Petra Wetzel Petra Wetzel

I have always loved anything that moves fast. I have been a petrol head for as long as I can remember. In fact, when I was 5 years old I unlocked my dad’s car which was parked outside our house, released the hand break and tried to take my best friend Maja for a drive. We got as far as the fence of the neighbour’s opposite. It wasn’t a terribly long journey and I was grounded for being naughty for a week, but it set the tone for my life of travel. You could say I have a hankering for adventure. Afterall, I don’t even live in the country where I was born. I don’t own a handbag and my fashion style is “questionable”, but I love planes, trains, boats and any other form of transport that gets me to places I’ve never been. 

It was only a matter of time before I was brave enough to learn to ride a big motorbike (I had a Puch scooter when I was 16 to allow me to “escape” the little village in Bavaria as a 16 year old and meet new friends, but it certainly didn’t go anywhere fast). So in late 2020, out of sheer boredom during a quiet spell in the world of brewing (due to a little virus you may have heard of), I decided to add a motorbike licence to my list of achievements. I am delighted to report I passed my test in June 2021. 

Now most people would buy a second hand mid-sized bike and get as much practice near their home under their belt as they can, but I am not good with things that require patience or moderation. When my friend Cameron and I decided to travel to Patagonia for winter 2021/2022, the initial idea of me being the support car for his BMW GS1250 quickly turned into both of us riding a bike and therefore a reason to accelerate my motorbike skills. I needed to get some serious riding under my belt before travelling through Chile & Argentina on a motorbike. Patagonia has a lot of gravel roads which even to experienced bikers can pose a challenge, so I had to learn to master a non-tarmac road surface.

I am writing this introduction to, what I hope will become my motorbike learning journey, on the eve of our “practice holiday” to Iceland in August 2021. If anyone who reads this now pauses and thinks: “What is she thinking? She must be crazy. Iceland is just as difficult as Patagonia and a road trip there is the dream of many a motorcyclist after many years of riding and NOT your first ever trip”… I hear you, folks. Remember you are talking to the girl who aged 5 tried to drive her dad’s car…

In fact, I’ll let you into a little secret. Cameron had to ride the first 600 miles on my new BMW 850GS as I was away visiting my parents in Bavaria when it arrived so the bike could have its first service before we left for Iceland. And I have possibly broken the record of how many times I have dropped my brand-new bike on my first few journeys on it. I won’t lie. Even I have questioned whether I may have bitten off a bit more than I can chew, but I guess you’ll have to read this journal to find out.

My SIDI riding boots are not made for women. They are simply the smallest size available for men. Most motorbike shops’ women’s clothing section is a total afterthought, which just demonstrates how few women ride big bikes. I would love to change that. I am going on a journey which excites and scares me in equal measures. Just like my brewing journey did in 2006. Learning and discovering make us humans and if my travel journal can show that taking oneself out of one’s comfort zones allows us to have wonderful adventures, then maybe it will inspire others.

My travel companion Cameron is an inspiration to me. He doesn’t do “conventional” either which makes us true kindred spirits. He is a much more experienced biker than I am, but he is also a realist and I doubt he would put himself or me in danger. His belief in me makes me even more determined that I can do this. Cameron will always be the man behind the images of this journal. He has a wonderful eye for all things visual. I’ll provide the words. I guess you could call this “PC Travel” though considering the amount of swearing we both do, I cannot vouch for the language.

If you are reading this and would like to keep up with our adventures visit our travel journal here >

You can also follow us on Instagram at @thescottishcameronphair and @petra.wetzel