I'm half way through a riding holiday with a couple of my mates. We've ridden down the west coast of France, along the top of Spain and now stopped half way down the Portuguese coast, in the resort of Figueira Da Foz.
There doesn't seem to be anyone here in Portugal, from the towns to the motorways. It's like one big ghost town.
In four days, we've done precisely 1774.6 miles, according to the Hyperstrada's digital trip and the journey's been a breeze, so far. The Ducati hasn't missed a beat and it's the first time I've ever toured with panniers and a top box.
It's been nice not having to strap tank bags and tail packs on and off the bike every day, although the waterproof bags provided with the Hyperstrada's soft luggage are so big and bulky, they take up a lot of precious room.
Compared to my mates on their Multistrada and SMT, my bike is way better on fuel and each time we fill up, I'm using four fewer litres, which always gives me a smug glow at petrol stations.
To be honest, we've stretched ourselves with distance between each night's stops. We've had long riding days and have had to use a lot of motorways to do the mileage. But the Hyperstrada has been smooth and comfy.
We did find some nice mountain roads in northern Spain, where we got to play on one day. The Ducati was a bit unstable, fully-laden, at first, but once I'd wound the rear preload up to compensate for the extra rear luggage weight, it was sharp steering, accurate and lots of fun.
Now we're heading to Burgos to meet my brother and another friend, on their Panigale and S1000RRR. We'll then head over the Pyrenees to Carcassonne, where we'll definitely find good roads. After that it's a stopover in Paris and home.
I’ll be back at work next week preparing for the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where I'll be riding a number of special race bikes and my own S1000RR racer.
It will hopefully be repaired from my big Snetterton crash last week, where I managed to snap my frame (and my left thumb). A big thanks to BMW Park Lane for putting it back together again.
After that it's back to Italy to take part in a very special sportsbike group test.
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