Micro (Mega!) Adventure on a BMW F 900 XR TE
I’m just back from a Micro (Mega!) Adventure on a BMW F 900 XR TE. Here’s what I was working with …
- a bike (thank you BMW)
- a babysitter (thank you mum)
- good friends in North Wales (thank you Alice & Steve St Curig’s Church)
I started the engine and as I pulled away I couldn’t help grinning from ear to ear. My stomach always flutters and my body tingles when I accelerate on a bike, I love it!
Despite the promise of rain the weather Gods were on my side as I rode the 150miles to North Wales. I didn’t stop once, the XR has the speed of a sports bike and the comfort of a touring bike. They are a joy to ride.
Riding a bike is like, well, riding a bike! I was soon back into the flow. I opted for the minor roads and arrived into Capel Curig via the A5. I pulled up at St Curig’s Church, which is the incredible home of my good friends, Alice & Steve. (This is the church, it’s amazing & is available to rent – currently offering 50% discount to any women’s bike groups!).
I was greeted by Apollo, who you could mistake for a horse but who, in fact, is a dog!
Alice kindly had lunch ready and waiting. When I planned the trip, I’d mentioned to her that it would be great if we could get a couple of photos of the bike and if we could maybe go for a swim or do a few things. This was in fact my first trip away from Kit, I was missing her already but excited to have some me time. (It’s actually been three years!).
As a mother I guess Alice knows just what this means and as my friend she knew exactly what I’d love doing. I made the mistake of sitting down to chat after lunch but there were other plans… “right, let’s get going we’ve got a lot to do!”.
Alice’s partner Steve is a photographer and film maker. I’d asked if they could help me “get a couple of photos’. He was outside setting the cameras up. We left the church and didn’t get back until after dark.
So Much Adventure In Just One Day!
After my long ride there Alice said she wanted to show me a secret spot that would be perfect for a refreshing wild swim. We headed out on the A4086 and along the A498 to Llyn Gwynant, where despite it being high tourist season, I had the most amazing swim off a stunning beach hidden really close to the road.
Back on the bike we retraced our route back to the A4086 to the RAC Boulders which sit beside the road a few miles from Capel Curig. I swapped my bike boots for my climbing shoes and messed about on the rock. My arm strength was better than I’d imagined it would be, I guess that’s thanks to a 13kg mini me that’s always in my arms!
I thought we were perhaps done for the day but there was more! We made our way to Prenteg and took the mountain road to Cwmstradllyn – a valley in North-West Wales, lying between the high moorland of the serene mountains Moel Hebog and Moel-Ddu. It was cool to ride the bike up there.
Looking out to the coast we could see Black Rock Sands beach near Porthmadog. It looked stunning. Alice joked, let’s go and ride the bike along the beach next to the sea, I laughed, she wasn’t actually joking! It’s one of the few beaches vehicles are allowed on.
Apparently motorbikes though are not allowed on the beach. As luck would have it, we didn’t know this and the coast guards didn’t catch up with us to tell us until we were at the furthest point. So sadly we had to ride all the way back along the beach to get off it!
We made our way back to the church. The last of the suns rays, showing off Snowdonia in all her splendid glory in the distance. It’s been a while since I’ve been nestled in the mountains, riding a bike as the sun sets and it felt familiar and so good.
If you’d have told me back in the summer of 2017 when I was riding a BMW R nine T in the Alps that this would be the last ride I would do on a motorbike for 4 years I would have thought there’s absolutely no way that could be correct.
Fast forward 4 years and it turns out that’s exactly what happened! I’d have been even more shocked if I’d also been told in that time I’d have a daughter and decide my motorbikes days were probably over, completely.
Getting Back On A Bike
For a while I really thought they were over. When Kit (my daughter) came along my world blew apart in ways I couldn’t have imagined and I felt my own immortality in ways I’d never experienced. I had zero urge to take the risks I’d taken before and had no real desire to get back on a bike…. until I had a friend visit on their’s. I sat on the bike (with Kit!) and that familiar feeling (that I love) hadn’t gone anywhere, it was still very much alive.
I no longer own a bike or am in a position to buy one. I reminded myself of that time I had a dream to ride a bike to the foot of Mt Blanc, climb it and fly from the top when I didn’t have a motorbike, a paraglider, a video camera (or any money!)… and within two weeks I was collecting a BMW F 900 XR TE that BMW kindly loaned me for three weeks!
The bike! I’ve been fortunate to ride a variety of different motorbikes; from adventure touring bikes, to very fast sports bikes. I love them all for different reasons but the XR’s offer my favourite combination – speed and a comfortable sitting position for longer distances.
“When a baby is born, a mother is born too”. I am not exactly the Squash I was before. I am her and I am a mother as well. Riding a bike now feels completely different. No question, I still love it, but I do ride differently. I was never a reckless rider, I just didn’t have a little person, who I love so much, waiting for me at home. I see and feel risks that I never did before. I feel vulnerable in a way I never did before. And I guess I ride a little bit slower with a little more caution than I did before 😉
It’s takes a village…
Thank you BMW Motorrad UK I love the bike.
Thank you Alice & Steve St Curig’s Church for the photos & footage, so good to see you and have fun.
Thank you Tom Grimshaw for the edit.
Thanks mum for giving me 24hrs!