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Itchy's 2007 France Snap tour

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Itchy
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PostPosted: 21:19 - 08 Jul 2007    Post subject: Itchy's 2007 France Snap tour Reply with quote

EDITED for copy right protection (c)
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Last edited by Itchy on 17:13 - 08 Nov 2009; edited 3 times in total
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Itchy
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PostPosted: 21:36 - 08 Jul 2007    Post subject: Reply with quote

CONTINUED (seems to cut off super long waffles)

Brick lane to see if it was ok to crash on his sofa for the evening, I was greeted by a we've gone on Holiday back in 2 weeks answer phone message and everywhere seemed closed, with v little cash left and both cards not working for some reason. I couldn't stay in a hotel. So I got to some services outside Watford and slept on the CBR (good thing I bought theCBR and not the ZX6R or the R6 no centre stands) for about an hour. And pulled into Bolton/Bury around 10am. At the A666 I lost it for a moment and started riding on the right shocking a guy in a red BMW, I pulled up next to him after a quick U turn "Sorry mate just come back from France" he laughed and waved me off. I'd then got stuck at 2 induction loop traffic lights for a frustratingly long time, before finally pulling in.

4 hours later I saw Bwfc4eva86 and he'd still not adjusted his clutch lever and farther down into town some Chavs hanging around and felt I'd come home, and it had begun to rain,I was missing France already.....

My write up finishes here, everything below this line are my general thoughts distances etc about my trip and a few words of inspiration which do not quite fit anywhere else

over and out. .


Thoughts

Arrow I'd done 3479.7 miles on my trip ,or 5567.52km which sounds ALOT more(ha). I'm not sure really how I managed to cram so many in since the south of France and back is 2000 miles, though I did do some incredibly fast laps of the N202 , N85 and tended to criss cross France on the east side of France. 600 of those where motorway miles just to get to Dover and back which is why touring is a tad more difficult if you live in the north of the UK, since you have to budget 6 hours each direction and thats an easy half day + sleeping time.

Arrow The CBR was faultless , although it scared me a few times after stalling it with the side stand (the NTV has a light) , it performed flawlessly, cornered very well and was tough enough to survive without any major repairs 2 fairly minor drops. I'd recommend that you take some suspension settings with you though, I left it on the fast cornering give you arse ache mode all the way through France , in hind sight I should have written down some alternative softer suspension settings. I used no GB sticker nobody batted an eye lid , I didn't adjust the preload (so the dipped beam was quite high) and I didn't put a triangle of tape on the headlights either.

Arrow The CBR was ridden quite hard not up to its full potential however but its like TobyR , it loves curves... well it does now having bought the bike with contis which had enourmous chicken strips on them. Tyres were BT020s nicely worn in completely lacking little rubber nipples.

Arrow Quite a few nights were spent in F1 hotels which are around 30EURO which is about £22, the quality of F1 hotels varies however some were really clean others were a bit squalid really. Although as a couple of riders I met said they serve a purpose as a cheap bed thats it, I'd recomend you budget a bit more for hotels as a few Euros more ie £5-£6 more can buy a much higher standard of accomodation than you'd think.

Arrow Alternatively if you want even cheaper than F1 hotels which fill up insanely quick, try gites , I never stayed in one but they are like B&Bs in a private house prices ranged from 15-22EURO.

Arrow Petrol costs a fortune in France now cheapest 1.26Euro per litre most expensive 1.48 Euro per litre, its really gone up recently said Bill , which can be like 95p-£1.10 a litre, I used about 35-60Euro of petrol a day, YMMV however since I had very high cruising speeds I tended to lap ALL round abouts I came across getting me pegs down since your tyres especially in the south start off really really warm none of this riding around for half an hour to get some heat into them we do in the UK.

Arrow Fact of life you have to be brave and have the right attitude, Johnny_GSXR goaded me into talking at squires since when meeting new people I'm quiet and reserved till I get to know people a bit more, now I know the Northern BCF pack a bit more I'm pretty open and talk to anybody. Unless you want to sit in your hotel room alone watching TV you have to go out there and talk to people, I generally met a couple interesting people per city I went to.

Arrow I ate generally at resturants and cafes and the boulangerie's for lunch sometimes breakfast eat where the French eat rather than touristy places which obviously cost more "ENGLISH PUB" signs exist and carry a premium. Where the French eat these are a very cheap way to eat for lunch and breakfast, dinners tyically consistted of steak bleu, or steak tarte mmm....look it was a helluva lot of meat right didn't get food poisoned once, don't take veggies you'll be utterly unable to eat anywhere, I mean even the bread had thick chunks of meat in them. And a few glasses of wine I'd had were actually fortified apparently with cows blood. I'd drank it and asked the waiter why it was kind of thick almost meaty irony taste, I didn't understand until he made this cut neck gushing motion.

Arrow Beers are expensive 2.80 Euro for a 250ml glass of beer, for somebody from Bolton/Mancs who can score beers for £2 a pint (erm 3 EURO) , drink something else instead wine is an excellent choice I'd switched to glasses then bottles of wine a few days into my trip being that bottles can be had for 5 EURO, less than the price of bastardised European pints 500ml is not a pint! , I'd had at least 20 pints over the entire course of my trip a real pint is 568ml they owe me 1360ml or two pints of beer!.

Arrow French riders are fast, there is no 100bhp limit anymore they have fantastic roads easy going cops and places to practice on their doorstep, we don't , although I came back a much hotter rider than when I went out 3 days attacking it on hot foreign roads and not having any roads which come even close in the UK nearby is dissapointing Mc'ds is also quite common in all French cities I did not buy anything from them I mean why would I? having once worked in one of those places I'd rather not, on the flip side Mc'ds all over the place is highly useful for McShits, you'll typically not have to have many McShit's with lies as I was never challenged once. Its comparatively expensive too with 7-15Euro buying you a 250 gram steak with chips + 2-3 veg. 7 Euro will buy you an enourmous pizza.

Arrow Be careful of maps , it says 65km per square on a map, sure line of sight it is 65km , the N5 and the wrong way to Onyeux was on the map looked like 45km, it was more like 45miles with lots of bends , variable speeds.

Arrow Green Scottoil was used all the way in and out yeah even though it got to about 43C at some points, I put it on settling 4.5 and left it at that all the eay through using about a tank (100ml) per 2 days.

Arrow Net cafes are becoming rare in France , I'd only found one traditional one , the rest had become typical cafe's with a WIFI access point kind of like in the UK from my own experiences usually 12 minutes free or something hotel F1 for 10EURO provides 24 hours of WIFI access on Orange, the problem with Hotel F1 WIFI is that you have to be on the internet to buy it inadvance before you can use it! , which is a bit of a catch 22 situation if you ask me. All hotels except in Castellane provided it which wasn't too surprising as it was in the middle of the mountains. Thus to add fuel to the laptop or no laptop debate, I think you should bring something netcapable maybe a compromise a PDA , Ceasing to work at H I had to give my PDA back, it'd have been useful very and some frustrating moments would have been avoided with one. You get to a hotel that is full and need to find another....how are you going to do that? , cruise around like I did? , it can also help to download maps to help you find alternative hotels. Reims / Grenoble were some horendous hotel seeking missions, which could have been easily solved by searching on the net for a list of hotels and phoning them up before going to find them. I got lucky a few times in a row with cancelations. Booking ahead is another suggestion though this of course ties you down to a time and a specific route and sometimes requires a small booking fee and you may well over estimate your ability to travel distance I certainly did and changed my 2 day gun run to the south into a 3.5 day affair, I'd really had no idea as to where I would go having spent months thinking about it vaguely checking out google earth on a regular basis, I decided to go south till I see water and see if I could find some old friends who I once knew.I may well be hard enough to be a courier after all , good for a backup career since getting lost at both the start and end of each city hop gave filtering opportunities , long hours in the seat, in all conditions and then getting lost and filtering at the end to desparately find a hotel, although I think I'll pass at being a courier.

The Autoroute Gendarme Speed trap vs Tickets, isn't a myth , this is complicated by 3 facts:

#1 There are many ticketless sections ie to St Omar (Cheers Bill) , and the routes OUT of Paris , thus without an entry time ticket how will they know how fast you are going?. (note tunnels are speed trapped in Paris).

#2 Before going to the ticket booths you can see Gendarmes parked up after the ticket booths or rather you can see their cars nobody seemed to bat an eye when I sidestand down and spent a "while" fishing for Euros (pretending) in my Jacket.

#3 See a rest area completely packed out with cars? , its one of those speed traps, I saw one of these types on the autoroute south of Onyeux (ta BMW man).


Was it worth it?

In money terms/time terms absolutely not, at £10 per 100 odd miles petrol and 300 UK miles +450 French miles to the interesting south roads its expensive... but a flight would not be so much fun, however in experience terms yes oh yes, the side effect that the world feels so much smaller. I've also got the right to say to young children in the far future oh when I was a young man ........... BWFC asked me on my way to town why I was going out , I was going to town to pickup a big map of Europe and I'd after very quickly writing this I'd pinned it up on my wall and started dreaming about the next trip already.

The difference

The key difference to riding in Europe and the UK is fear of getting banned/caught in the UK with cameras everywhere which are very soon to be hidden again, cops hiding in bushes, unmarked cop cars and a million other ways to relieve you of your licence when you are just trying to have a bit of fun. While in France although they now have points , theres alot less cameras and cameras are only sited where there are signs stating that there are cameras, the difference is the road paranoia which we have in the UK vanishes completely and you can worry less and you can put much more of your mind and thought into really riding, which is more relaxed gives you much better riding skills real riding skills not points avoidance skills. I felt this midway through day 1 and felt it heavily on my way home as the motorway constantly had average speed check camera signs, or police speed check area signs everywhere. There are roadside speed traps , as Bill/Nick/636 man informed me about but not as many as in the UK , on a typical commute into Mancs I see 1-2 , on a 5000km trip I saw none, YMMV however and this may purely be indicative of my luck.

The question is to anybody umming and ahing about it just get out there and go! , I think I spent about £700+£200 in tyres+£80 in ferries, considering I went out drinking regularly started styaing in better hotels and even went out clubbing, there was virtually zero planning other than south! , as Mao Tze Tung said "a journey of a 10,000 steps begins with the first step". My signature has often said don't dream it be it (its changed now, but the meaning of it stays, do you wanna die with regrets? The touring bug bit Nath in '05 I think it just got me.
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Spain 2008France 2007Big one 2009 We all die. The goal isn't to live forever, the goal is to create something that will. In the end, your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it is worth watching.
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Handsome
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PostPosted: 21:39 - 08 Jul 2007    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fantastic mate, really envious... Thumbs Up

Want to know what I've been up to while you've been away...?

Absolutely Fuck All, god that's depressing...
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maurice
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PostPosted: 22:15 - 08 Jul 2007    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent write-up! Sounds like you had a fairly eventful time out there. It was enjoyable for me to read as I recognised quite a few of the places, identically the F1 in Reims was full when I arrived at it too so had to look for another place to stay. Good to get one over the unfriendly Germans, national pride n' all Wink

I agree completely about how uplifting it is to ride without a constant threat of a ban/loss of freedom just for riding a motorcycle at decent speeds.
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instigator
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PostPosted: 22:22 - 08 Jul 2007    Post subject: Reply with quote

Superb.

I read all of it which is unlike me. Laughing Thumbs Up
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Gmanxiii
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PostPosted: 00:14 - 09 Jul 2007    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice one Thumbs Up im jealous wanna plan my own trip before summer ends Razz we'll have to catch up at some point dude so you can tell me more.

btw i think it was lao tzu that said that quote Razz
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sanchezz_182
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PostPosted: 00:27 - 09 Jul 2007    Post subject: Reply with quote

Woow thats alot of readig.. gd write up. your trip sounds awsome.. i don't no if you said this in your write up or not but what would u say was best part if u had t pick one.
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petethepan
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PostPosted: 20:17 - 09 Jul 2007    Post subject: Reply with quote

that was a great read mate

i am really looking forward to my first trip abroad in september

i just cant wait Smile

petethepan
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Itchy
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PostPosted: 21:15 - 09 Jul 2007    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hard to say,

There were so many good bits,


Seeing the sea for the first time after 1000 miles , so blue so inviting/Meeting Bill

Off the bike

Meeting UG I turned round when I heard a strangely familiar hello and spending a day at the beach with her the careless feeling was priceless.
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Spain 2008France 2007Big one 2009 We all die. The goal isn't to live forever, the goal is to create something that will. In the end, your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it is worth watching.
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Itchy
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PostPosted: 21:17 - 09 Jul 2007    Post subject: Reply with quote

note looking at some of my less shaky drunken photos , it was a Honda Vandero, still the same engine as the transalp and the NTV.
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Dan 4RR
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PostPosted: 22:24 - 09 Jul 2007    Post subject: Reply with quote

Extremley long, but non the less very interesting. Sounds like you had a good time Smile
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Luke_Retrofly
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PostPosted: 01:08 - 10 Jul 2007    Post subject: Reply with quote

one word.

EPIC
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trevoriv
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PostPosted: 22:06 - 10 Jul 2007    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool read.

I'll join you next time! Laughing
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McGee
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PostPosted: 15:19 - 22 Jul 2007    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
You put the choke on 75% take off your right glove, unzip your coat get camera and snap, then quickly do the reverse before the bike starts chugging , great at 50mph, put that in your FI pipe and smoke it!.


Used to do that on the rf just for riding with no hands round town for a laugh but mine used to speed up you had to control it with the rear brake.

Here's one for ya.

Locate phone inside the jackets inner pocket. Unzip jacket, remove phone, re-zip jacket, unlock keypad, go to menu, camera, lean for bend, set camera from video to picture then take a photo. Wink

http://img166.imageshack.us/img166/3784/pix018ot9.jpg

Epic trip, great write up.

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