A Brit Returns Home, Day 2

Neale Bayly hails from the United Kingdom and has been living in the USA for the better part of three decades.  His passport is filled with stamps from exotic locations and has a unique perspective on motorcycle travel.  He is also a freelance moto-journalist,  and father.  In this trip, Neale returns to England with his young son to revisit his youth.  To find out more about Neale go to….www.nealebaylyrides.com  If you missed Day One, click here

DSCN2654I awoke early to a stunning morning in West Street, Oxford.

Shelby had been up banging around since 4.a.m so not a lot of sleep. It’s quite nice to be in that semi, jet-lagged, sleep-deprived state sipping coffee and spending the early morning hours talking with Shelby. At 78 years old he’s slowing down a little. Sitting for almost two-hours to chat it’s a rare treat as he is normally hammering on his keyboard, swimming, digging in the allotment or bicycling into Oxford on business.

I’ve been stopping in since 1985 and this is the first visit that Shelby has no mad travels planned. He wanted to hitch hike across the Sahara but fears his age won’t let him. Maybe I should offer to carry his bags? I want to write a book of his life. He has seen so much of this world and today’s story that I will take with me is how he had his money stolen hitchhiking in India, and with ten rupees decided to carry on to Katmandu.

Living off the land, and from assistance he received from the local people, he made it and all the way back to Delhi to re-claim his travelers checks a month later. Cementing a confidence in him as a young man that he could alwaysDSCN2659 survive, he exudes that same confidence today.

He did talk of times during his epic Burma adventures though that he thought he might not make it, and to me this is a story that needs to be a movie, as no one has made that journey and lived to tell the tale.(the book about it is called, “Among Insurgents”)

Finally Patrick and I must get rolling.   It’s the first time Patrick has met Shelby and as we say our goodbyes,  I wonder what he’ll take from his time with the great man.

My sister’s house is about 350 miles north and we have to be there today, so we hit the motorway and ride hard, looking to make up some time.   The traffic is fast and predictable, and while there is a lot of it through the flat, hot industrial middle of England, it keeps moving, and so do we.

Putting in 90-minute stints in the saddle and relaxed breaks, it isn’t long before we see the mountainous landscapes of the Lake District which signals the Scottish border is approaching. From the highway we roll through miles and miles of farmland, and, off in the distance,  the occasional church or historic building.

DSCN2670Old, brick farmhouses dot the landscape and lazy cows and sheep graze the fields. Patrick is doing great, looking around, enjoying the view and is the perfect traveling companion. We have our duties at break times and he is quickly up to speed on his. Everything on a motorcycle has its place and he soon has our organization system down and makes our fuel stops and food breaks quicker and more enjoyable. Plus he has a lot of exciting observations to share.

We cross the border late in the afternoon and surprisingly the temperature rises. In my youth the road to Scotland was a winding two-lane road affair, but now it’s a slick highway so we can’t stop to admire the views. With the BMW rolling comfortably along at 75-80 mph we see it all from the saddle and press on.  My sister will expect us in time for dinner, so we don’t delay.

Glasgow arrives, and we head west to the small village of Houston some 15-20 miles away. It’s been a long time since I drove or rode here so we have a few missed turns finding our way out onto the farm roads that will take us to her house. The sun is still well up in the sky, even at 8.p.m, and we are soon in the garden eating dinner and catching up on the five years that have passed since Patrick and I last visited.

Us old uns look a little more wrinkled, the kids about two feet taller but soon it’s like we’ve never been away. The BMW gets locked up in the garage, and with the jet lag and lack of sleep making themselves felt it’s soon time to put this day into the books and sleep, secure and tucked in.  IMG_7893 IMG_7912

RoadTec Z8 Gets High Marks in Tire Test

Munich, Germany,  In their current July/August 2011 double issue, the editorial board of a German motorcycle travel magazine Motorrad & Reisen recently updated their best tire list. The result was extremely positive for Metzeler: the Roadtec Z8 InteractTM stood at the top having earned 3 out of 4 possible top marks. With the mileage (very good), handling (very good), behavior in curves (good) and the wet performance (very good), the Roadtec Z8 has made a solid showing, together with two competing products.

There was no surprise when the Roadtec Z8 InteractTM brought forth the following comments: “With the Metzeler Roadtec Z8 InteractTM, the rider has everything under control. The tire follows its instincts with an incredible blend of precise and effortless handling. The Roadtec Z8 InteractTM is designed to make driving easier, regardless of the bike – for long and safe riding experiences.”

• The tire’s new contour in combination with a patented tread design improves handling and reduces steering effort significantly, for maximum confidence in all driving situations. An innovative new design: matching the physical profile shape with a tread design inspired by the Greek letter “Pi”, functional in that it increases the flexibility of the profile, thus ensuring optimum tyre contact surface area in all conditions.

• The Multi Zone Tension technology (InteractTM technology) of the 0°steel cord gives the “Z8” long-distance performance and stability along with perfect cornering grip.

• A new composition of the silica component and its dispersion at a nano-scale increases the performance and safety levels in all weather conditions.

“Independent comparative tests from touring magazines like Motorrad and Reisen are critical for establishing also the real-world application of our products. The magazine staff and its readers are riding many kilometers” says Francesco Pietrangeli, Director of Marketing for Metzeler Motorcycle Tires, “enough to offer a valid feedback to tire dealers and consumers on the performances of our newest tire, the Roadtec Z8 InteractTM.”

For more information on the Roadtec Z8 InteractTM as well as Metzeler’s entire motorcycle tire range, please visit our website at: www.metzelermoto.com

About Metzeler Motorcycle Tire

On the road since 1892, Metzeler has over 100 years of experience meeting motorcyclists’ toughest tire demands with unflagging innovation and setting trends others must follow. Whether one is drawn to the longevity of its classic design or uncompromising performances, Metzeler is an iconic brand to motorcycling worldwide. Established in Munich, Germany, offices are spread throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia and Oceania, while production occurs in Germany and South America. All this makes Metzeler the “Two Wheels Specialist”, appreciated by motorcyclists for its quality and technology. Metzeler’s continued commitment to road safety is consistent with the European Road Safety Charter and its primary objective of saving 25,000 lives through the improvement of motorcyclists’ safety knowledge as well as their active riding skills. For more information on Metzeler and its line of motorcycle tires, please visit: www.metzelermoto.com