Saturday, July 25, 2009

My Grand Tour

At the start of July I went off for a 2 week motorbike trip around Europe on my new bike, a BMW F800GS.

The route was dictated by having to end up in Cannes for the Bastille Day weekend to meet up with my brother for a few days, and dropping in on Zurich to meet a friend - apart from that I just wanted to see lots of mountains and get used to the new bike on lots of fun roads.

I ended up doing 2,250 miles, door-to-door. My final route is below:

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Highlights were the second day I spent in the Alps, riding from Susa,Italy down to Cannes. A little dirt-road detour to Pontis and the rest of the trip on the N85 were all good fun on the bike.

The Pyrenees were also fantastic - I did a little bit of research before I left and found that the N260 was a good biking road, so I spent about 3 days riding west through the Pyrenees mostly on the N260 - joining at the 44km marker and leaving just after the 500km point. That road varied from 2 lane highways to single lane mountain roads with 30km/h hairpin bends and back again - great sightseeing and biking.

The bike was great - aside from the seat, which after about 45mins becomes the most uncomfortable seat in the world. Apart from that it is an ideal bike for long trips - it does feel a little unsettled sometimes at high-speed on motorways, or in strong crosswinds, but otherwise it handled everything without any fuss and is ridiculously economical too, returning 70MPG+ for several tanks, giving it a range of nearly 240 miles, although I was only brave enough to take it up to 213 miles before filling up.

Instead of the £1000+ for the BMW luggage I went with a £130 Wunderlich tank bag and a bungeed on rollbag of clothes. The tank bag is designed for the F800GS and it shows: it was essential for stuffing credit cards and toll tickets, as well as holding a map, GPS etc. It's a shame it wasn't secure enough to leave on the bike, but it's so easy to take off and put on that wasn't a big deal.

Haven't quite finished going through all the photos yet, but they will all be in the Flickr set in the next few days.

1 comment:

LL said...
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