Friday, 14 June 2013

Quick bike trip to Normandy, France

Paul from Open roads bike hire delivered the BMW R1200GS Adventure – bloody hell that’s enormous!
Trumpet looks a bit down-in-the-mouth to be left behind
 I set off down to Dover, caught the Eurotunnel train and was off down the A16 from Calais in no time, sun shining, French roads all smooth tarmac and no traffic, this has the makings of a good trip. First toll booth, on tiptoes balancing the bike with its full fuel tank while I fumbled for the ticket, felt it start to overbalance, couldn’t hold it, down she went in a graceful flop. Red-faced with embarrassment, I somehow managed to heave the behemoth upright and ride off with trembling legs – oh well better to get that over with early in the trip I suppose!

First nights accomodation
 Stayed the first night in a lovely Chateau near Abbeville, the vegetarian owners made me so welcome (and prepared me a special evening meal) that I decided to stay in the area the next day. Wandered out next morning into biking nirvana – long straight empty road throttle wide open, then hairpin, hairpin downhill into impossibly picturesque mediaeval village looking like some perfect film set, then uphill hairpin, hairpin then spat out onto long empty straight full throttle again.

This was repeated pretty much all day, each day. I travelled down to Bayeaux to see the war museum, war graves and the famous tapestry we were taught about at school; carried on further into Normandy to Dinan, another amazing medieval city, complete with 3km of walls. 

British war graves at Bayeaux cemetary

Bayeaux cathedral

Water mill

Picturesque Dinan
 At each place I managed to find vegetarian food, even if it was only goats cheese salad, but I enjoyed every minute of it – managed to average around 300 miles a day on those fabulous roads, couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Five days later I rocked up back at the Eurotunnel terminal in Calais, quick return trip and I was home for tea. Knackered but happy.

Looks a bit precarious - but has been there 500 years or so

Guess what they serve in this roadside cafe?


  1. Well done in getting your leg over an Adventure model!

  2. N, It was so tall I had the seat in the lowest position! When I got back on the trumpet it felt like riding a bicycle!

  3. El D:

    so glad you managed to go on a short vacation. I tried to sit on a GS and I felt it a bit tall too of course once you are rolling then it doesn't matter. I am sure it can eat up rough roads. Getting the GS delivered was very nice

    Riding the Wet Coast

    1. Bob, it was great to get away, a longer trip would have been good, but I've other commitments here at the moment. The GS is a great bike for touring, as you say it lightens up on the move. - don't think I could commute on one though, it's too big for London (and my scrawny legs to hold up)!

  4. That BMW does look a little heavy compared to your Bonnie.

    Like you said, at least you got the drop out of the way early. Both times Max has napped it has been on a road trip.

    Pictures are very nice. Such a pretty place to ride.

    It is nice that you can find vegetarian meals when traveling, since we went vegan almost two years ago we end up packing a lot of food along as we feel we'll starve if left to the mercy of restaurants.

    1. Trona iritis, as a vegan, you'd probably starve in France! You'd enjoy the scenery, though, Normandy is just so pretty, green with loads of little villages, and fantastic roads!

    2. Oops , sorry, predictive text got the better of your name there, Trobairitz.

  5. Trona iritis?

    That's really funny!