In January 2010, my SV and myself celebrated 100.000km together, we had covered them in less tan 5 years.
Life is like a twisty and bumpy road, and the following year, we were leaving Barcelona to go (together) to live in Paris. Although Paris is “glamour” for most people, it’s not the best place to enjoy motorbikes as it’s ALL FLAT, you have to ride for 400km before you find some twisties. So that while living there, the yearly kilometres average went down quite a bit.
In spite of not using it every day, it was when living in Paris that we went furthest away with our bikes until now:
Ireland for our Honeymoon trip –which would change our lives- (click on the pics to access to the corresponding posts)
and the following year to Czech Republic,
We also had some opportunities to discover a little bit of France, mainly the East part:
and Les Vosges:
area that I didn’t know at all.
In 2015 we moved again, this time to Ireland. During the first year or so, we had good opportunities to keep knowing this beautiful country, with areas we didn’t know yet, including the one where we now live:
And also some longer holidays to visit co. Antrim
From mid-2016, the kilometres then became almost nothing, with the birth of our daughter Emma. In 2015-2016 we did about 5000km, and since then, I’d say about 500 lol .
Anyway, what’s important is not quantity but quality, and even if we didn’t take the bike as much since the 100.000km, we have discovered more distant places with very different people.
So finally, on the first Saturday of September, coming back from having breakfast in Ballyhoura Mountains,
my SV and myself celebrated our 150.000km together.
Since 2010, apart from usual servicing and tyres changing, this is what we did:
-Before leaving Barcelona, we changed the clutch. It was not giving any problem, but it was “just in case” as we didn’t know when we would find a trustful mechanic again.
-On our way to Paris, I changed for the first time the battery. We changed it again in 2017, for lack of use of the bike and probably excess of humidity around.
-For our honeymoon trip we bought a Givi topbox and Givi rigid saddle bags with SV-MOTECH frame, very handy for long trips.
-I changed the rider seat as the padding had been damaged during the ferry trip. I also changed the screen as it had been scratched in 2005, during my stay in sweet Marseille…
-When we arrived in Ireland, I had to change the exhaust seal, as it had completely fallen apart.
-The only recurrent problem I had with the bike in 150.000km was that when it rained A LOT and for a long time, some water would get into the front cylinder sparkplug cavity, and after a while the bike would run on one cylinder and stop. When we arrived in Ireland we changed the sparkplug cap. In the following long trip we did to the North, we had some rain on the way back and I had no problem. Last month on our way back from the Munster 100, Juan rode my bike for 40km under heavy rain and the bike showed no issue.
So given that I don’t use the bike too often, and that when I use it I now try to avoid rainy days, I guess we won’t have the problems for many years now. Lol
-During our Holidays 2016, the bike was refusing to start every now and then. In Ballymoney they diagnosed a fault of the starter motor and told us how to start the bike when that happened as they didn’t have the spares for repairing. When we came back Juan bought the little parts inside the starter motor and repaired it. Working perfect since.
-We removed the heating grips that stopped working a while back, and we put back the original grips. If I’m going to use the bike to do max 500km per year, I don’t think I’ll take her out when it’s too cold outside anyway LOL.
After 150.000km I’ve still no intention of letting her go, I’m still very happy with her and no recent motorbike really attracts me. So even if I only use her for 500km per year, when I do go for a spin I really enjoy every single kilometre.
So now I suppose it will take us a few year to get to celebrate 200.000km, but the objective is just enjoying with her every single kilometre, on nice twisty roads, surrounded by beautiful landscapes and with the best company!
Our Holidays 2016 started here: Antrim Coast & Glens.
And we also went to the NorthWest 200.
For our second week our destination was Donegal, where we took some rest and enjoyed a few ride-outs with the bikes.
We had booked a selfcatering for the whole week in Falcarragh, co. Donegal. It’s a small village but with everything necessary (shops, cafes, pubs, restaurantes…). The house was outside of the village but close enough and within walking distance (by day).
We had most days of very nice weather, and a few with rain. The rainy days were spent resting and reading in the living room with beautiful views…
We went for 3 spins on the bikes during the week:
The “national roads” are quite in good condition and very pleasant with the bikes, with some nice twisties and everything to enjoy a motorbike spin. The secondary roads can be quite bumpy for our sport bikes, but if you take your time, you can enjoy them anyway with any kind of bike. The landscapes are amazing, with turf fields all around, mountains and seaviews. If I had to compare with somewhere else I’d say it is much like the Connemara but with more houses around (but it’s still very rural!).
Bloody Foreland Parking
This year Ireland was commemorating 100 years of the Easter Rising, and the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, which led to the Irish Independence in 1922 and the separation in 2 of the island of Ireland.
In Memory of the victims of the Great Famine
The second ride-out was to go down to see the famous Slieve League cliffs.
They are not as famous as the Cliffs of Moher in co. Clare, but they are not less nice either, and for sure they are less touristic.
We took the N56 down, the road is mint, except for some roadworks that were on to retarmac at one point, which would cause traffic jam. So I guess next year it will be perfect! We took that road down to Killybegs and then the R263 to Carrigan Head. There is a carpark where you can park and proceed walking, as there is a fence for cows and sheeps, BUT you can open the fence and proceed with the bike (or car) up to the end of the road, on the cliffs themselves where there is some room to park. Just make sure you close the fence after you.
If you decide to go up walking, it is very nice also, but not quite practical with the motorbike gear on, so it is better to go to the end with the bikes (unlike ourselves, although I had read that we could take the bikes to the end on the very useful website www.roadtrooper.com we didn’t follow the advice, and we would have arrived to the cliffs a little bit less tired… ). At the end of the road, there is a truck with some refreshments and icecreams. We had brought our sandwiches, so we just bought some cans and later treated ourselves with a nice icecream in the sun with beautiful views…
The cliffs are beautiful, the sun was shining and we also had some amazing views over the rest of the coastline and several surrounding islands. I had a short walk up the cliffs. The walk proceeds further up but I went back soon as I was already tired with the first part of the walk and also because the temperature varied 10 degrees every time a cloud would get passed the sun…
So we went back to the bikes after enjoying the cliffs, and took the R263 again and then on the left in Carrick, to Glencolumbkill, and then the R230 that brings you back to the N56 just before Ardara. That part of the itinerary was not ideal for our bikes as it was quite bumpy. Though the landscapes around were amazing, particularly when going over the Valley that can be seen from Glengesh Pass.
The third ride-out was to go to Horn Head, which is a short way from Falcarragh, the weather that day started quite cloudy and we didn’t feel like going for a long spin…
The last part is quite bumpy, but the landscapes are beautiful, with green and brown fields and mountains that drown into the ocean.
We had some time to enjoy the view, come back and stop in Dunfahagany for lunch, and after lunch it started to rain..
The last “spin” was actually a walk down to Falcarragh beach. Unfortunately I didn’t take the camera, the sun was shining and this beach is just amazing, with beautiful views to Tory Island from a white sand beach and sand dunes covered with grass. We will have to come back…
After one week enjoying co. Donegal, on 22nd of May it was time to go back home. Just when we were ready to go, it started to rain… So we waited for a while until it rained less, and went. All the way down we had a mix of showers and sun, and also some hail… and for sure more than one rainbows…
In the last filling station close to Portlaoise, my bike stalled. It looked like the battery had enough. A nice lad helped us pushing to start it again…
After some more rain, we finally got home around 8pm, quite tired with the tension of riding in the rain. Juan put my bike in the garage and we heard some “clong” and some bike part fell on the ground… It was the counterweight of the right handlebar :O
But at least we had arrived!!!
This year we had our holidays in May. The plan was to spend both weeks in Ireland, one in Northern Ireland, and the other in the North of Republic of Ireland, Donegal. We planned the dates to coincide with the NorthWest200.
We left on a Sunday morning after a day to rest a little and prepare everything. With the stuffs packed the day before (for the first time in many years), we had breakfast with no rush, and while I finished packing and put some order at home, Juan was mounting the luggage on the motorbikes.
Finally we left around 10am. Around 10.15, we stopped to fill in the tanks a few kilometres away. After filling, I want to turn on the bike. Nothing happens. I have the dziiiiiii noise when I turn on the key, but when I push the starter button it makes tactactac… and doesn’t start. We had something similar happening a few years ago in Cuenca (Spain), and by then it was my anti-theft chain under the seat that was producing a short circuit with some cable and blew the fuse.
We took out the chain, and after a while, the bike started again, and we finally left around 10.40, close to 11.00am, our usual time lol . We went on the motorway most of the way, with 3 or 4 stops to fill the tank and/or eat/drink. At every single stop the bike started without any problem. Just before 6.00pm and 520km later, we arrived to our destination, in Armoy, where we would spend our first week, in the same place where we stayed during our honeymoon travel.
After unloading all our stuffs, we thought about going for dinner in Ballycastle, on the coast. I turned on the key, tried to start, but then again, NOTHING happened. Again the same problem! After checking for a while all cables and fuses, we decided to leave it to the next day and go for dinner… walking, as I didn’t have a bike and Juan’s is single seater since he changed the exhausts… So there we went…
After dinner and buying some basic stuffs in Armoy’s shop, we went back. On the way back I thought that when we turn on the bike, the lights are on, and lately we had a problem with a connector of the lights. So maybe this had something to do. So we would try to turn on with full beam lights. When back to the bike, while I was looking for a torch, I heard the bike started 🙂 . Well then, the problem is not solved but it looks like the bike starts from time to time. If not, we have a problem as we are 35km away from the NorthWest200 which we came to see, and public transport is “kind of” limited around… So let’s see what’s happening next. This is the end of a first day full of surprises, we have no clue why the bike stopped, why it started again close to home and on the way, and why not now. No logical explanation but at least we made it there, this might be “The Luck of the Irish”…
The next day we took our time to sleep as the bike should start, and planned to go for breakfast in Armoy. Juan tries to start the bike, but the battery sounds weak and the bike doesn’t start. Now we have 2 problems, the whatever problem and the battery that now is weak for asking more than usual…
Finally it started and we went to Armoy but the place where we wanted to have breakfast was closed. So we followed to Ballycastle, fingers crossed that the bike still starts. We had breakfast in the café of the hotel in the sea front.
We went back to the accommodation to take a bagpack and nets and went to Coleraine to pick up the NorthWest200 tickets. I forgot to take the indications to get to the ticket office, and for some reason I thought it was in Coleraine, on the road to Portrush (the circuit is a triangle connecting Portstewart, Coleraine and Portrush), and it is quite long (not fit for walking it!). After a few loops around Coleraine, we stopped to ask to a lad with a Joey Dunlop tee-shirt, for sure he would know! We followed the indications, and we had to stop again for asking. But we were not far away as we were surrounded by protection bales, grandstands and signs on next chicanes and bends 😉 . Well at last we found the ticket office (which is in Portrush, not in Coleraine) and picked up the tickets. We also asked about the parking facilities and if they knew about any Suzuki dealer around, but were told to look on the internet… On the walk back to the bikes I almost bumped into a bearded man on a mini electric bike… it was Bruce Anstey lol .
We asked to 2 men about the dealer, and they told us to ask to a man with a van selling road racing stuffs. He was very kind to look into the program for the name and address of the Suzuki dealer who sponsors the NW, in Ballymoney, and told us that it was just in front of Joey’s Bar, so we couldn’t miss it!
I forgot to mention that there was a heatwave over Ireland, that had started the previous day, we were with short sleeves at 7.00pm, which is not usual in Ireland, less in May. And for some reason, this was the first time ever that we go on holidays without our summer gloves. And the winter gloves, mainly in the villages, were becoming quite unbearable.
We arrived to Ballymoney and went straight to Joey’s Bar and yes, just in front of the bar there was that huge Suzuki and Ducati dealer: Millsport Motorcycles. We got in and explained the problem, and they told us to leave the key and that a mechanics would have a look after lunch time.
So we took advantage to go for some refreshments at Joey’s Bar, while looking at Joey Dunlop’s RC30. After a coke and cleaning the visors (that’s the problem with the heat, all insects are flying to their death on the bikers visors), I was going for a second round when I saw by the window that a mechanics was taking down my bike back to the yard. So there we went and the mechanics told us that this was not an electrical problem, nor a battery problem. This was the starter motor that got stuck from time to time. He showed us how to unblock it if it happened again. They couldn’t change it as they didn’t have the spare part, but he told us that it could wait for us to be back home, as the bike would not let us down for that, we could follow with our trip without worries.
As they didn’t want any money for the diagnostic and the solution, we bought each a pair of summer gloves, as it was quite dangerous to ride like this anyway. I also had to take off the jacket lining. Then back to the bikes we stayed a while chatting with more people from the dealer who were happy to see a SV with 145.000km 😉 , they probably don’t see one everyday.
Then we went for a place to eat, which we didn’t find in Ballymoney so we went back to Ballycastle, where we had a fish&chips on a terrace on the seafront. Then we had some rest on the seaside, there were bikers and bikes everywhere. We did some basic shopping for the night and the following day (so basic that we forgot half of the stuff) and went back to the accommodation, happy for having the bike problem temporarily solved.
Tuesday was the first day of Practice of the NorthWest 200. For the NW 200 report, it’s HERE. Tuesday was Practice day, Thursday was Practice in the morning and Racing in the afternoon, and Saturday was Race day all day.
On Wednesday we had planned to go back to the Ballymoney dealer to change the back tyre of Juan’s bike. We didn’t change it before going on holidays as we knew that it would get squared on our way after 500km of straight line…
We couldn’t wake up early but we finally made it to Ballymoney “between showers”, without getting wet. While they were changing the tyre we had a look around the shop for the bikes, and I sat on the new so-called SV, which has so few left of mine. It looks half mine, the tank looks half of it (probably more comfortable?), and the frame is the Gladius’. The back seat is very small, probably even less comfortable than mine. All has been lost of the nice wasp silhouette of the original SV. The only positive thing in my opinion is that it has a lower and narrower seat, so I get better to the ground… But I defo keep mine! They also had one beautiful original SV for sale, in blue and white painting, beautiful. If I needed a second bike I would buy it straight away!
Then we went to Joey’s Bar for some refreshment, sitting outside in the sun. After a good while and for the second round, Juan came back with a Spanish couple from Tenerife, Laura & Víctor, who were coming to the NorthWest200 for the second year in a row and were also taking some time to visit Ireland. We stayed there chatting for quite a while and another round of 0.0’. Until we decided that it was time for a bite. You might not believe it but in the meantime in the sun, I got some suntan… or got a little bit sunburnt actually… After picking the bike we went to the parking in front of the museum, and tried a café next, but they only had sandwiches and similar. But the very nice barmaid told us to go to the main street, that there were plenty of places to eat properly. So we ended up the 4 of us in a pub, where we spent a good while.
Then we went back to the car park to say goodbye, and a group of French bikers arrived, and we started to chat also. They also came for the NorthWest200 for the second year in a row. They wanted to go to the museum but it was closed by then (I think it was already 6.00pm…), so finally they headed to Joey’s Bar and we said goodbye to Víctor and Laura.
Friday was also a sunny day. After a quiet breakfast we decided to take advantage of this glorious sunny day to go for a spin with the bikes. At the dealer, a client had advised us to take the coast road from Cushendal and anticlockwise. So I prepared an itinerary from Armoy to get to Cushendal through the nicest way. The truth is that there is a mount above Armoy that always grabbed my attention, and I was curious to know what was up there. So I checked the map and planned the itinerary through that mount.
And there we went: the fact is that the itinerary was also well indicated on the road, even though it was easy to find with the map. We soon found a narrow road in the middle of the mountain, surrounded with brown turf fields, and not much more. The road was good but we had to be careful with some loose gravel from time to time. Then the road went through a softwood, and then more turf fields. In Ireland they still use the turf as a fuel, it is taken out of the soil, cut in long and narrow prisms and let on the ground to dry.
We then stopped for enjoying beautiful view over the valley.
On the way down we found sheeps and lambs on the road, and then the coast on the horizon. The way down came quite abruptly to be honest, and we would find again this kind of roads of very sharp slopes… why make the road longer with bends… 😉
We arrived to Cushendal and to a carpark after the village, then went back to the village for a second breakfast (on that side they call the Irish Breakfast “Ulster Fry” but it’s much the same kind of nice full breakfast!) on the terrace of a hotel. Next to us was another biker who started to chat with us and ended up giving us many tips on roads to take that day and also in Donegal for the following week… Then we chatted with another biker who was on a trip with his son, and finally we headed for the road again.
We followed the advice and proceeded to Cushendun and then to Torr Head. The view from the road was amazing, the road is narrow but in very good condition (only some loose gravel from time to time), with sharp slopes upwards and downwards, and hardly any traffic. There are many places to stop to take pics without obstructing the scarce traffic, and in some others we had to abandon the idea of taking pics as it was impossible to park the bikes without them falling…
We tried our way to Torr Head, but as we arrived to the “village”, a driver coming that way informed us that the road was quite bumpy and bad for our bikes. So we parked the bikes and went for a short walk to check… We did well, there were a series of bends on a sharp slope, that looked quite worse than the Stelvio… So we took a few pics of the beautiful views and followed suit…
Then our “guide” had recommended to go to Balintoy Harbour, and so we did. It is very small but with a large car park and a bar with a terrace, ideal for the bikers rest with great views. We just took some pics and went away. There were bikers everywhere there too.
We went back to the main coastal road, which is very nice but with much more traffic, and a few bikers whom I don’t know how they are still alive with that kind of riding, overtaking on upward slopes without any visibility and other similar dangerous riding.
The idea was to go to Portrush, and take some pics around the circuit and then go to the paddock. We didn’t think that EVERYBODY else had exactly the same idea… All around the circuit and the starting grid straight were packed with bikes and cars in both ways. We were lucky and found to park both bikes just in front of the podium.
We left the bikes there and went for a walk around the paddock. Many racers were there: Dean Harrison, Michael Rutter, Davy Morgan, Alastair Seeley, Lee Johnson, Michael Dunlop and then Hutchy signing autographs. I also took advantage to buy Liam Beckett’s book, “Full Throttle”, about him Robert Dunlop. A book I highly recommend.
After a first round we stopped for a refreshment next to our neighbours from the accommodation, who were a very nice couple and who happened to be friends with Tyco BMW team owner. But after another while chatting with an old man who couldn’t stop criticising every single racer, we left for another round. It was then after 7.00pm and we went back to rest.
Sunday was farewell time, we said goodbye to the nice couple, who offered us a CD from the music band where he used to sing/play.
While I was still packing, Juan was trying to put the luggage on the bikes while he was chatting with everybody who was stopping to talk about the races 😉 . Finally, as usual, we left at 11.00am, overpacked, mainly Juan. We just saw that my topbox rack was sometimes touching the bike back tail, probably for a combination of overweight and bumpy roads, so we took things out of the topbox and put them mainly in Juan’s luggage… so he was now so overpacked that he could hardly incline in the bends and I had to wait for him after each roundabout lol .
We went westward, to the Northern-West part of the Republic of Ireland. We had booked a self-catering in Falcarragh, co. Donegal. We followed the GPS so didn’t get lost. We came across a rally of Classic trucks, very nice, during a few kilometres.
We stopped by a chance in a very nice teashop after the village of Kilmacrenan, where they served full breakfast until late. They were beautifully maintained thatched cottages, and we could enjoy a full breakfast under Donegal sun.
There was a fresh breeze but it was very nice in the sun.
As it was still early we took our time for breakfast as we had said we’d arrive at 5.00pm…
Finally, after a last road with nice twisties and beautiful views, we arrived to the selfcatering, much earlier but the nice couple was already there finishing the cleaning and painting and we chatted with them a good while.
The place was very nice, with incredible views to the sea and Tory Island, with a nice terrace to enjoy the sun in front of the bikes and with the sea at the back.
A perfect way to start our second week of holidays…
Our first holidays week we were in Czech Republic to watch a road race: Czech Republic TT
After one week in Czech Republic, we went to our next stop, chosen on a rainy day with the map and some luck: Austria. The truth is that we made a mistake when booking, and we were lucky to end up in a very nice place at about 50km of Vienna, close to a mountain. We had booked a small house with a balcony with views to the fields and mountains. The owners had a farm and fields and were very very nice. It took me 1 week to remember some German studied long ago, but their son luckily spoke perfect English, so it was nicer for communication.
We took some hours to cover the 380km, we got lost, we found ourselves in the middle of a Harley charity ride after Vienna, and we had to follow their pace on the motorway during 30km… and when we arrived at about 6.15pm, the supermarket was about to close and we had nothing for dinner nor for breakfast. The owners indicated us a restaurant in the village where we had a very nice dinner (though we had rain on our way back).
The first day in Austria was spent in: having breakfast (optional with the rent: with homemade products like jam, bread, brioche, strawberries and blueberries from their garden, and so on… sooo good!), going to buy some food for the week, resting, and going for a walk around to see where we were.
The second day we went for our first “twisties” ride out. When we went out it was sunny, but we could see some clouds on the horizon. Being a mountain area, there is always a possibility of rain. The road was full of corners, and of bikers (with signals inviting bikers to slow down… and loads of bars indicating “bikers welcome”), probably the playground of Viennese bikers…
When we stopped to eat our picnic in a small village, it started to rain. Though there was one table under a small roof… so that was perfect!
Then we went again, first putting on our rain gear, as there were some quite bad clouds on the horizon… And it did start to rain… We missed a cross, and we started to go down by another road, first quite “flat”, but then quite steep, and quite wet… during 55km… we were not going too fast I’d say…
After a short stop in a petrol station to rest a little, we finally got to the motorway to get “home” quicker. It had stopped raining… not for long. After about 15km (of 90 we had to do) it started pouring down on us, with those kind of summer storm that usually lasts 15mn maximum… except that this one lasted about 70km… at some stage we could hardly see anything… We were lucky that there were quite a lot of tunnels on our way, one of more than 5km, but it was worst when we could see the end of the tunnel and outside it was still the same! First my gloves got soaked through, and then the rest in some places… We finally arrived, and the most difficult part was to find enough places to hang everything for drying…
The next day we wanted to go to see an Enduro race at about 15km, but everything was still completely wet (suits, helmets, gloves, boots). So we put everything on the balcony (it was sunny) and we took the day to rest. With loads of newspaper in the gloves and boots…
The next day it was 15th of August and it was bank holiday there. It was sunny again, so we decided to go back to the place to complete the ride out we had to shorten the first day. This time we had good weather and good temperature, and we could ride all day with loads of corners and nice landscapes without getting wet.
The next day we had some rest and went for a walk between fields and forest.
At last we had to leave this wonderful place with so nice people, to get back little by little to reality and end of holidays.
But we first had a last stage (well, really we did not want to come back lol), in a small hotel at about 20km of Innsbruck: still in Austria, and also in the Alps, in the “Tyrol” area. We got up at 5.00am, and after breakfast and finalising the packing, we started… well, I started, because Juan’s bike would not fire… After half an hour she finally decided to fire (maybe she didn’t want to go back either…) and we finally left just before 8.00…. We had a 430km trip to do. It took us 11 hours to get there, because the landscapes were so nice and we just had to stop to take pictures ;D .
We went through some passes, one of them with toll.
In Austria you can travel on the motorway buying a tax disk. For the motorbikes it costed 4,90€ for 10 days. Then you can have other roads (usually with tunnels or mountain passes) which have to be paid apart. We did not know that. The best would have been to buy the tax disk for passes (13€ for 10 days) to travel through this area and avoid surprises. But as we did not know we just bought the tax disk for this pass (5,50€ one way per bike). The landscapes from one side and the other of the pass were well worth the cost of it though…
Going up to Gerlosspass
View over Speicher Durlassboden
The road was also in very good conditions. At last as it was starting to be late, we went back to the motorway until past Innsbruck. A very nice motorway, with mountains all around. The hotel was close to Seefeld in Tirol, and we arrived at about 7.30pm. The dinner time was over in the hotel (dinner was at 6.30) so we had to go to another restaurant in the village where they served dinner until 9.30pm (not many… some Italians arrived some time after us and they were not served…).
The area was very nice also, with mountains all around, which we could see between 2 clouds…
The first day started with rain while we were having breakfast. Anyway after the previous day “small trip” we preferred to rest a little. But the hotel owner did not let us, and gave us a map and advice to go for a small walk (supposedly 1h40) above the village through the forest, to a place with nice views. So we started to walk, the path was well indicated in the forest. The problem was that along all the path there were strawberries and blueberries all over the place, so that we were stopping all the time to eat (me mostly…) and after 1h30 walking we hadn’t even reached a restaurant we could see from the village.
We finally got to the restaurant (which was closed) and we tried to find the path to the views, but it was all muddy and we had not the right shoes for that, and besides it started to rain, so we went back to the restaurant to eat our picnic under a small roof, and waited for the rain to stop… At one time we were completely surrounded by the clouds, and it was beautiful, but by the time I took the camera out, they were gone… at last the rain was less strong and we went back down by a shorter and steeper path.
The next and last day we had planned a trip to the famous “Passo dello Stelvio” which seemed to be quite “close” (about 155km), and come back through “Passo del Rombo”- but this last was with toll (11€ x bike), so we decided to go back through “Jaufen Pass/Passo di Monte Giovo”.
So there we go, with a small diversion through Switzerland as the “Reschenpass/Passo di Resia” was cut for works. Beautiful views and wonderful roads.
We finally arrived to the famous road by Trafoi. I think I will never forget my try to go up the Passo dello Stelvio… but because I had such a bad time. First corner, I find myself in the middle of the opposite lane… good start 🙁 . We go on. Second, third corner (the worst thing is that the corners are numbered, starting with nr 48 and down…), the road is very narrow, you have to open to the opposite lane to take the corners, but most of the time you don’t see if someone is coming down… If someone is coming down, you can’t open and you end up on the other side of the road on the upper part. That’s what happened to me on the 6th corner… with 2 motorbikes coming down… 🙁 and I got really scared. We had to stop and come back down (with Juan leading) after Juan turned my motorbike. It was not easier going down… 🙁
Back to Trafoi we parked the bikes and went to eat some giant, good and cheap pizzas and I tried to put my head together again…
My big problem with those corners is that I do not get too well to the floor, and the road is not flat (on the sides) either. Sometimes I ended up with only one foot touching the floor (when waiting for vehicles to get through on the other side) and apart from the kind of corners I am not used to, I got scared of falling, which was not in our holidays plans… and got very nervous.
After getting my nerves back, Juan convinced me to go up to the path, but with my bike only, and him driving. It was worth a second try and there we went with one bike. The clouds had gone and the snowy peaks were clear, it was just beautiful. We bought the Stelvio sticker and postcards for the family (they stamp them as the higher Alps path- as it seems that the supposedly higher path in the Alps “Col de l’Iseran” in France did some trick to get to the 2770m), and took some pictures. We saw that the road on the other side seemed to be quite better, and we went back to Trafoi to get Juan’s bike back. We went back through the same way as with all that it was quite late and we would not arrive before night if we took the first planned road.
So if we come back there some day, we will take the road from the other side, unless I get another motorbike, easier to handle… (which is not planned for now!).
Well, holidays were coming to an end, next day was Friday and we had to go back home. Supposedly 900 and something kilometres, most through German motorways, but we had 2 problems: 1- We started late AND 2- I didn’t want to go back so I said that we could avoid the motorways and stop one more night somewhere if necessary…
This got us to problem number 3: we took the “Fernpass”, and it seems that ALL the German, ALL the trucks, ALL the motorhomes… took it also, and then we went along the “BodenSee”, giant lake between Switzerland and Germany, where it seems that ALL Swiss and German go to spend the week-end… So it was quite a nightmare of traffic jams… We finally went out of the nightmare and arrived in Colmar, France at about 5.00pm. But we wanted now to get home, and we decided to go on to Nancy, but instead of the tunnel we took a nice road with corners. Bad idea, there was another traffic jam due to an accident, and it took 1 hour to cover 20km…
We stopped for dinner and rest a little, and we went back to the motorway, with a 100km detour to Troyes, but we had no choice, it was too exhausting to go on through smaller roads. We finally arrived at 2.00am, after 17 hours on the bikes, beaten and with a welcoming downpour half an hour before arriving… Welcome back to Paris! End of the good things!
The 2 days resting before going back to work were not too many!
Holidays 2014: 5076km, 1000 pictures (350 after sorting them out), 6 borders crossed, 1 Deluge, a few passes up and down, wonderful landscapes, nice and interesting talks with nice people, a lot of improvisation (the last one not the best), and a great lot of smiles.
If you have missed the first week it’s here:
And the second is here:
On Monday, we were on the road again, for our 3rd week holiday, 547km and 6 hours according to Google…
Here is the global map of the trip (excepting the small rides in each area):
No problem on the road, some heavy (but short) showers, and some stress because we had not refuelled before leaving Armoy, and we did more than 100km without seeing a petrol station (on the motorway), until Juan got the great idea to turn on the Tom Tom and see that we had to go out of the motorway to find a petrol station… 230km since the last refuel, and 20km already on reserve for him…
We finally arrived to our destination, Killarney, at the end of the afternoon, quite tired by the travel and the rain. This time in B&B.
First day there we went for the “Ring of Kerry”, very nice landscapes, nice views there too…
but some parts of the road are quite in a bad state… and on the way back we got stuck behind a slow car and then a truck with no possibility to overtake. We were wrecked…
Last day was very rainy, so we went to Killarney center to get some “souvenirs”. And the best memory of Killarney is a nice chat with a nice local man in a pub there at night.
Holidays were coming to their end…
We left on Thursday to Rosslare, 260km, 3h30 according to Google. A little more, with rain all morning. It stopped raining just before Waterford, and we finally arrived quite dry to our last B&B.
Nice people there, very welcoming (and bikers). We went to a pub nearby for dinner, very good food and very good service. And our last pints of Guinness/Bulmers.
It was so nice that we went back the day after for lunch before taking the ferry.
The trip back was quite unpleasant for me (and so for Juan!) as the sea was not too calm, and I got sick…
When we arrived to Cherbourg, we had to get used to drive on the other side again, and got back to reality… An Irish car just out of the ferry overtook us (it was limited at 90km/h but it was 2 lanes, and I did not see any signal) and got chased by French police who made him go out to the next exit to fine him… Welcome back to France and nice French habits! :/ Welcome back to reality, end of the holidays…
We arrived home by those boring roads and had one day to rest.
I remembered Ireland as a very nice country with welcoming people, and I found a wonderful country with wonderful people…
Honeymoon trip: 3599,3km of Happiness.
In 2013 we had a special holiday trip as it was our Honeymoon trip. The destination: Ireland. Why? I had been 3 times in Ireland (when I was young), twice for summer “language study” and once for 7 months when I was a student. I always had good memories and I had promised to myself that I would come back some day. I also wanted Juan to know this country to share this with him. So that was a good excuse!
We took a little bit of time to prepare the trip, we bought the cases for the SV, put the maintenance up to date, and wrote never-ending lists of things not to forget (this is me).
Before I knew Juan, I always prepared my things much in advance. But since a while now, we always end up packing at the last minute (I still use the list thing though!) the same morning as we go, and we always end up leaving at 11am…
So it was a nice morning of 13th of July, and we were ready to go, at about 11am… 😉
The idea for the trip was to avoid the tolls and take National Road 12 in Versailles, and then go through Evreux, Dreux, Lisieux, Caen and spend the night in Bayeux. I have my manual GPS on with the indications, as a piece of paper stuck on the tank, and Juan has the real GPS as a Tom Tom (wedding present of my dear father-in-law, thanks a million!) in case that mine got wrong 😉 (and it was quite useful… mine went wrong a few times lol).
A quiet and boring trip, stopping for sandwiches, with a nice weather, sunny but not too warm… we were on holidays!
We arrived in Bayeux around 4-5 pm, just to have some time to visit the cathedral and go for dinner…
Dinner took too long to arrive, and we just went back to the hotel to sleep, we didn’t even hear the fireworks celebrating the National Day…
The day after, we went just after breakfast to Cherbourg, to take the ferry.
We arrived (too) early, and we had to wait with a big pizza lunch, and then get to the harbour for boarding (2 hours before) and wait together with all cars, vans, caravans, motorbikes, trucks, and wondering how we would all get in.
One hour before leaving, they called us: motorbikes first. We got separated for parking, my motorbike on the left and Juan’s in the middle. Which was first not too much of a problem, but then when there were 3 rows of cars in the middle, parked very tightly, and us loaded with all our luggage (we didn’t know then that we could leave the luggage on the motorbikes so we had things all over the luggage) it happened not to be very practical. Well. The guys told me “ok, you fasten your bike” and I had no clue how to put this stuff. A nice Belgian couple next to me helped me to fasten it (well, really he fastened it for me…). Then I went across the cars to see how Juan was doing with his bike. He actually had a big problem: when he fastened the strap on the left hand side, the motorbike was falling to the right. And when we tried to fasten it to the right hand side, it was also falling to the right… We had to desperately ask for help to the ferry guys, who solved the problem with a pair of blocks under the suspension arm and it stood still. At last we got all our things together and got to our cabin.
After a good shower we went out to “visit” the ferry and see it go out to the sea. The sea was very calm and everybody was outside.
The trip was very pleasant (16 hours), there is everything in there: pubs, restaurants, cinema, shop… with quite normal prices (they could put whatever price as we have no choice to go somewhere else… but no).
We had a bonus sunset, the company of 3 gannets, a sandwich dinner on the upper deck (a little bit windy though!) and our first Guinness in the pub by the moonlight. The sea was so calm that we did not even notice that we were sailing.
After a calm night we arrived on time to Rosslare.
We got down to the garage decks, unfastened the bikes (still with help of the nice Belgian couple), my seat had been a little distorted by the straps, we put on the cases etc, and went down quite fast.
After a small stop to finish putting on our motorbikes gear, we finally started our road trip, on the left side of course. The most difficult being the roundabouts, we just never know where to look first…
We had quite a long trip this day as we were going directly to Connemara. Not that there were so many kilometers (370) but the ferry arrived at 11.30am, and counting the time to get out, to have lunch, and all the stops to fill in the tank and rest a little, it would take some time, and we did not want to arrive too late, to be able to have dinner somewhere.
At last we arrived at about 8.30pm, with no rain but side wind for a good while, and traffic jam around Galway…
The key was on the door (self catering). We dropped our things inside and got to the village with our bike gear still on… Parked in the main street and checked all the pubs (the street was full of them), though the prices were not too cheap… we realised afterwards that it was quite a touristic place.
We finally chose one, where we had a good meal with good service, not too cheap but good and we had dinner which was the important thing!
We were quite tired because of the trip and we went back straight away to settle there. The view to the bay there was just amazing. A beautiful place.
The landlord was a very nice person who told us a lot of the history of the place and the area around.
The first week we did a lot of kilometres, just getting around Connemara and up to Mayo. 3 days in a row we did about 180-200km per day, only stopping (many times though) to take pictures or drink Coke…
We liked a lot Connemara, it’s magic. We are surrounded by green mountains, lakes, at only a few kilometres from the sea. We were lucky we had amazing weather all the week, 23-25°C during the days with this nice breeze, and 30°C the last trip day… too warm… we will not complain though 😉
1st day : Sky Road- Clifden
Close to Leenane
Doo Lough (we called it the “horseflies lake”- Juan still has some scars…)
Sunsets & moon on Sky Road:
The last 2 days we just did NOTHING apart from visiting Clifden pubs and have a few Guinness for him and Bulmers for me.
The following Monday, with our heads full of nice landscapes, we left for about 380km – 6 hours.
The last week-end of October, with a 3-days week-end, we decided to go for a ride-out with the bikes, the way I like it, with plenty of time to stop for taking pics.
At the beginning we had planned to go with the 2 bikes, but a coolant leak problem with the SP2 didn’t let us, and we finally went the 2 of us on my bike.
The destination was the city of Reims, in the French region of Champagne.
The bad thing of Paris and surroundings for bikers is that it is all flat, with no twisties, all straight. So that the road to the twisty places is not quite “interesting” for bikers. Even though, we kept the good habits to avoid the motorways.
We left on Friday with no rush after lunch. The day was very cloudy, with those kind of low clouds that makes feel you like it’s sunset all day long. But at least it did not rain.
We had to cover about 180km; the last part surrounded with colourful vineyards, and even with some twisties (since we live in Paris, we are now counting the bends… 😉 ).
We were staying in a kind of bed & breakfast (“chambres d’hôtes”) at about 20km from the city of Reims, with very welcoming people- and bikers also. A very nice place to stay to visit Reims and enjoy the surroundings
We arrived with enough time to get some directions to a nice place to have dinner a few kilometres away. We had a nice dinner.
On Saturday the day started with a beautiful sun, but it was chilly. We took the bike to Reims, where we visited the Cathedral.
Outside the wind was freezing cold. Juan was freezing (I wore myself more layers than an onion). After a “technical” tea/hot chocolate break to warm up a little, we went for a walk in the surroundings of the Cathedral.
And we went for lunch.
In the afternoon we went to visit a small Car Museum, founded many years ago by a Renault designer (Charbonneaux) with his private collection, which later was completed with new acquisitions by the museum and other cars lent by private people. It is not very big but it has some interesting pieces. Very few motorbikes though, some of them needing restoring.
1st steam vehicle:
A tandem with engine and sidecar…
After the Museum we went to the village of Epernay, where are based most of the most famous Champaign brands. We arrived too late for visiting the caves. So we went for dinner and on our way back we got lost- it was night already- into the “mountains” around Reims (which are more like hills than mountains). But we finally made it back to our accommodation, completely frozen though.
The next day we had to go back home. But with no rush. In the morning we went looking for a nice Mill we had seen in a picture and a painting in our accommodation. Thanks to the owners’ indications we found it and stopped for a while to take pictures in the middle of the colourful vineyards.
Then we went on through “la Route du Champagne“, which goes through the hills along many Champaign caves (though it’s better not to stop for tasting in each of them if you drive/ride 😉 ).
Then we stopped in the village of Gueux.
There, they used to run motor races for many years: The first time was the “Grand Prix de la Marne” in 1926, 1st “Grand Prix de France”in 1938, first official Formula One race in 1950 – and last Formula one race in 1966, and last race of the French Motorcycle Championships in 1972.
A local association restored the boxes area and the grandstand.
After quite a few more pics (most of the pics of the trip did not show quite great, as always I had my analogue camera, and it stopped working properly, making the colours quite inappropriate. The best pics were taken with my mobile phone…), we had to finally decide to start the way back home…
As a conclusion: a very nice area, to go for a ride-out and enjoy the vineyard scenery and take pics. We will come back, though we will when it gets warmer…
This post is a translation of an article which was published in the Spanish magazine “La Moto” in May 2010. It’s a “summary” of the first 100.000km with my SV. Some pics might also be published in other posts.
I started getting interested in bikes when I was 14, but it wouldn’t be until 10 years later that I decided to take the riding test and buy my first bike, a Kawasaki ZZR, with the excuse to get quicker to work and back home.
I bought it second hand with 20000km and sold it 3 years later with 80000km.
In May 2005 I bought my second and current bike, a Suzuki SV650S, I chose her for her look (aesthetically I love RR bikes, but I’m too slow for them 😉 ) and for her V-twin personality.
Apart from using her to commute daily, I also love to go for ride-outs on Sundays, but when I most enjoy my bike is traveling.
The truth is that this bike is not the most adequate for traveling, its riding position isn’t the most comfortable, and less for my 1.60m tall. But anyway, I just get used to her, and to be honest, it is a really fun bike to ride, and I can only speak positive about her reliability.
So in May 2005 we decided to try her on going for a week-end in the Biker Camping of Anzanigo. The trip was very tough on my husband who was following me on his 1000cc RR bike, at a maximum speed of 108km/h as my bike was still running-in.
Mallos de Riglos 2005
On the way back it was even worse, as it took us 11 hours to cover the 350km… Not because of the maximum speed, but because of the average speed, as I was stopping every now and then to practice my second hobby: taking pictures… We must admit that this area of the Pre-Pyrenees (Aragon and Catalonia) is really photogenic.
That same year, in order to be sure to try her on well, and as summer arrived, we went to my first bikes rally, also in the Aragon Pyrenees. And then I had a holiday of “a few” kilometres, first by myself to visit friends in Marseille and Lyon, and then again with my husband, down to Asturias and Galicia (Ferrol and Sanxenxo).
Isla de la Toja 2005
In the following years we went for a few more trips, mainly in Spain (in no particular order and some places several times: Cazorla, Almeria, Madrid, Valencia for SBK race, Teruel…), and of course Asturias and Galicia where we go every summer, always through the same roads in the Pre-Pyrenees. Sometimes we stopped in that area, on the Spanish side (Biescas)
On our way to Bielsa 2008
or French side (this year Cauterets, going through many passes of the “Tour de France”).
on our way to the Col d’Aspin – 2008
Mirador del Fito – Asturias 2009
Mirador de San Andrés de Teixido – Galicia 2009
We also had some trip to the neighbouring country, around Lyon, with a compulsory stop in the lovely area of Millau and the “Gorges du Tarn”, as my chain had given up (should have been changed before the trip!).
Viaduct of Millau – 2007
For traveling we bought saddlebags and when going both on my bike, we also have a tank bag (I can’t use it when riding my bike as the tank is high and large, and I don’t get well to the handlebars then).
Most of the trips were between May and September, for long week-ends or holidays. When traveling we always try to get through secondary twisty roads, taking our time, enjoying the road, the landscapes and stopping every time we can (and my husband lets me) to take pictures. Although on the way back from holidays, we usually take less time through boring motorways.
Most of the trips I rode my bike myself, but I also tried the back seat sometimes on long trips, as for traveling together my husband’s bike back seat is absolutely a no go! The position on the back seat of the SV is quite straight and comfortable, but on long trips it can start being a little uncomfortable after a few hours.
During those 4 years, I also went for a few ride-outs at the week-end, around Catalonia, South around Tarragona, North around Gerona, in groups, with my husband or by myself, riding or on the back seat. The important thing being enjoying the road, the scenery, and the company (always tailing when in group…).
la Llosa del Cavall, Catalonia – 2009
On our way to la Bonaigua – 2009
During those 100000km, I had no mechanical issue with the bike, I had one electrical issue (the main fuse blew, due to a shortcircuit caused by the antitheft chain rubbing against a cable under the back seat…), and apart from the usual servicing, I changed the rear shock absorber for a better one, and the front fork springs. Until now I’ve never changed a single bulb. And the battery is still the original one.
The only “plus” I put are the heated grip, which are really useful for winter trips.
To conclude, in 100000km covered with her, with sun, heat, rain or cold, I can’t complain at all about her behaviour. It is a very fun bike to ride, maybe better for using on short spins at the week-end, but she never gave any problem on long trips. The only down point for my small stature is the riding position that is not the most comfortable for the back.
I have no thought of changing her for another one on short or medium term, so I hope she will accompany me for another 100000km at least, and with many more pics!
Our 2008 holidays started with the car for practical reasons (we were going to a Wedding) and also to save money as the fuel prices in France were like mad and it was better to do as many kilometres as possible with one tank. The area is very nice there and it was the best period as the lavenders were blooming.
We’ll defo have to come back with the bikes.
We didn’t stay long in France and we went back to Barcelona to leave the car and take the bikes. We had planned to go to Asturias, with some stops in the Pyrenees.
We took the following roads:
Barcelona-Tarrega through dual carriage way. Then C53 to Balaguer, then C13 that goes by the fantastic road of Camarasa reservoir with also fantastic views. Then Tremp, La Pobla de Segur and we stopped for lunch in Senterada.
We had stopped there a couple of years back on our way back from a rally. We had then been eating some fabulous “torradas” (big slices of farmhouse bread) and the owner had us tasting some homemade pork products. Yummy. So we had decided to come back… And we asked for some “torradas” and they brought: bread (as much as we wanted), with tomatoes and garlic from their back garden for the “pan con tomate” (you rub them on the bread, and add olive oil), and ham from the village, 3 kinds of dried homemade sausages, and 3 kinds of homemade cheese. So when we finished my husband wouldn’t fit in his leather suit anymore lol and we almost had to stay there for the night! Lol
Well we finally proceeded through Pont de Suert, Castejón de Sos, Ainsa (beautiful road along a gorge) and ended up in Bielsa where we would stop for a couple of nights.
In Bielsa they were kind enough to welcome us with a beautiful full moon coming out from behind the mountains, and a bar provided the use of a telescope to their clients against just buying one drink.
The following day we had planned to go for a loop going through the French side and going up (and down) a few of the famous “Tour de France” ports. There is a tunnel separating France and Spain. On the Spanish side there wasn’t a lot of sunshine, but it didn’t seem it was going to rain. Though when we went out of the tunnel, we got welcomed with some thick fog, and we had to go down the port at 20km/h. After a while down, the fog was gone but it was still quite cloudy. We tried anyway to go up the road to the “Col d’Aspin”. After a few kilometres we had to turn back, as the fog was back again, and there is no point going up the road to a foggy port with no view.
We had our lunch in a French village (I won’t reproduce the conversations I heard from other clients next as they made me feel ashamed of being French at that time…), and we went back to the Spanish side.
On the other side the sun was now shining and we could enjoy the nice views, and stop a few times for taking pictures.
We also had a “technical” stop: I was going in the front, and just before a big bend, I see behind me that my husband is beeping the horn and stops on the very narrow hard shoulder (on the bend). I stop and think “Ok, the landscape is beautiful but he must have gone mad to stop in the middle of a bend”… I walk up to him and he says “my bike just stopped”, and at the same time I see him putting a funny face, and he tells me “nothing, I think I may have touched the red ignition button”…
Well, those things happen… so as we were there, we took a couple of pictures and also picked up and ate a few strawberries which were there waiting for us on the banks.
The following day we started our journey to Asturias again, leaving the hotel very early in the morning and enjoying some unforgettable views between Bielsa and Ainsa, with the sun beams coming from the top of the mountains. There is no picture of those beautiful moments, but I have them imprinted in my memory.
We followed to Boltaña, Broto, Biescas and Sabiñanigo and then Jaca to Pamplona. The next stop was close to Laredo where he had a late dinner with some friends. We arrived in Asturias very late… There is no graphic memory of that part as we spent most of our time with friends from bar to restaurant…
As we didn’t get enough kilometres done yet, a few days later we headed West again, to Ferrol, Galicia. The weather was not great there to go with the bikes, so we just had some rest and on our way back, we went through the National Park of “Ancares” where we stopped for
Then we proceeded to León where we stopped for the night and went for a tourist walk, and the next day I was heading back to Barcelona while Juan was going back to Asturias for an additional week.
Quite a few kilometres in 2 weeks, it was nice!
On our bucket list to go back to Bielsa for more days and at last go through the roads of the “Tour de France” with their many ports.
Last month it was the one year anniversary of when I picked up my new bike in the shop. My blue SV650S. I still remember the “fear” I had when I first speeded up, in the shop’s Street, fear to fall, fear not to be able to brake, not to be able to stop, or to speed up too fast.
The bike is very different from my first bike. First for the driving position, with the handlebar lower and more distant. I don’t get that well to the ground either.
Of course, the bike is much more powerful (for me at least), more nervous, brakes a lot (the other did not brake too well by the end, it did not speed that much either lol…), and most of all, it has a lot of engine braking. This bike really flips me out for the engine braking, I almost don’t have to use the brakes. It will save money on brake pads! 😉
That first day I was so scared that I just wanted to get the bike to the garage and that’s it, but my husband encouraged me to go for a small ride to get used to it. Good idea. I finally got the hang of it.
After the first “trial” week going to work with Her (all motorway, including traffic jams), we decided to go on our first small trip to check how it was being more time riding her, as what I like is travelling.
We left on a Saturday morning for Anzánigo, Huesca. About 300 kilometres by secondary roads. The last kilometres are a quite bad road (bumpy and with roadworks in process) to get to the camping (http://www.anzanigo.es/ ), and I realised that the suspension is quite hard, and that my arms and wrists are suffering from the driving position. It could have been worst though, and it was well worth it.
The next day we went to Riglos:
Embalse de la Peña
And on Monday we went back through back roads… Indeed “back roads” as it took us 11 hours to come back home. To be blamed: many photographic stops, some stop to put on the raining suit, one to eat, and the last one in a filling station back on the main road (from which we were kicked out…) to take shelter from pouring rain.
At the end of May I took her for the first service @ 1000km.
The second trip was at the end of June to go to a bikers Rally, also in Huesca, but this time in Benasque Valley, a very beautiful area (though the Rally was not that good- a money making rally).
To go back we also went through very beautiful roads, through Castejón de Sos, El Pont de Suert, Camarasa, with beautiful views on the Pyrenees, and an unforgettable stop in a restaurant in Senterada (http://www.casaleonardo.net/ ), where we ate excellent “pan con tomate” toasted bread (with garlic, tomato and olive oil) with excellent Serrano ham.
Pantano de Camarasa
As I wasn’t sure yet if the bike was ok for travelling 😉 , at the end of July we went to another bikers Rally, this time close to Burgos, in Belorado, a very nice village. It was very warm but we had a great time. To get there we went through Huesca (as now we knew the way 😉 ). On the way back we went through the motorway as we stayed to watch the England MotoGP and we left late.
I then brought the bike for the 6000km service before going on holidays (the garage and then us).
The last trip of the year was quite the longer, for our holidays at the end of August-beginning of September.
I did the first part by myself, I went to visit some friends first in Marseille and then others in Lyon (France). To go to Marseille I mainly went through National roads, except at the end when I took the motorway, as I got fed up with the traffic jams at every single village entrance (it was a Saturday, people going back from holidays…).
When I arrived in Marseille, I asked my way to a biker who indicated quite well how to get to my friend’s home. It was a long one-way street with a strong down slope. When I thought I had reached the number, I parked on the footpath. I checked the address on my mobile phone, and I had stopped too early, I had 50 more numbers to go. First problem: take the bike back on the road without falling, and then, drag the bike back uphill to the road. I was able to get the bike down the footpath without falling, but I couldn’t put the sidestand, and I couldn’t drag the bike uphill (it’s already difficult sometimes when it’s flat… but there I had no more strength). I was luckily helped by a tourist who was passing by, who pushed the bike uphill so that I could get on it again on the right direction. I was very grateful to him, as without his help I think I would still be there 😉
Between Marseille and Lyon I went through National road, as it was weekday it was quite quick and without traffic, but I had a very strong side wind blowing all the way (which is quite usual in the area).
Next Friday I left my friends to go to Toulouse where I would stop for the night before going on the next day to go to Asturias.
I started early to go with time through national roads through Saint-Etienne, Le Puy en Velay, Mende (nice place where I stopped for lunch). I wanted to take the afternoon to take a detour to famous Millau viaduct, but it started to rain, and I decided to go straight through Rodez, Albi (very nice place also, but I got some traffic jams and I preferred to go on and have some rest). I arrived in Toulouse at about 5.30pm.
On Saturday morning, while I was ready to go at about 8.00am, it started to rain. I got down to the hotel entrance where 2 bikers couples were waiting for the storm to stop. We were almost 2 hours waiting, and I finally went when it got less intense (no more lightning and thunder at least). I had planned to take the motorway, and it rained almost all the way to the border. I think I stopped every 2 filling station to dry up and warm up a bit, I got fed up with so much water. At about 2.00pm I arrived at the border. I was almost dry, and in Spain it started to rain again, but the tarmac was draining better than on the French side (it was quite a torture on the French side every time a car would pass me). At about 3.00pm I met with my husband close to Bilbao, and we had some lunch.
From there we went straight to Asturias where we spent the weekend (and had some rest!!!).
Next Monday we went to Ferrol through the coastal road (from Avilés N-632 + N-634) and then the LU-861 and AC-861, beautiful roads but few filling stations… Though as we were going quite “slow” we were able to do 230km without the fuel indicator popping up. And we finally arrived to a filling station.
That same week we went down to Sanxenxo where we enjoyed beautiful sunny days.
Isla de la Toja
Next Friday we went back to Asturias, this time through the interior via Lugo and N-640 to Ribadeo and back on the coast road.
The week-end and the rest of the week was spent enjoying time with friends, enjoying the food, enjoying the cider… with some ride-out with the bikes… and more food, and more cider… Asturias! 🙂
The last Sunday we went back straight to Barcelona, through Leon and Burgos, as they had announced big storms on the cost. And for once they were right! And we arrived dry.
During this trip I ended up with quite a back ache because of the driving position. A really good massage session was not sufficient to get my back back, I would have needed at least 4 to take all the knots out… But I would do it again anyway!
On the way back I had to get the bike back to the mechanics for the 12000km service…
Then autumn arrived, and then winter, and for some months the bike was mainly used as my “tool” for commuting.