March 06, 2003

Let's go... Off-Road!!!

I went to a LARP event (don't ask) a few weeks ago that was held at a Scout Camp.

I arrived well after sunset in sub-zero temperatures.

Apart from spending too long finding the place (as there were no signs) I had no trouble with getting down the mile or so of road to the camp itself. OK, the road was very icy but gentle throttle control and the ABS made this into a non-issue.

Leaving two days later was another story entirely...

During the time we were at the event, the birds sang, the blossom began to appear on the tress and the sun shone brightly down upon us all. Which was nice.

Except that the frozen ground thawed out and turned into an inch deep layer of thin mud. For the first (and so far, only) time I bemoaned the fact that the TCS (Traction Control System) from the 1100 hadn't made it onto the 1300. Just turning the bike round was a bit of an epic undertaking as neither I nor it had any grip. I ended up having to ride the bike slowly (oh, so,slowly) down the side of the building we'd stayed in and into the field beyond so I could turn it. Turning circle: In excess of 40 feet. The trouble was that the back wheel would just spin, no matter how gently I slipped the clutch and the the back end would try to slide out, canting the bike over. I couldn't donut a turn 'cos the front wheel was equally without grip.

Having got turned about, I then had to ride about a mile down what had been a dirt track and was now just a muddy sheet. This would have been OK but for the potholes which led to several very-near get-offs. After almost an hour, I cleared the end onto the public highway emotionally drained and with quite sore ankles. This was the first time I'd really had to come to grips with how heavy the Pan really is.

Trail riders: Buy something else. But then you already knew that, didn't you?

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