London to Alicante on a Vstrom 650 - The write up


#1

Hello all, as promised here is the write up of my first long trip from London to my hometown Alicante (Spain).

Motorbike: Suzuki Vstrom 650 A K7 (aka Gertrudis)
Camera: Olympus E-MD Mark II
GPS: Co-Pilot app on Iphone 5S mounted on handlebar plugged to power socket 
Total miles: 1900
Dates: from 06/07/16 to 14/07/16

Day 1: London to Bourges - 438 miles ± // Crazy Parisians, bye GoPro,  shitty roadside hotel… link to approximate map

The day started early with the sun shinning in the sky and a smile on my face. Having left everything ready the previous night I woke up early and by 8 am I was leaving east London heading to catch the 11:30 ferry from Dover to Calais via M2. While waiting on the ferry line and talking to some English fellas on shiny and monstrous Honda Varadero XLV packed with enough gear to go to Siberia and back, I realise that one of my straps had come a bit lose from where it was tucked and had got stuck somehow on the rear sprocket, effectively cleaning the chain, the strap end is covered in grease. It could have got entangled on the chain at motorway speeds, God knows why it didn’t, anyway… I kiss the cross that hangs on my neck and carry on, superstitious amulets are working apparently.

The crossing takes 90 minutes, the ferry is packed with noisy teenagers with a clear hormonal imbalance, they are screaming and making out on every fucking corner of the boat, I want to throw them overboard, breath in, breath out, earphones out, music on. Back on the bike and off to the motorway. I had predicted a lot of motorway for this day in order to keep up with the planned itinerary. At 14:00 the heat is still tolerable, yet I wonder how much hotter it will get as a I ride south. By 16:30 I’m riding on the radial motorways of Paris when everybody is leaving the office. BIG MISTAKE, picture 4 lanes on each direction, packed with cars switching lanes without using indicators or anything even remotely similar to an indication.  It is quite hot and I’m very tense,the local riders filter with the warning lights on, but still there is plenty emergency breaking for the next hour, I also nearly got wiped -out by a WV golf with loud music and ugly spoilers, there is even a car in flames on the side of the road, nobody seems to give a shit. I can’t wait to get far from there and by 18:00 I’m passing Dourdan averaging 95mph, frenchies like to drive fast on their motorways and I needed to release some tension and dry some sweat.

After a while and with my hands feeling numb due to vibration  (The vstrom shakes a bit past 85) I stop for ice cream and decide to do the last 130 miles on B roads. Days are long and I’m very bored of motorways. I’ve heard there is some nice castles around. So I attach the Go Pro to the front of the bike and off I go in search of the twisties and rural roads. within 40 minutes I’m riding through bumpy roads, with fields on my sides, eventually I get through beautiful forests with long straight roads, the sun is low and the fields appear to be made out of gold, I barely come cross a car in the next hour. But all of a sudden when I look at my speedometer, something feels weird. The GoPro is gone from the mount!!  But the mount still attached to the bike!! I have no idea where it might have fallen. I curse for buying cheap Chinese mounts and comfort myself thinking that I could’ve lost it at the end of the trip with a lot of footage on.

At 21:00 the sun is almost gone and I feel tired, I arrive to the shitty roadside hotel to find a closed reception and nowhere to have dinner. It takes me 20 minutes to figure out that automatic check in machine. The room is gloomy, smells and the bed is hard, but it will do for the night. Next time I’ll try to spend a fiver more for something nicer. My dinner consists of a canned tuna salad with tomato sauce and a kinder bueno from the vending machine, washed down with half a bottle of luke warm water. I fall asleep in a split second. Tomorrow I will reach the Pyrenees, another 400 miles await  To be continued…

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#2

Nice writeup, man. Looking forward to the next part.


#3

+1


#4

+2 :smiley:


#5

Nice, will be following the next few write ups closely


#6

Good stuff


#7

Day 2 and 3: Bourges to Pyrenees to Pamplona

I don’t have much time to write, so I will summarise a lot.
The temperature at 10am was well over 25 degrees, so by noon there was serious heat, to the point of having to stop every 2 hours to drink something cold, Day 2 lasted 12 hours on the saddle and 720km more or less, it was hard yet nice to reach the mountains for some cool weather. If you ever cross France like I did, look for the D940, hundreds of km of fun on B roads with pretty scenery.
The Pyrenees have amazing roads, some tricky and not suitable for very inexperienced riders, too many twisties and generally good tarmac did boost my confidence a bit too much and I nearly ended up kissing the tarmac a couple of times. The best part gets when entering Navarra province, from ports to Gorges, the contrasts are amazing. Last but not least. Everyone should visit Pamplona from the 7th to the 14th of July during the San Fermín festivities, to see how an entire city stops to party while the population triplicates.

Enjoy the pics and sorry for the short text

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#8

Nice pics! :smiley:


#9


#10

Hmmm … good memories. Look forward to the next part. We went to Figeac once but can’t go back :frowning:


#11
Hmmm ...... good memories. Look forward to the next part. We went to Figeac once but can't go back :( Jetstream

I only went to Figeac because I was curious to know where my second family name (Fisac) came from, pretty medieval town with angry waiters if you ask me… It was scorching hot, I did not spend more than 3 hours.

What did you do?


#12

Days 4,5,6  San Sebastian - Cantabric Coast- Grandma’s house shitty little town near Burgos- Alicante

Will write up details at some point. Just read Avi’s report and remembered that mine was pending. But in summary.

San Sebastian: Amazing food and nice city, a must do. Perfect to rest a couple of days and indulge on the local gastronomy. 

Cantabric Coast: Amazing scenery, winding roads often wet, careful. Loads of motorhomes

Burgos to Alicante: Bad idea to do it in the middle of the summer.

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#13

Ah, excellent! I’ll stick some more up to goad you into writing a bit more :slight_smile: