RTW Trip on a Himalayan

madbiker

Getting there...
Location
United Kingdom
Hello Folks.

I have posted an introduction and it was recommended to me that I should start a thread here about my trip.

I actually started my trip about two years ago but at that time I decided that as I did not yet have the correct bike to do an RTW trip on and that I needed to learn how to speak Spanish, I decided to live in Spain for a couple of years to learn the language. So, two years and a recent purchase of a Himalayan later, I decided to start my RTW for real. In August this year I rode the bike from Glasgow to Spain to go back and say goodbye to my friends there as the chances are it will be a long time before I decide to return or not.

I did about 2,500 miles in about 5 days, I had planned to do it in about 10 days, however, my UK bank decided to lock my account, leaving me on the French/Spanish border with 40 euros in my pocket. I had to do a long haul on mostly motorways to the home of a friend in Galicia where I just made it before running out of money for fuel.

The bank refused to unlock my account until I presented myself at a branch in the UK with 2 forms of ID. I had to borrow money from my friend to obtain flights back to the UK and get this mess sorted out. £500 later I presented myself at a branch, unlocked my account only to then be told that it was the bank's mistake and my account should never have been locked. Two months later, still no apology or refund for my expenses to get back to the UK from Spain. I normally don't carry lots of cash, just cards, but after this I will ensure that I always have access to some method of getting cash other than from my bank, that is until i change banks because I am not remaining with my present one.

Anyway unplanned horror story/Adventure over, back to the bike.

The bike has performed better than I expected. It is relaxing and very easy to ride. Does not like to be in 5th gear anything under 35 mph so in town I usually trundle about in 4th. Staying off the motorways was always my plan and apart from using them as little as i could during the ride from Glasgow to the channel tunnel ( almost an impossibility), the one day that I mentioned above in Spain and another that I shall talk about later, I managed to do so without any issues. The bike can be hustled along quickly when required and as others have mentioned the overtaking of long vehicles or a line of cars needs to be well planned as the bike does lack a little bit of power when making such manoeuvres.

The Trip.

Days 1 - 5

My ride from Glasgow to Folkstone was largely uneventful but cold. A mix of A class roads where I could and motorways where I could not got me to Folkstone by early evening. Sitting at an indicated 70-75 mph the bike ran well and without complaint, although it did sound a little strained the closer it got to sustaining 6,000 RPM for a while. After a night in a an unremarkable hotel I rose to a beautiful sunrise in Folkstone.


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Leaving Folkstone I boarded the train that travel under the English channel to France. I have done this a few times before and as usual I met some fellow two wheeled travelers on board. After 20 minutes or so of exchanging stories and thoughts about each other's bikes, I said my farewells and rode south from Calais towards the city of Tours that would be my first stop on my way to Spain. Choosing to stick to the N or D class roads I was rewarded with not only relatively empty and well surfaced roads but also with some very scenic routes.

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Southbound on the D438 near Alencon

The next day I headed for La Rochelle, although I have been traveling in France many times before, this is one place that I had never been to. En route I stopped at the fortress town of Chinon for a quick breakfast. It was quite an impressive town.

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When I arrived at La Rochelle I found that the main port was pedestrianised and if I wanted to see anything I would have to leave the bike unattended. As all my worldly possessions are carried on it I decided to forsake the tourist experiences that La Rochelle had to offer and push on south to the ferry at Royan. Crossing the river Dordogne estuary on the ferry was pleasant enough despite the hefty 15 Euro ticket price.

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The D1215 south after the crossing was a great road to ride, the smell of pine trees filled the air and eventually the sun came out warming things up. I hit a couple of the smaller town on the coast looking for a place to stay for the night but as it was the height of the French holiday season most places that I found were either full or were asking over 70 Euros a night for just a basic room with no breakfast. Not happy to pay such prices I pushed on until I eventually found a place on the outskirts of Bayonne that was asking a more reasonable 40 Euros, still well overpriced, but as it was getting dark I decided to bite the bullet.

The next morning the sun was shining, it was warm, and I was looking forward to a long leisurely five day ride along the North coast of Spain. However, that dream was quickly shattered by my aforementioned banking problem, so a quick sprint along the motorway from Bayonne to Gijon and then south passed Lugo to the home of my friend.

During this long day on the motorway he bike held a steady 70-75 mph, getting up to 80 mph on a couple of overtakes on long vehicles, trying not to get rear-ended by a high speed BMW or Mercedes. I have to say that I was impressed by the bikes ability to take such sustained high revs while fully loaded. Although it is not the quickest accelerating bike once it got to 70-75 mph with the exception of long steep climbs it was releatively easy to keep it at this speed.

The week following this I spent arranging and then doing my traveling back to the UK to resolve my banking problems. Once this was over I spent the next couple of weeks relaxing and socialising with my friends. I also took the opportunity to ride some of the fantastic roads that this part of the world has to offer.

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LU-903 South of Douade Galicia Spain
 
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sqeeezy

Well travelled
Location
Southern Spain
Hello Folks.

I have posted an introduction and it was recommended to me that I should start a thread here about my trip.
Howdo. Dunno where you're at just now but France can be great fun on the wee roads. I went down the west side on my Bonnie, taking it easy 40-60 mph, and took the Royan ferry across the Bordeaux estuary, avoiding Bordeaux. I reckon it's faster avoiding the towns and it makes for more fun, and sod the autoroutes, stress, danger and tolls. ViaMichelin gives you the option of "shortest" route which can lead you off the beaten track. Roncesvalles is a nice westerly Pyrenees crossing, good roads but fairly quiet. Avoid Madrid. Happy Trails!
 

madbiker

Getting there...
Location
United Kingdom
Howdo. Dunno where you're at just now but France can be great fun on the wee roads. I went down the west side on my Bonnie, taking it easy 40-60 mph, and took the Royan ferry across the Bordeaux estuary, avoiding Bordeaux. I reckon it's faster avoiding the towns and it makes for more fun, and sod the autoroutes, stress, danger and tolls. ViaMichelin gives you the option of "shortest" route which can lead you off the beaten track. Roncesvalles is a nice westerly Pyrenees crossing, good roads but fairly quiet. Avoid Madrid. Happy Trails!
Hi squeezy, I am now in Poland where I shall be for the winter. Doing this in installments. Did almost the same route you did via Royan etc. Update this when I can.
 
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