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…