If you read someone’s blog for long enough, you get a sense of what a person is like. Over time, you begin to understand the way they write, what they like to do, who they hang around with and what they like to do.
Very occasionally, you get to meet someone whose blog you read and you immediately feel comfortable with them, because it feels like you have known them for a considerable time. You haven’t of course, but you FEEL as if you have.
On Sunday, I met fellow blogger, Rogey, who lives in Auckland. A broad, grinning face beamed out at me as we met and it was as if we had been friends for a long time. Roger had collected me from the centre of the city and with Taylor, his very cheerful and pleasant daughter in the back of the car, we made our way out to his house.
After meeting his partner, Fay, an exchange of gifts from two different sides of our planet, Roger did what just what I hoped he would, when he said “Wanna go for a ride, mate?” You bet I did!
Luckily, a helmet fitted and very soon the two of us were riding through Auckland suburbs with me on Roger’s BMW G650GS that he once described as “a bloody hoot.” He was right – it was easy to ride and great fun.
Roger lead the way on his Triumph Sprint and it was easy to tell that he was a terrific and confident rider. His IAM training and road-craft were good to witness from behind, as he always seemed to have lots of time, was always in the right position on the road and took great care when approaching potential hazards.
On the other hand, I was trying to get used to riding a new bike and kept forgetting to cancel the turn signals (why can’t all bikes have self-cancelling indicators like my Harleys?)
We swapped bikes and I took my chance to ride the Triumph. I wasn’t used to the forward-leaning position and found it unusual and slightly awkward at first. I am used to big foot controls and wide mirrors and the Sprint has neither, so my feet seemed to struggle to find the tiny gear change lever and I kept having to bring my elbows in to see anything behind.
The power and the brakes were (much) better than my Harley, but after a few minutes of riding I began to get used to the bike.
Roger led us to a beach on what I took to be a large lake, but was in fact the sea, surrounded on most sides by land.
Lunch and the continued ride followed before we returned to Rogers house. I became much more use to riding the Triumph and was able to relax more and enjoy the ride. The further I rode it, the easier it got, but I just couldn’t get used to having to remember to cancel those darn turn signals! It’s not my kind of motorcycle, but I enjoyed riding it.
Roger putting the bikes away....
Having left her behind at the hotel still nursing a very sore foot, we checked up on Jackie, whose was sad she couldn’t join us. Her foot was giving her considerable grief and we agreed a visit to a hospital the next day would be needed. Roger had planned a relaxed Sunday afternoon /early evening BBQ (although, I think it is obligatory to say “barby” at this point) and soon some of his friends came to join us. Two huge legs of lamb were soon prepared and left to cook on the Weber....
Two more of Rogers friends, Bruce and Lucy arrived with their children and while standing at the edge of the pool, mischievous Roger gave them a push and all three ended up in the water....
They must be REALLY good friends as the three of them just stood there laughing! They took it well, particularly Lucy who unlike a lot of women would, thought this very funny. Good sports, Bruce and Lucy were soon found some dry clothes!
Roger was a remarkably good host and a great cook, and I had a terrific meal in great company.
The daughter of one of Roger’s other friends, Jackie, had made a delicious pavlova which was soon disappeared....
Overall, I had a great day meeting Roger, his family and friends and was made to feel very welcome indeed. I can only say Roger, if you are ever in London.... or with a bunch of friends in Spain(!) I can only hope to make you feel as welcome as you do to me. Nice one, mate!
This blog was originally started to record a five month, 21000 mile tour of the US on my Harley-Davidson. I continue to use this blog to record my own motorcycling adventures, wherever they may be, along with my thoughts and opinions about motorcycling generally.
Having devoted most of my adult life to being a ‘company man’, the transition to the next phase of my life away from the construction industry was always going to include some challenges. Planning and then making my dream trip to explore America on my Harley-Davidson proved to be the ideal vehicle for clearing my mind of old ways of thinking and being. I rode 21,475 miles, in 27 US states in four-and-a-half months.
My motorcycling trips have continued, with journeys across much of Europe, New Zealand, North Africa and Cuba.
A few years ago, I set up and now run Tour1, which takes riders on Harley-Davidson Authorised tours across Europe. See www.tour1.co.uk.
I live just north of London in the UK.
Please note all photographs on this blog are copyrighted. Do not copy or use, in whole or in part, any image from this blog either in its original form or altered in any way. If you do want to use one of the photographs, then you must ask first and I will almost certainly say yes! Thanks for your understanding.
US Tour - My Favourites Places I Went To....
It is difficult to choose, but here is my list of the highlights of my US tour, in the order I saw them in....