New user here. Really glad to have joined, seems like a great community!
So a bit of context:
I’m 24 and passed my CBT about two months ago and have been riding in London for over a month and loving it.
I bought a second hand Vespa Lx125 (fourth owner) and it’s in pretty good knick. It is however missing its right wing mirror but I’m getting that sorted.
So…I’m thinking of taking it across the country. I don’t have a full license so I would be sticking to smaller roads and A roads. I’m ultimately looking to surprise my girlfriend in Edinburgh in the next couple of weeks. I’ve been doing some digging online and it seems doable if I take it slow and take a couple of days to do it. The idea of properly travelling on it really appeals to me. I’m also planning on going down to visit family in Somerset on it as a sort of trial run.
Am I crazy? Is it dangerous? Is driving on A roads on a 125 unbelievably boring? If I do do it how should I prepare?
Hope this is the right topic and category to be posting on, if not (as I said, new user) please direct me to the right one.
Dual carriageways will get dull quickly, and if you can’t cruise at 55mph then trucks Will be overtaking you (which is unpleasant). But if you take your time you can go onto the smaller fun back roads
As Boris says try and take the smaller roads if you’ve got time. It’s definitely doable. Last time I rode to Glasgow I stayed overnight on route but had to drop onto the motorway near Manchester as I was short of time and had to push on.
A good way to plan if you can is stopping off at mates on route or at places you might want to visit. That way you can take a not so direct route and hopefully more enjoyable on your 125.
What’s the longest trip you’ve done so far?
Crazy, maybe. But I rode 23,892 miles on my 125 and almost all of it was weekend leisure travel, though some was visiting my parents in Lincolnshire. But you will not be the slowest person on the road.
One time I was come up the A23 from Brighton and was stuck behind a car doing 40 mph. Because I was approaching Pease Pottage and on a CBT I did not want to risk overtaking and end up being blocked from the junction. So whilst I accelerated up the slip road, they crawled on as it became the M23.
Dangerous, not really so long as you pay attention and ride within your limitations. So, the same as any vehicle. I was overtaking a pair of lorries on the A1, the first one was fine but the inclination of the road changed, not noticeably so, and I found myself stuck side-by-side with the second lorry with nothing else to give. Had to drop off the throttle to let it pass and pull back in. Annoying for me, and for the queue of people I was holding up, but not dangerous.
Unbelievably boring? Depends on what you find interesting, and what A-roads. There is a big difference between the A3 and the A466.
I liked the big dual carriageways on a 125 though as anyone could easily and safely overtake me, whereas on single carriageway roads people act like pillocks than be stuck behind a small bike with an L-plate. They do not fully pull out into the other lane, they start merging before having passed you, they race to beat traffic islands almost causing you to have to swerve into a parked car on the A25.
Obviously such roads are less interesting, but they get you to places fast, which makes a much bigger difference on a 125 as making a whole journey on back roads will just take far too long. Both in time and energy. I found it better to pick the places where you want to ride, then use the dual carriageways to get between them. Sometimes you want to ride, sometimes you need to travel. Nothing wrong with using the bike for the latter too.
Did London to Brighton on a Vespa 90 some years ago (for a dare). Stayed on A roads mostly - was Ok as it was only a 50 mile trip and not too boring as was trying to pick the fastest line around bends without scraping the floorboard.
Situational awareness is the key when riding, as is a sixth sense (which develops over time). A little planning goes a long way.
Welcome to LB @pierronm! Like the others I’d say do it. Some of the best memories I have are from going on long trips very early on in my biking career. It’ll be a real adventure. Just make sure you are safe and consider the advice mentioned on this thread.
Also, think about:
- What clothing you will need on and off bike for all weather
- What will you do if you get a puncture? (got a repair kit?)
- What will you do if you breakdown (can you fix basic stuff, do you have roadside recovery? basic tool kit, cable ties and duct-tape go a very long way to keeping you on the road)
- Where will you sleep? (camping/hotels?)
- Do you have backup communication means in case you break/lose your phone? (write essential numbers down, carry coins for phone-boxes)
- Do you have enough data for your phone if using that for navigation? (consider a paper map backup)
Etc. i.e. just think about what could go wrong and what contingencies you’ll have for those scenarios. Being prepared is the best way to have the most fun with the least stress. That said, make sure you don’t take too much. Travelling light is the best way to travel on a bike!
Enjoy the ride!
Of course it’s do-able - people regularly cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats at 15mph, so a 125cc can do it.
Just be aware it will take an awful lot longer than google maps might suggest, and you’ll have to research your roads carefully. Plotting them as a cyclist might help.
It would be a great adventure and one to enjoy telling stories about in the future. Go for it.
Welcome Pierronm and go for it
Trucks now cruise at 60 mph so if hitting the dual carriageways you need to cruise at 60 too and I see no reason why you couldn’t. My only experience of riding a 125 was when I rode juniors Honda CG125 back from Portsmouth to Epping maintaining 70+ mph all the way back except on the incline approaching the Hindhead Tunnel.
There are plenty of riders out there that have ridden125’s and smaller machines over endurance distances. The smallest machine to complete a RBLR1000 (1000 miles ridden inside 24 hours) was a Honda C90 ridden by Jim Brown. More recently a lad turned up at a couple RBLR1000’s on a vintage 125 Vespa, he never completed one on time but he gave them a good lash. Lets not forget Nathan Millward who rode a 105cc ex Australian Post Office motorcycle from Sydney to London.
So London to Edinburgh over two days should be a walk in the park.
What’ll it do flat out? I had a Honda PS125 as a courtesy bike which could do 65 and even a Honda MSX will do 67 which is enough to keep up on an A road. A 50cc would be a struggle but 125 should be ok. As for going the distance, scooter clubs take 2 strokes all over the UK and Europe. We see them out some Sundays.
On the Ferry back from Holland I met a Dad and his daughter that had been touring the Netherlands on their Vespas. I rode with them for a bit on the A120 from Harwich and they had no problems. They were faster than the trucks.
Touring wise be aware that time and distance don’t always correlate. You may plan to do 300 miles a day but find that after 6 hours you’ve not covered that distance and you’ve had enough and want to stop. Big daily mileages are achievable but you may find that you enjoy it more if you do shorter hops. Also ride in waterproof gear or purchase an over suit. If you get cold and wet you’ll be miserable.