And now it’s really over!

So we awakened to the harp declaring we were an hour out from being back in Portsmouth.

In true style we got split up after the passport Control and so I had to turn off the road and let Google take the wheel once again. Tho this turned out to be great as it diverted me through Hampshire lanes and it put me back on the right road ahead of the other chaps who were filtering tailbacks due to a crash ahead.

So managed to meet back up with martyn for the ride back but danny was a bit further ahead.

So what’s there to say to sum up my first European trip… Well firstly I shall be back and the Moto Piston rally was spectacular. Great company and so many beautiful places.

But its time to talk about the MVP of the trip. 2800 miles of faultless performance. Yes the humble Maggot the Cx500. They broke the mould with these, yes they are heavy and not a particularly good lookers. But both Martyn’s and I paid £500 quid.

Yes 500 quid, his 10 years ago and mine just under 18 months ago and whilst we have spent money to keep the bikes on the road to be mechanicaly sound these are by no means pampered princesses. I ride mine to work in all weather’s it’s rusty and a bit crusty but it not only took on the challenge but smashed it with not a hint of any major trouble. My Headstock needs tightening as it was giving me some speed wobbles but will have that sorted in no time. Apart from that it still held up to the abuses of switchbacks and curves for days. Martyn’s bike just needs a clean.

Classic ownership isn’t all about expensive older bikes, it’s a fact a lot of expensive bikes would not have survived the trip. There are a lot of bikes out there full of character for little money that can put a smile on your face and make you appreciate them all the more.

Saturday Bimble

So as now the 5000 curves is out the way the rest of the rally takes on a more casual approach. You can wake up later and no ride out until 10.30 am for a casual 180 miles of arrowed roads so we had the map well (martyn did) I will help him out more tomorrow. My headset didn’t charge properly so I just used my eyesight which is massively better than most of these old chaps.

The aching from yesterday still fresh tho but was a really nice ride but today we had time to smell the roses and stop and take more pics.

There is another ride tomorrow along with a bbq and we get to visit the moto Piston club house. Along with the closing speaches and a very late dinner. Then Monday we start the ride back but so far all bikes are fine and all riders in fine form albeit perhaps sore bottoms!

Pau to Logrono

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.

Saint Angeau to Pau

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!

Caen to Saint-Angeau

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.