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150.000 km

Posted on 25/09/2019 at 10:37 pm by / 0

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, 

and Austria..

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:

East Cork,

West Cork,

Gougane Barra,


The Vee,

North Cork,

And also some longer holidays to visit co. Antrim

and Donegal.

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!




Ride outs

Back in the saddle

Posted on 24/03/2018 at 11:01 pm by / 0

After 1 year and 8 months without riding my bike because of pregnancy and then because of lack of sleep and its corresponding lack of energy, here we are with the motorbike prepared by Juan. We had planned that, if weather was good on Saturday, I would go for a spin with my bike.

On Saturday, after a full night sleep (which was brand new in the last one year and something), we woke up with a sunny morning and nice temperature, and with no wind.

After having our breakfast, Juan went for a short spin to make sure that my bike’s brakes were working fine, and then when he came back and said it was all ok, I went to put on my “biker clothes”, for the first time since July 2016!

The difference between “before Emma”, is that now, while I was dressing up, I could hear the song “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star…”

The big question was if I would still know how to ride a bike…

As it was the first time in a long while without riding the bike, the idea was that I would go with the bike, and Juan would follow with the car and Emma. Emma loves to go in the car.

Once we were all ready to go, I put on my helmet, and Emma found that funny, she put on her funny face and started laughing.

At last we went. Apart from a small incident in the first crossroad, when I forgot to put on first gear and went in neutral (road is going down), wondering why the bike wouldn’t work properly, then everything went back to normal and I could ride “automatically”, without having to think about it.

After a few kilometres on lovely backroads going nowhere really, we arrived in Mallow and followed the road to “Ballyhoura Mountains”.

After the snow and rain of the past few weeks, some roads had many potholes, and could be quite dirty on the tractors path. We always have to be careful.

That road is very nice, between forest and mountains covered in brownish and yellow velvet at that time of the year. The green velvet will come back later in the year.

After leaving the forest road, we stopped to take pictures of the mountains on the other side of the valley, with some remaining snow at the top. I had THAT SMILE back on my face. Emma had fallen asleep. And Juan, who was the camera keeper, also had THAT SMILE on his face.



We followed suit that road which then goes down. Until Ardpatrick, where there is a nice coffee shop where they serve a lovely Irish Breakfast until noon, and then lovely soup and sandwiches menus. It was later than noon, but they still had some food to make breakfast so Juan went for an Irish Breakfast, and I had soup and ham and cheese toasted sandwich. Emma had some of my soup and a big part of my sandwich…

Once batteries recharged, we went back, through another road which I don’t have a clue where it goes through, as we got lost on backroads and Juan finally had to turn on the GPS to avoid ending up in Tipperary lol. As most GPS in Ireland, the GPS was taking us to a main road, and at the first backroad turn, it would indicate to take the backroad instead of staying on the main road… backroads which were in quite bad conditions at that time of the year. But lovely sights though… 😉

After a few more kilometres we arrived home. It was still early as we didn’t do many kilometres, but they were enough to get that big motorbiking smile on our faces.

The next day it was Juan’s turn to go with the bike, while Emma and myself would take some rest.

So that’s the plan for now on the sunny days… To take the bike by turn. We’d just like Emma not to hate motorbikes for feeling abandoned when we go with the bikes. We’ll see if it works out!  😉

After a 20 months break, MariCel is back on her bike!


Ride outs

The Vee

Posted on 15/07/2016 at 11:19 pm by / 0

That June Sunday morning we were to meet with Finbarr and Jim for a bike spin. Juan & myself got prepared and went for an Irish breakfast in a place we discovered in town. At 11’am we were at the filling station with Finbarr, waiting for Jim who was waiting for his bike key, which was in the washing machine… 😀

Finally we left through Midleton, then up to Lismore where we had a first stop for a Coke/tarts/tea/coffee. Then we stopped down the village on the bridge with nice views over the castle.

It’s a very nice place, beautiful castle, the gardens are opened to the public. After a short pics break we headed to the left after the bridge, direction “The Vee”.

The road to get there is beautiful, not too large but the tarmac is good. Unfortunately we ended up behind a fuel truck with no room to overtake for a while. The road was nice anyway, under the trees along a river for the first part. Then you get to the “mountain” part with nice views of the mountains on each side.

We stopped at a first car park. From there there is a walk down to a nice lake and another walk up the mountain (not with bike gear…).

Then we went on to another car park with views to the lake. It was a rather cloudy day but even with not much light Ireland is so beautiful with her 40 shades of Green.

Then we went on for another stop before a big hairpin, already on our way down. As it was quite overcast the view didn’t go far, but it was very nice anyway.

We went down the mountains and started to head back, but Finbarr’s GPS wouldn’t stop taking us through back roads lol …  and at one point it was too bad for me, with mud and small stones and I wouldn’t go further. Finbarr & Jim wanted to go to a pub nearby to watch the second half of Ireland-France as Ireland was leading 1-0, so we turned back through the main road and finally found a pub to watch the rest of the match.

Then we headed back home through Youghal & Midleton.

Such a nice spin on nice roads.

So nice that the following Sunday, back from Skerries road race, we had a late waking up, went for breakfast and headed back to Lismore & The Vee through the same roads. We didn’t stop as much to take pics but had a very nice spin. The weather was beautiful, bathed in beautiful sunshine and warm. The view at the lake was still a little bit cloudy on the mountain part,

but then at the hairpin we stopped for a good while as the view was very clear all around.

Also a group of bikes coming up informed us very nicely that there was a speed trap down the road in the village… which probably avoided a fine to us and the 2 other bikes who came behind us…

On our way home we stopped in Ardfinnan for an ice cream and refreshment in the lovely gardens.

And then we followed with another stop in the Harbour of Dungarvan

where there is a castle

and also a memorial to all Waterford Men fallen in the Continent during WWI

So sad to see so many lives lost 🙁 .

It was a beautiful spin, with nice roads and not much traffic…

For sure we will head back from time to time!

Thanks to our nice guide showing us beautiful roads and places around!


Road Races

Skerries 100 – 2016

Posted on 08/07/2016 at 3:14 pm by / 0

Saturday was our first time at the Skerries 100 road races.

It was the only race in the South that is run on Friday for practice and Saturday for the races, as in the North. All other Southern road races are on Saturday-Sunday.

This year the Skerries 100 celebrated their 70th birthday- without interruption. The club organising now is Loughshinny Motorcycle Club since 1987, but from 1946 to 1986 it was organised by the Dublin & District Motorcycle Club. In 1987 the Loughshinny MCC who had been helping the D&DMCC in the setting of the circuit for the previous 8 years, bravely took over the organisation of the Skerries 100 in spite of already organising Killalane Road Race held in September on a close-by circuit.

Running a road race is quite costly, this year organising the Skerries 100 costed 120000EUR, a big part of it being the insurance. Road races have some good sponsoring, but if you really enjoy road racing and want it to go on, it is important to participate with the costs paying the entry fee and buying the programme.

This year price was 20EUR per person including a very nice programme with very nice articles about the Event history (including the information above), memories of ex competitors, photographer, etc… a very entertaining piece of writing.

But let’s come back to our experience. As we can’t take all the racing Fridays off, we missed practice day and left on Friday after work, and arrived late to the hotel close to Dublin. Early morning we left to arrive before road closure (9.00am). The GPS brought us easily to the circuit where we paid the entry and had 2 nice programmes (that way, everyday of the following week we both have entertaining reading for breakfast without any fighting 🙂 ).

We found a place to park and walked to the paddock for some breakfast, buy Skerries tee-shirts and say hello to Andy Farrell.

Then we headed to Sam’s Leap from where we would start the day. While waiting for the start we came across Mark, whom we had met in Armoy last year and who had introduced us to Andy Farrell. We were happy to see him again and he came back later and took Juan with him to show him other nice viewing spots.

The races started in the planned order, we were on the straight line after the tunnel, with a small leap, before a corner and the chicane before the finish. They were quite fast at that point but we could take some good pics.

William Dunlop

Derek Sheils

Steven Tobin

Michael & William Dunlop

Neil Kernohan

Davy Morgan

Seamus Elliott

Before the 600 Irish Championship race we moved back to the start/finish from where we watched the Start. Impressive.

I did a short video with the phone, from my husband’s shoulders (thanking him again from here for his cooperation 😉 as it might not have been the best race watching for him at that moment LOL ).

Skerries 2016 – Supersport Start

Still have to improve my video skills, but I’ll get there some day 😉 .

After the start we kept moving to the next barrier, from where we watched the race from a different view. It was nice to see a happy face there.

The Marshalls lead and/or follow the riders during practice, warm-up laps and first lap, and then stop at some points of the circuits ready to go in case of incident. They are doing a great job and are quite fast too! They are also checking the circuit conditions, which were quite changing over all the day, mainly in the afternoon. We could see the next shower coming, and had almost a shower between each race.
So between races we moved to a field after Finnegan’s Corner (named after Martin Finnegan, local road racer who raced and won many races before being tragically killed in Tandragee due to a brake failure).

The field had not been harvested yet, and the owners were kind enough to let people along. A pity that there are always a few who don’t care about others’ property (and business) and didn’t respect the “keep out of the crops” signs.

It was a strange place to watch as we were behind thick hedges but lower than the road. The view was amazing, and so close!

Parade Lap – Baylon Mc Caughey with Derek Sheils bike.

Baylon manages the Facebook group irishracephotography with all hot news about road racing, the racers, the teams and with many pics. Highly recommended for road racing lovers.

Parade Lap – a Rudge

Then we moved further along that same field, we had to wait for a shower to pass and watched the 600 B race,

Andy Farrell

and then moved to a field in front, at Joey’s Sweep, where there was a grandstand and also a food truck (at last! It was almost 3.00pm I think…).

Another shower while the 125 race was starting, but they ran it anyway, and rain and wet road didn’t seem to bother them too much. Nice race and impressive riders on those small machines, with those conditions!

Derek Mc Gee

Melissa Kennedy

Gary Dunlop

Sam Dunlop

After the race we moved further down the road to Dukes Bends (called after Geoff Duke although he only rode once at Skerries in 1949 and crashed on that bend…).

We were also in a field but this time above the road, and very close to the riders as they came out of the first bend. This was impressive. We watched the next races from there.

Here is a short video of the Supertwin Race

Derek Sheils & Paul Jordan

Jason Cash

Paul O Rourke

Derek Sheils

Paul Jordan

Andy Farrell

Michal Dokoupil

Veronika Hancocyova

With again showers. During a last heavy shower, the Superbike (Grand Final) riders went around the circuit for 2 laps with the marshall leading. But they decided that the conditions were too bad for the big bikes. One part of the circuit was drying fast, but the road from Finnegan’s Corner to where we were took some time for drying, with some very damp patches. Not talking about the tunnel under the tree which was probably the worst.

So the Grand Final was cancelled, but fair play to the riders who decided to go around for a few Parade laps.

Michael Dunlop did his own parade laps as if he was racing, or at least it looked like it as he didn’t go too slow… maybe he doesn’t know what slow means 😉 .

Well, that was very nice from all of them to go out anyway, us spectators really appreciated it.

When it was over we went back to the paddock to say goodbye to Andy’s team and then headed back home.

Once again a great day of races, very well organised in spite of the difficult changing weather conditions. No race incident, just one red flag during the last Classics race, but nothing to do with racing, a fight broke out in a potato field… A pity.

A huge thank you to organisers, riders and all people involved in giving us such a great event.

We will defo be back next year! 🙂

Road Races

Kells Road Race 2016

Posted on 28/06/2016 at 11:38 pm by / 0

The week-end of 18-19th June it was Kells road race on Crossakiel circuit. It is one of those races that are on Saturday and Sunday, so it’s quite practical as we don’t have to take days off.

We left Cork on Saturday morning, not early enough to get there before road closure, so we first went to the B&B to leave our stuffs before heading to the circuit. We arrived through another road as last year, actually to the place where we had been watching from last year for race day. The field from which we had watched last year was not open to the public this year though.

We parked the car and looked for a place to stay going through the fields. As the road was already closed and there was very little time between each practice session, we just stayed at the same spot. We could probably go somewhere else through the fields as some people were coming and then disappearing 😉 but we just stayed there. We took some pictures, not too spectacular though as we were not in the best spot.

William Dunlop

Veronika Hancocyova

Tony Willis & Sean Leonard

Micko Sweeney

Melissa Kennedy

James Kelly

Freddie Stewart

Derek Sheils

Derek Mc Gee

Brian Mc Cormack

Brian Coomey

Kells circuit is famous for its jumps, but it will be for some other occasion.

The truth is that the afternoon went by quite quickly because many people went by us, and had a chat with us before being able to cross the road… That way Juan learnt about how to do riding days at Mondello, and many other things 😉 . The Irish people are very sociable people, this is very pleasant and nice.

All practice sessions went by without any incident, and were followed by the Classic Races, and then more practice sessions, until it was late and started to rain.

For the last 2 practice sessions, as we thought it was over (no megaphone where we were), we went back to the bend before the car park. In the last session there was a red flag, Veronika Hancocyova who had a fall, but she was ok.

When all sessions were over and road opened again, we went to the paddock with the car. We went for a walk around the paddock and went to say hello to Yvonne Montgomery. She is a woman who races with a Kawasaki 400 and in Supersport with a GSXR600. I didn’t know her personally but we are on the same forum of photography Irish Race Photography from Baylon Mc Caughey.

It started to rain so she invited us under her “roof” and we chatted a good while with her and Richard, who used to be a Yamaha mechanics and also raced, and who is now spannering for her. She told us that she took her riding licence a few years ago and the next year she started to race. On her first race (circuit) she highsided and broke a few ribs, and in spite of it, she was only counting the days until the next race.

She thinks that short circuit racing is boring, she prefers road racing; she likes to take as braking reference a tree, a house, a fence… and she likes a lot Kells jumps.

After a nice chat, we said goodbye and went on with our walk around the paddock. It was quite full. We finally found Andy Farrell, but he was busy so we just said hello and went on. After another while, we left for the b&b to get some rest.

On Sunday we had our breakfast between Paul Jordan’s team and a French rider who was racing for the first time in Ireland. He usually races in the IRRC on the continent and he was surprised of the differences in organisation.

Then we went to the circuit, to the Jumps part where we took our spot between the hedges. The day had started with rain and it didn’t seem to get better. They closed the road but it was still raining. The marshals were going around the circuit to check the conditions. After a good while waiting, it started to rain more heavily, and we took shelter from the wind behind a camper van. A woman came out of the van to inform us that the races were cancelled.

The truth is that it was raining a lot, and it didn’t seem to get better. There was a lot of wind also, and there was a lot of standing water around the track. It was not quite pleasant to walk around, not saying to race with those bikes…

We went back to the paddock, had a chat with the French team who was disappointed (they had come specially for this race), and then went to say goodbye to Andy Farrell’s team. Then we took the road back home…

The week-end was shorter than planned, but we had a great time on the Saturday, enjoying the practice and the people.

It’s a pity for the club who put so much effort into organising the event, and saw it washed out because of bad weather.

Hope they will bounce back and will come back with great racing soon.



Holidays 2016 – Donegal

Posted on 26/06/2016 at 2:36 pm by / 0

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:

Falcarragh – N56 – R257 – Bloody Foreland Parking – Brinlack – R257 – R258 – N56 – R251 with views over Errigal Mountain– R256 in “Muckish Mountains” – Falcarragh.

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

Turf field

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!!!



Ride outs

Full Irish Breakfast

Posted on 15/02/2016 at 3:24 pm by / 0

After a few months of forced break between holidays, moving home and repeated storms, that Sunday 14th of February, we decided to change the routine and nothing better than to go for a Real breakfast in a nice place we found in Kinsale, which is perfect because they serve Irish Breakfast all day long, so we can still go there for breakfast even if we get up late 😉 .

So we got up, not that late, and as it was not raining and they had forecasted a dry day, we decided to go with the bike. Only with mine, the roads are still in bad conditions after so much rain, and not very convenient for the SP2 suspensions.

So after putting on our textile wear (Juan was wearing for the first time a warm jacket and boots), at about 10am we took the bike and were on the road again.

Our new home is a little bit further away from Kinsale, though the road is good. I got a little bit cold in the first kilometres of motorway. When we took the bike out it started raining slightly, but it stopped after a few minutes, and the sun appeared to warm us up a little.

The road to Kinsale is nice, I enjoyed the sun and the landscape, and after a while we arrived to Kinsale.

So we went for breakfast, full Irish Breakfast of course, with egg, bacon, sausages, mushrooms, tomato, black and white pudding, toasts, butter and jam. With tea for me and coffee for Juan.

After a good while with our breakfast, Juan told me that he did not want to go back home, nor to go for a walk, so we stayed there with another tea/hot chocolate…

When we finished, he still did not want to go back home (to be precise, “go back home” meant by then having to unpack boxes and stuffs so that we could start cooking in the new home… ).

Well, then we would go on with the ride-out, and go back later… So I suggested to go to “Old Head of Kinsale”, where we went for our first ride-out last year in May.

So there we went. The road is very nice. Though at that time of the year and with all the rain we had during winter (one storm after the other, no low temperature, but unusually heavy and followed rainfalls), we have to be very careful as the potholes have gone even bigger and close to the farms the tractors leave the road very dirty with mud (and others…)…

When we got to the cross indicating “Old Head”, we found ourselves with the road closed, a Garda diverting traffic, and many many people, men, women and children walking on the road. There was a “Fun Walk” organised to collect funds for Charity, that was taking the same path as we wanted to Old Head. The Garda told us that we could get to Old Head taking a diversion to the left further up the road, but maybe because we were concentrated in not riding over anybody, we missed the cross. So we followed suit and after a good while, the road got quite bad and we decided to go back.

At last we ended up taking a road we already took many times, along the Ocean coast and with several nice beaches. On the lower part of the road, the beach had invaded the road (in spite of the dunes) which was covered with sand and even pebbles. We stopped further up, above a beach. There were many surfers.

The sun was shining but the wind was quite strong, so the temperature was not too high. We stayed there for a while, enjoying the sunshine in our faces, and listening to the relaxing sound of the ocean waves, then we went.

We followed the road to Timoleague, where we had been in one of the last November ride-outs.

And as we were there, I suggested we could go to the nice beach of Courtmacsherry, and from there we would start the way back home.

Courtmachserry was very unprotected from the wind, and it was not too warm. So we did not stay too long. We decided to go back home through the shorter way, through Bandon. Just before leaving the village, we got across 2 bikers. Juan tells me “the first bike wasn’t Jim?”. I hadn’t seen it (I may have been looking the other way…). And while he was telling me, another bike came by, a green Kawasaki… Finbarr! We beeped… he saw us and slowed down. So we turned around to catch them. They stopped in the hotel of the village, which has such a welcoming chimney 🙂 . That’s so funny to bump into them! They had planned to go to a Charity Run, but arrived too late, so they just went for a ride-out. They were 4 bikes, one who had come down from Galway for the day.

So we all went for teas and coffees while we updated ourselves on the past months and chatted about holidays plans.

After a good while enjoying the warm atmosphere of the pub and the company, we finally had to leave…

And of course, we followed the group and went back… through the longest way, through where we came from… and with a short stop in Kinsale.


The sun was still shining but we now could now see very dark clouds on the horizon…

At the first raindrops we thought that it was a good time to go back… we said goodbye and all left.

All in all, we arrived back home at about 5pm, quite tired but we can confirm that we had completely disconnected from routine… that’s what it was all about.

A Full Irish Breakfast! 😉


Ride outs

Beara Peninsula

Posted on 19/11/2015 at 11:53 pm by / 0

On Sunday 30th of August we went for a ride out with the bikes, as they had forecasted no rain and there was no road race on the calendar. The idea was to go to Beara Peninsula, the one just before the famous and very touristic “Ring of Kerry”.

The peninsula ends with an island, “Dursey Island”: we had been there with the car on the first August week-end (and the truth is that those roads are much more enjoyable with the bikes!).

From Dursey Island

Dursey Island

View over Kerry Peninsula “Ring of Kerry”

The first part of the road is a large and good national road, and then it’s a secondary road but also quite good.

On the first part, still not very far from Cork, there is a very good section, recently paved, with beautiful views over “Iniscarra Reservoir”. That morning the lake was completely still, with amazing reflections. We stopped to take pictures of course!

Close to Kenmare we found a very nice place to eat our sandwiches. There also the water was still and with beautiful reflections.

After the sandwiches we went on entering to the peninsula from the North, going along the coast and with views to Kerry peninsula (where are the highest Irish mountains, over 1000 metres high, right next to the ocean).

We took the first road on the left, the R574 that goes through “Healy Pass”. This road is amazing, with almost no traffic, beautiful views to “Glanmore Lake”, over the Ring of Kerry, and of the mountains around us.

We stopped several times to take pictures and enjoy the silence, the views and the PEACE it radiates. At the first stop we were parked close to the entrance of a garden with a man mowing his lawn. He looked happy that we were taking pictures of the views from his house 🙂 .

After getting to the south part of the road and as we were tired, we decided to go back home instead of following to Dursey Island.

I think that when the good season is back we will have to plan a full week-end with a stay overnight in B&B, because there is so much to see and the roads are very nice.

So we went back through Glengarrif and then we took the R584 which goes to Gougane Barra (see post about “Colourful ride out”), with many corners, and some bumpy sections.

Anyway in general I think that most secondary roads in Ireland are not for speeding… but more like to enjoy the scenery…

We got back home a little tired but happy.

Beara Peninsula, we will have to come back…



Ride outs

A touristic ride-out

Posted on 07/11/2015 at 11:40 pm by / 0

On Friday Juan told me that there was a ride out planned for Saturday at noon, with the group we go for a ride out from time to time. It seemed to us that it was a little late to go out, knowing that at 5pm it’s getting dark, but anyway, it’s better late than never, and also it’s not too bad to be able to have a little more sleep on a Saturday morning 😉 .

Accuweather had planned a shower at 9.00am and then sun and cloudy. At last the 9.00am shower started at 10.00am, and then there was another one just before 11.30am. But then at 11.35 the sun showed up 🙂 so it was just in time, everything was planned perfectly! 😉

So at about 11.40 we went out with the bikes to meet with the rest of the group. It was so sunny that the sun reflected on the still wet tarmac and we could hardly see.

We met with the rest of the group, Finbarr, Jim and Brendan. And this time there was not a single GS! 😉 And after filling in the tanks, we left…

Finbarr had planned an itinerary that resulted very touristic, and the stops very interesting with many historical explanations about Ireland.

We first went through a road with large corners, that must be beautiful with autumn colours (that are already gone), and then a more narrow road but not less beautiful. We enjoyed it a lot.

The first stop was in Timoleague, where are the ruins of a Priory.

In Ireland there used to be many abbeys, churches and castles but unfortunately many suffered from the passing of time and the successive wars against the English, and are now ruins. He told us that the monasteries used to have small windows except for one room where the monks would meet to write/copy the sacred texts books, lives of saints or other books. In this priory was written “The Book of Lismore” (in 1480). The abbey was founded by Franciscans in 1240 and destroyed by fire by Cromwell’s troops in 1642.

The ruins have been converted into a cemetery, with many graves (most ancient ones) around, but also inside of what was once a chapel and the rest of the abbey.

The place is very nice, and with the sun that was shining that day, even more.

After a good while in the ruins, we went back to the bikes and didn’t go too far, to Courtmacsherry, where there is a beautiful beach and also a very welcoming hotel with pub/restaurant. There we had some lunch to recharge the batteries before going on.

We went back to Timoleague and took the R600. This road goes along the coast and is beautiful. We stopped close to a pub called “The Pink Elephant” with amazing views over the bay,

and then we stopped a few kilometres ahead with nice views at the ocean,

and we went to Kinsale where we stopped for a cup of tea.

There we were chatting with a motorcyclists couple who had coincided with Jim on the ferry back from his last trip to the continent. After tea we went to Charles Fort on Kinsale heights. Finbarr also told us some historical information about that fort.

Kinsale was the place of the famous “Battle of Kinsale” in 1601, were Spanish troupes leaded by Don Juan de Aguila, came to support the Irish troupes of Red Hugh O’Donnell and Hugh O’Neill against the English troupes of Lords Mountjoy and Carew. Unfortunately the battle was lost by the Spanish-Irish coalition.

It was getting late and darker, so the visit to the fort was left for another day.

We took the way back home, through the R600; a few kilometres after/before Kinsale is were ends/starts the “Wild Atlantic Way”, more than 2000km of scenic roads along the Atlantic coast, from North to South through the West coast.

The road from Kinsale to Cork is quite good, even if it is usually quite busy (well, for what we usually have around, everything is relative!).

It was a brilliant idea to plan the ride-out on Saturday, as on Sunday it was pissing rain until 2pm…

November the 7th : a very touristic ride-out!


Ride outs

Colourful ride out

Posted on 30/10/2015 at 11:24 pm by / 0

Last Sunday, thanks to the time change and that Monday was Bank Holiday and we could have some more sleep 🙂 , we got up early to watch MotoGP. The truth is that lately we are watching very few MotoGP races as they are mostly boring. We watch some afterwards when there have been some positive comments on the race (that is to say: 5 or 6 passing in the last 3 laps…)… We prefer to keep with road racing (unfortunately very few can be followed live).

But that day there was Pedrosa pole position and as it’s almost the end of the season we decided to watch it. The race had its lot of excitement and controversy. As the controversy bores me, I’ll keep with Pedrosa’s strong race and victory, at last he got back to his best level. Fingers crossed for next season.
That said, the race and its result ended up waking us up completely, and as it was still early and the day did not look too bad, we decided to go for a ride-out.

We had to delay a few minutes the departure as a cloud decided to pour rain at that moment. But it was only a few minutes.

The idea of the day was to make the most of the ride out taking pictures of Autumn colours. I always loved them, and it is a complicated task as they “arrive” overnight and they are gone in one week or even less if there is a lot of wind or rain (both being quite usual in Cork…). So if you miss one weekend, the next there are no more leaves and no more colours…

As we don’t know yet many places here and that in Ireland there are few forests, we decided to go to a place where we went in June (report here), in Gougane Barra, about 70km and 1 hour ride from home.


The road to get there is very pleasant, the first part quite quick and then it’s a more narrow road and a little bumpy but nicely twisty. In Autumn it’s beautiful, the hedges had their autumn wear on and as it had been raining a scent of wet leaves and wood filled the air. I opened the visor to enjoy it better.

The view around the road was amazing, the mountains that in summer look like green velvet were now coloured in reddish, yellowish or orange brown, the trees along the fields became yellow and the gardens coloured in red, yellow, orange or clear green, a trees rainbow.

We stopped for a first time along the road to take a picture and went on.

With so narrow and twisty roads I can’t stop as much as I’d want to take pictures because there is no room for it (and Juan is quite happy about that 😀 ).

At last we arrived to Gougane Barra. Some trees had already lost their leaves but the colours had nothing to do with when we were there in June. The sky was mainly overcast (it actually rained a little when we stopped) and as it happens sometimes, the light was difficult for taking pictures. But I took them anyway 😉 .

After a while arrived a dozen of Porshe 911 of almost all ages and parked along the lake. It was a nice image 😉 .

When we arrived there Juan was quite hungry (it was after 10am and we had had breakfast at 7am…), and we thought we would have some Irish Breakfast on the way. But the hotel and the bar in front of the lake were both closed. So we had to wait…

After the pics session we went back (the road ends on a paying car park which is also the starting path for hiking around the park). At the next crossroad we decided to turn right to Bantry, indicated at 22km, and to stop as soon as we found some place to have breakfast. That part of the road is also very nice. We were about to stop in a pub indicating “parking at rear” but we missed the entrance and were not in a good place to turn, so we went on.

We went to Bantry, got lost in its streets. The village was crowded with cars: it seems that there was a car rally going on and it was a chaos to go around.  And you won’t believe me but we couldn’t find any pub open!

Of course my bike decided that it was the best moment to give problems… My bike has one and only recurrent problem, every time it rains a lot (quite often here 😉 ), as the front mudguard is too short, some water enters in the front sparkplug hole and it stops working and the bike ends up on one cylinder only.  So at low speed as when you are stuck in traffic jams, it just stops every two minutes.

As we couldn’t find a place to eat we decided to go back. We got lost again, turned back again. I had seen a pub after the last cross coming from the nice road to the main road so we tried there, but the restaurant was closed until 5.30pm. So we decided to go back to the pub we had first seen on the road going to Gougane Barra. This time we found the parking at rear and the pub was opened and served food! With all those turns and back it was already noon. We both took a lamb dish with fresh vegetables and mashed potatoes. It was quite good. Juan finished his meal with an ice-cream as usual 😉 and we went.

Now that we were not hungry anymore we could take our time again to stop to take pictures 😀 .

We stopped 2 more times. The truth is that the colours were incredible in spite of the difficult light.

We literally escaped from the second stop as there were very dark clouds rushing towards us.

At last we got back home at about 3.30pm, we just had some rain for a few minutes back on the main road, but when we arrived we were dry.

25th of October: a colourful ride out. 😉


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