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Old 06-28-2010, 12:30 AM   #1
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Wicked France 2010 - 1760 miles in 4 Days

Catching the night ferry across from Newhaven to Dieppe isn't necessarily the best prep for a long ride , but having undertaken two similar trips in 2008 and 2009, the format was by now established. Riding with old mate and racing buddy Pete, previous France trips included Pete on his Z1000, and me firstly on Fazer 1000, (fantastic bike) and last year a Daytona 955i

But this year Pete rolled the boat out, picking up a new Ducati 1198 a month or so ago, and even more recently an ER6F Kawasaki to tour, commute and use as a general hack. Therefore, Pete decided to take the ER6F, fresh form its first service, and after selling the Daytona last year, I of course took the R12S, with Kriega tail pack and small Touratec tank bag. The intention was to ride out to hotel Col Du Bussang (near to Mulhouse on the Swiss border) on Day 1, drop down to Hotel Belvedere after riding through the Mont Blanc tunnel and ride over the Col Du Petit St Bernard on Day 2, then a long haul across France to Gite La Janais between Angers and Rennes on Day 3, ending the four day tour by riding some Brittany roads and catching the 6pm ferry home from Dieppe

Day 1 - Thursday 17th June
So at 5am, we rolled off the ferry into an overcast morning in France and hit the main drag from Dieppe to Rouen. Crossing the new Pont Gustave Flaubert at Rouen, we dropped down onto the main Paris Caen Peage, exiting onto the N154 to Evreux, Dreux and Chartres, where we decided that discretion was the better part of valour and stopped for a Mac'D breakfast



On leaving Chartres we found some great switchback riding on the D22 via Ouarville, Angerville and Malesherbes to Fontainebleu, where we stopped for a coffee opposite the Fontainbleu Palace, home to Napoleon & Josephine





It was here we encountered our first downpour, but pressed on along the D66 to Sens and Troyes, great roads and sweeping countryside before stopping for a rather classy burger and chips in a restaurant in Troyes city centre. The weather started to clear after this, and approaching Chaumont, the Charles De Gaulle memorial stood out on a peak to the south, so we detoured and stopped for a quick break in the car park, (couldn't be arsed to climb up to view the memorial at close quarters)



We continued to Chaumont, stopped for fuel and at that point I realised the map had flown off some time back, so a detour to pick up maps from the tourist info centre was called for. Naturally both bikes were running like swiss watches up to this juncture, and having swapped briefly, I was very impressed with the neutral handling and smooth torquey punch from the ER6F motor. The R12S was sublime of course!



From Chaumont on we continued along the D417, and with the sun shining, we were presented with an endless switchback of a road, with a grippy surface, taking us through Bourbonne-Les-Bains, St Loup-sur-Semouse and Faucogney-et-la-mer as we headed up into the Vosges hills approaching the Col Du Bussang hotel.





The trip had taken us all day, (and part of the evening) as we finally arrived at 8.30pm to a warm welcome from Dutch owners Mark and Ida De Vries. The hospitality, complimentary first beer and food were superb, and with a secure shelter for bikes, (see photos) it was a great place to stop. Overnight stay including a ton of beers and whiskey chasers cost €89.

http://www.coldebussang.com



To follow...

Day 2 - Friday 18th June
The plan was that the day was to provide an "easy" run down to Mont Blanc via to start. After a leisurely breakfast and a friendly farewell from Mark and Ida, out to the bikes and the..ahem...drizzle. This put Pete in a foul mood from the off as he hates riding in rain and will only do so under duress. He also refused point blank to bring waterproofs, so his Goretex jacket and trousers were only keeping so much water out.

After bimbling down from the Col to Cernay we took the cross country route to Altkirch, along some roads that would have been motorcycle heaven, had it not been for the rain. Pete was getting drenched, so we had little alternative other than to stop at a rather Godforsaken PMU in Altkirch. The rain continued, so to appease Pete we set off for Belfort and the E60 peage to take us inland to Besancon, and hopefully out of the rain. As we passed Besancon the rain did stop, and we were treated to a glimpse of sun as we pulled into services near to Dole on the E60. The R12S was purring away, and with my waterproofs and heated grips I was all set to resume the route originally planned for the French Alps and Hotel Belvedere above Bourg St Maurice. Pete had had enough though, so I decided to continue alone, while he headed back for the ferry at Dieppe. He did this via Troyes, Reims and Amiens, and made the 5am ferry, cold and wet on the morning of Saturday 19th June

So the lone R12S continued, blasting down the E15 to make up time toward Geneva with the Du Haut Jura providing a spectacular backdrop to the east. Making good time, I took the E6 heading east toward Geneva and the Mont Blanc tunnel, briefly stopping to chat to a guy heading to Milan on a brand new Triumph Tiger, complete with colour matched panniers etc. Approaching Mont Blanc, and the mountain was shrouded in mist and cloud, and as I approached the tunnel entrance the drizzle set in once again. Heading into the tunnel, I trundled through at 50 mph, following trucks and cars in fetid warm air.

I emerged 15 minutes or so later in brilliant sunshine and a warm Italian welcome.





Running down the mountainside, I tanked up before the final run up over the Col Du Petit St Bernard. The road was hard to find, but I eventually located the route in a pretty little place called Courmayeur



The road twisted and turned, climbing all the way and affording some pretty spectacular views.



Passing ski lodges and resorts, the road eventually climbed above the snowline until heading over the top of the pass. The pics don't really do this part of the world justice.







I noticed on the Italian side that the road was covered in names of cycle riders and teams, presumably from the Tour d'Italia. On passing the statue of St Bernard, and on the descent to Hotel Belvedere, there was only a single solitary name to be seen, presumably from a disgruntled tourist or Tour de France fan.



The road continued to descend, again through ski resorts and similar on the French side, until finally arriving at 8pm at Hotel Belvedere in thick cloud.



You'll see from the photos that motorcycles are well looked after, with a shelter at the front of the hotel and a secure lockup nearby.



Owners Dan and Nelly made me most welcome, and after a quick shower and change I came down to the restaurant to be met by a mountain of food and an "all you can eat" buffet. Not wishing to disappoint my hosts, along with many other French, Swiss, German and Danish bikers I tucked in and even cooked my own fillet steak on the hotplate provided. Fantastic. To top it all, I sat down with a German couple, Gert and Heiga to watch the 2nd half of England v Algeria. Gert was a fan of Man Utd and Rooney, but as we know, Shrek was not in the best of form that night. Turned in early after a great evening, this hotel is highly recommended, and cost all in including beers was €79

http://www.hotelbelvedere.fr/hotel-s...e/index-uk.php

Days 3 and 4 to follow
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France 2010 - 1760 miles in 4 days
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Old 06-28-2010, 02:59 AM   #2
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Day 3 - Saturday 19th June
So with a slightly sore head, I emerged for a breakfast at around 7.30am on Saturday morning involving mainly coffee and a croissant or two to soak it up. This was the "long" haul day, involving a ride past Albertville, Annecy, back to Bourg-en-Bresse, Macon on the Seine, the N79 out to Charolles, Moulins, Montlucon and depending on progress either cross country or Peage to Bourges Vierzon, Tours, Angers and to Gites La Janais between Angers and Rennes in Brittany. Insane yes. Achieveable maybe!

Still in cloud, I fired up the R12S and dawdled down the mountainside, catching some breathtaking views of Bourg St Maurice through the cloud breaks. Now on the N90, I bimbled through Aime and continued down the N90. Then the fun started. I noticed a gathering of Porsche owners in Aime, and as I continued, the cars started to race past more, joined by more Porsches, some vintage, some new. The N90 is a fantastic road, bend after bend in a gradual descent from the mountains over about 60 miles or so. Not to be outdone by the Porsche owners club, I joined in, swinging through the bends much to the surprise (and some cases shock) of the Porsche pilots. With the sky clearing too, I was literally whooping with delight as I sped down the hill to Albertville.

From there it was on to Annecy, with a stunning ride alongside an azure blue lake







Leaving Annecy I continued on the switchback D979, through ravines and mountain passes in the Du Haut Jura. At this point the sun was replaced by overcast skies, and exiting the historical town of Nantua I took my last few photos before the rain really started





As I progressed along the D979 to Bourg-en-Bresse and beyond along the N79, the rain became progressively heavier. This subsequently became the hardest part of the trip. Even approaching picturesque Macon over the Seine was of little comfort - it was hard to see in the rain. I stopped for fuel and a sandwich - with so much riding ahead the stops were few and far between, and brief when they did arrive. The next 80 or so miles to Montlucon was a nightmare of pouring rain, road surfaces totally awash and the odd aquaplane as I overtook articulated trucks throwing up huge amounts of water.

The decision was made then - the only way to make the distant La Janais the same day was to hit the peage. Finally arriving at the E11 junction near to Montlucon, I immediately picked up speed thanks to the superior road surfaces, at which point the skies thankfully started to clear. I stopped for fuel and a much needed coffee, and surveyed the very dirty R12S



To make matters worse, I wore Sidi boots, which were great apart from the fact I had left the air vents open to keep air circulating around hot feet and to generally remove the build up of festering foot smells. By now the boots seemed to be half full of water, so to the amusement of fellow travellers, the boots were removed and socks wrung out dry on the forecourt.

Much refreshed I pressed on into blue skies and scudding clouds. I made great time, arriving at services to fuel up just outside Tours at around 6pm. I phoned Richard and Pat at la Janais to let them know I was en route and expected to arrive at around 7.30-8pm. The final peage run to Angers was a breeze, and after running south of the city, I finally picked up the D963 road to Cande and my destination at La Janais, which was roughly 10 miles SW of Chateaubriant. These roads were some of the best ridden on the trip yet - well surfaced, great visibility ahead and all on a lovely evening.

I finally rolled into Gites La Janais at around 8pm, 11.5 hours after leaving Hotel Belvedere in the French Alps that morning. Elated, yes - tired, very but Pat and Richard made me very welcome and provided me with great home cooking and a cheese board. A few drinks with Pat, Richard and fellow brit David (riding a nearly new Guzzi Stelvio) and it was time for bed. I will be returning to La Janais, Pat and Richard really do go out of their way to welcome their guests. And at €75 for half board, I was very happy.

http://www.la-janais.com/

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France 2010 - 1760 miles in 4 days
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=594357

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Old 06-28-2010, 03:30 AM   #3
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Beautiful ride!! Thanks for the detailed report and pics...

tip: slow down a bit with your posts and let inmates catch up on their reading.. and it will give this thread a chance to be seen by more riders.
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Old 06-28-2010, 04:32 AM   #4
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Thanks Gadget Boy, will do, I'll leave posting Part 4 for a few days now.

Planning another trip this year, this time taking the new Tenere which is in the process of being run in
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France 2010 - 1760 miles in 4 days
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Old 06-28-2010, 06:24 AM   #5
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Great RR and pics! Also, the bike is perfect for such a trip
Waiting for the next installment
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Old 06-28-2010, 11:11 AM   #6
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Nice.
Thank you.
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Old 06-28-2010, 02:14 PM   #7
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Nice report, thanks for posting
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Old 06-28-2010, 11:02 PM   #8
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Thanks for kind words fellow ADV ers, part 4 to follow v shortly, just trying to get photos in order and get on with life after England's World Cup exit
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France 2010 - 1760 miles in 4 days
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Old 07-03-2010, 02:56 AM   #9
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Day 4 - Sunday 20th June

The plan for Sunday was a relaxed and leisurely ride through Brittany roads back to the Dieppe ferry for the 6pm sailing. So that morning I enjoyed a comfortable lie-in, still aching somewhat from the previous day's exertions. Pat and Richard again excelled with a hearty breakfast of cereal, croissants and industrial amounts of coffee, which I took with Stelvio rider David, as we reminisced and discussed previous mounts, including Dave's BSA 500 and my BSA Thunderbolt 650

The previous evening, Pat and Richard also took my damp boots and gloves and dried them, so as I finally donned my gear at around 10am on a sunny if cool morning, it was the best feeling in the world to slip my feet into warm and dry Sidi boots. Can't thank them enough for that. Anyway here are a few pics of Pat, Richard and the dog Mimi outside La Janais.





Finally underway at 10.30am, I still felt v tired, so decided to cut out some of the planned route and use some peage to make some headway so I could get to the boat in plenty of time. I took the D163 to Chateaubriant, and immediately started to appreciate the well surfaced sweeping bends and great visibility. Relaxing into a 70-80 mph roll-on roll-off ride I made good time, circling around Chateaubriant and heading out on the D178 to Martigne-Ferchaud and Vitre. As I rode through the centre of Martigne-Ferchaud, a carnival was in progress so I took some time to appreciate the floats and general celebrations. Continuing on I rode into the historic town of Vitre, and stopped to take a photo of this rather lovely street with some old medieval buildings





Still very tired, I had the option of heading out across country, or hitting the peage for a quick run to Caen. The plan was to try to make Arromanches-les-Bains to see the D-Day sites, but stopping for fuel and coffee, I saw time had marched on so I decided to instead head for the D-Day memorial at Caen. Very moving, with a very impressive Hawker Typhoon in the main entrance hall.









Memorial stones to the soldiers from every country involved in WWII


And the over-riding message to future generations to emerge from the conflict



Virtually as soon as I arrived, I got chatting to Swanney, an old American soldier who introduced himself as a former ranger. He hadn't been involved in the landings, but had been part of the campaign to push the Nazis back after the Battle of the Bulge. Fascinating, but time was pressing for us both so I left for the boat, certainly humbled and a little wiser

The final run was again on the peage, primarily so I could make the ferry and recuperate, so I hit the E46 and E44, stopping to take a photo on top of the Pont De Normandie, which I believe dwarfs the Dartford bridge



And so it was that I rolled into Dieppe, stopping for a Mac'Ds and making the ferry in plenty of time. I walked into the TV room, sat down and promptly slept for 2 full hours before taking a few photos of the Seven Sisters in the evening sun approaching Newhaven





Rolling off the ferry at 9.15pm, I was home in Brighton at 9.50pm to a huge hug from my better half. Total mileage 1760. Can't wait to do it again next year!
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France 2010 - 1760 miles in 4 days
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Old 07-03-2010, 04:19 AM   #10
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sensational stuff RogerThat1!

i love France reports!

Cheers n best wishes

Shane
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Old 07-03-2010, 06:11 AM   #11
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very nice ride report! thanks for sharing it! I want to go back to Europe some day...
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Old 07-04-2010, 04:22 AM   #12
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Thanks Shaggie and mrbreeze, currently running in my new Tenere so I can go places the R12S might struggle to reach

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France 2010 - 1760 miles in 4 days
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Old 07-06-2010, 05:41 PM   #13
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Thanks for the lovely pics and report! Moved to Day Trippin'
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Old 07-13-2010, 06:01 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogerthat1
Thanks Shaggie and mrbreeze, currently running in my new Tenere so I can go places the R12S might struggle to reach

Hi Rogerthat1
Nice report you have. I got onto the report hoping you did the trip on the XTZ660 Tenere It seems we will not be able to get the XTZ660 Tenere here in the States? I did asked around at the Yamaha dealers, no luck up till now. It looks like a very nice bike . If I might ask, would it be possible to post your ride impressions on the bike also?
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Old 07-24-2010, 03:19 AM   #15
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Hi cdwt. Mileage now 470, due first service at 600 miles. I love this bike, the engine is far better sorted than my previous no 2 machine, an XT660X, and for a single it actually feels like a twin at fast A road speeds. V comfortable, I could do the R12S France trip on the Tenere (although I might miss the big R12S power), plus take the missus on the back, hard luggage etc and for me at 6' 2" there is plenty of protection from the screen

I know a lot of folks fit after market exhausts to these, frankly for the claimed power it actually feels like a lot more, plus for a dual purpose machine the handling is excellent. I can go barreling into roundabouts on the Tourance tyres, plenty of stopping power from the twin discs (might move to HEL/Goodridge brake lines at some point) and the 21 inch front wheel still offers plenty of grip and feel, allowing some fairly crazy angles of lean

Yamaha have a winner here, at 5600 on the road, it is cheaper than most other dual sports, and aside from being slightly down on power it will do everything other dual sports bikes can do, but with absolutely bulletproof reliability to boot. I also ordered the centre stand optional extra which is well worth doing

And the deal was amazing, got back the 2k I spent on my my Ebay-acquired XT660X and interest free Yamaha credit over the next 3 years. At 100 per month, it's a no brainer, plus Yamaha will be putting the UK list price up by 800 or so this Autumn

Get one while you can!
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