So we kicked off our voyage in to Spain after a good breakfast at last night’s hotel before kicking off this morning to a misty and cold start. Today we were heavily reliant on technology due to the tricky nature of staying off motorways and the silly amount of random roads to cross over to main roads.
So I took the lead aided by google and we made good progress to Saint Jean Pied de Port just on the French/Spanish border thankfully the mist had cleared by then. We stopped for a coffee.
Apparently tho we were not a train and we shouldn’t park in the landtrain station so was soon asked to move the bikes by a local policeman.
We soon got down to business tho heading over the Pyraneese Mountains. Absolutely great riding roads with lots of switch backs. However in a few corners Danny’s bike was not behaving quite right so we stopped to check but everything seemed OK. We continued on to the top near Roncesvalles.
Crazy great views and lots of memories for me from my previous camino exploits. We briefly stopped in Roncesvalles so I could have a picture with the famous sign.
We Continued Down the road to a police checkpoint were 3 out of 4 of us were categorically told our motorcycles were unacceptable to Spain and it would not be possible to continue only to let us go and let us know it’s a 100 euro fine. We assume there was another checkpoint further up where we would have been fleeced if we stayed on the main road but were following the sat nav which took us off to a cracking pass with tunnels and lovely roads. You will have to wait for the video on that one.
The plan was to skirt Pamplona and follow a different road down however we experienced the downside to googlemaps we went the wrong way due to some unclear signage and instead of just telling us to turn around it tried to loop us so we followed down some very small lanes with turned to some gravel followed by boulder ditches and proper off road stuff, not ideal for two sports bikes and two cx’s. But we managed assuming this was just the short bit we needed to do to getto the road we need to go to but nope it took us back to where we started.
Lesson learned on that off road escapade we realised fuel was low the cx’s can only do 120 miles per tank. We now had the option of running out of fuel or biting the bullet and heading into Pamplona. We decide fuel was king so headed in and got filled up and decided to roll the dice again and trust the sat nav however now we were in proper fast paced city centre traffic and took a lot of brain power to navigate through. So we stopped for lunch when we got through the other side. Then the road from Pamplona to Logrona is mainly motorways hence why we were trying to miss it so let the google’s take over and we had to zip zag our way but all nice roads to be fair tho we did spot these caves.
We are assuming troglodytes caves but we’re guessing.
We got into Logrono and Danny was now advising there is some clunking noises coming from his bike, suspected front sprocket issues. We checked into to the hotel and Danny got on phone a d luckily found a Yamaha Dealer in Logrono just 750m away. With opening hours until 8pm he rode round to see if they could sort it. They did indeed the nut and split pin were absent so very lucky there was not more damage or problems. They fixed it but Danny still thinks there is something not quite right so is hoping to get it on a bench when we get to Santandar tomorrow so the plot thickens.
So a slightly late start but much better kip was had at Alain’s. We prepped for the day ahead.
We soon got on the road and after a few lane diversions we stopped off at a lovely place for coffee. And with no rain today I finally got my big camera out!
Been having a few gopro issues today but managed to film a good bit between my camera and Martyn’s. The roads were so much better today with a lot more flowing winding open roads. All bikes behaving so far and just my gopro being sketchy but iv applied the classic IT fix and formatted the card so hoping for a smoother day tomorrow. After 220 very winding miles of twistys we arrived in Pau at a hotel I booked last night on the ol booking.Com app Two joined apartments for 25 euro a night each and some private parking. So far no Complaints and I’m allowed to book the next hotel.
Tommorow we will hit Spain and looking forward to going parralel to the camino I walked a few years back and we have a nice hotel booked in logrono which should leave us close enough to hit Santander for the kick off of the Piston Rally!
So after I posted last night we retired to the cabin I was told it wasn’t too bad but I don’t do ferry’s often but maybe it’s different on the top bunk but I didn’t sleep that well. But the harp sounded at 5 am and it didn’t feel angelic.
Unfortunately putting on moist gear is never fun but made worse by the fact the rain followed us over the channel. So today’s ride was always planned to be a bit of a long affair and the rain made it quite a soggy time. With big miles to we made good progress first stopping in Alencon for mcdonalds for a coffee unfortunately the French don’t do bacon so we had to settle for some cake or doughnut.
The cx’s need refuelling every 120 miles so thankfully it gives us many chances to stretch the legs. We were making good time but after being on the road from 6am by 12 we were looking for the the lunch menu and a service station came calling for a burger. And unlike UK services this one was tasty.
However the delicious food made us all a bit snoozy so with regular breaks we soldiered on. Making good time and arrived at Alain’s by 4pm a long day in the saddle and due to it mainly being a moist day not many photos!
But the weather looks to be breaking and hopefully the sun will be getting it’s hat on. And we’re making rough plans for tomorrow but our French host is now looking at me strangly as I’m typing this up so I shall not be rude and go enjoy the evening! A moist but successful day with big miles done.
So we set off and not a BMW in sight unfortunately Danny’s beemer was not ticking over right and had already sprung a fork leg leak. So he has had to dust off the only bike available that could make the trip his trusty 1998 R1, now we for sure will be losing some classic vibes but it’s better he make the trip than not. Martyn’s BMW did not fare much better with the crank still leaking oil he opted to take his trusty cx500.
So albeit not the lineup expected we are making do. We met up briefly at the Station Inn for the off.
So we left at 6pm and made good progress albeit a tad moist and stopped for a quick coffee at Chieveley services and a bit of petrol.
Then Onwards to Portsmouth and straight onto the ferry. So beer time and then we shall retire to the cabin for the long day ahead tomorrow.
First let me apologise for the lack of recent posts it has been a busy time with working on background things for the club and our first public meeting along with preparations for the shows ahead. More to discuss at out next meeting. But this Blog is about the soon to depart adventure….
The Piston Rally….. so what is the Piston Rally??? The Rally is an event mainly based in Santander in the North of Spain. It’s all about the classic bikes with a number of days riding culminating in the 5000 Curves, a one day 300+ mile ride with 140+ around the Picos de Europa mountains.
So a rally of classic bikes in north Spain, what’s not to like. This is being attended by 3 of the club’s Committee members Danny, Martyn and Myself (Josh) along with picking up our French pal Alain en route (a previous South Wales Resident). Danny and Martyn have attended numerous times before so a myriad of regular pals will be met at the event plus a stranger is just a friend you havent met yet and the biking community is always welcoming. Whilst attending the event has been a regular occurence the method of our adventure is virgin territory for us on the older ladies. Previous Piston Rally attendances have been done by getting the ferry to Santander with vans or driving down through France with Vans/Trailers but never the full Monty and ride down attend and ride back adding even more to the trip. So what machines are we selecting for this arduous Task.
Now preparations have not been simple, Martyn’s Bike is only just off the bench last week due to an oil leak on the rear crank seal and changing the oil pump O ring. Nothing like last-minute issues and even now as I post the BMW is in the testing phase so it’s not even a sure thing for the final selection.
Danny’s BMW has not fared much better being a fresh rebuild at the start of the year suddenly started developing battery and starting issues. One new battery and starter motor later and all seems fine but this was only done Monday evening so more fingers crossed on this one.
I have done a few things e.g. rear brake caliper rebuild but for the most part my CX is used daily and fingers crossed it will be fine after an oil change on friday evening. So the ferry is late in the evening on Saturday night doing Portsmouth to Caen on the overnight ferry. We the then head down through France and stay at Alain’s where now I made a stereotypical french joke I expect to get a slap before being let in. The rough plan that follows is to book a hotel somewhere near the border to Spain and then figure out a plan to stay somewhere in North spain for before Heading to Hotel for the Piston Rally on the Wednesday but we wanted to keep this open for discussion on the way down.
Now I shall probably keep a daily blog on here for those interested and my previous life as a motovlogger will come in handy when it comes to recording the whole thing so plan to vlog and record as much as I can to produce a video or video series when I come back. So please join us on this entrepid adventure on these old girls across France and the Picos de Europe.
Also don’t forget your in good hands with Alwyn and Matt for next Tuesdays Meeting and they will be taking the lead on the Distinguished Gentlesmans Ride then we will be back for the Swansea Show.