4 weeks around europe. Classic bike Vs Mountain

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Watride, Sep 26, 2019.

  1. Watride

    Watride Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2018
    Oddometer:
    23
    Location:
    Gloucestershire, uk
    Hello everyone,
    I'm recovering at home having completed the trip. While going through all my photos I figured you guys may be interested in a story about an idiot and his classic bike.

    The Route :
    Like all good trips this was built and planned from previous trips. Unsurprisingly this was our biggest most ambitious trip yet. For me it would fall into two parts, the first week would be 1700 miles riding bikes around the south of france and western alps. I would be doing this with dad. This has been a long time coming, 6 years in fact. The second part would be meeting some of my riding buddies and heading down to croatia the scenic way. all in all it would be a fair few miles. route option.PNG

    The Bike

    Like every successful Trip you need a valiant steed. Now most people seem to pick sensible bike choices. Normally it's something they've owned for years, or its a nice modern bike. I had the intention of following tried and trusted logic. But i fell in love with a bike i liked the look of and was full of character. The Bike was a 1977 BMW R100RS, now known as Mathilda.
    She's mostly original having spent 35 years parked up in a guys garage. so most of the work prior to the trip was replacing those bits. so she's got a new ignition system, wheel bearings and normal service items.
    IMG_20190803_190404.jpg
    Up until this trip the longest I had ridden her for was about 6 hours and few hundred miles. most of the miles she wasn't even running properly. i knew she could do it but I'd have to try not to push her too much. Ultimately as long as i got to munich for Oktoberfest I'd be happy.
    *Spoilers* She did.

    So without further ado let's get this started.

    Thursday - 1 sleep to go

    Having spent the last few evenings sorting dry packing and working out what i could fit. I managed to condense it down to 2x US30 dry bags, 1x us20 and one r30 backpack. The us20 and one of the us30 were placed in the panniers and my normal close and waterproof over suit went in the canvas holdall. The canvas bag also held spare bungees, a lock and many bottles of lead additive.

    Now it would have been far easier if i had worn my klim gear, as that could have easily managed with the variation in temperature that we would have seen. (from 2 celsius all the way to low 30s)
    However i opted for a pair riding jeans, tcx casual boots, knox urbane pro jacket and a canvas military style jacket. It's not your normal gear but it's in keeping with the bike and looks good on and off the bike. And as we all know looking cool is all that really matters.... :lol3 IMG_20190911_104531.jpg
    luggage setup and Bike gear.

    in addition to that i spent a bit of time giving mathilda a wash and wax. With the paint being of the cellulose type it damaged easily so a wax then acf50 treatment helps keep the paint on. with that done bags were loaded and secured as i would be leaving from work on the friday for the channel tunnel.
    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. Watride

    Watride Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2018
    Oddometer:
    23
    Location:
    Gloucestershire, uk
    Saturday -Day 1

    Up bright and early had a long day ahead. 700 ish kilometers. All autoroute. the original plan was to do it over two days but by doing it in one meant we could stop in monaco for two days. Upon arrival of the channel tunnel it would appear we didn't get the memo on Bringing adv bikes. Did see a fellow inmates bike there though.
    [​IMG]
    The nice thing about the channel tunnel is generally a ride on ride off affair. This time due to how busy it was we had wait 10 minutes at the terminal area. Normally you just ride past it.
    while on the train had a fiddle with sat nav setup. for this trip i'll be using an old iphone 5 and map.me. so far it has worked quite well annoyingly the landscape setup ment i couldnt see much of the screen so a quick adjustment worked far better.[​IMG]

    From the tunnel we blitzed it down to lyon. with the french autoroutes it's easy riding with plenty of service stops and rest areas. just dont speed as they can work out average speed between the entrance point and exit point.

    Sunday - Day 2

    It's the proper day of riding. when routing i quite like to have a main focus of the day followed by optional routes later on in the day. does mean if it takes longer than expected we can main road it to the next hotel. Sunday's focus was route napoleon. its one the well know routes in southern france but it's a little of the beaten track. From the north it starts of in a small rural town before steadily climbing. its a mixture of hair pins and sweeping curves. The challenge if you want to ride it quick comes from the less than perfect surface. once you have climbed you then drop back down into a gorge. the road is cut into the walls of the gorge.
    [​IMG]
    route nap.jpg
    we were pretty lucky we had somehow managed to avoid the weather. Once you are off the route napoleon the routes get a bit more technical and much slower. They're not constant switchbacks but do prevent you from carrying much speed, which means progress is slow. The mountains round here dont have the large valleys you see in places like austria, they are narrow and tight often with a steep clim to get out. After we got to the midpoint of the day we assessed the route and i went for a scenic pee. we decided to peel off the intended route and head for main road. The D70 & D938 was our route out despite being the main road, it was the equivalent of B road in the uk. Good tarmac plenty of curves but we could still keep a good pace. Once out of the mountains it was like riding into an oven. The landscape turned to rolling hills and the temperature quickly climbed. Much of the area was covered in vineyards with the road skirting round them. if you imagined rural southern france you'd think of this scenery.

    Marseille was our destination today, but it wasn't the easiest to get too. The city's football team was playing and that meant loads of traffic and utter chaos. Wasn't the most enjoyable experience as our hotel was near the stadium and we had loop round and filter on loaded up touring bikes in 32 degrees. neither of the bikes liked it particularly the sprint but mathilda's gen was starting to drop output at low revs. but we eventually made it through and round. The cold beers in the free mini fridge were a very welcome site.
    #2
  3. Watride

    Watride Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2018
    Oddometer:
    23
    Location:
    Gloucestershire, uk
    Monday Day 3 Marseille to Monaco
    [​IMG]

    the morning after the football match. when we got there you couldnt see any of the pavement.

    Having recovered from the grim experience of riding into marseille we wanted to avoid a repeat experience. lucky for us, the french quite like starting earlier. So traffic isn't normally too bad from 8.30am. The plan was to not too have breakfast at the hotel and pick up some on our way towards gorge Du verdon. this would hopefully help us in a number of ways. Firstly we wanted to avoid riding the narrow roads in busy traffic and secondly we wanted to get to monaco at a sensible time. Monaco is famously a packed traffic dense place, so avoiding rush hour would be ideal.

    The ride out of marseille was pretty pain free a couple of avenues then onto the autoroute for a 30 minutes. Having done loads of autoroutes now we getting pretty speedy getting through them. The trick is to get to a booth which has a car in front this gives you enough time to open the pocket for the ticket or get the ticket and card out. Paddle your way to the booth, do what is needed, stick it back in the pocket then ride off.

    Once off the autoroute we stuck to the main roads through the countryside. while the speed limit in france is 85kph in rural areas, we didn't once see a speed camera and locals all drove around at 100kph so that's what we stuck to. in the hour or so it took to get to the national park the scenery changed from lush green rolling hills to the dense woodland. as we got closer to the park the road got twistier and started to climb. We looked to our left and both agreed we'd need to pull over. The views were simply stunning.

    [​IMG]

    We were both rather lucky to find that on the inside of a hair pin there was a picnic spot. We got ourselves comfortable again and set off. While i like warm weather the time between getting gear on and pulling away is perhaps the most unpleasant bit of riding. By now it was hovering around 29/30 celcius, so our main priorities was to keep moving and drink plenty of water.

    An hour of twisty roads later and we got to the gorge viewpoint. Gear was stripped off and shade was sought. the heat by now was becoming quite unpleasant when stationary. To help we pulled some cake out the sprint top box and had spot of lunch.
    [​IMG]
    and this was the view from the view point.
    [​IMG]

    After lunch we packed up and set off along the road. It's not a difficult road just a bit narrow at points and the hairpins can be a bit blind. The road hugs the southern cliff face and then crosses over and carries on eastwards along another gorge. At this point it starts to open up.
    2019-09-25_0537.jpg

    By now it was about 14:00 and we still had another 3 hours to go on the existing route. we could see on the horizon a rainstorm on our route. so we decided to peel off early shorten the day by an hour and bit. Equally meant we could possibly avoid the rain. So at the next convenient point we hopped onto the main road south which was nice and twisty but allowed us to maintain an average closer to 100kph. once on the autoroute its a fairly clear run to monaco. i did put my waterproof jacket on once it started to drizzle but thanks sods law it stopped the minute we pulled out of the rest area and then i spent the rest of the ride rather warm in a hi vis waterproof overshell.

    Getting into monaco was rather pain free much to our surprise though we did encounter a tunnel roundabout and a tunnel in a building. we were staying in the smaller dock but it equally had a nice view, we also found we had free fruit and cake in the hotel room. Woop! will say they didn't last long
    [​IMG]
    Free cake !

    [​IMG]
    View from the room.
    Tomorrow's plan was a rest day, we'd wander into central monaco and have a chill day.
    #3
  4. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    21,069
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta
    For me, possibly the most desirable motorcycle ever made, and in a magnificent location. Wow.
    #4
  5. Watride

    Watride Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2018
    Oddometer:
    23
    Location:
    Gloucestershire, uk
    Day 4 - Tuesday - Monaco

    Well it's a rest day and what a day for it! temps were high 20s with a light breeze took the edge of heat. I have honestly not been anywhere that's so clean and well kept. Not surprising really when you think how much wealth is in monaco. spent most of day wandering around slightly stunned by the wealth. Its equally odd supercars don't stand out. It's not because there are loads of super cars because we didn't see too many its more wealth is shown of by the size of boat. Cars just ferry you to the docks from the helicopter shuttle service. As we mainly Aimlessly wandered around here's a collection of pics... 2019-09-25_0568.JPG
    UBER Air ?
    2019-09-25_0563.JPG
    A rose in one of the gardens.
    2019-09-25_0573.JPG
    A quieter part of Monaco
    2019-09-25_0610.JPG
    Some the larger boats
    2019-09-25_0593.JPG
    One of the few bikes in the prince of monaco's collection.
    [​IMG]
    Say you'll do what I don't say you're true, say to me....
    [​IMG]
    Possibly the most visually correct Maccy's i've had. Was identical to the menu board.
    after a rather warm day out we returned to the hotel had a light tea and turned in early. Tomorrow would be a monster of a day.

    Attached Files:

    #5
  6. Watride

    Watride Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2018
    Oddometer:
    23
    Location:
    Gloucestershire, uk
    Day 5 Monaco to turin via the grades Alpes

    This turned out to be a monster of a day. google says 9 hours of riding and we only covered 180 miles
    upload_2019-10-1_19-51-7.png
    The days route

    This was what i came here for to ride the Col du Turini. Possibly one of the most famous ribbons of road in motorsport. 26 miles, lots of elevation and loads of hairpins. Just what you want on a classic bike. felt sorry for mathilda, i had to work the gears quite a lot.
    [​IMG]
    hairpin after hairpin

    Something i hadn't quite anticipated is brake fade. Turns out 70s brakes aren't a fan of constant use. Who'd have thought?
    These roads in many sections aren't quite wide enough for two cars. So as well as navigating the turns you also need to look ahead and car spot. all in all its an intensive route. Which turns out was the theme of the day. Luckily we had a bit of a reprieve between the next pass.

    The next pass was the Col de Bonette, Frances highest road. The peak is at 2800m or roughly 9100Ft. It was rather eventful. The initial climb to 1800 metres was fine. 1800 to 2500m mathilda developed a misfire and started to run really rich. everytime i accelerated a plume of black unburnt fuel poured out the exhausts then as we approached the summit this happened.

    As you can see I may have got slightly emotionally invested in making it too the top
    the view was worth it though....
    [​IMG]

    After this it was a relatively easy run down the other side of the mountain. from here Unfortunately we had to get a shifty on as it was half 2 and we were still 4 hours from our hotel. So we didn't stop to take picture, But the Route Grande Alpes is stunning. definitely want to do the entire route again. for the next 3 hours we worked our way through the stunning french alps. by about 5 the temperature had noticeably started to drop as the valleys were starting to lose the light. It's a phenomenon that really only occurs as dramatically in mountains. however once we got to the flatter areas of italy near turin the temperature increased by about 8 degrees. after battling our way through the streets of turin where the only traffic rule is stop at red lights the hotel bed and a beer was extremely appealing. which was good as tomorrow would be another long day....
    #6
    Mediocre Man, Suncoaster and MaddBrit like this.