8 June 2016
Paul suggested we ‘pop into the bike shop’ today, as we had been doing for some time now, looking at various options of bikes. When we got there I saw two BMW GS F700’s, one with my name on it and one with Paul’s name on it. He looked at me and said: “Marry me and let’s travel the world…just say yes!” Paul had bought our bikes and what a proposal…of course I said “yes!”
I’d never been on such a big bike before and was too scared to ride my bike home, so Paul pateintly made two trips. My heart’s been in my throat all day…a mixture of fear and excitement. Each step we take makes our trip more of a reality and each step is another step deeper into the new, the exciting and the unknown…When I shared my fears with Paul tonight, he reminded me that that is how we grow, that is how we empower ourselves: by facing our fears and coming back from them empowered. I’m mindful of how fearful I was a year ago when we planned an off road bike trip through Cambodia. I recall the trepidation I felt, how many times I wanted to “bail” and I’m also reminded of how much fun I had and how I coped, how I flourished, despite my fears – taking one day at a time.
We discussed that we still have quite a few things to consider, in kitting the bikes out. When touring it’s advisable to have two identical bikes for various reasons such as not requiring to carry two sets of spares. Paul is 6 foot and I’m 5 foot 3 and much less experienced, so I need to have my bike lowered for both practicality and confidence. Paul had me balancing on the bike with blocks of wood on the tar on either side, to measure the millimeter drop I would need to feel more confident and more capable. Once that’s done, we’ll start kitting out the other necessities such as bash plates, crash bars, panniers and spares. One exciting piece at a time…
On Saturday evening I bawled my eyes out, sharing with Paul my fears of getting on the bike. Sitting on the bike I could only reach the floor on tippy toes and was simply terrified of the sheer size of the bike, compared to what I was accustomed to with my little Honda VTR250. We discussed the various options for the umpteenth time: lowering the suspension, lowering the seat, as well as what we thought should be done first. Lowering the suspension too much would mean losing some electronics like ABS, so ideally we wanted to avoid that.
I woke on Sunday morning and announced that I was determined I wanted to go for a ride. I suggested to Paul that we head out early before traffic and asked him to be patient with me if I decided I was not comfortable and wanted to head back. I was simply determined to face my fears.
The upshot was that we enjoyed a great day’s riding out to Patonga for lunch and back. That evening I was triumphant and elated, also very aware that our trip will call on our resolve in so many more ways…