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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Trip 2016

The Jura Mountains.

   In January we put a few ideas forward for the 2016 road trip and only Col and I were going to be able to go. So we decided as in 2015 the temperature had been so hot in Geneva so we decided to go back and hope the freakishly hot summer of 2015 was going to be more to our liking this year.

 We planned to use the same hotel as last year as we knew it was good and had underground parking for the van and the bikes.
 We set off in the VW van at 4am headed to the Euro tunnel to find we have the wrong sized van. The lady in the Kiosk was helpful and told us to go to the help desk.  At the desk another lady told us we had to pay an extra £70 which was fine, but she said, i am struggling to find you a space on the train, however 30 minutes later we were in the tunnel and Calais bound. 
 Its a blooming long way to Geneva, we watched the temperature climb to 37 degrees as we crossed France and were thankful that this van had air-con. 
 We arrived at the Hotel at 18:10 to the sound of a crash on the back of the van as we went around the last 2 roundabouts. We checked what had happened and the strap holding the bikes inplace had come undone sending my bike into Cols as we cornered causing a crack in the fairing and a broken indicator on Cols bike and scratches to mine, we both were gutted as we had checked the bikes were ok at every stop we made for the last 14 hours. We ate our Pizza thinking of better ways to secure the bikes for the return journey.

 The next day, we got the bikes off the van and assessed the damage, it didn't look quite so bad and we managed to do minor repairs where needed, then headed to the nearest fuel station.
 The plan was to ride the Jura mountains and go to St Claudes as this road was our favourite of the 2015 trip and well worth a 2nd visit. That is until we discovered the main road had 3 sets of roadworks spoiling the flow, and the clouds were gathered at the half way height which let go as we arrived, so we had our first soaking of the trip.
After the 1st down pour
The botttom of the hill down to St Claudes
 The afternoon dried up nicely and we found the good roads from last year and had a good time in the afternoon sunshine. We stopped at the top of the road from Gex for an drink and Ice-cream and noticed a leaflet for the Jura park and Jeux Chateau so decided that was tomorrows destination.

Stopped by the lake
 The next day we awoke to the sound of heavy rain. The mountains behind the hotel could not be seen so after a late breakfast we waited at the hotel for a while and chatted to some English people who were going home after touring for 3 weeks on their bike. They were telling us how many people wanted to talk to them about Brexit but not in a positive way.
   The rain stopped so we headed to the Joux Lakes crossing into Switzerland for a few feet, and then made a run for it back to the hotel only stopping to put on the waterproofs under a bridge as heavy rain, well i say heavy rain but actually it was very heavy waterproof penetrating rain which came and spoiled the rest of the ride.
  Back at the hotel the sum came out so we went to talk to the Bike Shuttle crew that had come to take the other bikes that were parked in the underground car park.

 The last day we thought we would give the Joux chateau another chance, but the rain was so heavy on the mountain we decided to go to Annecy in the opposite direction. As we got within 2Km of Annecy the rain started and lightning streaked over the black sky ahead so we changed our course and rode around some of the lesser know areas of the French Alps and Jura mountains until we found a sign for somewhere we had heard of.
The darkest of dark clouds was hiding out of shot to the left

 All in all we didnt find any new roads worth a mention, but at least we did ride some good ones again that we rode last year.

The sun arrived as we waited to get on the train back to the UK
 At Calais we were held up for 2 hours which caused us to hit Londons M25 at rush hour, what joy. The journey home was 15 hrs.

Heated Grips

 Back in the Autumn of 2015, I had a ride of Matts BMW S1000rr which had heated grips as standard. The day wasn't particularly cold but the heaters on the low setting felt most welcome so I decided that I should look into a pair of these.

  Whilst at the Motorbike Live show at the NEC a month later Col and I came across the Oxford stand and spoke with the salesman who told us all about them. A few stands away was a company selling them at a discount, so we bought 2 sets, saving £20 each. These were the new Oxford Hot Grips for sports bikes. 

Fitting them

 The following weekend I went to Cols and we started to remove the old handle grips and bar ends. Well I did. Col couldn't undo the bolt  to get his bar end off on the throttle side and gave up after 20 minutes of muttering and throwing of spanners.
 So I continued to fit mine. In all it took less than an hour, the hardest part was removing the old rubber grips.
The Oxford Hot Grips come with a neat looking, rain proof control unit that mounts to the handle bar, the grips and all the electrical bits you need to connect it up.
It draws less than 4amps so is not a huge draw on the battery. The control unilt has a battery guard system, it detects if you forget to switch them off and automatically does it for you after a few minutes if the engine is not running.

Riding with them

  The first thing you notice is the bars feel a fraction thicker to hold and the rubber is harder.
The buttons used to set the temperature are easy to see and get at giving you the choice of 5 heat settings. The lowest is 30%, 40%, 50%, 75% and full power at 100%. I have never used more than 50% as that is quite hot with my favourite summer gloves on even on cold slightly frosty days. The grip gets noticeably warmer after just a couple of minutes. 
 When your hands are warm the rest of you seems to also be warm, it seems that the warmed blood in your hands must carry some of the heat round your body with it as I do feel warmer than when its switched off but that could be my imagination!
  There is no negative that i have found over the last 6 months using them, but if i had to offer something it would be that the control unit was slightly narrower, such as if you look at the picture above it was only half as wide as it is.

 The fact is though that when Col stops and grips his exhaust pipe to warm his hands when the mornings are in single figures, my hands are toastie..!


Bike Safe

  In December while at the NEC Motorbike show we came across the Bike Safe stand. We sat and listened to a short talk on cornering and decided we would like to attend a full day.
 On Sunday 17th April a cold and frosty but clear morning Col and I set off to the Police Training centre called Tally Ho in Birmingham. We arrived and met with some of the guys who were at the bike show, Richard,  Paul, Stuart, Glyn, John and the others.

   After a brief introduction we were split into groups and ours was first out on the roads. A Police rider named John was stood by me and said "right your with me". He told me which way to head and I set off with my own Police escort. The first time you look in the mirror and see a marked Police bike close behind you is a little strange, but then you remember that for this ride this guy is your friend. For 2 hours we rode around Birmingham, Redditch and surrounding areas, on all types of roads, around town and twisty country lanes. Most car drivers see the Police bike and just quickly got out of our way, as we passed everything we wanted too where the road permitted.
 We stopped for a chat for 10 minutes and John told me he thought I was doing good, but offered some useful feedback about positioning when passing side roads, looking further away to give myself more time and to use the throttle to pull through the corners.
 Next was the course on the carpark through the cones with Stuart and Glyn. For this we were to use only clutch and rear brake. Apart from a couple of engine stalls when turning right, we both managed to do a clear round, even though Police rider Stuart made me laugh when he told us we missed a cone out....yeah right superbikes steering locks aren't that tight! 
But we were filmed doing it and put on the Police twitter feed,  (below).


 Finally we attended a 2 hour class room session, with Richard and Paul (or Marcus) who went over hazard perception, cornering, Junctions, Overtaking, Filtering and Group riding. They us about the method that Police riders use which was very interesting and informative.
  We paid £35 each as we bought it from the bike show but full price is only £50 and its definitely worth it. The guys really know their stuff, they do this to help inform riders of the hazards out on the road that come in many shapes, they show you how to control your bike at slow speed and assess your riding. Personally I think however good you think your riding is, there is always some advice or something you can learn from attending this type of workshop.

Thanks to all involved with Bike Safe.

Money well spent!

Head to Bike Safe for more information and to book yourself on a Bike Safe Workshop.

Thats Me and Col in the middle in black.
Video and photo from Police twitter feed.

2015 line up changes

 The years almost out as I sit here writing this post in the last weekend in November.
Myself, Col and Matt have plans to visit Motorcycle live at Birmingham's NEC in the next few weeks  mostly to check out the latest bikes and get some ideas for next years trip abroad, but as far as riding goes the years as good as done.


 This year Matt has changed his CBR Fireblade after deciding it was the unluckiest bike he has owned. In the summer he came with us planning to go along the A483 as he wanted to take the blade on a dry run along one of our favourite roads.
 The forecast said "chance of rain in the afternoon - heavy at times", the odds looked in our favour as we were out in the morning. Somewhere along the boarder of England and Wales Matt ran over a Nail which stuck into his tyre damaging it beyond repair and making a 3-4cm gash in the rear hugger.    The rain came earlier than forecast and soaked him to the skin. The breakdown company took 11 hours to get him home so he wanted rid of the Blade as i rained everytime he rode it and almost gave up motorbikes completely.
 Two or three weeks later he had part exchanged the Fireblade for his all time favourite sports bike, the BMW S1000rr.

What a machine - the sound even with the factory fitted pipes makes you want to play with the throttle position all the time, it has heated grips, the ride position is perfect, it looks great and does lots of things in the back ground such as engine mappings and suspension.

Phill, Col

Honda Fireblades cooling in the 34 degree heat of Geneva
 Myself and Col still have the 2004 Honda Fireblades. We have ridden them in all weathers this year. On one ride along the A483 the rain was that heavy that we were forced to ride at 20mph and through water upto 15cm deep and along a main road that resembled a muddy river as mud from the fields washed across our path. It took 2 weeks for our leathers to dry out and left the helmets smelling not very nice.
 We have been out to the cafe on a 4-5degree run out in February and then in 37 degress heat in Annecy France, the bikes never missed a beat in any of these conditions.


  Rich has also upgraded to a litre sportsbike from his Kawasaki 636.
He has bought a 2006 Honda Fireblade. It looks like a mixture of both Col's and mine pinching some colour from both.
 For its first outing he wanted to trial it along the A483. We got to the cafe after a particularly good run along it, with a nice dry road surface and little traffic to cause us a problem. He had a smile on his face that said " I like this!"
  His 2006 Blade is the facelift version of the 2004 bikes Col and I have, with a few minor changes to engine performance and the fairing as far as we can see.

2006 model to left, the fairing is major difference to look at.


Jon SORN his bike for most of the year, but managed to appear once with his GSXR on a day when we had planned to have a night out in South Wales on the Breacon Beacons. Unfortunately he forgot to book the following day off so we turned it into a normal Sunday ride to our disappointment.
This is the only time he has had it out the garage, cleaned it or rode the GSXR this year.
 I managed to get a photo of the time it happened.
 Unfortunately this year mainly because of Jon we haven't all been on out the same ride.

So the current line up of Everday Superbikes is:-

 Phill - Honda CBR 1000rr
Col    - Honda CBR 1000rr
Rich  - Honda CBR 1000rr
Matt  - BMW S1000rr
Jon    - Suzuki GSXR 1000

Trip 2015

The French, Swiss and Italian Alps

   In November of 2014 I was at the motorcycle show in the NEC in Birmingham with Col and came across the guys from Bikeshuttle. The plan is to put your bike in the back of their purpose built truck and take it to Geneva, leaving you to make your own way their by train and plane then meet your bike the following day. We thought the idea had promise so decided there and then that Geneva was on the table for the 2015 road trip. In January we put the trip to Geneva idea to the others, and forecast our costs using bikeshuttle and only myself and Col were going to be able to do this one. The were afew other issues by using the Bikeshuttle service we hadn't thought of which when we weighed it up shoved our costs up and the price out of reach.
 Still determined by the idea to ride in the Alps we looked at other ways to get us there. Riding the 740 miles eachway was not what we wanted to do, so we decided to hire a van ourselves, stick the bikes in the back, along with anything else we needed but we would still use the same hotel Bikeshuttle use as they have underground parking. So through the early parts of the year we hired a van from Europcar, booked the hotel and Eurotunnel and our trip was made.

  We set off at 4am heading to the tunnel, the news was reporting strikes in Calais and the illegal immigrants were also up to no good, so we were expecting to be part of "operation stack", but along the M20 nothing was left apart from a portable loo every half a mile.

  We planned to visit the old Grand Prix curcuit at Reims on the way as Col and I both have seen it on television and wanted to do a lap, also to Ride the Italian Jobs Grand St Bernards Pass and find some roads to add to our Ultimate riding roads list.

   The van seemed to be a great idea as we arrived at the Eurotunnel only 3 and a half hours later which on the bikes in the past had took a further 1 hour due to fuel stops. It felt great not to be sweating and stuck in leathers on the back of the train.

    We arrived in Reims at dinnertime and made our way to Gueux where the old grandstands are still standing and had a look around before taking the van around for a few laps of the 1952 layout of the circuit.
 Time was rolling on so we continued on across France and the temperature on the vans read out went from 22 up to 29 degrees, again we were glad not to be in leathers at this point.
 We arrived at the Business Park Hotel at 18:30 local time, its just on the outskirts of the French part of Geneva. A brief cock up took us into the Swiss part and the City centre which meant we had to buy a Vignette from the Police for 40 Swiss Francs (about £28) this meant we could use the Swiss motorways for a whole year, even though we only needed them for all of 5 miles.  The room was nice on the top floor and we dropped our luggage then went to the restaurant next door for Pizza and Beer.

  We woke up to blue sky, I suggested we went to the 3rd highest of the mountain passes Grand St. Bernards Pass as it was the closest, just 2 hours 10 minutes away from the hotel of which 90 mins are on the motorway. We arrived at a town called Martigny and I put the camera on the bike. The climb started and a few long bends that doubled back on themselves got us back into riding twisty roads again, Snow could bee seen on the mountain tops in the far distance and I pressumed that was where we were headed as we followed the river then through a few tunnels before taking the turn that says Col de St Bernardo, it got steeper and tighter, the road surface was a bit broken and patchy in places and the bike was in first gear alot suddenly you see the buildings at the highest point of the road and we stopped on the carpark to look at from where we had came. The temperature was a good few degrees cooler, and with your leather jacket off a definite chill could be felt at 8100ft. Snow was left in patches here and there but not on the roads. I bought an over priced drink from the restaurant and then we set off into Italy to see the bit from the film " The Italian Job".
  The tarmac was very good over the border, imagine someone has just dropped spaghetti onto the
The high road zig zags up the mountain
mountain is the best way to describe the way the road had been laid. It just kept twisting left and right, some corners were into huge rock faces and others were onto huge drops with nothing but a small fence to stop you going over the edge. After 10 miles we came to some roadworks so turned around then headed back to the top. Col wanted to do it fast, where I went for the quick but scenic version, trying to look at the views as well as keep a reasonable fun pace,  Thank you Italy, the road was great fun.We both enjoyed the Italian side but my mind was now on the journey back to the hotel as it was getting a bit hot. We stopped for fuel on the route back, the local temp was now 32 degrees, even with the visor open and my jacket undone it was not cooling down. The motorway was busy and the engines were running over 100 degrees for a lot of the time the fan was on trying to keep it cool but all it was doing was using the battery up. We hit Geneva at 17:30 rush hour and in the queue Col saw 117 degrees on the temp gauge, We got back to the hotel our leathers stuck to us and our faces covered in road dust stuck to sweat. I checked the weather app on the phone. it said the next 3 days were going to be 32,34 and 37 degrees!
 Our UK all year round leathers are not designed for that kind of heat, there's no vents only a zip out inner lining, so out it came.
 Next day we looked at the map and headed for the French Alps and Annecy Lake, we noticed a
Mont Blanc in the distance

Lake Annecy behind the bikes
mountain called Semnoz with a twisty road on the map so after a drink and cooling Ice cream we climbed the 16km route along the D41/D110 to the top at 5446 feet. Another great bit of tarmac through the forest with plenty of turns to keep you busy. Not quite so exciting as the previous day on St Bernards Pass but still entertaining enough and cool enough on the top to be bearable.
 Down by the lake it was 34 degrees the clear water looked inviting as we sat on a bench in the shade our leather trousers and boots not giving us a break from the heat. We needed petrol but neither of us wanted to summon up the will to go looking for a garage and to go on the journey back to the hotel.
      Back in the village St Genus Poullity we used a pub called Charly's, a guy from the USA got chatting to us about bikes and his mate lived locally so told us to try a road I had been looking at earlier from Gex to Saint-Claude. This became our plan for the next day as it was not so far and it was gonna be hotter again. So we discovered the Jura Mountains.

  The road leaves Gex and snakes its way up the mountain, through a few villages, over some fresh tarmac and then over the top.
Its around 4650ft so was nice and cool, which was a relief as the temperature was forecast for 37 degrees. We took a left and dropped down the mountain another twisty road with a couple of tight bends and a hairpin thrown in for good measure before we rode through the village of Mijoux. The climb starts again and the road now with race track smooth and fresh tarmac which had the banked corners you would expect on a track, weaved its way up through 5 hairpins in the forest section. Over the top the road opens and dips slowly down and eventually you get to my favourite part called Les Moulins,
this doubles back on itself and has 9 sharp bends all very close to each before it goes through a few more villages, one of which I liked the name of called Mont Brilliant. We pulled into the little picnic area just before arriving at Saint-Claude and threw our leather jackets on the ground, the sweat was dripping out of us but we both enjoyed the ride.

 The Journey home was 14 hours long, it could have been 80 minutes shorter but there was an incident on the M25 causing tail backs for 4 junctions and unfortunately we were stuck in it.

  We found some great roads, its such a shame that none of them are just up the road from where we live!
 I think there will be another trip in Switzerland yet.

 The whole trip for 5 nights cost us just under £750 each, (not inc spending money)