I decided to ride around the UK on a Honda Cub90 in memory of my friend Anthony Child – known to his friends and relatives alike as ‘Budgie’ – who died in November 2004, aged 33.
I wanted to do something novel, and it first started as Land’s End to John O’Groats, but after I discovered that had been done on a Cub several times before, it became a ‘four corners’ run – i.e. the furthest North, South, East and West points of the mainland.
From there it was only several pints and a short hop of the imagination and it became a ‘do the length of the coast’ instead.
I’m fairly sure that he (Budgie) would have seen the humour in a sixteen stone, shaven-headed and bearded bloke attempting a 3300-mile journey around the coast of the British mainland on an 89cc stepthrough motorcycle.
Parts of the journey I would rather forget. I went through some awful places at times, and of course there was the never-ending pain – mainly extreme numb bum – caused by 10-12 hours a day in the saddle.
Of course, there are parts that were great – the Scottish Highlands were truly great – and the lack of traffic (and congestion) meant I had plenty of time to stop, and still cover loads of miles…bliss.
Doing the trip solo meant that minor irritations were often blown out of all proportion. Having someone else along would have meant that those very same minor irritations and problems were remembered as some of the highlights of the trip – i.e. things that could be viewed with hilarity with the help of hindsight.
I got home a day earlier than I had planned, as on what was due to be the penultimate day I was so soaked to the skin and freezing cold, that I decided to add the next day’s ride to yesterday’s one.
I knew I’d never even get close to dry overnight in a tent, and decided to just go for it! My bed was calling me!
Fortunately my brother had joined me the previous night and was acting as my chase vehicle.
Several times during that ride I was almost ready to give up and just find somewhere to sleep – anywhere – but he kept me going.
Despite having spent several years with no car and riding throughout the winter (I didn’t learn to drive until I was in my early twenties), I’ve honestly never been as cold on a bike as I was that day.
With the ‘summer’ we’d had so far, it was astonishing that the weather had been so good – all the way around to John O’Groats, in fact, where it started to go downhill – the only other rain I had was a downpour for about an hour as I crossed the Tamar bridge into Cornwall.
On that last day it took me 14 and a quarter hours to cover 382 miles, but I finished the round Britain circuit, and made it home by 10pm!
3301 miles in all, in thirteen days, and I raised £4518.32 for CRY, so I’m well pleased with myself!
No major breakdowns either – nothing that couldn’t be fixed with the judicious application of duct tape anyway…
Now I need to start planning my next venture!
More photos and details of Chris’ epic journey can be found on the Mission Implausible website