Monday, 26 August 2013

No Pictures, the garage is flooded, and I'm not there!

When arranging to go abroad on the bikes you do the basic maintenance don't
you? You check your oil, brake pads, minor service if it's due and check
you've got insurance and an MOT. A couple of weeks ago I replaced the brake
pads, checked the oil levels, adjusted the chains and made sure they were
ok. I renewed my bike insurance as it expires while we're away, and then got
the tyres that needed replacing replaced. All done I here you say?

Not quite. 

Having taken the front wheel of the curvy, I went to put it back on and the
bike was sitting in a puddle of oil. Unfortunately that was the same day
were meant to be going to the Ace to meet Ginger (14th), so I went pillion
and off we went to the Ace. After the Ace, heading back the long way we
discovered Gaz seemed have an issue with his bike, the display kept
flickering as did the side lights, and it wasn't starting immediately like
normal. Home we went with another job.

I had a look at the pointy, it was charging within normal limits and the
battery screws were tight so he rang DBC to get them to look at it, and i
ordered a new clutch cover and o ring for the curvy as that was the only
place the oil could have come from. This was 15th.

The 16th the O ring I ordered turned up, unfortunately the dog decided to
eat the package. Not helpful. 

On the 17th my clutch cover turned up with another O ring, and DBC looked at
the pointy, turns out the wires weren't being held down by the bolts, so
that was an easy fix.  

I then spent the following week trying to stop my bike leaking oil, the
first 2 attempts had no luck so I was using the pointy to get into work...
up until Friday. 

Friday I woke up at 6am and couldn't sleep so got up, re-did the clutch
cover, and then went back inside and got ready for work. 7:50 I went back
out to get the pointy and though 'this is weird it's not normally this hard
to wheel the bike...' I looked at the rear wheel and it's flat, pancake
flat. Pointy is thrown back into the garage, and I cycle 3 miles into work
cursing the world but still managed to get to work for 8. Turns out there is
a tyre in the rear where and nowhere in Dunstable can fix it before the
28th, which is a bit of a problem as we go on the 27th. 

I rang Wickford Motorcycles (in Wickford) who answer the phone with 'oh
hello Emma' (it can only be a bad thing when the garage knows you by the
sound of your voice) and they said just post by Saturday and they'll fix it
and have a spare just in case. At this point I'd like to say the tyre is
only 150miles old and I'm praying to everyone that it can be fixed.

So today , I have ridden, in the pouring rain (my bike gear is soaked,
included my newer TCX's (they aren't waterproof again!)) to get the tyre
done. Luckily the puncture can be plugged (although the power went while
doing it which made things more interesting!) and the curvy hasn't leaked
Now just to re-bleed my brakes again.. Oh and pack! Ginger has rung me to
tell me everything that he has packed already today, and Gaz is also packed.

Gaz has been saying that he's going to sell the sv, which is why i assume
the pointy is playing up. And i think my curvy is playing up just because it
can (same as normal really). I just wish they didn't choose the two weeks
before i go.

Tool kit to be packed:
  • Jump leads
  • Sockets to adjust chains
  • Allen keys to adjust chains
  • Selection of spanners to adjust chains
  • Gaz has chain lube
  • Bike's tool kit
  • 8ml socket
  • Brake bleeding hose
  • Brake fluid
  • Cable ties
  • Electrical tape
  • Ratchet
Here is hoping we need none of them!

(By Emma :))

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Only 2 weeks to go until the Pyrenees Trip!

It has been quite a battle, but finally everything is in place for our trip to the Pyrenees, which is less than 2 weeks away!

One of the sticky points surrounding this trip is the enforcement of a French 1970s law that requires 4 reflective stickers on your helmet. I have been told that if you are caught without these stickers you will be given a €135 fine and incur 3 points on your driving license. For more information about these stickers visit:

In this post I am going to attach all the routes that have been planned. Of course, this may change on the trip itself, but it may help those who are planning to go away to similar areas. If you would like to download the full route to see it in further detail then please let me know. They are all in Garmin format but I am sure you can use software like Tire to convert them to other platforms. Our journey in a nutshell starts at Santander where we gradually head across the northern Spanish border to Barcelona, head up to Andorra and then make our way back via the Pyrenees:

Our first day in Spain sees us head to an overnight stop in Etxarri as we are not expected to arrive in Spain until 18:15 in the evening. Unfortunately I do not have an individual screenshot of this route, but it is basically the fastest route from Santander to Etxarri, avoiding all tolls.

Continuing across the northern border, we head towards a campsite just east of Jaca, hoping to be able to spend some time in Jaca itself. This route mostly avoids the N240, opting instead to take the scenic route. If you would like a faster alternative then stay onto the N240 for as long as you can before you need the exit to Jaca.

One of the longest journeys on this trip is the route to Barcelona. This route goes via the Montserrat Monastery and is planned to utilise as many scenic and fun roads as possible. It will take almost an entire day to complete. There are motorway equivalents, although these may require toll payments. Due to the nature of this trip, most of our riding pleasure will come from heading from one location to another. Last year, Emma and myself opted to get to where we were staying and then head out for a ride, but we've decided to do it on the way this time round.

Whilst in Barcelona, we plan to head north to Figueres to visit the Salvador Dali Museum. To the right you will see a screenshot of the route returning from Figueres to Barcelona. This was set to the fastest route avoiding tolls. There are faster routes available, but these will incur toll charges. 

The next major part of the trip involves our activities in Andorra. Taking a pretty direct route via Manresa where the journey shouldn't take longer than around 4 hours. It is important to plan a time contingency so that you do not miss out on what is important to you on your trip. If you would like estimated journey times then please ask, although I will probably write this up when I post on my return (if I forget - remind me!).

Back in Spain, in the rather remote town of Llavorsi, you can take up rafting. Although only 58 miles away it looks like there are no big roads, so the journey time is estimated around 2 hours. There is no direct route either (although there may be some unpaved roads if you are have a suitable bike like a BMW or KTM) so you need to dip south before heading back up again.

Next route leaves Andorra and heads to the mid-Pyrenees. Judging by Basecamp, parts of this journey are pretty challenging, with some tight bends and narrow roads. Despite being only 210 miles, the estimated time of travel is over 6 hours. There will be plenty of photo spots along this route  so make sure you allow enough time for stoppages. Alternatively, look at the main roads that head across further north and then come back in towards the Pyrenees - although you will probably miss out on some quite spectacular views if you choose to do that.

Once in the mid-Pyrenees there is the Pont des Espagne waterfall and scenic bike rides to Luz Ardiden and Gavarnie to get stuck into. There are 3 screenshots for these, to the left, right and below (starting with the Pont des Espagne):

We will then leave the mid-Pyrenees and start making our way back towards Santander for the ferry home. Before this however, we stop just outside the west of the Pyrenees at Camping Uhaitza in Mauleon-Soule. Here you have the option to visit a couple of gorge's south of the campsite. The address of these are: Les Gorges de Kakuetta, 64560 Sainte-Engrace, France and Les Gorges d'Holzarte, 64560 Larrau, France. I have not created a route to these but have added them as favourites in my sat nav. The route to the campsite is shown to the right.

Just two routes to go. The first being an overnight stop back in Spain in a place called Orio. The last, being the final journey back to Santander to catch the ferry home.

 For those of you planning to visit any of the places that we are at the end of this month I hope this helps. As above, if you would like any estimated journey times, Garmin route files or just about anything I might be able to help with then just comment below :).