I’ve owned three BMW motorcycles since I moved to the UK in early 2008; R1200RT, K1300GT and & K1600GT. Each of these motorcycles have seen plenty of the UK (weather permitting) and continental Europe, which is my preferred touring destination. They have all been well suited to touring and proven to be a great way to travel abroad.
Last year was my most adventurous, when I did a solo 10 week trip to eastern Turkey, covering 11,000 miles all up.
In March this year I began to think about destinations for my 2012 tour. Having covered pretty much all of western and eastern Europe I had my sights on Denmark, Sweden, Finland etc but no firm plans had evolved.
But in late March everything changed. An unexpected seizure forced me to make a trip by ambulance to A&E; the diagnosis sounded terrible; brain tumour.
The worst part was that I had to surrender my license. No more riding or driving for a minimum of six months. There’d be no summer tour in 2012 on my motorcycle.
Instead, I embarked on a different adventure. Brain surgery. Health became my destination and the itinerary was largely out of my hands. Luckily I was in good hands and with incredible support from my friends, this adventure like all my other motorcycle tours, will have a happy ending.
The surgery was successful and is behind me now. The neurosurgeon did a great job and my recovery was fast and I was soon back to my usual self with no apparent side or after effects. I did get a great scar as a souvenir, but it will soon be hidden from the world as my hair grows back.
I still have some follow up treatment but nothing terrible that won’t soon be over. There is still three months to go before I get my license back though. Luckily the weather has been poor and good riding days few and far between. I am managing to get around on buses and trains but do miss going for a ride in the country on a fine afternoon, feeling the wind in my face as the bike accelerates swiftly on the exit of a long sweeping bend.
I may still have time for a trip before the year is out. I’ll probably go to Spain. Southern Spain most likely in search of warmer weather before the winter really kicks in. Not a bad option really as Spain has the best roads, a generous climate, scarce traffic, spectacular scenery and excellent food. I’ve got a rough idea of where to go and stay courtesy of a self tour guide a downloaded from the web last year.
But even if this doesn’t work out it doesn’t mean that 2012 was a write off. My personal adventure back to health has been challenging but in some ways I’m better of for it. It did not kill me and I am stronger for the experience with a fresh perspective on life’s priorities. Riding a motorcycle is still a passion but I have learned to get on with life without it. There will be plenty of time to ride motorcycles in the future.
So if you are thinking of making a trip this summer don’t find reasons not to. I’m so glad I went to Turkey last year. I have many photos and videos that remind me of the experience and help me get through the odd day when the weather just demands that motorcyclists get out for a ride. If something comes up out of the blue that means you cannot ride just find other ways to indulge your passion. Life goes on.
If you do make the trip you have long thought about then let me know. Twitter is a great way to let others know about your adventure and the 140 character limit ensures there is not excessive waffle. If you want to waffle then start a blog! Instagram will help make your photos interesting and easy to share with your friends and family. I’ll follow your adventure and help promote it even if that is what you are after.