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.
After 50km riding under pouring rain on the National road stuck behind a truck, without seeing anything of landscape, and having left behind beautiful views of poppy fields, I finally left the National road to take a small twisty road…
And it stopped raining…
I left a very dark sky to go towards the sunset that showed up from behind the clouds in the horizon…
I looked back on my mirrors and I stopped…
And saw this…
The previous unpleasant 50 kms were worth the effort just for enjoying this sight.
Never better said “Après la pluie le beau temps”…
(Pics taken with disposable camera, on my way to Rodellar, Huesca, Spain, where I was going to spend a week-end doing canyoning.)
Two weeks later, going through the same place but with much better climatic conditions, for another canyoning week-end: