Time To Buy A New Bike


The 2006 trip had been so good, we decided to do it again the following summer. That winter was spent poring over bike reviews in an internet cafe – at that time we couldn´t use the internet on the boat. We looked into buying the bike in the USA but registration of a vehicle in America is not easy for a non-resident, so we decided to buy in the UK.

Gradually we narrowed down the choices until we came to the Italian manufacturer Moto Guzzi. Their bikes had a V-twin cylinder set-up with the cylinders in a V either side of the bike so they could cool in the passing air – unlike the Harley configuration where one cylinder is behind the other, therefore limiting the cooling ability of the passing air and frequently resulting in the bike overheating.

First choice was the Nevada 750. But the Breva was on offer with bags and windscreen for £1,000 less. An additional benefit was the 18 litre fuel tank as opposed to the 14 litre in the Nevada; a very important consideration in the lonely desert areas.

Now we needed to sort out how to get the bike to the USA. It could go by sea – but research on the internet warned us off that – too many people arrive at their destination only to find their bike is still sitting in Southampton!

Now we had the organising of transport, first to Manchester airport, then on a plane to Toronto. For details of how this can be done, as well as the full story of this trip, check out my old website here


So on May 27th we flew from the UK to Toronto with our brand new Breva in the hold of the same plane.

It was nerve-wracking, that first ever ride from Toronto´s huge main airport and onto the horrendous 401 with 5 lanes in many places. I remember thinking, `Oh my god, if we´re going to die, please make it quick and painless´.

Pete and Barb´s faces were priceless when we turned up on their drive. They had no idea we were coming. The partying went on for most of the night.

We had a week at either end of the trip with our friends and this year – I got to ride a bike myself for the first time ever. Pete had bought Barb a Yamaha 250. Nice and easy for a learner. My first attempt was in the huge garden – around 2 acres. I circled the land over the bumps and ruts around 3 times before stopping and climbing off – a shaking mess in need of a beer. Pete said, `Man, I ain´t never seen anyone ride a bike that goddamn slow without stalling the fkr´.  Apparently, that was a compliment.

I really wanted to learn to ride in case mgm ever injured himself in some desolate and remote area. A small bike is fine for me – but I have to admit, I would only ride the Guzzi in an emergency; I can barely get my feet to the ground. But then mgm is 6´2″ – a whole 12 inches more of leg real estate!

On that trip we rode 9,490 miles through 15 states – Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Wyoming before turning around and returning via South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and finally back to Toronto.

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