Sunday, 15 November 2009

Bike Trip

Blimey, it's been months and I haven't updated this blog. All the pertinent info went onto Twitter though so you can still have a look at it if you are interested.
What a blast! Here's what happened in a nutshell.
First of all. It was hot. Very hot. Very, very, very hot! At least 40C for the first few days. We were totally unprepared for this and riding in that heat in British bike gear is not nice at all! Now I know what it feels like to be a boil in the bag fish! Progress was slow because we had to keep stopping for rehydration (also removal of lots of gear to cool down). Still we weren't the only ones. All of the bikers were suffering and there was a certain camaraderie as we all huddled in the scant shadowy places to cool off!

We didn't get to all of the places we planned on account of the heat. But did reroute via Millau. This was a random selection from the map but there is a famous bridge there which was well worth seeing. It is an engineering marvel and looks almost impossibly delicate. We didn't ride across it but did pass underneath which was a great way to really see it's magnificence.
Got to the accommodation in the Pyrenees which was quirky! Bit of a mistake booking it for 10 days. We were all mountained out after a week. Plus the bike fell over and one of the indicators stopped working so we ended up heading home a few days sooner than planned.

The Pyrenees. Wow!
One day riding in the clouds being all British and sure that it would brighten up soon. It didn't. We saw nothing. Thank God for sat nav as we could barely see past the front of the bike a lot of the time and it showed us what was coming.
Very freaky looking at the side of the road and seeing nothing but cloud yet knowing that there is most likely a frighteningly long and steep drop there! Disorientating.

The next day fabulously clear and totally blown away by the amazing views. Also amazed by the astonishing number of cyclists zooming around the place!

Also kept coming across animals at the summits scrounging for food! Horses on one carpark and a cheeky goat on another! All looked, well chunky.

The best bit of all was all the people we met. The Spanish bikers (all on BMW K series bikes), the friendly cook at the roadside cafe, the lady Harley rider we kept bumping into all the way home, Gary from Bournemouth who we chatted to at the top of the Col du Tourmalet, the bonkers ex-pat who moved to France because he likes to own guns, the chatty dutchman with 4 hours more to drive who wished he was on his bike. Just great. You don't get that when you are driving a car.

Also visited some great places briefly. Had coffee in Luxembourg, stayed a night it a very posh hotel in Lausanne by Lake Geneva, walked amongst the beautiful people in Biarritz, crossed the border to Donastia St Sebastian in Spain, goggled at the numerous souvenir shops in Lourdes, and had a pleasant evening in Charleville. All great.

After deciding to head for home, we also decided to see how far we could go in one go. 900 miles it seems. We kept going until Leamington Spa where we had to stop to pick up the car and the dog. Although the dog was now in Cheshire (long story).

Bit bum sore but exhilarated.

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