EDSBK is a blog about a small group of sports bike riders, the places we go in search of our ultimate road and the motorbikes we ride..

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2019 Road Trip

2019 Pyrenees, Spain and Andorra.






This trip was actually arranged as our 2018 road trip but as Col had had his Incident only 5 weeks before our trip date it had to be cancelled. It was so close to the departure date we couldn't get the ferry or channel tunnel refunded so were given credit notes, this left us with only 1 option, to do the exact same trip.
 We decided some years ago that superbikes are not great for touring on, they cause knee, wrist and neck ache after a couple of hours so you have to keep stopping, making long trips even longer.

  So with that in mind we went to Europcar a few months earlier to book a van. As they couldn't promise what sort of van we would get when booking we ended up with a van that had previously spent time with a builder by the look of the dust under the seat, not exactly what we expected to use for a holiday, especially to Spain with temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s and worst of all it had no aircon...!
We took it anyway and it did drive very nicely, didn't let us down at all, and Naz from the branch was most helpful.


 

We planned to travel by van to Portsmouth, cross on the Ferry to Bilbao which involved 2 nights onboard, it was like a mini cruise and if you fancy going to that area it is a well recommended relaxing journey, and not having any driving to do the following day gave us chance to get in a few beers.





 The alarm sounded Tuesday morning at 5:30am telling us to get up and be ready for a 6:45 departure. We disembarked and soon were on route to the Castellanu hotel in Escalo, this was around 6 hours away.  The Spanish and French  motorways got us to the mountains in a few hours but then the journey got slow. So many little villages but beautiful scenery. Eventually we stopped for a rest in a pull in halfway up the steepest climb to the 2072 mtr road height of Bonaigua. Another half an hour saw the Hotel Castellanu, which looked nice but builders were busy making a new swimming pool from 8am till 7pm and there was no AIRCON!

 The hotel is owned by a biker and he gave us 2 routes to try, earlier research had also led me to the same routes but having a local tell us to use those same roads was most reassuring.
 We unpacked our luggage leaving the bikes on the van and were now getting hungry so went to the restaurant for dinner, it was closed. Col meanwhile scouted the internet to find somewhere suitable for a meal,  so back in the van and we headed off back towards the mountain to Espot and found a brilliant little place called "The Burgerplatz" and quote " Mother of mine they have the best burgers ever I have tasted" whoever wrote that review was 100% right we went back the next 2 nights... and the road leading up to it was another stunner!


2019's Everyday Supervan.... well it would have been if it had aircon.

 Ride 1.

The following day we started the reason for all this travel, to ride some awesome Spanish roads in the Pyrenees. The route took us North on the C-28 back over the mountain we had climbed in the van the day before and towards a town called Vielha.
 A left onto the N-230 took us up another mountain and through a long cooling tunnel which was most welcoming as the bike engines were now running at about 109C and the fans on at a constant. The road crosses out of Catalonia and into Aragon, the bends were sweeping and fast compared to the C-28. We stopped to take a photo and re hydrate then continued along to El Pont de Suert.
 A left turn onto the N-260 headed towards Sort takes you along one of the areas best biking roads.The N-260 takes you through a village called Perves, the roads here were fast long corners mixed with tight twists with the odd 50kmh speed limit thrown in along it.

After getting to Sort where a chemists digital sign was showing a huge temperature of 36C we took the C-13 back towards the hotel, this road was near perfect, the bends seemed to stay on a constant radius as it followed the river back through the valley.
  The ride was great, just hot. The roads were twisty and the sections where they climbed up and down the hills just seemed to last for ages. From Sort back to the hotel the C-13 was similar to our Welsh favourite the A483 but on steroids!
 The river runs along side the road often swapping for one side to the other, a perfect place to hoilday if you are into canoeing or cycles/motorcycles.



Ride 2.

Thursday we somewhat lazily put on our leathers, gloves and helmets as it was already too hot. We planned on going to Andorra again a route recommended by the hotel owner.
 This time we headed South towards Sort and rejoined the N-260 going East.
What a road!...what a road! You could easily just spend the day riding back and forward along this 45km section. Imagine every great corner you have enjoyed, stringing them together and riding them, this road is that one.  I think over the 2 days riding this part of the N-260 had to be my road of the trip, but they were all good.
 We arrived in Andorra, it was too bloody hot. The heat from our engines funnelled up through the fairing in the slow moving traffic, the traffic was heavy and the area not a biking paradise, however it boasts some great bargains as its a tax haven. We didnt stay long enough to check out the shops, we wanted more of the N-260 and the cooler mountain air so headed back the way we had came.
 After a fair bit of  throwing the bike to the left and right and on and off the throttle and brake we were ready for a break, Col was in front and spotted the only layby with some shade, well just 1 tree  but who cared we needed to re-hydrate.
 As we pulled up behind 2 other motorbikes we noticed the yellow UK number plates and heard the welcoming English voices of Gregg and Simon so chatted about most things bike and area for about half an hour as we all cooled in the shade of that 1 little oak tree. Simon suggested it would be a good place to open a roadside burger van, we agreed even if just for the great view.
The view from the oak tree, the road snakes up the mountain opposite

The only shady place

We headed back to the hotel and as it was our last chance to ride the bikes, we filled up with fuel then  had a ride up to twisty hill to Espot and another drink of refreshing fruit drink, back down to the hotel I thought "I like it here". We parked up and got back into our shorts before reloading the bikes in the van, they were covered in builders dust which was now over me, i went to the edge of the river to wash it off and slipped in.  My trainers dried very quickly, good job as they were all I had. Later we got back in the van to go to Burgerplatz again but the van smelt very strong of petrol we decided it must be the heat was causing it and went on our way.
 The next morning the smell was just as bad but as there was no sign of any leaks what could we do other than open all the windows and crack on with the journey North.

 The next stage of our trip was heading home, but we wanted a place to stop off and break up the 16 hour journey. So we went to Le Mans.
  I have always wanted to go there as I enjoy watching the 24 heurs du Mans also known as Circuit de la Sarthe and all things to do with LMP and prototype racing.
 9 Hours later we made it to the Le Mans Museum as we wanted to look at the race cars. Again I enjoyed this, but the heat caused me some problems, lack of drinks had given me heat exhaustion, so re hydrated slowly in their canteen which didn't have aircon!
 We had booked in to stop at the Brit Hotel and as we walked through the door we were greeted by cool air...AT LAST!!
 After a quick unpack and shower the bar was calling so went and sat in what I call heaven, surrounded by pictures of cars, in furniture made of old oil barrels surrounded by like minded people, with a refreshing beer or 2.
The last Day, we left the cool hotel and sat in an already warm van then did 2 laps of the bits of the Le Mans circuit we could drive on, I have always wanted to drive along the  Mulsanne Straight and along the public road area of this track, and now I partially have even if its not in the vehicle of choice.... a Ford GT40 .. no I mean a Ford Transit van.
 The place does have the feeling of a racetrack having the gravel traps and painted areas at the side of the public road.  Wish we had had a full day here to explore the circuit a bit more.


 The journey home from here was a rush we had a 4 hour 10 minute journey to get to Calais and make our booking time, the sat nav said it was going to take 4hrs and 11 minutes we needed good traffic flow, we arrived at Calais with 10 minutes to spare unfortunately so had 200 other vehicles and they were all trying to get into 3 entry gates which made us late.
  France has some great Motorways, Britain could learn a thing or 2 from them, after getting a few miles from the Channel tunnel the 15 miles of cones on the UK's M20 started and as usual there was no sign of anything going on. 

 A great time and glad I got to spend it with Col, but the sticky heat when travelling in a vehicle without aircon in the hottest continental summer for years and being woken by builders every morning before 8am again in a hotel without aircon dampened our spirits,
but you cant fault those roads!

2019 Cols New Ride



 Meet the newest bike in Everyday Superbikes.

 Col has made an almost full recovery from the incident where he lost the Black Fireblade in June 2018. Only a problem with his shoulder remains which doesn't seem to affect him too much and is better to be left as it is according to medical experts. The accident has left him with a metal plate in his arm, and on a recent trip to Stuttgart to the Porsche and Mercedes Museums it didn't set the alarms off the airport security.... slightly disappointing.



  We obviously haven't done much bike related things since June, apart from visit the bike shop and the Motorcycle Live event in November of 2018. This was the point Col decided the time was right to look for another bike.
  He had spotted a race rep 2006 Fireblade which looked nice, but the insurance was not that interested in insuring a race rep, so a few weeks later he looked at a standard one and bought it (pictured above).

 Its a 2006 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade with a yoshimura exhaust, which sounds great.
Currently it has odd tyres on it so that is going to be sorted out soon as that's a motorbiking no no. He has ordered a few bits and has a few plans to personalise it to his taste.

 We took it the bikes out for the 1st ride together between Christmas 2018 and New Year, It was good to be back, even if it was a bit of a cool day. He has had some Oxford heated grips added like mine so he now can enjoy warm hands too, he says this is much more civilised than holding the exhaust pipe when your stopped in a layby.

  I look forward to the New Year and hope to make some more good memories and visit some new places in our continuing search for our favourite road.



June 17th


On June 17th Col and I headed to Dom's food stop near to Leominster.

We pulled onto the A44 at Bromyard and Col was  about 1 car length infront of me, we were doing 30mph in a queue of traffic also doing the same speed. I passed a bollard in the middle of the road and then things went strange, a bike appeared along side me, I didnt see this bike as I pulled out but he may have came from the petrol station, it passed me on the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic and pulled infront between me and Col, I thought the rider had pulled a dickhead manoeuvre so was shaking my head. The rider was on a sporty cruiser style bike and had a chrome helmet which was hard to look at and 13 on the back of his leathers.

 We got to the end of the village and the road opened up to national speed limit. So i thought I will go passed him. He accelerated faster than my Fireblade could, however the rider was useless at cornering, The rider seemed to be purposely slowing me down for the next few minutes and I was half expecting another bike to appear and a theft to take place so in the 2nd following corner I saw the road was clear and passed him, I checked the mirror and the bike was gone as he had turned off.
 At Dom's I told Col about this and he confirmed he saw the bike and the headlight was very bright so couldnt see what was going on behind.

I use a Go Pro camera when I ride but for all the time this bike was infront of me the camera didnt record.... Wierd!

 Coming back from Dom's we used the A456, a road we know well and use most weekends, Col passed a car going up the hill towards Clows Top and I followed not too far behind them both.

 I came to the corner with a junction towards Rock and there was a car with the front smashed in, a bit further along was Col's bike on its side, steam pouring from it and the front forks snapped back so the  wheel was above the tank. He had gone head on into a car coming the other way.

Further along the road was Col lay in the road, at first not moving and I feared the worst.
I parked my bike and dazed walked towards him taking in the scene, not feeling anything, just saying "Oh Fuck" over and over.  I saw Col's leg move as I took my helmet off and with the ear plugs out could hear the other vehicle drivers already on mobile phones asking for Police, Ambulance and Fire Services. I shouted, "Col can you hear me?"  trying to remember basic 1st aid, to which he said "yes", he then started to try and get up, so I held him down and told him to stay still as the Ambulance was coming.
 From the village came a Nurse and from the stopped traffic came a Dr who thankfully took over the holding him still part while I kept Col talking and found his phone to call home.
 The Police were 1st to arrive who closed the road and a few minutes later the Ambulance arrived, I was relieved as soon as they were on scene.
 A second ambulance arrived and I overheard them say to the Police officer they were on their way to a motorbike fatality a mile away in the direction we had came from.

Col had been very lucky to get away with a broken Arm,Shoulder,and Foot in this incident,  no one else was injured. He cant remember how he came to be on the wrong side of the road or any of the accident, just waking up lay on the road with me and other people around him. The corner is quite sharp and uneven so both vehicles speed was lower than the speed limit for the road. The black fireblade was too badly damaged to be repaired so is now with a breaker.

 From my point of view, I didn't witness the accident as I was about 100metres behind, but seeing your best friend in this position is a horrible shock, the following day is when it hit me more, I felt a wreck.

 Col is now back at work and able to drive, but his injuries are slowing him down when walking.

 I have rode my bike once since the accident, its not the same without your wingman when his always been there for the last 20 years. Col and I still have unfinished business with motorbikes, we both still enjoy them and Col talks about getting another, but we will have to see.
I have delayed putting this post up as it could be the last... I dont know if Everyday Superbikes will continue, but if and when it does I will post it here....

Thank you to the Emergency services for everything you did.

Ride4Life

 On 22nd April 2018, Col and I took part in the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity’s Bike4Life Ride Out and Festival. This was a route from Bayston Hill in Shrewsbury along the M54 motorway to Cosford near Wolverhampton.

Visit their web page here

 We had pre booked our tickets online for just £10, the weather forecast was possible rain but mostly dry, and they got it spot on.
  The bikes were gleaming as usual as we pulled onto the over flow car park near Bayston Hill shopping centre. The figure quoted by the organisers were over 5000 bike were in attendance and raised over £87,000.


Steve Parish and Carl Fogerty were to lead the convoy of bikes from Shrewsbury to Cosford which was due at 12:00. The organisers sent them on their way and slowly let all 5000 bikes leave the car park.

 Col and I were some of the first of the last 3rd of the bikes to be let off the car park which was some 20 minutes after Steve Parish and Carl Fogerty had left, infact they had probably got to Cosford when we were just leaving Shrewsbury.

  Having never took part in an event like this it was quite overwhelming to see the support it gathered. Every junction or bridge there were stood onlookers waving as we passed underneath them. It was a really nice thing to be a part of.
 The ride took a little over half an hour, the motorway was full of bikes all doing the 70mph speed limit, but 5000 bikes on 2 lanes of motorway then into 1 single lane caused a bottle neck around Cosford.
 We parked up in the field by Cosford airport and went for a walk around the stalls and stopped to watch some stunt show and listen to Steve Parish and Carl Fogerty story's of racing and promoting their books.

 It was a really good day out which raised a lot of money for a good cause, if you have never been to an event like this its well worth attending an event close to you.

Col and I on the M54  Col at front Me a bit further back (Circled)


 A good cause that at the time we didn't realise how close we came to needing....

2017 Clermont Ferrand & Millau


  Col and I couldn't decide where to go for our 2017 trip, we talked about Ireland, Scotland and 
Le-man all because we wanted a cheaper trip than the last 2 years. Eventually on a cold December night in the pub and after watching a re-run of a Top Gear episode, we came up with the Millau Viaduct and Tarn Gorge in the South of France.
 The plan was to do it over 5 days, 3 days of riding once we had got there and again this involved the van and a 13 hour drive.

The  Viaduct has been on our visit list in the past, but we have not been quite close enough to it before.  In January I looked for a hotel with secure parking, that was bike friendly and not too far from civilisation so we could enjoy the area when not on the bikes and the obvious choice was Clermont Ferrand.
 When I looked on Google maps it was about a 2 hour ride down to Millau and the viaduct, so thought that a far enough distance for a day out. The rest of the area closer to the hotel on the map had some bendy looking roads, so thought it seemed a good destination.

 July came and we collected the van. Eurocar again supplied us with a van with only 1000 miles on the clock, unfortunately for the 2nd time, it didnt have air-con which is what we asked for, or cruise control and worst it was also a transit custom, which I know far to well as being the most broken into van on the market and it can be done in about 40 seconds, so we were rather disappointed as we loaded the bikes. 


 We set out at 4:15am made our booking on Euro-tunnel and headed off deep in to France. The journey was event free only traffic we encountered was through Paris which lost us about 45 minutes.

We pulled onto our hotel carpark at 18:15 French time. We used  The Comfort Hotel next to the hospital and a petrol station, its not far off the main roads out of town, has a tram stop outside, some English speaking staff, was clean but tired looking and the car park was secured and kept the van hidden from the road so just what we wanted. 3 stars ***. The tour de France also used the same hotel the 1st night we were there.

 Day 1

  We were asleep for 10 hours so when we woke up it was after 9am, it was raining when we opened the curtains and we watched the sky as we ate our cornflakes. There was alot of blue heading our way so looked at the map and spotted a race circuit not to far away, I said lets go see whats there. It was closed and we could see nothing, apart from old volcano stacks, lots of them, I said lets wing it, we will just head up and eventually find something to look at, Col agreed as there was not much option. I lead for most of this ride, taking the N roads which looked like they were headed up hill, eventually we came across a shop, which looked good to get a drink from, but it only sold cheese.

 I took out my smart phone, looked at the maps and noticed we were close to a road called the D996.
 "This looks twisty, its gotta be good, its named after the Ducatti 996" I said, and was only 6 miles away, so we set off in that direction.
 To get there we followed the D983 which  takes you to the top edge of a volcano, we stopped for a rest and to admire the view.  The cauldron was along down to the left and full of trees.






Eventually we reached the left turn onto the D996 which in reality seemed better than it looked on the map, the corners just kept coming and the ribbon of tarmac was race track smooth, the road kept climbing taking you to heights where your higher than the low lying clouds covering our visors with a layer of drizzle, eventually we came out the top of the clouds and found the 1401 mtrs summit of col de la croix Morand and stopped for a magnum at the little gift shop.



The clouds lifted as we sat there and we could see a lake bathed in sunshine along way below us, so Col said shall we go there.
 I looked at the map and the D996 went passed the lake so we set off down the hill to Lac Chambon. We found a Lakeside hotel called Belle Vue and stopped for a drink watching the world go by for over an hour. The clouds on the mountains started to look threatening so we continued our journey back towards the hotel.
A few more miles along the road was the Chateau de Murol, an impressive looking hill fort, the clouds were gaining on us so we moved on, but the clouds had straight lines to follow, we had the twisty road and inevitably they caught us, we took to hiding under the trees until it stopped raining and headed back to the Hotel. 

D996   9 out of 10.



Day 2

 The weather app said that day2 was going to be the best weather of the 3 day, this was going to be the day to go on our longest trip of our few days away. We got up early opened the curtains to a grey clouded day, but at least it was dry.
 We set off in the local rush hour traffic which was like a Sunday morning in the UK, headed down the A75 towards  Millau, as this was the purpose of this trip, to ride over the Tallest bridge in the world, the Millau Viaduct. The previous night we watched how it was built on Youtube which put us even more in the mood for seeing it.
  The Journey there was around 2 hours, it threatened to rain numerous times, even dropping cool over the taller mountains that the route took us. The dark grey threatening sky seemed to be endless and I was fearing the worst for the photo opportunities.
  We were only about 5 or 6 miles from the bridge when it first came into sight. The grey clouds came to an end and blue patches seen here and there, and bigger patches of blue over the bridge and the gorge below. I saw the turn for the visitor centre and we went to have a closer look.
  We left the bikes on the carpark, the walked up the hill to the viewing platform which is just a bit higher than the 245m high road deck of the bridge.  The Viaduct is built over the river Tarn, and was built to re leave the traffic problems through Millau.
The Millau Viaduct is 2460m long, has 7 pillars, The tallest pillar is 343m tall which makes it taller than the Shard in England and the  Eifle Tower making it the 4th tallest structure in France, the shortest pillar is 77m, which is still a long way up!


We took the photo's and headed back to the bikes to ride over it. There was a Toll to pay, this was a little confusing as it didnt show what vehicle you were paying to take over the bridge, we went to a lane that showed a picture of a car and a bike, posted your credit card in the slot and the barrier lifted so we pulled away, not until you get home do you actually see what you paid, we both paid 8 Euro the price for a car....

We crossed the bridge and gave each other a thumbs up, as if saying "thats one more thing off our bucket list!" We took the next turn off and followed the road so we could next ride under the bridge for a few photos, refuel and dinner in an air conditioned MacDonalds in Millau as it was warming up quickly.

 After Dinner we followed the road up through the gorge to a road that had appeared on an episode of Top Gear where the 3 presenters had some fun on a zig zag of a road running up the mountain. This was the village of Les Vignes and the road the D995.  The Gorge was lovely the river runs to the right of the road which had a number of tunnels and hairpins, its very touristy and there were a lot of camp sites, so the road speed was limited.
  We took the left turn onto the D995, by now it was hot the forecast had said 29 degrees but in leathers it felt hotter. We climbed the road out of the gorge, the heat effecting Col more than usual so I stopped and waited for him in the lay by near the top, where the Top Gear presenters had filmed part of the show. The journey back from there was another 2 hours, but the cooling breeze helped make it more bareable.



Day 3

 We had no plans for day 3 just to ride around and explore similar to day 1. We set off in a different direction, after spotting on the map the D216 another twisty bit of tarmac to the south west. This road was nice and the weather was good at this point.


 At the time I didn't  realise where it was headed only to end up back in the same place as we did on day 1, which wasn't all bad as we got to ride the D996 again, but this time it was wet. Infact so wet we had to get the waterproofs out which is a mood changer and the ride is more for the hell of it than enjoyment. We called it a day in the early afternoon after another stop by Lac Chambon and went back to the hotel and planned to spend the evening in the city, which was most impressive.




 All in all I enjoyed the trip and would definately head to that area again, the weather could have been more generous to us, but we have some new roads to add to our Ultimate Roads section.