Slick and Sliding in Devon
Whilst at the Touratech Travel Event this year we had the absolute pleasure to meet some awesome people, one of them being Mr Jon of Devon! He too is planning a round the world motorcycle trip with his mate Andrew so naturally we’ve all met together a number of times to compare notes and discuss tactics! As opposed to looping like we North to South are they are heading East to West on their affectionately named JABA Mundus adventure!
Today we decided to take a wee trip down to meet up with Jon for some green laning malarky. Having checked all the routes at the weekend Jon assured us despite being a little over grown they weren’t too bad… later we discover they had bushed out some more and were now resembling Borneo!
Bursting with energy we popped on down and rocked up only to find that both our heat guards for the exhausts were lolling to the side with missing screws!! To be fair this wasn’t really a surprise as we have noticed screws and bolts on the KTM 690 Enduro 2012’s have a tendency to sneak out when we’re not looking! KTM obviously haven’t discovered the little gem that loctite!
Jon soon dug out some replacements and before long we were all off tootling along some stunning little country roads on our 2 x KTM 690 Enduro Rs and Jon riding his KTM 990 Adventure Dakar. Our first turn we take is a short little stint, quite overgrown and with a thick rut down the middle. Being a bit wimpy I wasn’t giving Hobbes enough beans so I managed to jump the front out once and hug a bush… but in reassurance so did Sam ;) We then weave back on to some roads and then dip onto a muddy section. Like last week we were still riding on the original tyres meaning Sam and I were squirming about all over the place whilst Jon glided by with his nice set up of MEFO Super Explorers at the rear and Pirelli MT21 at the front. We need to get this sorted!! I kicked a tree (it jumped in my way) and then swooped sideways down the path only to be greeted by a laughing Jon and Sam at our flinging around bike riding! With some sense about us this time we let down the tyres a fair bit. Sam found this riding experience quite new to him as he was used to his 990 which wasn’t so frantic and more fluid… our KTM 690 Enduros were kicking out like nutters! Awesome fun (if a little aieeeeee for me!)
Further up we ride through another dense lane with fronds thwacking us in the helmet and pulling at us as we bumped round it. This one was a right bugger as it had a deep rut all along and again… not really giving Hobbes the proper blat it required I had a tendency to pop the front wheel out and flop into the ferns! After a couple of pick ups I was tiring but still smiling and laughing, grateful I had superb company as Sam and Jon to help encourage me along the way!
We then attempt another similar lane and this time I try and bean it a bit more and have more success! I do, however, wimp off through some mud and despite holding it together, I plonk back down to change gear (still a n00b like that) and due to slowing end up throwing the front out of the rut into the ferns again! Knackered, I survey the bike, attempt to pick it up but this time I’m out of energy and waaaay hot. Whipping the helmet off I take a breather and am then greeted by Jon who had trundled back to help me up!
We all pause at the end of the lane and agree that the lanes are pretty darn hard especially for me and to prevent it going from fun to a chore for me (I was the one flopping off the bike!) we would do some country roads riding for a bit! Chilled out we whizz around some roads – super gorgeous area!
After a few miles we stop off at a ramblers section and eye up a lane nearby. We take the turn and end up on a lovely off road lane with dips and puddles and much easier riding for me! A few gates on we end up losing our direction a bit and find ourselves in fog riding over lots of loose rock over what I believe to be moors! All was going swimmingly, we all were having a great time and then bump bump bump BUMP WHAM *thunk* WHEeeeeEEeee… I manage to hit a huuuge rock and do a tremendous off! Poor Sam had a heart attack as he was behind and watched in horror as I tumbled through the air and slammed to the ground! He ran up to me and having stumbled to my feet was trying to get me to sit back down again… on a gorse bush. Bless him! I was fine though… just a bruised knee!
Bike back up and me a little nervous now (shame as I was bumbling along for ages without a worry in the world getting used to the back end kicking out and bouncing through rocks!) we continue and wind down a huuuge hill before being back on the road! Lush ride, no idea where we were!
Jon then takes us along to a little country pub where we indulge on a cuppa and convo by the fire!
All in all an awesome day! We all had a chat about my riding and although, once again, we were knocking through some pretty technical lanes and I was coping, I need to get back to the basics and perfect the core skills before I end up getting frustrated with hugging the ground (as beautiful as it is!). So our aim is to get some lighter trails under my belt and then build up from there!
Cheers Jon for the fun times and for helping me pick up Hobbes! We both loved it and are looking forward to some more action soon!