I started following Jason on Instagram (@HP2MAV) awhile ago, before I bought my HP2. He lives in the UK and always posts awesome pictures from his rides. He truly uses the HP2 for what it’s really meant to do – going fast and getting dirty. Jason took his brother, a new adventure rider, on a ride a few weeks ago and documented the trip to share with everyone on RIDE & WANDER.
RIDE & WANDER: How long have you been riding?
Jason Markos: I passed my test in 2006 and then bought a 2002 F650GS Dakar… mostly as a trial. That year, I ended up hardly using my car and put 13,000 miles on the bike. Since then, I now own 5 bikes, have failed to sell any of them and continue to ride year round.
RW: What got you interested in adventure riding?
JM: I’ve always liked doing ‘outdoorsy’ stuff, and combining riding a motorcycle with getting muddy seemed like a logical conclusion. Also, I’d be lying if I didn’t give some credit to the Long Way Round!
RW: What does adventure riding mean to you?
JM: To me, it means a range of things: seeing new places, enjoying the countryside, challenging yourself – physically, mentally and your riding technique… and if you can do it with friends, even better!
RW: Where did you go on your trip?
JM: Bruce, my brother, has only been riding for a year but has been getting stuck in with the off-road riding. The plan was to do our first overnight trip with trails. Starting from the Cotswolds, we headed to Marlborough to get some lunch. It’s a beautiful old market town and lunch was burgers from a great local butcher.
From Marlborough we headed for Salisbury Plain (often referred to simply as “The Plain”). By British standards, it’s large military training area used by the army for infantry and armour exercises. When not in active use and/or when there is no live firing, much of it can be accessed by the public. It’s a tremendous playground with miles of tracks. The ground is a great mix of mud and chalk, which can be incredibly slippery when wet! After a few hours of hitting some of these trails, taking some photos and me having the only proper wipe-out, we realized we were actually late for the ferry to the Isle of Wight! So, we made a quick dash to Lymington to catch the ferry.
We made the ferry and had a super smooth crossing, but the rain we’d managed to avoid all day was coming in. As we left the ferry, the rain was coming down properly. We only had 20 miles to get to the hotel, however, we still got very wet! Wet enough that I could wring out my boxer shorts! When we got to the hotel, we were a little worried about turning up soaking wet and covered in mud, but Angela from the hotel was very welcoming. Even though they didn’t have parking, she offered to let us ride the bikes up the steps on their front patio. After getting into the hotel, she brought us a towel for us to leave our boots on in the lobby. So it was a great welcome!
The next morning, the rain had cleared and our gear was now only damp, rather than soaking. Getting the bikes out from the front patio took a little work. Unbeknownst to us, there was a massive scooter rally being held only 10 miles away which was definitely worth checking out.
Turning up on a couple large and dirty BMW dirtbikes, we definitely stuck out! It was amazing to see the range of bikes and people – very cool. It was then time to hit some of trails on the island. Though it’s a very small island, it has some great trails and a stunning coastline.
We had to catch the ferry back to the mainland and start the run back to the Cotswolds, but before going straight back, we had an opportunity to go through The New Forest – a unique area in the UK where horses and ponies are allowed free roam of the countryside. An amazing place to ride through.
All that remained was to ride the 100 or so miles home, which in itself is a challenge when you’re as tired as we were! After 350 miles, a couple ferries, a whole lot of trails and mud – we didn’t manage to break anything! Most importantly, with my brother Bruce, we have another convert to adventure riding. It was a successful weekend.
RW: Why did you take this route?
JM: It gave us a great combination countryside, great roads, excellent trails, and ability to tailor the route based on how long we chose to spend at each area.
RW: Besides loving motorcycles, what’s your main gig in life?
JM: Travel, photography, my Land Rover, sailing, fitness… and skiing when I can find the time!
RW: What is a ride/trip that you’re looking forward to in the future?
JM: Having ridden much of Western Europe, I’m embarrassed to say that Scotland is still on the to do list! So probably that one next.
Photos by Bruce & Jason Markos
Follow Jason at @HP2MAV on Instagram