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..

..Welcome to Everyday Superbikes

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 and 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 38C 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 passed the chemist with the temperature displayed as 44C, and there we were in full leathers, gloves and a helmet!
 As it was our last chance to ride the bikes, we filled up with fuel which turned out to be a mistake, then  had a ride up the  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 following 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!

2 comments:

Ian said...

Hello, is there a way of getting in touch with you at all?
I'd like to use some of your content on another site if possible.

Phill said...

yes Phire_blade@hotmail.com