As I mentioned in my last post, I’m a keen motorcyclist. Keen on simply riding about on my own bike, that is – for some reason, I’ve never really been that obsessed with the whole scene surrounding it. Perhaps because it crept up on me, or perhaps because, none of my friends have ever shared my interest (not for any lack of me trying, mind).
My two-wheeled adventures began as a fresh-faced youngster, still relatively new to London and living in Hammersmith. Unable to face a daily commute on the Tube after landing a job on Baker Street, I bought a 50cc moped instead. That little Yamaha lasted me a good five years, and while I now wonder how I put up with it for so long, I do think that learning on a small engine is the way to go when it comes to riding and surviving in London.
Still, the lack of speed and acceleration finally grated enough for me to see what else was out there, and it wasn’t long before I discovered the Vespa GTS 250. I was seduced by the look of it: a blend of classic lines and modern performance. And 250cc of pure power! Imagine.
The thought of that shiny Vespa purring away was enough to have me signing up for a direct access course, which I happily passed. After briefly wavering with thoughts of a motorbike instead, I went ahead and bought a gleaming new GTS250 of my very own. I figured it was the reason I’d got the licence, so I owed it one.
It proved an excellent choice. It was such good fun to ride – plenty of poke, ridiculously manoeuvrable, and not very thirsty at the pumps.
What’s more, with 250cc at my disposal I was able to properly explore under my own steam for the first time. And it felt like a machine made for adventures, so I duly obliged, riding it down to the New Forest, all around Kent, and eventually to Devon and back.
Sadly, while the trusty Vespa gave me a thirst for exploration, it couldn’t sate it. The allure of a proper road trip, rather than the odd jaunt out of town, was too much. I needed something that could take me further.