Sunday, November 28, 2010

2K5 Africa Charity Motorcycle Ride

Thursday 07/04/05 Blangy, France
We woke relatively early on Thursday morning, as we knew we were in for a serious day’s riding. We have chosen a route to the west of Paris as we know we are in need of a bit more saddle time before we hit Africa and the real hard riding starts. As such we will travel to a town called Rouen and then head south through some of the mountains to the Mediterranean coast in the region of Marseille, Cannes, Nice and Monaco before heading to Genoa. This route will make it a little longer and harder, but should also provide some great scenery. The weather got progressively worse and I was surprised at how flat the terrain was. It didn’t look anything like we were expecting from France, but then I suppose we had yet to hit the mountains. We have discovered that the “Paege” (Toll Roads) routes are fantastic to drive on and the traffic moves along quite steadily. It does of course mean we have to pay to travel on the roads, but that is why the roads are in such good condition. The only problem has been that as it is raining so much, we need to stop for coffee quite often to warm up, and we are loath to get the cookers out to make a brew in the rain and as such have to buy coffee at the services, which are ridiculously overpriced. We pushed on for a long day’s riding to a small town called Agueperse, which showed a campsite on the map. It was getting on for 19:00 when we arrived in the town and started looking for the campsite and it was still raining heavily. We were very disappointed to find that when we did eventually track down the campsite down a little dirt road, that it had been closed down and we would have to go back into town to find a hotel. Of course, as luck would have it, there were no hotels in Agueperse and we had to head on to a small town called Riom just north of Clermont Ferrand to find a cheap hotel. We shared a room with a single bed, which I very quickly claimed, and a double bed that Doug and Jason shared which meant that very little sleep was had by them.

Week 2
Friday 08/04/05 Riom, France

It was still raining when we woke up in Riom, but our spirits were high as we left for the coast and we were really hoping that the weather would improve as we travelled through the mountains to the coastline. We had thought that the sunshine coast of the Cote d’Azur and towns like Cannes, Nice and Monaco would definitely bring some sunshine to the trip. As we left central France for the coast, the weather did improve a bit and we travelled through some spectacular mountain passes which did mean that it got a little chilly higher up, in fact in places there was snow about. I had a bit of a scary call on the way down a great pass towards Montelimer, when my back brakes decided to give up the ghost. Not such a pleasant experience when the bike is extremely heavy and overloaded. By the time we made it to the bottom, very tentatively I might add, the brakes seemed to come back. A very strange experience. As we rejoined the highway, the heavens opened again and on the approach to Cannes, the rain was torrential with visibility dropping to about 10 meters. We were drained and completely knackered by the time we reached Nice and were in no state to try to find a campsite. As such, Doug and I walked straight into the Radisson Hotel on the Nice promenade and I told the hotel manager about our trip and asked if their hotel would sponsor us a room for the night. I had thought that this was a complete waste of time, but much to our surprise, he was quite amenable to the idea and once I had explained that I could add their hotel to our sponsors page in just a few minutes, he agreed. So free accommodation on one of the most expensive strips in Europe. Styling!

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