The Begining

As with many great adventures,  it all started in a pub.  My name is Steve Lane and I met Matthew Helliwell the day I pulled up outside a restaurant on a CBR600rr that I'd just bought that day.  Having not been on a bike for 25 years,  I had a sudden urge to remind myself what it felt like to be on 2 wheels. 

At the present time,  its myself (below),  and Matt.  

Matthew,    A kiwi  (although he claims he was born in Romford, Essex) now living in Greenwich, London and working as a landscape gardener.

Matthew, a seasoned biker himself,  was sat having dinner with his girlfriend when I pulled up.  We got chatting and several beers and several hours later,  we'd formed a new friendship.

So where does the Ducati come into it ?   Good question.  Here's how the story goes:

After a trip to the awesome  Ace Cafe in London ,  we decided to do a weekend boys trip to Bruge and hangout at the Biker Loft later in the year.  It was beer talk but it sounded fun.  Matthew started planning the trip and low and behold,  I had my beloved CBR stolen one evening before the trip took place.   *GUTTED*.  Bike thieves should be jailed for life.

Mortified and too upset to even think of getting another bike,  Matt decided to help drown my sorrows the only way a friend can,  Beer,  food and Bike Talk. By the end of the night, my heart was set on getting a new bike the second my insurance money showed up.  And so I did.

A Ducati 796 Monster.  Not quite as fast as the CBR and a very different kind of ride,  buts its a Ducati and I can actually still walk after riding it for an hour unlike the CBR.

Over yet another beer one evening,  Matt told me of his plan to travel around as much of Europe as he could in 2 weeks the following year.  It seemed like a great idea and the seed was sown.

At this point, we are still very much in the "planning" phase and part of that planning is that im reading the very excellent  The Long Way Round by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman.  I'm certainly not trying to compare our mini adventure to the amazing trip these guys did but we don't have the funding they had either!

Matt has a lot more riding experience than me.  He's done London to lands end to john o'groats and back to London in a weekend on his brick (2000miles) for charity 

The most i've ever ridden is 60miles.  Yes, I did say "60"!! Am I worried about sitting on a bike for 2 solid weeks ?  Damn right I am hence under bikes and bits section I will be examining alternative seating.  (Update: Thanks to Motohaus for their generation donation of an airhawk seat).

I decided to dedicate this trip to my grandfather and in his memory,  raise money for Alzhemeirs which he had.  It's a massively underfunded and under appreciated charity (See side panel for more details).  A second reason for doing this for charity is that i can't bottle out now so i'm commited (or should be !).  I'd like to try and raise publicitiy as much as possible and rase what i can which goes direct to the chairty via Just Giving.   I'd appreciate it if anybody reading this would pass on the link and try and help us raise as much as we can.  The trip is currently planned for end of May, weather dependant.

Thanks to all those that have sponsored so far.

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