think the rain and wind can be any worse than today. I can deal with cold, but lets hope we don’t have hours of this!
Stopping off for a chat with Ron at Gear Tech racing, he sounded surprised when I told him of the trip. It is amazing how many people haven’t actually heard of it. Suggesting a tyre change for some better Michelin Trackers I now need to decide whether to stick with these worn stock ones or change them…
After a bit more riding one of the heated grips came loose. I remember not supergluing that one as like us men don’t, I didn’t read the instructions! So that will have to be secured later. Luckily not the throttle side!
I met up with Dave on “Olive”. He has fingers crossed got to the bottom of the fuel issue and joined me for some miles building confidence in the MZ also. He now needs to make his mind up what to ride. I think maybe another longer ride out is planned for him before the final decision. The little MZ flew along nicely though. I love the distinctive sound of it. I do hope “Olive” can join us to the Elefant.
When I came out of McDonalds my sheep skin seat cover had blown away! It looked like that was a dead cat next to my bike. God knows what all the drive thru customers must have thought! Another mod is to secure that for when I am not sat on it! However I was very impressed at how you just shake it dry and off you go again! It is very warm and comfy too to ride on.
One other mod to do is make an Aluminium bracket to support the auxiliary petrol cans so that they have a platform to sit on and don’t slide down the box. I don’t want them coming loose abroad!
Other than that. The bikes is spot on and the perfect choice for me. Fingers crossed we will have a pleasant trip together. I do need to get a bit more confident in my winter riding, especially loaded up and in possible conditions like today! It can’t really be any worse. Can it?
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