“Take your coat off when you get indoors or you won’t feel the benefit.”
– Nick’s Mum
By day Nick is a property valuer running his own business, Nick Plotnek Associates, in Birmingham, England, specialising in obtaining lease extensions on flats and freeholds on houses for leaseholder clients. By night, he reads travel books, dreaming of his next adventure.
Nick’s closest shave was his collision with an elephant on a motorbike in Kerala, India in 2007, and he still has the scars to prove it.
Well where to start?
54 years young, MD at a garage in York that sells and repairs cars and motorcycles. Yamaha dealer. Been riding bikes since buying a Mobylette moped at 16 for £10. Always bought and sold bikes as I went along. Buy a bike, do it up as I rode it, sold it with hopefully a small profit and get another one. I’m sure you get the picture. This means I have owned a lot of bikes!! By 20 I had had over 20 different models of 125′s.
Lots of trips in England to start my touring career. Really liked Devon and Cornwall. There was a bike museum in Combe Martin that I visited on several occasions. They had a ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ Brough Superior in there. Now sadly shut.
First time abroad on a bike was to France in 1988-ish on a Harley Sportster. Got pulled over by the police, having been in the country only five minutes. Even then you had to have your lights on in France. We didn’t. I’d never been abroad before. Felt a little like a fish out of water. Was glad to get home to a proper English breakfast in a greasy spoon!!
In 1991 I rode my Sportster to Berlin via Amsterdam. With only 1.5 gallons in the peanut tank I saw a lot of filling stations! Getting used to this foreign touring lark by now.
My cousin Mark and I rode to Sete in Southern France the next year. He bought a Yamaha XVZ400 from an auction in Huddersfield. A rare water cooled V-twin that had a reputation for being unreliable, although I didn’t know that at the time. I prepped it and off we went. The ignition switch melted somewhere near Lyon but other than that it ran excellently. I was on my FJ1200 which never faltered, ever.
Several other trips including going to Le Mans 24 Hour bike race in France, Wales, Scotland and Ireland over the next few years.
First time I went to the Isle of Man TT was 1980, the year after Mike Hailwood won on his comeback. Been around 30 times since. Camped on the seafront in Douglas for several years until the council banned it.
Recently I have ridden further afield on my trusty Triumph Tiger 1050. This year in May riding down to Croatia and catching the ferry from Split over to Italy and riding back through France etc. 3,000 miles in 10 days.
Two years ago I did a charity ride. John O’Groats to Lands End on a C90. 1,000 miles in four days. Good fun and we raised over £15,000 in total for various charities. Had to put an egg cup full of oil in it, in all those mainly flat-out miles. A tribute to Honda’s design and engineering.
The best biking I have ever done is in India. I have done three trips with Blazing Trails www.blazingtrails.com. The first was ‘An Introduction to India’, which started in Goa. Six friends from York plus another five on Indian-made Enfields, which are the same bike that was made in Redditch in the 50’s. 350cc single with right-hand gear change. 2,000kms on India’s dangerous, but always interesting, roads with a front brake that should be prosecuted under the Trade Descriptions Act.
Next came Kerala, which is where I met Nick. This is the Luxury Trip according to Suzie, our glorious leader. Lovely hotels and even better riding through tea plantations and unspoilt countryside. Cochin a particular favorite place of mine where we had ‘special tea’- Lager served in tea pots because it is illegal to sell alcohol.
And in 2010. The Himalayas. The most arduous by far. Not only harder riding, but coping with high altitude and cold. We spent four nights in tents which was necessary given the remote areas we were in. The only other traffic was army trucks that were patrolling the area because of the dispute with China over Tibet.
And now the Mongol Rally ………………………