The weather having taken a turn of the better, I took the Crosstourer for a pootle along the B1248 yesterday afternoon (Humber Bridge/Malton road). Usually, middle-aged men on sports bikes use this road as a race track; but they must have all gone for a lie down yesterday because the only bikes I saw were fully-kitted-out BMW adventure bikes - four or five groups of four or five bikes - all riding zombie-like in the opposite direction. I nodded; I raised a glove; I waved enthusiastically: absolutely NO reaction from any of them. When I have been treated with contempt by BMW owners in the past it has been because they have obviously assumed I either can't afford a BMW, or am not 'man enough' to ride one. I think what upsets them now is that, with the Crosstourer, I can clearly do both; but have CHOSEN not to. I pulled in at the Fimber cafe (for those of you who know it) for a coffee and a cake. The car park had its usual high number of classic bikes - including a Norton rotary, and a nice MSS Velo. As an ex-velo-man myself I had an interesting chat with the rider about the charms of Velocette ownership. When I got back I browsed my way through a few on-line reviews of the new CB500X. Somewhere in all those words was a description of a typical adventure-bike rider as a middle-aged dreamer, stomach resting on the tank, nipping out to the shops; but fully intending to set off on that big adventure - if not this year, then certainly next year. Actually, that description is a bit too close for comfort; but it got me thinking.
Those of us on the road to Fimber yesterday were all out for a ride in the sun. The difference between the Classic bikers and the BMW set seemed to be that the Classic bunch were enjoying it. Then a spam email arrived from Touratech advertising, what they called, their 'June Experience'. For £200 you can go on an adventure with Nick Saunders. I quote: 'in the real spirit of adventure you will stay in Yurt's and a Timbuktu Trailer cabin' - Friday to Sunday, in South Wales. It seems to me that this whole adventure nonsense has got out of control. Not so long ago, and I swear this is true, one of the BMW clan told me they didn't really like the Fimber cafe BECAUSE THE CAR PARK GOT TOO MUDDY.
I am beginning to suspect we have all been sold an 'adventure biker's' suit of clothes by the manufacturers and the motorcycle press, just as SOME of us were sold a 'road racer's' suit of clothes when they were peddling 600cc sports bikes. In fact the reason there were no sports bikes on the B1248 yesterday afternoon is probably because they've all been swapped for those BMW adventure bikes I was waving at. We're all standing about looking like orphans from the Dakar Rally, when all we really want to do is pootle over to Fimber for tea and cake (it is exceedingly good cake). The feeling of inadequacy that keeps me awake at night, that I really ought to be hauling the bike across Outer Mongolia, is something generated by the biking press. I'm going to fight against it. The great thing about the Crosstourer is that Honda have resisted getting drawn into the full 'off-road' fantasy. It is true that it has an 'adventure' styling; but it takes the comfortable riding position of a tourer/adventurer and avoids the excesses. I've given my 'patchwork' adventure jacket to an 'air ambulance' charity shop, and I've stopped wearing my fancy Shoei helmet with the peak on it - although those cakes at Fimber are making it a little more difficult to trim that waistline.