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?

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

75bhp isn’t exactly going to set the road alight....

But it’s not a bad result for my 18 yr old Thunderbird; when new the standard bike made 67bhp. The guy in the dyno shop did say that the silencers are the main restriction, he reckons he saw another 10bhp when he pulled the baffles, but as they’re already loud as hell that’s not an option. Maybe I’ll look around for some better ones.

The up-and-down blue lines at the bottom show how bad the fueling was, nice steady red line shows it now.

In a hilarious follow-up to comments on Bobskoots blog regarding the level of service he gets from his bike shop, not only did this guy manage to scratch the tank on the Triumph – the bike ran out of petrol about 3 miles down the road! As I’d filled it up before I took it in I was a bit surprised when it coughed, spluttered and conked out, by the time I’d pushed it down the road and up and over a railway bridge to the nearest petrol station I was knackered, especially as the sun was blazing down.

Ah, the trials and tribulations of running an older bike.