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since 04.04.2000

John and Wendy

John (also known as JJ) and Wendy, back-to-biking bikers (after 38 years) and loving it!

First bought the Kawasaki W650 Easter 2004, because it reminded us of the Bonneville we lusted after in our youth (but couldn't afford the 600). This one cost us a bit more than that, but less than 3 years old , immaculate and only 2700 dry miles on the clock. Fun to ride and a lovely sound, but not so comfortable on longer ride-outs, so when he heard of a sports tourer that a contact from work was thinking of selling, JJ got that look in his eye again.

Result - we now also own a black GPZ1100; immaculate, 1997 with only 9700 dry miles on the clock. It had been garaged for two years, so needed a service, MOT and 2 new tyres - well worth it! We got it on the road March this year, and have added another 2000 miles on the clock so far! Off to Heart of England in July on it, now we have managed to sort out some luggage.

We have joined MAG and Kawasaki Owners' Club, and enjoy reading 'Bike', and 'Ride'. We also buy MCN, but not every week now we have discovered the other magazines. Monday nights are reserved for the MAG meeting - we look forward to that every week. We have started to go to bike shows - they did not exist when we had bikes in the past.

We try to ride out somewhere on a Sunday, family and work allowing. Matlock Bath we love, and Horseshoe Pass (with the Ponderosa Cafe) and the Hog's back at Dinas; locally, we either go to the cafe at Bewdley for breakfast, or we go into Bridgnorth and then back to Quatford for a late lunch of sausage sandwiches and motorbikes. Never managed to reach the Wheel in time to park up on a Wednesday night, so usually end up cruising the roads around, and drinking at the Boycott Arms!

Our ambitions now - to take the bike on the continent (last did that in 1964, when we rode a 1951 Gold Flash down to Lake Como and then back the long way round) and to ride a bike across Australia, next year.

Time to update this page, I think. Leave JJ alone with a computer - now he has discovered ebay, and you never know what will happen. One click on the picture on the left shows what happened last time! After spending weeks working out trains and planes to far-flung places in Britain (only to find the bikes he wanted had already sold), John spotted a new picture up and a local address and phone number. 24hours later he had seen it, fallen in love, and bought it. We have only had one short trip out on it so far, to show it to the family. All our outings since have suited the 650 better. Never mind, the Isle of Wight looms - only 3 weeks away and a perfect distance for the wing.

OK, I think we are finally there. I have had fun (I think that's the word) updating our web page, but this is the last bit. (Don't buy any more bikes, John!). The typing and layout is OK, but sorting the photos is still 'if at first ...' so be warned, if you send me any through with your reports. This final thumbnail shows the cockpit of the wing - a 1989 GL1500 - though why anyone should want a radio instead of a petrol tank on a bike, I still can't fathom. Still, it's a nice colour (female comment) and in very good condition for its age. About 26000 (mainly dry) miles only - that will change.

A postscript, added at the end of our Easter holiday! John did not fancy heading for the Isle of Wight next weekend, as his first run-out on the wing. Result - we threw a few bits and pieces in the panniers and headed for Somerset at 7 a.m. on the 22nd April. At least the rain had finally stopped, and we managed to find a room in an excellent B & B almost on the beach in Seaton. John loved riding the Wing - he said he did not feel as though he had done a long journey. I must admit, the first time I went on it felt strange - not like riding pillion on a bike - but this weekend I really enjoyed it. There's a bit of a wobble on the front wheel at times, that concerns JJ. He has tried putting air in, and letting air out, without much effect - next step is to 'find a man who knows' and seek advice.

A quick update, for 2007. JJ does not change bikes regularly, like some of our friends; instead, he seems to be adding to the family.

Now, when we go to a rally on the wing, we hope we have the feeling that we are being followed!! I must admit, it is a bit strange because I cannot turn round enough to see whether the trailer is still there, so I just have to hope it is when we stop.

Someone JJ knows turned our original ebay bargain - angular black box, with red tape on the top and sides - into this beauty, colour-matched to the bike.

With new wheels, number-plate, rounded shape and the inside also repainted in black, it cost as much as the original purchase price but well worth it to us.

It is surprisingly roomy for its size and will carry our tent, chairs, airbed, sleeping bags, etc etc.

OK, so we have flames - but very tastefully done, you must admit. They even passed scrutiny by the taste police!

We used the trailer for the Isle of Wight, and JJ is planning now to take it to the Welsh National. He has also fixed a rack to the top of the back box, which was useful for carrying a wet tent back from 'Stan's' rally.

The trailer and rack should also be invaluable when we go over to France for two weeks, in July. Built-in luggage may look classy, but it does not hold as much and we can't use a tank-bag on the Wing, either. Nor can I wear a back-pack, in that high-backed leather arm-chair - which is why we have continued to use the GPZ1100 for most rallies up to now, even after buying the Wing. Now, we will be able to use both equally (determined by the roads and the weather).

Have just been reading through our page again (7th Sept 08) and realised it needs minor updating! JJ now has a sidecar to fit the Wing (e-bay again). The grandson has been asking to come out with us, and as I don't ride this means JJ finding room for another passenger. We had originally intended triking it, but we don't like the Wings so much when the Queen seat is replaced with a 2-person 'bench'. JJ came up with the idea of the side-car after our trip to Europe last Summer; the Dutch do not give up their bikes when children, dogs etc are added to the family unit - they simply extend them! They would ride onto the sites with wife on the pillion, kids and dog in the sidecar, and camping equipment etc in the trailer. Marvellous!! We were already using Wing and trailer regularly, now we also have the side-car. It has eventually been sprayed to match the bike and trailer, and JJ is confident he will finally get round to having it fitted onto the bike at the end of next month. I think he has been a bit reluctant to alter the appearance of his beloved Wing, but I am sure he will like it once it is done. It should prove a boon when we head off to Europe again next year (hopefully), as JJ will have finished work by then as well and we should be able to stay for longer. Fingers crossed!

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