Ian Lamming heads out with a Honda for a pilgrimage to remember
Ian Lamming heads out with a Honda for a pilgrimage to remember

THERE are 46,000 motorcycles stretched out in a row from London to Cumbria, what a sight.

Well-wishers line the road and cram overhead bridges to pay homage to a hairy biker who was taken from us too soon.

At the head of Dave Myers’ commemorative cavalcade is his friend Si King and widow Lilianna resplendent on two wheels.

I should be with them on my Ducati but I’m not, I’m with a Honda. Not on a Honda but in one, the latest CR-V Hybrid and I’m loving the attention.

Motorcycles take up surprisingly little room, unlike cars, and the roads into Barrow for Dave Day are devoid of four wheelers, save mine. Straight in, park up and it’s off to enjoy the celebrations and it’s just as easy getting out of town.

It’s a seminal day, one for the memoires and I’ll remember the car that transported me there and back.

New CR-V has a Civic-esque look about it but pumped up to make it a usefully sized SUV. I like the bold new face and tidy rear and it stands out more than previous models.

I say sizable because it is. Great North Swim time – what a busy weekend we are having – sees five adults slot nicely inside in comfort and the huge boot swallows the wetsuits, change of clothes, dry robes and pots of Vaseline to stop any chaffing.

The interior is tidy too. There is a virtual dash and touchscreen but also plenty of knobs and buttons for the primary functions, which suits me so much better. Even the gears are buttons – D for drive, R for reverse and P for park – it could not be easier. There’s a really excellent 12 speaker Bose sound system to enjoy as well.

There is also a switch for modes allowing you to shift between economy, normal and sport. It is smooth and quiet trundling along in the first two settings before sport unleashes the full 184PS and 335Nm of torque, which makes it a decent performer and hill climber. It flies past the slow stuff in the crawler lane on a steep incline and as the revs rise it takes on the pleasing cacophony of one of Honda’s four cylinder motorcycles – how fitting.

Hybrids are the thing of the moment as the world struggles to come to terms with switching from internal combustion to electricity, a jump that is too far for many motorists. Like others on the market it shifts from petrol to electric seamlessly and does all the charging for you on the hoof without the need to plug in.

So is the CR-V economical? Well, only just. It’s better than some but not as good as others and even driving with the right foot of a ballerina sees a maximum of 44 miles per gallon on the trip computer read-out. That said, it’s not bad offering a tank range of more than 500 miles and has many merits that will keep it in my memory for a long time – along with the tribute to Dave of course.

Fact File

Honda CR-V Advance e:HEV

Engine: 2.0 petrol + electric

Power: 18P4S

0-62mph: 9.0 secs

Top speed: 116mph

Combined MPG: 42.8

Transmission: CVT automatic, AWD

CO2 g/km: 129

Price: £50,025