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Old 05-27-2009, 03:38 AM   #1
Korben OP
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Typically Reserved Englishman on Typically Reserved Tour

Well as you can probably tell from my post count I am still a relative newbie to this site (And biking), although I have lurked for a long long time.

As well as all the tips I have picked up from here, I have also read some amazing stories of tours people have done which has inspired me to take my first tentative steps into the world of bike touring. This won’t be the biggest, longest or most inspiring tour you have ever seen, but it will be one of the biggest things I have ever done on my own so I felt I should share it with some of the people that have inspired me to do this.

As the title suggests it’s a reserved and some what small tour (Dipping my toe in the water). I am off to Wales for a few days to enjoy the countryside, take in some of the views, get some fresh air and generally get away from life for a while.

Why such a small tour? Well firstly I am not a big traveler. At the age of 33 I have yet to step foot on a plane and the only time I have left the British mainland was twice as a child on trips to France with my parents. The last time I went on holiday was just over 4 years ago which was a trip to Cornwall in the south of England with my then girlfriend.

Secondly it’s a small tour due to the bike I am riding. A 600cc Honda Hornet.

Thirdly, although it’s possible to get hard luggage for the Hornet the exhausts position does not allow for soft luggage. Due to wanting to upgrade my bike probably as early as next March I don’t want to spend £500 on a hard luggage set I will probably only use once or twice.




A stunningly gorgeous bike (I may be slightly biased ), but in the world of touring not what would be considered the perfect tool for the job. No wind protection to speak off, and the engine is more focused on being nippy rather than cruising. This is my first bike so I didn’t want to over step myself with a larger engine bike immediately.

So here I am. Just a few days away from starting my first ever bike holiday / tour


I have everything I need (I think) and simply can’t wait. Hoping to do Scotland next year after that possibly Germany, Spain and France. My aim is to spend a year touring America eventually.

Lot’s of pictures and video’s to follow!!
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Tour 1. Wales: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=468598

Korben screwed with this post 01-17-2010 at 08:50 AM
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Old 05-27-2009, 04:01 AM   #2
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Run what you brung you might say. In for the ride.
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Old 05-27-2009, 04:09 AM   #3
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Ride safe, have fun!

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Old 05-27-2009, 06:23 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by on2wheels52
Run what you brung you might say. In for the ride.
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Very true Jim!!

Well after this something with fairings and the ability to put panniers and / or a topbox on without any serious issues is on the cards. I don't mind the wind blast on the twisty roads, but any length of time on a motorway and my neck starts to ache.
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Tour 1. Wales: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=468598

Korben screwed with this post 05-31-2009 at 01:29 AM
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Old 05-29-2009, 12:32 AM   #5
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Well, if it's this w/e you're going, you've got some cracking weather. The forecast for Bristol is unbroken sunshine till Tuesday at least. Of course, it always rains in Wales..


The best bike to go touring on? The one you're riding. Too many people (including myself sometimes) get too hung up on having the perfect this and the perfect that. Kit honing is fun, but it's the ride that's the thing.
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Old 05-29-2009, 01:13 AM   #6
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Very true mate. Unfortunately I do suffer the same affliction as you and like to have the best tool for the job. Like you say though, it's about the ride.

I am actually heading off on Monday morning. Got a weekend of fun round Derbyshire to enjoy though this weekend as well as testing some bit's n bob's I have bought for the trip.

The weather is looking pretty amazing at the moment. Hope it stays like this all into next week as well. Have a Pudding Run with friends next weekend (Lot's of bikers gathering to have a ride out then back to someone's house for cakes, tea and coffee.... I don't help reduce the stereotypical Englishman personna do I?)
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Tour 1. Wales: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=468598
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Old 05-29-2009, 01:19 AM   #7
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Good for you Korben - I was in Wales last weekend (in a car unfortunately) and the roads are glorious, without exception the people were warm, friendly and hospitable.

I was in North Wales, around Dollegau, and it was nice and quiet. We went further north to Betws-y-Coed for an evening and it was a zoo (best avoided unless you like crowds).

Beware the traffic-police up there. Years of over-enthusisastic sports bike riders with race-exhausts created a monster called Chief Constable Brundstrom. He would love to see you relieved of your licence. The roads are too good not to have a bit of a blast but look out for mobile speed traps and unmarked patrol cars/ bikes.

Also - I've a friend who tours on a Ducati 916 Senna and I'm sure you've seen nathanthepostman here on ADV - so your Hornet looks like a perfect weapon to me!

Enjoy the trip - looking forward to seeing the report!

Greg
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Old 05-29-2009, 01:52 AM   #8
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Cheers mate.

I have heard about the police and their dislike of us bikers.

With the exception of heated grips (Best £40 I ever spent!!!) and the Rim tape my bike is 100% standard so nothing to concern myself with. I am not a particulary fast rider (Especially on roads I have never been on before) so can't imagine any problems on that front. Also I am there to relax and enjoy the countryside rather than rip up the roads.

The only concern I have at the moment is my visor. It's a mirrored visor which apparently the Welsh Police are not too fond off. I will be permantely carrying a clear one as well so in the event of being pulled over hopefully politeness, respect and my clear visor will get me out of a fine.
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Tour 1. Wales: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=468598
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Old 05-29-2009, 03:38 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Korben

Lot’s of pictures and video’s to follow!!

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Old 06-01-2009, 12:20 PM   #10
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Today started brilliantly. I got the last few things packed and got myself on the road about 9am. This was unfortunately still rush hour in Derby (Where I live), but I filtered my way through the traffic with only one driver beeping at me. Although filtering is legal in Britain it makes drivers of expensive cars mad because.... Well they get passed and they are mardy. He beeped at me due to basically giving me a big enough gap to get through even though he tried to cut me up and stop me. Quick shake of the head from me and move on.
Quickly through all that and off into the countryside. Fantastic riding and all was going well until my bladder interrupted the fun (It does that a lot...). 10:15 in the morning and I pull into a Pub car park. Thankfully the owner was outside sorting the beer garden out so I worked my magic and she let me use the bathroom even though they didn't open for about 45 minutes.

Back on the road again and I was in Wales quicker than I expected.... Then back out again due to turning back to get fuel. Anyway back into Wales again and I realised why it’s so popular. Amazing countryside and roads.
I eventually got onto the Horseshoe Pass which has “The Ponderosa Cafe” on it. A cafe famed for attracting bikers. Halfway up I pulled in for a quick break and took a couple of photo's (Nothing worth seeing unfortunately), then tooled back up and set off. About 2 miles up the road the view was awesome. A couple of bikers were parked up along with a whole coach load of OAP’s. I pulled in behind the bikes, took my lid and jacket off and wandered over to the bikers. Only then I realised I had pulled up right behind my friends bike who I was due to meet at The Ponderosa.
We enjoyed the view then went to my B&B so I could drop off my backpack and all the other bit’s I didn’t need. My Backpack was the Knox 6 pack backpack. Have to say it works very well and even though I had a fair bit of weight on my back I never felt it as the straps distributed it all very well.

We got ourselves a bite to eat at The Ponderosa then got on the bikes to head for Barmouth.
At this point I would like to apologise for the photos. I have only a simple point and click camera and to be honest if I had thousands of pounds worth of camera equipment I still wouldn’t be able to take a good photo.
First stop was a place called Bala which has a stunning lake.
This ugly fella is me (Thanks to my friend Dave for taking the photo)





After a quick break there we headed to Barmouth.







Then I saw my one opportunity to get a weather picture. The one and only cloud for the day.



We left Barmouth. My friend Dave was heading down south on his own little trip, but we stopped at a few places to snap a few pictures. The views are just stunning.



My friend Dave catching a few snaps of his own..





I know the next one is essentially the same as above, but I couldn’t decide which one I liked best



Me and Dave headed off again and went off our separate ways at the next roundabout.

This gave me the opportunity to make regular stops for photo’s which I did!!



















Lake Llyn Celyn.









All in all an amazing day. So far the only thing I realise I have forgotten is my trainers so I have no non-biking foot ware.
I am now back at my B&B enjoying the view from my window and wondering just how much I have sunburnt my face today. Knackered, but looking forward to tomorrow. Already thinking about next years touring. I think I have the bug!!!

I will be uploading video (I have a video camera system on the bike), but at the moment, it’s all very raw video and have about 9gig at the moment to work through. To be honest that will probably be in a week or two’s time.
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Tour 1. Wales: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=468598

Korben screwed with this post 01-02-2010 at 11:00 AM
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Old 06-01-2009, 01:17 PM   #11
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Great Pics Korben and welcome to the site.
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Old 06-01-2009, 02:09 PM   #12
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The Bala Dam

Great stuff mate....


Sorry to be pedantic but that is Llyn Celyn not Bala Lake....
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Old 06-01-2009, 02:13 PM   #13
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I liked that photo as well mate... One of my best without a doubt.

I will take your word for that.... Google Maps steering me wrong there....
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Tour 1. Wales: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=468598
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Old 06-01-2009, 03:05 PM   #14
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Great RR and Great photos ! Your killing me with the beautiful scenery !
I would love to tour the UK but I'm not sure if I could get used to diving on the "wrong" side of the road ! Looking forward to more pictures and text. Be safe and enjoy !
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Old 06-02-2009, 02:49 PM   #15
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Day 2

What an amazing day. Got up and had a massive cooked breakfast which kept me going until the evening. Nothing like a full English to keep you going.... Or should that be a full Welsh? The lovely Hannah (The lady who runs the B&B) kept me topped up with coffee and orange juice as well.



The view out the window was not too bad either. I could get used to this very quickly.



Headed out around 9am following a route one of my friends off another forum who lives locally had recommended. Basically it headed down a few of Wales Valley’s then over the highest road around Snowdonia and into Bangor (A small sea port town), then out and back to where I am staying.
The route was fantastic. Awesome roads and the scenery was just mind blowing. Without a doubt the most stunning place I have ever seen.
Again, I don’t feel my pictures give a true aspect of how amazing this place is.


Stopped at a few places and managed to grab some photo’s. The mountains ahead in the morning mist teasing me.







I needed fuel (For the bike and myself). I stopped and fuelled up (both of us) and managed to get a picture of this old Honda Goldwing complete with side car and trailer. I was hoping to follow him, but he headed off in the other direction with a friendly wave to me.











More of those mountains.










I got over the mountain section and couldn’t get any of the photo’s I really wanted. I was a little annoyed, but carried onto Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysilio gogogoch. To be honest I just wanted a photo of my bike under a sign....



I headed out of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysilio gogogoch towards Bangor where I was going to have a quick break.



I found the car park and pulled up to the barrier. Only £1 to park for the whole day. Very very cheap for this country, so I started sifting through my pocket for a pound. As I looked up I saw a woman waving at me. The gestured me to simply ride round the barrier. I pulled up and she informed me that bikers don’t pay. If you are ever in the area then use this place. It’s right down by the pier.



I had a wander down the pier and grabbed a drink and a chocolate bar.









Got fairly close to this fella.



Then a bit too close....



Don’t know why, but at the end of the pier this really caught my attention.



Looking back towards land



I walked back to the bike and was just getting kitted back up before heading off when an elderly couple pulled up in a car next to me. The lady was disabled and used a walking frame permanently. She jokingly turned round to me and “I’m having one of them next”, gesturing towards my bike. Her Husband turned round and had a good laugh and said, “yeah 20 years ago maybe”.

We stood and chatted for a while. They had lost a Son while he was out on his motorbike. He had been riding in a group when the rider at the front had lost control while braking. Although upset about it they seemed to suggest that he had died doing something he loved. I showed them the gear that can be worn nowadays (There son had died over 30 years ago) to help protect us (I wear a back protector, chest protector, gloves with full knuckle protection, and CE Approved boots). They were very impressed.

The man (Alan) had been a rider in his younger days. He told me about 4 bikes he had owned and ridden and my complete lack of knowledge of bikes anything older than about 1998, I can’t remember a single one he said. She had ridden once in a side car but after seeing the spinning wheels of cars about 2 foot from her head she had ridden on the back with her husband ever since. He said at one point when she was in the side car he had felt a sharp pain in his side which was when she reached out of the side car, and punched him in the ribs to get him to slow down.

They wished me well and went for a wander along the pier. I tooled up and set off again.















I was heading back to my accommodation for the day when I decided to head off to Bala where I had been yesterday. I found a tiny road which led me right to it.


When I arrived I settled down under a tree with an icecream and a drink (I’m 33 and that still makes me happy!!!)


A bird trotted over to say hello.



A fellow Hornet rider. Proper Hornet Yellow as well...



The weather was very hot. Due to already having a mild form of skin cancer a few years ago I basically have to cover myself in suncream and still hide in the shade as much as possible.... That’s why I look like Mr Paleskin. In winter I actually go slightly see through!!



As I walked over to grab something from my bike I found a fellow biker looking over my machine. I said hello and he pointed at my rear facing bullet camera and asked what it was. I showed him the system and he was very interested. He owned a CBR XX Blackbird which is actually a bike I hope to own one day. He loves it. Unfortunately this was the best photo I could get of him. Quality is poor as it’s off my ancient mobile phone.



I headed off myself and decided I would run through the run I had done earlier and get the photo’s I wanted this time.

This was in a cafe car park halfway up Snowdonia.



Looking through the Valley





Small Bridge (Only photo I could get)











The flowers attracted me so I wandered over. I wasn’t sure what it was, but someone had made the effort. This was in the basin off the Valley

















I headed back home stopping only to pick up a Pizza for the evening. I was very tired and must admit my concentration failed me a couple of times. My limits were almost reached getting back to the B&B.

EDIT: Quick Video of the Valley I rode through.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiCNUV52QC4

It all starts again tomorrow!!!!
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Tour 1. Wales: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=468598

Korben screwed with this post 01-02-2010 at 03:15 PM
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