Remy Wesolowski: In at the deep end!

Getting thrown in at the deep end is sometimes the only way to learn!

It’s the beginning of the New Year and I find myself reflecting on a lot of things whilst still overindulging in all the leftover pigs in blankets and mince pies. It’s a great time of year to look to new pastures, but also to look back on life and be proud of achievements made, or even chuckle at some of things done. The last few weeks for me have been pretty crazy and full of new experiences (some best forgotten entirely!) but I always have a chuckle to myself when I think of the time I bought a motorbike without having the slightest clue about these beautiful machines.

Location: Colombia. Date: 19th September 2017. Mood: extremely excitable. After riding two-up throughout Central America, I became restless not being the one behind the handle bars and enjoying my own adventure, so I bought my very first motorbike: a YBR125cc, and on this my friends taught me the basics of how to ride in the local car park. After a few hours of tootling past stationary cars, practising corners and having had enough of emergency stops - mainly because my lady bits were starting to turn the same colour blue as my bike (unsurprisingly my bike later earned the name of Bruiser) - it was time to take on the big bad roads of Medellin.

My first solo ride was to Pablo Escobar’s prison. A skeleton of what it originally was, but still full of history and an uneasy atmosphere. I followed my two friends on the hairpin roads up to the top of the mountain which, for my first ride, felt like the biggest mountain around. Inevitably, I fell off my bike trying to master turning a 180-degree corner on a two-wheeled machine. When my friends realised I was nowhere in sight they luckily came back to my rescue. Panic over, I dusted myself off and jumped back on the bike, not batting an eyelid as I wasn’t the only one who had fell off on those steep and perilous bends. After a self-tour around the prison and its grounds, I nervously hopped back on my bike, my right hand clutching the front brake for dear life as I anxiously drifted downwards back towards my hostel. I parked Bruiser back in the hostel car park, wiped my profusely sweating forehead and headed straight to the bar to look for something strong to calm my nerves. Later that evening it dawned on me that I had just bought a motorbike in a foreign country and didn’t really know what I was doing! Was this a big mistake, or was this going to be the start of an epic adventure?

Me and my two new biker mates - we later became known as The Three Musketeers - headed out of the city southbound to Manizales, about a 200km journey. They let me take it slow but being a slight adrenaline junkie I was whizzing around at 90kmph (56mph) straightaway.

After all this new excitement I pretty quickly found myself facing my first dirt road; this was Colombia after all. Now, I’v