Like many people who go on motorcycle adventures I got the idea from watching Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman on their epic, round the world trip. I watched a few episodes of ‘The Long Way Down’ and just had no choice, I needed a license and an adventure bike. A few months later I had done my Direct Access course and the time had come to purchase a bike. I transferred money from my savings account to my current account and grabbed my credit card. I visited the BMW dealership but was completely ignored; I’m not sure if it was the fact that I was dressed in rags or because I was barely tall enough to see the seat, let alone sit on it! At this point I went on the Internet and looked at bikes. Being 5 foot 4″ I was going to be disappointed. All the adventure bikes I looked at had seat heights that were so high I would not be able to touch the foot rests, let alone the ground. After searching through the Internet I stumbled upon the Honda Transalp. It had a reputation for being tough, reliable and I would be able to touch the ground. After ten minutes on the Autotrader I had bought my 2006 Honda Transalp, it had done 1810 miles.
Those early days were great, I took my bike on a lap around Ireland (where I got rained on for twenty-four hours a day for five days), I went to Wales twice, the Black Forest in Germany and various other places. Then in June of 2009 I departed Buxted and headed south for Morocco, the trip took a month and was the best adventure I’d ever had. The excitement I had when bouncing up my lane on the first day was uncontainable and now the time has come to do it again, but this time I will be going further south and having even more of an adventure.
The Bike is a Honda Transalp XL650V6. It has now done nearly twenty thousand miles and has Touratech aluminium panniers, Acerbis hand guards, uprated front springs, a Honda lowered seat, which has then been redone with gel to make sure it’s gentle on my bottom! I have also replaced the entire exhaust system with one from Arrow. This has increased my range considerably from about two hundred miles to around two hundred and sixty. It also sounds a little louder which means that cars are more likely to hear me. I know it’s not a part of the motorcycle but I also bought a pair of Daytona boots made especially for shorties like me, which means I can almost get both feet flat on the floor.
I over service the bike to keep it in tip top shape internally, when I get back from a long trip I replace the oil and oil filter, spark plugs, air filter and strip down the rear and front ends and grease everything. As a result the bike has performed excellently and never missed a beat. I have dropped the bike so many times and all I’ve ever broken were the mirrors, which are cheap and easily replaced. I had an accident in Ibiza (on the way back from Morocco in 2007) where the bike and me ended up cartwheeling down the road at fifty miles per hour. I bent the front forks and head slightly but was able to ride the bike through Europe and all the way home without any issues. The Honda Transalp really is one seriously tough and reliable bike that I can heartily recommend. I was a little worried going over the Alps and the High Atlas Mountains as the bike was fully loaded up with luggage and at eleven thousand feet I expected it to struggle a little due to the thin air but to be honest I didn’t notice any difference at all. Just superb!