Cyprus Thrill

Cyprus to the Isle of Man on a Du­cati 999. 3700 miles of the best Europe has to of­fer and at the end of it all, the great­est race on planet Earth…

BIKE (UK) - - DUCATI 999: CYPRUS TO THE ISLE OF MAN - By Frank Shields

MY STORY BE­GINS June 2016 at my daugh­ter’s wed­ding in Ed­in­burgh, Scot­land. A few days af­ter the cer­e­mony and we are in a bar when the TT comes on the news. I look up and men­tion to my wife and daugh­ter that I would love to go. As one they say I should. It turns out both think I’ll fly into the Isle of Man from our Cyprus home, but I have other ideas… I ride a 2006 Du­cati 999S which, at the start of all of this, I agree is not a bike for long dis­tance tour­ing. How­ever, my opin­ion has since changed, dras­ti­cally. I start my ad­ven­ture by buy­ing es­sen­tials such as lug­gage, wa­ter­proofs and se­cu­rity. A Steam Packet Ferry ticket and Isle of Man Homes­tay ac­com­mo­da­tion come next. Then my first big prob­lem hits: in Cyprus no one of­fers fully com­pre­hen­sive in­sur­ance cover – third party is the only cover avail­able. Euro­pean break­down cover is also not avail­able – trust me I’ve tried ev­ery­where. So, I re­search and re­search se­cu­rity and buy: a Pewag 14mm se­cu­rity chain from Aus­tria, an Abloy 362 pad­lock (the chain is un-crop­pable and the pad­lock you have to see to be­lieve) plus an Abus Gran­ite X disc lock. As for break­downs, hey I’m rid­ing a Du­cati. Who­ever heard of such a thing? Dur­ing the months lead­ing up to de­par­ture I load up the lug­gage and ride into the moun­tains to the amuse­ment of the lo­cal sports­bike rid­ers drink­ing cof­fee at bike cafes in Agros, the moun­tain meet up place. En­joy your cof­fee boys, and read on. I do these dry-runs many times, rid­ing five to six hours at a time to get

used to long rides and also to iron out any prob­lems se­cur­ing the lug­gage. On the ride through Europe five to six hour days are a bless­ing, my long­est is ten hours and many hit the seven to nine hour mark. I book Bob, that’s my 999’s name, onto a roll-on-rolloff ferry from Li­mas­sol to Lavrio, Greece on 12 May and a flight into Athens on 14 May for my­self. My sched­ule is this: be in Liver­pool on 27 May to catch the ferry to the Isle of Man. This is it – no routes, no sched­ules, no tim­ings, just fol­low the road north. Let the jour­ney be­gin. Oh, and I’m rid­ing alone… It’s a 4am start to catch the 90 minute flight to Athens. I even­tu­ally ar­rive at the Greek port and the ship­ping agent is nowhere to be found. Frus­trat­ingly I can see Bob on the quay­side, it’s 30ºc and I’m hump­ing 40kg of lug­gage. Af­ter a few hours I work

Clutch slave cylin­der is­sues: nev­er­mind, in Italy you’re never far from a Du­cati dealer

Day one: Cyprus to Greece and trav­el­ling quite a lot lighter than the BMW

Back to where it all be­gan. Frank’s 999 born here back in Oc­to­ber 2006

The Ital­ian Alps: one photo op­por­tu­nity a er an­other

To­day it’s Switzer­land

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